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Count This Penny
Knoxville musicians Amanda and Allen Rigell, who perform under the name Count This Penny. Photo Credit: Bonica Ayala

To highlight the unique materials available in its Special Collections and Betsey B. Creekmore Archives, the UT Libraries will periodically commission a work of art or music inspired by an item or collection in the archives.

This new program is called Boundless: Artists in the Archives.

The libraries’ first partners in the Boundless project are Knoxville musicians Amanda and Allen Rigell, who perform under the name Count This Penny. The singer-songwiter duo have composed and recorded a song inspired by materials in the Wilma Dykeman and James R. Stokely Jr. Papers.

Amanda Rigell received a master’s in reading education from the College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences in 2016.

The public is invited to a reception and performance by Count This Penny to celebrate the inauguration of Boundless: Artists in the Archives. The free performance will take place at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, November 16, in the Special Collections Reading Room, 121 John C. Hodges Library.

A mini-documentary and a vinyl recording of the new song will be available at a later date.

All the materials created as part of the Boundless series will be preserved in Special Collections, and the song will be made freely available for noncommercial use under the terms of a Creative Commons license.

Count This Penny has been featured on WDVX’s Blue Plate Special and American Public Media’s A Prairie Home Companion and has shared the stage with many performers, including opening for Melissa Etheridge at the Tennessee Theatre in 2016.

Husband and wife James Stokely and Wilma Dykeman, whose archives inspired the new song, collaborated on several books about civil rights and the south, including their award-winning Neither Black Nor White (1957). Dykeman was also a noted novelist, historian, and journalist. She taught creative writing at UT for more than 20 years. Dykeman’s best-known books include the novel The Tall Woman (1962) and The French Broad (1955), part of the Rivers of America series.


Martha Rudolph (865-974-4273,