Hailing from the foothills of North Carolina, I’m "double dipped" in accents by being both a southerner and a hillbilly. I can speak with the best of them, and have many times made presentations/talks to audiences of several hundred (usually withouth notes), but I do love to get in a gathering of "hoitie toitie" snobs and pull out my most pronounced southern hillbilly drawl and down home expressions–especially when I’m in control or the central emcee. It "does my soul good"!
A man I admired greatly, Dr. Jay Robinson from Bandana, North Carolina (just outside of Spruce Pine) was one of the premier educators in North Carolina, finishing his long career as superintendent of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school system during turbulent times and then chancellor’s liason for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He never lost his heavy, semi nasal mountain drawl although he was one of the most brilliant men I have ever met. He once told me that he continued to "talk slow so I can think while I talk". Maybe more of us should try that. I know I should do it more.
And another who wasn’t bad was another old North Carolina hillbilly who happened to be a real national treasure–Harvard graduate Senator Sam Ervin of watergate fame.