Mountain of pain: Beloved Missouri blues-rock act to play Water’n Hole

Cutting through the onslaught of monotonous bar bands and diluted midnight hour showcases like a buzz saw gone haywire, The Hooten Hallers remain one of the most mesmerizing, innovative and raucous acts on the national scene these days.

Where I’m going I’ll be seeing you: A conversation with Marcus King

At 23, guitarist Marcus King has quickly transitioned from a prodigy into a bonafide legend on the electric six-string. 

Crisscrossing the globe since he was a teenager emerging from Greenville, South Carolina, King and his band have risen to the upper echelon of rock-n-roll and soul music, a modern-day realm inhabited by the likes of the Tedeschi Trucks Band and JJ Grey & Mofro. 

“Deliverance” villain Cowboy Coward is not what he seems

The last of Fred and Moody Parker Coward’s nine children, Herbert “Cowboy” Coward, was born in rural Haywood County in August 1938. His mother died early on, so Cowboy’s father worked at a number of jobs to support his large family, including a long stint at Barber’s Orchard in nearby Waynesville. 

Free from society’s handpicked hypocrisy: A conversation with G. Love

For the better part of the last three decades, G. Love (aka: Garrett Dutton) and his band Special Sauce have been crisscrossing America with its signature blend of hip-hop, blues and jazz.

Coming up through the 1980s hip-hop scene in Philadelphia, G. Love soon found himself a young street busker in Boston, eventually taking his intricate rapping skills, old-time harmonica and folk guitar stylings into the studio for the group’s groundbreaking 1994 self-titled debut album. 

Will the circle be unbroken: Ken Burns on new country music documentary, a life in filmmaking

Clocking in at over 16 hours, the new Ken Burns documentary “Country Music” is an extremely detailed and intricate look at the genre through the lens of our nation and the wide variety of its citizens that inhabit it.

The film lays down the foundation and continual evolution of country music. It’s a portal and rabbit hole into this never-ending melodic history and its artists, a true sense of discovery of self — of time and place — through songs about heartache and redemption.

In their own words: Smoky Mountain Folk Festival

The 50th annual Smoky Mountain Folk Festival will be held on Aug. 30-31 at the Lake Junaluska Conference & Retreat Center. Both nights will include a rich variety of the region’s finest fiddlers, banjo players, string bands, ballad singers, buck dancers and square dance teams as well as the marvelous sounds of dulcimer, harmonica, Jew’s harp, bagpipes, spoons, saws, and folk ensembles.

Where the soul never dies: Richard Sterban of The Oak Ridge Boys

It’s one of the most recognizable voices in all of American music.

When Richard Sterban famously coined the “oom-pa-pa-oom-pa-pa-mow-mow” bass solo during The Oak Ridge Boy’s crossover 1981 smash hit “Elvira,” he not only forever solidified his tone in the halls of country music, he also became a lifelong pop culture icon in the process. 

The living melodic bridge: ‘David Holt’s State of Music’

Now syndicated on PBS stations from coast to coast, “David Holt’s State of Music” has become a beacon of traditional music and worldwide exposure for countless local, regional and national acts hailing from Western North Carolina and Southern Appalachia.

The rebel and the rose: Becky Buller to play ‘An Appalachian Evening’

In bluegrass, there are pioneers and there are pillars — Becky Buller is both.

A beloved singer/fiddler, the Minnesota native left the Midwest as a teenager for Southern Appalachia, all in search of that “high, lonesome sound.” And in her lifelong quest to immerse herself in bluegrass music, Buller has become a legend in her own right.

Fred Chappell releases new poetry collection

The purpose of a writer is to take observations on life and distill those sights and sounds into words and sentiments reflecting the way the wind is blowing at a particular juncture in time. 

It’s also a purpose as to show the reader just how common and repetitive the themes of human nature are throughout the centuries and millennia. For we as a species tend to not stray far from our usual thoughts and actions: love and hate, fear and compassion, war and peace. 

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