Bringing the world to WNC for 35 years

Folkmoot International Festival is celebrating its 35th anniversary this year by introducing some new events during the 10-day cultural exchange and revamping its much-loved traditions. 

• Bringing the world to Western NC
• Folkmoot guides play critical role
• Meet the groups of Folkmoot
• Sunday Soiree brings flavor to Folkmoot
• Schedule of events

Constant evolution: Jam-rock act to play Highlands

In an era when rock-n-roll has seemingly taken a backseat to hip-hop and electronic acts — on the radio and on the charts — it’s refreshing to come across such a finely-tuned entity like The Orange Constant.

Music to my ears: A conversation with Ricky Skaggs

At 63, Ricky Skaggs has spent just about 58 of those years completely enamored and immersed in that singular “high, lonesome sound” at the heart of bluegrass music. 

Given a mandolin at the age of 5, a year later he was onstage playing alongside Bill Monroe, the “Father of Bluegrass,” only to find himself at age 7 on a nationally televised variety show plucking with the likes of Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs. As a teenager, he opened for, and eventually was invited to join Ralph Stanley & The Clinch Mountain Boys, following that up a few years later with stints in The Country Gentlemen and J.D. Crowe’s The New South. 

All-American mutt — Jamie Kent

As the music capital of the world, the bright lights of Nashville have always been a tough place to make it as a band, let alone as a songwriter. But, that mere fact is why so many talented acts from seemingly every corner of the globe descend upon the bustling Tennessee metropolis — simply, if you can make it there, you can make it anywhere. 

Blue Collar Dreams: A decade in, Balsam Range looks ahead

Ten years into his tenure with Balsam Range, Tim Surrett can only shake his head.

“The most amazing factor is that somebody hasn’t gotten killed in 10 years,” he chuckled. “It’s amazing because every band in the world is one bad weekend from nonexistence. We’ve been through a lot, ups and downs, frustrations and traveling distances, and it’s still relevant after 10 years. I don’t know how long that will last, but it’s cool to me that it’s still top-shelf relevant.”

Everywhere I go is a long way from home: A conversation with Trey Hensley

Over the last few years, guitarist Trey Hensley and dobroist Rob Ickes have crisscrossed the country with their unique brand of bluegrass, where the lines tend to blur slightly into the realms of Americana and classic country music. 

Fifteen-time “Dobro Player of the Year” by the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA), Ickes was a founding member of Blue Highway, a pillar of the the genre over the last quarter-century. And with Hensley, you have someone who performed on the Grand Ole Opry alongside Marty Stuart and Earl Scruggs at the age of 11, only to release his debut album and also find himself pickin’-n-grinnin’ with the late Johnny & June Carter Cash just a year later. 

Characters and music star in The Music Shop

Can there be a sadder sight than a man in his sixties sitting in a garden with tears dribbling down his cheeks?

But there I was on a gorgeous morning in June, sitting in a chair on the patio of my daughter’s house, blinking through a misty saline prism and leaking water like a broken spigot.

Brighter days, where did they go?

When you find yourself in conversation with JJ Grey, you walk away from the interaction with a kick in your step. This isn’t someone who is blowing smoke. Rather, the beloved singer (of JJ Grey & Mofro) casts a real, honest sense of truth about our world. For someone who grew up in the rough-n-tumble backwoods and urban areas of North Florida, Grey doesn’t carry himself with the darkness and self-doubt one might think he’d feed into.

This must be the place: We had longer ways to go. But no matter, the road is life

Hopping out of my truck, the intense sunshine and humidity of rural central Tennessee in early June slapped me right in the face. It was last Wednesday, and there I was, pushing my way through numerous gates and security guards, hundreds of volunteers and tens of thousands of concertgoers, all part of this past weekend’s installment of Bonnaroo — a music and arts festival as iconic as it is chaotic.

Cold Mountain Music Festival returns to Lake Logan

The second annual Cold Mountain Music Festival will return June 8-9 to the Lake Logan Conference Center. 

The festival will feature top-notch musical talent. Friday’s schedule will be The Kenny George Band (4:30 p.m.), The Broadcast (5:45 p.m.), Jon Stickley Trio (7 p.m.) and Mandolin Orange (8:45 p.m.). Saturday’s schedule will be The Broadcast (1 p.m.), Dangermuffin (2:15 p.m.), Tyler Ramsey (3:45 p.m.), The Steel Wheels (5 p.m.), River Whyless (7 p.m.) and Shovels & Rope (9 p.m.). The event will raise funds and awareness for Lake Logan and Camp Henry.

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