I teared up immediately.
The RPMs hovered around 4,000, the truck huffing and puffing up the steep hillside.
Approaching Sam’s Gap (elevation 3,760 feet) on Interstate 26, I wondered if my old GMC Sonoma (aka: “Grace”) would be able to reach the crest before stalling out and rolling back down into rural Madison County. With Asheville and greater Western North Carolina fading into the rearview mirror, the blazing Friday afternoon sun began to fall behind the Bald Mountains nearing the Tennessee state line.
Celebrating Southern Appalachian culture through concerts, living-history demonstrations, competitions and awards programs, Western Carolina University’s Mountain Heritage Day will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 24, on the campus in Cullowhee.
It pushed me back a couple of feet.
Where to from here?
It’s the lingering question within bluegrass and string circles nowadays. Amid the traditional pickers and grinners, there is an urgency arising in recent years, one that wonders just what will happen to the beloved, deeply held music once the last of the elder statesmen vanish.
It’s a feeling rather than an attitude.
From the ashes comes the rebirth.
In all my travels as a journalist, and as a music lover, one of the hardest things to witness is when a band you deeply enjoy decides to part ways. Case-in-point, about two or so years ago, Owner of the Sun, an Atlanta-based Americana/rock act, blew into Western North Carolina.
As I enter my fifth year living and thriving here in Western North Carolina, I’m also sliding into a space of reference and observation where I can now compare and contrast those subjects I continually cross paths with throughout my travels.
Of which, I find myself running around in numerous musical circles, from Asheville to Franklin, Hot Springs to Murphy. And when you’re writing about all of these talented and unique acts, one thing sticks out — how far they’ve come.
Peru: We travel to different countries. It’s our fifth festival this year, already two in France. We like a lot of the people, so friendly. The people is really friendly, the place is really beautiful. We think you have a different city not like other festivals and different in this part of the country, and we love it so much.
After talking with staff, volunteers and last year’s groups, Folkmoot Executive Director Angie Schwab decided that this year, she wanted to give performers more of a chance to experience contemporary American culture.