Liars Bench storytellers tip their hat to moonshine history

Moonshine will take center stage at the next Liars Bench, a variety show series paying hommage to aspects of Southern Appalachian culture, at 7 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 8, at City Lights Bookstore in Sylva.

“This show is definitely going to be a unique cultural event and an opportunity for the audience to learn about our southern mountain history,” said Dave Waldrop, The Liars Bench host. “There also will be an exciting surprise for all the participants.”

Gary Carden, a noted local folklorist and storyteller, will give a special introduction to a short film on moonshining in the mountains. Marion Jones and Jack Parris will demonstrate with an authentic still how the old timers made “white liquor.” Steve Brady will relate, in story and song, the strong ties between the moonshining industry and the beginnings of NASCAR. Musicians Barbara Duncan and Paul Iarussi will also perform at the “white lightning” show.

The Liars Bench was started last summer by Appalachian storyteller and folk artist Gary Carden to promote Southern Appalachian storytelling, music, poetry, drama, and folk arts. It’s proved to be a crowd pleaser.

“From the very first, The Liars Bench has been on the cutting edge blending authentic traditional Southern Appalachian culture with entertainment for children and adults — no matter where they come from,” Carden said. “The Liars Bench strives, and succeeds, in giving an accurate view of the people and their culture here in the southern mountains.”

Regular cast members include Gary Carden, Lloyd Arneach, Paul Iarussi, Barbara Duncan, Dave Waldrop, Steve Brady, and the show’s mascot Bodine. The group recognizes established artists and performers but encourages new talent, also. Admission is free.

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