The Danny Johnson Band

Bluegrass band

Pisgah Forest, NC (Transylvania County)

Pisgah Forest native Danny Johnson has been playing music for more than sixty years. His love of music began very early in his life, growing up among musicians in his family—including his mother, a Juilliard-trained classical pianist. Now Johnson himself is the patriarch of a multigenerational musical legacy.

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The Deitz Family Band

Oldtime musicians

Sylva, NC (Jackson County)

Bill Deitz has played oldtime music since childhood, originally inspired to learn the guitar when he heard records of the Carter Family. He and his brother Joe both learned oldtime music while they were growing up in Jackson County. They were taught by members of their family, and they picked up a great deal on their own as well.

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Glenn Bolick

Storyteller, potter, musician, singer, songwriter, presenter

Lenoir, NC (Caldwell County)

Glenn Bolick grew up in Caldwell County surrounded by sawmilling, storytelling, and music, and today he carries on these three traditions. Glenn is also a potter who learned from his wife, Lula, whose Owens family pottery tradition dates back five generations. Glenn and Lula have turned the family land into a sawmilling, pottery-producing, music-making, heritage homestead where they host numerous events.

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Shelby "Ray" Dellinger

Instrument builder and traditional musician

Bakersville, NC (Mitchell County)

Ray Dellinger was born and raised in a musical family in the Green Cove community of Mitchell County. He has been playing mountain music most of his life and has been building instruments for the past ten years. Asked when he first remembers hearing mountain music, Ray replies, "When I was big enough to hear it." Most of his family played music. His grandfather played fiddle and was known as one of the best in the area. His mother went to shape-note singing schools as a child, and Ray remembers her singing around the house.

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Laura Boosinger

Oldtime and mountain swing musician

Asheville, NC (Buncombe County)

When she was eighteen years old, Laura Boosinger moved to Swannanoa to attend Warren Wilson College, and she soon enrolled in a banjo class. That class proved to be the beginning of an acclaimed career as a traditional musician. In 1984, Boosinger heard a rumor that the Luke Smathers Band of Canton, mountain swing virtuosos, needed a new banjo player. Shyly, she approached Smathers and asked to be considered.

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Hilary Dirlam

Oldtime musician

Mars Hill, NC (Madison County)

In her more than twenty-five years as a resident of the North Carolina mountains, oldtime musician Hilary Dirlam has made significant contributions to the region's music, both in her own playing and through her preservation efforts. Dirlam played bass for both the Carroll Best Band and Luke Smathers' Mountain Swing Band, placing her at the heart of some of western Carolina's classic music traditions.

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Paul Brown

Oldtime musician

Pinnacle, NC (Surry County)

A musician since childhood, Paul Brown spent years collecting and documenting traditional music in southwestern Virginia and northwest North Carolina, particularly the stunningly rich traditions around Mount Airy in the region known as Round Peak.

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Donald Clifton and The Country Boys

Bluegrass band

Mt. Airy, NC (Surry County)

Donald Clifton was born and raised in Surry County where he was exposed to traditional music and dance as a young boy. "I was drug to square dances as far back as I can remember," he says. Donald also listened to the Grand Ole Opry every chance he had. By the time he was eight or nine years old, Donald started playing guitar. "I had the desire to play ever since I was young," he says. Donald's aunt played the guitar, and she showed him some chords to help him get started. After that, Donald listened to records and learned to play by ear.

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George and Brooke Buckner


Weaverville, NC (Buncombe County)

George Buckner is a fourth-generation banjo player, and a native of Buncombe County. His father, grandfather, aunt, and uncles all played oldtime music. Nurturing his musical inclinations, George's aunt Sue, who played and sang, took him to jam sessions and festivals, where he met and learned from Ralph Lewis, Carroll Best, and many other great musicians. In ninth grade, George and some friends formed a band.

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Charlie Edwards

Bluegrass guitar player

Sparta, NC (Alleghany County)

Charlie Edwards was born and raised in Maryland, but his parents were from Alleghany County, and they made frequent trips back for family visits throughout his life. In Maryland, they lived in the midst of a number of other migrants from Alleghany County. He remembers hearing Ola Belle Reed and Alex Campbell and the New River Boys and Girls at Sunset Park, a popular music park that Ola Belle and Alex operated near where Charlie and his family lived. "I was up there a lot," remembers Charlie.

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