Mountain Heritage Classes Project

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Junior Appalachian Musicians

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Old-Time Music Heritage Hall

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Cherokee Homestead Exhibit in Hayesville

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Jim Vipperman

Bluegrass and old-time musician

Mount Airy, NC (Surry County)

Multi-instrumentalist and teacher Jim Vipperman grew up in a musically rich family and community in Surry County. "My dad played music, both of my grandfathers played, and my great-grandfather played. It is great to come from that family history, and I think it has helped me absorb the music." Jim plays fiddle, mandolin, guitar, bass, and banjo.

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Loyd Richardson

Bluegrass bass and guitar player and singer

Warrenville, NC (Ashe County)

"Good harmony singing is what makes the bluegrass sound for me," says bluegrass bass and guitar player Loyd Richardson. Like many bluegrass musicians, Loyd's first musical exposure came in church. "I learned guitar from my dad, and used to play in church and on Sunday morning radio broadcasts with local preachers."

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Connie Regan-Blake


Asheville, NC (Buncombe County)

Internationally recognized storyteller Connie Regan-Blake has lived in Asheville for over thirty years. A native of Alabama, Regan-Blake began telling stories professionally as a young woman living in Chattanooga. After honing her skills performing for local children, she teamed up with her cousin Barbara Freeman to form a storytelling duo in 1975. Calling themselves the Folktellers, they left their jobs and began touring the country in Freeman's pickup truck. The two women became popular performers at many festivals and other venues across the country.

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Doyle Pace


Boone, NC (Watauga County)

"I've always been interested in stories," recalls Doyle Pace. "My uncles and father told stories. They didn't tell Jack Tales, but they always had some sort of anecdote to make their point." Doyle's interest in stories and folklore eventually led him to the mountains of Western North Carolina. Since his first trip to Watauga County in 1958, he made frequent extended trips to the area. He bought a house there in 1970, and he has made the area his permanent home since 2005.

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Mountain Faith

Bluegrass gospel band

Sylva, NC (Jackson County)

Sylva native Sam McMahan has loved Southern gospel music all his life, but it was his wife and children who influenced him towards the bluegrass style. When his children Summer and Brayden learned to play bluegrass instruments, Sam took up the bass so he could accompany them. The three McMahans are now joined by cousin John Robert Morgan in the bluegrass gospel band Mountain Faith.

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Jeff Little

Piano player

Stokesdale, NC

"With few exceptions, the piano does not play a prominent part in Appalachian music, and is rarely the lead instrument," according to the National Council for the Traditional Arts, "but Jeff Little is an exception—and a remarkable one. His distinctive style, much influenced by the mountain flat-picked guitar tradition, is breathtaking in its speed, precision and clarity."

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