High Country

Stanley Hicks

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Ray Hicks

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Ossie Clark Phillips

Weaver

Avery County, NC

Ossie Clark Phillips was a weaver most of her life. She was born in 1915, shortly after Dr. Mary Martin Sloop and her husband Dr. Eustace Sloop established the Crossnore School a mile from her home in the mountains of Avery County. When the school opened its weaving program and her mother learned to weave, a new way of life opened for Ossie Clark. "My mama had a loom at home, and I'd slip to her loom when she wasn't there," Ossie said, recalling her own early fascination with weaving. All of the Clark children took a turn at the loom.

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Stanley Hicks

Instrument builder, woodworker, dancer, musician, storyteller

Watauga County, NC

Stanley Hicks was born in 1911 in Watauga County, and raised on Spice Creek along with his eight siblings. He and his cousin Ray Hicks, also a famed storyteller, shared the same great-grandparents. Life for the Hicks family was hard; there were few jobs in the mountains, and families struggled to get enough food. Growing up, Hicks took what jobs were available. During the Depression, he worked for the Works Progress Administration for 75 cents a day.

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Ray Hicks

Storyteller

Watauga County, NC

Ray Hicks, one of North Carolina most renowned storytellers, lived atop Beech Mountain in Watauga County with his wife Rosa in a manner more common to the pioneer than to the modern mountaineer. It was not unusual for visitors to the Hicks' striking two-story frame house to find Rosa busy drying apples and "putting up" produce from the garden while Ray entertained friends and neighbors in the front room.

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Albert Hash

Fiddler and instrument maker

Ashe County, NC

Whitetop, Virginia native Albert Hash was a masterful mechanic who built fiddles and other instruments, played the fiddle with the Whitetop Mountain Band, and helped teach countless musicians and instrument builders.

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Council Harmon

Storyteller and musician

Watauga County, NC

"'Old Counce' was certainly the kind of man about whom unforgettable tales are told," writes historian Betty Smith. "The tales he told have been perpetuated through several different family lines, but the tales about him have lived on as well." Remembered as a warm and fun-loving man, Council Harmon was one of the first residents of the Beech Mountain area to gain a widespread reputation as a great storyteller.

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Clarence Greene, Sr.

Old-time musician

Mitchell and Avery Counties, NC

Clarence Greene was a multi-instrumentalist and recording artist in the 1920s and early ‘30s, and a performing musician until his death in 1961. A versatile musician, Greene made recordings solo and with a variety of groups, including the Blue Ridge Singers, the Wise Brothers, Byrd Moore and his Hot Shots, and the Blue Ridge Mountain Entertainers, and in duets and trios with Clarence "Tom" Ashley and Gwen Foster.

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G.B. Grayson

Old-time fiddler and singer

Ashe County, NC

Fiddler and singer Gilliam Banmon (G. B.) Grayson was born in Ashe County, and he later settled in Laurel Bloomery, Tennessee, just across the state line. Blinded from corneal damage before he was a year old, G. B. made his living playing music and busking on street corners and at parties and other community gatherings and events.

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Leonard Glenn

Luthier

Watauga County, NC

The Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina have nurtured many great folk musicians over the years. Less well known are the folk craftsmen, who built the instruments used by many of the fine singers and players since the area was first settled. One of the region's most respected instrument makers was Leonard Lucky Glenn, a resident of Watauga County's Laurel Creek community, near Beech Mountain.

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