Barte Laney is a multi-instrumentalist from McDowell County, North Carolina. He learned “mountain fiddling” from Otto Gross, Floyd Wilson, Paul Birchfield, Pee Wee Davis, and his father, Robert Laney. About learning to play, Barte shares:
Growing up, I was always listening to stories my Daddy would tell of living in the Smokey Mountains. He would talk of how they worked, hunted, and fished, but their pastime was singing and playing music. I always was interested in everything he talked about, especially music. For my fifteenth birthday I got a fiddle. Daddy taught me a couple tunes and what he called a sawmill shuffle (a type of rhythmic bowing).
Barte heard his father talk about playing music in church and for local dances. “The richest person on Hazel Creek had a house, and they would clear out a room for dancing,” Barte recalls.
Barte is a highly sought-after fiddle and mandolin player across the state and has performed with a number of successful regional bands (notably: Silver Creek, Midnight Flyer, The Connections, Ages Past, The Highway Bound and the Linville Ridge Band). He regularly provides music for plays, churches services, weddings and other community events. In 2007, Barte tied for first place fiddle at the WNC State Fair, 1981 placed second at the state champion fiddlers competition at, second place in the mandolin competition at the Bascom Lamar Lunsford Folk Festival in 1994, and Best Fiddle at the Hominy Valley Youth Association Dance and Band Festival in 1976. He was awarded first place in the Starr Band Competition with the bluegrass group Ages Past.
Barte started learning fiddle right around the time his father passed away. Barte was able to learn from a handful of local players, but the experience inspired Barte to want to teach others and provide opportunities for them to learn. For the past two decades he has taught fiddle, mandolin, and guitar from his home. Many of his students have continued on to graduate from East Tennessee State University’s Bluegrass County, and Old-Time program, with two being featured members of the elite Pride Band. Additionally, his students have won MerleFest Songwriting awards and multiple International Bluegrass Music Awards.
Barte is recording a solo album in 2020. He is available to teach lessons and available for performances.