Gospel artist and songwriter James Metcalf is a descendant of some of the first European settlers in Polk and Henderson Counties. His father was a minister who pastored churches in several states, but when James, one of nine siblings, grew up, he returned to live at the old family homestead in Saluda, in the area that his ancestors settled more than 250 years ago.
Metcalf’s love of gospel music developed when he was a child, in his father’s churches. Today he is a gospel singer, composer, promoter, and deejay. With the Green River Boys, a band based in and around Polk County, Metcalf sings traditional bluegrass-style gospel music. His compositions have been performed and recorded by sacred quartets, including his song “The Great Physician’s Hand,” which was part of the Principles’ album Snow Covered Mound, nominated for the Gospel Music Association’s Dove Award in the bluegrass category.
An enthusiastic promoter of Southern gospel music, James Metcalf introduces listeners to the style through his show on WJFJ, Columbus’ twenty-four-hour gospel station. He also helps organize concerts at area schools and churches. Metcalf is a member of the Fork Creek Baptist Church in Saluda, which he serves as director of music.
James Metcalf performs with the Green River Boys every other weekend at the Saluda Family Restaurant, and at numerous other engagements in the region. He is also a knowledgeable resource for those interested in Southern gospel music in Western North Carolina.