Lynn Worth grew up in Ashe County, North Carolina, a hotbed for traditional old-time and bluegrass music. “I heard it growing up,” Lynn said, “But I was more interested in rock-and-roll until I got out of high school.”
Lynn’s mother’s family was musical. Her mom’s father played the mandolin and taught shape note music to his children. Her mom, and her mother’s siblings, learned to sing shape notes and play the piano. Both of Lynn’s parents enjoyed traditional music. “I heard a lot of music growing up,” she recalled. “I listened to rock-and-roll, but also heard Hank Williams, and the Albert Hash records when they came out in the 1970s.”
In the mid 1980s, Lynn took a fiddle class with Thornton Spencer from the Whitetop Mountain Band, at the Ashe County branch of Wilkes Community College. Those lessons led to learning to play most of the stringed instruments in oldtime music, which she played with the Appalachian Mountain Girls and Phoenix Mountain Band.
Area pickers would frequently drop in to jam at Thornton Spencer’s fiddle classes. “People would come by and play tunes with you, so you could hear a lot of styles and different instruments,” Lynn said. “We learned how to fill a bow, fit a bridge, and do some jamming, and there were always tales being told.” She believed that the stories and socializing are just as important as the music. “To me, that’s the biggest part of it,” she said, “sharing these tunes and traditions with other people.”
Arvill Scott called Lynn sometime around 1987, and said he needed someone to play bass with the Walnut Hill Band for the dances at the Mountain Music Jamboree. “I told him I didn’t know how to play,” she remembered. “I learned to play bass on stage.” After quickly teaching herself to play bass, Lynn swapped a bass lesson with a friend, who in turn gave Lynn a banjo lesson. Lynn learned to play fiddle, guitar, bass, and banjo.
Lynn played in several bands, including banjo with the Appalachian Mountain Girls along with Rita Wood, Amy Boucher, and Katherine Higgins.
She was one of the founders of the Alleghany Fiddlers Convention in Sparta, North Carolina, which started in 1995 and takes place each July.