One of the region’s best-known family bands, the Trantham Family of Haywood County includes three generations of prominent oldtime musicians. Jim Trantham has been performing traditional music and building dulcimers, banjos, guitars, and other instruments for decades. His Haywood County childhood was filled with music, both in church and in his family. Now he is the patriarch of this prominent family of musicians. He has also served as the music director of various churches over the course of nearly three decades. His son Doug is a lifelong musician. As a child he first learned to play the spoons and Jew’s harp, and in time taught himself to play the dulcimer, ukulele, banjo, and guitar. While he was growing up, he performed traditional music all through the South with his father, and was a member of the Smoky Mountain Kids dancing group as well as the Soco Mountain Cloggers. Early honors include the junior old-time banjo championship at Fiddler’s Grove, and a 1979 appearance in an ABC Christmas Special from the Grand Ole Opry.
Doug and his wife Amy have three children, Emily, Adam, and Sara. Currently Doug and Emily, the oldest, are the core of the Trantham Family band, but all three children are highly musical and are experienced performers.
The Trantham Family has performed at numerous regional festivals, including the Asheville Mountain Dance and Folk Festival, Mountain Heritage Day, the Bascom Lamar Lunsford festival, and Fiddler’s Grove. In 1995 they won the Most Outstanding Performance Award at the Asheville Mountain Dance and Folk Festival. They have recorded many albums, including the most recent, Emily’s solo project, “Emily’s Dream.” She says of this album, “It has been my dream to explore the music of my family and record a few, well chosen selections to represent the music in my life.”
After twenty-nine years of membership, Jim Trantham is now employed by North Carolina as the director of the “Village of Yesteryear” at the State Fair. He continues to build musical instruments, and to perform with his son Doug and his musical grandchildren.
The Trantham Family are available to play for concerts, festivals, and other events.