Bethel natives Trevor and Travis Stuart have been playing as a duo for more than twenty years. They learned to play oldtime mountain music-Trevor to play fiddle, and Travis banjo–from members of their community and surrounding counties, including Byard Ray, the Smathers Family, and North Carolina Folk Heritage Award recipient Red Wilson.
They also have music in their ancestry. Travis plays their great-uncle Austin Stamey’s banjo, and Trevor wrote a fiddle tune, on their latest album, in honor of their fiddling great-grandfather, Rev. Henry King. Trevor writes, “I named this reel after our great-grandfather Henry King, born 1856, who was a fiddler, Methodist preacher, mortician, and a barber, among other things I’m sure. My Grandmaw Myrtle King Stuart told me many stories about him: how he’d cut every dead man’s hair in Sandy Mush. The stories about him staying up all night and playing for dances inspired me to play fiddle. As soon as I had a few tunes I’d play for her and watch the excitement in her eyes.”
Though their music has deep roots in the Stuarts’ native region, they’ve carried that music far abroad. They have played for dances, festivals, music camps, and concerts all through the United States, as well as in England, Ireland, Germany, and Russia. Closer to home, they are important members of the Junior Appalachian Music Program, in which they and other oldtime masters teach schoolchildren to play traditional mountain music. The Stuart brothers have recorded two albums, and have appeared as ensemble players on many other musicians’ recordings.
We are saddened to report that Trevor Stuart passed away on March 2, 2016 at the the age of forty-seven.
Travis Stuart is available to play for concerts, festivals, and dances, and to teach workshops.