Ray Lipford

Gospel musician

Ferguson, NC (Wilkes County)

Guitar player and singer Ray Lipford lives in the Ferguson community of Wilkes County, on the family homestead where he grew up. "This is where I've lived all my life, right here on this land," he says. Ferguson is about equally distant from both Lenoir and Wilkesboro, where he worked as a furniture builder and heavy equipment driver.

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Colby Laney

Bluegrass musician

Marion, NC (McDowell County)

As a small child, Colby Laney learned to play the fiddle, influenced by his father Barte, an accomplished bluegrass musician. Sports soon captured his interest, though, and throughout elementary school, he says, he was "always chasing baseballs and basketballs" rather than playing music. In middle school, Laney was cut from the basketball team, and was "pretty down about it." Trying to find something else to occupy his time, he took up the guitar again at his father's encouragement. "By the next year I didn't even want to play basketball." Music has been his passion ever since.

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Brien Fain

Old-time and bluegrass musician

Stuart, VA

"I can't ever remember not being around music," said Brien Fain, who was at least a seventh-generation mountain musician. The rich musical tradition in his family dates back to the 1760s in Patrick County, in Southwest Virginia near the North Carolina border. Brien owned fiddles that were played by his father and grandfather, and one built by his great-great-grandfather in the 1830s. "I'm the youngest of 32 grandchildren on my daddy's side, and the youngest of 48 grandchildren on my mama's side," he said.

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Cane Creek

Bluegrass band

Buncombe, Swain, and Haywood Counties, NC

Danielle Bishop and Seth Taylor are two of Western North Carolina's most prominent up-and-coming bluegrass musicians, and they are the lead musicians in the band Cane Creek.

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Blue Eyed Girl

Old-time band

Buncombe County, NC

The three women who make up the old-time band Blue Eyed Girl have all spent their lives absorbing traditional music and dance. The Asheville area-residents grew up in families for whom old-time music was a way of life, and as girls they picked up the tradition at a very young age.

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Butch Barker

Bluegrass musician

Lansing, NC (Ashe County)

"I've really enjoyed my music over the years," says Ashe County musician Butch Barker. "I don't think I would have got by without it." Known primarily as a bluegrass musician, Butch plays guitar, bass, and fiddle, and he sings lead and harmony. While he has made his daytime career at American Emergency Vehicles building molds for ambulances, he spends much of his free time picking informally with friends, performing with bluegrass groups, sound engineering at fiddlers' conventions, and promoting the music of northwest North Carolina.

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Twilite Broadcasters

String band

Buncombe County

Buncombe County duo the Twilite Broadcasters have been playing early country string band music together since 2008, recording and touring throughout the region. They play a mixture of early bluegrass and country duets, and old-time Appalachian music. They draw particular inspiration from the Louvin, Monroe, and Delmore Brothers, as well as the duet singing of Buck Owens and Don Rich.

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Mount Mitchell Crafts Fair

Handcrafters from all over the United States come to sell their wares including baskets, candles, kettle corn, pottery, stained glass, and so much more.

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Stecoah Valley Cultural Arts Center

Stecoah Valley Cultural Arts Center

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John C. Campbell Folk School

John C. Campbell Folk School

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