Bluegrass

Jim Vipperman

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Mountain Faith

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Jeff Little

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Adam Tanner

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Wilkesboro

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Jim Vipperman

Bluegrass and old-time musician

Mount Airy, NC (Surry County)

Multi-instrumentalist and teacher Jim Vipperman grew up in a musically rich family and community in Surry County. "My dad played music, both of my grandfathers played, and my great-grandfather played. It is great to come from that family history, and I think it has helped me absorb the music." Jim plays fiddle, mandolin, guitar, bass, and banjo.

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Earl Scruggs

Bluegrass banjo player and guitar player

Perhaps the most influential banjo player of the past century, Earl Scruggs was known as the "Father of Bluegrass Banjo." Scruggs popularized a three-finger picking style that defined bluegrass banjo playing and spread like wildfire among banjo players all over the world. Today, Scruggs-style banjo playing is still the standard in bluegrass.

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Loyd Richardson

Bluegrass bass and guitar player and singer

Warrenville, NC (Ashe County)

"Good harmony singing is what makes the bluegrass sound for me," says bluegrass bass and guitar player Loyd Richardson. Like many bluegrass musicians, Loyd's first musical exposure came in church. "I learned guitar from my dad, and used to play in church and on Sunday morning radio broadcasts with local preachers."

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Mountain Faith

Bluegrass gospel band

Sylva, NC (Jackson County)

Sylva native Sam McMahan has loved Southern gospel music all his life, but it was his wife and children who influenced him towards the bluegrass style. When his children Summer and Brayden learned to play bluegrass instruments, Sam took up the bass so he could accompany them. The three McMahans are now joined by cousin John Robert Morgan in the bluegrass gospel band Mountain Faith.

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Jeff Little

Piano player

Stokesdale, NC

"With few exceptions, the piano does not play a prominent part in Appalachian music, and is rarely the lead instrument," according to the National Council for the Traditional Arts, "but Jeff Little is an exception—and a remarkable one. His distinctive style, much influenced by the mountain flat-picked guitar tradition, is breathtaking in its speed, precision and clarity."

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