Southwest Virginia is immersed in rich, musical talent. Experience the quiet, soulful strum of the autoharp, the ringing melody of the bluegrass banjo, and the high, lonesome vocals of a gospel tune. The endearing harmonies and haunting ballads of our mountain music are regarded as national treasures.
Friday, October 16
From his rather unglamorous beginning as a street singer, Bryan Bowers has become a major artist on the traditional music circuit. He has redefined the autoharp and is also a well known as a singer-songwriter. Bower’s creativity and talent have won him induction into Frets Magazine’s First Gallery of the Greats after five years of winning the stringed instrument, open category of the magazine’s readers’ poll. In 1993, Bryan was inducted into the Autoharp Hall of Fame to stand only with Maybelle Carter, Kilby Snow, and Sara Carter.
Dale Jett & Hello Stranger
Singer and musician, Dale Jett is a native of Southwest Virginia. He is a third generation member of the legendary Carter Family. The son of Janette Carter, the grandson of A.P.and Sara Carter, his roots have been heavily steeped within the heart of his family’s musical heritage. Growing up within the Carter Family, Dale has been influenced by many musicians and styles of music.
He began playing guitar in his late teens when Elizabeth Cotten taught him his first chords – left handed, upside down. Later, he added his own style of Autoharp playing to his repertoire. But, it is ultimately his voice that arrests you. It is powerful and compelling, yet at the same time, delicate and haunting.
Like his grandfather, Dale is a “collector” of songs. His dedication to the preservation of traditional music, the love of Carter Family songs, and his admiration of other songwriters are evident in his performances . His performances and recordings encompass a unique combination of traditional songs blended with a mix of others that extend the boundaries of conventional country. Whether playing an original tune, or that of others, “Hello Stranger’s” music will ring true to the soul.
Dale helped emcee and the trio performed at the Carter Family Fold for many years. Their group,”Hello Stranger”, features Dale as he carries on the Carter Family tradition. Teresa Jett plays bass, and Oscar Harris plays guitar, mandolin and autoharp. They have appeared on Mountain Stage, The Marty Stuart Show, The Grand Ol Opry, and other TV and radio shows. They have also performed at festivals, concerts, colleges, workshops, private gatherings, etc. around the country and in Canada.
Cajun Country Revival
Cajun music is like country music; it’s the kind of music that has to be happy to keep from crying. Pouring out of dancehalls in Southwest Louisiana, the brash sounds of the Cajun accordion, the sweet drones of the fiddle and the piercing, eerie call of the Cajun singer are the hallmarks of this music. The lyrics, however, hint at the sadness behind the beats. In their debut release, The Right Combination, Jesse Lége, Joel Savoy & The Cajun Country Revival dig into the deep roots of Cajun music, looking not only for beautiful, rare songs, but also for a commonality between the rural dancehalls of Louisiana and the honky-tonks of East Texas. As Cajuns poured out of the South in the 1930s and 40s looking for work on Gulf Coast oil rigs, Texas honky-tonk became a newfound passion. It’s no coincidence that Hank Williams’ mega-hit “Jambalaya” was based on the Cajun song “Grand Texas,” a sad ballad about leaving a loved one to go to Texas. Led by elder Cajun musician, Jesse Lege, the Cajun Country Revival also features Cajun fiddle wunderkind Joel Savoy and young roots country masters the Caleb Klauder Country Band, which includes Sammy Lind and Nadine Landry of the Foghorn Trio. It’s no exaggeration to say that this is a super-group of American roots musicians.
The Foghorn Stringband is the present day shining gold standard for American string band music, with eight albums, thousands of shows, over a decade of touring under their belts, and an entirely new generation of old-time musicians following their lead. Through all this, they’ve never let the music grow cold; instead they’ve been steadily proving that American roots music is a never-ending well of inspiration.