Jon Weisberger has enjoyed success as a bluegrass producer, broadcaster and performer, but he is best known as one of the music’s most prolific and widely recorded songwriters. The first recipient of the IBMA’s Songwriter of the Year award in 2012, his songs have appeared on 5 Grammy-winning bluegrass albums, including 4 of the past 7 recipients, and on another 6 nominated projects. To date, he’s credited with more than 250 cuts by artists ranging from Del McCoury, Doyle Lawson and Joe Mullins & the Radio Ramblers to Billy Strings, the Infamous Stringdusters, Lindsay Lou and beyond. Jon has released two albums of original songs on his own, and two with banjo player Justin Hiltner, including the most recent, a 2022 bluegrass gospel EP titled Room at the Table.
Cast Iron Bluegrass
Cast Iron Bluegrass was formed in 2019 with a collection of musicians from the vibrant Asheville bluegrass scene. The band has played a wide variety of events and venues and is looking to expand into the greater southeast region. They released their first full-length album in the fall of 2021, Blue Ridge Mountain Haze. The title track is an original song written by banjo player and singer, Andrew Blythe. The remainder of the album includes bluegrass standards that the band regularly performs.
The band's mandolinist Nick Dauphinais will also be playing solo and duo shows for us!
Beth Lee is an award winning songwriter who lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina. Her writing is heavily influenced by bluegrass and traditional country music. She is passionate about writing lyrically diverse songs - songs that are sometimes sweet, sometimes tough, sometimes swampy, but always speak truth. She seeks to present the song so it invites the listener to go on a journey, taken away by the story, reminding us of who we are, who we want to be, or who we have been.
Beth spent her high school years in Northern Virginia, where local bands The Seldom Scene, The Country Gentleman, and Emmylou Harris captured her imagination. Learning music in the bluegrass tradition, she cut her teeth performing Stanley Brothers, Flatt and Scruggs, and Bill Monroe. After spending ten years in Austin, TX, her songwriting horizons expanded to include the character of the Lone Star State; dance halls, canyons, armadillos, and a never ending sky.
Beth placed first in the 2018 MerleFest Chris Austin Songwriting Contest in the Gospel Category and won first place in three categories in the 2020 Walnut Valley Festival Newsong Showcase. She has performed songwriter showcases at the Cactus Cafe in Austin, the Bluebird Cafe in Nashville, and at the IBMA Songwriter Showcase in Raleigh. Her goal is to make a genuine connection with listeners by telling relatable stories with memorable melodies.
Brew Davis is a songwriter raised in Nashville, Tennessee. He worked at the seminal bluegrass/Americana label Sugar Hill Records before wanderlust got the better of him and he moved to the Swiss Alps. He now lives in Asheville, NC where he writes and performs his own unique blend of "Brewgrass" music. He has played legendary venues like the Cat's Cradle, the Down Home, Douglas Corner Cafe and the Basement, received praise from Americana artists, Music City royalty, and members of the Grand Ole Opry. He has performed live on WNCW, the WDVX Blue Plate Special and stations across the Tarheel state, and his songs have been used on PBS shows, Amazon Prime and various documentary films. His self-titled debut album was #64 on WNCW's 2018 top 100.
Lonesome River Band
Few bluegrass groups have been around for forty years, and even fewer have been more popular, more widely admired, or more influential for as long as Mountain Home Music Company recording artists Lonesome River Band. By the early 1990s, they were winning key awards and topping the charts, and while members have come and gone, the quintet’s reputation for crafting essential, archetypal bluegrass has only grown with each passing year.
Now, the bluegrass powerhouse releases a new album, Heyday, surrounding four hit singles with a set of songs that serves both to introduce new members and to extend the group’s influential legacy still further.
Widely regarded as the “voice of NewGrass,” and a co-founder of that musical genre, John Cowan has a voice like no one else. The world-class tenor can sing it all—from blues to Motown to rock, country, and bluegrass—and sing it like no one else! A stellar bass player, Cowan began his musical career as a member of New Grass Revival in the 70s and played with the group until it disbanded in 1990. The last configuration of NGR—Sam Bush, Pat Flynn, John Cowan, and Bela Fleck—were arguably the world’s best Newgrass band, or any other type of music for that matter. John went on to release nine highly acclaimed solo projects, as well as a tribute album to Tony Rice, and tours extensively with his own John Cowan Band as well as with Andrea Zonn and the HercuLeons. When not touring with his own band or other artists Cowan is a long-time bass player and backup vocalist for the iconic Doobie Brothers.
Songs From the Road Band
A bluegrass supergroup based out of Asheville, NC, the SFRB combine their own dazzling originals, with traditional covers that leave their audiences begging for more. The band has had multiple songs in the Bluegrass Unlimited top 20 and bass player Charles Humphrey III is a Grammy winning songwriter.
A California native now based in Nashville, Marty is an acclaimed songwriter who has worked with artists such as Rascal Flatts, Carrie Underwood, Kenny Chesney, Blake Shelton, Big & Rich, SFRB, Plain White T’s, and Joe Cocker among others. Marty has written six number one singles for various artists.
A true renaissance man, Tim Stafford has literally done it all as a highly acclaimed musician, songwriter, vocalist, author, instructor, and world-class entertainer. A native of Kingsport Tennessee, Tim came from a musical family and had his own bluegrass bands while in high school in the 1970s. In the late 80s, he joined the legendary Dusty Miller Band, whose members included Adam Steffey, Barry Bales and Tammy Rogers. Not long after that, Tim, Bales, and Steffey joined Allison Krauss and Union Station. In 1992 Stafford left Union Station to spend more time with his family, obtained a master’s degree and worked as an educator and music instructor. In 1994 Tim joined Wayne Taylor, Shawn Lane, Rob Ickes, and Jason Burleson as charter members of what is arguably still the world’s most popular bluegrass band—Blue Highway. Blue Highway went on to win 28 IBMA awards and were nominated for three Grammys. A prolific songwriter, Tim has had over 250 songs recorded and has won multiple songwriting awards including song of the year and songwriter of the year. A stellar studio musician, Tim has cut tracks with over 75 artists including Willie Nelson, Kenny Chesney, and Marty Raybon, among others. Stafford has released four highly acclaimed solo projects and three duet projects—two with the late, Steve Gulley. He added esteemed author to his impressive resume after co-writing an acclaimed biography of the great Tony Rice in 2010. He continues to play with Blue Highway, teaches at various colleges and, tours with friends in his spare time today.
There was only one prize-winning teenager carrying stones big enough to say thanks, but no thanks to Roy Acuff. Only one son of Kentucky finding a light of inspiration from Bill Monroe and his Blue Grass Boys and catching a fire from Bob Marley and The Wailers. Only one progressive hippie allying with like-minded conspirators, rolling out the New Grass revolution, and then leaving the genre’s torch-bearing band behind as it reached its commercial peak.
There is only one consensus pick of peers and predecessors, of the traditionalists, the rebels, and the next gen devotees. Music’s ultimate inside outsider. Or is it outside insider? There is only one Sam Bush.
Miriam Allen is a Carolina powerhouse vocalist & multi-instrumentalist who writes & performs songs that are nonconformist & non genre specific. As a world traveler, sailor & backpacker, solo performances will take the audience from a backwoods Carolina swamp stomp to a Mexico City street fair and back again in one set. Music critic Ali Marshal describes her music as "a must for wannabe pirates!" and The Mountain Express wrote: "Allen owns a voice that entices the listener to steal it away for selfish keeping. Be warned: to own a piece of her music means shards of the heart will forever belong to her."
Haywood County native Donald Davis, was born into a world rich in stories and
folklore. Although well versed in the more traditional Jack Tales, Davis was most
interested in the stories of his own family and friends, as well as places of origin.
He used these stories to enhance his sermons during a celebrated 25-year career
as a Methodist Minister. Later he began telling stories at regional festivals, and
upon retirement, became a notable author and performer.
The author of 18 books and 40 original recordings, Donald Davis is indeed a
national treasure. He is the recipient of both The Circle of Excellence and the
Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Storytelling Network.
The JackTown Ramblers
The JackTown Rambles are a 4-piece American Bluegrass, Swing & Gypsy Jazz band from Morganton, North Carolina. The band formed in 2019 from a collection of “acoustic ramblers” who met through mutual friends and musical interests. Collectively, they just wanted to do something a little different with their music by melding together traditional bluegrass with sprinkles of swingy feeling tunes, band originals and some gypsy jazz type material just for fun.
Their unique brand of entertainment fuses solid improvisational instrument leads and traditional bluegrass harmonies with a dose of ignorance in their live sets and a slick delivery of material that will make you want to hoop, holler and come back for more. Now hailed as 'one of the busiest working bands in western North Carolina' by livemusicasheville.com, The JackTown Rambles have performed over 300 shows and have performed on the Red White and Bluegrass Festival and at the iconic Isis Music Hall to a sold-out crowd.
North Carolina native and 2-time Grammy award winning artist, Jim has put out 35 albums during his remarkable career and is still going strong. He co-hosts a Sirius radio show with Buddy Miller and is a renowned singer and songwriter now based in Nashville. Jim has written chart topping songs for iconic artists such as George Strait, George Jones, and Patty Loveless, as well as collaborating on projects with Buddy Miller, Ralph Stanley, Robert Hunter, Elvis Costello, Emmylou Harris, and Lucinda Williams among many others.
A charter member of the iconic bluegrass group, Blue Highway, Shawn also plays with the all-star supergroup Earls of Leicester. He also does solo shows, as well as duo concerts with artists such as Richard Bennett and Darren Nicholson. A three-time Grammy nominee, Shawn won 28 IBMA awards with Blue Highway and multiple songwriting awards throughout his career and is renowned for his superb songwriting skills. An explosive vocalist and instrumentalist, he can literally do it all!
Darin & Brooke Aldridge
North Carolina natives Darin and Brooke Aldridge are true bluegrass and Americana music triple threats as singers, songwriters and instrumentalists. This talented husband and wife duo grew up in musical families, and after their marriage in 2008, formed their own band as they began blazing new musical trails using their immense skills to share their music with audiences all over the world. Darin is a former member of the Country Gentlemen and IBMA mentor of the year award winner and Brooke has won the IBMA Female Vocalist of the Year at least four times. Brooke and Darin began playing with Newgrass icon John Cowan in 2016, which led to further collaborations with legendary artists such as Vince Gill and Keb' Mo' among many others. Brooke and Darin have put out 8 award-winning albums together and their songs are always on Bluegrass Unlimited Magazine’s top 20 list. Best of all, they are well known for being genuinely nice people, beloved by their audience and fellow musicians.
Susan Pepper, a ballad singer, multi-instrumentalist and songwriter, has been performing concerts and teaching workshops for over two decades. She is featured in the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area’s Traditional Artist Directory. She teaches for Junior Appalachian Musicians and has worked in a number of capacities for that program. She has released three albums, including a collection of field recordings of mountain ballad singers. Her short play A Singer Needs a Song was produced by Calliope Stage. She also co-produced and sang in the feature length film The Mountain Minor. Susan and her family call Jackson County, NC home.
Planefolk is the name given to Asheville North Carolina native singer songwriter Kevin Eugene
Smith's solo and band project. Smith grew up in rural Buncombe County not far from where he still resides today. His music reflects his experiences growing up in a farming and blue collar environment, and environment that is in a constant state of change. He spins tales mostly rooted in personal experience or the experience of others, songs about love, loss, and leaving. His words have a way of painting a picture in the mind of the listener and they tend to stick with you long after you first hear them. Smith can write with a light-heartedness and humor that sometimes works side by side with observations about the darker side of life and the hard edge of the truth that we all experience in life. Award-winning Asheville songwriter Amanda Anne Platt says, "Kevin is one of my favorite writers as well as people. He has a way of making you laugh one minute and then cry the next. He is the genuine article."
Tricia Tripp is the lead vocalist for the acclaimed vintage country band--Hearts Gone South ( see profile) --as well as a fine solo artist. A powerhouse vocalist--reminiscent of Patsy Cline and Linda Ronstadt -- Tricia has a style that is uniquely her own, able to blast out rollicking country classics, while also delivering poignant, ballads of betrayal and lost love. She is one of those rare artists with the ability to hold her listeners quietly in the palm of her hand with tales of heart breaking angst, or drive them to the dance floor with powerful country swing numbers.
The Asheville, NC resident is also a stellar songwriter, and recently has teamed with two more local superb artists and songwriters, Beth Lee, and Miriam Allen, to perform their original songs, along with a Trio Tribute Show featuring the legendary songs Linda Ronstadt, Dolly Parton and Emmylou Harris - along with some of their own songs. Whether performing with her band, solo, as a duo, or trio, Tricia Tripp always delivers and leaves audiences begging for more!
Founded in 2010 on the ideals of education, community, and inclusiveness to bring joy to the masses through freestyle group clogging. Zeb Ross went viral in March 2022, capturing the joy of millions of people across the world with his dance moves. Today, they are working together to preserve the art of clogging through a community of young and old that will draw the dancer out of everyone.
A native of Bakersville, NC, William Ritter is a co-founder of Mountain Memories and a renowned ballad singer, songwriter, instrumentalist, and expert in traditional southern mountain folkways. A WCU grad, with a Master's Degree from ASU in Appalachian Studies, William is also an expert on heirloom seeds—check out his superb Song to Seeds program—and is the festival manager for the Happy Valley Fiddler’s Convention. He performs regularly as a solo artist, along with duo shows with his wife Sarah Ogletree Ritter and Tim McWilliams. William is included on the esteemed Traditional Artists Directory of the BRNHC and received a prestigious grant to document the life and work of his friend and mentor, the late, great Bobby McMillon.
North Carolina native Darren Nicholson has been nominated for multiple Grammys, and is an 18-time IBMA award winner, a winner of the prestigious Order of the Long Leaf Pine Award, and a renowned singer, songwriter and blistering instrumentalist second to none. A charter member of Balsam Range, Darren left the group in 2022 to follow his own musical path as both a solo artist, as well as fronting his own band, the Darren Nicholson Band, and playing with other greats such as Audie Blaylock. Darren has a wicked sense of humor with an amazing capability to bond with audiences. He can bring even the most stoic audience member out of their seats to cheer him on.
Charlie Chamberlain brings his intimate songwriting style and mastery of the craft to songwriting students as an instructor. His latest album "Welcome Home" showcases his talent for mellow Americana tunes and vivid, poetic lyrics. Chamberlain’s success as an emerging voice on the indie folk scene, including being named a New Folk Finalist at the 2023 Kerrville Folk Festival, along with his growing catalog of outside cuts, makes him well-positioned to teach aspiring songwriters of all genre. In the studio, he produces nuanced, multilayered tracks that cross genres from blues to bluegrass to pop to country. Chamberlain’s mastery of melody, storytelling, song form and conveying emotion through music all stem from his own experience writing and recording heartfelt songs for not only himself but independent artist nation wide. As an instructor, he provides wisdom gained from countless co-writing sessions, releasing albums and performing shows to guide students’ in their own songwriting journey. Chamberlain meets students at their skill level while pushing them to refine their work and find their own unique voice. For those looking to learn from an accomplished and authentic songwriter, Chamberlain brings deep knowledge of the craft to his teaching.
Sheila Kay Adams
A native of Madison County, NC, Sheila Kay descends from a a long line of old-time ballad singers and is world famous as a singer and storyteller. Having learned songs from multiple family members as well as her mentor, the late Bobby McMillon, she combines those ancient tomes with songs of her own as well. A talented vocalist and instrumentalist, as well as a captivating yarn spinner, Sheila Kay keeps audiences on the edge of their seats sharing poignant stories and heartbreaking songs that will have folks crying one minute, and laughing the next, as she changes gears with a rollicking bawdy ballad or wickedly hilarious story or song.
John McEuen began his illustrious career as a performer working as a magician at Disneyland while still in high school, but music soon became and remains his passion. He started first as a solo artist before becoming a charter member of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band in 1966. Using his extraordinary skills as a mandolin, banjo, guitar, and fiddle player, along with stellar vocals and songwriting chops, McEuen toured with the NGDB for half a century. Since embarking on a career as a professional musician John has performed over 10,000 concerts, appeared on more than 300 TV shows, and traveled more than 3 million miles spreading the gospel of traditional music around the globe. Among his scores of incredible accomplishments, John’s arguably most impressive achievement is what most experts feel is the most important record ever produced in Nashville, the classic Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s Will the Circle be Unbroken. The album features a host of traditional musical legends, including Doc Watson and Earl Scruggs. What an incredible legacy! John has made over 40 albums during his storied career—seven of them solo projects—that have earned four platinum and five gold records, while winning multiple awards including a Grammy, and multiple CMA, ACM, and IBMA awards. McEuen has performed as a guest artist on 25 other albums, produced two LPs, and written 14 film scores. If all that isn’t enough, John is an accomplished author and filmmaker and was inducted into the banjo Hall of Fame in 2016. Since leaving the NGDB, McEuen has devoted his life to solo touring and in perpetuating the legacy of traditional American music.