CTM Performers

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Performers and speakers at the 2018 Celebration of Traditional Music include:

Bruce Greene

Robert Bruce Greene is known worldwide for preserving and playing old time Kentucky fiddle music. He is also a skilled old time banjo player, singer, and collector of traditional Appalachian music and culture. Bruce has lived and worked among the people of Kentucky, Tennessee, and North Carolina for more than thirty-five years, bringing to his playing the intimacy and dignity he absorbed through his apprenticeships with musicians born as far back as the 1880’s.

Bruce will be performing with his partner koreloy mcwhirter of Yancey County, North Carolina. koreloy has a vast repertoire of traditional songs and ballads from the southern Appalachians and Britain. Many of her songs she learned from her Georgia father as well as from the German and English people she grew up with in a community in Paraguay. In addition to her singing, koreloy is also an accomplished visual artist, poet, and letterpress printer.

Check out his music here!

man playing violin

Sparky and Rhonda Rucker

Sparky and Rhonda Rucker perform throughout the U.S. as well as overseas, singing songs and telling stories from the American folk tradition. Sparky Rucker has been performing over forty years and is internationally recognized as a leading folklorist, musician, historian, storyteller, and author. He accompanies himself with finger-style picking and bottleneck blues guitar, banjo, and spoons. Rhonda Rucker is a musician, children’s author, storyteller, and songwriter. Her blues-style harmonica, piano, old-time banjo, and bones add musical versatility to their performances.

Sparky and Rhonda are sure to deliver an uplifting presentation of toe-tapping music spiced with humor, history, and tall tales. They take their audience on an educational and emotional journey that ranges from poignant stories of slavery and war to an amusing rendition of a Brer Rabbit tale or their witty commentaries on current events. Their music includes a variety of old-time blues, slave songs, Appalachian music, spirituals, ballads, work songs, Civil War music, railroad songs, and a few of their own original compositions.

They have a new CD “Down by the Riverside” and and new picture book “Make a Change” published by Pelican.

Check out their music here!

Headshot of performers

Sam Gleaves is a singer, multi-instrumentalist and songwriter originally from Wytheville, Virginia. Sam began playing Appalachian music as a teenager with the help of mentors Jim Lloyd, a multi-instrumentalist, storyteller and local barber, and nationally recognized ballad singer Sheila Kay Adams. While earning a degree in Folklore at Berea College, Sam performed with the Berea College Bluegrass Ensemble directed by Al White. In 2015, Sam collaborated with Grammy-winning producer Cathy Fink and released a debut record of original songs, titled “Ain’t We Brothers,” which has been featured by The Guardian, National Public Radio, and No Depression. Appalachian novelist Lee Smith has heralded Sam as “the best young songwriter around.” Sam has toured throughout the U.S. and he has performed in Ireland, England, Canada, Japan and Italy. In 2017, Sam released a duo recording with Tyler Hughes, a fellow southwest Virginian steeped in the region’s musical traditions. In 2018, Sam collaborated with Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer on a trio recording, “Shout & Shine,” which Justin Hiltner of the Bluegrass Situation called, “a perfect illustration of cross-generational mind melds and musical melds.” Along with musicians Donna and Lewis Lamb and Belle Jackson, Sam helps to coordinate the Singing Bird Music School, three days of hands-on workshops in old time music happening in Berea this August. Sam currently lives in Hindman, Kentucky where he serves as the Traditional Arts Director at the Hindman Settlement School.

student playing banjo

The Lonetones

They have been called Americana, Folk Rock, Indie Folk, Folk Pop, Modern Folk, Folkadelic….

Driven by the songwriting of Steph Gunnoe and Sean McCollough, the band artfully fuses urban and rural themes and musical styles. The lyrics are fueled by a search for identity in the changing Appalachian landscape. Sometimes you’ll catch them playing banjo and mandolin. Other times, electric guitar and keyboards

In their early years, they were often compared to revivalists such as Iris Dement or Gillian Welch & David Rawlings. But in more recent years, they have also drawn comparisons to other bands that draw on roots music but expand well beyond it such as Wilco and the Byrds. As they have grown as artists, their sound has become a unique mix of folk, rock, pop, and old-time elements.

Check out their music here!

Photo of duo performers