Performers and speakers at the 2017 Celebration of Traditional Music include:
- Alice Gerrard
- Chris Brashear
- Sarah Wood
- Elizabeth DiSavino
- Loyal Jones
In These Fields: Folktale Opera Cast
- Silas House
- Sam Gleaves
- Adanma Barton
- Carla Gover
- Jason Howard
- Deborah Payne
- Brett Ratcliff
Alice Gerrard is an acclaimed Bluegrass singer, banjoist, and guitar player. Gerrard’s musical career, spanning over 50 years, has earned her worldwide renown and her contribution to folk and bluegrass music is truly remarkable. Alice is particularly known for her groundbreaking collaboration with Appalachian singer Hazel Dickens during the 1960s and ’70s. The duo produced four classic LPs ( and influenced scores of young women singers — even The Judds acknowledge Hazel and Alice as an important early inspiration. Her solo albums include: Pieces of My Heart, Calling Me Home, Bittersweet, and her most recent Follow the Music was nominated for the 2015 Grammy Awards. She is a true advocate of traditional music, earning numerous honors, including an International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Distinguished Achievement Award, a Virginia Arts Commission Award, the North Carolina Folklore Society’s Tommy Jarrell Award, and an Indy Award.
Chris Brashear is a singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who was raised in the Ozarks region of southwest Missouri. Chris’s collaboration with Peter McLaughlin and Todd Phillips was recently awarded a creative writing residency from the Museum of Northern Arizona. The recording “Songs for the Southwest”, released in 2017, is the result of this residency program. Chris Brashear and Alice Gerrard perform together as part of the Piedmont Melody Makers.
Sarah Wood, Sarah Wood is an Appalachian singer and banjoist from Greenup County, Kentucky. She performed with Jesse Wells at the Kentucky Center for Traditional Music in Ireland and appeared in Kentucky Historical Society’s Banjo Master series. As part of the duo “Karly Dawn & Little Sarie” she has appeared at a number of regional festivals and on Red Barn Radio. She also collects Appalachian Irish ballads and works as a Spanish teach at Fleming County High School and an adjunct instructor at KCTM.
In These Fields: A Folktale Opera written by Silas House and Sam Gleaves is a play exploring the importance of food in Appalachian history and culture, covering 175 years in the American South. The chronological story begins with a Cherokee woman in the 1830s and ends with a contemporary gay man. In between, audience members meet a slave, a sharecropper, a beauty pageant contestant and a female moonshiner.
Silas House is the nationally bestselling author of books like Eli the Good and Clay’s Quilt, and plays such as The Hurting Part and This Is My Heart For You. Gleaves has released four albums, including his most recent one, Ain’t We Brothers, which was produced by Grammy winner Cathy Fink.