CTM Performers

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Performers and speakers at the 2017 Celebration of Traditional Music include:

  • Chris Brashear
  • Jim Watson
  • Sarah Wood
  • Elizabeth DiSavino
  • Loyal Jones

In These Fields: Folktale Opera Cast

  • Silas House
  • Sam Gleaves
  • Carla Gover
  • Jason Howard
  • Deborah Payne
  • Brett Ratcliff
  • Jairis Adelayde Carter

Alice GerrardDue to a bad-cold, Alice Gerrard is not able to come to this year’s CTM.  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

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.

Jim WatsonDurham, North Carolina native Jim Watson has long been a fixture of the American traditional music scene.  Jim is well known for his paint-peeling vocals and instrumental skills on mandolin, guitar, and bass.  In 1972,along with Bill Hicks and Tommy Thompson, he founded the old time string band the Red Clay Ramblers, leaving the group in 1986.  He then toured with Robin & Linda Williams for almost 27 years, playing bass.  He now divides his time playing with Craver, Hicks, Watson & Newberry and also the Piedmont Melody Makers, which includes Chris Brashear and Alice Gerrard.  He recorded numerous albums with the Red Clay Ramblers, has 4 solo albums, one with Craver, Hicks, Watson & Newberry, one with Alan Jabbour and Ken Perlman, and one with the Piedmont Melody Makers.

Picture of Sarah WoodSarah 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 teacher at Fleming County High School and an adjunct instructor at KCTM.

The Georgia Pick & Bow Old-time BandThe Georgia Pick & Bow Old-time Band is made up of four high schoolers who have been students in the Georgia Pick & Bow Traditional Music School, Inc.’s after-school and summer camp program in Dahlonega, Georgia for many years. Hannah From is a senior who began learning clawhammer banjo in Pick & Bow when she was in 5th grade. Selu Adams is a junior who began fiddle with Pick & Bow when she was in 3rd grade. Her brother Etowah Adams, a senior, started banjo in 4th grade. Eli Stinson, also a senior, came to Pick & Bow for guitar when he was in 7th grade. All four now are either full instructors or assistant instructors in the program. The Georgia Pick & Bow Traditional Music School is a non-profit organization beginning its 11th year serving over 120 public school and homeschooled students yearly in Lumpkin County and neighboring counties. For more information go to www.georgiapickandbow.org

Picture of A Folktale OperaIn 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.