Located in Southwestern North Carolina is Jackson County. The musical roots of Jackson County run deep into the wellspring of traditional Appalachian music. The musical styles are mixed fairly evenly between old time, bluegrass, and gospel. Like its neighboring Haywood County, many of the styles here are mixed, producing the bluegrass gospel sound and many other musicians that play across genres. One of the most famous early musicians in Jackson County was Samantha Biddix Bumgarner who, in 1924, was the first woman to record “hillbilly” music. Her accompanist on the recording was Eva Smathers Davis of Sylva, NC. Samantha’s father, Has Biddix, was also a fiddler of some reknown. Today, there are still many musicians of high caliber in Jackson County like the notable Queen Family, The Fiddlin’ Dills Sisters, Darren Nicholson (award winning mandolin player with Balsam Range), Rye Holler Boys and the up and coming bluegrass/gospel band Mountain Faith.
Dusk Weaver – JAM Director
Julianna Warner – banjo
Grace Morris – fiddle
Sally Anne Morgan – string band
Betty Brown – guitar and singing
Forest Tapley – mandolin
William Ritter – string band
Jackson County JAM is held at Cullowhee Valley School for kids in grades 3 – 12 once per week on Thursday afternoons from 3:45-4:40 p.m., and is made possible through the Jackson County Arts Council. Classes are offered in guitar, mandolin, banjo and fiddle. Jackson County JAM also has visiting performer presentations and performance opportunities such as the Heritage Alive Mountain Youth Talent Contests and the 4-H Entertains program. Supplemental instruction is available for intermediate level students.
Amy Ammons Garza
For more information, please contact:
Jackson County JAM
Dusk Weaver, Program Director