Ashe County borders the state of Virginia to the north and shares many of its deep musical roots in old time and bluegrass music. This area has one of the largest numbers of documented musicians, beginning at the turn of the twentieth century and spanning to current day players and singers. Many early string band and country musicians hail from Ashe County, such as Frank Blevins and his Tarheel Rattlers, the Carolina Night Hawks, Clarence “Tom” Ashley, and Ola Belle Reed. The dominant old time styles of these musicians have carried on through history, as most musicians in this area primarily play old time music.
Ola Belle Reed
Clarence ‘Tom’ Ashley
The Ashe County JAM program is coordinated by the Ashe County Arts Council, Ashe County 4-H, and Ashe County Schools. It features multiple sites, serving children in grades 4 – 6 at Blue Ridge Elementary, Mountain View Elementary and Westwood Elementary. The JAM Club band meets on Monday evenings after the regular JAM program, and is for children aged 9-16. Ashe JAM was one of the first JAM programs to begin after the original program in neighboring Alleghany County. The JAM Club performs at nursing homes, Christmas in July Festival, Arts Council Connecting Crossroads concert, and other events in the community.
Current JAM teachers for fiddle, banjo and guitar:
For more information, please contact:
Ashe Arts Council
303 School Avenue
West Jefferson, NC 28694