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. Click here for more information on the musical heritage of Jackson County.
Blue Ridge JAM is in its third year, serving the Cashiers, NC area. It began last year as a club at Blue Ridge School. This year, sponsorship has been taken over by Mountain Youth Charities, a 501c3 organization. The program continues to meet on Monday afternoons, 3-5 PM, 12 times per semester at Blue Ridge School. Classes are offered for students in grades 3-12 in guitar, banjo, fiddle and mandolin. New this year is a pre-JAM class where students play ukulele and practice group instruction before taking part in regular JAM classes. Students also have opportunities to try autoharp, dulcimer and upright bass. Everyone also takes part in “Prime Time” which includes games, dance, crafts, stories, guest speakers and guest performers, and “Community Time” where everyone comes together at the end of the day to share what they have learned. Tuition is $75 per semester, with a $20 instrument rental fee. Many students participate tuition-free thanks to generous donors.
Sarah Hall (program director, pre-JAM instructor) Sarah holds Masters degrees in Music and Education from Appalachian State University and UNC-Greensboro. She has taught pre-K through 12 in public schools and has also taught at colleges and universities. She served in the past as Director of Education for the Salisbury (NC) Symphony where she directed the After-School String Program. Sarah currently teaches music for both Blue Ridge School and Blue Ridge Early College in Cashiers, NC .
Dusk Weaver (guitar) Dusk is delighted to have served as Director of Jackson County JAM at Cullowhee Valley School May 2012 – June 2017, and this is his second year teaching guitar at Blue Ridge JAM. Dusk is well known in the region as a singer/songwriter and recording artist, having released two CD albums and a CD single of original music that reviewers coined “StorySong Americana.” Dusk is also an award-winning author and a featured member of the Poetic Genius Society.
+ more to be updated soon for 2018-19 year!
Debbie Lassiter, chairperson
Jarrett Davis, treasurer
For more information, please contact:
Sarah Hall, Program Director, 95 Bobcat Dr., Cashiers, NC 28717 firstname.lastname@example.org