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Down the Road on the Blue Ridge Music Trails

Down the Road on the Blue Ridge Music Trails of North Carolina features Laura Boosinger, celebrated musician, folklorist and storyteller, as host. In each segment, she highlights bluegrass and old-time music stories, performers and musical traditions across the 29 mountain and foothills counties included in the Blue Ridge Music Trails of North Carolina footprint. Learn more at .

Episodes air every other week on at about 8:50 am on Tuesday mornings (at the end of NPR's Morning Edition).

  • The “Down the Road on the Blue Ridge Music Trails of North Carolina” podcast highlights bluegrass and old-time music stories, performers, and traditions across the mountain and foothills counties of Western North Carolina. Hosted by Laura Boosinger and produced by Corrie Askew and Joe Kendrick of WNCW-FM, the podcast is a joint effort of the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area, the North Carolina Arts Council, and WNCW-FM.
  • In Seasons 4 and 5, we’ve brought you stories of the Blue Ridge Music Trails’ Fine Tuned project. This mentorship and collaboration-based professional development project has sought to foster development in WNC’s traditional music ecosystem. This episode explores the musical partnerships and the music they created with insight into the groups and selections from the tracks on the album. It’s time to talk about the actual music of Fine Tuned: Volume One
  • Plott-Tober fest is a new festival set to take place in Canton in 2023. This festival celebrates North Carolina's State Dog, the Plott Hound, as well as the German heritage of Haywood County. We spoke with festival organizer Bob Plott to learn more about the Plott Hound, German influence in Haywood County, and the festival itself, which will feature plenty of WNC traditional music.
  • Music inhabits its purest form when people get together to make music with one another. In this spirit, the fiddlers’ convention is an essential element of the traditional music ecosystem in Western North Carolina. This episode is adapted from an article by music writer Derek Halsey revisiting a newspaper article from the Watauga Democrat published on June 14, 1928 covering a fiddlers convention in the town of Blowing Rock.
  • The Cherokee Language Repertory Choir started in the spring of 2023. This choir uses the Christian Harmony shaped note tradition, but instead of singing it traditionally, in English, this choir sings in the Cherokee language. This effort revives a documented tradition of shaped note singing in the Cherokee community while helping to keep the Cherokee language a part of cultural practice in Western North Carolina. We spoke with organizers and a member of the choir to learn more.
  • The Peacock Performing Arts Center in Hayesville presents a wide range of programming. It’s Songwriters Series is a highlight of the lineup. Hosted by local songwriter Rob Tiger, the series brings some of the top songwriters in the field to Clay County. The Showcase functions as a songwriters round, giving some audience members a new way to experience uniquely crafted songs.
  • Kelley Breiding is a musician who wears a lot of hats, at least one of which is often a cowboy hat and complements a vibrant, handcrafted outfit. Kelley is part of multiple bands and projects including her Blue Ridge Opry and the Blue Ridge Music Trails’ Fine Tuned project. This episode features a conversation with Kelley in which you can learn more about her journey and the music she makes and loves.
  • Did you know that Black Mountain had an integrated juke joint and that Bessie Smith performed there? On this episode we feature an oral history with Katherine Debrow, courtesy of the Swannanoa Valley Museum & History Center, that discusses her grandfather, Horace Chambers Rutherford; his juke joint, Roseland Gardens; and the culture and history of Black Mountain.
  • Darren Nicholson has been a fixture in the WNC and national music scenes for almost two decades. The year 2023 marks a series of new endeavors for Darren. In this episode, he talks about learning from Steve Sutton, the inaugural Steve Sutton Festival, WNC's unique style of bluegrass, and his own path as a solo musician.
  • The Blue Ridge Music Trails covers 29 counties throughout the mountains and foothills of Western North Carolina. The Blue Ridge Parkways runs directly through this territory and is never far from authentic traditional music. In this episode, we outline more of the stops you can take on the Blue Ridge Music Trails while you travel the Blue Ridge Parkway.