This Old Porch™

Sundays from 3 to 6pm

This Old Porch is a show of traditional and regional mountain music, songs and ballads, contemporary old time, dance tunes and more. Folklorist John Fowler and award winning musician Carol Rifkin host this show that keeps the music of the mountains alive.

Thanks to Brooke Lauer from South Carolina, who designed the logo for This Old Porch.

Woman singing from book
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In 1821, Sequoyah singlehandedly created a syllabary, or writing system, for his people, the Cherokee Indians. Within a few years, the tribe’s literacy rate was far higher than their white neighbors. First published in 1829, the Cherokee Hymnbook contained the lyrics to sacred songs, written in Cherokee, using Sequoyah’s syllabary. It was a groundbreaking achievement, created for an audience who could both read the Cherokee language and sing by heart the tunes that went with the lyrics.

Children playing instruments
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In 2000, Helen White, a school guidance counselor, founded a music program in the Alleghany County, N.C, schools.  She called it Junior Appalachian Musicians—or JAM. The program offered instruction in the traditional music of the mountains. To say that JAM has been a success would be almost as big an understatement as saying that Bill Monroe had something to do with bluegrass.

A group of people singing
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North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains are home to a rich heritage of African-American gospel music in local churches, performed by singers and instrumental musicians who may be professionals, or who may simply love to lift their voices in Sunday worship. One such place is Texana, a historic African-American community in Cherokee County in the state’s southwestern-most corner. Texana has a longstanding gospel music tradition, associated especially with Mount Zion Baptist Church.

Man and woman dancing
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Haywood County in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains is the heartland of a homegrown dance tradition—team square dancing, and its close relative, team clogging. Sam Love Queen, born in 1889 is often credited with being the founding father of this tradition. His Soco Gap Dancers performed for President Roosevelt and the Queen of England in 1939.

(The following thank-you CD's marked with "**" are in limited quantity and only available by calling 1-800-245-8870. All others are listed in our drop-down menu.)

Altan -- "The Gap of Dreams"

**The Press Gang -- "Fortune It May Smile"**

**Alan Jabbour and Stephen Wade -- "Americana Concert"**

Doc Watson -- "Live at Club 47"

**(Various Artists): "The Crooked Road: A Century of Heritage Guitar Music"**

Young boy playing guitar
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The millennial generation has brought new energy and talent to mountain music. Young stars of bluegrass and old-time music such as Josh Goforth, Emma McDowell, and Bryan McDowell are doing their native North Carolina proud. And the generation younger than the millennials — Generation Z —is showing every bit as much promise to carry Blue Ridge musical traditions into the future. Among them are fiddlers Lillian Chase and Rhiannon Ramsey and flatpicking guitarist Presley Barker.

Earle Theatre
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In the Blue Ridge, every county has its own musical heroes and history. The music of Surry County, N.C., is so popular among old-time music fans worldwide that if you visit a jam session in Barcelona or Tokyo, you’re likely to hear a fiddler play “Sally Ann” or “Breaking Up Christmas” in the Surry County style.  And you can hear Surry’s style firsthand at the Historic Earle Theatre, in downtown Mount Airy.

Doc Watson’s signature baritone voice and unique lead bluegrass guitar licks became synonymous with traditional and bluegrass music. Born in Deep Gap, N.C., Doc lost his vision before his first birthday but never let his blindness slow him down, learning ballads and teaching himself harmonica, banjo and guitar. Since his death in 2012, Doc remains the most highly respected flat-pick guitar player in the history of traditional American music.

When English, Irish and Scottish settlers moved into Appalachia, they brought an ancient form of music with them – the ballad. The isolated mountains drew song collectors like Englishman Cecil Sharp. In Madison County, Sharp collected several hundred songs – including 70 from Jane Hicks Gentry from Hot Springs.

Roger Howell, Mike Hunter, and Brandon Johnson will be in studio to perform live and talk about the 50th annual Bascom Lamar Lunsford "Minstrel of Appalachia" Festival held October 6,7 at Mars Hill University. These three musicians have all performed at and been a part of the festival for years, and they will bring some the musical spirit of the festival as well as some of the exciting details and programming to celebrate the festival's golden anniversary.

For generations, fiddles and banjos have played a role in the music of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. In turn, musicians who are Cherokee, or of Cherokee descent, have helped shape the sound of bluegrass and old-time music.

Brothers Jens and Uwe Krüger grew up in rural Switzerland, listening to records by North Carolina music legends Doc Watson and Earl Scruggs. They fell in love with the sound and mastered the music, playing with bassist Joel Landsberg. Now the Krugers make their home in the Blue Ridge Mountains, playing and touring and teaching younger students.

Crooked Pine is a well known old-time band based in WNC who play traditional and original music. They will be on "This Old Porch" to perform and to talk about the nation's oldest folk festival coming up soon.  Founded by Baucom Lamar Lunsford in 1927, the 90th Annual Mountain Dance and Folk Festival takes place at AB TECH August 3, 4, and 5, 2017. 

Samantha Biddix Bumgarner and Eva Smathers Davis hailed from Sylva, North Carolina and caught the attention of Columbia Records at the dawn of the country music record industry. In 1939, Bumgarner traveled to Washington DC with Bascom Lamar Lunsford to play for President Roosevelt and the Queen of England.

Down the Road BRMT | Ep. 12: What is Bluegrass?

Jul 13, 2017

It started in Kentucky but quickly caught on across the Blue Ridge Mountains. Back in the ‘40s and '50s, musicians started playing their old instruments in new ways with lots of giddy-up. From Earl Scruggs to Steep Canyon Rangers, North Carolina has laid claim to the top talents in blistering bluegrass music.

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