Western North Carolina

Woman smiling holding banjo
Blue Ridge National Heritage Area

Many of today’s outstanding old-time and bluegrass musicians carry on longstanding family traditions. One such artist is multi-instrumentalist and flatfoot dancer Marsha Bowman Todd. A musician all her life, Marsha is one of the leading lights of the legendary musical community of Mount Airy, North Carolina.

Blue Ridge National Heritage Area

Chester McMillian is a legend of old-time guitar in Mount Airy, NC, playing the distinctive Round Peak music of Surry County for decades. McMillian grew up in a family of musicians and started playing early in life when his father helped make him a cigar-box guitar.

Grants Available for Heritage Projects

Jul 10, 2018

The Blue Ridge National Heritage Area Partnership has announced its 2018 Heritage Grants Program to fund projects that preserve, interpret and promote Western North Carolina’s agricultural, craft, Cherokee, music, and natural heritage. These five distinctive legacies earned the region a Congressional designation as a National Heritage Area in 2003.

The mountains of North Carolina are rich in music traditions, both old and new, but no other musical community’s roots reach as far back in this region’s heritage as those of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians. To their ancient ceremonial music, the Cherokee have added new traditions in bluegrass, old-time, and gospel music.

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. 

***"This Old Porch" host Carol Rifkin welcomes Lillian to the Air Studio on Sunday, June 4.  Tune in for this special segment!***

Sixth generation Western North Carolina native, Lillian Chase, may be young, but she’s no stranger to old-time and bluegrass music.  She began playing music at 6 years of age and now the 13-year old fiddler from Weaverville, NC will unveil her debut album.

Artbreak Recordings

May 15, 2017

Artbreak is a weekly WNCW feature highligthing Visual and Performance Arts in our listening region. Information includes events, exhibits, classes, and theater.  Art news is shared from art groups, galleries, and art programs from Asheville to Greenville, Boone to Charlotte, Wilkesboro and East Tennessee.  Art announcements can be submitted by email to paul@wncw.org and please send any information in advance of the events dates.

Last week I spoke with members of the GroWNC Consortium, and found out that this project - now in it's 14th month of work - was formed thanks to Federal grant. The purpose of GroWNC is to look into the future of a five-county section of Western North Carolina and to create a plan- or a footprint - for a plan to grow the area's economies, governments, schools, small businesses, residents' lifestyles, and opportunities.

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