Etta Baker

Etta Baker Played the Piedmont Blues for 90 Years


Episode Description

Etta Baker picked up her ragtime influenced style of fingerpicking at the age of 3 from her father. She became a master of the Piedmont Blues, influencing musicians like Bob Dylan, Taj Mahal, and Kenny Wayne Shepherd.  Etta practiced her two-finger picking style an hour every day in addition to raising nine children with her musician husband. After raising nine children and working 26 years at a Morganton textile mill, she quit at age 60 to become a professional musician. And at the age of 78, she cut her first album. In 1991, she received the National Endowment for the Arts’ National Heritage Fellowship. Etta Baker died in 2006 at age 93, but her legacy lives on with a statue at the Morganton Municipal Auditorium. 

The Podcast

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 Kim Clark of WNCW-FM, the podcast is a joint effort of the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area, the North Carolina Arts Council, WNCW-FM, and the American roots music journal No Depression.

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