A Rich History: The Music of Appalachia
The Story of Appalachian Music
The music of Appalachia has deep roots in Western North Carolina. The North Carolina mountains have an unbroken tradition of ballad singing that is still going strong today. Signature styles of banjo playing in old time and bluegrass music were pioneered and popularized by musicians from the North Carolina foothills. Some of the earliest chapters in the history of country music and bluegrass music were set in North Carolina.
Today, the sounds of Appalachian music can be heard in a wide range of genres including ballad singing, bluegrass, blues, early country music, gospel, mountain swing, and old-time.
North Carolina Festivals and Venues
Traditional music of Appalachia is alive and well in Western North Carolina. Festivals, concerts, fiddlers’ conventions, jam sessions, and dances happen year round in the region.
Be sure to browse our interactive map and calendar when planning your trip.
Appalachian Music Legends
Western North Carolina has been home to countless numbers of legendary players of the music of Appalachia. One of the most famous figures of the music of Appalachia, Doc Watson, was born and raised here. But he is only one of the many great North Carolina musicians credited with the development and popularization of Appalachian music including:
- Etta Baker
- Samantha Bumgarner
- Fred Cockerham
- Bascom Lamar Lunsford
- Tommy Jarrell
- Snuffy Jenkins
- Charlie Poole
- Frank Proffitt
- Earl Scruggs
- George Shuffler
You can learn a lot about the rich history of the music of Appalachia by learning the stories of these musicians, as well as enjoying the musical legacies they left behind.
Explore the Music of Appalachia
The Blue Ridge Music Trails of North Carolina will help you explore the rich traditions of the music of Appalachia. The Trails are your guide to historic sites, venues, museums, concerts, and festivals that celebrate the music of Appalachia in Western North Carolina.
Take along a comprehensive guidebook to the Blue Ridge Music Trails, written by folklorist Fred Fussell with Steve Kruger. You’ll get a fascinating look into the history of the music of the region. Read personal stories of musicians, see photos, and get great tips to enhance your experience. The guidebook will help you plan an unforgettable visit to North Carolina to hear the music of Appalachia played live. Come discover the culture, people, and places that made Appalachian music what it is today.