Jack Guy Compiled a Treasure Trove of Mountain Music
For more than a hundred years, folklorists and other scholars have been visiting the community of Beech Mountain, North Carolina. Perhaps the most prolific collector of the community’s music and stories was himself a native of Old Beech. In the 1960s, Jack Guy began selling mountain handcrafts and folk toys to tourists, helping local artists make a living through their heritage crafts. He operated his business out of a small log cabin, selling classic mountain toys like limberjacks and gee-haw-whimmy-diddles, alongside many other items, including musical instruments made by renowned local luthiers. And while he was at it, Jack created a venue for Beech Mountain’s musicians to perform, share their music, and be recorded for posterity. He hosted many concerts and informal jams at the shop, featuring great local bands, solo musicians, and storytellers. As they performed, Jack was often at work in the background recording the music on his reel-to-reel tape recorder. He created an enormous archive of Beech Mountain music and folklore. Soon you’ll be able to visit the North Carolina Folklife Institute’s website, ncfolk.org, to listen to more than 100 audio tapes of mountain music, accompanied by hundreds of old photos of life on Beech Mountain, recordings and stories by the artists who carry on Beech Mountain’s traditions today.
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, and WNCW-FM.