Be a Part of the Musical Journey for Local Emerging Musicians
Join us on a one-of-a-kind musical journey as we watch emerging talent grow and refine their gifts in our newest project, Fine Tuned. The Blue Ridge Music Trails is excited to reveal a new initiative that connects seasoned musicians with a select group of emerging artists in Western North Carolina. Go behind the scenes and witness as fresh talent is shaped and new music created! The project will result in a professionally recorded album which will be pressed into a vinyl LP at Citizen Vinyl in Asheville. The album is scheduled for release in Summer 2023.
Join us for three concerts featuring musicians from the Fine Tuned project. These performances are a chance to witness the creative process at play as seasoned musicians collaborate with a select group of emerging artists to create fresh sounds and new compositions.
April 7: Reeves Theater in Elkin
Benjamin Barker and David LaMotte, The Allen Boys with DaShawn Hickman and Kelley Breiding
May 28: Cowee School in Franklin
Josh Jones and Sav Sankaran, Benjamin Barker with David LaMotte, and The Allen Boys with DaShawn Hickman and KelleyBreiding
June 25: Ebbs Chapel in Mars Hill
Donna Ray Norton and Josh Goforth, Bayla Davis and Cary Fridley, The Allen Boys and Kelley Breiding
Meet Our Artists and Their Mentors
Benjamin Barker and David LaMotte
Benjamin Barker won the 2021 National Hammered Dulcimer contest at the Winfield Valley Festival. Seasoned musician, writer, and speaker, David LaMotte has worked with Ben on his musical goals of performing, recording, and composing.
Josh Jones and Sav Sankaran
Josh Jones is a Classical Voice student at UNC School for the Arts and a bluegrass vocalist and mandolin and fiddle player. Sav Sankaran, a vocalist and bass player for the bluegrass band Unspoken Tradition, has shared his expertise in the field to help Josh as he works toward his goal of becoming a professional bluegrass musician.
Bayla Davis and Cary Fridley
Award-winning banjo and MerleFest performer Bayla Davis will work with seasoned performer Cary Fridley who is an Appalachian singer, multi-instrumentalist, and educator. Together, they will explore vocal repertoire, harmony singing, and their collective musical craft.
The Allen Boys with DaShawn Hickman and Kelley Breiding
The Allen Boys play in the Sacred Steel Tradition and serve as the house band for the House of God Church in Mount Airy, NC. Their collaboration with Kelley Breiding, who is a multi-instrumentalist and old-time singer, will explore connections between their styles and other genres.
Keaw’e Bone and Jarrett Wildcat
Both Jarrett and Keaw’e are steeped in Cherokee musical traditions. For this project, however, they chose to work together on composing and arranging new, original music as an expression of their experiences and their art.
Donna Ray Norton with Josh Goforth
Donna Ray Norton made an album with Josh Goforth as producer. This album featured the ballads of Donna’s home and family, but it also stretched her to sing a song with instrumental accompaniment for the first time. This new experience inspired the format for the other Fine Tuned participants.
Keeping Musical Traditions Alive
Fine Tuned not only benefits this generation of musical talent, but it also paves the way for future musicians who will keep the musical traditions of Western North Carolina alive. Sav Sankaran, a vocalist and bass player for bluegrass band Unspoken Tradition and Fine Tuned mentor, shared his thoughts:
“One of the hallmarks of traditional Appalachian music particularly is this idea of it being an oral tradition passed from one generation to the next. So in some ways, this is a 21st century version of that. To be able to import some of the knowledge that I’ve gained and some of the experience I’ve gained as a professional musician to someone who’s just starting out is a really worthwhile experience for me. So maybe I can make that…pathway a little bit easier, more equitable, more accessible for other people to get involved. Because unless you create that pathway, the music doesn’t continue.”
Be a Part of the Journey
Be there as these emerging musicians take the first steps on their new path with Fine Tuned. The project will result in a professionally recorded vinyl album scheduled to be released in Summer 2023. There are also upcoming opportunities to be in the audience for three concerts in Western North Carolina in 2023!
Show Your Support–Donate Now
Be a valued partner in the journey to support the next generation of musicians within Western North Carolina. Donate now to make a difference!