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WNC JUNIOR APPALACHIAN MUSICIANS ~ Classes starting in September for Black Mountain, Madison County, and Haywood County JAM Programs.

A new JAM season is upon us. The Junior Appalachian Musicians weekly group lessons will be meeting in person again starting in September in several western North Carolina JAM Programs..

Haywood County Jam will be hosting an Open House for students interested in signing up to learn fiddle, banjo, or guitar on Tuesday August 31 from 4-4:30 at the Folkmoot Center in Waynesville, NC. Teachers are Travis Stuart, Robby Robertson, Maddy Mullany, and Cary Fridley. For more information, please contact the Haywood County Arts Council.

The Madison County JAM will be held outdoors this year, and will be holding an Orientation and Registration Day on September 2. The JAM classes will be weekly on Thursdays from 3:30 – 5PM beginning on September 9th, offering classes in beginning and intermediate fiddle, banjo, guitar, and band. Teachers are Jake and Sara Owen, David Hughes, and Cary Fridley. For more information, please contact the Madison County Arts Council.

Black Mountain JAM begins on September 8 with and Orientation and Registration Day from 3:45 – 4:30, and will be holding classes weekly after that from 3:45 to 5PM on Wednesdays outside. Teachers are Maddy Mullany, Clarke Williams, and Cary Fridley. For more information, please contact the Black Mountain Center for the Arts.

Cary’s Classes at Swannanoa Online

Here is some more information about Cary’s singing classes at Swannanoa Gathering Online Old-Time Week, July 18-23, 2021. Click here to register: https://swangathering.com/register/information/

Cary Is Teaching Mountain Singing Classes at Swannanoa Gathering Online ~ July 18 – 23

I am excited to be part of Swannanoa Gathering Online this year! I will be teaching Ballads in Full Voice and WNC – A Sense of Place (singing songs from around Asheville). There are spaces available if you are interested, the classes are July 18 -23. https://swangathering.com/catalog/ot/old-time-week/

SWANNANOA GATHERING OLD TIME WEEK – JULY 18-23, 2021

CARY NOW OFFERING ONLINE LESSONS WITH ZOOM!

Cary is now offering online lessons via the Zoom video conferencing app. Sign up now via the Contact page at http://www.caryfridleymusic.com to receive Zoom lessons in Singing, Bass, Old-Time Guitar, Old-Time Banjo, Band Skills, and Creativity Coaching.

Photet at Wedge Studios May 12, 2019

Photet – Cary Fridley and Dave Perkins


Photet will be playing live music (weather permitting) Sunday May 12, 2019 from 5:30 – 8:30 at the Wedge Brewery. Come join us for some blues, jazz, and new originals while enjoying the best beer in Asheville.

Old-time Music with Kyle Smith Saturday 3-6PM

This Saturday at Jack of the Wood in Asheville, NC from 3 to 6PM, Dave Perkins and Cary Fridley will be playing guitar and bass with Kyle Smith on fiddle and Bill West on banjo.

Ashe County Lament – for Piano and Electronics by Paul Elwood

Thanks to Paul Ellwood for sending me this track of his modern classical music composition, featuring an electronically altered version of my voice singing (and speaking) “I’ve Always Been A Rambler.”

Live Music for a Good Cause!

I am excited to get to play the bass with The Red Hot Sugar Babies for a cool party coming up, please join us!

Fridley to Highlight TN/NC/VA Regional Mountain Songs at Steve Kaufman Trad Kamp This June 11-17

This June 11-17 for the singing class at Steve Kaufman’s Maryville, TN Kamp, we are only using traditional songs from the mountain areas of Tennessee, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, and Kentucky.  It’s been a fun project picking the songs and realizing the patterns of sharing music up and down the mountains.

My favorite old-time recordings are the earliest examples of a traditional performance that I can find.  I have to wonder when and who made the first impression on the world through this special song. The earliest recordings to choose from are from the 1920s and 1930s, and sometimes folklorists’ accounts songs before the age of recordings.  Not surprisingly, the same names come up again and again, of both performers and of the most popular songs.

I was born in Covington, VA (near the center of the West Virginia line), and lived there until I went to college.  Since then I haven’t strayed too far from the southern Appalachians.  As the ballad singer Berzilla Wallin said, “I’ve traveled all over these mountains.”  My musical life has taken me to Eastern Kentucky, to teaching at ETSU for 3 years in Johnson City, TN near the Carter Family Homeplace, to 6 years living on the edge of the Smoky Mountain National Park in Bryson City, NC playing for the trains,  to 20+ years of festivals like Clifftop, WV and Mount Airy, NC, and now to beautiful Asheville for 17 years, home of folklorist Bascom Lamar Lunsford, not far from the famous traditional ballad singers still living in Madison County.  After all these years of going and singing and playing and dancing and being a music history nerd, I’ve noticed there are some songs you hear a lot, and when you look up who sang them first, you find some key groups that tend to stand out.

In the Clinch Valley in Virginia, The Carter Family catalog is a great representation of old songs from that area.  They recorded more than 300 songs together.  AP Carter collected the songs, travelling to visit with singers near his home to learn from them, like Leslie Riddle in Burnsville, NC.  Later the Stanley Brothers (also from Clinch Valley) sang a lot of the same songs, and some more that they knew from growing up there.  A little west of there is Ashe County, home of the 78 recording artists Grayson & Whitter, who recorded over 40 songs together in the 1920’s and 30’s.  Not far is Galax and Mount Airy, homes to famous fiddlers conventions, and Deep Gap, home of Doc Watson.  Songs, songs, and more songs.

There are still spaces left in the class, so please join us if you are interested: http://www.flatpik.com/Steve-Kaufman-Acoustic-Kamp.  Our goal is to meet every day and sing the songs of the mountains, try to ring the hills with the familiar sounds of their favorite songs.

~Cary Fridley