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Top mountain flatpickers to perform

Some of the top traditional musicians from the Blue Ridge Mountains over three generations will perform Saturday, Nov. 30, at 8 p.m. at the White Horse Black Mountain Music Hall in Black Mountain in a show that exhibits and teaches about "Guitar Styles of North Carolina."

The "Traditions" concerts are part musical performance, part storytelling, and part learning experience for the audience as musicians demonstrate their style of playing, tell the history of how they developed their techniques and share stories from their music experiences.

The concert will feature the guitar styles of some of the mountains' most talented and entertaining musicians, including Grammy award winner Bryan Sutton, Master Fiddler Josh Goforth and veteran guitarist Leonard Hollifield, the guitarist for the Stoney Creek Boys, the longtime host band at the Mountain Dance and Folk Festival and Shindig on the Green.
Sutton, one of the country's most sought after acoustic guitarists, was born into a family of traditional musicians in Candler. He entered the bluegrass world in 1995 as a member of Ricky Skaggs' Kentucky Thunder band, playing on two Grammy award-winning records. After his tenure with Skaggs, Bryan went on to build a career as a top studio guitarist in Nashville. Sutton has been honored as a six time winner of the IBMA's Guitarist of the Year, and received a Grammy in 2007 for "Best Country Instrumental Performance" for his duet recording with Doc Watson.
Goforth's musical prowess became evident when he started playing the piano in church at the age of 4. A relative loaned him a guitar at 14 and he became a regular at jam sessions in Madison County. The youngest fiddler to be deemed a Master Fiddler at Fiddler's Grove as well as an expert flatpicker in the style of Doc Watson and a devotee of the Merle Travis fingerstyle guitar, Goforth always delights with his skill and enthusiasm.
Hollifield, a Buncombe County native, started playing guitar at the age of 10, when his father arranged for guitar lessons — not for him, but for Leonard's older brother. He absorbed what he overheard of his brother's lessons and using an instrument in the house he was able to practice and experiment. Other musicians in the community also showed him what they knew. Seventy years later, Hollifield is one of Western North Carolina's most respected guitarists. His experience is extensive, including two multi-year stints playing for the Kingsmen, the legendary Southern gospel quartet from the North Carolina mountains.
Laura Boosinger is what we call in these mountains "an all-day talker." She will be serving as host for this show. Laura first picked up her banjo while attending Warren Wilson College in Swannanoa. That proved to be the beginning of an acclaimed career as a traditional musician. She performs solo and with other musicians regionally and abroad, and has numerous recordings.
Tickets are $20, $15 with student ID, and can be purchased online at, or by calling 828- 669-0816.
The concert is presented by the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area Partnership as part of the Blue Ridge Music Trails Program.