The Blue Ridge National Heritage Area Partnership and North Carolina Arts Council have partnered to launch a new initiative, the Blue Ridge Music Trails of North Carolina, to promote the rich traditional music heritage in 29 counties in Western North Carolina.

The springboard for the initiative is the new Blue Ridge Music Trails of North Carolina guidebook, published by UNC Press and now available for purchase. To get a taste of what is featured in the guidebook watch this video.

In the guidebook, noted folklorist Fred C. Fussell puts readers on the trail to discover the many sites in Western North Carolina where this unique musical legacy thrives. Organized by region and county, Blue Ridge Music Trails of North Carolina welcomes readers into the rich worlds of bluegrass, old-time, gospel, and string band music, as well as clogging, flatfooting, and other forms of traditional dance.

The book features a CD with more than 20 songs by musicians profiled in the book, historic recordings of the region’s most influential musicians spanning nine decades–available for the first time here–and songs based on true stories of love, crime, and tragedy set in the North Carolina mountains.

Check out an excerpt from the guidebook below:

“The Appalachian Mountains in western North Carolina are the heart of a regional music-making legacy that is unique. This is a place where traditional music and dance are performed and celebrated as in no other place in America. Regular weekly square dances featuring live music are still popular in many mountain communities.

“Local radio stations still broadcast live performances of traditional music performed by local musicians. Fiddlers’ conventions featuring local players occur on many weekends during the spring and summer, and in the Blue Ridge Mountains of northwestern North Carolina homemade music competes favorably with the popular commercial offerings that dominate the music scene in most other regions of the United States.”

To learn more about the Blue Ridge Music Trails initiative, click here. Go here to read more about the guidebook.

-Information from Blue Ridge National Heritage Area, shared April 23.

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. You may republish our stories for free, online or in print. Simply copy and paste the article contents from the box below. Note, some images and interactive features may not be included here.

Angie Newsome was the executive director and editor of Carolina Public Press. Contact her at (828) 774-5290 or e-mail her at

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *