The Center for Cultural Preservation is proud to host Joe Penland for its next program in its long running Keeping the Fires Burning series. The October 24th program, Mountain Music and Storytelling with Joe Penland features the tenth generation balladeer who is considered one of the leading “cultural treasures” of his generation. Madison County was fertile soil for traditional music and Joe was surrounded by musical luminaries growing up. Joe’s great-grandmother was a first cousin of Bascom Lamar Lunsford, Minstrel of Appalachia, and just one link in Joe’s rich musical heritage. He was mentored by Byard Ray (whose great uncle was Mitchell Wallin, a fiddler who played for Cecil Sharp) and spent his youth in the 1960s around Berzill and Lee Wallin as well as their sons Doug and Jack.
Joe’s life took a major turn when faced with a life-threatening illness some years ago forcing him to rethink what was most important in his life. In that epiphany, he decided he was going to do what he could to make sure that his children and grandchildren would hear what he heard when he listened to the singers of the old songs.
According to David Weintraub, Executive Director for the Center for Cultural Preservation, “Madison County is one of the oldest settled areas in WNC and it became an incubator for some of the best loved stories and music in the region. Joe has the ability to take the old folk legends and transform them through his music and stories that will keep the audience laughing one minute and crying the second. Penland has a magical way of bringing this story to life to help us better understand the riches that have blossomed in our hills for many generations.”
Mountain Music and Storytelling with Joe Penland will be held at 7:00 PM on October 24th at Blue Ridge Community College’s Thomas Auditorium. Tickets for the evening of music and storytelling are $15 and can be found at SaveCulture.org or by calling the Center for Cultural Preservation at (828) 692-8062.
The Center for Cultural Preservation is a cultural nonprofit organization dedicated to working for mountain heritage continuity through oral history, documentary film, education and public programs. For more information about the Center contact them at (828) 692-8062 or www.saveculture.org.