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20th Anniversary Celebration of Concerts at the Jones House Takes Place Friday, June 29 featuring Local Favorites

Diane Hackworth

June 21, 2012. The Jones House has a very special concert planned for June 29 – this is the 20th summer of free concerts. Cherry Johnson and Diane Hackworth cooked up an idea 20 years ago and put on the annual series under the Watauga County Arts Council (WCAC). Though no longer put on by the WCAC, the summer event is still a favorite among High Country residents and visitors alike. Hackworth will be at the Jones House to tell a story, sing a song and take the audience back.

Becca Eggers-Gryder is the only musician who has played all of the first 19 seasons. In fact, in the first few years, she would play most weeks with one group or another. She will bring back her band, Amantha Mill, on Friday. She’s one of the annual favorites for many.

Steve and Ruth Smith have not played every year, but they have played about every summer for the last decade. They will bring their hammered dulcimer and folk songs to the porch. The evening will start with Diane Hackworth at 5 p.m., Steve and Ruth will play at 5:30 p.m. and Amantha Mill will play at 6:20 p.m.

Here is a bit of info on them:

Dianne’s Story

When listening to Dianne Hackworth you will realize immediately why storytelling is once again becoming a popular form of art. The stories she tells creates images in the mind, “better than TV” as one first grader exclaims. Touring throughout the Southeast telling stories for all ages, Dianne brings to life Appalachian Tales, musical tales and folktales from around the world. 

Although she has honed her skills with a Master’s degree in Storytelling, Dianne comes to storytelling naturally, having learned many of her stories from her parents and grandparents. She keeps all these stories alive by passing them on. As well as telling stories for programs and festivals, she also shows others their own hidden talent for storytelling. She began teaching classes at John C. Campbell Folkschool in 1992, has been an artist in residence in the schools of North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and Tennessee since 1993, and has provided storytelling workshops throughout the southeast region for many years. Dianne is included in Artists in Education Rosters in North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. 

Dianne is the founder of the High Country Yarnspinners, a storytelling organization in the Boone area and co-founder of the North Carolina Storytelling Guild. She has served as a board member of the NC Storytelling Guild, Watauga County Arts Council, Tennessee Storytelling Association and on the Tennessee Arts Commission Grant Panel. Under Dianne’s direction, there are several storytelling events in existence, but her favorites are the Jack Tales Festival on Beech Mountain (in honor of Ray Hicks) and Storytellers Wild Week at Wildacres.

Dianne is now living on a secluded ridge-top in Dutch Valley, her “home valley,” near Clinton, TN. She’s probably on her wrap around porch swinging on her 8-foot swing, watching the squirrels and birds and waiting for your call.

For more information, visit www.diannehackworth.com.


Becca Eggers-Gryder

Rebecca “Becca” Eggers-Gryder plays bass with Amantha Mill. Becca was born and raised in Boone and has been an attorney in her family’s law firm for twenty years. She has always had a keen interest and love for folk and bluegrass music. As a songwriter, Becca draws from a deep well incorporating her strongly crafted lyrics into sounds that skirt country, bluegrass and blues while maintaining the essence of down home living in her songs. A prolific songwriter, Becca’s unique voice transforms her original original tunes into gritty story songs about the human experience. Before the inception of Amantha Mill, Becca released “The Ballad of Willa Kale.” Her first solo album featured musicians Steve Lewis, Randy Greer, Kim Stacy and Bob White.



Steve and Ruth Smith

Steve and Ruth have been playing music together for over 35 years. From their home in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, they have performed their Celtic Appalachian music extensively in the US from North Carolina to Hawaii. They have also been cultural music representatives of the Appalachian region, touring abroad in Japan, Korea, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Thailand, Australia, New Zealand, Tonga and Canada.

Ruth plays the hammered and Appalachian mountain dulcimers with Steve supporting on fingerstyle acoustic guitar, clawhammer banjo, and vocals. Steve and Ruth are 2009 Instrumental Roots Music nominees in the world’s largest independant music awards and are two-time recipients of North Carolina Arts Council grants.

Ruth began playing music at a very young age and enjoys the adaptability of the hammered dulcimer to many types of music, from traditional fiddle tunes and Appalachian songs, to Celtic and classical melodies. After playing many different musical instruments through the years, she found the hammered dulcimer to be a “fit” to her personality and a wonderful tool of self-expression. Ruth, who studied music at the University of Illinois, composes music especially for the hammered dulcimer and her compositions have been featured on NPR’s All Songs Considered and in Dulcimer Players News magazine. Dirty Linen Folk & World Music Magazine says “Ruth Smith’s touch on the hammered dulcimer is absolutely magical with exquisite phrasing.” She teaches hammered dulcimer workshops at festivals throughout the country. Ruth is also accomplished in traditional Appalachian fiber arts, including weaving and spinning.

Dirty Linen Folk & World Music Magazine says Steve Smith’s accompaniment on guitar and clawhammer banjo provides “a traditional . . . rich, true sound” to their Celtic Appalachian music. Steve, an ASCAP award-winning song-writer, worked along with Ruth throughout the 1970s and 1980s in the music industry in Nashville, Los Angeles and Hawaii. Since 1997 he has also been teaching audio production/recording at Appalachian State University. Steve has a Master’s degree in Appalachian Studies from Appalachian State University with a major emphasis in Appalachian music and folklife, and is the recipient of the Cratis Williams Fellowship in Appalachian Studies. In the 1990s, Steve created, produced, wrote and hosted the weekly multi-state syndicated radio program, “The Appalachian Way,” about the music and folklife in Appalachia. He also teaches festival workshops on guitar, clawhammer banjo, recording, copyrights & publishing, live sound reinforcement and performing techniques.



As always:

Concerts at the Jones House take place in downtown Boone at 604 W. King St. every Friday from June through September. The free concert starts at 5 p.m., and patrons are encouraged to bring a chair or blanket to sit in the lawn. The 2012 Concert series is sponsored by MPrints, Stickboy Bread/Melanie’s, Footsloggers, Mast General Store, and the Downtown Boone Development Association. For a complete schedule, visit www.boone-nc.org or call 262-4576 for more information.

For more information, contact Mark Freed at the Jones House Community Center, 828-262-4576 or markcfreed@gmail.com