Barton Carroll to perform in Boone, Banner Elk

By Jesse Campbell (

Article Published: Oct. 24, 2013 | Modified: Oct. 29, 2013
Barton Carroll to perform in Boone, Banner Elk

Musician Barton Carroll will return to his native High Country for an Oct. 26 performance in Boone and Oct. 28 presentation at Lees-McRae College in Banner Elk.

Photo by Dennis Wise

Unlike previous albums, “Avery County, I’m Bound to You,” is Barton Carroll’s most honest work to date.

While he previously prescribed to a “notion of fiction” in his preceding album, Carroll takes a personal appeal in reflecting on growing up in his hometown.

“As much as I’ve resisted writing autobiographically on my previous work, I just couldn’t get around it on this album. I didn’t even try,” Carroll said. “So, these songs are reflections of an upbringing in the Appalachian Mountains seen through the lens of several years of city life on the West Coast. Like when Tom Waits sings, ‘I never saw the East Coast until I moved to the West.’”

Carroll returns to the High Country to share his homegrown anecdotes on Saturday, Oct. 26, at Black Cat Burrito.

When Carroll tries to describe his musical background, memories of Doc Watson, Ralph Stanley and other old-time legends come to mind, but while working on songs for the new record, he said he took a different approach.

“I had records by Bad Religion and The Jam on the turntable and in my headphones; Bad Religion for directness, clarity and boldness of language, and The Jam for regional loyalty, passion and unashamed use of dialect,” he said. “Those guys put the vocals up front and sing it like they mean business. It’s something I think they have in common with folk music.”

Carroll said literature was also a huge source of inspiration on this album.

He said he drew inspiration from the likes of Martin Amis, Saul Bellow and Norman Mailer, “authors who can stretch words to the edge of meaning,” he said. “I re-read ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ and studied Harper Lee’s unique voice for ‘Mama’s Making Something on the Loom.’”

The list of artists who contributed to the album include Hans Teuber, Wayne Horvitz, Ani Difranco and Steve Moore.

Folks can hear for themselves Saturday, Oct. 26, at Black Cat Burrito, located at 127 N. Depot St. in downtown Boone. Cover costs $5, and shows typically start after 10 p.m. The Karloffs will also perform.

Stephenson Center

On Monday, Oct. 28, Carroll will present for Lees-McRae College’s Stephenson Center for Appalachia. The program, which runs from 7 to 9 p.m., is free and open to the public.

According to a Lees-McRae news release, Carroll will entertain the audience with music from his new album. Carroll grew up in Banner Elk, attended Avery County High School and later graduated from Warren Wilson College. In addition, he’s also the son of Dr. Janet Barton Speer, artistic director of Lees-McRae College Summer Theatre.

“We are fortunate to have Barton Carroll as part of our lecture series and hope that everyone will take advantage of this opportunity to hear a unique brand of our traditional music,” said Dr. Michael Joslin, director of the Stephenson Center. “His ability to capture mountain heritage in his personal stories brings together the past and the present in a compelling way. We are pleased to welcome our native son home.”

Carroll’s performance will take place in Evans Auditorium, located in the Cannon Student Center off Main Street in Banner Elk.

For more information on Barton Carroll, visit

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