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Mountains of Music

By Frank Ruggiero (

Article Published: May. 14 | Modified: May. 14
Mountains of Music

The Mountain Home Bluegrass Boys, featuring David Johnson, Steve Lewis, Scott Freeman and Josh Scott, will return for the 2014 summer season of Mountain Home Music.

Photo by Frank Ruggiero


The Lineup

• Sunday, May 25 – “A Memorial Day Salute” with David Johnson and The Studio Band; Boone United Methodist Church, Boone

• Saturday, May 31 – “The Fire and the Passion of Scotland” by the North Sea Grass Band; St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, Boone

• Saturday, June 7 – “Around the World Triple Header,” featuring Danza de los Viejitos (Dance of the Little Old Men), The Sheets Family Band and The Bandana Klezmer Band; Blowing Rock School Auditorium

• Sunday, June 14 – “Gospel with Elements of Country, Rhythm, Blues and Soul,” with the Junaluska Gospel Choir; St. Elizabeth’s Catholic Church, Boone

• Saturday, June 21 – “From Folklore to Folksongs,” with Bobby McMillon; Harvest House Performing Arts Venue, Boone

• Saturday, June 28 – “Piano Man of the Blue Ridge,” with Jeff Little; Harvest House

• Friday, July 4 – “Bluegrass & Brass,” featuring the Mountain Home Bluegrass Boys and the King Street Brass; Boone United Methodist Church

• Saturday, July 12 – “Old-Time Fiddle & Dance,” with Rodney Sutton; Harvest House

• Saturday, July 26 – “Two Sides of Celtic,” with Billy Jackson & Grainne Hambly; St. Luke’s Episcopal Church

• Saturday, Aug. 9 – “The Day the Outlaws Came to Town: Songs from the Fringes of Country and Bluegrass Music,” with David Johnson, Darrel Bryant, Billy C. Smith, Ronnie Black, Kevin Rash and special guest Sloan Montana Bryant; Harvest House

• Saturday, Aug. 16 – “Bluegrass Attack,” with The 23 String Band; Harvest House

• Saturday, Aug. 23 – “Mountain Love Songs, Old & New, and a Fiddle, Too,” with the South Carolina Broadcasters, including Ivy Sheppard, Sarah Osbourne and David Sheppard; Harvest House

• Sunday, Aug. 31 – “The ’60s Folk Music Revival,” with Laurelyn Dosset and guests; St. Luke’s Episcopal Church

The schedule is subject to change. All shows start at 7:30 p.m. and cost $20 in advance or $22 at the door. Student tickets cost $11, and children’s tickets $6. Children 12 and younger are admitted for free. For group discount rates, email (

Tickets may be purchased online at or in person at Mast General Store in Boone and Valle Crucis, Pandora’s Mailbox in Blowing Rock, The Dulcimer Shop at the Martin House in downtown Blowing Rock and Fred’s General Mercantile on Beech Mountain.

The price increase from 2013’s season reflects the recent North Carolina tax hikes toward nonprofit organizations and live performances.

For more information on Joe Shannon’s Mountain Home Music, visit

Mountain Home Music is a thing of the past.

In honor of its founder and former executive director, the late Joe Shannon, the perennially popular music series has been renamed Joe Shannon’s Mountain Home Music.

“The board decided right after we realized Joe was not going to be able to continue that we wanted it to be Joe Shannon’s Mountain Home Music,” board member Karen James said, “because that’s really what people knew it as for 20 years.”

Reportedly, Shannon had refused the name change in the past, James said, but the honor — and the heartfelt gesture behind it — eventually grew on him.

“So, for however long we want to do it, it’s Joe Shannon’s Mountain Home Music,” she said.

Shannon died Tuesday, May 13, after a prolonged illness. Earlier in the year, as his health began to decline, he resigned from his position as executive director of the 20-year-old music series.

It’s a position now filled by Rodney Sutton, a mountain dancer, caller, storyteller and singer, who is first to admit that he never intends to replace Shannon. Instead, he’d rather continue the rich tradition started by his predecessor.

“My goal is to continue Joe’s purpose of really trying to provide a venue for not only just local performers … but folks from outside our region that fit into the traditional music concept,” he said.
Shannon, however, is an important part of that.

“We’re trying to figure out ways to make sure that Joe’s presence is felt as much as possible this year,” he said.

Mountain Home Music regulars fondly recall how Shannon, who also served as emcee and host, would introduce each concert with a rendition of “Home Sweet Home.” James and company plan to edit recordings of those performances to play as audience members arrive and leave the concerts.

“One week, we’ll have Joe playing it on harmonica, another week on the dulcimer,” Sutton said. “What better way to honor him than to keep his presence as part of each concert?”

Sutton and Shannon never met, although they shared many mutual friends.

“Most are people in the area who’ve been involved in Mountain Home Music, such as (musician) Cecil Gurganus and people I know through the (Junior Appalachian Musicians) program,” Sutton said. “I couldn’t begin to start naming how many people who’d performed over the years in this concert series and (considered) themselves very close friends of Joe. Then I meet people who are still involved, like Patrick Crouch. We just met, but feel like we’ve known each other forever, since we have so many mutual friends.”

Many of those friends will return to this 2014’s Mountain Home Music lineup, which starts Memorial Day, May 25.

With this year’s schedule, James is hoping the series will appeal to an even wider audience than usual, featuring both series newcomers, such as The 23 String Band and The Bandana Klezmer Band, and fan favorites, like Jeff Little and the Mountain Home Bluegrass Boys.

MHM is also adding a new venue to its list in the Harvest House Performing Arts Venue, located on Boone Heights Drive in Boone.

“We’re mixing it up more than we did in the past,” James said. “So, our lineup is kind of from East to West to traditional.”

“And way down South,” Sutton added.

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