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On Friday, September 13th, our Charlotte Folk Society Gathering presents the best in Southwest Virginia's mountain music tradition with a concert by The Whitetop Mountaineers. The music gets underway at 7:30 PM in the Great Aunt Stella Center, 926 Elizabeth Avenue, Charlotte. Doors open at 7 PM; arrive early to be sure of admission.
Visitors may use free parking in the deck adjacent to the Stella Center. Accessible entry and an elevator are available through the ground floor door on the parking lot side of the building. Drivers who need to drop off passengers with accessibility issues may pull into reserved spaces near the door long enough to discharge passengers. A CFS volunteer will be available to assist those passengers into the building.
We want to give you a heads up! We've been told by the Great Aunt Stella Center site manager that Elizabeth Avenue between McDowell Street and Kings Drive will be closed on Friday.
You can enter the Great Aunt Stella Center parking lot by coming through the County Parking Deck on 4th Street and exiting into the parking lot beside GASC. You could simply park in the deck and walk over. If you have passengers who need to be dropped off, you can do so and then return to the deck to park.
You can also exit from 277 to 4th Street and enter the parking deck.
Martha Spencer and Jackson Cunningham, The Whitetop Mountaineers, are a young duo who hail from Whitetop, Virginia — situated among the highest mountains in the state. Their concerts feature tight harmony singing on country duets, traditional bluegrass numbers, old timey ballads, mountain gospel, and some high energy Appalachian dancing by Martha.
Martha grew up in a musical family. Albert Hash, her uncle, was a legendary fiddler and instrument maker who gained widespread attention for his music and craft. He had a great impact on old-time music and taught countless musicians and luthiers. Her parents, Thornton and Emily Spencer, are the leaders of the popular Whitetop Mountain Band and are well-known and respected musicians and teachers of old-time music. Martha and Jackson perform as members of the Whitetop Mountain Band, as well as a duo.
Martha began dancing and playing at a very young age. She plays fiddle, banjo, guitar, bass, and dulcimer, as well as singing. She has taken first place in numerous banjo, fiddle, and vocal competitions. She has also been widely recognized for her Appalachian dancing, teaching the tradition as well as performing it.
Jackson, originally from Oregon, also grew up in a musical family. Jackson's grandmother was a brilliant musician, singer, and music teacher. His parents and siblings are also musicians and singers of traditional music. Jackson began playing guitar at the age of nine. Along the way, he added mandolin, harmonica, and clawhammer banjo to his instrumental arsenal. He has played in a number of bluegrass and old-time bands from the West Coast to the East Coast. Since moving to Virginia, Jackson has drawn much attention for his powerful traditional mandolin playing and high lonesome singing.
Jackson is carrying on the fiddle making tradition of Whitetop Mountain, learning from Audrey Hash Ham, who learned from her father, Albert Hash. In addition to fiddles, he builds archtop guitars and banjos. His beautiful instruments can be seen on stage at any Whitetop Mountaineers or Whitetop Mountain Band show.
Since forming The Whitetop Mountaineers in 2007, Jackson and Martha have carried their music across the United States and abroad to England, Ireland, and Australia, winning the hearts of audiences with their heartfelt music and energetic performances.
"Martha and Jackson play the kinds of songs I like, the way I like to hear them played. Whether they are performing a honky-tonk duet, an old time ballad or traditional fiddle tune, they always attend to their craft with obvious passion, exuberance, and soul." - Jon Lohman, Virginia State Folklorist, Home on the Mountain CD Review
"It warms my heart to meet and get to know top quality young musicians who seem to be particular about their music. Jackson Cunningham and Martha Spencer are such a couple." — Mac Traynham, Old-time musician, Home on the Mountain CD Review
Visit www.folksociety.org to watch videos of The Whitetop Mountaineers. The duo have made three recordings together, the most recent one being Virginia-Carolina, released last October.
Visit www.whitetopmountaineers.com to learn more about Martha and Jackson, sample their music, and check out the instruments in Jackson's shop.
Martha's performance and dancing have all of the unbridled energy and joy of June Carter Cash as a young woman. The Great Aunt Stella Center sanctuary is going to ring with fine old-time country duet singing and the sounds of fiddle, clawhammer banjo, mandolin, and guitar. Are we in for a treat!
Monthly second-Friday Charlotte Folk Society Gatherings are family-friendly and free; donations are appreciated and essential to holding Gatherings in the Great Aunt Stella Center. Refreshments, a song circle, jam sessions, and an Appalachian dulcimer group follow the hour-long concert; visitors are welcome to join in or simply listen.