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As far as my music and songs, I write from my heart about what I know. I know about beauty in nature. I know how it is important to shine when we are given a gift — to use it to encourage and uplift. I know what it means to have to endure when life is hard. I also know first-hand what it means to be lost and broken.
East Tennessee is where I lived for most of my childhood. It’s where my grandmother and grandfather grew up, as well as their own parents. And it’s in the foothills of the Blueridge Mountains where I found my deepest roots.
Bluegrass and Appalachian music is revered as the historical foundation for much of America’s musical traditions. It was Appalachia that gave birth to numerous legendary musical icons. Through whom, it has influenced an entire nation. Regardless of the fact, being from that area as a child I was taught that being called a “hillbilly” was not a compliment.
Because of my aversion to that association, as a young singer and writer I veered away from all that was familiar musically in East Tennessee. It was an educational journey. Early on I studied and performed classical music. And I am happy to have that foundation, because it’s such a sublime way to celebrate the divine.
Forever sacred music has a place in my heart. It’s what I love to do. But at some point when I came to accept myself, I naturally embraced my heritage and the beautiful music that springs from it.
My music bloomed when I accepted my roots.
Undoubtedly, I am directly influenced by what I heard when I was young. The original masters of Appalachian music are mostly extinct. Life has changed for us all. That musical tradition is fading away. Although I write my own music – other than singing a few old-style hymns, I hope there is at least a glimmer of a wonderful folk tradition from America’s past remaining in what I offer.
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