Appalachia Music

Come Go with Me to the John C. Campbell Folk School


Blind Pig Gang getting ready to play at the John C. Campbell Folk School – 2011

The Pressley Girls have been making music at the folk school for nearly half of their lives. When you add in the years they spent on the John C. Campbell Folk School Clogging Team, The Pressley Girls have been hanging around the folk school for most of their lives.

We’ve been keeping the roads hot this summer. Seems like we’ve played at least once every weekend if not twice. More than once I’ve heard the girls tell the crowd about the influence the John C. Campbell Folk School has had on their music. The first time I heard them state this obvious fact, I felt a little twinge of jealousy. I couldn’t help thinking well what about Pap, Paul, and me?

Of course we influenced their music too, and the girls are always forthright about saying so, but right up there with their family circle of music is the community of music they’ve been fortunate to be part of at the folk school. And that’s a fact.

There’s no doubt the flavor of the music they choose to play would be totally different if not for the folk school’s influence. Not to mention the quality of their playing.

Although there was never formal music lessons from the folk school community there is always someone willing to show the girls how to play a tune or improve their technique. To name a few: Bob Dalsemer, David Liden, David Anderson, Mike Robinson, Margie McDonald, Dawn Davis, Gretchen Mims, and JD Robinson. I’m sure I’ve left folks out because that’s how generous the folk school community is-there is always someone willing to help. And that long list doesn’t even include the folks who visit the folk school from a far on a regular basis-they are equally willing to share their musical knowledge.

Pap and his brother had a long history of music with the folk school too. If you’ve ever visited their history center you probably saw their photo. The history center is currently being renovated and I’m keeping my fingers crossed their photo continues to be part of the exhibit.

Sometimes when we play at the folk school we’re introduced at Brasstown’s own. That phrase always makes me feel good. I’m glad the folk school community believes we are part of them and we sincerely feel the same way: the folk school is part of us.

Here’s the first half of our concert at the John C. Campbell Folk School on June 22.

I hope you enjoyed the music and the comedy. If you’d like to catch one of The Pressley Girls’ performances this summer go here to see their schedule.

Have a great Sunday!


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  • Reply
    Pamela Danner
    July 3, 2018 at 9:30 pm

    WOW, you all just sounded great!!! My hubby and I just watched the video. I’m with Granny, I really, really like the last song!

  • Reply
    July 1, 2018 at 10:37 pm

    Love that , singing right along with ya… 🙂

  • Reply
    July 1, 2018 at 2:32 pm

    You all just get better and better! We SO enjoyed watching the video. You all always brighten our day! Looking forward to the next half! God bless you. 🙂

  • Reply
    July 1, 2018 at 2:30 pm

    Come to think of it (at least I hope) I am represented at every one of The Pressley Girls’ shows. That is little consolation for lack of physical presence and it’s only worth quarter times three but is worth the world to me.

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    July 1, 2018 at 2:20 pm

    What a way to spend over 30 minutes listening and watching The Pressley Girls singing and Paul and Tipper playing at the Festival Barn. I loved the Gospel Songs “Walking My Lord Up Calvary’s Hill and “If I Could Hear My Mother Pray Again.” I really enjoyed all the humor and singing. …Ken

  • Reply
    betty stephenson
    July 1, 2018 at 2:12 pm

    great job loved it

  • Reply
    July 1, 2018 at 12:04 pm

    Nice, hope it hasn’t been as hot as it has here lately, no doubt those of us that follow the Blind pig can see what a huge difference the Girls music has become through the family influence, I would say first, and everyone else would follow, that’s just the way music is, it’s first planted and watered by the family and begins to grow with the family and everyone else’s input.

  • Reply
    July 1, 2018 at 11:43 am

    Has it ever happened that one of the girls was sick and couldn’t make an appearance? Would/did the rest of you go on without her? Just one of those mental popups I have from time to time. The Pressley Girl?

    • Reply
      July 1, 2018 at 12:30 pm

      Papaw-yes the rest of us would still go 🙂 I’m not sure there’s been a time that one girl was too sick to actually go, but there’s certainly been a few times when one girl wasn’t feeling up to going and went anyway. Chitter struggles with sinus infections which often turn into bronchitis so I know there’s a time or two where she had to leave most of the singing to Paul and Chatter. Several years ago she had bronchitis in the middle of the summer and they were scheduled to play three hours at a place in Nantahala. She was really sick and just started a round of antibiotics that day. I’m still not sure how we survived that night, but we did and the crowd didn’t seem to mind her hacking and frequent breaks when she sat out and let Chitter sing and play. I remember Pap said “No wonder they didn’t care she was sick you’s playing at a beer joint and everybody was probably drunk.” 🙂 There was several shows I didn’t get to go to last summer because I was feeling so bad. But I’m back to my regular self this summer and I’m so very thankful!!

  • Reply
    July 1, 2018 at 11:39 am

    Hi Tipper,Thank you all for the great toe tapping music this morning, wish I could have been there !!! God Bless.Jean

  • Reply
    July 1, 2018 at 9:44 am

    Always and everywhere, “it takes a village to raise a child.” . . . and when music is part of it there’s a special light in their spirit.

  • Reply
    July 1, 2018 at 9:14 am

    Wish I could have been there! Looks like you all are going to be a busy bunch as you go through the summer and fall.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    July 1, 2018 at 8:00 am

    What a nice Sunday morning surprise! The girls are really doing great and of course Tip, You and Paul are doing great. You all make a good team. Pap is proud, I’m sure!

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