Live at the Folk School

collage of photos of a family

Last week’s concert at the Folk School seemed especially sweet. Maybe it was because Chitter was trying out a new fiddle (I’ll tell you more about that later!) or maybe it was because so many friends came out to hear us.

Playing at the Folk School is like having the home field advantage.

The other night Chitter tried to explain to the audience why we love playing at the school.

She spoke of the generational aspect of our music and of the generational ties we have to the school.

My Mamaw Marie, her great grandmother, worked at the school in various positions over the years. As I walk in the Community Room I often think of her walking the same floors.

Chitter had the opportunity to work in the Folk School archives last year. She become obsessed with the collection of carvings from the Brasstown Carvers. Since Marie worked in the finishing room at one time, Chitter said as she cataloged old pieces she often wondered if her great grandmother finished the carving she was holding.

As Chitter spoke of the influence the Folk School, and all the people who pass through it, have had on her and her sister’s musical endeavors she told the crowd about Pap and his brother’s music and how the Folk School documented and encouraged them along the way.

The girls have been doing a song Pap and Ray did, “Careless Soul.” As we got ready to play it Chitter said “The Wilson Brothers probably sung this song right here on this stage.” Paul said “I”ll tell you one better than that, they recorded the song right out there where that man is sitting.”

Today’s Thankful November giveaway is a copy of The Wilson Brothers’ cd “At the John C. Campbell Folk School & On Radio.” To be entered in the giveaway leave a comment on this post. *Giveaway ends November 27, 2019.

Here’s one of the songs from the cd recorded at the Folk School.

The cd is really a treasure. It has 34 tracks on it. A few of the them give a real peak into the live shows by sharing the mc’s intros and the banter of The Wilson Brothers. If you’d like to pick up your own copy you can jump over to my Etsy shop here. Or you can mail a check to me ($13) and I’ll send you one:

Tipper Pressley
562 Wilson Road
Brasstown, NC 28902


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  • Reply
    November 26, 2019 at 11:55 pm

    It’s on my Wish List to take a class at the Folk School. One of these days… You are blessed to have such a strong connection to this marvelous place.

  • Reply
    Joshua Dykes
    November 25, 2019 at 6:33 pm

    Great story! I love that your family is helping to preserve Appalachian culture and music.

  • Reply
    Linda Cerveny
    November 24, 2019 at 10:50 am

    I’m planning a trip to the Folk School in Feb. 2020, for the Beginning Hammered Dulcimer classes . First time to the school. Can’t wait to start building the memories!

  • Reply
    November 23, 2019 at 4:16 pm

    I was uplifted by this song on such a dreary, rainy afternoon. I just loved the harmony, and my new laptop really has good sound.

  • Reply
    Bill Burnett
    November 23, 2019 at 3:31 pm

    Like Pinnacle Creek I lost a Great Grandmother and two Great Uncles who were babies in the 1918 Flu Pandemic. I have a cousin who worked for CDC who wrote and published a story of visiting our Cemetery and seeing the three graves with the 1918 dates of death. If interested google “The Spanish Flu Pandemic.” Every time I see these graves I feel for the lose my Great Grandpa and their surviving children had to endure. There’s nothing like the ties we have with our “Home Ground” here in the Appalachian Mountains.

  • Reply
    Mary Lou McKillip
    November 23, 2019 at 2:51 pm

    Tipper so many grand memories at the Golk School. The Wilson Brothers and
    First hubby Ed playing with two different bands. My Truman worked for Folk-school for 13 years as Maintain Supervision and all teachers and I miss Danny Wilson who worked at F school as well. Now the beautiful Talented Twins of Tipper making music

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    November 23, 2019 at 1:15 pm

    Leave me out of the drawing. I already have the CD. I am looking forward to hearing the Pressley Girls sing “Careless Soul”. That is one of my favorite songs and the Pressley Girls are my absolute favorite singers!

  • Reply
    November 23, 2019 at 12:56 pm

    What a wonderful heritage & legacy. Thank you for sharing. I am always uplifted by your stories & music!

  • Reply
    betty stephenson
    November 23, 2019 at 12:35 pm

    wow amazing harmonies by these two such a tlent thanks for letting us hear it have a great week

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    November 23, 2019 at 12:34 pm

    I had planned to come to the Folk School and see the Wilson Family perform, but my friend, Monte Kit came over and brought a load of wood he had just cut. I didn’t even know he was coming, but I’ve known him since we were Kids. He came just before dark, so we unloaded the wood.

    Pap would be so Proud to know that members of his family is walking the same footsteps that he trod. …Ken

  • Reply
    Annette Casada Hensley
    November 23, 2019 at 11:42 am

    Although I don’t have the same ties to the folk school, I do have those wonderful ties to places in my home community. I live far away, but those emotional ties always go back to my roots. I got emotional just reading what you wrote about Chitter explain your family’s special ties to the folk school.

  • Reply
    November 23, 2019 at 10:54 am

    You are so very fortunate to be able to walk the hallways your ancestral family once walked. I know the exact places where most of mine once lived, but since then the houses are long gone. We are left with the old addresses of some we never knew. I cannot help but think about how they lived, and I research diligently to put together their stories. The cemeteries now hold many in their final resting place, and I suppose that is why I love so much to visit our many old family cemeteries.
    I often heard growing up about a wonderful and kind gr grandmother, Mariah, who died in the Great Influenza Epidemic of 1918. Just recently I was able to travel with family to remote cemetery located on a beautiful hillside. I viewed her grave along with my gr grandfather’s where three tiny graves lay between them. My uncle had reconstructed dates of death to determine which child located where, and finally to place markers with their names. We even have pictures of earlier ancestors in 1800 standing in that same cemetery when it was new, and it is now filled to the brim with ancestors and more recent kinfolk. We truly have a sense of roots in our Appalachia, and many cemeteries are kept up well by descendants. It seems somebody always steps up to the plate.
    I love Pap’s music, because it is such a big part of the BP&A.

  • Reply
    Kenneth Ryan
    November 23, 2019 at 10:29 am

    The folk school is a mighty long way from Texas, but I hope to visit someday. I would love to have the Wilson Brothers cd.

  • Reply
    Patti Tappel
    November 23, 2019 at 10:04 am

    I am so grateful that we’ve had many experiences of the Folk school. It’s just so hard to show the love until it’s been experienced in person, and many times over us the best.
    Love you gals!

  • Reply
    November 23, 2019 at 10:03 am

    This is such a neat story! I love to think about the great cloud of witnesses who have lived this Christian life before us and gone on to Glory. It encourages me to know that our ancestors faced hard trials in this life, and they overcame and are now at rest with Jesus. I really enjoyed reading this today and hope you and all of your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving! If any of you would like to share your favorite Christmas memory, we’d love to have you email them to us for our upcoming blog posts!

  • Reply
    November 23, 2019 at 9:25 am

    I’ve been to the Folk School once and greatly enjoyed the visit. I would be there a lot more if I didn’t live so far away. I grew up hearing the Wilsons and others singing and continue to enjoy your group. My mother-in-law once said, “Why, that’s old mountain music you’re listening to.” Yep, my kind of music.

  • Reply
    November 23, 2019 at 9:14 am

    Mamaw Marie and Pap are smiling down on their family that walks the same floors and plays the same stage they did. Maybe some day you will have grandchildren who will explain the same thing Chitter did to their audience. They will tell about their momma and mamaw Tipper working there and playing their music on the same stage where they stand.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    November 23, 2019 at 9:10 am

    As was said of Abel, so also of Pap and Ray that they “being dead yet speaketh” and are part of that “so great a cloud of witnesses”. And as time rocks on we see an ever greater need for witness to more than this life. “He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. ”

    I’m glad that I found BP&A, though I dis-remember just how. I’m glad too that you all have deep roots in that country. They are beyond price in a wandering world.

  • Reply
    November 23, 2019 at 9:06 am

    That was beautiful song and walking the path of one’s grandparents or great-grandparents is humbling and a truly awesome experience. I was visiting a cousin in TN one year and she wanted to go in to Savannah and pay her taxes so I went along too. When we got to the old courthouse and I noticed the date on it, I felt tears in my eyes and as I told her Jennie we are walking in the steps of our great-grandfather as he came here to pay his taxes.
    One year my husband and I were following the longest yard sale and we had started out in Kentucky, I had been told that there was an old pioneer cemetery near Gravel Switch community and we found the cemetery and the Pipes that were laid to rest there. I remember saying, ” well these might be relatives of mine” so I took some pictures after I looked at the beautiful valley surrounding the cemetery. Years later studying genealogy and using Ancestry, I found out that indeed the Pipes in that cemetery were part of my family. Again, I was humbled by the fact that we were able to locate the old cemetery and know where some of our people lived. This Capt. John Pipes, Jr., served in the Revolution under General George Washington in Morristown, N.J. My dear husband took me to Morristown, N.J., and as I walked around the old part of town on the greens I felt I was walking back where my ancestors walked. Visiting the historical society there I found a lot of history on the Pipes family that I never knew and I hadn’t realized our families were here so early in our country’s beginnings.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    November 23, 2019 at 7:45 am

    Well, Tip, you managed to bring tears to my eyes this morning! Pap voice is so wonderfully sweet, as is his spirit! I sure do miss his kind and wonderful presence!

  • Reply
    Kay Dallas
    November 23, 2019 at 6:33 am

    I too try to keep the Appalachian ways alive with my children, grandchildren and community. From sayings to clogging, art and homesteading. This will be a lost way of life and a traditional homesteading if we don’t all do our part with the generations. I absolutely love your blog. Thank you for sharing!

    • Reply
      November 23, 2019 at 8:58 am

      The school is a great center for the community and an opportunity to interface with other parts of the world. Really enjoy the Wilson Brothers’ gospel bluegrass music and harmonies. They rightly deserved the NC Heritage Award. Would love to have one of their albums.

  • Reply
    carol roy
    November 23, 2019 at 6:18 am

    Hi Tipper….this is special singing and I do enjoy it all. So proud of Chitter and Chatter they just keep doing better and better. The Best to you all….Carol

    • Reply
      sheryl paul
      November 23, 2019 at 6:44 am

      The school is a special place. I make sure to visit each time I am near. Walking the paths our grandparents walked is an amazing experience I hope everyone is able to do st least once

    • Reply
      November 23, 2019 at 9:42 am

      Boy that’s harmony! Thanks for the address o

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