Traditional Music in Madison County, North Carolina

Collecting and Preserving the Heritage

Madison County has been fertile musical ground since the first settler with a fiddle under his arm and a ballad in his voice set foot on this new land just north of Asheville in the 1790s. In those early years, the Scots-Irish settlers found time at the end of their days to gather with family and neighbors sharing the ballads and fiddle tunes brought with them when they came to his new land. That music was passed down through the generations in much the same manner. Madison County has the longest unbroken tradition of ballad singing in the United States. This collection of music treasures remained hidden until the efforts of two men brought the heritage to other’s attention. Bascom Lamar Lunsford, a musician himself, was born in Madison county but Cecil Sharp, a scholar and folksong collector, had to travel from England for this purpose. The movie, “Songcatcher” is loosely based on the discovery and collection of that music. Both were responsible for preserving the rich musical heritage of Madison County beginning in the early 1900s.

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Interest Grows in Traditional Music in the 1960s

The traditional music had quietly continued to be preserved by each succeeding generation and some had traveled beyond the county borders. However, the way of life in the mid 20th century was quite different from the early 1900s. When musician/filmmaker John Cohen was drawn to Madison County in the 1960s, his tools were more powerful in spreading the story of the county’s musical heritage.

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Featured Businesses in Madison County

Hot Springs Rafting Company

Hot Springs Rafting Company

Hot Springs, North Carolina
877 530-7238

Hot Springs Rafting Company

Little Creek Cafe

Little Creek Cafe

Mars Hill
(828) 689-2307

Little Creek Cafe

Walnut Creek Gallery

Walnut Creek Gallery

Marshall, North Carolina
(828) 649-0568

Walnut Creek Gallery

Wolf Ridge Ski Resort

Wolf Ridge Ski Resort

Mars Hill, North Carolina
(828) 689-4119

Wolf Ridge Ski Resort

French Broad Rafting and Ziplines

French Broad Rafting and Ziplines

Marshall, North Carolina
(800) 570-7238

French Broad Rafting and Ziplines

The Berry Farm, LLC

The Berry Farm, LLC

Marshall, North Carolina
(828) 656-2056

The Berry Farm, LLC

Mad Co. Brew House

Mad Co. Brew House

Marshall, North Carolina
828-649-8600

Mad Co. Brew House

Toops Photojournalist Services

Toops Photojournalist Services

Marshall, North Carolina
(828) 649-3276

Toops Photojournalist Services

Sweet Monkey Bakery & Cafe

Sweet Monkey Bakery & Cafe

Marshall, North Carolina
(828) 649-2489

Sweet Monkey Bakery & Cafe

Sandy Bottom Trail Rides

Sandy Bottom Trail Rides

Marshall, North Carolina
(828) 649-3464

Sandy Bottom Trail Rides

Madison County Tourism Development Authority

56 South Main Street
Mars Hill, NC 28754

Click here for Driving Directions

Contact
 

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Local: (828) 680-9031

Toll Free: (877) 262-3476

Mailing Address: PO Box 1527
    Mars Hill, NC 28754