09 April 2019

Willard Gayheart: At home in the Blue Ridge

Thanks to Devon Léger of Hearth Music / Hearth PR for news of a debut album by a veteran of Appalachian music, with a close connection to a rising young American artist who has already performed in Ireland this year and will be back next month.

Willard Gayheart (above) of Galax, VA, one of the focal points of old-time and bluegrass music, has recorded his first solo album, At home in the Blue Ridge - eleven original songs about the country, the way of life, and (among other things) his Wayne Henderson guitar. As a feature on the Grateful Web explains, 'This isn’t music made for stages, or made for commerce, it’s music made for family, for sharing a common experience.' The album is due for release on 24 May on Blue Hens Music.

Willard's own family includes his granddaughter Dori Freeman, who was featured in the Dublin Tradfest in January, will play two shows in next month's Kilkenny Roots Festival, and took an active part in the recording of At home in the Blue Ridge. Willard is also a renowned pencil artist, and samples of his art work and his music, together with a seven-minute video on Vimeo about him (in which Dori Freeman appears) can be found on his website. More of his music can be found on YouTube, including a session in which he picks with the legendary banjo-player Butch Robins.

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