The Sweet Sounds of Brevard
 Exploring Brevard’s Music Scene

Transylvania County’s forests, streets and hills have been alive with beautiful melodies, foot-stomping rhythms and applause after great performances for as long as people have inhabited the area.

A keen observer might note the light-hearted “Beethoven Lives!” street art around downtown Brevard. This is courtesy of Brevard Music Center, summer home to a new generation of rising stars in classical music, as well as their superstar faculty lead by Artistic Director Keith Lockhart and a diverse group of visiting celebrity artists, including such luminaries as Yo Yo Ma and Joshua Bell, with whom they’ve shared the stage for more than eight decades.

But Brevard’s music culture extends well past orchestras. A variety of music thrives throughout our community, and the relatively recent success of some of our local artists has brought Brevard into the spotlight as a regional, even national, music mecca.

Grammy Award-winning Steep Canyon Rangers (pictured above) are one of Brevard’s best known musical exports, having released more than a dozen albums of infectious bluegrass, sometimes (and famously) accompanying Steve Martin. And the Ranger’s impact doesn’t stop there, they have also collaborated with musician and promoter John Felty to create the Mountain Song Festival, an annual event that draws enthusiastic crowds and big-name performers in rock, roots, folk, funk, bluegrass and Americana to the stage at Brevard Music Center. 
In 2001, Felty launched the first White Squirrel Festival, in collaboration with the Heart of Brevard, a free multi-day event that takes place each spring and brings a fantastic line-up of performers to the streets of historic downtown Brevard. We’re looking forward to its return in the years ahead. Felty also featured a number of A-list musicians already living in the area; among them, celebrated singer-songwriter Shannon Whitworth, the legendary rock and jazz fusion drummer Jeff Sipe, country folk singer-songwriter Sarah Siskind, Travis Book of The Infamous Stringdusters and many more. 
“Brevard is an eclectic small town that has some real sophistication to it,” says Felty.  “There are waterfalls, the mountains, the Music Center, Brevard College . . . all these things attract a diverse and talented group of folks. It’s so easy to be inspired here.” 
Felty believes community plays a huge part in Brevard’s music culture. “Having these successful artists as the backdrop also inspires local, younger artists, to pursue music,” he says. “It means a lot to be surrounded by extremely talented, successful musicians that don’t sit back and hide in their living rooms, but play out, act as mentors and participate in the community. That accessibility is motivating.”

That motivation serves not just up-and-coming artists but music fans as well, who can enjoy an ever-expanding group of performers working in every conceivable genre. From the Americana music of Clint Roberts to the goth-tinged heavy metal of The Bloody Hammers to the bluesy folk of John Trufant and his newly launched playlist of great local tunes, singer-songwriter Spalding McIntosh, Brevard truly has a song for every heart. All you have to do is listen.

When you plan your own musical adventure to Brevard get your groove on here.

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Read the previous Field Notes here

Brought to you by Transylvania County Tourism

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