Nashville Songwriters: Irene Kelley, Claire Lynch & Jerry Salley @ Folkmoot USA | Historic Hazelwood School
Apr 6 @ 6:00 pm – 10:00 pm


Our Great Balsam Nashville Songwriters in the Round Series continues with an in the round performance by Irene Kelley,
Claire Lynch and Jerry Salley (Jerry Salley – Songwriter-Singer) – all noted performers with multiple SESAC, IBMA and GRAMMY awards among them!

The Great Balsam Nashville Songwriters in the Round Series, begun at Balsam, NC, in 1996 and modeled after similar performances at Nashville’s famous Bluebird Café, is now hosted at the Historic Hazelwood School/Folkmoot Center. The series presents signature in-the-round shows featuring Nashville area songwriters who pen the lyrics performed by country’s biggest stars. Many performances feature Grammy and CMA award winners, and all include writers of many top-ranked songs.

What is an in the round performance? Occasionally duplicated but most often associated with the Bluebird Café, in-the-round performances feature performers seated in a circle with the audience all around. The musicians trade anecdotes about the music industry and sing the songs they’ve written.

Our evening begins with a 6pm – 7pm social with the songwriters, food trucks, beverages and cash bar. Music begins at 7:15. One intermission is scheduled.

About the songwriters:

Irene Kelley

“As a vocalist, Irene Kelley glows with beauty and expressiveness. As a songwriter, she shines with a luster that few of her peers can match. This is music to cleanse the soul. This is music to raise you up. This is music to touch your heart. This is the music of Irene Kelley.”
~ Robert K. Oermann, Music Historian, Music Row Magazine

Irene Kelley’s signature mix of Bluegrass, Country and Americana appeals to music lovers across all genres. A native of Latrobe, PA, Irene Kelley discovered her flair for songwriting as a teenager and soon found her way to Nashville, TN where her songs were quickly noticed and recorded by Carl Jackson, Ricky Skaggs and Sharon White. While recording an album for MCA and independently releasing two more records and touring worldwide, Irene raised two daughters and scored cuts with Alan Jackson, Trisha Yearwood, Loretta Lynn, Pat Green, Brother Phelps, Rhonda Vincent, Claire Lynch, Darrell Scott, The Whites, the Osborne Brothers and others.

But it’s not just her songwriting that has drawn much deserved attention her way. Kelley’s pure and lonesome vocal prowess has endeared her to a score of music lovers for years, making her one of traditional music’s most beloved musical story-tellers.

Claire Lynch

“Listening to Claire Lynch sing is not something to be undertaken casually. Her songs and stage presence demand the listener’s rapt attention. She’s an intensely soulful singer, whose distinctive voice resonates with power and strength, yet retains an engaging innocence and crystalline purity. She’s also a songwriter of extraordinary ability who can bring listeners to their feet with her buoyant rhythms or to their knees with her sometimes almost unbearably poignant and insightful lyrics.”
~ Dave Higgs, WPLN Nashville

Three-time International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Female Vocalist of the Year, Claire Lynch is an award-winning tunesmith and one of Bluegrass’s most beloved acts. She’s thrice been nominated for a GRAMMY and is the 2012 recipient of the United States Artists Walker Fellowship Award. After seven years as a Music Row songwriter and eighteen years on the Rounder Records label, she co-wrote and recorded “Dear Sister” for Compass Records and garnered IBMA’s 2014 Song of the Year.

Dolly Parton credits Claire with “one of the sweetest, purest and best lead voices in the music business today.” Her harmonies have graced the recordings of many stellar musicians. Equally gifted as a writer, her songs have been recorded by The Seldom Scene, Patty Loveless, Kathy Mattea, Cherryholmes, The Whites and others.

Jerry Salley

“Jerry is not only a friend, in the truest sense of the word, he is also a songwriter’s songwriter – an artist that completely understands the idea of “painting a picture” using the marriage of lyric and rhyme; someone that fully grasps the art of crafting a song, rather than throwing words against the page. His paintbrush is a pen, his canvas a legal pad, and his goal always another masterpiece.”
~ Multi-Grammy award winning producer, musician and songwriter, Carl Jackson

Referred to by Billboard Magazine as “One of Music Row’s greatest veteran tunesmiths,” Jerry Salley has had an incredibly successful songwriting career. The 2018 IBMA (International Bluegrass Music Association) Songwriter of the Year and the 2003 SESAC Country Music Songwriter of the Year, Jerry has had over 500 songs recorded in his multi-award winning career. To date Jerry’s songs have sold in excess of 17 million records worldwide and internationally he has penned no less than eight #1 Country hits in Australia. Writing and singing in Nashville since 1982, he has written multiple hits in Country, Bluegrass and Gospel Music and may well be the most successful songwriter to have earned equal recognition from all three genres of music.

Jerry’s songs have been recorded by country artists Chris Stapleton, Reba McEntire, Brad Paisley, Shenandoah and Toby Keith and bluegrass artists Rhonda Vincent, Del McCoury and Doyle Lawson. His songs have also been recorded by gospel artists Steven Curtis Chapman, The Talleys, Karen Peck and more.

Rental – Carolina Readiness: HERITAGE LIFE SKILLS VIII @ Folkmoot Friendship Center
Apr 12 @ 6:10 pm – Apr 15 @ 7:10 pm

Our focus at Carolina Readiness Supply is to keep our community informed on the “how to” of readiness planning while supplying quality goods and services to meet those needs. Whether it’s an emergency preparedness situation or a camping/hiking trip, our freeze dried foods, water purifiers, lighting tools, first aid kits, or large selection of camping supplies will see you through. We look forward to meeting all your needs!


Visit for more information.

Haywood Co. Dine & Dance Etiquette Classes @ Folkmoot Center | Historic Hazelwood School
Apr 19 @ 4:30 pm – Apr 26 @ 6:30 pm

Good manners matter! Join us at the Folkmoot Center as we offer etiquette and dance classes for students ages 14-18. We’ll brush up on basic etiquette skills for prom, college and adulthood, and teach basic dance steps of East Coast Swing and Waltz.

Class meets four times on Tuesdays and Thursday for two weeks.

East Coast Swing & Waltz Dance Classes taught by Sally & Herb Roach
Etiquette Classes provided by Jane Markley & Ann Melton

Southern Storytellers Series: Lee Woods @ Folkmoot Friendship Center
Apr 25 @ 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm


Folkmoot’s 2019 Southern Storytellers Series continues Thursday, April 25, with guest speaker Lee Woods, author of “Growing Up on Hazel Creek and in the Fontana Basin”.

Tickets for the 6pm event are $18 for adults, $10 for students, $23 at the door and include dinner.

Woods is a descendant of families who lived in Hazel Creek, a community now both submerged by Lake Fontana and absorbed within the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. She’ll talk about the rich legacy of towns lost and people displaced she so vividly captures in her books.

Hosted by Folkmoot and co-sponsored by Blue Ridge Books, the Haywood County Public Library and the Smoky Mountain News, the Southern Storytellers Series brings southern culture and our region’s authors and musicians together for a unique night of food, fun and discussion. An educational exhibit, provided by WCU Mountain Heritage Center explores Decoration Day, a tradition throughout the region, with special focus on the North Shore of Fontana Lake in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The ticket price for each event includes a unique southern-themed meal.

CommUnity Barn old time Square Dance @ Folkmoot Friendship Dinner
Apr 27 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

The CommUnity Barn old time Square Dance, a longtime fixture in Jackson County’s Webster Community, pays a visit to the Folkmoot Center on Saturday, April 27, from 7 til 9 pm. Everyone is welcome! Called by Aaron Ratcliff, of Boone, with stringband music by Cullowheezer (William Ritter, Pan Riggs and Brett Riggs). Admission is free. A food truck will be on hand and beer, wine and other beverages will be available.

Rental – WNC Senior Expo @ Folkmoot Friendship Center
May 3 @ 9:00 am – 3:00 pm

The 2nd annual Haywood County Senior Expo for WNC area seniors will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday, May 3.

There will be BINGO opportunities and lunch for fun, many resource booths and speakers, including Julie Goodwin from the Better Business Bureau on arming ourselves against scams; Larry Reeves about different levels of long-term care and what to seek in care facilities, the Haywood County Sheriff’s Dept. with a Senior Self-defense class, and more.

More information is available at

Rental – Shady Ladies Quilt Show @ Folkmoot Friendship Center
May 3 @ 6:31 pm – May 5 @ 7:31 pm

The sixteenth-annual Shady Ladies Quilt Art Show will take place Friday, Saturday and Sunday May 3-5. Hours will be 10am until 5pm on Friday and Saturday, and Noon until 4pm on Sunday. Admission is $5 in benefit of the Pigeon Street Multicultural Development Center.


More than 100 quilts will be on display, including art quilts, modern and traditional quilts, wall hangings and bed quilts. Many will be for sale, and an antique quilt exhibit and sale will also take place.


In addition, a boutique will complement the show, with quilting-related items, fabric, notions, supplies and more.

Southern Storytellers Series: Ron Rash @ Folkmoot Friendship Center
May 9 @ 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Folkmoot, Blue Ridge Books and the Haywood County Public Library are continuing to bring The Southern Storytellers Supper Series, bringing southern culture and our region’s authors and musicians together for a unique night of food, fun and discussion. Three special evenings have been planned for spring 2019, all held at the Folkmoot Friendship Center from 6–8 p.m. at the Folkmoot Friendship Center in Waynesville.  Doors open at 5:30pm and dinner is served at 6:00pm. Authors and Blue Ridge Books will be on hand to offer books for purchase.

The May 9, 2019 Southern Storytellers Supper will feature local author and storyteller Ron Rash.

Rash will discuss stories of the historical events of our area that have found their way into his novels and poetry.  Some of the events Rash has written about include the local logging industry, the Shelton Laurel Massacre during the Civil War, and the WWI German Internment camp in Hot Springs that housed “detained immigrants.” 

Tickets for all Friendship Center events can be purchased in advance at or by calling (828) 452-2997. Limited seating is available. Parking is encouraged in the back of the Folkmoot building for year-round events. Ticket sales and contributions support Folkmoot programs that sustain cultural arts for youth & families in western North Carolina.

Folkmoot’s year-round programming initiatives have been made possible by the Community Foundation of Western North Carolina and the Cherokee Preservation Foundation.

Family rates available call 828-452-2997 ext 101 for more information.

“Open Streets” and Bike Skills Rodeo @ Folkmoot Friendship Center
May 11 @ 3:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Strive Beyond and Folkmoot USA are teaming up to open up Brook Street to walking, biking and healthy movement of all kinds at an Open Streets event on Saturday, May 11 from 3 until 8pm.

This car-free event invites you to make the street your playground for the day. The fun includes: Bike Skills Rodeo, Live Music, Bike Raffles, Anything-That-Rolls Races, 9-Square and Other Street Games. Food and drinks will be available.

Brook Street, behind Folkmoot USA, will be closed to car traffic and opened to activities between Virginia Ave. and S. Main St., with additional activities and a marketplace in and around Folkmoot USA.

In addition, Bicycle Haywood is leading a family-friendly bike ride from Whole Bloomin’ Thing to Virginia Ave along a safe 1.5 mile route. The ride rolls out at 3pm. If you prefer to drive, you can park in designated satellite parking areas, all within a 1/4 mile walk of the Folkmoot Center.

Those interested should bring favorite things that roll … bikes, skates, skateboard, whatever, and discover a lot of fun activities like yoga in the street and chalk art.

More information is available at the “Open Street Folkmoot” event page on Facebook, at and at

Nashville Songwriters in the Round @ Folkmoot Center | Historic Hazelwood School
May 18 @ 6:00 pm – 10:00 pm


Scott Miller, David Childers and RB Morris Play Songwriters in the Round

The long-running series of in-the-round performances began in Balsam in 1996

6pm – 7pm food, beverages and meet-the-songwriters, music at 7:15

Begun at an inn in Balsam, NC, in 1996 and modeled after similar performances at Nashville’s famous Bluebird Café, the Great Balsam Nashville Songwriters in the Round Series, now hosted at the Historic Hazelwood School/Folkmoot Center, presents signature in-the-round shows featuring Nashville area songwriters who pen the lyrics performed by country’s biggest stars. Many performances feature Grammy and CMA award winners, and all include writers of many top-ranked songs.

What is an In-The Round Performance? Occasionally duplicated but most often associated with the Bluebird Café in Nashville, in-the-round performances feature performers seated in a circle with the audience all around. The musicians trade anecdotes about the music industry and sing the songs they’ve written.

Scott Miller

Miller grew up on a farm in Swoope, Virginia. After graduating from William & Mary, he moved to Knoxville, Tennessee in 1990. In 1994, he helped form a band called the Viceroys, which was renamed The V-Roys to avoid confusion with an existing group. The V-Roys were the first act signed on Steve Earle’s label, E-Squared Records.

After the V-Roys split up in 1999, Miller formed a new band, Scott Miller and the Commonwealth, who were briefly the house band on Blue Collar TV. The Lexington Herald-Leader wrote of Miller’s first albums after the V-Roys as “strong, folk-infused songs” in which “the boozy charm of his music was innocuous.”

Miller’s songs reflect his degrees in American History and Russian Studies, with references to his home, family, history, geography, writers and Appalachia. As of 2011, Miller was based in Staunton, Virginia, having moved back home to help manage the family cattle farm. Miller collaborated with filmmaker James Weems and photographer Glen Rose on mini-documentary “Going Home” which explores Miller’s personal and musical journey in returning to the family farm.

In addition to solo shows, Miller plays some shows with a full Commonwealth band lineup, but more often plays trio shows with what he has come to call the Commonwealth Ladies Auxiliary (bass player Bryn Davies and fiddler Rayna Gellert).

David Childers

Singer-songwriter David Childers is the proverbial study in contradictions. A resident of Mount Holly, North Carolina, he’s a former high-school football player with the aw-shucks demeanor of a good ol’ Southern boy. But he’s also a well-read poet and painter who cites Chaucer and Kerouac as influences, fell in love with folk as a teen, and listens to jazz and opera.

Childers’ latest album, Run Skeleton Run, released May 5, 2017 on Ramseur Records, is filled with the kinds of songs that have made him a favorite of fans and fellow artists including neighbors the Avett Brothers. Scott Avett contributes to four tracks, and Avetts bassist Bob Crawford co-executive-produced the effort with label head Dolph Ramseur. (Crawford and Childers, both history buffs, have recorded and performed together in the Overmountain Men).

In fact, it was Crawford who kickstarted this album, Childers’ sixth solo effort, by suggesting he reunite with Don Dixon (R.E.M., the Smithereens), who’d produced Crawford’s favorite Childers album, Room 23 (done with his band the Modern Don Juans). Crawford also suggested tracking at Mitch Easter’s Fidelitorium Recordings.

Crawford has also called Childers “a great friend, a great thinker and a great man … a true North Carolina treasure.” But let’s take out “North Carolina,” because Childers is the kind of treasure who can spread joy wherever people love listening to great songs. In other words, just about anywhere. Or everywhere.

RB Morris

RB Morris is a poet and songwriter, solo performer and band leader, and a sometimes playwright and actor from Knoxville, Tennessee. He has published books of poetry including Early Fires  (Iris Press), Keeping The Bees Employed, and The Mockingbird Poems (Rich Mountain Bound), and music albums including Spies Lies and Burning Eyes, and his most recent solo project Rich Mountain Bound. He wrote and acted in The Man Who Lives Here Is Looney, a one-man play taken from the life and work of James Agee, and was instrumental in founding a park dedicated to Agee in Knoxville. Morris served as the Jack E. Reese Writer-in-Residence at The University of Tennessee from 2004-2008, and was inducted into the East Tennessee Writers Hall of Fame in 2009. He currently lives in Knoxville with his wife and daughter.