The Folkmoot community mourns Trevor Stuart, who along with brother Travis formed the legendary Stuart Brothers duo and became among the most beloved musical acts in our rich musical region.
Stuart, 47, died March 2. He will be greatly missed.
Among other tributes, the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area honored Trevor’s memory by posting about the brothers’ musical heritage:
“Travis plays their great-uncle Austin Stamey’s banjo and Trevor wrote a fiddle tune, on their latest album, in honor of their fiddling great-grandfather, Rev. Henry King,” posted BRNHA.
“Trevor writes, ‘I named this reel after our great-grandfather Henry King, born 1856, who was a fiddler, Methodist preacher, mortician, and a barber, among other things I’m sure. My Grandmaw Myrtle King Stuart told me many stories about him: how he’d cut every dead man’s hair in Sandy Mush. The stories about him staying up all night and playing for dances inspired me to play fiddle. As soon as I had a few tunes I’d play for her and watch the excitement in her eyes.'”
“The Stuart Brothers are world renown for their masterful performances of Appalachian fiddle and banjo duets,” explains the Stuart Brothers’ website. “Trevor and Travis were born and raised in Bethel , a rural farming community in Haywood County, NC — an area of magical beauty where the Blue Ridge and Great Smoky Mountains meet and once the ancient Cherokee settlement of Sonoma. These majestic ranges surrounded the young brothers with the rich musical and cultural environment of Appalachian fiddle tunes, Baptist spirituals, banjo pickers, all night square dance shindigs and poetic tale weavers.
“The brothers learned some of the oldest regional fiddle and banjo styles from masters such as the Smathers Family, Byard Ray, Oscar “Red” Wilson, Gordon Freeman, and the Sutton family. They formed their first band in junior high and played for local clogging teams, local functions and fiddlers conventions. Since then they have toured extensively throughout the US and several foreign countries, teaching and performing at major festivals and music camps.
“Close to home with Travis on banjo and Trevor the fiddle, the Stuart Brothers teach the younger generation in their community. For over a decade they have led the Haywood County JAM (Junior Appalachian Musicians) an after-school program funded by the National Endowment for the Arts.
“Both Travis and Trevor are multi-instrumentalists. Together and separately they have performed at some of the world’s most prestigious stages: London’s Albert Hall, Dublin’s Vicar Street, Levon Helm’s Midnight Ramble, and New York City’s Beacon Theater.
“Having performed together for 30 years Travis and Trevor have also toured and recorded with step dancer Ira Bernstein, songwriter Martha Scanlan, Jim and Jennie and the Pine Tops, Dirk Powell Band, Rayna Gellert, Foghorn Stringband, Riley Baugus, and many more.
“The Stuart brothers have two recordings : Pretty Little Widow, (Yodel-Ay-Hee), and Mountaineer (Old 97 Wrecords) and have appeared on numerous recording with a range of many diverse artist from NC Folk Heritage award winner Red Wilson to most recently New York City’s roots rock outfit Ollabelle.”
The brothers played for Folkmoot audiences, too. Here’s a video of a 2014 performance with the J. Creek Cloggers: