Long-running Songwriters in the Round Series Continues at the Folkmoot Center
Begun at an inn in Balsam, NC, in 1996 and modeled after similar performances at Nashville’s famous Bluebird Café, the Great Balsam Songwriters in the Round Series, now hosted at the Historic Hazelwood School/Folkmoot Center, presents signature in-the-round shows featuring talented songwriters and performers. Many performances feature Grammy and CMA award winners, and all include writers of many top-ranked songs. Good food, good drink, a warm atmosphere and extraordinary talent are always on tap!
Next Date in the Series: October 19
A regional showcase with Haywood County’s own John Wiggins, Sylva resident and American Idol Golden Ticket winner Alma Russ, and Cashiers’s Isaiah Breedlove!
Canton’s John Wiggins and his sister, Audrey, sang together beginning in childhood, and their father, Johnny Wiggins, was the “Singing Bus Driver” on Ernest Tubb’s 1960s tours. John made his singing debut at age four, and for the next several years, he and Audrey performed in their father’s band. In the 1980’s, the Wiggins siblings and Clinton Gregory joined the house band at Maggie Valley’s Stompin’ Ground, and signed to PolyGram/Mercury Records in 1994. They released their self-titled debut that year, and the album produced three chart entries on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Songs charts, including the No. 22 “Has Anybody Seen Amy?”.
In 1995, 1996, and 1997, John & Audrey Wiggins received Country Music Association nominations for Duo of the Year. A second album, “The Dream”, followed in 1997 and charted the release “Somewhere in Love” which peaked at No. 49.
In the 2000s, John found work as a songwriter in Nashville. Among his cuts were the singles “Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off” by Joe Nichols, “Anything Goes” by Randy Houser, and “Who Are You When I’m Not Looking” by Nichols and Blake Shelton.
A former soldier and deep sea oil field diver turned songwriter, Hannan has written songs recorded and or performed by Garth Brooks, Blake Shelton, Brad Paisley, Joe Nichols, William Shatner, John Michael Montgomery, Montgomery Gentry, Darryl Worley and many others.
He’s a Gold and Platinum of songwriter, with millions of airplays, and has won multiple number one awards from BMI as a songwriter and a publisher, including CMA (two number ones), ACM (two number ones), Country Radio Broadcasters Award (two), and a Grammy nominated album of the year. He won the coveted NSAI “One of the Songs I Wish I’d Written” award, voted by professional songwriter members.
He now travels the world, writing songs, including those penned during a solo motorcycle journey to the exact locations where brothers in arms had made the ultimate sacrifice. These songs were then recorded in an ongoing compilation ‘Songs from the Battlefield’.
A Golden Ticket recipient on American Idol, Sylva songwriter Alma Russ sings a blend of folk, bluegrass, and mountain ballads, and plays fiddle, claw-hammer banjo and guitar. As a youngster, Alma learned to sing mountain ballads, and Appalachian culture was one of Alma’s first inspirations for learning to play fiddle.
She began writing and composing music around age 14 and always has songs in various stages of development. Her primary musical influences include country gold, bluegrass, gypsy jazz, and folk.
Previous Performers in the Great Balsam Songwriters in the Round Series at Queen Auditorium
May, 2019: Scott Miller, RB Morris and David Childers
Scott Miller, founding memory of the V-Roys and later Scott Miller and the Commonwealth joined Mount Holly resident and “North Carolina treasure” David Childers and Knoxville poet, playwright and songwriter RB Morris for an extraordinary evening at Queen Auditorium.
April, 2019: Claire Lynch, Jerry Salley and Irene Kelley
Three-time International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Female Vocalist of the Year, Claire Lynch, with a voice described by Dolly Parton as “one of the sweetest, purest and best lead voices in the music business today,” joined extraordinary veteran tunesmiths Irene Kelley and Jerry Salley for a wonderful night in Waynesville.
February, 2019: David Olney, Peter Cooper, Gwil Owen and Darren Nicholson
After its move from Balsam, our series opened at Folkmoot’s Queen Auditorium with master craftsman, acclaimed singer/songwriter and globe-trotting performer David Olney; one of Nashville’s “10 Most Interesting People” in songwriter and music scholar Peter Cooper, prolific composer and Academy Award nominee Gwil Owen, and Haywood County’s own Darren Nicholson, mandolinist for Balsam Range.