Great Balsam Songwriters in the Round Series

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!

RB Morris, David Childers and Scott Miller perform in the round, May 18, 2019



Doors open at 6pm for food, cash bar and conversations with the songwriters. Music begins at 7:15


112 Virginia Ave., Waynesville
Historic Hazelwood School | Folkmoot Center | Queen Auditorium

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!

Great Balsam Songwriters in the Round Series at Folkmoot's Queen Auditorium featuring John Wiggins, Gary Hannan, Alma Russ and Isaiah Breedlove

John Wiggins

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.

Learn more about John here

Gary Hannan

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’.

Learn more about Gary here

Alma Russ

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. 

Learn more about Alma here

Isaiah Breedlove

Isaiah Breedlove is an American singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist from Cashiers. He’s shared the stage with Earl Scruggs, Ralph Stanley, Mountain Heart and Sierra Hull, and has released one studio album (All Around Your Sleepy Head) and one single (Interstate Blues) which have garnered praise from Indie Shuffle, American Songwriter Magazine and others. He’s set to release his first full-length project, Save Your Pennies, in 2019. 

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, David Childers and RB Morris in the Great Balsam Songwriters in the Round Series at Folkmoot's Queen Auditorium

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.

Pre-show release

Visit Scott Miller here
Visit RB Morris here
Visit David Childers here

April, 2019: Claire Lynch, Jerry Salley and Irene Kelley

Great Balsam Songwriters in the Round with Jerry Salley, Claire Lynch 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.

Pre-show release
Blog post about recent accolades for these musicians

Visit Claire Lynch here
Visit Irene Kelley here
Visit Jerry Salley here

February, 2019: David Olney, Peter Cooper, Gwil Owen and Darren Nicholson

David Olney, Peter Cooper Gwil Owen and Darren Nicholson in the Great Balsam Songwriters in the Round Series at Folkmoot's Queen Auditorium

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.

Pre-show release

Visit David Olney here
Visit Peter Cooper here
Visit Gwil Owen here
Visit Darren Nicholson here