David Holt’s musical mentors

Widely acclaimed Piedmont Blues player, Etta Baker, (1913-2006) was born in Caldwell County, North Carolina. Photo by David Holt


You may be familiar with David Holt as the WNC-based, Grammy award-winning folk musician. Or perhaps you know him first and foremost as a storyteller, or the founder of Warren Wilson College’s Appalachian Music Program, or perhaps as the host of “Folkways,” a PBS production highlighting the traditional arts of the Southern mountains.

It’s less likely that you know Holt as a photographer, but he’s that, too. And it’s only fitting that his first photography exhibition, to be displayed at UNC Asheville’s Lipinsky Auditorium lobby Monday, April 7 through Wednesday, April 16, is inextricable from his love of music. Titled “David Holt’s Musical Mentors,” the exhibition features black and white film portraits of some of Appalachian music’s greatest talents, making for a show that will have special appeal for traditional music lovers and history buffs.

“I’ve been shooting photos of my musical mentors for over 44 years,” says Holt in a press release. “This is the first time I’ve ever exhibited some of my favorites. Many of these musicians are well known: Doc Watson, Grandpa Jones, John Hartford. Others less recognized but important in the world of traditional music: Tommy Jarrell, Dellie Norton, Bessie Jones. They all had a powerful personalities, and my goal was to capture their soulfulness. These photos are some of my most important work.”

An opening reception takes place Monday, April 7, 6:30-8:00 p.m. in the Lipinsky lobby. Light refreshments will be served. The exhibit is on view through April 16.


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About Lea McLellan
Lea McLellan is a freelance writer who likes to write stories about music, art, food, wellness and interesting locals doing interesting things.

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