Storylady Gwenda Ledbetter performs with bluesman Scott Ainslie at Habitat Tavern, July 28

Press release:

David Joe Miller presents an incredibly special and rare WORD show, planned for Friday July 28th at Habitat Brewing and Commons featuring Asheville’s own original Story Lady, Gwenda Ledbetter and acclaimed blues musician and music historian, Scott Ainslie from Vermont. The doors will open at Habitat Commons, 174 Broadway in downtown Asheville at 6pm for an 7pm show. Tickets are 18.00 online at or 20.00 at the door, evening of the show. We do expect this show to sell out so purchasing your tickets in advance, online, is highly recommended. Seating is very limited in this intimate setting. Plenty of parking in the Moog parking lot after 5pm.

Gwenda Ledbetter is a highly renowned, award winning Master Storyteller who began her career in the early ’60’s at Pack Memorial Library and on WLOS’s Saturday morning “Mr. Bill Show” with her segment, “Stories From The Red Rocker.” She was lovingly known as “The Story Lady.” Her wondrous career as a storyteller began a decade before the National Storytelling Festival, which helped launch the professional careers of numerous other storytellers and troubadours around the world, took root in Jonesborough, TN. She won the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Storytelling Network in 2016 and, at 87 years, continues to enthrall audiences with her stories and charm.

Joining Gwenda is Scott Ainslie. He has been a musician all his life. Scott’s mother found him at the family piano picking out melodies from the records she listened to during the day when he was only three years old. A Phi Beta Kappa and honors graduate of Washington & Lee University, Ainslie came of age during the Civil Rights era, and cultivated a powerful affinity for cross-cultural exchange. He has studied with elder musicians on both sides of the color line – in the Old-Time Southern Appalachian fiddle and banjo traditions, as well as Black Gospel and Blues. He plays this music with affection, authority, and power.

Scott is very well known in the Asheville music community having shared the stage with numerous musicians and spoken word artists and will be in town for the Swannanoa Gathering, July 29th-August 4th. You can learn more about Scott at

Master storyteller Gwenda Ledbetter and musician-singer Scott Ainslie became friends over a song and a broken heart. Meeting at The North Carolina Storytelling Festival, where Scott was performing in 2011, Ledbetter and Ainslie began a deep friendship following his singing of an old slave song, ‘Another Man Done Gone’. The tune fell into the space left by the loss of Ledbetter’s husband, who succumbed to, but had been lost to, Alzheimer’s years before. She thanked him for the song and praised his singing. They ate chicken salad sandwiches and Scott said “Good, now we’re friends. Come see us in Vermont.”

And so began a long correspondence and multiple visits as Ainslie toured western NC, and now for the first and possibly only time, they’ll be sharing their friendship, their artistry, and the stage at Habitat Brewing and Commons for this very special WORD show.

The show will be a combination of story, conversation and blues and will celebrate the heart, mind and soul of stories and music. You won’t want to miss this. For more information and a direct ticket link, visit

About Alli Marshall
Alli Marshall has lived in Asheville for more than 20 years and loves live music, visual art, fiction and friendly dogs. She is the winner of the 2016 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize and the author of the novel "How to Talk to Rockstars," published by Logosophia Books. Follow me @alli_marshall

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