Audio slideshow: Sit a spell at Mrs. Hyatt’s Oprahouse

If you’re looking to kick off your July Fourth weekend a day early, consider stopping by Nelia Hyatt‘s music house Thursday evening. Officially known as Mrs. Hyatt’s Oprahouse, the building is on Brevard Road, not far from the WNC Farmer’s Market. Just look for the “Keep on the Sunnyside” sign and the cars parked along the road.

Click the image above to view an audio slideshow.

Hyatt, the matriarch who presides over the weekly bluegrass jam session, recently celebrated her 91st birthday. You’ll find her sitting in a chair or on a stool, tapping her foot along with the music. Hyatt and her husband, Wayne, started inviting friends over to play music in the 1950s. The gatherings got so popular that the Hyatts built the little structure behind their home and started hosting public jams in the mid-1970s. Wayne died in 1984, but Nelia has kept the weekly gatherings going.

Any given week, you’re likely to run into a number of regulars, some new players, a few cloggers and the occasional international visitor. There’s pound cake and coffee on a table along one wall for a hungry body, with donations much-appreciated. Guitar, banjo and mandolin cases line another wall.

Click here to read last week’s Mountain Xpress story, and click on the image at right to view an audio slideshow that will give you an inside look.

— Jason Sandford, multimedia editor


Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

One thought on “Audio slideshow: Sit a spell at Mrs. Hyatt’s Oprahouse

  1. Martin

    Mrs. Hyatt’s home is scheduled for demolition on September 12, the night before she’s honored at the NC Mtn. State Fair for preserving mountain music. Couldn’t the music house behind it be saved, protected, moved? Where Tommy Hunter, Grover Sutton, Tommy Bell, so many greats taught us tunes, songs? Some suggest writing to the Preservation Society of Asheville and Buncombe Co. at, Is the last potluck this Thursday? I hope not. What’s the world coming to. Please share with friends who might want to see the Hyatt’s house one last time.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.