Our interview guest for this week is multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, singer, and Appalachian Music Professor Sam Gleaves, who was born and raised in Wytheville, Virginia. Rooted in Appalachian sounds, Gleaves’ songwriting sings of contemporary rural life and social issues. In 2015, Gleaves collaborated with Grammy-winning producer Cathy Fink and released a debut record of original songs, titled “Ain’t We Brothers,” which has been featured by The Guardian, National Public Radio, and No Depression. A passionate teaching artist, Gleaves has shared Appalachian traditions at numerous music camps, colleges, universities, and public schools. He currently serves as a traditional music instructor and director of the Bluegrass Ensemble at Berea College.
In our chat this week, we discuss how Sam got started as a young musician growing up in the hills of Appalachia, the mentors who encouraged him, and his various influences from pop icons to local legends.
Sam also opens up about how impostor syndrome shows up for him, how he started adding original songs to his repertoire of traditional music, the mentors who made a difference in his life, and why he considers himself an "artivist" rather than an "activist."
We get to hear his original tune "Ain't We Brothers", accompanied by West Virginia legend Tim O'Brien, chronicling the story of a gay coal miner and his plea for simple dignity and acceptance.
Artists/Links mentioned in show:
Sam Gleaves Website
Sam Gleaves on Facebook
Forked Deer as fiddled by Roger Cooper
Kentucky Author Silas House
Kentucky Author Jason Kyle Howard
Post-Roll with information about the Appalachian Flatfooting & Clogging Academy
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