The Stecoah Valley Cultural Arts Center is very excited to release that Nicholas Williams will be both speaking and performing at the Stecoah Harvest Festival on Saturday, October 21st. Williams is the host of the popular roots history podcast American Songcatcher as well as a multi-instrumentalist and storyteller. He is dedicated to ‘playing it forward’ by preserving the songs, stories, artists and styles that have shaped our country: Ragtime, Piedmont Blues, Early Country, Traditional Folk and Old-Time. At this year’s Harvest Festival, Williams will be speaking specifically about the history of the early music that came out of the hills here in western North Carolina before making its way down to Nashville only to return and be performed on stages just like the one at the Stecoah Valley Center in the early decades of the 20th Century.
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Williams grew up with a bit of a nomadic lifestyle moving ten times from the east coast to the west coast by the time he was twelve. This has fed right into his current musical career, “For me, there is an unrivaled freedom in allowing life to unfold in front of you, rather than trying to grab life by the horns so you can feel like you’re in control. There are hardships of course on the road, but nothing that isn’t already a part of the process if you’re a career musician. You just have to adjust accordingly if you want longevity.”
And Williams has already had a long career as a musician – he’s been performing since 2007. After his first six years of performing without what he considered a ‘reasonable break’ he canceled the rest of his tours and took some time to step back and reframe his goals. It was a season of personal growth as he dove into learning fingerpicking techniques and began exploring the different historical styles of American music. Of that time in his life Williams said, “I’ve become a student again. I’m absolutely fascinated with tracing American music back to its immigrant roots, and how these styles have woven the fabric of roots music as we know it today.”
Out of that time and his education Williams grew American Songcatcher into a platform with more than fourteen thousand followers. David Holt says of Nicholas Edward Williams, “With tasteful guitar arrangements and a voice that draws you right in, Nicholas’ recording roll along like a mountain stream.” Williams will be speaking about the history of local Appalachian music on the auditorium stage at 11:30 am and will perform on the pavilion stage at 3 pm.