Bryce Weblog

Jim Lloyd brings Appalachian tradition to Elon

By Bryce Little

Jim Lloyd warms up the crowd "The Wreck of Old 97

Jim Lloyd warms up the crowd

September 18, 2008

The crowd tapped its feet and sang along with folk musician and storyteller Jim Lloyd Tuesday night in Whitley Auditorium. Lloyd, a Virginia native, captivated the audience with his banjo licks and classic mountain folk tales.

“While my friends were listening to the Rolling Stones, I was listening to a phonograph,” Lloyd said.

He’s been playing Appalachian folk music since he was five and has been in love with it ever since, he said.

His eclectic mix of mountain folklore and bluegrass music embraces an oral tradition and doesn’t focus on the modern technology of music today.

Performing across the South, Lloyd has been featured four times in “Song of the Mountains,” a blue grass concert and television series on PBS.

He has also performed at Dollywood and West Virginia Mountain Stage. Lloyd said he can play as many as five shows a week during the month of August and that they have ranged anywhere from folk music festivals to Bar mitzvahs.

Lloyd alternated his music, such as his favorites gospel song, “I am a Pilgrim,” with his stories.

He told the audience about memorable experiences in his life; from pranks he played as a teenager growing up in the coalfields of southwest Virginia.

One particular story highlights his favorite quote: “Its all right to be weird. It’s weird to want to be weird.”

It was about a confrontation he had with a William Wallace look-alike at the Highland Games in Grandfather Mountain, N.C., he said.

Jumping between two banjos, a guitar and a fiddle, Lloyd performed other folk tunes, including “Opening Pearly Gates” and “The Wreck of the Old 97.”

When Lloyd is not out on the road playing shows, he runs a barbershop in Rural Retreat, V.A.

But even when Lloyd is at work he cannot escape his musical roots: music is played every day in his shop.

“I like to be the same on stage as I am off,” Lloyd said. “I don’t want a stage persona.”

Media students use video cameras to converge old types of storytelling with new.

Media students use video cameras to converge old types of storytelling with new.

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