Heritage Center’s music series to feature balladeers Burkey, Pepper

The 2017-18 First Thursday Old-Time and Bluegrass Series at Western Carolina University continues Thursday, March 1, with a concert featuring the mountain ballads of Sarah Elizabeth Burkey and Susan Pepper.

Their performance at 7 p.m. in the ground-floor auditorium of H.F. Robinson Administration Building will be followed by an 8 p.m. jam session in which local musicians are invited to participate.

Susan Pepper

“A remarkable pairing of two incredible musicians, both Burkey and Pepper have delved into the deep roots of mountain song,” said Peter Koch, education associate at WCU’s Mountain Heritage Center, which sponsors the series. “Performing a special set in time for Women’s History Month, their songs reflect the vital presence of women in Appalachian life and the tradition of women being important keepers and innovators of folk balladry in the mountains.”

Hailing from Kentucky, Burkey is a storyteller as well as singer. She has been featured on 17 albums and has performed in 19 countries. Ohio-born singer and multi-instrumentalist Pepper released an album, “Hollerin’ Girl,” in 2015 and is also a producer.

Sarah Elizabeth Burkey

The First Thursday concerts and jam sessions will continue through spring, with programs from 7 to 9 p.m. on the first Thursday of each month. The program on April 5 will feature Charleston Township.

The concerts and jam sessions are free and open to the public. Pickers and singers of all ages and experience levels are invited to take part in the jam sessions, which also are open to those who just want to listen.

For more information, call the Mountain Heritage Center at 828-227-7129.