Discover Mill Music

Naomi Wise



"Naomi Wise" is not just the title of North Carolina's oldest ballads, but the name of an actual girl who drowned in Deep River in 1808. "True Crime" ballads such as this were common in British folk music and formed the basis of southern folk music, spreading stories of love and loss worldwide.

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Manly Reece and the Banjo



The Randolph County roots of the banjo can be traced to Manly Reece (1830-1864), a native of the area between Franklinville and Liberty. Where he learned to build and play what is recognized as a African-American instrument is unknown, but he later spread the skill to Galax, Virginia.

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Charlie Poole



Charlie Poole is Randolph County's most famous local musican. He was born March 22, 1892, in Millboro, part of Franklinville Township, in a tiny house still standing on the south side of the road from Millboro to Worthville. Charlie and his band the North Carolina Ramblers were among the first professional southern recording artists.

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"Fiddler's Conventions"



Beginning in the 1890s nearly every mill village community hosted a "fiddler's convention" to give local musicans a chance to compete for prizes. Many of the artists who grew up in that environment went on to record or be featured on radio stations such as Charlotte's WBT. The fiddler's convention in Star, Montgomery County, NC has been held annually for more than 90 years.

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Hammer Dulcimer Traditions



Virgil Craven of Cedar Falls was one of about half a dozen Randolph County practitioners of the nearly lost art of the Piedmont hammered dulcimer. He was sought out and recorded many times by folklorists and graduate students from Chapel Hill.

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Piedmont One-Mic Festival



Starting in May 2018, the Piedmont Old-Time Music Society's One-Mic Acoustic Festival has been held in Franklinville's Riverside Park. It honors the traditional acoustic music of all kinds, from Old-time to Blue-grass to Latin Music and Shape-Note singing.

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