‘Down Home Fundraiser’ planned to support YAMs on January 29

COUNTY — Music of the Southern Appalachian Mountains and stories of Upcountry South Carolina will be featured in a series of entertaining ‘down home’ sessions to help support the Young Appalachian Musician program. On Saturday, January 29, Betty and Ed McDaniel will welcome the community to their 140-year-old Pickens County farmhouse for an afternoon and evening of traditional music, storytelling, home baked goodies and visiting with friends around the fireplace.
Musical roots run deep here. Papa Roy Lewis, the late patriarch of the ever popular Lewis Family, hails from these hills. Long considered the “icon of Bluegrass Gospel Music,” The Lewis Family began their celebrated career in gospel music in the early 1950s.
Their weekly Sunday afternoon show appeared on WJBF-TV in Augusta, Ga., for 38 years. They were inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame (2005) and the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Hall of Honor in Nashville (2006). The group retired in 2009 after performing together for more than a half century throughout the United States and Canada.
Papa Roy Lewis was only five years old when the family moved from Pickens to Lincolnton, Ga., in 1910. Ben McDaniel, Ed McDaniel’s granddaddy, married Rosa Lee Lewis, a cousin of Papa Roy.
“The homestead has been in the Lewis family since the early 1800s when Jacob Lewis settled here,” said McDaniel, husband of Betty McDaniel, YAM Executive Director.
“My brother and I bought the place in the ‘60s and renovated the house in 1978,” McDaniel said. “Prior to World War II the house served as a post office for the community and square dances were once held here.”
Some of the very best musicians in the Upcountry are also YAM instructors. Traditional music will be performed by these and others including SC Heritage Award Winner, Steve McGaha, Russ and Billie Jordan, and members of the performing YAM band, Sweet Potato Pie Kids. Those spinning yarns about mountain spirits, mountain creatures and other tales about life in the Southern Appalachian Mountains include renowned author Dot Jackson, award-winning outdoor writer and naturalist Dennis Chastain, and Nick Hallman, an extraordinary musician whose hilarious stories are brought to life through music.
Sessions will include 35 minutes of storytelling, 35 minutes of music, and of course, home-baked goodies. The 90-minute sessions are scheduled for Saturday, January 29 at 2 p.m., 3:30 p.m., and 5:00 p.m.
The McDaniel place is located at 792 Holly Springs School Road in Pickens.
To reserve a place in one of these sessions contact Ed or Betty McDaniel at 864.878-4257, or purchase a ticket from a YAM member school.
Donations of $10 or more are encouraged and all contributions will be used to support the Young Appalachian Musician program. For further information e-mail, or visit and join our YAM (Young Appalachian Musicians) page on Facebook.