Betty Collins Brown was born and raised in a large family in the Appalachian coal mining town of Pound, Virginia, and has been married for over 51 years to Conard Brown from Tuckasegee, NC. They live on a small farm, have one son and three grandchildren, who also live in Tuckasegee. Betty writes and records songs of inspiration, ballads about life in Appalachia and reflections about life as she lives it day to day.
    “My goal is to pass on the traditions,” Betty says, “the love of family, the benefits of working together and simple joys of life in the Appalachian Mountains.”

Some of the songs she has written and recorded are:

•Abiding in the Vine

•Born to Sing

•God's Rainbow

•Home Again

•My Appalachia

•Reap What You Sow

•Guy Talley

•Smoky Mountain Memories

•River Tuckasegee

. . .and so many more.

You can reach her and talk about her albums by email:

Heritage Alive! Mountain Youth Talent Contest

Singing Appalachian Stories

Betty Collins Brown

Singer, Musician, Song Writer

Chair Caner
David F. Ammons
Blue Ridge National Heritage Area Traditional Artist
Go to:

Grandpa Ammons made his own chairs. I watched in awe as a child as he wove his magic after carefully framing the chair piece by piece. I often wonder now why I didn’t ask him to teach me when I was that 8-year-old watching. I just sat there drinking in each movement of his strong, yet gentle, hands. All of this came back to me in 1975 when I sat looking at one of Grandpa’s chairs. I told my wife, Sherilyn, that I thought I could recreate Grandpa’s movements that I remembered so well. I got an old chair frame and some split oak splints and the rest is history.

Caning comes in many disguises, but all of it is weaving. I watched Grandpa do only the herringbone weave from white oak splints. However, there are many forms of weaving...wicker, rush, splint, shaker tape, rawhide, Danish cord, binder cane, and the 7-step method hand caning. Caning dates fest4back to before 4000 B. C., I have learned, and is still popular in most households today. Someone wise once said that the hands and mind of the caner work together to join the past with the present.

The 7-step method is the predominant pattern used in hand caning. It forms a strong, yet flexible, seat that will last many years.

Splint weaving is the most common method of caning in the Appalachian Mountains. Splints were originally hand split from white oak, hickory, or ash. The homemade chair maker would often split his own splints with which to weave (or as Grandpa used to say, "bottom") a chair. Splints were easy to weave and made of the same material as the chair. They were found around the home making it affordable for the mountain craftsman to make his own necessary furniture. We don’t have to make our own "necessary furniture" today, but I truly enjoy thinking about the history behind caning as I sit down in front of someone’s old chair weaving a new "bottom" for it. If old chairs could talk, what stories they could tell!

David Ammons, brother of Amy & Doreyl, has been demonstrating at festivals for many years.

If interested in getting an estimate on caning your special chairs, you can contact David by giving him a call at 864-414-2491 or email him at:

 These contests are for the preservation of our mountain musical heritage, thus the act should reflect the local heritage and old Appalachian ways of our region. There is no entry fee. Cash awards for 2019 have been donated by David Sword in honor of his wife, Edwina; anf Entegra Bank, United Community Bank and Dunkin’ Doughnuts.

     Upcoming Contest at Cowee School in Franklin!  To find out how to enter,  go to:

 Please see the Guidelines, Qualifications and Rules for more information on the type of talent to present and what the judges look for.  As a reminder, no recorded backup music is allowed and individuals should perform without backup.  More than one person is considered a group.  Prize money will no longer be awarded at individual community contests but will be awarded to top performers at the final contest in September.

 Contest Guidelines:  Contest Guidelines Click Here
If you would like a paper entry form please contact Kerri Rayburn, administrative assistant, at 828-586-4009 or  She can also help with other entry questions.  You can also contact Heather Gordon, 4-H Agent & Talent Show Coordinator, at 828-586-4009 with additional questions.

Facebook:  Heritage Alive Mountain Youth Talent Contest of WNC