Gateway to the Smokies

Tuesday, February 22, 2022
Facebook Live Video from 2022/02/22 - Keeping the Past Alive, While Building For the Future

Facebook Live Video from 2022/02/22 - Keeping the Past Alive, While Building For the Future


2022/02/22 - Keeping the Past Alive, While Building For the Future

[NEW EPISODE] Keeping the Past Alive, While Building For the Future

In today's episode, we will learn the amazing life and career of a man who has dedicated his life to the study of early mountain music.  He is dedicated to preserving the history, talent, and culture of old time music.

Joseph is joined by our special guest, William Ritter, He is an award-winning historian, author, folklorist, singer, songwriter, can play almost any stringed instrument, is an expert on heirloom seeds and has devoted a good part of his adult life to documenting the contributions of old-time Appalachian musicians and ballad singers.

Tune in for this fun conversation at or watch the Facebook Livestream by Clicking Here.

Show Notes

Segment 1

Joseph opens today’s show mentioning a couple of events coming up. The Meadowlark Smoky Mountains Heritage Center which is located at the Meadowlark Motel is having a series of twenty heritage themed events scheduled for this year to inform people about different elements of Smoky Mountain culture. The first event is this Saturday. Another event is about fly fishing. The motel is offering a fly fishing camp weekend. Their goal is to bring like minded people together through fly fishing, food, camp and more. Learn more at Joseph also reads the lyrics of “The Storyteller” written by Mike Jones, a folk singer in the 1980s. He then introduces his guest today, an award winning historian, author, folklorist, singer, and songwriter, William Ritter.

Segment 2

Joseph talks with Ritter about an event Ritter did where he did a performance of an adaptation of Sheakspeare’s MidSummer Night’s Dream. He worked with a group of young actors who were in college and mentions how special it was for him to work with them and being a part of their early experiences in front of an audience. They also discuss the Happy Valley Fiddlers Convention, which Ritter has been a part of in the past. The convention was on a two year hiatus but will be back this year. Ritter speaks about what makes the Smokies special for him. He mentions the mountain culture and the scenes of nature around the area. He also mentions the food being special. The culinary tradition is something he says is much different from something you’d find outside of the Smoky Mountains. It’s very unique.

Segment 3

Ritter talks about growing up going to the Penland School of Craft where his parents were also instructors. He also talks with Joseph about working with Bob Plott, the manager at the Meadowlark Motel and with Bobby McMillion, ballad singer, musician, and storyteller. Ritter was able to do performances with McMillion. Through the North Carolina Arts Council in partnership with a foundation called South Arts, they put together a grant opportunity for a mentor and an apprentice to study together. Ritter was trying to find an apprentice for Bobby and Bobby told Ritter that he should be the person. He was able to document Bobby going on the road to performances. Ritter would record their conversation during their rides in the car and mention the great stories Bobby would talk about with him on stage and on their rides. Ritter describes how special Bobby was as a storyteller as he'd make you feel like you were speaking to a random person at a bar or anywhere else. He made it feel intimate and not so much like a performance in front of a lot of people. He was the same person on and off stage. Ritter talks more about McMillion’s life, his passing, and the Bobby McMillion Project to continue his legacy.

Segment 4

Ritter is booked for a special concert at the Meadowlark Smoky Mountain Heritage Center’s Plot Fest Reunion in June. he says that there will be a mix of different ranges of country music, Appalachian culture, and mentions several artists and storytellers of influence. Joseph asks him about how he stays active as a musician during these different times since the pandemic began. Ritter says that he recently tried something new called Riverside FM, where you can record audio and videos with good quality. They both talk more about the mediums used for storytelling and different platforms. The advanced technology today has created a lot of opportunities for creators. To find out more about what William Ritter is up to, you can go to as well as Joseph thanks William Ritter for joining him again for today’s podcast episode.


00:00:41.250 --> 00:00:44.610 Joseph McElroy: howdy this is Joseph Franklin mcilroy i'm here with.

00:00:44.640 --> 00:00:55.770 Joseph McElroy: This week's episode of gateway to the smokies this podcast is about america's most visited National Park, the great smoky mountains national park and surrounding towns.

00:00:56.250 --> 00:01:05.010 Joseph McElroy: This areas filled with ancient natural beauty deep story history and rich mountain cultures that we explore with weekly episodes.

00:01:05.610 --> 00:01:18.720 Joseph McElroy: I am Joseph vertical mcilroy, as I mentioned once already amanda the world but also deep roots in these mountains my family is lived in the great smokies for over 200 years my business is in travel, but my heart is a culture.

00:01:19.530 --> 00:01:29.580 Joseph McElroy: today's podcast we're talking about a legendary storyteller of the smokies amongst other interesting tidbits the first a little bit from our sponsors.

00:01:30.420 --> 00:01:41.040 Joseph McElroy: Imagine a place evocative of motor courts of the past at modern and vibrant with a Sikh appalachian feel a place for adventure and for relaxation.

00:01:41.610 --> 00:01:52.020 Joseph McElroy: Imagine a place where you can fish in a mountain heritage trout stream grill the catch on fire, and he had a company by fine wine or graph beers.

00:01:52.470 --> 00:02:10.440 Joseph McElroy: Imagine a place with old time music and world cultural sounds imagine a place with mountain heritage, food and underground speakeasy there is no other place like the middle art motel and Maggie valley North Carolina here's smoky mountain adventure starts with where you stay.

00:02:11.760 --> 00:02:17.760 Joseph McElroy: smokies at smokies plural adventure singular calm.

00:02:18.360 --> 00:02:29.760 Joseph McElroy: it's a place for information listings about the smokies hiking and wedding venues books and trail marks and trail maps and resources to help you experience the smoky mountains.

00:02:30.120 --> 00:02:36.300 Joseph McElroy: In a more fulfilling way the emphasis of the smokies is on outdoor recreation outdoor.

00:02:36.720 --> 00:02:50.790 Joseph McElroy: Life events like weddings and adventures, along with providing information on lodging family entertainment events conventions honeymoons and more The goal of this site is to become the leading information portal of the smoky mountain.

00:02:52.950 --> 00:02:54.840 Joseph McElroy: So I got a couple events to tell you about.

00:02:56.220 --> 00:03:04.590 Joseph McElroy: somewhere between character and character mature their existing authentic a truly unique culture of the smoky mountains.

00:03:05.160 --> 00:03:17.250 Joseph McElroy: understanding that culture blends the global and the local the old the new and gains relevance and understanding the elements of cup culture that brought us to where we are now and where we can go in the future.

00:03:18.930 --> 00:03:31.890 Joseph McElroy: The moat the metalwork smoky mountain heritage Center located at the beautiful metal art motel is proud to announce a series of 20 I think now 21 heritage themed events scheduled for 2022.

00:03:32.640 --> 00:03:48.660 Joseph McElroy: And each of these events is designed to be to understand a different element of smoky mountain culture elite members and guests on a journey of understanding for the past and the future and the first event is this Saturday February 26 at 4pm at the middle like motel.

00:03:49.980 --> 00:03:58.260 Joseph McElroy: it's it's going to be led by Jeff meadowlark smoky mountain here to Center general manager and award winning author Bob plot.

00:03:58.830 --> 00:04:08.820 Joseph McElroy: As he launches the first of six heritage book programs and a book signing of his book bob's first program this weekend focuses on the history of the plot how.

00:04:09.300 --> 00:04:23.070 Joseph McElroy: The official state dog of North Carolina a legendary breed with a rich and storied history in a wood county county and it features bob's first book strike and stay the story of the plot out.

00:04:25.350 --> 00:04:38.970 Joseph McElroy: This fun informative program we followed by delicious Barbecue dinner and acoustic music with Mike ogletree former drummer for simple minds and some friends, making for entertaining afternoon and evening.

00:04:39.690 --> 00:04:48.150 Joseph McElroy: Is the event is free to motel guests and heritage club members and non members and local residents are welcome to attend the program enjoy.

00:04:48.510 --> 00:05:02.280 Joseph McElroy: dinner music for only $10 call eight to 89261717 to book your room and or your reservation, to find out, but other events and the heritage series and go to the website maillard motel calm.

00:05:03.540 --> 00:05:07.500 Joseph McElroy: And look at this document heritage Center under events under the events.

00:05:08.610 --> 00:05:09.630 Joseph McElroy: menu selection.

00:05:10.920 --> 00:05:12.600 Joseph McElroy: Coming up in March.

00:05:14.070 --> 00:05:18.660 Joseph McElroy: And April coming up into action April is a fly fishing camp.

00:05:19.830 --> 00:05:27.990 Joseph McElroy: what's better for the soul than throwing a line upstream watching it pass and doing it again and again, and perhaps getting a bite.

00:05:29.430 --> 00:05:38.520 Joseph McElroy: All anglers know that fly fishing isn't only about reeling in the big one that always the, although that always gets my heart jumping.

00:05:39.090 --> 00:05:46.860 Joseph McElroy: fly fishing is about being one with the river and it's magnificent presence, while witnessing a valuable ecosystem.

00:05:47.850 --> 00:06:02.760 Joseph McElroy: So the middle like motels offering a fly fishing camp weekend in the smoky mountains, our goal and we're gonna do multiple this in the first ones in May, but our goal is to bring like minded people together through fly fishing to drink stories at a campfire.

00:06:04.140 --> 00:06:14.490 Joseph McElroy: camp weekends are perfect for those new to fly fishing and who's in those looking for some extra instruction or anyone with experiences enjoys fishing and small group and making new friends.

00:06:14.940 --> 00:06:23.580 Joseph McElroy: Each trip is built around those attending and we will all share in the experience you can expect quality time in the river and nights around the campfire with.

00:06:24.000 --> 00:06:35.640 Joseph McElroy: A drink in hand truths and tall tales are allowed, are all allowed at the camp camps are limited to 20 anglers it's good to have some great great.

00:06:37.620 --> 00:06:49.590 Joseph McElroy: Experts expert guides it'll be led by dense Dan sasser and Charles hungry Humphrey the third and the ancestors, the owner of high trout guides limited based in Highlands North Carolina.

00:06:50.370 --> 00:06:56.790 Joseph McElroy: and his mission is to provide and promote the ultimate fly fishing experiences for clients clients and friends.

00:06:58.860 --> 00:07:08.940 Joseph McElroy: It was it was it was formed by sasser lead professional fly fishing tracks from Montana to Georgia, it was renowned as an innovator in the fly fishing industry.

00:07:09.870 --> 00:07:25.200 Joseph McElroy: Charles humbly the third who's been on this show is a grammy award winning musician and endurance athlete athlete who's also has three decades of elite guiding experience and fly fishing he's led fishing john's from Alaska candidate Oregon wyoming.

00:07:26.250 --> 00:07:35.430 Joseph McElroy: Colorado and all across the smoky mountains and there'll be additional guides professional guides as well because there'll be a minimum of one guy per to participants.

00:07:35.880 --> 00:07:49.770 Joseph McElroy: So the weekend is April 15 and 16th there'll be besides the five fishing there'll be an evening of videos on stories of smoked trout fishing in the mountains.

00:07:50.370 --> 00:07:56.220 Joseph McElroy: there'll be a music they'll be free free Barbecue there'll be breakfast is that includes two nite.

00:07:56.760 --> 00:08:07.890 Joseph McElroy: The the price is $175 per person includes two nights lodging the breakfast is the barbecues you know beverages in the speakeasy.

00:08:08.490 --> 00:08:14.160 Joseph McElroy: And then hands on instruction on Saturday morning and then real intense fishing on some elite streams.

00:08:14.430 --> 00:08:26.670 Joseph McElroy: In the afternoon and, of course, we have a trout stream at the middle Arc motel it's a mountain there just round screen so on your own time or as part of this wherever you want to fish you'll have time to also fish and practice what you learn.

00:08:28.500 --> 00:08:32.370 Joseph McElroy: Call eight to 89261717 to make reservations.

00:08:33.420 --> 00:08:46.800 Joseph McElroy: So we're talking about fish tails and we're gonna be talking about storytellers so you know I like to you know, sometimes find a poem or something and last time I think I made will break down and cry and solve on the on the on the on the show so.

00:08:47.160 --> 00:08:47.760 William Ritter: This is.

00:08:48.030 --> 00:09:00.330 Joseph McElroy: This was trying to accomplish that again so in the 1980s at focusing or night may Mike Jones wrote a song called the storyteller but i'm not a singer so i'm a read the lyrics as a poem.

00:09:02.700 --> 00:09:16.290 Joseph McElroy: i'm a Teller of tales a spinner of yarns a Weaver of dreams and a liar i'll teach you some stories to tell your friends, while sitting at home by the fire.

00:09:16.980 --> 00:09:28.530 Joseph McElroy: You may not believe everything that I say but there's one thing i'll tell you that's true for my stories are given as presence to me and now they're my gift to you.

00:09:29.370 --> 00:09:42.630 Joseph McElroy: My stories are as old as the mountains and rivers that flow flow through the land that they were born in they were told in the homes of peasants and rags and kings with buying clothes adorning.

00:09:43.800 --> 00:09:49.410 Joseph McElroy: there's no need for civil a goal in great store for tail becomes richer with telling.

00:09:50.460 --> 00:09:56.820 Joseph McElroy: And as long as each listener, has a pair of good ears and matters not where they are dwelling.

00:09:57.990 --> 00:10:08.730 Joseph McElroy: A story well told told can lift up your hearts and help you forget all your sorrows it can give you strength and the courage to stand and face all your troubles tomorrow.

00:10:09.450 --> 00:10:21.720 Joseph McElroy: For there's wisdom and with beauty and charm there's laughter and sometimes there's tears, but when the story is over and the spell is broken you'll find there's nothing to fear.

00:10:22.800 --> 00:10:32.970 Joseph McElroy: My stories were learned in my grandparents home where their grandfathers also had heard them, they were given us payment by traveling folk.

00:10:33.480 --> 00:10:49.650 Joseph McElroy: For warm place to lay down their burdens nice stories are ages, they never grow old with each telling they are born anew, and when my story is ended how still be alive in the tales that i've given to you.

00:10:52.680 --> 00:11:05.160 Joseph McElroy: So today, I have a great guest his name is William winter winter he's been on the show before he is an award winning historian author folklore singer songwriter and how it can play almost any stringed instrument.

00:11:05.670 --> 00:11:15.660 Joseph McElroy: And is an expert on heirloom seeds and has devoted a good part of his adult life to document that contribute contributions of old time appalachian musicians and ballad singers.

00:11:16.410 --> 00:11:24.480 Joseph McElroy: William is a repeat guests on the show is on several events at the middle or smoky mountain heritage Center and has several lined up for this year as well Hello William how you doing.

00:11:24.840 --> 00:11:26.580 William Ritter: i'm good thanks for having me justice.

00:11:27.480 --> 00:11:29.520 Joseph McElroy: Good how's that farm up in bakersfield.

00:11:30.390 --> 00:11:43.470 William Ritter: Well it's still pretty sleepy we have the springs just starting to pop the the Easter flowers or john calls or or daffodils are peeking out in the crocus's or are daring to bloom so.

00:11:44.340 --> 00:11:45.420 William Ritter: Things are starting you.

00:11:45.420 --> 00:11:52.740 Joseph McElroy: Know what's gonna be planting season soon you, you gave me some candy roasters seeds, I really appreciate that once.

00:11:53.670 --> 00:11:55.560 William Ritter: yeah yeah Maybe you can plant some out.

00:11:56.550 --> 00:11:57.000 William Ritter: The metal.

00:11:57.390 --> 00:11:58.170 Joseph McElroy: yeah right.

00:11:59.400 --> 00:12:00.660 Joseph McElroy: when's a good time to play them.

00:12:01.860 --> 00:12:11.790 William Ritter: Well, that that depends i'm with well you know it's interesting that you should say that I actually going through.

00:12:12.780 --> 00:12:17.130 William Ritter: we'll talk a little bit more about Bob and McMillan later, but going through his his things.

00:12:17.820 --> 00:12:25.800 William Ritter: There was a little bit of what I call nature sign planting which is different from celestial zodiac sign planting.

00:12:26.640 --> 00:12:37.380 William Ritter: When you will actually observe nature, to see what it's doing to help you know when you should plant that and so cucumbers, which aren't all that different in their requirements to squash.

00:12:38.760 --> 00:12:40.320 William Ritter: Under our nerves kind of related.

00:12:42.390 --> 00:12:50.280 William Ritter: That Bobby wrote in one of his journals that you should plant your cucumbers and I would say, you could do your squash to potentially.

00:12:50.670 --> 00:13:03.510 William Ritter: I wouldn't plan all your seed, then, because you could have a frost, but when the the the dog would flowers are blooming is when you could go ahead and plan them that's feels a little early but.

00:13:04.050 --> 00:13:04.440 Maybe.

00:13:05.820 --> 00:13:06.060 William Ritter: Not.

00:13:06.570 --> 00:13:07.710 Joseph McElroy: Every time i've.

00:13:08.010 --> 00:13:09.300 William Ritter: also heard when they've hit when.

00:13:09.300 --> 00:13:14.640 William Ritter: The when the dog would flowers actually hit the ground is when you could start and so.

00:13:14.940 --> 00:13:16.470 Joseph McElroy: i'm playing never plan all your seat.

00:13:16.860 --> 00:13:18.360 William Ritter: yeah i'm back.

00:13:18.840 --> 00:13:27.600 Joseph McElroy: i'm planning on being there for March 20 to the 27th so I figured That was a give me a good window to plan some things right oh boy you.

00:13:28.050 --> 00:13:29.940 William Ritter: Just gotta look for those dogwoods.

00:13:30.180 --> 00:13:44.310 Joseph McElroy: yeah look for those dog or it's all right, well, we I was so long winded I get to the break time so we're gonna take a break and then we'll finish with come back and talk a little bit more about your current events and then get into the store, you know storytelling Bobby McMillan.

00:16:00.390 --> 00:16:12.450 Joseph McElroy: howdy this is Joseph Franklin mcilroy back with a gateway to the smokies podcasts and my gate yes William Ritter, so William I saw I was looking around sneaking around stalking you a little bit.

00:16:14.490 --> 00:16:27.960 Joseph McElroy: And I saw that you did the music did the music and perform live for 80 minutes adaption of shakespeare's midnight's summers midsummer's night dream this last fall, how did you end up doing that and how was it, how did it go.

00:16:28.890 --> 00:16:30.840 William Ritter: I mean, I think it went really well.

00:16:33.510 --> 00:16:40.170 William Ritter: It was pretty magical for me and that's not a joke about it being a very magical play cinematically but.

00:16:41.700 --> 00:16:47.220 William Ritter: It was nice because it's been a little while since i've been involved in theatre, I actually got my.

00:16:47.610 --> 00:16:55.260 William Ritter: theater degree, which is another long winded story because it's kind of amazing I ended up with that, but if you take a lot of random classes in college you never know what you might end up.

00:16:55.260 --> 00:16:55.440 With.

00:16:57.840 --> 00:17:09.360 William Ritter: But anyways so I got invited to do this play because I had provided this the music for a previous play at Western Carolina where they had done the.

00:17:10.110 --> 00:17:18.030 William Ritter: midsummer night's dream Shakespeare and they'd said it in 20s in the 20s in appalachia so it's kind of kind of interesting.

00:17:18.990 --> 00:17:32.970 William Ritter: To kind of draw some threads together of of Shakespearean language and songs and music and kind of stew, that in together with traditional mostly tunes I mostly play traditional fiddle tunes.

00:17:34.500 --> 00:17:43.380 William Ritter: But when I did it earlier, we had had more singing and that the but they asked me I guess it was 10 years had passed since that happened, which blows my mind.

00:17:44.430 --> 00:17:50.640 William Ritter: And so they asked me again to come down last year and and help with a another new crop of young.

00:17:51.660 --> 00:18:08.670 William Ritter: thespians to put on the show, but they did it outside which it's a classic play for for outdoor performance and they renovated the picnic shelter into a really nice stage it was pretty amazing so Hats off to them for that, but I think what was really special to me was just.

00:18:09.810 --> 00:18:17.220 William Ritter: The kids you know they hadn't been able to really be in front of a live audience in a long time and mean, these are actors in that that.

00:18:18.300 --> 00:18:25.350 William Ritter: And, and because of the pandemic had really not had any opportunity to have an audience in front of them, so it was really powerful in that to.

00:18:25.860 --> 00:18:35.010 William Ritter: have them have that opportunity to they've been had been kind of withheld from them for a while, in me to really but also a lot of there were students that they said we're.

00:18:36.360 --> 00:18:44.790 William Ritter: first year juniors what's the first year junior gold, they were a junior in credits, but it was the first year they'd really had been like you know.

00:18:46.380 --> 00:18:48.120 Joseph McElroy: They got all their advanced placement stuff and they.

00:18:48.120 --> 00:18:50.370 Joseph McElroy: got right into right into junior year wow.

00:18:50.760 --> 00:18:54.450 William Ritter: Well yeah but, but you know wasn't because they like were smart and went to.

00:18:55.530 --> 00:19:01.830 William Ritter: You know, a Community college, it was because there they were taking all the classes from home.

00:19:02.850 --> 00:19:06.990 William Ritter: Because of the pandemics, so it was it was the first play a lot of them.

00:19:07.770 --> 00:19:09.750 William Ritter: Even though they've been a theater major for a.

00:19:09.840 --> 00:19:16.500 William Ritter: While before that so, but they did a great job and they had a lot of passion, it was it was.

00:19:17.010 --> 00:19:32.850 Joseph McElroy: It was good to be around well you know the I mean most people don't know that the Mount smoky mountain area has a lot of actually really innovative, you know theater and you know you know Western Carolina university actual you know other places, you know the.

00:19:33.000 --> 00:19:33.930 William Ritter: city's else.

00:19:34.020 --> 00:19:50.610 Joseph McElroy: Under the chosen if you consider that the black mountain school our schools there and performances and happening started, you know there right at john cage doing things and rauschenberg and you know, so the mountains have really been a place where you know.

00:19:51.690 --> 00:19:57.330 Joseph McElroy: theater performances really yeah a lot of times gone over into the real our guard.

00:19:57.870 --> 00:20:05.790 William Ritter: Right in the outdoor theater kind of movement in North Carolina has been huge and was really huge in that movement um.

00:20:06.030 --> 00:20:09.570 William Ritter: there's a lot of interesting history interesting there for sure.

00:20:09.960 --> 00:20:18.180 Joseph McElroy: cool so are you are you serious I see you're still involved with the happy valley fiddler's Convention, the mountains folk festival, are they going on this year they're going last year.

00:20:18.210 --> 00:20:34.890 William Ritter: Yes, yeah we're both of them are are on so i'm excited about that we We look forward to finally bringing happy valley fiddler's Convention back after you know, a two year hiatus.

00:20:36.390 --> 00:20:40.650 William Ritter: And and that's all that's all going going well and we're excited about it.

00:20:41.820 --> 00:20:49.620 William Ritter: And then, also the music in the mountains, last year we had it for the first time, even though it's a 30 to 30 year old.

00:20:51.720 --> 00:21:04.770 William Ritter: Well it's a it's decades in the making that they've had the music in the mountains in burnsville but last year we actually moved its location so we'd have could do it outside to.

00:21:05.670 --> 00:21:18.480 William Ritter: homeplace beer company, which is a great really interesting kind of an appalachian chic actually brewery to borrow a phrase from the metal Arc in burnsville and it was hugely attended.

00:21:19.980 --> 00:21:20.340 William Ritter: and

00:21:21.480 --> 00:21:28.860 William Ritter: It went it went well and we're looking to build on that this year so we're we're very excited about about that.

00:21:29.670 --> 00:21:37.920 Joseph McElroy: And if you know I remember that you and your wife actually performed with them, I like your wife is Sarah ogletree you guys do a lot of performances together lately.

00:21:38.880 --> 00:21:43.590 William Ritter: um no not really though we did just play at the pine Cone.

00:21:45.660 --> 00:21:50.850 William Ritter: performed as part of the pine Cone performance series down in raleigh just a few nights ago.

00:21:51.870 --> 00:21:58.890 William Ritter: And that was really fun that was nice to get out as part of a kind of North Carolina Gospel traditions concert.

00:22:00.480 --> 00:22:02.760 William Ritter: And we had to shake off quite a bit of rust.

00:22:04.830 --> 00:22:06.090 William Ritter: I haven't been playing much.

00:22:06.390 --> 00:22:12.720 William Ritter: With the people I normally play with or with Sarah either either it was partly because of her work, but also just you know gigs.

00:22:13.710 --> 00:22:20.130 William Ritter: We all know how they've they've really disappeared or dried up or changed into digital events and things so.

00:22:20.880 --> 00:22:34.560 William Ritter: It was very refreshing to get out in front of a live audience and and form, and it was the pine Cone pine Cone is a great organization worth worth looking up and if you're in raleigh definitely go see some of their shows.

00:22:35.280 --> 00:22:43.980 Joseph McElroy: You know I I grew up I grew up in was born raised in the smokies my family came from a long time, and you know the cultural heritage that the performances.

00:22:44.430 --> 00:22:50.910 Joseph McElroy: It you know it's it's it's about that's probably what I cherish about the region, I mean there's the beauty there's the natural wonders.

00:22:51.300 --> 00:22:59.100 Joseph McElroy: But you know i'm not a big hiker I do I go and i'm not a big camper but I love to have a campfire at night that's because I like to sit around and talk with people.

00:22:59.610 --> 00:23:08.340 Joseph McElroy: And you know of course there's my family roots there so, but you know really the cultural heritage is what I find so special What about this region is so special to you.

00:23:10.380 --> 00:23:11.550 William Ritter: How long do we have.

00:23:14.100 --> 00:23:15.180 Joseph McElroy: top three highlights.

00:23:15.720 --> 00:23:20.820 William Ritter: yeah well um I would say, you know the the people.

00:23:21.900 --> 00:23:23.670 William Ritter: Is big which that can.

00:23:25.110 --> 00:23:37.620 William Ritter: brings all those threads together but um you know mountain culture is its own its own culture um people have their own ways of talking and thinking and doing and.

00:23:39.180 --> 00:23:44.280 William Ritter: So that's I don't know part part of its because I grew up with it and.

00:23:45.660 --> 00:24:02.010 William Ritter: it's it's something that just does feel like home to me but, but it is a really rich area for folklore and traditions and there's a rich heritage of celebrating them to which might be why we have as much as we do, because places like the middle Arc.

00:24:03.180 --> 00:24:12.060 William Ritter: You know i've continued to put for artists, you know, on a on a platform to share with people coming into the region or the people that already live here.

00:24:13.440 --> 00:24:31.380 William Ritter: And so that is that's a really deep well, that means a lot to me but but also there's just you can't beat the scenic beauty, I think, whether it's the, no matter what time of year it is there's something about being able to see either all that green or all those colors all up before you.

00:24:32.970 --> 00:24:40.230 William Ritter: And and and in the winter all the definition and the contrast it's it's beautiful I you know I remember.

00:24:42.150 --> 00:24:56.190 William Ritter: going to Scotland and i'm going to one spot your calendar where were some of my ancestors are from, and I remember, was the Sarah that's like wow this is this plot is so beautiful she's like that looks like where we.

00:24:59.760 --> 00:25:09.810 William Ritter: Everywhere, I go i'm always finding something that like kind of reminds me of home and that's my favorite thing and it often frustrates people, but I love living in the mountains, I shriveled up.

00:25:09.810 --> 00:25:10.290 William Ritter: Like a.

00:25:10.350 --> 00:25:15.930 William Ritter: Little prune when I left to a place that wasn't even really that far out of the mountains so.

00:25:16.260 --> 00:25:20.970 William Ritter: it's just really a part of me I don't know so the people, the place and the third thing.

00:25:25.320 --> 00:25:28.080 William Ritter: Would would maybe be the the food.

00:25:32.640 --> 00:25:39.570 William Ritter: yeah I love I love the the colon airy traditions here many which have been pretty obscured and are not easily.

00:25:40.260 --> 00:25:49.470 William Ritter: You know they're not easily ported over into something that you would get at a restaurant, you know that they're either like health codes would be like, no, no, no, you can't do that.

00:25:50.850 --> 00:25:56.070 William Ritter: or they're just they would be kind of expensive, even though they weren't like a rich man's food it's just.

00:25:57.720 --> 00:26:00.660 William Ritter: kind of slow food type of thing, but you can't you can't really.

00:26:01.440 --> 00:26:02.610 William Ritter: monetize easily.

00:26:03.000 --> 00:26:11.040 Joseph McElroy: or people you know, the thing is that people look at southern food nothing's that's the same thing that we're talking about the mountain food is not exactly like southern food.

00:26:11.370 --> 00:26:12.270 William Ritter: No, no.

00:26:13.170 --> 00:26:13.410 yeah.

00:26:15.300 --> 00:26:30.210 Joseph McElroy: I was telling people I used to eat for breakfast growing up as beans and cornbread with with with a purple onions, you know, and you know and things like that you'd be amazed how good, that is when it's done right yeah.

00:26:31.110 --> 00:26:33.930 William Ritter: yeah totally I mean yeah.

00:26:36.180 --> 00:26:38.010 William Ritter: I, I completely agree.

00:26:38.520 --> 00:26:46.290 Joseph McElroy: yeah and slow Barbecue and the way they cook chicken and the other things are just slightly different than what you would.

00:26:46.980 --> 00:26:57.510 Joseph McElroy: Consider southern food so not that I, you know, there was southern food here as well, but there was a mountain cuisine now one of the things I want to do it the middle are yeah I don't know if you know but we're creating a restaurant.

00:26:58.350 --> 00:27:09.600 Joseph McElroy: Oh, what i'm trying to do is to find, I want to do old mountain you know recipes you know, maybe with a slight twist right yeah and so.

00:27:09.660 --> 00:27:10.770 William Ritter: I blushing sheet right.

00:27:11.040 --> 00:27:19.800 Joseph McElroy: appalachian see here now take that that that dish of beans and cornbread and onions, well done and add some avocado on it.

00:27:21.060 --> 00:27:23.610 Joseph McElroy: Right it's like that's like a keen wall ball ball.

00:27:26.430 --> 00:27:31.560 Joseph McElroy: ball yeah mountain ball with healthy and robust and good tasting.

00:27:32.730 --> 00:27:34.380 Joseph McElroy: And hot sauce goes with it really well.

00:27:35.640 --> 00:27:38.790 William Ritter: My process and everything so pretty much I think even ice cream.

00:27:39.720 --> 00:27:40.890 Joseph McElroy: yeah so.

00:27:42.480 --> 00:27:46.200 Joseph McElroy: But no, I think that's that you know we're going to take another break here.

00:27:47.370 --> 00:27:57.180 Joseph McElroy: So I don't want to start it another line of questioning because we got a whole whole little section to go through here but we'll be back in just a moment we'll start talking about Bobby.

00:30:03.030 --> 00:30:12.150 Joseph McElroy: howdy this is Joseph Franklin McElroy back with gateway to the smokies podcasts in my yes William Ritter, so William you know you've.

00:30:12.810 --> 00:30:27.390 Joseph McElroy: You know, I was reading how you you actually grew up on the grounds of the of the penguin focus school, which were your parents or instructors that must have been incredible experience you learned a lot about storytelling and folk songs there right.

00:30:27.960 --> 00:30:28.320 well.

00:30:29.550 --> 00:30:38.130 William Ritter: I should say, to a degree, I mean, so the pentland school of craft now as it was the pinnacle of crafts, when I.

00:30:38.940 --> 00:30:48.570 William Ritter: was going over there, I didn't wouldn't say exactly grew up on the grounds, but I was there a lot, because my my parents met there back in the 70s.

00:30:49.440 --> 00:31:00.840 William Ritter: And they did teach a lot there over over the course of the years and we didn't live very far from there, so I was taken over to depend on quite a bit not quite as much as some of the other artists kids.

00:31:01.830 --> 00:31:16.410 William Ritter: But, but I certainly did spend a lot of a lot of time there, especially if mom and dad were teaching a class, you know, I have to go over there after getting out of school or something, and it was it honestly is a pretty magical place, unlike maybe like the the.

00:31:17.640 --> 00:31:31.230 William Ritter: Maybe like aramark or Johnson Campbell folks school it leans a little bit more on to the the the high end of craft, though I don't i'm not trying to pigeonhole them there.

00:31:31.230 --> 00:31:31.770 Joseph McElroy: No, no.

00:31:33.210 --> 00:31:34.830 Joseph McElroy: I just think it is a bit of magic.

00:31:35.640 --> 00:31:47.760 Joseph McElroy: You know it intrigued me that you grew up on it so it's kind of cool I mean you're you're you're involved so much in heritage, music and storytelling I mean think one of your mentors was was mentors early on, was Ray danger.

00:31:48.090 --> 00:31:53.400 Joseph McElroy: Yes, yeah we talked about last time, and you know and then lately.

00:31:55.050 --> 00:32:04.110 Joseph McElroy: you've been involved with a guy that was you know, a legend Bobby McMillan who is it was an acclaimed ballad singer and New York north.

00:32:04.500 --> 00:32:11.280 Joseph McElroy: North Carolina folk heritage award winner and he spent his lifetime collecting the local songs and regional variations.

00:32:11.730 --> 00:32:20.250 Joseph McElroy: And I, and I I didn't get to hear all of it, but he had one of the most expensive repertoires of any singer and you know it was.

00:32:20.880 --> 00:32:30.120 Joseph McElroy: It was incredible and you know he came to the metal Arc last year and I guess it was one of his no no last performances I don't know what exactly, but it would have been in the year.

00:32:30.510 --> 00:32:40.860 Joseph McElroy: You know, and he told a great story about which ended up I love to tell dimension is ended up somehow he was hunting and he ended up catching 50 fishes pant legs.

00:32:42.330 --> 00:32:42.660 William Ritter: yeah.

00:32:43.020 --> 00:32:44.880 Joseph McElroy: And then he's saying His story so.

00:32:46.590 --> 00:32:58.110 Joseph McElroy: And I think that you and Bob and and Bobby Bobby Clark who's the the manager of the most i've done a lot of things together with programs together haven't you.

00:32:58.980 --> 00:33:05.880 William Ritter: yeah we we got a few do a few I you know I think if it hadn't been for the the pandemic, we would have we would have been able to do more.

00:33:06.960 --> 00:33:07.500 William Ritter: But.

00:33:08.640 --> 00:33:20.040 William Ritter: yeah we have got to do some shows together, which was really, really fun, for me, I mean it's always fun to sing or you know or drive Bobby around and take him to performances and and.

00:33:21.030 --> 00:33:36.840 William Ritter: And that sort of thing but also just really you know I remember, like the the look on on bob's face when he first really like got to hear Bobby you know it was like oh my gosh you know it took him back to when he was hanging out with Stanley hicks and those old old guys.

00:33:38.040 --> 00:33:46.560 William Ritter: And really Bobby was like a kind of really was like a blast from the past is as in terms of the storyteller he really.

00:33:46.830 --> 00:34:00.300 Joseph McElroy: was great it was it took it took me right back, because I, you know I remember my grandfather would tell a tall tale like abaddon which ended up with him shooting using a musket to shoot a squirrel and in the shot it with the the tamper they came out.

00:34:05.370 --> 00:34:18.540 Joseph McElroy: So you know, but I know that you were you were really excited to get a special grab to fund the documenting the life and works with Bobby and get them out doing shows again, can you tell us about that.

00:34:18.870 --> 00:34:29.190 William Ritter: yeah yeah so that was through the north Carolina arts Council on in in partnership with a foundation that I am always happy to brag on.

00:34:30.060 --> 00:34:32.190 William Ritter: called South arts out of Atlanta.

00:34:33.870 --> 00:34:42.480 William Ritter: And they put together a grant opportunity for a mentor and an apprentice to to study together.

00:34:43.650 --> 00:34:49.410 William Ritter: And it was about a $10,000 grant mostly that went towards the mentor.

00:34:50.700 --> 00:34:58.410 William Ritter: But just to try to encourage you know those kind of deeper relationships and help fund people that might not have you know the finances to really.

00:34:59.580 --> 00:35:06.270 William Ritter: work together, you know you can be so caught up in the hustle of just paying rent and you know feeding yourself and all that that you don't.

00:35:07.380 --> 00:35:09.810 William Ritter: get to kind of take some of those opportunities.

00:35:11.280 --> 00:35:17.760 William Ritter: And, but really what what happened with me and Bobby is is I was kind of doing the thing that i'm always trying to do, which is trying to like help.

00:35:18.480 --> 00:35:32.220 William Ritter: You know, help other artists, with some opportunities that I see coming down the Pike and I was trying to find an apprentice for Bobby and, finally, he said, William why don't you just be my apprentice, and I was like.

00:35:33.300 --> 00:35:35.250 William Ritter: You know that's a great idea let's.

00:35:35.280 --> 00:35:36.180 Joseph McElroy: Do this so.

00:35:36.660 --> 00:35:42.090 William Ritter: I put together this you know package of an application.

00:35:43.380 --> 00:35:55.500 William Ritter: And just is one of those things where you just had incredible unknown foresight Bobby and I live kind of far from each other, so I developed the whole thing that we could do it mostly remotely.

00:35:56.610 --> 00:35:58.350 William Ritter: But this was before the pandemic.

00:35:59.400 --> 00:36:09.180 William Ritter: So I had no idea that that the whole thing ended up being designed perfectly really to work during a pandemic, because we were able to do so much of it remotely.

00:36:10.290 --> 00:36:15.120 William Ritter: On the downside, we didn't get to do as much of me taking him to gigs because those just disappeared.

00:36:16.350 --> 00:36:29.190 William Ritter: That was my favorite thing I put a little camera on the like you know gopro in the car and we'd film and record the car rides because that's like a you know, a slice of.

00:36:30.330 --> 00:36:39.450 William Ritter: Of its own kind of folklore it's just riding with these traditional artists in these old timers places like I mean it's just the best stories you've ever heard.

00:36:40.440 --> 00:36:50.730 William Ritter: In a different totally different kind of storytelling in a way, then when you get up on a stage so Bobby was always the same storyteller I felt like on a stage or singer has he was in his living room.

00:36:51.780 --> 00:36:54.990 Joseph McElroy: very, very authentic like you just tell the story to.

00:36:54.990 --> 00:36:56.730 Joseph McElroy: Friends when he's on stage yeah.

00:36:56.790 --> 00:36:57.390 Joseph McElroy: yeah.

00:36:57.870 --> 00:37:08.550 William Ritter: Very important him to be like that to be like i'm not be putting on any any kind of special added saucy just wanted to be himself up there a lot, you know you.

00:37:08.790 --> 00:37:20.220 William Ritter: that's kinda like the way Doc Watson was there's there's a lot of artists, that I admire that just really tried to be themselves, or at least it seemed like that or they're trying to do, I think it was true with both of them.

00:37:21.300 --> 00:37:31.320 William Ritter: And I kind of tried to do that to it can and re deal injure you know that's the way he was and when we get up and play you did he said is that always said is who is and I can't get no wizard.

00:37:33.150 --> 00:37:33.540 William Ritter: and

00:37:34.080 --> 00:37:44.730 William Ritter: I always like that there's something kind of liberating and kind of you know, can be really make some people feel uncomfortable about being themselves in front of a big crowd of people, but I think it's really.

00:37:45.690 --> 00:37:49.890 William Ritter: i've liked that feeling don't really want to try to be anyone else and that's part of why I.

00:37:49.890 --> 00:37:50.700 William Ritter: stopped doing theatre.

00:37:52.350 --> 00:38:01.950 William Ritter: But it that's something that I really enjoyed working with with Bobby is he really was just an old time storyteller and and I love that he wasn't.

00:38:03.150 --> 00:38:08.190 William Ritter: I hate to use the term like a jonesboro storyteller but there's some more professionalized.

00:38:08.190 --> 00:38:17.100 William Ritter: storyteller get up and it's just a different thing, but he felt like I was sitting next to some old dude in a general store hundred years ago talon yeah story.

00:38:17.310 --> 00:38:18.420 Joseph McElroy: He looked like a Uri.

00:38:18.690 --> 00:38:19.920 Uri sat around.

00:38:20.940 --> 00:38:27.360 Joseph McElroy: yeah so he died last year, what what's the status or project now, what are you continuing.

00:38:28.200 --> 00:38:30.150 William Ritter: So we're.

00:38:32.190 --> 00:38:44.190 William Ritter: You know, it was funny for for someone That was really in poor health Bobby suffered from diabetes and and some weight issues and all the things that come with diabetes.

00:38:45.750 --> 00:38:54.570 William Ritter: And, but but we really all were very caught off guard by his passing, even though we hadn't been well and it had a lot of health issues.

00:38:55.110 --> 00:39:09.030 William Ritter: It really did just kind of surprise us because Bobby had been a poor health for so long and a way just he seemed to just keep ticking and I guess maybe we were we got used to the privilege of having him, and so, when he passed.

00:39:10.920 --> 00:39:23.070 William Ritter: His his wife was generous and that she donated to us all of his his books, what do you mean to me but but but I, you know.

00:39:24.360 --> 00:39:26.820 William Ritter: I think she did so, knowing that I would not like keep them.

00:39:28.260 --> 00:39:30.390 William Ritter: I felt like they needed to be shared with all his books.

00:39:30.690 --> 00:39:37.230 William Ritter: His notebooks where he sat down and wrote you know all of these stories and song lyrics he'd come across.

00:39:39.060 --> 00:39:44.220 William Ritter: And just I mean a life times work of papers.

00:39:45.390 --> 00:39:46.680 William Ritter: And so I.

00:39:48.660 --> 00:39:57.030 William Ritter: got together with sheila Adams, who was probably bobby's one of his closest friends of not as closest friend for over.

00:39:57.570 --> 00:40:16.020 William Ritter: 4040 some years and she's a great ballad singer and storyteller and and author and then she's well acclaimed and has one you know national awards for doing the work that she does, but so and she's on the product and also rodney Sutton, who is a great.

00:40:18.330 --> 00:40:32.310 William Ritter: dancer and and personality and really, really interesting really interesting person, but both of them worked with Bobby quite a bit particularly sheila but also rodney documented him a lot and a project that they did together.

00:40:33.330 --> 00:40:42.900 William Ritter: And so we three got together and and you know also kind of working with some other people in the network that new new Bobby and appreciated him.

00:40:43.470 --> 00:40:53.880 William Ritter: kind of brainstormed on where we might take all of his papers and books and we took them decided to go to Mars hill University, which is a small college.

00:40:55.290 --> 00:41:05.400 William Ritter: And, but it happens to be in Madison county which is kind of like you know I think of like the heartland of of appalachian bouncing and because it's still carried on there, in a way that it's in.

00:41:06.270 --> 00:41:12.150 William Ritter: Not in a lot of other communities by people that are like you know we're kin to the people that were.

00:41:12.390 --> 00:41:13.650 recorded before them.

00:41:14.910 --> 00:41:20.280 William Ritter: And so we felt like it was important to have it there, and so what we've been doing is.

00:41:21.480 --> 00:41:29.610 William Ritter: Taking bobby's papers which are bless his heart not well organized and try to get them organized so that.

00:41:30.570 --> 00:41:34.440 William Ritter: One you know over so that we can continue to learn from Bobby.

00:41:35.040 --> 00:41:52.110 William Ritter: For on into perpetuity but, but also to kind of fill in the blanks because sheila and rodney and me and others, no answers to questions that you know researcher will never know in the future so we're just trying to be responsible, making accessible.

00:41:52.530 --> 00:41:54.090 Joseph McElroy: Good how are you funding this.

00:41:55.170 --> 00:42:00.840 William Ritter: Well, right now, we just started with a gofundme, which is a Bobby McMillan legacy.

00:42:02.670 --> 00:42:15.900 William Ritter: And that's you can find that relatively easily online, you can also go to my song to seed website, and it has talks about the bombing McMillan legacy project we're doing and we just crusted 4000.

00:42:16.650 --> 00:42:28.920 William Ritter: But part of that's going to go back towards his wife Joyce because she was so generous and sharing all of this material with us, they could have ended up just moldering in a closet or being sold, because the books were valuable.

00:42:29.310 --> 00:42:41.910 William Ritter: So we're going to give her what we'd call a love offering, which is a little financial gift but also will use the rest of it for matching grants some travel to do research and and and some other other things.

00:42:43.680 --> 00:42:50.550 William Ritter: But we're really grateful for the start that we have but there's still a lot to go, I think, to make this what it needs to be and should be.

00:42:51.150 --> 00:42:55.980 Joseph McElroy: And what are your future plans to do with do with all this for honoring Bobby and perpetuating his legacy.

00:42:56.310 --> 00:43:01.440 William Ritter: Well, I will probably sing a song that Bobby did every time that I ever play anywhere.

00:43:02.010 --> 00:43:02.340 Joseph McElroy: that's.

00:43:02.460 --> 00:43:13.080 William Ritter: On a personal level, but but also, I just want to figure out through a website, maybe my website to make his stuff that scattered different places, make it accessible and way this.

00:43:14.790 --> 00:43:16.650 Joseph McElroy: album where the stories would be.

00:43:16.680 --> 00:43:18.510 William Ritter: yeah so we've got plans for.

00:43:18.570 --> 00:43:29.580 William Ritter: for doing something similar we've been talking about doing something like that there's a lot of different threads I think that one is to have a reading room and Mars hill so people can go and they can listen to all bobby's music, they can read all of his his.

00:43:29.790 --> 00:43:43.350 William Ritter: books and look at his notebooks there and learn from him like we learned from him so that's that's part of the plan, but there's that there's a lot of artistic opportunity, I think, to move forward, I know, with bobby's work so.

00:43:44.220 --> 00:43:56.070 Joseph McElroy: Oh well, so I guess, I mean it had to be devastating, and I think to rise, and you know, find a way to perpetuate legacy is a good way to deal with that devastation right yeah.

00:43:56.520 --> 00:43:58.200 William Ritter: Totally definitely been healing.

00:43:58.980 --> 00:44:00.540 Joseph McElroy: I can imagine it's been healing.

00:44:01.890 --> 00:44:02.790 Joseph McElroy: You know um.

00:44:05.280 --> 00:44:12.390 Joseph McElroy: You know I want to get into the the next things that we're going to talk about what we're about to have a break so.

00:44:13.950 --> 00:44:19.230 Joseph McElroy: let's take a break now and then we come back we'll talk about some of the things that are coming up.

00:44:19.680 --> 00:44:20.220 don't forget.

00:46:21.240 --> 00:46:32.880 Joseph McElroy: howdy this is Joseph Franklin McElroy back with the gateway to the smoke these podcasts and I, yes, William Ritter, so William I know that you have booked.

00:46:34.380 --> 00:46:53.160 Joseph McElroy: With TIM mcwilliams for a special concert at the middle like smoky mountain heritage Center plot fest reunion on June 3 to fifth 2022 that's coming up this do, that is a little different from your typical old time musical show how is, how is that.

00:46:54.510 --> 00:46:56.430 William Ritter: uh well.

00:46:58.500 --> 00:47:00.060 William Ritter: I don't want to get into like a loaded.

00:47:00.060 --> 00:47:02.070 William Ritter: critique of the old time music genre.

00:47:02.430 --> 00:47:03.270 Joseph McElroy: No, no okay.

00:47:03.330 --> 00:47:06.690 William Ritter: um well well I think it's a little bit different um.

00:47:08.220 --> 00:47:09.810 William Ritter: Talking about old time music.

00:47:11.400 --> 00:47:12.180 William Ritter: In a real.

00:47:13.440 --> 00:47:14.700 William Ritter: Is this like a way to just like.

00:47:14.910 --> 00:47:15.540 William Ritter: The timing.

00:47:15.930 --> 00:47:20.970 Joseph McElroy: is just like old time mountain music or old time country music which one is it here.

00:47:21.060 --> 00:47:23.040 William Ritter: So it'll be a mix of things.

00:47:24.090 --> 00:47:40.110 William Ritter: You know, Tim and I, you know, on one hand, like we love to play like Doc Watson and and TIM o'brien and and some other artists, of course, both of those are appalachian artists.

00:47:41.550 --> 00:47:47.550 William Ritter: But we also do some you know some foreign young and some other country, you know.

00:47:50.460 --> 00:47:51.090 William Ritter: You know.

00:47:52.740 --> 00:47:54.900 William Ritter: Country groups i'm.

00:47:56.130 --> 00:48:20.610 William Ritter: Pretty wide ranging but, but just lately, I know that TIM has been doing a lot of work with josh go forth and josh go forth and TIM actually received the same grant that Bobby and I did to work together josh go forth is an amazing musician incredible storyteller and just I.

00:48:22.140 --> 00:48:38.910 William Ritter: it's hard to say it's hard to overstate how good of a musician he is to be honest, they call them the acoustic wizard he's definitely worth looking up sometime as very, very talented but he also is really connected to Madison county music roots.

00:48:40.350 --> 00:48:48.750 William Ritter: and has put a lot of time into you know kind of absorbing the I would say, like the asheville greater asheville.

00:48:49.320 --> 00:48:54.540 William Ritter: kind of middle Western North Carolina music traditions and so he's been passing that on.

00:48:55.170 --> 00:49:10.050 William Ritter: To TIM and in with with hopes that you know, Tim will continue to pass it on to which he does he's a TIM as a music teacher in nashville so he's been trying to incorporate some of that into his school curriculum so that's a really, really neat neat thing.

00:49:11.160 --> 00:49:27.870 William Ritter: So, but we are really connected to a lot of real apple action like local regional stuff kind of the deep cuts, we do some things that you may have heard a version of that song that we do, but it's your different version than you probably heard.

00:49:27.870 --> 00:49:28.410 Before.

00:49:29.940 --> 00:49:40.680 William Ritter: But we also do some stuff that that's common is dirt you know that that everybody played because we like that and it's if nobody wants to hear, I think a concert where they've never heard any of the songs before.

00:49:42.030 --> 00:49:55.290 William Ritter: And so we do a real I think a real healthy mix and we have a lot of fun, I mean that's the biggest thing we just have a whole lot of fun it's always been great fun to play with TIM we both went to Grad school together at APP state.

00:49:56.970 --> 00:50:00.270 William Ritter: And so we we we really enjoy kind of.

00:50:01.980 --> 00:50:11.820 William Ritter: Like I said digging deeply into some of these Western North Carolina music traditions but but also playing some of this stuff like I said that are the POP hits of the.

00:50:12.720 --> 00:50:13.290 Joseph McElroy: I look for.

00:50:13.320 --> 00:50:13.710 William Ritter: I look.

00:50:14.670 --> 00:50:17.820 Joseph McElroy: I look forward to hearing about here and that i'll be there for sure.

00:50:19.110 --> 00:50:33.120 Joseph McElroy: So um you know this pandemic has been tough right and I imagine it's been tough, especially in the winter, how do you keep yourself active as a musician and performer and these times, or even doing it.

00:50:34.110 --> 00:50:36.780 William Ritter: it's a good question Jason did I know the answer to.

00:50:36.780 --> 00:50:36.960 That.

00:50:39.720 --> 00:50:41.460 Joseph McElroy: Well, I mean you can do zoom concerts.

00:50:41.460 --> 00:50:43.800 Joseph McElroy: Are all the way, but it's just not the same thing.

00:50:43.830 --> 00:50:44.580 Right now.

00:50:45.720 --> 00:50:50.760 William Ritter: Though I did recently just try something new called riverside FM.

00:50:51.420 --> 00:50:55.500 William Ritter: Which is like a podcasting service kind of like zoom ish you know.

00:50:56.550 --> 00:51:10.290 William Ritter: And did that with sheila Adams, as the just kind of test out the service and that actually went really well I would I was really happy with that so that was that was neat and i'd like to try to do more of that kind of thing.

00:51:11.010 --> 00:51:27.750 Joseph McElroy: No, I would think that the clubhouse you heard a clubhouse it's a clubhouse as a as an APP that's become very popular where it's basically people get on and it's all audio chat rooms and people get on they talk I think that'd be great for storyteller.

00:51:28.260 --> 00:51:30.120 Joseph McElroy: Right yeah yeah.

00:51:30.600 --> 00:51:31.320 William Ritter: That sounds.

00:51:31.800 --> 00:51:34.950 Joseph McElroy: yeah so definitely investigate that clubhouse.

00:51:34.980 --> 00:51:35.790 William Ritter: Now, look into that.

00:51:36.000 --> 00:51:46.020 Joseph McElroy: Because I know a lot of poets, especially urban poets, are doing it, and having very big success getting big crowds and and things coming, but I think the mountain storytelling be great on the clubhouse.

00:51:46.920 --> 00:51:59.370 William Ritter: yeah yeah, I think, maybe that's a yeah i've really been i've been thinking about this for a long time ways that this kind of digital experience can help us kind of spread.

00:52:00.000 --> 00:52:10.590 William Ritter: kind of evangelize for these mountain traditions and I, you know even before the pandemic, I was thinking I knew all these like elder you know.

00:52:11.130 --> 00:52:21.090 William Ritter: Tradition bears as we call them or folk practitioners people that knew all these old ways and told these great stories and they weren't necessarily always like professional in in.

00:52:21.510 --> 00:52:33.720 William Ritter: You know, then in presenting their art, but you know that's what I wanted really it was a had this I hate to use the word authenticity, but, but that was what I was looking for.

00:52:34.890 --> 00:52:48.060 William Ritter: And I wanted to find a way that people that couldn't really even get out of their house necessarily or were really mobility bound or their health prevented them from sharing their art but um.

00:52:48.960 --> 00:52:55.260 William Ritter: You know I don't know so I want to figure out a way to do that and that's part of why I was exploring with with Bobby.

00:52:56.880 --> 00:53:08.880 William Ritter: And did learn a lot about I think that some possibilities and I think more have come out of it because of the endemic more opportunities have come along that we've invested in the technology more people are are familiar with it.

00:53:09.780 --> 00:53:14.850 William Ritter: But you know, like a podcast is a great medium for an older story Teller.

00:53:16.410 --> 00:53:17.520 William Ritter: To get out anymore.

00:53:18.150 --> 00:53:23.820 Joseph McElroy: I think this this club has i've been thinking about doing like a metal or storytelling lounge or something like that yeah.

00:53:23.850 --> 00:53:25.440 Joseph McElroy: Because I think it was a great.

00:53:25.470 --> 00:53:26.850 Joseph McElroy: medium for that yeah.

00:53:27.150 --> 00:53:28.440 William Ritter: yeah I.

00:53:28.680 --> 00:53:34.140 William Ritter: i'd love to i'd love to see something like that I, you know there's a there's a really good storyteller in.

00:53:34.680 --> 00:53:40.530 William Ritter: Silva named Gary carden um and he has you know some pretty serious health issues that he sees.

00:53:40.860 --> 00:53:56.820 William Ritter: That you know, had to work with and it made it hard for him to get out but he's a fabulous storyteller I mean use these really incredible he's just kind of relaunched, but a podcast that that someone's helping him do, and I really hope that works out for him.

00:53:57.660 --> 00:53:58.530 Joseph McElroy: that'd be great.

00:53:58.650 --> 00:53:58.950 But.

00:54:00.060 --> 00:54:00.450 Joseph McElroy: So.

00:54:00.780 --> 00:54:03.870 Joseph McElroy: Great so uh anything that.

00:54:05.040 --> 00:54:12.210 Joseph McElroy: you're coming from you'd like to let the audience know about you know anything that they should watch out for.

00:54:13.080 --> 00:54:15.360 William Ritter: um well you know, dear.

00:54:18.360 --> 00:54:27.030 Joseph McElroy: I just had the wildlife guy here last week that's doing the Cross ways over the over the over the 40 so.

00:54:27.960 --> 00:54:29.700 William Ritter: fascinating I am just.

00:54:29.790 --> 00:54:34.350 William Ritter: I am thrilled that they're doing that and it's a really good idea, because, let me it's incredibly dangerous.

00:54:34.440 --> 00:54:35.070 Joseph McElroy: All right.

00:54:36.480 --> 00:54:40.080 Joseph McElroy: So how can people get Ahold of you where to look you up find out more about what you do.

00:54:40.440 --> 00:54:49.050 William Ritter: yeah so um there's a couple of ways, one you could go to song to see calm that song and to not a number two song to.

00:54:50.520 --> 00:54:57.210 William Ritter: To the song Jesse calm and on there, you can actually there's a there's a section, that is, the.

00:54:58.350 --> 00:55:03.000 William Ritter: The Bobby McMillan legacy that's kind of home for it right now, you can listen to a lot of bobby's recordings.

00:55:03.870 --> 00:55:10.200 William Ritter: And things like that, as like as like transfer them over for these cassettes, and things and some bits of wisdom that we're finding.

00:55:10.980 --> 00:55:21.390 William Ritter: And then, but, but also on our website, you can find out more about what I do from music and also the seed saving part which we talk more about and the last podcast that I was on here.

00:55:22.710 --> 00:55:30.390 William Ritter: But then there's also you could go to the blue Ridge heritage area website, they have a directory that you can find all these different.

00:55:31.830 --> 00:55:36.210 William Ritter: You know, artists, that are practicing traditional.

00:55:37.770 --> 00:55:48.960 William Ritter: folk ways and focus on things like that, so you can you can find a lot of them on there i'm on there, it says a little bit about about me and also there's a website that's.

00:55:49.530 --> 00:56:03.840 William Ritter: My wife and I have thats Sarah and William dot weebly COM, but any of those ways will get you to me and also tsonga seed has a of course has a Facebook page, but we also have a YouTube channel.

00:56:04.980 --> 00:56:13.260 William Ritter: where you can go and most of what I have on there, right now, as Bobby McMillan stuff that i've been uploading so you can kind of see in here some of what we've been been talking about.

00:56:13.470 --> 00:56:29.550 Joseph McElroy: Well, I want to, I want to thank you for being on the show today second time around, has been very informative very good i'm pleased to have you and I look forward to seeing you this summer at the middle Arc heritage Center plot pass it some other things too.

00:56:30.000 --> 00:56:32.340 William Ritter: yeah me too i'm definitely looking forward to it.

00:56:32.850 --> 00:56:40.470 Joseph McElroy: Yes, this is the gateway to the smokies podcast we're on if you go to smokies adventure calm, you can see the podcast.

00:56:41.190 --> 00:56:56.490 Joseph McElroy: Link at the top of the page to get all the previous things we also have a Facebook page Facebook COM slash gateway to the smokies podcast where you can watch it live what streaming find out more information we're part of talk radio dot nyc, which is a network of.

00:56:58.260 --> 00:57:13.830 Joseph McElroy: That has live podcast every day, ranging from small business and self help to travel to all sorts of interesting thing, so this podcast the gateway the smokies is every week Tuesdays from six to seven now see you next Tuesday, thank you all for listening.

download this episode of