10/20: Picking’ with Presley

Presley Barker

On Saturday, October 20, The Floyd Country Store presents a special evening of flatpicking guitar greats. 14-year-old Presley Barker has been taking the bluegrass music world by storm, as two-time flat-picking guitar champion at the Old Fiddler’s Convention in Galax, Virginia, West Virginia Stage Flatpicking Guitar Champion and last year’s winner of the Wayne C. Henderson Guitar Competition. This year he has made radio and television appearances, performed at Merlefest and IBMA, and participated in his first performance at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee with Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder. In 2015, Presley released his first album, entitled “Just-Ten.”

On October 20th, Presley Barker will be performing with two of his mentors, Wayne Henderson and Steve Lewis. Wayne Henderson’s top-notch finger-picking is a source of great pleasure and pride to his friends, family and neighbors in Grayson County, Virginia. His guitar playing has also been enjoyed at Carnegie Hall, in three national tours of Masters of the Steel-String Guitar, and in seven nations in Asia.

Wayne Henderson Photo by Monty Combs

In addition to his reputation as a guitarist, Henderson is a luthier of great renown. He is a recipient of a 1995 National Heritage Award presented by the National Endowment for the Arts. He produces about 20 instruments a year, mostly guitars; he is almost as well-known for the mandolins he has made.

Good friend Doc Watson owned a Henderson mandolin. He said, “That Henderson mandolin is as good as any I’ve had my hands on. And that’s saying a lot, because I’ve picked up some good ones.” Some of Henderson’s instruments are intricately decorated but are most respected for their volume, tone, and resonance. Blues guitarist John Cephas said that Wayne Henderson “is probably the most masterful guitar maker in this whole United States.”

Above and beyond his great talents as a musician and luthier, Wayne Henderson is known as a “friend to everyone” and shares his talents and knowledge unselfishly.

By day, Steve Lewis is a commercial/residential painter, by night and every weekend, a national guitar and banjo champion. He still lives in Todd, the small mountain community near Boone where he grew up. Steve lives with his wife, DeAnna, and their children, Josh, Scott, and Molly.

Just before his third birthday in 1967, Steve held his first guitar. More than forty years later, he is still picking. By the age of seven, he was listening to his father’s albums, the radio or watching musicians on the television. Influencing Steve during this time were Tony Rice and close-by neighbor in Deep Gap, Doc Watson. Not only did Steve spend his time picking the guitar, but by age ten he began playing the banjo. This self-taught picker’s heroes included J.D. Crowe, Earl Scruggs and Tony Trishka.

Steve Lewis

His father still enjoys telling the stories of “hauling” Steve around the Boone area to pick for everyone who would listen. From entertaining at the local restaurants to playing at nearby Lees-McRae College, Steve fascinated people who enjoyed seeing this wonder boy with a guitar bigger than he was, playing favorites like Foggy Mountain Breakdown. In 1976, he played for the Daniel Boone Cloggers and performed for many at Opryland in Nashville, Tennessee. His first professional gig was as a member of Tommy Faile band.

Steve also played in the noteworthy band, Vintage Blend, and its successors, Ric-O-Chet and Last Run. During his tenure with Ric-O-Chet, the band had a hit, “My Last Run,” written by Willard Gayheart, that was on the national bluegrass charts for four months. Lewis has traveled throughout much of the United States performing and winning contests that have included RenoFest, Galax Old Time Fiddlers Convention, MerleFest, and Walnut Valley. He currently holds the title of Walnut Valley National Bluegrass Banjo Champion, and he placed second in their guitar competition. Despite his many honors, Lewis, a genuinely modest man, makes light of being an award-winning musician and a true champion, and he quickly deflects the praise and recognizes others.

The Floyd Country Store looks forward to an evening of world-class musicians that are proud to call our area home.

Picking’ with Presley
Presley Barker with Wayne Henderson and Steve Lewis
Saturday, October 20, at 7:30pm
At The Floyd Country Store
Tickets: $12 in advance, $15 day of show

206 S. Locust St, Floyd VA