Catch the Spirit of Appalachia
                      "Keeping Appalachian Heritage Alive"

"Stories of Mountain Folk" Radio Program

A  one-hour radio program of & about Western North Carolina

Online at:

Interviewing members of the mountain community
through storytelling

Listen in at 9am Every Saturday!
WRGC 540 AM on the dial in Jackson County and online at

Often, the wonderful old mountain stories are overlooked. Stories entertain, teach, record history, and give us a sense of place. The quality of life increases in communities where the arts are alive and stories are told.

NEW AND EXCITING!  Stories of Mountain Folk is now being archived by the prestigious Western Carolina University’s (WCU) Hunter Digital Library, Cullowhee, North Carolina.  With this momentous archival, over 200 half-hour and hour-long programs, capturing “local memory” detailing traditions, events, and life stories of mountain people, will be available to people all over the world…for all time. Tagged with Library of Congress labels, the site is set up to easily search for those interviews and stories you wish to hear. Stories of Mountain Folk is the first voice archival series for WCU.  

The Power of Stories:
Telling a true story of personal experience is not just a matter of being oneself, or even of finding oneself. It is also a matter of choosing oneself. We are story, story is us. We communicate and experience life through stories every day of our lives. There is power in such stories.

Every Saturday from September 2009—February, 2012, The Ammons Sisters and Neal Hearn, radio personality and producer, produced a 1/2 hour radio show with interviews taken from everyday lives of local people in Western North Carolina—people whose families have pioneered the mountains, people who still cling to the old ways, people who work with their hands, people who are making a difference in our world, and people who write songs, play the music, and sing songs about living in the mountains.There are interviews of children who are the artisans of tomorrow. Still, many of those interviewed are over 100 years old.

In March, 2012, the program went to an hour, containing 4 interviews each show, instead of 2, and three more interviewers were added. 

Meet your Current Stories of Mountain Folk Team:

Amy Ammons Garza, Sylva, NC
Storyteller, Historical Fiction, Poet, Editor,
Journalism, Playwright; Publishing

Teach: Creative Writing every 2nd Saturday of each month in her home in Sylva.
Born in Western North Carolina, Amy has written 7 books and 4 plays. She is currently the editor and feature writer for Fun Things to do in the Mountains, and is also editor/publisher for Ammons Communications (Imprint: Catch the Spirit of Appalachia) in Sylva, NC, which has published 61 books by local writers. Co-founder of Catch the Spirit of Appalachia, Inc, she has worked as a visiting artist and storyteller for twenty-five years. Her books can be found online at

Doreyl Ammons Cain, Tuckasegee NC
Spontaneous Art, Visual Artist, Book & Magazine Illustration, Murals,
Film, Mixed Media, Published Writer

Teach: Workshops in Pastel Painting1st Saturday of each month at Nature’s Home in Tuckasegee.
Born and raised in the Tuckasegee Valley of Jackson County, Doreyl grew up drawing birds in the dirt of the mountain roads around her home. Achieving a Bachelor of Fine Arts and
a Master of Arts degree,  Doreyl illustrates book covers, children’s picture books,  and writes a column for ‘Fun Things to do in the Mountains.’ She spontaneously paints murals for the backdrop of her sister Amy Ammons Garza's storytelling and now her art is available in museum quality Giclee limited edition pastel prints and art cards. She is the co-founder of Catch the Spirit of Appalachia. Her artwork can be found online at

Judy Rhodes,  Arden, NC
Appalachian Ballad Singer and Storyteller,
Piano Teacher,  
A member of “The Muses"

Teach: Award winning pianists in advanced literature, composer, lead ensemble vocal groups and bands in the Asheville area. Judy’s driving passion is to be actively involved in preserving Appalachian heritage through music and stories. She is available as an entertainer singing Appalachian ballads and telling mountain tales. She performs in the women's group, "The Muses," singing "Celtic Hillbilly Soul," has toured with Sheila Kay Adams, and teaches others to be performers. She has a BM in Piano Performance from Converse College and a Master of Arts in Liberal Studies from ETSU, main focus Appalachian studies with a special emphasis in ballad singing. “I would also very much like to be a part of influencing the Asheville Area in the preservation of mountain culture,” she says.

Joe Parker Rhinehart, Webster, NC
President Jackson County Historical Association

Born in Webster, NC
Parents:  Joe, born in Webster in Jackson County and Kate, born on Ellijay in Macon County
School:  Webster School, Pfeiffer University, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, University of Oregan
Work:  School teacher, Gaithersburg, Maryland: English, history,njournalism, drama, creative writing, etc. 30 years
Retired to Webster where we built our house on the property of the
original Jackson County Courthouse,and Georgetown, Kentucky, the home
of my wife Flossie Stephens. Involved with the Webster and Jackson County historical associations and the Jackson County Museum

Shawn Crowe
Enrolled member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee.

Shawn has worked in the broadcasting industry for the past 32 years as a voice talent, producer and engineer. Most recently he is the color analyst for 570 WWNC's Buncombe County Game of the Week which is produced  in Asheville. He is also the media instructor for the Cherokee Youth Center Boys and Girls Club's Cherokee Youth in Media program which has produced may projects such as the radio play Why Possums Tail is Bare, Bullfrog Lover, Cherokee One Feather News, and Thirteen Moons an audio book which was recorded in Cherokee by Myrtle Driver Johnson. Shawn is married to Sebrina Crowe and they have three beautiful children, Taelynn 13, Natalie 8, and Ryan 7. They live in the Wolfetown Community on Wright's Creek. Shawn is very active in helping to preserve the Cherokee language by utilizing his talents and opening his studio to the Kituwah Preservation and Education Program in helping with the recording of the many projects that are used by the academy . An avid reader and bibliophile he collects all types of books but is most proud of his Native American book collection. He is proud to be Cherokee and is trying to help break the stereotype of Native People by sharing the true history and culture of the Cherokee People.

Mary Sue Casey
A Retired Educator
Mary Sue is a native of Jackson County, and a cousin to the late Victoria A. Casey McDonald. Mary Sue has a deep love for our mountains and is an advocator for the Africian American community. She works with Bridges to Community, and with the NAACP chapter in Jackson County.
    Mary Sue will be interviewing local Aftrican American people, sharing their stories, their heritage, and giving us a sample of their beautiful gospel music.

Neal Hearn, Franklin, NC
Radio Broadcaster:  Producer, Voice &  Record Commercials
Mixed Media Craftsman: Glass Boxes, gemstones, copper and fused glass

Although Neal is trained in electrical engineering, business and computer science, his love is in the creative arts. Neal is the secret behind the professionalism of Stories of mountain Folk. His ability to hear each segment as it should be makes the fabric of our show seamless. To check out his glass boxes go to

It is so important to save our Stories! 
Encourage our Storytellers!

The goal of our radio show is to save the voices of our people before they are lost, to honor and preserve their stories, to capture their wisdom and to encourage our youth to listen to their stories.

We invite you to listen in!

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