Appalachian singer – multi-instrumentalist – songwriter
Born and raised in Wythe County in southwest Virginia, Sam Gleaves performs innovative mountain music with a sense of history. Under the direction of local teacher and barber Jim Lloyd, Sam took up stringband instruments as a teenager, including the banjo, guitar, fiddle, autoharp and dulcimer. With his mentor ballad singer Sheila Kay Adams, Sam found his voice and fell in love with the mountain love songs, which he carries into his generation with pride. Sam’s performances combine traditional Appalachian ballads, dance tunes, original songs and the stories that surround the music.
Sam earned a degree in Folklore from Berea College and has performed throughout the east coast of the U.S. and internationally in Ireland and Japan with the Berea College Bluegrass Ensemble, directed by Al White. Sam writes new songs in the Appalachian tradition, telling stories about love, the home place, working people and present social issues in the mountains.
Sam’s music has been featured on Kentucky Educational Television, West Virginia Public Radio, Appalshop’s WMMT FM, and in print for LEO Weekly and Still Journal. With three recordings under his belt, (Shadow of a Song 2010, A Little While In The Wilderness 2012, and Carrying On: Live Performances 2013) Sam collaborated with producer and activist-musician Cathy Fink on a debut album of his original songs (titled Ain’t We Brothers) was released November 13, 2015
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