News & Events

Mars Hill University to Welcome Josh Goforth In Concert

Josh Goforth3Mars Hill University will welcome Josh Goforth in concert on April 26, 2016 at 7 p.m. in Moore Auditorium. The event, which is part of the Presidential Lecture and Performance Series, is free and open to the public.

Josh Goforth is a grammy-nominated musician who, inspired by a performance he saw in middle school featuring Sheila Kay Adams and David Holt, decided to learn the music and stories of his home community in Madison County. He picked up the guitar a couple years later and began learning from his great uncle. He continued to add instruments to his repertoire and today is proficient in over ten instruments.
Goforth is best known for his fiddling, which was shaped by growing up in Madison County where he learned from many people, including master fiddlers Arvil and Gordon Freeman. After high school, he attended East Tennessee State to participate in their Bluegrass, Old-Time, and Country Music Program.

In 1999, he was recognized at the Bascom Lamar Lunsford “Misntrel of Appalachia” Festival with the Lunsford Youth Award. This was the first time the prestigious award was given to a young musician in the community. Since then, the award has been presented a handful of times to recognize young musicians who have shown talent, maturity in music, and a deep commitment to the musical traditions of the region.

Goforth has won multiple recognitions at Fiddlers Grove Festival in Union Grove, North Carolina, completing his competitions there by winning the “Fiddler of the Festival” Award in 2005. In 2001, Goforth was involved with the production and soundtrack of the movie The Songcatcher, a film that depicts the work of Cecil Sharp and Maude Karepeles, whose visit from England to gather ballads in southern Appalachia was set in Madison County in 1916. Some of his primary influences are banjo player Jerry Adams, fiddler Gordon Freeman, and David Holt.

Josh currently balances his time between teaching and performing. He performs with a variety of groups including Lorraine Jordan and Carolina Road, David Holt and the Lightning Bolts, and he teaches traditional music including fiddle, mandolin, guitar, banjo, and bass at the Academy for the Arts in Asheville.

Laura Boosinger, Director of the Madison County Arts Council and well-known musician who also plays with Josh in the Lightning Bolts and in their duet project, says, “I believe Josh is the future of our traditional music. Not only is he a master on every stringed instrument, he is a wonderful storyteller as well. Josh finds the humanity in our music and gifts that to his audience.’

The Presidential Lecture and Performance Series complements Mars Hill University’s emphasis on the liberal arts by bringing distinguished and knowledgeable individuals to lecture on a wide range of topics and to provide high quality performances in the cultural arts.