News & Events

The Liston B. Ramsey Center presents Mentors and Heroes - Photography by David Holt

Doc And DavidOn Wednesday, November 9, 2016 from 6-8 p.m., the Liston B. Ramsey Center for Regional Studies at Mars Hill University will host David Holt for a reception celebrating his photography exhibit, “Mentors and Heroes.” The reception will include remarks by Holt about his work and live music by MHU professor of music Gary Spence and young fiddler, Lillian Chase.

The exhibit is currently on display through December 14, 2016 in the Ramsey Center, located on the first floor of Renfro Library on the Mars Hill University campus. It consists of over thirty black and white portraits that feature Holt’s musical mentors and heroes from the 1970s up to the early 2000s. Among those photographed are Madison County ballad singers Dellie Norton, Cas Wallin, Berzilla Wallin, and Sheila Kay Adams, who Holt met when he first came to the region in the 1970s. Holt says that Dellie Norton was like a grandmother to him, offering “old time wisdom and a deep knowledge of mountain life; she was truly a great person.”

David Holt also includes in this beautiful series several portraits of Doc Watson, with whom he traveled and performed for many years. He calls Doc his “musical father” and most important mentor. Holt worked with both Doc and Merle Watson in the early 1980s on a several projects, and in 1999 he and Doc began playing shows together on a regular basis. Holt cherished the time they spent together on the road, saying, “Performing and traveling with Doc has been one of the highpoints of my life. There is nothing like being on the road that brings out the stories.”

Holt is a four-time GRAMMY Award winner who in addition to being a musician, story-teller, radio and television host has done very important work documenting and sharing the stories and images of key musicians of American musicians. His work is available for purchase and can be viewed online at

For more information on the reception, please contact Hannah Furgiuele, Ramsey Center Program Coordinator, at or 828.689.1571.