Sourwood Mountain: American Folk Traditions 1
Born in Euclid, Ohio in 1953, folk singer and songwriter Stephen Moore is a conduit of American folk traditions in song and story. Primarily of Irish descent, he first learned songs from his mother, who sang just about anything that came into her mind, and from his grandmother, a self-styled 'ornery,' but solemn hymn-singing woman. He grew up in Fort Worth, Texas where as a teenager he learned to play guitar because that was the 'instrument that all folk singers played.' As a child though, he played a wide variety of instruments including the ukelele, harmonica, jews harp, mouthbow, and 'did a little hamboning during recess with my friend Alan.' In high school his mother took him to performances of the Fort Worth Folk Song Society, at which he was soon performing many of the old ballads that he grew up with. It was during this period that Q'Zella Jeffus, president of the society, gave him his first dulcimer. Those were the years he played his first 'Hootenanny' and sang in underground coffee houses in Fort Worth and Dallas that sprang up during the Vietnam War. He also had the privilege of accompanying Ferd 'Tex' Fields, a well-known Texas bluegrass fiddler. Shortly after, he started studying music at the University of Texas at Arlington where he received a degree in 1979. The day after he graduated he sold his piano, packed up everything he had, and moved to Williamsburg, Virginia to become a musician in the taverns of Colonial Williamsburg. It was there that he began to play the Irish harp, Irish flute, and pennywhistle. This move also opened a whole new world of music and dance that was offered in the area from the Tidewater to the Appalachians. He has never left the area, which he fondly calls home. Stephen Moore has for the past two and a half decades been performing throughout his adopted home state as a singer, songwriter, and folklorist. His extensive repertoire includes songs he remembers his mother playing for the family on her Wabash guitar as well as hundreds of songs he has picked up along the way. He has also written many songs, one which earned him an invitation to play on national TV in Nashville in 1993. In 1983 he published A Garland of Early 17th Century Music, a book which sold at historic sites from Plimoth Plantation in Massachusetts to The Lost Colony in North Carolina. He has also performed at festivals and colleges throughout the eastern United States.