Tyler Williams (Contributed)
On Saturday at 7:30 p.m. the Carter Family Fold, in Hiltons, Va., will present a concert of bluegrass music by the Tyler Williams Band.
Williams grew up in Ohio and moved to Johnson City to study bluegrass music. Ashley Davis is from Fayetteville N.C. When the two of them met at the Galax Old Time Fiddlers’ Convention in 2007 it wasn’t long before they teamed up to form a band.
Tyler is blind and has cerebral palsy, but he has never let that hold him back. His interest in music began when he was just a year old. His first instrument was a keyboard his grandfather gave him, and he was playing it by age four. At age five, Tyler started taking classical piano lessons by ear. When he was six, his Uncle Derek — a guitar picker — introduced him to bluegrass. Tyler’s uncle took him to his first bluegrass festival. It was there that he met Alison Krauss.
His interest in bluegrass kicked into high gear when he was 16. Tyler honed his vocal skills by listening to CDs of his favorite artists. By age 17, he was participating in jams and became part of the Hocking Valley Bluegrass Boys. When he turned 18, he developed an interest in guitar and mandolin. In 2006, he joined the ETSU Bluegrass program and graduated in December of 2011.
Ashley began reading music when she was young, and her mom gave her piano lessons. After she saw the movie “O Brother Where Art Thou?” her musical interests shifted to bluegrass. She began attending local jam sessions and sought out musicians who would instruct her in bluegrass-style fiddling. By 2005, she was hired to play in Bill Jordan’s band. In 2007, she joined a group called the Parsons. Ashley became part of an all-female group Sweet Potato Pie in 2008. She’s now joined Tyler, and they have formed their own group.
Watching the two of them perform is spellbinding. Tyler’s vocal range and instrumental talent are nothing short of amazing. Ashley is already one of the best fiddlers around. We can only imagine how their talent will grow in years to come.
Admission to the concert is $8 for adults, $1 for children 6 to 11, under age 6 free. For more information on the band, go to www.tylerwilliamsband.com. You’ll also find them on Myspace, Facebook and YouTube.
Shows from the Carter Family Fold can be accessed at www.carterfoldshow.com. Carter Music Center is part of the Crooked Road: Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail. You can visit the Crooked Road Music Trail site at http://thecrookedroad.org. Partial funding for programs at the center is provided by the Virginia Commission for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts. For recorded information on shows coming up at the Fold, call 276-386-6054. The Fold is on Facebook — page Carter Fold — and Twitter — Twitter @carterfoldinfo. To speak to a Fold staff member, call 276-594-0676.