This year’s Bascom Lunsford Award was presented to Brian Hunter at the 51st Bascom Lamar Lunsford “Minstrel of Appalachia” Festival in October. Hunter is a co-founder of the influential traditional string band The Midnight Plowboys, which was originally founded in 1980 and got back together at the 2012 Lunsford Festival. “Brian has been committed to traditional music and the music community in Western North Carolina since the 1970s,” says Laura Boosinger, director of the Madison County Arts Council and a member of The Midnight Plowboys.
Hunter has served as a consultant to organizations that support traditional music, and, in his other role as an Asheville-based CPA, has provided free tax workshops to musicians. “I’ve worked hard to recognize and support young musicians and to regularly host private sessions where the music is shared by the young and old alike,” says Hunter. “Based on the devoted and talented young musicians we have today, the future of southern mountain music is bright indeed.”
The award has been given out since 1980 to individuals who have made significant contributions to the folk, musical and/or dance traditions of the southern mountain region. Past winners include Carol Rifkin (2016), Bobby McMillon (2004), Joe Penland (2005) and Sheila Kay Adams (1997). “I look back at earlier award winners and see the very folks who taught me how to play my instrument, sing in tune and run a band,” says Hunter. “I’m proud to be on that long list.”