Deborah Payne is a fiddler and singer from Berea, Kentucky. Deborah’s music is strongly infused by some of the region’s most beloved musicians with mentorship by artists such as Jean Ritchie, the McLain Family Band, and Michael Cleveland. Deborah has maintained the traditions of the region playing for folk dances, teaching children’s dance, and providing lessons for area students. Deborah has played and toured both locally and internationally with numerous bluegrass and old time bands including the Berea College Bluegrass Ensemble, CaneBreak, Sugar Tree, and currently the Kentucky Sunshine Quartet. She has appeared on the Woodsongs Old Time Radio Hour, Red Barn Radio, and Hillbilly Solid by Silas House. With Sugar Tree, Deborah appeared in the debut production of award-winning author Silas House’s play THIS IS MY HEART FOR YOU and she is part of the cast of the folk opera IN THESE FIELDS, a production written by Silas House and Sam Gleaves. She has provided music for touring folk dance groups in Italy, Denmark, Scotland, Ireland, and England, and will be supporting the Berea College Country Dancers on a tour of China in May 2017.
Sam Gleaves is a singer and multi-instrumentalist originally from Wytheville, Virginia who now makes his home in Berea, Kentucky. Sam began playing Appalachian music as a teenager with the help of local barber and musician Jim Lloyd and ballad singer Sheila Kay Adams. During his time as a Berea College student, Sam performed with the Berea College Bluegrass Ensemble directed by Al White. Sam tours often as a solo artist and with musical collaborators Tyler Hughes, Deborah Payne, Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer in addition to teaching stringed instrument lessons in Berea and Lexington. In 2015, Sam collaborated with Grammy-winning producer Cathy Fink and released a debut record of original songs, titled Ain’t We Brothers, which has been featured by The Guardian, National Public Radio, No Depression, and The Bluegrass Situation. Sam tours extensively in the U.S. and he has performed in Ireland, England, Canada, Japan and Italy. In 2017, Sam released a new record with his singing partner Tyler Hughes, a fellow southwest Virginian steeped in the region’s musical traditions. This record, titled Sam Gleaves & Tyler Hughes, has received glowing reviews from Fatea, Rock n Reel, fROOTS, and others. Appalachian novelist Lee Smith has heralded Sam as “the best young songwriter around.”