Bobby Patterson & Willard Gayheart
Nectars from different flowers, the sweet harmonies of Bobby Patterson and Willard Gayheart flow golden, like honey. The Galax native and the pencil artist from Hazard, Ky., (who’s been here since 1962 and says he’s “took root now – be hard to get rid of me”) have been playing music together for 40 years in various bands, but discovered a whole new depth of artistry through duet singing at the Blue Ridge Music Center.
The friends and colleagues volunteered in 2007 to entertain visitors in the breezeway on Tuesdays during the season, and have ever since used their vast storehouse of song and story to add richness to the visitor’s experience. Patterson plays banjo and guitar, and sometimes mandolin. Gayheart, says Patterson, specializes in guitar.
They’ve had so much fun with their newfound duet style that they’ve made two recordings: Howdy Folks, Welcome to the Blue Ridge and a new one as yet untitled, available for purchase right from the artists.
It’s easy enough for them; Patterson has a recording studio and since 1972 has been recording and preserving the work of local artists, and sending it “out to the world.” We call ourselves the ambassadors of this music,” says Patterson.
They’ll welcome you to the music center just like it was the front porch at home. Patterson looks around contently. “We love every minute of it.”