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10 hall of fame musicians from the Asheville area

From Nina Simone and Roberta Flack to Billy Edd Wheeler.

The Steep Canyon Rangers toured around the country in this Asheville-themed van. | Screen grab from Explore Asheville

From George Clinton to James Taylor, North Carolina has no shortage of musical talent. Each year, the Kannapolis-based NC Music Hall of Fame pays tribute to a select number of legendary musicians with Cackalacky ties.

Currently, the Asheville area boasts ten NC Hall of Fame musicians who run the gamut from folk and electronic to soul and bluegrass. Keep on reading to see who’s made the cut.

This mega tribute to Roberta Flack was added to the Black Mountain Brewing building in 2020. | Photo by @pubcorps

Jermaine Dupri | 1972-now

While he now lives in Atlanta and works with superstars like Mariah Carey, Jay-Z, and Janet Jackson, this legendary hip-hop producer + rapper was born in Asheville.

Roberta Flack | 1937-now

Known for chart-topping singles “Killing Me Softly with His Song” and “Where Is the Love,” this soulful singer-songwriter was the first artist to win a Grammy for Record of the Year twice in a row.

Fred Foster | 1931-2019

Foster, a Rutherford County native, founded Monument Records, which was the first label to sign Dolly Parton and produced “Dumb Blonde” and “Something Fishy.”


George Beverly Shea.

Photo via Billy Graham Library

George Beverly Shea | 1909-2013

A gospel star, this singer and hymn composer is best known for his role as a “musical mainstay” in the Billy Graham Crusades. Often referred to as “America’s Beloved Gospel Singer,” Shea received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Recording Academy in 2011 and a Grammy Award for Best Gospel or Other Religious Recording in 1966.

Warren Haynes | 1960-now

This longtime guitarist with the Allman Brothers Band and founding member of the jam band Gov’t Mule is a legend amongst locals for producing Asheville’s annual Christmas Jam festival.

David Holt | 1946-now

Holt, a four-time Grammy winner and revered folk artist, founded the Appalachian Music Program at Warren Wilson College in 1975.

Clyde Moody | 1915-1989

Born in Cherokee, Moody — aka the “Hillbilly Waltz King” — helped pave the way for American bluegrass.

Bob Moog | Photo courtesy of Electronic Beats

Robert Moog | 1934-2005

Moog is known as the pioneer of electronic music and is credited with inventing the first commercial synthesizer. Learn more by touring Asheville’s Moogseum and Moog Factory.

Steep Canyon Rangers | 2000-present

This Grammy-winning Asheville-based bluegrass band regularly tours with actor and banjoist Steve Martin.

Nina Simone | 1933-2003

The ‘High Priestess of Soul,’ whose music spanned from classical to blues to gospel + beyond, was born in Tryon. Take a visit to her childhood home.

Billy Edd Wheeler | 1932-now

A longtime resident of Swannanoa, the songwriter and musician is best know for his song “Ode to the Little Brown Shack Out Back,” which was a top 5 country hit in 1964 and reached the top 50 on the pop chart.

Want to learn more about these musical legends? You’ll need to take a short road trip to Mooresville. Get a ticket for the NC Music Hall of Fame inductions on Thursday, Oct. 19 at the Mooresville Performing Arts Center.

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