By Abby Whitt | Editor
Three Handmade Music School students and siblings recently returned from Jackson, Mississippi, where they were invited to perform by five-time Grammy Award winner and Grand Ole Opry star Marty Stuart.
The Hazy Mountain Stringband is made up of siblings Cheyenne on fiddle, Wyatt on clawhammer banjo, and Gatlynn Grantham on bass.
Stuart invited the trio to the March 21 fundraiser in Mississippi to benefit his Congress of Country Music museum, which is set to open later this year to house the world’s largest collection of country music artifacts, including Stuart’s first guitar, Patsy Cline’s boots, Johnny Cash’s first black performance suit, and Hank Williams’ handwritten manuscripts in his hometown of Philadelphia, Miss.
The Grantham siblings took the stage with Stuart on mandolin during the performance to play Lonesome Road Blues.
Currently 12, Cheyenne has been playing the fiddle for eight years and Wyatt, 11, has been playing the clawhammer banjo for two years. Six-year-old Gatlynn started playing bass in 2021. The three are the children of Kady and Justin Grantham.
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“The Handmade Music School has had a huge impact on their music, and the support from the Floyd Country Store has been incredible,” Kady explained, noting that the siblings also participate in the Floyd County Junior Appalachian Musicians. She said their teachers included Ashlee Watkins, Andrew Small, Mac Traynham and Andy Buckman.
Handmade Music School founder Dylan Locke, who also owns the Floyd Country Store, called the Granthams “excellent” and “phenomenal”, noting that they not only play instruments well at a young age, but also “they master extremely complicated techniques. ”
“It’s not just the lessons — it’s a lifestyle and a community built on traditional music,” Locke said. “This community nurtures real connections that young people have with music and makes it as immersive as possible.”
He noted the range of artists who take music school students under their wing, from local artists like Mac Traynham, who meets students on the streets to play and takes them to each of his gigs, to legend Stuart , who invited them to the benefit walk.
Ashlee Watkins and Andrew Small, a musically inclined power couple who also host the Floyd Radio Show once a month, have worked with the Granthams for several years.
They say the trio “shows a level of dedication rare in children their age, which makes them excellent representatives of our Southwest Virginia musical traditions.”
Andrew added: “Ashlee and I are proud of their accomplishments and excited for what the future holds for these talented and hardworking children.”
Follow The Hazy Mountain Stringband and the music of the Granthams on Facebook at www.facebook.com/hazymountainstringband.