Jack Beck & Wendy Welch perform

October 18, 2017

The Arts Alliance Mountain Empire's speaker series presents Jack Beck and Wendy Welch Nov. 7 at 7 p.m., at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum, Bristol, Virginia.

Beck became interested in Scottish ballads and songs at the beginning of the folk-song revival of the 1960s, and was one of the founders of the folk club (The Dunfermline Howff) in 1961.

From 1964 until 1967, he partnered with the well-known singer Barbara Dickson and throughout the 1960s he was part of the circle which included Archie Fisher, John Watt, Rab Noakes, Jimmy Hutchison, The MacCalmans, The Corries and The Incredible String Band.

In 1976 he co-founded the acclaimed folk-band Heritage, which went on to make a number of recordings, broadcast on radio and TV, played most of the Scottish festivals and clubs and made frequent tours of Europe.

A recent venture is an "infotainment' called "A Stranger in this Country" presented with his wife Welch, which examines Scottish and American versions of the same songs and ballads. This has been performed in Scotland and in the U.S.

Telling stories is second nature to Welch. Cultural understanding is the hallmark of a repertoire gleaned from her native Appalachia and studies in Newfoundland. Ph.D. studies in folklore infuse her tales with depth and meaning; an energetic approach brings them to life.

Welch has written a newspaper column on folklore; founded the American Folklore Society's Storytelling Section; has published numerous articles on storytelling; and taught college classes on folklore and telling technique. A former branch secretary of the Traditional Music and Song Association of Scotland, she has coordinated ceilidhs and festivals and has run an events consultancy. Her best-selling memoir "The Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap" is in its fourth printing.