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Honoring Josh Graves 
at the Cherohala Skyway Festival! 

Why do we honor Josh Graves at the Josh Graves Memorial Music Festival at the Cherohala Skyway Festival ? 
Highlighting our mountain heritage of bluegrass and mountain music has been a big draw at the Cherohala Skyway Festival since the first festival in  2016.  Honoring the specific contributions our hometown celebrity, Josh Graves, made to the blue grass music began with featuring Josh’s nephew’s band, Tim Graves and The Farm Hands and Tim and his brothers, Tedd and Mike, The Graves Brothers in 2018.  Tim is a celebrated dobroist who weaves in stories about his uncle and credits Uncle Josh for  giving him his first dobro and teaching him to play the instrument! In 2020, Tim was awarded Master Gold dobro Player of the year from SPBGMA. 

The Charles Hall Museum’s Cherohala Skyway Committee welcomes Tim Graves and the Farm Hands and the Graves Brothers back to the Cherohala Skyway Festival!  A day filled with excellent bluegrass music also includes recording bluegrass bands, Tim Decker and the Tennessee River and Appalachian Smoke! Both bands are full of talented bluegrass musicians including some of the best dobro players! 

In the spirit of honoring Uncle Josh and his contributions to bluegrass music, Monroe County Tourism  has sponsored  “The Josh Graves Memorial Dobro Pick-Off Competition”  since 2019! The brainchild of our Monroe County archivist, Jo Stakely, this pick-off promotes the best dobro players in the region and rewards them with cash prizes! There is no entry fee and a limit of 10 players. Call Jo at 423-519-0334 to register.

Burkett Howard Graves was born in Tellico Plains on September 27, 1927. With a music career spanning over 50 years, he popularized  a new instrument to the world of bluegrass, the  resonator guitar (dobro), after joining Flatt and Scruggs and the Foggy Mountain Boys in 1955. Uncle Josh (his stage name) adapted Earl Scruggs’ unique three-finger banjo style to the resonator guitar (Dobro), a new technique to the world of dobroist. This gave Flatt and Scruggs and the Foggy Mountain Boys, one of the most famous bands in the history of bluegrass music, their distinctive sound. 

Josh inspired hundreds of musicians to become dobroists and encouraged them to develop their own music. Josh was inducted into the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Hall of Fame in 1997. His style to inspire rising musicians to play and perfect the resonator guitar (dobro) continues! 

In 2019, the Cherohala Skyway Visitor's Center, next door to the Hall Museum, became a stop along the Tennessee Music Pathways in honor of Tellico Plains being the hometown of Uncle Josh. There is a special display that honors Josh that includes a video of Josh playing the dobro! 
To learn more about the enormous contributions Josh Graves made to blue grass music visit the display on Josh and Tim Graves at the Hall Museum that includes an original Josh Graves dobro that is on loan from the Harold and Peggy Randolph family! The Randolph family will join us at the festival and look forward to hearing Tim bring “Elbert” out of his new home for a few tunes! 

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