Come join us on Friday, April 24, in the Rebecca Johnson Theatre for our first Rugby Roots: Appalachian Arts with a British Beat event featuring a concert by Katie Hoffman and Brett Tiller a ballads, folk & bluegrass duo from Jonesborough, Tn!

Purchase $10 tickets online here: Katie Hoffman and Brett Tiller Concert Tickets

Admission:  $10 advance; $12 at door

7:00 p.m., ET,  in The Rebecca Jouhnson Theatre


Katie Hoffman (Tiller) is a hillbilly wannabe. She’s hoping Brett will teach her a thing or two in that department. She’s developing some street (er…mountain?) cred, though, as she has lived in the region for a total of 20 years. Katie grew up in Richmond, VA. She did not learn ballads by sitting knee-to-knee with her granny, but learned her folk music the new-fashioned way (well, it was new-fashioned back then)—by listening to her mother’s record collection. She also happily went with her parents to a number of bluegrass festivals and concerts, and was thrilled to end up eventually in East Tennessee, right in the middle of the music she loves best! Her PhD is in English (UT Knoxville, 2008), but her specialty is really Appalachian Studies.

She is a singer of traditional Appalachian ballads and a singer/songwriter with a CD to her credit, Beautiful Day. The CD features 9 of Katie’s original songs. It was produced by Raymond McLain and features the incredible talent of the East Tennessee State University Bluegrass Band.

Katie also co-chaired the Appalachian section of the Smithsonian Folklife Festival on the Mall in Washington, DC during thesummer of 2003. She was the traditional music producer for a 4-part PBS series entitled Appalachia: A History of Mountains and People. Brett and Katie married in October of 2013.

So far, so good! They play together for all sorts of events. On their honeymoon, they played for the farmer’s market in Hawi, Hawaii. Around home, they play for community groups, bus tours, academic lectures, radio broadcasts, and now—the Central Café Glade! They also garden, cook, and can together and haunt flea markets and junk shops looking forantique cast iron.

Brett C. Tiller is a genuine hillbilly! He grew up in Lebanon, Virginia on top (literally) of a mountain and was required to milk the cow before he could go to school “of a mornin’.” He works for a small firm called Host Engineering in Sulphur Springs, TN as an electronics technician. He can fix anything—lawn mowers, mixers, radios, you name it. This is only one of his many talents, though. As a high schooler, Brett became interested in bluegrass, and received a banjo as a graduation present. After a couple of years of lessons, he put it away to become a respectable member of society. He hid his banjo-playing tendencies, focusing on his family and career. Lucky for us, Brett decided at age 39 to pick the banjo back up again. In 2005, he became part of the East Tennessee State University Bluegrass program.

He has been a member of the Rockingham Road bluegrass band since 2007. If you ask him about his influences, Brett will tell you that he owes a lot to his favorite local musicians and the people who have helped him get back into playing the banjo. This list includes Glen Rose, banjo player for Appalachian Trail; Jerry Keys, banjo player for Paul Williams and the Victory Trio; Raymond McLain & Jack Tottle, former directors of the Bluegrass, Old Time & Country Music program at ETSU; and Will Parsons, a fine “banjer picker” and his former teacher.

PLEASE NOTE: The bio information above first appeared in the blog Central Cafe Glade on Feb. 26, 2014