Every year a few of us from Timpanogos Storytelling travel to Tennessee for the National Storytelling Festival. We do this for two reasons: first, we like to do a little scouting for new tellers; second, it’s nice to listen to stories during a storytelling festival—something that not all of us get to do during our Festival. While at the festival, we make a special point of attending Exchange Place (an event for new tellers who have been invited to tell a single story). Since we first saw many of our favorite tellers at this event—think Bil Lepp and Antonio Sacre—we are always on the look out for our next Festival favorite. Last year we were introduced to Josh Goforth and his fiddle.
Josh was raised in what some might call the hillbilly area of the southern Appalachian Mountains; however, we will be polite and just call it Sodom (no, really, that is the name of the community he comes from!). In describing his own youth, Josh says that he grew up 50 years behind the times. Rather than playing video games, he fished at the local fishing hole and trailed behind his granddads while they plowed their fields using horses.
Raised in a family of storytellers and musicians, one might suppose that Josh has simply followed in the family tradition. That is true, but it is also only half the story. You see, Josh is something of a musical boy wonder. He began his musical journey by playing the piano in church at the ripe old age of 4. As a young teenager, Josh was given his first guitar, then came the fiddle, and then, oh, about 10 or so other instruments that he sort of just picked up. But don’t be fooled, Josh doesn’t just piddle around on all these instruments. He is admired for his skill on several of them, with the fiddle generally regarded as his best. In fact, he collects honors and acclaim for his fiddle playing just about everywhere he goes; but, you know, just minor stuff like Grammy Award nominations and the like.
When we first saw Josh walk on stage, though, he did so without his fiddle. Stepping to the mic, he began to tell us about his granddad, his granddad’s big wad of ‘baccer (tobacco for those of us not from Sodom), and one of his granddad’s latest projects all while switching back and forth between his own charming southern Appalachian accent (fingers crossed that he drops a “golly” or two at our Festival) and his granddad’s nearly incomprehensible ‘baccer–filled twang. Afterward, Josh picked up his fiddle and played a song dedicated to his granddad. We were sold!
Below you will find a short clip where Josh shows off his skill on the guitar with fellow musician Laura Boosinger. (You’ll have to catch him at our Festival to see just how good he is on the fiddle).
Oh, and don’t miss Josh’s FREE concert at the Riverwoods Gazebo Wednesday, August 28, at 7:00 p.m