Charlotte Folk Society logo celebrating 30 years

Dedicated to promoting the ongoing enjoyment and preservation of traditional and contemporary folk music, dance, crafts and lore in the Carolinas Piedmont,
since 1982.

Charlotte Folk Society Gathering
Featuring Master Guitar Pickers
Wayne Henderson and Clay Lunsford!

August 8th, 7:30 PM
Wayne Henderson and Clay Lunsford

Wayne Henderson and Clay Lunsford
(Photo by Tom Watts)

The Charlotte Folk Society welcomes "thumb and finger style" guitar pickers Wayne Henderson and Clay Lunsford to our August 8th Gathering. The music gets underway at 7:30 PM in the Great Aunt Stella Center, 926 Elizabeth Avenue, in Uptown Charlotte. Doors open at 7 PM. Parking adjacent to the Stella Center and in a nearby deck is free. Accessible, ground level entry is available on the parking lot side of the building. A CFS volunteer stands ready to help those needing assistance to the accessible entrance. Please note that Elizabeth Avenue is now open at the Kings Drive intersection.

Sweet Georgia Brown
(This one shows contrast in styles especially well.)

Charlotte Folk Society second-Friday Gatherings are family-friendly and free. Donations are appreciated and essential to presenting the concert series in the Great Aunt Stella Center. Refreshments, a song circle, a slow old-time jam, and the Charlotte Appalachian Dulcimer Club follow the hour-long concert. Visitors are welcome to participate in any activity.

Long-time friends Wayne Henderson and Clay Lunsford decided to record an album together so they could showcase their different styles of playing the guitar with a thumb pick and fingers, especially in an age when many hot guitar players use a flat pick. Entitled Thumb to Thumb: The Museum Recordings, their duo CD was recorded in the museum room of Wayne's luthier shop and released in April this year. Even though Wayne and Clay are both thumb pickers, their techniques vary significantly.

Clay Lunsford

Clay Lunsford

Clay Lunsford plays with a thumb pick in the manner of Chet Atkins. Wayne describes his own approach this way: "I have two finger picks, like a banjo player would use. I was influenced by Merle Travis to use a thumb pick. All of the guitar players that I knew when I was a kid, Maybelle Carter, Mr. E.C. Ball, who lived in my neighborhood, Chet Atkins, Merle Travis, and Lester Flatt, they were all heroes of mine, and every last one of them used a thumb pick. But the music I wanted to play was my dad's fiddle tunes, and to play the fiddle tunes, you need to be a flat picker. So, I had to devise a way that I could do that and still use my thumb pick." (The Mountain Times, April 10, 2014) When Wayne and Clay perform together, the result is a highly entertaining blending of styles and sounds. You won't want to miss it!

Wayne Henderson

Wayne Henderson

Wayne Henderson is known worldwide for both his lightning fast picking style and the beautiful guitars, mandolins, and banjos he creates in his shop in Rugby, Virginia. He was honored at the White House in l995 for both his craftsmanship and his playing as a recipient of the prestigious National Heritage Award. Owners of Henderson guitars include the late Doc Watson, Tommy Emmanuel, and Gillian Welch. Eric Clapton waited ten years for Wayne to build his guitar and the process was detailed in a book authored by Allen St. John, Clapton's Guitar: Watching Wayne Henderson Build the Perfect Guitar. A virtuoso guitarist, as well as a master luthier, Wayne has won every guitar competition in the region so many times he has quit competing. In fact, he holds a record for the most first place finishes of any contestant in the history of the legendary Galax Fiddler's Convention.

Nothing To It -or- I Don’t Love Nobody

The Wayne C. Henderson Festival and Guitar Competition takes place on the third Saturday of every June in the Grayson Highlands State Park in Mouth of Wilson, Virginia. The winner of the guitar competition receives a highly coveted prize, a Wayne Henderson guitar. This year's festival, which featured Vince Gill, The Snyder Family, Dale Jett & Hello Stranger, among others, was the 20th annual event. Each year a percentage of the festival proceeds is used to fund scholarships to "aid young, local, traditional musicians to continue their musical exploration and education." More than $116,000 has been awarded through the 2014 festival.

Wildwood Flower

Clay Lunsford has played for more than 50 years in the style of Chet Atkins and Merle Travis. He comes from a long line of musicians that includes Bascom Lamar Lunsford, known as the "minstrel of the Appalachians" and the founder of the Mountain Dance and Folk Festival in Asheville, now in its 87th year. Clay formed the North Carolina Thumbpickers in 1999 to help preserve the heritage of thumb and finger style guitar playing. Since its creation, the group has hosted ten Thumbpickers Conventions in Statesville, most recently in March of this year. Clay also performs with the Clay Lunsford Jazz Group and The Gospel Voices. He makes his home in Union Grove, North Carolina. Visit Clay's website:

Arts & Science Council / NC Arts Logo

Charlotte Folk Society Gatherings are made possible, in part, with funding from the Arts & Science Council and the North Carolina Arts Council, an agency of the Department of Cultural Resources, and the National Endowment for the Arts, which believes that a great nation deserves great art.