Meet Sam Gleaves

Sam Gleaves
Traditional Arts Director

A native of Wytheville, Virginia, Sam Gleaves is an Appalachian singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and teaching artist. Sam carries on the ballads, fiddle and banjo tunes, and stories he learned from numerous mentors, including multi-instrumentalist Jim Lloyd and ballad singer Sheila Kay Adams. Sam writes new songs in the mountain tradition, telling stories about love, the home place, working people and social issues.

In 2014, Sam earned an undergraduate degree in Folklore from Berea College and during his,time as a student, Sam worked at the Loyal,Jones Appalachian Center and he performed with the college’s Bluegrass Ensemble and Country Dance Band, directed by Al White. Musical collaboration and community are central to Sam’s work, which is evident in his three recordings: a solo record titled AIN’T WE BROTHERS, a duo record with Tyler Hughes, and a trio record with Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer titled SHOUT AND SHINE. As an instructor, Sam is passionate about sharing Appalachian traditions with folks of all ages.  He has taught individual lessons and classes in fiddle, banjo, guitar, autoharp, dulcimer, and singing in public schools, at colleges and universities, in prisons, and at music camps. Sam served on the steering committee of the STAY (Stay Together Appalachian Youth) Project and he is currently the coordinator of the Singing Bird Music School, a three-day Appalachian music workshop presented by Berea Tourism and the Berea Festival of Learnshops.

Sam has performed extensively throughout the United States and he has toured in Ireland, England, Italy, Japan and Canada, as a solo artist and opening for legendary musicians Peggy Seeger, John McCutcheon, Mary McPartlan, and others. When he’s not traveling or teaching, Sam enjoys cooking, hosting company, and spending time in the woods.