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KCTM hit the airwaves and legendary stages on recent three-state tour

The Kentucky Center for Traditional Music (KCTM) at Morehead State University works to keep the tradition of Appalachian music thriving through its bachelor's degree program and with student and faculty ambassadors performing across the country and around the world. This past week, KCTM’s Mountain Music Ambassadors hit the road for a three-day, three state tour that included a performance on one of country music’s most prestigious stages. 

The group, led by KCTM Director Raymond McLain, kicked off the tour on Thursday, April 11, with an interview and performance taping for “Daytime Tri-Cities" on WJHL-TV in Johnson City, Tennessee. This was followed by an evening performance streamed live from the Appalachian Cultural Music Association’s (ACMA) Pickin’ Porch in Kingsport, Tennessee.  

The following day, KCTM players gave a full performance as part of a concert series at the John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, North Carolina. The tour concluded on Saturday, April 13, with a return trip to Hiltons, Virginia. They performed as a featured group at the Carter Family Fold, the venerable venue at the homeplace of the legendary Carter Family. 

McLain said he has made it a point to bring KCTM students on tour since he came to MSU to head up the center and its programs. In addition to bringing positive attention and awareness to KCTM and MSU, he said taking students out on the road lets them to gain firsthand experience on everything from live performance to booking and concert promotion and enhances their overall education. 

“One of the things we’ve always tried to do at the Kentucky Center for Traditional Music is help students be involved in the professional community while they’re still in school,” McLain said. “It’s a powerful model if you can help students work in the professional arena and mentor those students at the same time.” 

KCTM preserves, teaches, helps develop and celebrates our rich mountain heritage. It provides a nationally accredited, quality education in traditional music styles including Bluegrass, Old Time, Country, Ballad Singing, Blues, Celtic, Western Swing and more. It is also home to the only Bachelor of Arts in Traditional Music in the state of Kentucky. 

To view photos from the tour, visit Photos provided by Kaitlin Ferrell, junior convergent media major from Stopover, Kentucky. 

To learn more about the Kentucky Center for Traditional Music, call 606-783-9001, email or visit