Marshall Ballew is a singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, instructor, and music historian whose Appalachian roots laid the groundwork for his lifelong love of music in all its various forms and ages. Surrounded in his youth in the North Carolina mountains by the sounds of folk, old-time, and bluegrass, he took up the guitar at age 14 and began a stringman’s journey that would lead to the study of the banjo, fiddle, Dobro, Hawaiian guitar, tiple, oud, saz, and bouzouki. Through the years, he has played with a variety of groups including Radiation Blues Banned, The Timber Rattlers, Happenstance, The Nefarious Dread – I Knights, and the Marshall Ballew Band. As president of the Smokey Mountain Music Association, a nonprofit based in western North Carolina, he helped establish a Junior Appalachian Music (JAM) program at a local charter school to teach young people the roots music of their region on a variety of stringed instruments. He has performed at venues all over the southern United States and a number of festivals – including Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion, Piccolo Spoleto, the Lake Eden Arts Festival, Arts & Minds Fest at Fur Peace Ranch, the Carolina Downhome Blues Festival, the Lowcountry Blues Festival, Greening up the Mountains, and the National Slide Guitar Festival.