AMAC is always on the alert for material that promises to grab the attention of members and expand their familiarity with America’s diverse culture. As part of this continuing quest, we often learn about musical groups that capture the heartbeat of specific regions—groups that are emerging as leaders in particular musical genres. It’s a fun thing to do, and we enjoy sharing what we’ve found with our members.
Recently, as we began planning the content for our February 2016 AMAC Delegate Conference, we explored a number of entertainment options for our kick-off night, hoping to find a group that would start us off on a high note, and that would align closely with AMAC’s traditional values of faith, family, and freedom. We struck gold with a group known as Mountain Faith—an award-winning Bluegrass band that is rapidly capturing the attention of heartland music fans across the nation.
Mountain Faith is the type of band that brings back memories of the purity of mountain music, with a fascinating array of stringed instruments and blended harmonies that can take you from toe-tapping to eyes-closed nostalgia as their repertoire unfolds. They are both traditional and unique, taking the deep-seated roots of Bluegrass and Country music and adding a bit of a pop twist to achieve what many reviewers have recognized as distinctive and perfectly suited to their chosen form of musical delivery.
This five-member ensemble is based in the town of Sylva in the extreme western part of North Carolina, surrounded by the Cowee Mountain range, where patriarch Sam McMahan and his two children, Summer McMahan and Brayden McMahan along with “extended family members” Luke Dotson and Corey Piatt, have built a rapidly growing legacy on the Bluegrass Circuit across the country and in Canada.
Mountain Faith’s vocals are mostly in the hands of the multi-talented and West Carolina University-educated Summer, who lists Alison Krauss, Lee Ann Womack, and Sonya Issacs as her musical influences. Overall, Mountain Faith takes much of its influence from the pioneers of grassroots music, like the legendary Bill Monroe, Doc Watson, and similar artists that paved the way. By applying the styles of the masters to a contemporary delivery, Mountain Faith has reached the point of being an important part of America’s music scene.
From their start with performances at fairs, parks, and churches across the United States and Canada, Mountain Faith has grown to major venues like civic centers, auditoriums, and concert arenas, most recently selected to perform for the National Football League in the Georgia Dome as entertainment at an Atlanta Falcons-Carolina Panthers game. They’ve received numerous award nominations from the Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music of America (SPGMA), and were semifinalists in America’s Got Talent’s 10th season.
Mountain Faith is driven by a sense of humility, kindness, and love of community, all built on a base of principles that represent traditional American values. Their rise to fame personifies the time-honored value of hard work and earned rewards, all of which aligns them closely with AMAC’s charter values.