Bayla Davis chosen as a Fellow by From the Top’s Learning and Media Lab

Bayla Davis, the 16 year old banjo player with North Carolina’s Newfound Gap, has been awarded a 2023-’24 Learning and Media Lab Fellowship by From The Top, an association dedicated to fostering and promoting talented young musical artists. From The Top typically focuses on classical musicians, so it’s a special treat to see them highlighting a teen traditional artist like Bayla.

A film crew visited Bayla from Boston this past weekend to film a segment for the From The Top radio program on NPR, and for videos and podcasts they distribute online. She sat for an interview and played some music which should be broadcast and available in April. The film crew also captured her out and about in Asheville, showing off some of her favorite spots in town.

Bayla has already received recognition for her primarily clawhammer banjo playing, being a two-time recipient of the IBMA Fletcher Bright Memorial Scholarship to Béla Fleck’s Blue Ridge Banjo Camp, where she was also selected to perform before the entire assemblage.

Her Fellowship will include a four week/12 hour online curriculum designed to prepare young artists for the life of a professional musician like developing familiarity with the recording process, the live concert experience, and how to work with media.

Echo Mountain Recording in Asheville was chosen for Bayla’s studio session and interview, where she recorded with two of her instructors, Jerry Sutton (Bryan’s dad) and Josh Goforth.

For those unfamiliar with her playing, here’s Bayla from a few months ago in a front porch video playing a medley of Snowflake Reel and Bonaparte’s Retreat.

And here she is with siblings Sylvie and Judah in Newfound Gap at the Balsam Range Art of Music Festival back in December.

Keep an eye on your local NPR affiliate station’s schedule in April to catch Bayla Davis on From The Top.

Share this:

About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.