ETSU adds prominent grassers to their faculty

The Department of Bluegrass, Old-Time and Country Music Studies at East Tennessee State University has announced the addition of two new faculty members familiar to the bluegrass and old time community.

Jon Weisberger will come on board as an adjunct, serving as a bass instructor at the school. He had played bass in and around Nashville for many years, and on the road with Chris Jones & The Night Drivers since 2004. Jon has recently left the band, and Nashville, moving to Brevard, NC to work with Crossroads Music. He will commute to Johnson City to assist bass students at ETSU.

Weisberger can also offer his extensive experience with recording and production with his pupils, and says that he is eager to get to work with them.

“I’ve been an admirer of the ETSU Bluegrass, Old-Time, and Country Music Studies program since its earliest days, so I’m excited and honored to be joining the faculty there. Judging by the program’s alumni, I know there’s a great student body there, and I look forward to sharing my knowledge of and approach to playing bass in these musical settings with them.”

Coming on board as an old time music lecturer is Kalia Yeagle, who recently completed her graduate certificate in Appalachian studies at ETSU, moving from Alaska where she grew up. Yeagle has worked in the field as fiddler, vocalist, and business manager for Bill and The Belles. The band serves as the house band for the revival of Farm and Fun Time on WBCM radio in Bristol.

Kalia says that teaching at her graduate alma mater will be a thrill.

“I’m excited to be a part of the growing old-time program at ETSU. I’ve seen the impact higher education can have on the community and the music, and I look forward to honoring modes of transmission central to the tradition, while challenging students to grow as artists and thinkers and participants in the changing world of music.”

Bluegrass, Old Time, and Country Music Studies is a part of the Appalachian Studies department at ETSU, and offers four year degrees as well as certificates for undergraduates interested in a career in the music. Students learn the history of the traditional music forms, plus standard music theory and harmony, along with private lessons on their instrument. They are also grouped into ensembles based on their interests and abilities.

More information about the program can be found online, or by contacting the department office by phone (423-439-7072) or email.

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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.