Carson Peters and Presley Barker


E&H College - McGlothlin Center for the Arts

30481 Garnand Drive, Emory VA

Crooked Road Concerts


7:30 PM

If you haven’t heard of fiddler Carson Peters and guitarist Presley Barker, chances are you will – a lot. Barely in their teens, Carson and Presley have already appeared on stages many artists only dream of – the Grand Ole Opry, NBC TV’s Tonight Show and Little Big Shots, MerleFest, and the Country Music Association Awards show. And shared those stages with marquee artists like Ricky Skaggs and Brad Paisley. Carson and Presley each have their own groups, but these two friends love playing music together when they can and this concert gives them that opportunity. They will perform as a duo to start the concert and will be joined in the second set by even more youth string wizards including Ben Marshall on bass, Austin Tate on mandolin, and Clay Russell on banjo.

From 6:30-7:15 PM there will be youth program performances by WiseJAMS-Big Stone Gap (Black Box Theatre) and Henderson JAM (Atrium).

The McGlothlin Art Center on the campus of Emory & Henry College has entertained audiences with cultural programs in a comfortable and beautifully appointed hall known for superb sound quality.


Carson Peters is a 15-year-old wunderkind—a nationally recognized bluegrass and gospel fiddler and singer who has been entertaining audiences for a dozen years. He began playing the fiddle at 3 years of age when his parents bought him a 1/8 size fiddle. Within a year he was playing in fiddle competitions and jamming at musical festivals, and he soon began winning competitions. In recent years, Peters has regularly performed publicly in and near his home in the Tri Cities area, including at such prestigious venues and events as Mountains of Music Homecoming, Song of the Mountains, the Carter Family Fold, the Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion, Dollywood’s Barbeque and Bluegrass Festival, Asheville’s Bluegrass First Class, and WDVX’s World Class Bluegrass. He has also appeared on several national television programs, including “The Tonight Show” with Jay Leno, “Little Big Shots” with Steve Harvey, as well as the 2018 Country Music Association Awards show. Peters has also performed on The Grand Ole Opry, initially as a guest of bluegrass and country music legend Ricky Skaggs and later with his own band, Iron Mountain (featuring Peters’ father Jamie, father-and-son Eric and Ben Marshall, and Austin Tate). Additionally, Peters was invited to perform with famed gospel singer Jimmy Fortune on the floor of The Tennessee State Senate. Having recorded two well-received albums with Iron Mountain, Peters is widely considered one of the finest young musicians working in bluegrass and gospel music.

Presley Barker is a phenomenal young guitarist who lives in Wilkes County, North Carolina, which was also home to one of Barker’s guitar heroes, Doc Watson. First learning to play the guitar at the age of 7, Barker won the Galax Old Fiddler’s Convention guitar contest in the adult division when he was 10; over the next couple of years he won the West Virginia State Flatpicking Guitar competition and the Wayne Henderson Guitar competition. As a member of the talented youth bluegrass band Shadowgrass (alongside Kyser George, Luke Morris, and Clay Russell), Barker has performed at such major festivals as the National Folk Festival, the Richmond Folk Festival, the International Bluegrass Music Association’s World of Bluegrass, the annual SPGBMA conference, HoustonFest, and Merlefest. Additionally, Presley appeared on national television as featured guests on Steve Harvey’s program “Little Big Shots” with The Salty Dogs band. With accompaniment from such leading musicians as Steve Lewis, Scott Freeman, Josh Scott, and Wayne Henderson, Barker’s 2015 album, Just Ten, featured the young musician singing bluegrass and gospel songs and playing some classic acoustic guitar tunes (some of which were associated with Doc Watson). More recently, Barker was invited to perform at MerleFest with another of his guitar heroes: 10-time International Bluegrass Music Association Guitarist of the Year Bryan Sutton and guitar wizard Tommy Emmanuel as well. Presley has opened for famed guitarist Albert Lee and in 2018, Presley performed at the Grand Ole Opry as a guest of Ricky Skaggs. Now as a teenager, Barker hopes to continue to expand his range on acoustic guitar while at the same time learning to play electric guitar, as he recently explained; “I hope to carry on the tradition of bluegrass music. I’m also starting to get into country and rockabilly music and I’m fooling around a little bit with a Fender Telecaster. But I still want to flatpick fiddle tunes and bluegrass music as well.”

The Crooked Road’s Mountains of Music Homecoming is made possible by the Appalachian Regional Commission, National Endowment for the Arts, VA Dept of Housing & Economic Development, Virginia Tobacco Commission, Virginia Tourism Corporation, Blue Ridge Beverage, Food City, Virginia Commission for the Arts, David and Judie Reemsnyder, Dominion Energy, McGuireWoods, LLC., Virginia State Parks and other generous supporters. For the deaf and hard of hearing community, signing interpretation services can be made available if requested at least 21 days in advance of the concert. For requests received less than 21 days prior to the concert, every effort will be made for accommodations, but interpretation services are not guaranteed. To request services or for more information contact The Crooked Road office by email at or by calling 276-492-2409.