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Upper Cumberland Musicians Selected For Heritage Apprenticeship Program

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Upper Cumberland Musicians Selected For Heritage Apprenticeship Program

Keeping alive the tradition of Upper Cumberland music will be the goal of two local musicians selected for the 2024 Traditional Art Apprenticeship Program.

Trenton “Tater” Caruthers and Jordan Judkins will perform at art centers and public parks as part of the The Tennessee Arts Commission Folklife Program. Caruthers, a Cookeville resident, will teach the banjo to Judkins, a Smithville product.

“I was born and raised in Tennessee and I’ve listened to this music since I’ve known about it,” Judkins said. “When I found it, it just kind of took me and didn’t let go at all. This music is very grasping and very heritage-rich.”

Caruthers said his greatest goal is to rebuild the heritage of Cumberland Plateau music. Caruthers said that in past generations, this music was people’s lives. Caruthers said this will be his fourth time involved with the program, his second time as a master.

“Every young musician, every moldable human being that I could ever get ahold of that showed any interest in learning this, I have showed them as much as they wanted to learn,” Caruthers said.

Caruthers has been actively playing the music of the Cumberland Plateau for over a decade. Caruthers learned the style of music from Michael DeFosche who died several months after participating in this program with Caruthers as his apprentice. He said the music was the biggest source of entertainment and community when it rose to popularity. Caruthers said he has taken it upon himself to ensure that the music of the Cumberland Plateau thrives even after the passing of many of its founders.

Judkins said he is excited to join Caruthers on his mission.

“I’m hoping to learn everything I can about the history of our music and our state,” Judkins said. “I’m hoping to learn how to play the music and just be able to take it with me everywhere I go and share it with anyone I can.”

Judkins said that in his opinion, Caruthers is one of the most talented and knowledgeable people you can find when it comes to this music. Judkins said he is honored to have been one of the 13 teams chosen for the program and relishes the opportunity to pass on the music of the Cumberland Plateau.


The post Upper Cumberland Musicians Selected For Heritage Apprenticeship Program appeared first on News Talk 94.1/AM 1600.