A Visit with David


David Holt on the set of Amazing Grace, America in Song, at Dellie Norton's home, Sodom, Madison County, 1975

I’ve known David Holt a long time. I reminded him the other day I was at his first known concert – a very intimate affair in the basement of the old Pack Library in downtown Asheville. There were maybe ten of us in the audience and his wife, Ginny Callaway, accompanied him on guitar. David asked me how bad it was and I told him that given my complete lack of knowledge of old-time music I thought it was great.

As most of us know, David has improved his musical skills quite a bit over the years as evidenced by his multiple Grammy awards and worldwide following. He can be seen on public television and continues to play concerts for significantly larger audiences than that first early attempt. Most importantly in my mind, has been David’s work over the years to perpetuate the genre of folk music and his unflagging support for young musicians.

David Holt in his art studio in the River Arts District, Asheville, NC 2014

What many people don’t know is David is also an accomplished photographer. For most of his music career, he has photographed people he considers his mentors – from Doc Watson to Dellie Norton to Ralph Stanley. Some of his images are presently on view at the Madison County Arts Council in Marshall and they are well worth a visit. He’s hoping to publish these photographs, and many more, in book form some time in future.

Last week I stopped to visit David at his studio space in the River Arts District in downtown Asheville. There, David showed me some of his latest work – paintings that incorporate the photographs along with words about the musicians. These are a new direction for him and I could tell immediately how much fun he was having. "David gone wild," I commented. It was a great visit with an old friend.