Skip to main content

WCU Stories

Traditional music series to feature guitar styles of Granny’s Mason Jar

Granny's Mason Jar is Jared "Blue" Smith (left) and Aaron Plantenberg (right).

The 2019-20 season of the First Thursday Old-Time and Bluegrass Series at Western Carolina University continues Thursday, Dec. 5, with a concert featuring the acoustic guitar styles of Granny’s Mason Jar.

The 7 p.m. performance by the two guitarists who make up Granny’s Mason Jar – Jared “Blue” Smith and Aaron Plantenberg – and the open jam session that follows will be held at the headquarters for Homebase College Ministry, located on the east side of campus at 82 Central Drive.

Smith and Plantenberg are helping to maintain the tradition of flatpicking, Merle Travis-style picking and other traditional acoustic guitar styles. Following in the footsteps of bluegrass and folk music masters Doc Watson, Norman Blake, Clarence White and Tony Rice, they will demonstrate their expertise while performing duets and solo tunes. Smith and Plantenberg, a member of WCU's Counseling and Psychological Services staff, have performed together since early 2016 and produced a self-titled CD in 2017.

Sponsored by WCU’s Mountain Heritage Center, the First Thursday concerts and jam sessions will continue through the spring, with programs from 7 to 9 p.m. on the first Thursday of each month.

The events are free and open to the public. Pickers and singers of all ages and experience levels are invited to take part in the jam sessions, which also are open to those who just want to listen.

For more information, call the Mountain Heritage Center at 828-227-7129 or visit

Office of Web Services