Heading west? Make sure you’re in tune with the music traditions of the North Carolina mountains. In 29 counties from Rockingham to Cherokee, from Ashe on down to Cleveland, banjos, fiddles, and voices combine to form a melodic patchwork of people and places. This is where the Blue Ridge Music Trails of North Carolina (BRMT) wind through our Foothills and mountains. In their 2013 book, Blue Ridge Music Trails of North Carolina, Fred C. Fussell and Steve Kruger provide a guide — plus a 26-track CD of traditional tunes — to the artists, festivals, concerts, jam sessions, and dances along the BRMT route, preserving and promoting the music that has thrived in our western counties for generations. Music is a part of life here in North Carolina, and the BRMT project helps ensure that it will remain so for years to come.