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SARAH KATE MORGAN

SARAH KATE MORGAN

Born of Appalachian soil in Sharps Chapel, Tennessee, Sarah Kate Morgan sings, plays, and writes like she’s been in these hills since the dawn of time. She’s had plenty of varied influences, beginning with hearing a classical music CD belonging to her family and going on to discover old time music through a dulcimer built by her grandfather. She began playing dulcimer at age 7.  

This proved to be a pivotal moment. At 18 years old, Sarah Kate placed 1st at the 2012 National Mountain Dulcimer Championships in Winfield, Kansas. She’s gone on to build a unique personal style which honors mountain dulcimer giants such as Jean Ritchie while working across genres to build something new. Her dexterous approach to the instrument is one that only masterful artists can bring to the table; much like Bruce Molsky and the fiddle, having been a dedicated student of the dulcimer’s complexities Morgan is able to distill them into a beautifully polished package.  

Well-known and widely respected as one of the leading experts of the mountain dulcimer, Sarah Kate is also a first-rate singer and songwriter. Her earthy and poetic lyrics embrace the highs and lows of southern Appalachian life while her voice does the same – moving between alto and soprano parts with ease. Her crystal-clear but rootsy vocal style combines the best of country, old time, bluegrass, and gospel influences who, like Morgan, foreground their cultural roots. All of this goes hand in hand to create a musical experience akin to a sonic baptism.  

None of this is lost on the giants of roots music. Sarah Kate has performed and/or recorded with artists like Tyler Childers, Alice Gerrard, and Erynn Marshall & Carl Jones. In addition to her musical prowess, Sarah Kate is an accomplished scholar who graduated from Morehead State University with degrees in Traditional Music, Appalachian Studies, and Arts Administration.  

Currently based in Hindman, Kentucky, she practices, cultivates, teaches, and preserves Appalachian folk traditions in her role as the Hindman Settlement School’s Traditional Arts Education Director. Whether calling square dances, playing the mountain dulcimer, or making music and creating art with Appalachian youth, Sarah Kate Morgan’s work centers on a lived belief that art and tradition are living, breathing tools that foster hope, build community, and create change.