yler Hughes hails from Big Stone Gap, Virginia, where he began learning the traditions of mountain music and dance at age 12. He performs regularly, but also dedicates time to teaching through private lessons, camps, and a variety of music classes as an adjunct professor at the Mountain Empire Community College in Big Stone Gap. Tyler is an accomplished square dance caller and also took the 3rd place ribbon in clogging/flatfooting at the Morehead Old-Time Festival in 2015. As a vocalist and multi-instrumentalist, he has performed all across the southeast of the United States both as a soloist and with several bands including the East Tennessee State University Old Time Pride Band, Fifthstring, and the Empty Bottle String Band. He graduated from East Tennessee State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Bluegrass, Old Time, and Country Music Studies in 2015. He has studied traditional music at home in the Appalachians and across the Atlantic in Ireland and Scotland.
At age 19, Tyler made the move from student to teacher at Mountain Music School in Big Stone Gap, Virginia and is currently co-directing the camp. Tyler has also worked in Wise County with the after school music program Junior Appalachian Musicians (JAM) to incorporate the teaching of traditional music and dance to youth in the public school system. His earlier group, Fifthstring, worked to boost enrollment for the county’s first program in Coeburn, Virginia. Tyler Hughes released his first full length album at age 19, titled “Wise County Jail.” Hughes has also been featured on the East Tennessee State University Bluegrass Pride Band’s album, “Testing Tradition,” Home Craft Days Festival 40th Anniversary album, “Legend & Legacy”, Sam Gleaves’ “Ain’t We Brothers”. In 2014, Tyler joined cellist Dave Eggar and appeared on The New Appalachians “From the Mountaintop” on Chesky Records. Hughe’s latest recording, “When the Light Shines Again” featured collaborations with Rich Kirby, Sam Gleaves, and the Stephanie Jeter just to name a few. The album paints a musical timeline and history of coal mining in the central Appalachian region.
Today, Tyler performs a mix of Old Time, Country, and Folk music reminiscent of the first half of the twentieth century. His show is sure to include influences from Appalachian giants such as the Carter Family and Fiddlin’ Cowan Powers and tunes and songs derived from the British Isles. Along with solo performances, Tyler appears with the Empty Bottle String Band. He is available for teaching private lessons, workshops, camps, and as a square dance caller and organizer.