John, a native North Carolinian, is a self-taught musician and recording artist who began playing the guitar at age 10.  From there he progressed to the mandolin, banjo, dobro, fiddle, mountain dulcimer, and other traditional stringed instruments.  However, what truly captured John's attention was the sound of the hammered dulcimer.

The hammered dulcimer originated in the Middle East and resurfaced in England in the Middle Ages.  It is the forerunner of the modern piano.  John's dulcimer was hand-made by Mac McKenny at High Country Dulcimers in Boone North Carolina.  It has a trapezoidal shape; it is about 4 feet wide at the base and narrows toward the top.  It has 82 strings, which are struck using thin wooden hammers.

John currently has 7 CDs for sale, and is continually working on new projects; Here Comes the Sun, a CD of classic 60s/70s covers, has recently been recorded and has just been added to the shopping cart for purchase.  John also makes wooden hammers and Dulcimer stands by hand.  John does take these to the festivals and shows at which he plays, but they are often made to order; please contact John if interested. 

John's music has been used in various independent films, he has been featured in many different publications, and one of his CDs, Blue Ridge Breezes, was archived by the AV holdings at the State Archives of North Carolina.

     "John, from North Carolina, is not only a highly gifted musician but has the sensitivity to gently persuade sounds from his instrument, resisting the usual temptation to thrash the strings for more sound in a show of raw cleverness, a temptation rarely resisted by lesser musicians."  - Huddersfield Daily Examiner, England, 1994

     "John Mason, who has been called one of North Carolina's hidden musical talents will once again bring his popular ole-timey mountain music to the Festival."  - The Boiling Springs Sentry, 2006

John travels extensively: he is the resident musician at Chimney Rock Park, and he plays at festivals, craft shows, and other events.  Please see the contact link for information on how to inquire about booking.


This website was designed and is maintained by Maggie Mason Smith and Nathan Smith.

Last Update: 1/21/2017


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