Stories & Tall Tales

Each year some of the best regional storytellers, liars, and yarn-spinners come to Hamblen County to try out their skills on the Mountain Makins crowd.  This delightful feature of the Mountain Makins festival is a real crowd-pleaser, and is fun for all ages.   All the performers are top notch, but you can make your festival plans using the list of time and tellers below.  And, if you wanna catch a glimpse of Liars and Story Slammers, be sure to check out the schedules for those, too. 

Terry Arrington 

Terry Arrington is the 2017 Mountain Makins’ Story Slam Winner.   Terry won the competition with a delightful tale of boyhood, baseball and printing errors made public.  Terry is a supporting member of the Jonesborough Storytellers Guild and has served as Master of Ceremonies for the Guild’s  Tellebration event for two years now. This year he did the same for the Graveyard Tales event at Rocky Mount Historic Site In July.  Terry brings a new voice to local storytelling steeped in Southern roots and charm.  

Bill Landry 

Bill Landry is the voice, host, narrator, and co-producer of The Heartland Series, which has aired on WBIR-TV for nearly thirty years.  In 2011, Governor Bill Haslam appointed Landry to the Tennessee Historical Commission and, the same year, his book, Appalachian Tales & Heartland Adventures was published by Celtic Cat Publishing. It is now in its third printing. Bill continues to write, direct, and produce video documentaries, and gives lectures and speeches.  

Libby Tipton

Libby is a professional sign language interpreter.  Having deaf parents, she was always a natural communicating other people’s stories through her hands.  However, she now tells her own stories about life in a colorful deaf Appalachian family Dubbed the “Mountain Terp Teller “, Libby utilizes a combination of sign, gesture and voice to tell stories about her culture, her subculture and her roofs. She also enjoys telling folktales, fairytales, stories of healing, historical stories and singing the old ballads. Libby has provided sign language interpretation for storytelling in a variety of venues and is a performing member of the Jonesborough Storyteller Guild.  Libby is currently the Interpreter Coordinator at East Tennessee State University where she works with students who are deaf or hard of hearing. 

Tama Lunceford 

Tama was the winner of the 2014 Mountain Makins Inspirational Story Slam and has returned as a storyteller every year since.  This year she is Emcee for the storytelling tent.  She fell in love with the art of Storytelling and is a Performing Member with the Jonesborough Storytellers Guild!   She tells each month with the Guild at Crumley House, a brain injury rehab facility in folks at ALPS an adult care facility both of Morristown.   She is pursuing a Masters in Professional Communication Storytelling at ETSU with plans to graduate in the Spring of 2019.

Michael Reno Harrell

Michael Reno Harrell is an award-winning songwriter, as well as a veteran storyteller and entertainer, and he’s from the South… the Southern Appalachian Mountains to hone it a bit finer.  One could compare Michael's performances to his granddaddy's pocket knife: well warn and familiar feeling, but razor sharp and with a point. His brand of entertainment appeals to a very diverse audience. A typical day for Michael might include a program for 4th graders in the afternoon and a concert for a mixed audience that evening.

Faye Wooden - Storyteller

Faye Wooden, a native Appalachian, transports listeners of all ages into worlds and times shaped by the power of imagination.“Storytelling is an ancient art,” she says, “that awakens our senses and carries us into new worlds. When I tell a story I want listeners to be totally involved, to enjoy the trip.”

Drawing on her own life experiences — banker, bear trapper, herbalist; author, teacher, public speaker — Wooden touches the fabric of people’s lives with her hypnotic voice, a wide range of tales, and haunting tunes from traditional mountain instruments (bowed psaltery, lap dulcimer, and autoharp, native flute), as she strives to preserve the spirit of her native Appalachia. She has established herself as one of the region’s premiere storytellers.

Tony Marr

A literal Master Storyteller, (no really, he has a MA in storytelling) Tony has spent years captivating audiences with his larger than life tales. As an award winning speaker/storyteller, he has engaged hundreds of audiences with stories of humor, hope, and history. From unbelievable adventures that will have you wondering how he is still alive, to the untold stories of American History and Scripture, Tony immerses his audience in an imaginative world that you never want to leave.

Lori Olmstead

Before adventuring out to Tennessee six years ago, storyteller Lori Olmstead grew up in California and raised a family in Utah.  Founder of Vernal Utah’s Storytelling Festival, she has been sharing stories for over 20 years, as well as mentoring young students in both Utah and Tennessee in their storytelling pursuits. She currently coordinates TOLD, a monthly program of tales of old, at the Jonesborough public library, as well as hosting the Jonesborough Yarn Exchange and local Open Mics.

Lori Olmstead.JPG