Meet Jerry Harmon: 'The Smoky Mountain Gypsy'

Jerry Harmon - 'The Smoky Mountain Gypsy' - singer, musician, storyteller from the US - is coming to Settle Storytelling Festival this year.

A glimpse of Jerry Harmon's music, wit and style can be found here

How did Jerry get started?

"I pursued my career as a Storyteller for various reasons. I will share a little background. My great great Grandfather Council Harmon is credited by historians of  being the first to bring the 'JackTales' to America when he settled in the Appalachian Mountains of NC from England. I grew up listening to my grandfather Ben Harmon and my second cousin Ray Hicks tell the 'Jack Tales', and I was mesmerized by them."

"I started playing guitar when I was 11 years old, and also started telling stories in my elementary school. I had performed as a musician, singer and songwriter several years before I considered adding storytelling to my performing . I was talking to the late Ray Hicks one day and he ask me why I did not tell the 'Jack Tales'. I replied well they have  been passed thru our family a long time Ray, and I would like to , do you think I would do them justice? Ray replied, "awwww gawwwwd son jist give'm hell".. lol , and that is when I started."

What makes a good story?

"A good story is one that allows the audience to take a journey from everyday life without leaving their seat. A good delivery is the key to a good story. The 'Jack Tales' allow a person to hear the  vision they want to be in. The key is to entertain the audience ... they can listen to people talk anytime."

What advice does Jerry have for anyone interested in following his footsteps into storytelling?

"There are a few  things I can say that has helped me as a storyteller. Often people fell that experience is the key, but I do not completely agree. If you are not delivering the story well you probably never will if you rely on making the same mistakes over and over."

"I worked with a professionally trained actor for two years learning to be a performer/entertainer, and there are many so called little things that make all the difference. I would suggest to anyone seriously pursuing a career as a Storyteller to work with a professional to learn proper performing techniques."

Book tickets for Jerry Harmon at the Settle Storytelling Festival here.