The Cowan Creek Mountain Music School is pleased to welcome a new artistic director for the 2019 school: long time faculty member Brett Ratliff. Brett is a multi-instrumentalist and lifelong apprentice of the Kentucky repertoire who loves to share the stories of his mountain home. Born and raised in Van Lear, Ky, the historic coal camp that gave birth to Loretta Lynn, Ratliff has performs as a solo artist and with groups such as the Clack Mountain String Band; the Dirk Powell Band; and Rich & the Po’ Folk with folk legend Rich Kirby. He has also taught Kentucky tunes at the Festival of American Fiddle Tunes, Swannanoa Gathering, Sore Fingers Week in England, and Augusta Heritage’s Early Country Music and Old-Time Weeks. Also a community organizer, Ratliff is an activist who makes connections between the arts, food-ways and social justice. Ratliff has worked toward the wellness of his region with such organizations as Appalshop and the Hindman Settlement School, and has helped found the Morehead Old-Time Music Festival and the Lexington Old-Time Gathering. His first solo release was the 2008 June Appal recording Cold Icy Mountain. Gone Boy, his second solo project was released in November 2017.