Holt, David 1946-
HOLT, David 1946-
PERSONAL: Born October 15, 1946, in Gatesville, TX; married; wife's name Ginny; children: Zeb. Education: University of California at Santa Barbara, B.S., B.A. (magna cum laude).
ADDRESSES: Agent—Betty Nichols, High Windy Productions, P.O. Box 28, Fairview, NC 28730.
CAREER: Musician, writer, editor, and historian. Founder and director, Appalachian music program at Warren Wilson College, Swannanoa, NC, 1975. Has contributed to numerous musical and other recordings, including Ten Thousand Goddam Cattle, Katydid Records, 1977; The Hairyman and Other Wild Tales, High Windy Records, 1981; Reel and Rock, Flying Fish, 1985; Tailybone and Other Strange Stories, High Windy Records, 1985; Play the Jew Harp Now, High Windy Audio, 1988; Stellaluna (juvenile), High Windy Audio, 1996; and Live and Kickin' at the National Storytelling Festival, High Windy Audio, 2003. Additional recordings include It Just Suits Me, Legacy, I Got A Bullfrog: Folksongs for the Fun of It, Grandfather's Greatest Hits, Why the Dog Chases The Cat: Great Animal Stories, Live and Kickin' at the National Storytelling Festival, High Windy Audio, and Mostly Ghost Stories. Has hosted or appeared on numerous television programs, including Folkways, Public Broadcasting System (PBS), 1980–, The Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina PBS, 2000, The Outer Banks, North Carolina PBS, 2002, Great Scenic Railway Journeys, PBS, 2004, and NC Mountain Treasures, North Carolina PBS, 2005; host of series Fire on the Mountain, TNN, 1984–87, Celebration Express, TNN, 1988–89, and American Music Shop, TNN, 1989–91. Has made guest appearances on Hee Haw, 1985–94, Prime Time Country, and Nashville Now. Also appeared as a musician in film O Brother Where Art Thou and as a storyteller on video The Hogaphone and Other Stories, 1991. Radio work has included serving as host of Riverwalk: Classic Jazz of the Landing, Public Radio International, 1989–, and guest appearances on Grande Ole Opry. Has also made instructional videos, including Folk Rhythms and Old Time Banjo I, II, III, all by Homespun Tapes.
AWARDS, HONORS: Indie Award, 1983, for Reel & Rock, and 1995, for Mostly Ghost Stories; Parents Prize for best in children's entertainment, 1992, for Grandfather's Greatest Hits; Razor Walker Award, University of North Carolina, 1993, for individuals in the service of youth; Grammy Awards for artist, and for producer of Best Spoken-Word Recording, both 1997, both for Stellaluna; Grammy Award for Best Traditional Folk Recording (with Doc Watson), 2002, for Legacy; three-time winner of Frets magazine readers' poll for "best old-time banjoist;" National Endowment for the Arts grant.
(Editor, with Bill Mooney) Ready-to-Tell Tales: Surefire Stories from America's Favorite Storytellers, August House Publishers (Little Rock, AR), 1994.
(Writer and editor, with Bill Mooney) The Storyteller's Guide: Storytellers Share Advice for the Classroom, Boardroom, Showroom, Podium, Pulpit, and Center Stage, August House Publishers (Little Rock, AR), 1996.
(Collector and re-teller, with Bill Mooney) Spiders in the Hairdo: Modern Urban Legends (audiobook) High Windy Audio (Fairview, NC), 1998, published in book form by August House Publishers (Little Rock, AR), 1999.
(Editor, with Bill Mooney) More Ready-to-Tell Tales from around the World, August House Publishers (Little Rock, AR), 2000.
(Collector and reteller, with Bill Mooney) Exploding Toilets: Modern Urban Legends, August House Publishers (Little Rock, AR), 2004.
Also coauthor with Bill Mooney of play Banjo Reb and the Blue Ghost.
SIDELIGHTS: David Holt is a musician and storyteller who has coauthored and coedited several books of stories with colleague Bill Mooney, mostly in the realm of urban legends and tall tales. Their book Spiders in the Hairdo: Modern Urban Legends was originally released as an audiobook featuring Holt and Mooney's narration. In the book, the duo recount fifty-two urban myths that have become part of modern folklore, from pet alligators that, after being flushed down city toilets, now live, fully grown, in the sewers of New York City to a person who gets their tongue stuck on an icy railroad track. According to Steven M. Zeitchik, writing in Publishers Weekly, most of the stories are "punch line-oriented vignettes." Library Journal contributor Richard K. Burns called the book "an amusing anthology of our collective imagination, fears, and humor." In a review of the original audio version of Spiders in the Hairdo, a Publishers Weekly contributor found that "gifted storytellers Mooney and Holt give warm performances spiked with a dollop of suspense."
Holt and Mooney also collaborated on More Ready-to-Tell Tales from around the World. This 2000 follow-up to their 1994 book, Ready-to-Tell Tales: Surefire Stories from America's Favorite Storytellers, once again presents some of the favorite stories of professional storytellers from throughout the United States, as well as a few "international" stories. The stories are grouped according to type and theme, such as tall tales and family stories, and include pictures of the storytellers who contributed the tales and tips to help readers better tell the stories themselves. The book also includes an index indicating where the stories originated and appropriate age levels for telling. Sally Bates Goodroe, writing in the School Library Journal, commented that the book is primarily for "adults and older kids who tell stories, but may also interest those who just enjoy reading a good yarn." Booklist contributor Gillian Engberg called the collection a "fine anthology of stories."
Holt displays his musicianship and storytelling ability together on the CD Live and Kickin' at the National Storytelling Festival. In addition to performing traditional songs from folk to gospel, Holt tells stories about his life, including stories about childhood memories, his career as a musician, and his family life. "This recording starts like a freight train and just keeps picking up steam," wrote Dan Keding in Sing Out! "This CD is not only a showcase for one of America's most versatile folk performers but is also a tribute to many of the people that have taught David along the way—taught him the songs, instruments, and stories that bring his performances to life." Barbara Wysocki, writing in the School Library Journal, called the CD "an excellent choice for school and public libraries."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, December 15, 2000, Gillian Engberg, review of More Ready-to-Tell Tales from around the World, p. 829.
Library Journal, April 15, 1999, Richard K. Burns, review of Spiders in the Hairdo: Modern Urban Legends, p. 106.
Publishers Weekly, February 9, 1998, review of Spiders in the Hairdo, p. 26; February 8, 1999, Steven M. Zeitchik, "Heard the One about the Grammy-nominated Authors?," p. 93.
School Library Journal, November, 2000, Sally Bates Goodroe, review of More Ready-to-Tell Tales from around the World, p. 170; April, 2004, Barbara Wysocki, review of Live and Kickin' at the National Storytelling Festival, p. 84.
Sing Out!, spring, 2004, Dan Keding, review of Live and Kickin' at the National Storytelling Festival, p. 150.
David Holt Home Page, http://www.davidholt.com (May 13, 2005).