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Shooting the Breeze with Billy Roper


You are a well known appalachian folk artist. Have you always been artistic/creative or was it something you really worked at cultivating? 


No, not much cultivating. Me and art was like a bird dog chasing chickens. From as far as back as I can remember I was pretty much what I am now. When I was little mama use to teach me to draw things, flowers and such. 

Shooting the Breeze with Sam Thompson



Thompson, an avid mountain and road cyclist, is shown here at a recent - and muddy - cyclocross race. Thompson, a husband and father of young twins, stays busy running a family business while still finding time to enjoy his hobbies. 



You run a family business. What's the name of the business, how long have you been a part of it and what's the best part of owning a family business? The worst?   


The company is called Blue Ridge Mountain Woodcrafts and it is in Ellijay. We manufacture plaques and award components and sell them to trophy shops and other companies all over the country.  

Shooting the Breeze with Richard Shaw


     I understand you are a graduate of Oxford and hail from England. How did you wind up in the Big Ridge area of Pickens County?
    I was born in Newcastle upon Tyne, in the north of England. When I was 11, my parents settled in Athens, GA but I remained in Newcastle and completed high school there. I went to university at Oxford and Stanford, then lived in Washington, D.C. and London. In 1984, to be closer to my parents I moved to Atlanta, where I worked in

Shooting the Breeze with Jeff Bennett


    Jeff Bennett works in the Pickens County Probate Office and is co-owner of Doughboys Catering and Cakes. He is a lifetime Pickens resident.

You are known for being  involved with theatre and singing in church and at special/ceremonial events. What is your favorite song to sing in public and what is your favorite place to perform and why?

My favorite song to sing in public is “Peace in the Valley” and “Amazing Grace.” Most of the singing I have done has been at funerals, but my favorite place was when I sang with Gospel Quartet “Marble City,” whose members


Shooting the Breeze with Scott Erickson

You recently started a new radio station, WXJR, in Jasper. What got you interested in running a radio station?

    In 2009 I volunteered at the former station WIVL to operate the board for a DJ who had Muscular Dystrophy. Eventually I was given time on Sunday afternoons to host my own show I called “High Fidelity”. At that time I was