Twin sisters, Katie and Corie Pressley, were born and raised in the Appalachian mountain community of Brasstown, North Carolina. They are affectionately called Chatter and Chitter on their mother’s popular Appalachian blog Blind Pig & the Acorn.
The girls enjoyed a musical influence literally from their arrival home from the hospital. Jerry Wilson, their grandfather, who they call Pap, was a musical legend in their neck of the woods.
Jerry performed for many years as part of The Wilson Brothers. The duo performed gospel music in the polished high harmonies of the classic brother duet style. They performed at churches, festivals, homecomings, and benefits throughout the south. Over the years they won many awards including the 1998 North Carolina Heritage Award. They were also featured in publications such as “The Old-Time Herald”.
The girls often tell the story of laying in their bedroom floor with ears pressed tightly to the floor to hear the sounds of music flowing up from the basement as Pap and his band practiced. Katie says “Mama would make us go to bed but as soon as the lights were out we’d sneak from the covers, lay in the floor, and let the music lull us to sleep.”
The Pressley Girls began singing in church with other children and gradually began to sing alone with Pap accompanying them on guitar. At about the same time, Corie and Katie joined the John C. Campbell Folk School Clogging Team.
Staying with the JCCFS Cloggers for over seven years, the girls then joined up with the Kudzu Kickers Clogging Team. Becoming proficient in the traditional Appalachian Dance Style seemed to help solidify the girls rhythm for music.
The family band evolved into Pap, Paul (Pap’s youngest son and the girls’ uncle), Tipper (Pap’s only daughter and the girls’ mother), Ben and Mark (sons of Pap’s oldest son Steve and cousins of the girls’), and Corie and Katie.
In the beginning, the twins could hardly be tied down to sing a song or two with the group before they ran off to play. But as time passed, each girl picked up her own instrument and learned the art of singing harmony from Pap and Paul.
These days, The Pressley Girls, Paul, and Tipper are making the music they were raised on and ensuring the tradition of Appalachian music is continued.