Growing up in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, 12-year-old Presley Barker developed a respect and appreciation for bluegrass, country, old time, folk and gospel music by listening to Doc Watson on the radio. Influenced and mentored by Steve Lewis, Wayne Henderson and Bryan Sutton, he started his own music career at the age of seven, and quickly emerged as an astonishingly gifted flat picker.
In the summer of 2015, Presley won first place in the prestigious Adult Guitar Competition at the 80th Annual Galax Old Fiddler’s Convention in Virginia, and in the summer of 2016, he was named West Virginia State Flatpicking Guitar Champion.
He has been a Merlefest Youth Ambassador for three years and was invited to play with the Bluegrass All-Star Band at the 2015 International Bluegrass Music Awards Show. He also enjoys playing events representing the National Council For The Traditional Arts.
Presley released his first solo album entitled “JUST-TEN” in the fall of 2015 and was honored to be on the Bluegrass Today Airplay Chart. Recorded while Presley was “Just-Ten” years old, the album consists of ten of his favorite songs including some of the first fiddle tunes he ever learned to play and several tunes he played at contests and fiddler’s conventions.
Presley likes to play and sing at church, community benefits and local jams, and has won scholarships for his musical talents, including the 2014 Wayne Henderson Scholarship and the Pete Wernick Jam Camp Scholarship, given by the Wilkes Acoustic Folk Society. In 2014, he was chosen as an Acoustic Kid’s Ambassador by Andy May and played guitar on the Woodsongs Old Time Radio Hour.
Presley lives in Traphill, North Carolina with his parents and little brother. He hopes to continue playing guitar for years to come and has an interest in learning mandolin and banjo in the future.