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Tyler Hughes is an old time and country musician, square dance caller, and educator from the Central Appalachians. Based in Big Stone Gap, Virginia, Hughes is no stranger to the roots of old time, bluegrass, and country music that thrives in the southern highlands. Since age twelve, he has been performing close to home and across the east coast. In 2015, Hughes graduated from East Tennessee State University with a Bachelor's Degree in Bluegrass, Old Time, and Country Music Studies. He performs not only as a solo artist, but also with the Empty Bottle String Band from Johnson City, Tennessee. Tyler has appeared on PBS' Song of the Mountains, NPR's Mountain Stage, at Jazz at the Lincoln Center, and at the historic Carter Family Fold in Hiltons, Virginia. 


"Tyler Hughes knows what he’s about. His passion and skill infuse every note that he sings and plays, whether he is performing solo or in an ensemble. For an artist so young, Hughes delivers his music with great taste, wisdom, and joy. He’s comfortable in his own skin, which explains why he connects so well with audiences—he knows how to draw them in and deliver an experience they’ll remember. He’s also imaginative; in Hughes’ hands, an old song or melody takes on a fresh, new life. Hughes’ generosity of spirit makes him a genuine pleasure to work with, and his personal courage and fortitude make him a force to be reckoned with both on and offstage."-Katie Hoffman-Performer, Author, and Director of Appalworks, Inc.

"Tyler plays the music of his native Southwest Virginia with the kind of knowledge, respect, and affection that speaks of a deep understanding of who and where the music came from. With folks like Tyler on the scene, I know our music is in good hands."-Rich Kirby, Traditional Musician

"Tyler Hughes embodies what it means to be Appalachian in the 21st century. He has a long worldview and stands out among his peers as someone who is relentlessly positive, astute and persistent, and quick to jump in and help a good cause. His music is unselfconscious and true and when you hear him play and sing you get a strong sense of who he is. His nickname around ETSU “T-Love” couldn’t be more fitting.” - Roy Andrade, East Tennessee State University Professor Banjoist of The New Reeltime Travelers

"I used to worry that the wonderful music I grew up with in southwest Virginia was going to be lost to time. But with young people like Tyler Hughes around, this beautiful and vital legacy will be preserved. He's not only a wonderful entertainer, but an educator, too, who helps the audience understand the history of the place and its musical heritage."-Rita Quillen, Author of "Hiding Ezra"

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Previous events


New College Institute Zoom Concert Series

Join Tyler Hughes for a virtual presentation via Zoom for the New College Institute. A link for the concert will be posted at a later date.


Univeristy of Kentucky's Appalachia in the Bluegrass

Univeristy of Kentucky, Lexington, KY

The Empty Bottle String Band will be visiting guests at the Niles Center for the University of Kentucky's Appalachia in the Bluegrass music series. For more information visit


Valentine's Day Square Dance

Birthplace of Country Music Museum, 101 Country Music Way, Bristol, VA

Bring your Valentine (or find yours) at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum Square Dance. The dance will be held in the special exhibit hall from 7:00-9:00 pm. Admission is free. No partner or experience is needed. Dance instruction will be provided. For more information, contact the Birthplace of Country Music at (423) 573-1927.


Blacksburg Square Dance

Oddfellows Lodge, 199 Wilson Ave, Blacksburg, VA

Tyler Hughes will be calling the Blacksburg Square Dance on February 1, 2020. The dance is from 7:00-10:00 pm at the Oddfellows Lodge in Blacksburg, VA. Everyone is welcome; no partner or experience is required. Dance instruction will be provided for each dance.


Tyler Hughes-Private School Event