Raised on a tobacco farm in Caswell County, North Carolina, Beth Williams Hartness
began singing and taught herself to play the guitar at the age of twelve.
While a freshman in college, Beth
started experimenting with fingerpicking the guitar and soon began to play fingerstyle exclusively.
In 1982, Beth
was introduced to old-time music while living in Charlotte, North Carolina, and joined a local band.
During this time, she was a founding member of the Charlotte Folk Music Society, serving as vice president and festival organizer.
While attending fiddlers' conventions throughout the '80s, Beth
discovered that her unique style of fingerpicking resembled that of some of the Round Peak guitar players in Surry County, North Carolina, such as Paul Sutphin and Chester McMillian.
Chester in particular became a mentor for Beth
Beth has been a member of numerous award-winning string bands, including the Moonshine Monsters and the Lightnin' Bugs, both first-place winners of the traditional band competition at the Appalachian String Band Music Festival in Clifftop, West Virginia (2005 and 1995, respectively).