Bett Padgett’s unique guitar techniques and tunings put her in a class all her own. She is not limited to guitar and one will often find her frailing an old-time claw-hammer banjo, or on plucking a mandolin, or striking a piano or harp . Her musical interests are a blend of Celtic, Old-time, New Age, Folk, even rock and it is reflected in her sound. Bett’s thoughtful and carefully crafted songs shine through with a vision of a world we want to live in. Although Bett musically provides a safe and welcoming space for us, she also writes consequential songs for the times. Bett includes songs that reflect personal and political well-being and also speaks to political and social issues with with humor and brave honesty. In addition to sharing her thoughts on these serious topics she enjoys writing about her dogs, the joys (and frustrations) of raising children, aging parents, the closeness of family and good friends.
A North Carolina native, she became enamored by the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse and its plight with the encroaching ocean in the 1990’s. It lead to a song which then lead to an entire CD entitled “Hatteras: if a Lighthouse Could Speak”, her third album, which received widespread acclaim in 1999 when the tower was relocated one-half mile inland. Bett is a prolific songwriter. Her lyrical interpretations of life through her music show that she is keenly observant of the world around us. Her songs have an honest but positive message and leave the listener with a sense of optimism.
She is known for her contributions to live music and to the community. Until Covid she hosted the Little Lake Hill House Concert Series. Beginning in 2000 she brought musicians from around the globe to entertain audiences in the central part of North Carolina.
She was booking chair for Triangle Folk Music Society (now defunct) and a founding member of the North Carolina Songwriters’ Co-op. Until it closed, she visited Love Wins Ministries, a day shelter for people living with homelessness. There, she and friends served breakfast to people who are less fortunate. In 2016 she engaged the students at Enloe High School’s audio-visual department in creating a music video about the Christmas Cookie Cutters that she and her mother used when she was a child. Now she gathers friends ages 10-70+ to bake Christmas cookies for families at Ronald McDonald House in Durham each December using the same cookie molds.
Since 1978 Bett has been sought after as a music teacher in Raleigh, NC. She taught guitar at North Carolina State University for 29 years and continues to teach in her private studio. Her students enjoy learning not only guitar, but mandolin, banjo, ukulele as well as theory and composition.