|Meet The Band
Dwayne "Doc" Durham is our "Mr. Entertainment". As the band leader and co-founder of Appalachian Fire, he
has been a catalyst for our success. Doc first began performing music by playing in a Bluegrass band. During this
time he was able to meet and play on stage with Bill Monroe. After that he played in a rock-n- roll band then a
small folk music group. Then it became time to put the music back for a while to pursue a career in sports
medicine. In 2007 he got together with long time friend Cliff Searcy and they formed Appalachian Fire. Doc’s many
day jobs include paramedic, teacher, certified athletic trainer, and minister. He currently serves as the Director of
Sports Medicine for Pardee/UNC Health and Head Athletic trainer at East Henderson High. Doc recently
completed the training and is now a Merchant Mariner Captain through the US Coast Guard. One of his greatest
passions is fishing and time on the water. Doc is married to Shea who shares their love of animals working with
North State Animal Hospital. Doc’s instruments of choice are a Takamine ES341 and a Martin D-28 guitar.
Cliff Searcy is our "Jack of all trades". Anywhere there is a need, he'll try to fill in and meet it. He handles
multiple instruments and vocals as well as managing social media sites. Cliff fell in love with the bluegrass
gospel sound from the camp meeting style music he heard in church as a kid. During his college days he had a
bluegrass band, but soon put it on the back burner. He spent over 25 years with his wife Lisa raising two
children Meredith and Jared and pursuing a career in teaching and coaching. Having left the football field in
2007, he had time to perform and write some of the original tunes the band sings. Cliff plays a Weber Bitterroot
Mandolin and A Wechter Scheerhorn Resonator Guitar.
Our bass player, Jim Fox, is a native of Western Pennsylvania and a retired national park ranger. Since 1990,
Jim has been playing old-time and Celtic music on hammered dulcimer with "The Windjammer Trio" and "Sunny
Side Up." Jim has played bass with the Asheville-based bluegrass band "Bobby and Blue Ridge Tradition." Jim
and his partner, Gail Ashburn, play and sing in a variety of musical styles in the Asheville area. Jim plays an
antique German Bass.
Tim "Pappy" Francis is no stranger to bluegrass music. He grew up in Smyrna, TN, just outside of Nashville.
There was always a great love of music around his house. Eventually they formed the Francis Family Band,
and Tim began playing the banjo at the age of 14. The family played church functions, family get-togethers and
local festivals. They still get together and play as often as possible. Tim has always loved bluegrass and gospel
and was inspired by such banjo players as John McKuen, Tony Trishka, and Bela' Fleck, as well as the late
Earl Scruggs, John Hartford, Bobby Thompson, Bill Keith, and Courtney Johnson. Tim is a retired District
Ranger with the National Park Service. He enjoys spending time with his wife Teresa, son Adam, daughter Sara
and the joy of his life, grandaughter Abby and his dogs: BB, Sansa, and Arya.
Cathey Gilbert has been singing publicly since she was 5 years old with her debut at the North Carolina Apple
Festival. She graduated from Converse College with her degree in Music. Cathey has performed with a wide
array of groups and musical styles. She was a past soloist with the Asheville Symphony Chorus and performed
multiple times in the ensemble with the Flat Rock Playhouse. Most of all Cathey enjoys singing songs with her
second graders on a daily basis as a teacher in the Henderson County Schools and singing as a choir member
and soloist for her church. Singing with Appalachian Fire has given her the chance to get back to her roots.
Cathey says " Many thanks to my sweet husband, Chip, who puts a song in my heart "
A simple song request of "Precious Memories" for my father-in-law has developed into a wonderful way to
make many more precious memories with these very talented musicians