He took drum lessons next, but found not playing melodies dull. It wasn’t until he inherited an electric guitar after the death of his older brother that he played any stringed instruments. Armed with a John Denver songbook with little chord fingering diagrams he thought himself to play soon trading the electric for an acoustic guitar. He also attended a show in Kansas City by his cousins, The Williams Family, who had traveled and played as a family music act for years. John new this was the life he wanted, writing and playing music.  It was then he began writing all kinds of songs that he debuted on his last day at high school to the surprise and shock of his classmates who knew nothing of this side of him.

       A few years latter while visiting Silver Dollar City, a Branson Missouri theme park and, as a child, his favorite place on earth, he was introduced to the hammered dulcimer. Here at last was an instrument that combined the strings with the drumming techniques and held an irresistible sound for John. Within six months he had tracked down a dulcimer builder named Phil Masson, and arranged to meet and purchase a dulcimer of his own. At the time John was going to Midwest craft shows doing sand art (it was the 70,s after all) and began playing the dulcimer to attract crowds to his booth.

Born in St. Joseph Missouri, John grew up listening to the music of the mid 60’s British invasion then latter the folk rock of the early to mid 70’s.  His parents sent him to organ lessons for a while until his teacher one day turned the page to another song and John kept right on playing the last song. She exclaimed she could not teach him if he was playing by ear and quit. None the less, John kept playing and composed his first tune at age ten, which he renamed Dawn and recorded many years later on his Minstrel’s Tales CD. 

           The music soon took the forefront and in 1977 John went to his childhood happy spot, Silver Dollar City, to audition. They had no idea that the only songs in Johns repertoire of dulcimer tunes were the ones they heard in the audition, but John learned more on the job and soon was not only playing for over 75,000 people a year attending his shows, but flying around the Midwest doing promotional television and radio appearances during the parks off season.

Jan was born in Burbank California, and grew up listening to the music her parents liked; Montovanni, Tony Bennett, and the Millers (Rodger & Mitch).  Raised in the Catholic Church she had always been attracted to the ancient sacred music of Catholicism. She also identified with the singer songwriters of the 60s and 70s like Simon & Garfunkel and Christian duo John & Michel Talbot. This was music she felt that spoke of honesty and truth, faith and spirit, qualities she admired. And strove to live by. Her father relocated to Georgia at one point and there Jan was exposed to  Bluegrass and Appellation Folk music. The instrumental stilling of these genres would come to play an important role in her own songs soon. She wanted to learn piano or violin but lessons and instruments proved to be more than her parents could handle however she was offered free guitar lessons from a nun at her parochial school.  She began playing in youth masses and at the age of 17 began to compose her own songs.  Her other passion was painting. She took art all through high school, won several awards including the Bank of America  young artest and studied commercial art after high school   Jan had been fascinated by color as long as she can remember, initially rolling her fathers hair in rainbow hued crayons at age four. Since then her artistic endeavors have become more consigned to traditional methods and mediums. Receiving rewards and accolades throughout high school she felt confirmed in her life path to express artistic beauty and color as she found it. Always seeking inspiration from her faith in a gracious and loving universe she continues to evolve her art and style.      

       By her mid 20s she had left Catholicism in a search of her spiritual questions and was singing in services and programs and weddings on a regular basis, that is whenever she wasn’t crafting, painting, gardening, cooking, and raising her three kids. She was also writing more secular songs but it wasn’t until she moved to Branson Missouri that she had the opportunity to really perform them. She had visited Silver Dollar City while living in Arkansas the year before and had fallen in love with the atmosphere of the park, and the next year she inquired with the management as to whether she could set up an easel and paint scenes of the town. The management at Silver Dollar City were so impressed with her work that they invited her to display it in the National Crafts Festival held there that fall. ( click here to see Jan's Paintings) During the day there with her family she stopped to hear a storyteller, and afterwards stayed to hear a musician, (John) on the hammered dulcimer, an instrument she was not familiar with. He picked her out of the audience to play a simple duet line on the dulcimer with him on stage.

That fall during the festival she asked John who had been admiring her art, if he would like to trade a painting for hammered dulcimer lessons. Jan was a great study and was soon playing for hours at a time. They often joke that John then put her to work playing, and she got the painting back.

               She had also met another performer there who upon learning about her songwriting skills invited her to a local songwriting group.  She was enthusiastically received and a year latter was encouraged to audition at Silver Dollar City as an Entertainer.

              The was hired by the Entertainment department to sing as a guest singer with several of the parks main street bands and also to play three different roles in the street shows as well. Her image even graced a huge billboard in the center of Branson’s famous theater district. All through the summer John and Jan spend there breaks together and became closer than ever.


John Corbin Goldsberry

In the years since leaving Silver Dollar City, John and Jan have played at several Renaissance festivals, spent a summer performing in Cornwall England, as well as their own concerts.  They have remastered and released to CD much of their recordings from their S.D.C. , the couple spent a winter season at John’s old stomping grounds of Rawhide Arizona. The are now back in the Missouri Ozarks.  Whereas traditional music of America and Britain has always been a big part of their shows, the original music is taking on more of a focus now. Jan in particular has written many songs and the two have collaborated on others as well. Plans are underway to begin recording and marketing these works soon. 

      The two continued at Silver Dollar City for several more years until the focus of the music scene in Branson began to change from folk and old time acoustic to modern country and older established acts like Andy Williams and the Laurence Welk Band. Thing were changing at the park as well, with newer management bypassing the theme of the 1880s in favor of cashing in on the Branson music boom, and instigating new regulations that employees could not have children at the park during working hours. This became unmanageable for the working couple with a toddler, and they had no desire to change who they were to be more commercial, so at the end of 1993 the two left the park.

That winter John & Jan began recording there first project together, called Whiskey for Breakfast which included two songs by Jan both of which became favorites with their fans the next spring. Jan did all this while expecting her forth child who consequently spent his pre natal months with a guitar plastered against his head. There audiences not only loved there shows together but now they were following Jan’s pregnancy and bringing baby gifts. She gave birth in October and John finished out the last few weeks of they regular season as a solo, but when the Christmas season started a few weeks latter, Jan was back to sing, play, and to introduce there new son to the people who had been following her pregnancy all year.

In 1978 after being invited to play a song on a compilation album, John caught the recording bug, drove to Colorado’s Caribou Ranch Studios to learn audio engineering, then rented out an Ozark studio and got some friends together for a recording jam session of some of his songs. The result led eventually to the release of his first Album ‘Fragments’ in the spring of 1980. The album sold well, but caused some controversy at the park because it was original music, not the 1880’s folk tunes he played every day. His next two releases were tailored more for the Ozark Park’s audiences. He also produced projects for other acts, did some media work, and played as a studio musician for outside projects.

Jan & John Goldsberry


With the exception of one summer (and two winters) in Phoenix Arizona’s Rawhide Western Town theme park where he not only played music, but worked as a Vaudeville  comedian and as a script writer as well, John continued as a solo act at S.D.C. until 1989. It was then that the solo act became a duet at when John met his future wife Jan.  The synergy of the two proved exciting for there audiences as they grew ever larger and more loyal.


In November of 1989 one month before there wedding, John & Jan took to the stage together for the first time. It was the Christmas season and they were introducing something new to their audience. Where as John and his dulcimer had been a fixture at Silver Dollar City since the late 70s, there presence together was as one audience member said “a breath of fresh clean air”. They began a Christmas tradition of playing and singing historical Christmas music and talking about holiday traditions.

That fall the entertainment manager suggested that she team up with John for the Christmas season as a working audition for the following year. There energy together was instantly apparent and the two not only became an act from that point forwards, but wed that December in an Elizabethan Christmas Wedding.