Susan Pepper first came to Western North Carolina in 2003 to attend the Swannanoa Gathering at Warren Wilson College. She moved to Asheville in 2004 and in 2005 moved to Boone to pursue a master's degree in Appalachian Studies at Appalachian State University. There she found a community of musicians that helped her connect to the music and traditions in the Boone area, particularly one of her main spots of inspiration, Beech Mountain.