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Legendary Distributor of Bluegrass and Old Time Music Finds New Life

Mention Floyd, VA and one of the first images that comes to mind is the Floyd Country Store. And of course, bluegrass and old time music. Dylan Locke and his wife, Heather Krantz, purchased the store four years ago and continue to maintain its legacy. And, now, they are undertaking a new effort to preserve the music.

It only takes a little prompting to get Dylan Locke talking about what the Floyd Country Store means to him.

“The Floyd Country Store has been sort of a cultural hub of southwest Virginia for many, many years.”

It all started with the Friday Night Jamboree.

“You know that’s been going on since ’84 in a very strong way and we’re lucky to have stepped into it four years ago and inherited a beautiful gathering of musicians and dancers and guests from out of the area that come to celebrate the simpler things in life, which we feel is very important.”

There’s been a lot of music… and a lot of dancing; so much that it was recently time to install a new dancefloor.

“You know, it’s a hundred year old building, so we have a lot of work to do in caretaking the physical structure and caretaking the family that lives in and around and our guests that come in so it’s kind of all of that happens in one sort of thought process as far as how we steward the Floyd Country Store from its rich past into the future.”

And, heading into the future, Locke has a new challenge; he has accepted an offer to take over County Sales in Floyd, a business started by New Yorker David Freeman over 50 years ago. Freeman moved his family and business to Floyd in 1974 and sold recordings of the music he loved worldwide. 

The store closed in January this year, but Dylan Locke is bringing it back to life with the same passion he has for the Floyd Country Store and the music he presents there.

“I would consider him a hero of mine. He has done incredibly important work for old time and bluegrass music.

I’m honored to have been asked by Dave to take this business over and try and steward it into the future as well at a time when people are not consuming their music through physical purchases; they’re not buying CDs, they’re not buying records. It’s become a digital world.

This feels like a culturally important thing to keep alive. And, maybe send a message out there to the musicians and the consumers of good music that buying the music and consuming it and listening to it with the CD liner notes in your hand; or, even going back to having vinyl and having the gate fold and sitting there and listening to music the way we used to that this is important, that we should care about the music on this level.

My move to take over County Sales and fold it into the work we’re doing at the Floyd Country Store and the Handmade Music School is really a vote of confidence for the musicians and the importance of this culturally in our country.”

So the music will play on in Floyd, VA and, with Dylan Locke in the picture, probably worldwide.

The music heard in the last part of the story is Fire On The Mountain, performed by The Bucking Mules.

Luke Church
Luke Church hosts Roots Down on WVTF Music.