A celebration of southwest Virginia’s music, art, and food begins Friday, spanning the entire region.
The annual event, in its fifth year, celebrates the cultural tradition along The Crooked Road, the heritage trail established to explore the music that came out of the Blue Ridge and Cumberland Mountains.
“It’s definitely connected to a certain place and reflects the people and their history and the values of that place”
Jack Hinshelwood, executive director of The Crooked Road.
“It goes back to simple ballad singing, in the earliest forms. Early religious music, gospel quartets and gospel music in all the different churches through the region. It’s diverse; it’s Carter Family music, guitar music, jug band music, blues, all these wonderful idioms. If it’s been passed down over generations through families and in communities, then that’s what we’re interested in, that’s heritage music.”
Hinshelwood says the theme for this year’s homecoming is Let The Music Move You.
“This is all about how important traditional dance is with the music. So, we have opportunities for people to learn dance. They can go to the Floyd Country Store for a weekend with a master flat foot dance teacher. And, we’ve got a couple of our culinary Feastival events that conclude with square dances. And then, a dance performance. We’ve got over thirty of the finest traditional dancers in America doing a concert at the Lincoln Theater in Marion on June 8. That’s Green Grass Cloggers, Hickory Flat Hoedowners, Good Foot Dance Company, Junious Brickhouse, and a national heritage award winning buck dancer named Thomas Maupin from Murfreesboro, Tennessee.”
Music and dance are entwined with the culinary festivals; farm-to-table-plus events featuring menus prepared by area chefs based on regional recipes and local ingredients
Homecoming concluding events this year include the Bill Monroe Sons of Bluegrass Concerts.
This is Butch Robins, playing in the WVTF studio. He and other musicians who shared the road and stage with Bill Monroe will come together for the Sons of Bluegrass shows.
“Well, I went to work for him the week after I graduated from high school in 1967.”
Robins left the Bluegrass Boys after short stint, but rejoined a while later.
“I was over at the Opry one night. Bill Monroe came up to me and asked me if I’d like to go to work playing the banjo for him. And, I said, well Mr. Bill we done tried that about ten years ago and it didn’t work out too well. He said, ‘Yeah, but we’ve both grown a lot since then.’ (Laughter) So, I wound up taking that job and working for him for about four years.”
The Bill Monroe Sons of Bluegrass shows are Friday Jun14 at the Blue Ridge Music Center, Galax and Saturday June 15 at the Harvester Performance Center, Rocky Mount.
Jack Hinshelwood says the Homecoming is an all-inclusive nine day celebration of the communities of southwest Virginia.
“We’re talking about their music, their craft, their cuisine, outdoor activities, their scenic beauty, everything rolled into one. The two main components; we have Crooked Road concerts this year in 18 different communities and there are 89 cultural events.”
Mountains of Music Homecoming begins tomorrow and continues through June 15.
More information: Mountains of Music Homecoming