A! Magazine for the Arts

The Crooked Road Announces Mountains of Music Homecoming

May 29, 2018

Organizers throughout Southwest Virginia are gearing up for the fourth Annual Mountains of Music Homecoming, a nine-day celebration of traditional music and culture June 8-16, in over 40 communities throughout the Crooked Road region of Southwest Virginia. The Crooked Road, Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail, connects nine major music venues and more than 50 affiliated venues and festivals presenting traditional music 365 days a year.

Residents and visitors can expect a menu of Appalachian food, authentic culture, local arts and crafts, history, outdoor adventure and bluegrass, old-time, blues, gospel, folk and traditional music concerts.

The 2018 Homecoming features Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, Lonesome River Band, Del McCoury Band, blues legends Jimmy Duck Holmes and Phil Wiggins, a Stanley Brothers All-Star Band, a showcase of the Best All Around Performers from the Galax Old Fiddler’s Convention and dozens more.

“You can hear music from The Crooked Road region worldwide, but experiencing it in the place it comes from is a totally different thing,” said Crooked Road executive director Jack Hinshelwood. “It’s like the difference between someone describing ice cream to you and actually tasting it yourself. Meeting the artists who keep this music alive with the mountain peaks that inspired it in the background is a transcendent experience. That’s what makes The Crooked Road and the Homecoming so special.”

Each year, the Mountains of Music Homecoming highlights another tradition along with its own unique heritage. This year, the Homecoming features Mississippi blues, with its rich history and indelible contributions to American music.

Blues guitarist and Mississippi native, Jimmy “Duck” Holmes performs in the “Bentonia” blues style that uses a unique guitar tuning pioneered by such early blues legends as Skip James and Jack Owens. Holmes will be joined by National Heritage Award recipient and blues harmonica wizard Phil Wiggins, who performs in the Piedmont blues style for two concert events. " June 8 at Heartwood in Abingdon and June 9 at the Floyd Country Store in Floyd, Virginia.

“The blues is a music form that has had a huge impact on the music of The Crooked Road, influencing old-time music, bluegrass, and singing styles especially,” said Ted Olson, Appalachian Studies professor at ETSU. “As an African American-based tradition, the blues is a great starting point for exploring the influence of African-American culture on our music, what we eat, our regional history and the arts.” The cover of the Homecoming’s official program guide features original artwork by Chilhowie, Virginia, folk artist William A. Fields and an introductory poem crafted by award-winning poet, activist and University Distinguished Professor at Virginia Tech, Nikki Giovanni.

The Homecoming is bursting at the seams with opportunities to join in the music at jam sessions like the Smyth County Jam in Chilhowie, the Market Square Jam in Blacksburg, and the Bluegrass and Old-Time Jam at Heartwood in Abingdon. Don’t play an instrument? " bring your feet and dance to the beat.

Whether mingling with the locals in a picturesque small town or musing in wonder at the spectacular views from a high vista, visitors can connect to the deep well of inspiration that has birthed so much extraordinary music and art.

The 2018 Mountains of Music Homecoming kicks off Friday, June 8. For concert tickets and information about artists and cultural events, visit www.mtnsofmusic.com.

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