Virginia Folklife Program

Virginia Foundation for the Humanities

Crooked Road CD Series

From its inception, the Virginia Folklife Program has been closely involved in the development of “The Crooked Road,” Virginia’s Music Heritage Trail.  The Crooked Road runs from the Eastern Slopes of the Blue Ridge Mountains to the coalfields of deep Southwest Virginia, passing through many important historic sites for the creation and perpetuation of old-time, bluegrass, and mountain gospel music.  It was this region that produced the first “country music” recordings in Bristol, Virginia, in 1929, and there remains a remarkable wealth of musical talent in the region today. Thanks to a grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission, the Virginia Folklife Program introduces much of this talent to new audiences through our Crooked Road CD Series.

The CD series is available for purchase online through the VFH Store.

Now Available On CD

Anya & Jackson : Old Time Duets

Anya & Jackson : Old Time Duets

The songs on this album capture the thrill of hearing two voices side by side on a beautiful melody. Anya and Jackson met in 2005 at the much beloved Friday Night Jamboree at the Floyd Country Store. They felt an immediate musical connection, and quickly discovered a remarkable synergy in their vocal styles.

Anderson & Strickland

Anderson & Strickland

Gerald Anderson and Spencer Strickland play with an exuberance and joy that is infectious. Whether they are jamming in the sawdust of their instrument-making shop, at a local performance in Grayson County, Virginia, on a festival stage, or in the recording studio, Gerald and Spencer play from the heart and never hold back.

Eddie Bond: Take Me Back

Eddie Bond: Take Me Back

As this recording demonstrates, Eddie Bond has talents that can bring an audience out of their seats. He is a powerful singer in a soulful Blue Ridge Mountain tradition, as well as one of the most respected old-time fiddlers in the Blue Ridge.
Like many other great fiddlers from this region, he is also a skilled old-time banjoist. Here the fiddle and banjo are still welded in a Virginia dance tradition that reaches back some 300 years.

Gin Burris: Wind & Rain

Gin Burris: Wind & Rain

Growing up in the southern mountains of Carroll County, Virginia, Gin Burris spent Sunday afternoons singing and playing music with her parents, their parents and their parents. Wind and Rain features a selection of folk ballads passed onto Gin directly from her family, including four variants of the Francis J. Child Ballads, themselves traceable back more than 300 years to origins in the British Isles. Gin has long been a much loved performer at Fiddlers Conventions across the region, but this is her first recording as a featured vocalist.

Linda Lay & Sammy Shelor: Taking the Crooked Road Home

Linda Lay & Sammy Shelor: Taking the Crooked Road Home

Taking the Crooked Road unites one of bluegrass music’s sweetest voices with one of its most celebrated banjoists. Vocalist and bassist Linda Lay, from Bristol VA/TN, has been delighting audiences for years, fronting such groups as Appalachian Trail and Springfield Exit. Sammy Shelor,of Meadows of Dan, Virginia, is a blistering banjo master, and leader of legendary Lonesome River Band.

The Mullins Family Anthology: Let Your Light Shine Out

The Mullins Family Anthology: Let Your Light Shine Out

For over 60 years, the Mullins Family has been singing their unique brand of a cappella gospel. This anthology combines historical material digitally transferred from a variety of previous recording formats, including homemade 78s and wax cuts, with new recordings of the current family group. The Mullins Family were tremendously influential in the coalfields region, and even bluegrass legend Ralph Stanley cites them as one of his major influences.

Frank Newsome: Gone Away With A Friend

Frank Newsome: Gone Away With A Friend

Co-Produced by Grammy Winning Bluegrass artist Jim Lauderdale

Elder Frank Newsome, a coal miner’s son and himself a veteran of the mines, now preaches at the Little David Church in Buchanan County, Virginia. He and his congregation of Old Regular Baptists are among the last practitioners of a spirited 400-year-old song tradition called lined-out hymnody. Many of these old cherished hymns, recorded at Little David Church one summer evening, feature only Frank Newsome’s a cappella voice, one of the few times this singing style has been captured this way.

No Speed Limit: Bluegrass Lullaby

No Speed Limit: Bluegrass Lullaby

No Speed Limit is a hot, young bluegrass band that has quickly risen to fame in Southwest Virginia with Bluegrass Lullaby, the first release of the Crooked Road Series. The band is led by Steve Barr, a stunning banjoist from Galax, and features the fine vocals of Amber Collins. These eleven songs include the fast-paced Grayson County Blues and the CD’s title track, Bluegrass Lullaby.

Spencer Family And Friends: Greetings From Whitetop

Spencer Family And Friends: Greetings From Whitetop

Whitetop is one of Virginia’s tallest and most beloved mountains, in beautiful Grayson County, visible from large distances, and offering stunning views. Whitetop also has developed its own unique style of Old Time music, long nurtured by Crooked Road’s most important and prolific musical families. Among the most important of the many musical families in the area is the Spencer family.

Buddy Pendleton: Delivers

Buddy Pendleton: Delivers

Buddy Pendleton, a most beloved and remarkable fiddler from the southern Appalachian region, keeps his day job with U.S. Postal Service in part because of a desire to stay close to his Patrick County home. Despite winning consecutive contests at the World Championship Union Grove and Galax fiddler’s contests and playing on the road with Bill Monroe, “Delivers!” is Buddy’s first featured recording.

Nat Reese: Save A Seat For Me

Nat Reese: Save A Seat For Me

Nat Reese is a stunning acoustic blues singer, who, at 82, plays with relentless passion and soul. Reese was born in Salem, Virginia, but soon moved with his family to the coal camps of Southwest Virginia. He learned to play the blues from the itinerant African American blues musicians who came through the area to play in the black-operated chitlin’ houses, and his rich, distinctive voice powerfully evokes this life-experience.

Montana Young: Fiddling Up a Storm

Montana Young: Fiddling Up a Storm

This is the debut CD of the award-winning fiddler, Montana Young. At the age of twelve, Montana is already blowing away audiences throughout Southern Appalachia. Montana is joined on this CD by some of her favorite musicians and mentors, including Wayne Henderson, Buddy Pendleton, and Scott Fore.