Galax, the friendly town on the border of Carroll and Grayson counties is named for the galax leaf, a broad green leaf that carpets some woodlands, and has been used for generations for decorative purposes. Galax has produced musicians in prodigious numbers that has puzzled and delighted musicologists for almost a century. This process continues.
It’s easy to forget that most songs—particularly those in American folk, traditional, or popular music—rarely last more than three and a half minutes. We often forget this because the best of songs exude a timeless quality, and tend to unexpectedly revisit us—some might say even haunt us—throughout the course of our daily lives. A good song exists in a kind of “time out of time.”
Gin Burris was born in 1953 and has lived all her life in Carroll County, Virginia. Born to Roscoe and Ethel Lovell Burcham, Gin entered into a family with a profoundly rich musical heritage. Music has been a part of Gin’s life from the beginning. “Dad says that when I was born,” Gin recalls, “Dr. Beeken slapped me on the rear and I hit a perfect high C. That’s a little early for me to remember but if he says it, then it must be true!”