The Stones

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Did I have you fooled for a second?

My friend Amy and I spent last Friday night in an historic theatre in Pulaski County, Va.  Originally built in 1911, the Pulaski Theatre has been  renovated and now hosts a variety of events.  We attended the Rolling Stone Tribute Show, and had an absolute blast.

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Trying to snap a few shots, in a fairly dark theatre, while dancing, singing, and jumping around, was a challenge.

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Jumpin’ Jack Flash.

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Angie

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You Can’t Always Get What You Want.

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Satisfaction.

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Supporting a local historic theatre, hearing music that you grew up with, and hanging out friends … what a fun evening!

Have any of you seen the Rolling Stones in concert?

Local Music

The Waiting was over and the music began.  A fun mix of Blue Grass and Country.

The classic combination of fiddle,

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steel guitar,

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mandolin,

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and bass,

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combined with guitar and excellent vocals,

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 and the evening was made for great music.

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Southwest Virginia’s Crooked Road is “a place of beauty – a place of song” and all along Virginia’s Heritage Trail, musicians gather to play and celebrate the joy that is music.

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The local music scene in my neck of the woods is all about friends gathering to play in pizza houses, restaurants, and other small venues.  Musicians gather to raise funds for the local food pantry and animal shelters, but of course they also gather to spread the joy of the song.

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I arrived early to the performance space and was drawn to the site of the instruments … just waiting for the hands that will bring them to life.

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Pizza House Jam

Southwest Virginia is home to The Crooked Road, a 333 mile stretch along scenic roadways where traditional and heritage music can be heard.  “The variety of music is amazing … old time string bands, a cappella gospel, blues, 300 year old ballads, and bluegrass” (myswva.org).

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Music can be heard in Major Venues such as the Birthplace of Country Music in Bristol, the Carter Family Fold in Hiltons, the Old Fiddlers Convention in Galax, and the Floyd Country Store in Floyd.  In addition to these Major Venues, there are over 60 Affiliated Venues, places where traditional music can be found, often in weekly jam sessions, where anyone with a song or instrument is welcome to join in.  Radford is home to the Radford Fiddle and Banjo Jam which was started by Ralph Berrier in 2000 and is currently located in the River City Grill (Photo Credit: Photography Intern).

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An offshoot of the Fiddle Jam is held in the Pizza House, a locally owned business since 1971.

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While not an Affiliated Venue of The Crooked Road, the Pizza House Jam is a place where local musicians gather to play and sing.

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While I can join in on singing a few of the songs, I have no talent with a musical instrument.

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The music fills the room, the folks watching tap their feet or sing along, and the faces of the musicians reflect the joy of the evening.

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And that is what music is all about.

Myrtle Beach on the Bike: The Bars, Restaurants, and Music (and Pay to Pee!)

This is the third in a series of posts about Myrtle Beach Bike Week and my experience as a first timer.

No doubt, the people and the bikes are a big draw to Bike Week, but it is also the bars, restaurants and music that make for happening times.  Our first stop was SuckBangBlow, the bar whose website boasts the fact that “you can ride through the front doors, right up to the bar, and order a cold one!”.

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The food at The Dead Dog Saloon was so yummy!

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And there is an entire wall devoted to photos of beloved dogs that have passed on.

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At The Beaver Bar, Brooks Paul, The Prince of Rock, the  12 year old lead singer of a rock band (the rest of the members are adults) played Journey, Foreigner, Queen, The Who and Led Zeppelin.

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Almost as soon as I got to Myrtle Beach, my friend Billy told me that he had a few things he needed to teach me about Bike Week.  One of those lessons? The folks who keep the Porta Johns clean expect to be tipped.

 Need to pee?  Bring a dollar!  I’d never heard of such a thing!

On the other hand, I’ve used a lot of Porta Johns at football games and outdoor concerts and it can be a scary experience.  These potties?  Sparkling clean!  And you get to choose from a variety of hand cleanser, lotion and sunscreen once done!  Great Deal!

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At the Causeway Grill and Bar, we heard the Josh Brannon Band.

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And finally, on a beautiful Monday evening, we heard Sunny Ledfurd at The Boathouse.

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This little one enjoyed the music as much as we did!

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Warm summer days and nights. Inexpensive beer. Music, outdoors, with no cover charge.

No complaints!

Coming up: The Fourth and Final post – The Beach of Myrtle Beach

Along the Crooked Road: The Blue Ridge Folklife Festival

The Crooked Road: Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail.

An idea that started in 2003, the 300 mile route now includes ten counties, three cities, ten towns, five regional planning districts, four state agencies, two tourism organizations, and a large number of music venues. http://thecrookedroad.org/

The Blue Ridge Institute and Museum is a  major venue along The Crooked Road and hosts the Blue Ridge Folklife Festival.

The Blue Ridge Folklife Festival has been an annual event for almost 40 years and is held on the campus of Ferrum College every fall http://www.blueridgefolklifefestival.org/.  For various reasons, even though I have lived in the Appalachian Region for over 15 years, I was a first timer this year.

The Appalachian Region, as defined in ARC’s authorizing legislation, is a 205,000-square-mile region that follows the spine of the Appalachian Mountains from southern New York to northern Mississippi.  Forty two percent of the area is rural, compared with twenty percent of the national population http://www.arc.gov/appalachian_region/TheAppalachianRegion.asp.

  

The folks who have long lived in Southwest Virginia are used to hearing the assumptions, misconceptions and distortions of life in Appalachia.  Geographic isolation from more populated areas and poverty have led to the persistence of some of the stereotypes.  Despite progress, Appalachia still does not enjoy the same economic vitality as the rest of the nation.  According to the Appalachian Regional Commission, the region still battles economic distress, with concentrated areas of poverty, unemployment, poor access to healthcare, and educational disparities.  But oh the beauty …

  

The region is rich in heritage and tradition and the Blue Ridge Folklife Festival celebrates it.  Coordinated by The Blue Ridge Institute & Museum, “the festival features artisans, foods, and activities not found at typical craft shows, fairs, and festivals” http://www.blueridgeinstitute.org/index.htm.

I encourage you to check out the links in this blog to learn more about the heritage, music and beauty of the region and if you’ve never visited this neck of the woods, I encourage you to do so.  I think you’ll like what you see!  http://www.visitappalachia.com/

It was quite the rainy morning, forcing me to change my plan to ride the bike.  Of course, the rain was gone only twenty minutes down the road, and I did not see a drop the rest of the day.

Shooting Creek Road, which runs through the counties of Floyd and Franklin in Virginia,would have been a blast to ride on the bike!  The road twists down through the mountain, crosses over the creek a few times, and not surprisingly, I found myself stopping frequently to take pictures (most of the previous pictures were taken along Shooting Creek Road).

By the time I got there, the grounds of Ferrum College and the Ferrum 1800 living history farm museum on both sides of State Route 40, were filled with spectators and participants – musicians, moonshiners, craftspeople, cooks, motorheads, mule jumpers, horse pullers, coon dog racers, antique tractor buffs, and old-time gamers.

  

    

There was so much to see and even though I stayed for more than 5 hours, I somehow missed the Mule Jumping (but did get to see the Sheep Herding).  I wandered through the antique engine and tractor area,

   

watched molasses, apple butter and moonshine being made,

  

  

yarn was dyed using natural ingredients,

  

cornmeal was ground,

  

and crafters were hard at work.

  

  

  

Children played while musicians prepared to perform.

  

  

Judging by the crowds, some of the most popular events are those that include the Coon Dogs.  I couldn’t get near enough to watch the dogs “treeing” the ‘coon, but I was able to photograph them as they waited their turn.

  

  

It was standing room only around the lake as folks prepared to watch the coon dog races.  The dogs are enticed by the smell of the racoon and when the doors are opened, the dogs leap into the water and give chase.

  

  

Quite exciting!

Music is a big part of the Folklife Festival and features Bluegrass, Old Time, Gospel and Rockabilly performances on 3 different stages. One of the main reasons that I came to the festival was to hear my friends perform as the Dr. Pepper All Stars.  Their show is a re-creation of a portion of a 1940s radio show featuring Roy Hall and the Blue Ridge Entertainers.  The radio band played popular hillbilly tunes of the day and host “Cousin Irving” Sharp promoted Dr Pepper like it was snake oil.  The Dr. Pepper All Stars also perform as The Java Brothers and gather with others at the Monday night Fiddle Jam at Radford’s River City Grill, an affiliated partner of The Crooked Road.

  

My friend, Ralph Berrier, Jr, in addition to heading up the Dr. Pepper All Stars, has written a book about Clayton and Saford Hall, his grandfather and great uncle.  If Trouble Don’t Kill Me tells the story of a “vanishing yet exalted southern culture, and shares the devastating consequences of war, allowing the reader to experience the mountain voices that not only influenced the history of  music but that also shaped the landscape of America”.  The book is sold at various venues along The Crooked Road and is available for purchase on line as well (If Trouble Don’t Kill Me: A Family’s Story of Brotherhood, War and Bluegrass, 2010, http://www.amazon.com/Trouble-Dont-Kill-Brotherhood-Bluegrass/dp/0307463060).

It was a full, fun day in Ferrum and even though I could have taken a quicker and much straighter route home, I chose to wind my way back up the mountain, enjoying the colors of fall and the beauty of  this beautiful region that I call home.