THE CROOKED ROAD PRESENTS 4TH ANNUAL MOUNTAINS OF MUSIC HOMECOMING ACROSS 19 COUNTIES, FOUR CITIES OF SOUTHWEST VIRGINIA
ABINGDON, VA – Organizers throughout Southwest Virginia are gearing up for the 4th Annual Mountains of Music Homecoming, an extraordinary nine-day celebration of traditional music and culture taking place June 8 – 16, 2018, in over forty communities throughout Southwest Virginia. The Crooked Road, Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail, connects nine major music venues and over 50 affiliated venues and festivals presenting traditional music 365 days a year. With 24 featured concerts, three culinary based Feastival events, and over 70 cultural events, the Mountains of Music Homecoming encourages travelers to follow the music through the heart of The Crooked Road Region.
Residents and visitors can expect an extraordinary menu of Appalachian food, authentic culture, local arts and crafts, history, outdoor adventure, and a remarkable schedule of bluegrass, old time, blues, gospel, folk and traditional music concerts performed all along the more than 300 miles of The Crooked Road. The 2018 Homecoming will feature Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, Lonesome River Band, Del McCoury Band, blues legends Jimmy Duck Holmes and Phil Wiggins, a unique 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.”
In the Key of Blue
The music of The Crooked Road region influenced and was influenced by a variety of musical traditions from around the nation and world. Each year, the Mountains of Music Homecoming highlights another tradition along with its own unique heritage. This year, the Homecoming will feature Mississippi blues, with its rich history and indelible contributions to American music.
The opening night of the Homecoming will feature legendary blues guitarist Jimmy “Duck” Holmes and blues harmonica wizard Phil Wiggins & Blues House Party at Heartwood in Abingdon on Friday, June 8 at 7:30 p.m.
Bentonia, Mississippi native Jimmy “Duck” Holmes grew up playing the particular style of Delta Blues associated with his hometown, following such blues masters as Skip James and Jack Owens. As well as singing his own compositions, Holmes performs from a repertoire of classic local blues, as well as owning and operating the Blue Front Café, the oldest juke joint in Mississippi, which was opened by his parents in 1946. He has released a number of albums and was recently featured in the award-winning Canadian documentary I Am The Blues in 2015.
Renowned harmonica player and NEA National Heritage Fellow Phil Wiggins leads the Washington, D.C. Blues House Party in new and classic Piedmont-style blues. Wiggins has performed alongside a Who’s Who of blues artists including John Cephas, Sunnyland Slim and Robert Belfour. With House Party he is joined by Rick Franklin (guitar and vocals), Marcus Moore (fiddle) and Junious Brickhouse (dance).
“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.
Tickets to this event are available online at www.mtnsofmusic.com and locally at Heartwood (276) 492-2400. Tickets cost $20 in advance, $25 after May 31, and $12 for children 12 and under.
The Homecoming is busting 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.
The Ultimate Road Trip
Southwest Virginia offers more than just great music and good eating. The Crooked Road region gives visitors many one-of-a-kind opportunities for sightseeing, exploration and outdoor adventure. Alongside the concerts and Feastival events, Homecoming attendees will have a chance to check out over 70 cultural events such as wine and craft beer tastings, jam sessions, quilting demonstrations, storytelling, dances, outdoor adventure, river float trips, community meals and theatre shows. 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 on Friday, June 8. For concert tickets and information about artists and cultural events, visit www.mtnsofmusic.com.