A showcase of the cultural traditions of Southwest Virginia, “The Crooked Road’s Music and Dance Spectacular” features a tremendous lineup of the area’s finest old-time, bluegrass, and heritage music and dance masters. Photo illustration by the Moss Arts Center.
Celebrate the vibrant cultural traditions of Southwest Virginia with an evening bringing together the area’s finest old-time, bluegrass, and heritage music and dance masters. Traveling through the rich history of the region, this multigenerational, curated concert by the famed Crooked Road brims with music, singing, storytelling, flatfooting, and square dancing.
The Moss Arts Center presents the premiere performance of “The Crooked Road’s Music and Dance Spectacular” on Friday, July 8, at 7:30 p.m. The performance will be held in the center’s Anne and Ellen Fife Theatre, located within the Street and Davis Performance Hall at 190 Alumni Mall.
Steeped in the sounds of fiddles, banjos, and other stringed instruments, the Crooked Road illustrates the melting pot of immigration and the early settling of the Appalachian mountains. From haunting duets and ballad singing to the dynamic dancing tunes of string bands, this musical journey includes a tip of the hat to some of the most historic musicians of the Crooked Road, such as the Carter Family and the Stanley Brothers.
A showcase of heritage music bands, the performance features a tremendous lineup of traditional talents, featuring:
Junior Sisk Band
The Junior Sisk Band is a force of bluegrass and its members are masters of instrumentation and songwriting, while Junior Sisk is considered one of today’s top bluegrass guitar players and vocalists. Sisk has won numerous awards from the International Bluegrass Music Association, including the Album of the Year and Song of the Year Awards in 2012 and the Male Vocalist of the Year Award in both 2013 and 2017, and his band earned the Bluegrass Band of the Year Award in 2014 from the Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music of America.
Whitetop Mountain Band
Bringing a legacy of old-time sounds to the stage, the Whitetop Mountain Band is an award-winning family ensemble with long-time traditional roots in Whitetop, Virginia, an area rich in old-time music traditions. The band’s members have been essential to the preservation of the Whitetop region’s old-time fiddling and banjo picking. These legendary musicians serve as teachers of the style while entertaining audiences with fiddle/banjo instrumentals, powerful solos, and harmony vocals on blues, classic country, honky-tonk, traditional bluegrass numbers, old-timey ballads, originals, and four-part mountain gospel songs.
Dori Freeman, Scott Freeman, and Willard Gayheart
A progressive Appalachian singer and songwriter, Dori Freeman celebrates her roots with traditional ballads and new favorites with her father, Scott Freeman, and grandfather, Willard Gayheart. Their family’s history highlights the importance of generational legacy and represents the Galax music scene. A multi-faceted, eclectic artist, Freeman defies and expands notions of what it means to be from Southwest Virginia. Gayheart and Scott Freeman are consummate musicians, storytellers, teachers, songwriters, and tunesmiths. Though grounded in old-time tradition, their music is adventurous and ready to roam the edges for new sounds and songs that fit within the tradition.
Justin Golden unites the Virginia blues with heritage music of Southwest Virginia, bringing his songwriting and guitar talents to heart-and-soul issues. On his debut record, “Hard Times and a Woman,” Golden showcases the full breadth of the genre and its downstream influences — everything from country blues to Americana, soul, indie roots, and beyond. Golden was raised on the Virginia coast and is steeped in the distinctive, fingerpicked Piedmont blues of the central part of the state. He’s studied country blues and can name any number of influences, from Blind Boy Fuller to Taj Mahal, but his key inspirations have always come from the indie guitar realm.
Becky Hill is a percussive dancer, choreographer, and square dance caller. She was a 2021 Strathmore artist-in-residence, a 2018 OneBeat Fellow for the U.S. State Department, and is currently artist-in-residence at the John C. Campbell Folk School. She performs with the T-Mart Rounders and teaches dance throughout the country. As an avid organizer and teacher, Hill’s work lives in the intersections between music, dance, and community. She is dedicated to creating innovative choreography rooted in Appalachian music and dance.
Actor Eugene Wolf is the narrator for the evening, weaving the collective narrative of song and experiences on the stage. A native of Greeneville, Tennessee, Wolf was a member of the Road Company and has been a member of Barter Theatre’s Resident Acting Company for 25 years. In 2002, Wolf found home in the role of A.P. Carter in Barter Theatre’s “Keep on the Sunny Side” and on television’s “Lost Highway” on BBC and “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” for PBS American Experience. He has been a member of the Brother Boys with Ed Snodderly for 35 years.
Tickets for the performance are $30 for general admission and $10 for Virginia Tech students and youth 18 and under. Tickets can be purchased online; at the Moss Arts Center’s box office, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday; or by calling 540-231-5300 during box office hours.
Paid parking is available in the North End Parking Garage on Turner Street. Virginia Tech faculty and staff possessing a valid Virginia Tech parking permit can enter and exit the garage free of charge. Virginia Tech has also partnered with ParkMobile to provide a convenient, contactless electronic payment option for parking, which may be used at any parking meter, campus parking space, or lot with standard F/S, C/G, or R parking.
If you are an individual with a disability and desire an accommodation, please contact Jamie Wiggert at least 10 days prior to the event at 540-231-5300 or email email@example.com during regular business hours.