The Crooked Road’s Old-Time Music & Dance Spectacular featuring Eddie Bond, Debbie Yates, Mac Traynham and Others


Natural Tunnel State Park

1420 Natural Tunnel Pkwy, Duffield VA

Crooked Road Concerts


7:00 PM

The Crooked Road region is a current-day hotbed of the many forms of old time music, and this rousing concert celebrates those forms by bringing together many of the finest old time music and dance masters from across Southwest Virginia. These individual artists are members of some of the region’s most popular performing groups and are being brought together just for the Homecoming to demonstrate how vibrant the old time music traditions of The Crooked Road are.
This old-time music and dance spectacular will showcase the most basic form of music, balladry. Ballads are songs that tell stories. Many early settlers from the British Isles brought ballads with them to Appalachia, and they continued to sing them a cappella (without instrumental accompaniment) in the New World. Rich Kirby and Elizabeth LaPrelle, two of the most respected ballad singers in the Crooked Road region today, will bring this early and important tradition to life. Kirby, from Scott County, both plays the banjo and sings traditional ballads he learned from his grandmother, the respected ballad singer Addie Graham. Wythe County native La Prelle is perhaps the best-known singer of Appalachian ballads of her generation and has performed for public radio’s flagship programs A Prairie Home Companion and Mountain Stage.
The fiddle and banjo were once the only instruments heard along the Appalachian frontier, and the ancient sound these two iconic instruments make together is still heard along The Crooked Road. Award winning fiddler Eddie Bond and clawhammer banjo player Debbie Yates will demonstrate the old fiddle and banjo duet styles on some haunting tunes from the tradition.
The stripped-down sound of one or two instruments playing fiddle or banjo tunes would sometimes not suit an occasion, such as when a family had a get-together. At such times, songs were called for, and perhaps the most beloved of all songcrafters were the three members of the original Carter Family, of Scott County, Virginia (A. P. Carter, Sara Carter, and Maybelle Carter). Eddie Bond (autoharp), Rich Kirby (banjo), Elizabeth LaPrelle (vocals), and Mac Traynham (guitar) will play a selection of Carter Family classics in the old-time style that the Carters made famous when they made their first recordings in Bristol 90 years ago.
The banjo is the symbolic instrument of The Crooked Road and with so many great banjo players on the bill a contest is called for. Enjoy a spirited but all in good fun old time banjo contest between crackerjack players Debbie Yates, Tyler Hughes, Jared Boyd, Mac Traynham, Rich Kirby, and Julie Shepherd Powell. The audience-selected winner gets bragging rights.
The concert will also include a tip of the hat to some of the most historic musicians of The Crooked Road such as the songs of the legendary banjo player Dock Boggs performed by Big Stone Gap’s Tyler Hughes and tunes once performed by the legendary Galax area fiddler Emmet Lundy played by Eddie Bond.
As new instruments (guitar, mandolin, and bass, among others) became more widely available in Appalachia, larger string bands became commonplace in the region. The old time musicians already listed will be joined by bassist Debbie Bramer to demonstrate the classic string band sound. The ultimate calling of a great string band is to lay down a great groove for flatfoot dancing and you’ll see some of the many variations in dance styles from the likes of Julie Shepherd Powell, Elizabeth LaPrelle, Eddie Bond, and Debbie Bramer as they turn the show into a barn dance.
By the time this concert ends, you will have seen some of the best old time music in the world and will go home asking why every day can’t be as joyful as a Crooked Road Old Time Music Spectacular.