The Crooked Road: Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail (TCR) music series at Heartwood in Abingdon showcases communities of the region through their traditional music venues and their youth music. At 7:00 pm on Thursday, August 23, the Radford Fiddle & Banjo Jam from Radford, Virginia will be the featured Venue Showcase at Heartwood. Radford is a lovely city located along the beautiful New River. It’s also home to the Radford Fiddle & Banjo Jam, a 12 year old weekly gathering of musicians, city residents, and Radford University students who share an appreciation for Old Time and Bluegrass music. One of the unique things about this Jam is that it creates a great atmosphere where students and city residents can mingle socially. That’s very important for both the University and the City.
Since it began in 2000, the Jam has had numerous homes in the City, but now has a great setting in the River City Grille, a breakfast to dinner restaurant serving everything from a rack of ribs to chicken cordon bleu. The Jam was the brainchild of Ralph Berrier, a reporter for the Roanoke Times. Ralph’s inspiration came from a trip to Cape Breton where he heard traditional music in almost every town and on every night of the week.
Having recently started to play the fiddle himself, Ralph wondered why the New River valley couldn’t have more opportunities to hear traditional music. Soon, Ralph organized the Fiddle and Banjo Jam at a local business. Looking back, Ralph and the musicians who now keep the Jam going can laugh at the number of places they played that have gone out of business, conjecturing that their music was responsible for those businesses going under!
Like most gatherings of this type, the Radford Fiddle and Banjo Jam has a core group of loyal pickers who come every week, but they also welcome visiting musicians and newcomers to their musical circle. The music is a mix of both Old Time and Bluegrass standards. When the weather is good the music sometimes spills out on the street.
A complete schedule for the music series is available on The Crooked Road website at www.TheCrookedRoad.org. The Crooked Road supports tourism and economic development in Southwest Virginia by celebrating and preserving this Appalachian region’s unique musical and cultural heritage.
Heartwood: Southwest Virginia’s Artisan Gateway is located off I-81 at Exit 14 in Abingdon, Virginia and features food, music and craft of Southwest Virginia. Admission is free but donations will be accepted for the series performances.