Updated: August 17, 2015
You don’t have to stay on the straight and narrow to get to The Crooked Road. This 333-mile trail of pure Virginia Heritage Music is going to take you on a journey through the history of the origins of country, bluegrass, gospel and more.
“A place of beauty, a place of song. This is The Crooked Road.”
As you travel, pull off at any of the 26 Crooked Road wayside exhibits, where you can learn more about the music and musicians who have made their mark in each location.
Home of the Birthplace of Country Music, Bristol brings musicians, scholars and fans alike to pay homage to country music’s past. The familiar melodies of the historic Bristol Sessions in 1927 still echo through the only city that can celebrate its unique title of the Birthplace of Country Music. The Bristol Sessions were not the first country music recordings, but they were the first country music recordings to be mass produced and distributed. Because of the influence these sessions had on the music industry, the 1927 Bristol Sessions are also known as the ‘Big Bang’ of country music.
Johnny Cash once said, “The Bristol Sessions is the single-most important event in the history of country music.”
Birthplace of Country Music Museum
There are nine major venues throughout the trail, each telling the story of The Crooked Road’s history.
- Ralph Stanley Museum
- Country Cabin
- Carter Family Fold
- Birthplace of Country Music
- Old Fiddlers Convention & Rex Theater
- Blue Ridge Music Center
- Floyd Country Store & County Sales
- Blue Ridge Institute & Museum
Jams are abound throughout the trail. Stay the night around one of the venues and take in the excitement of the music.
- Sound of the Mountains at the Lincoln Theatre in Marion, Saturdays
- Radford Fiddle & Banjo Jam, Mondays
- Willis Gap Community Center Open Jam in Ararat, Fridays
Adam McPeak and Mountain Thunder at The Lincoln Theatre. Image by CameronDavidson@CameronDavidson.com.
Plan a trip around some of the eclectic annual festivals along The Crooked Road, including:
- Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion, third week in September
- Home Craft Days, October
- Blue Ridge Folklife Festival, October
- MORE Events
Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion
Experience The Crooked Road’s treasure that is Heartwood. It’s the gateway to Southwest Virginia, homeplace of traditional music and serves up the best of regional craft.
Explore the rich musical heritage of Southwest Virginia at Heartwood – and glimpse the frontiers of fusion with other traditions and instruments. Heartwood is also a performance place for the frontiers of this music, as performers explore new instruments, fuse with other musical traditions or push their horizons toward new forms of expression in special concerts and other events. Every Thursday night, enjoy live music and Heartwood’s special BBQ menu. Its restaurant serves up lunch, Thursday BBQ, Sunday breakfast, and a coffee and wine bar.
Shop at The Crooked Road store for artisan crafts, apparel, handmade instruments, music and more.
Nine major venues, more than 60 affiliated venues and 26 wayside exhibits. The Crooked Road will lead you on an adventure through the history of country music.