The Crooked Road: Far from Straight and Narrow

by Stefanie Hatcher | Posted: Aug 27, 2014 | Updated: Mar 18, 2019

Comments: 1 Comment

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.”

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

Birthplace of Country Music Museum

There are nine major venues throughout the trail, each telling the story of The Crooked Road’s history.

ALSO SEE: Orthophonic Joy: The 1927 Bristol Sessions Revisited

Heartwood Artisans Center

Southwest Virginia Cultural Center & Marketplace

Jams are abound throughout the trail. Stay the night around one of the venues and take in the excitement of the music.

Adam McPeak and Mountain Thunder at The Lincoln Theatre

Adam McPeak and Mountain Thunder at The Lincoln Theatre. Image by

Plan a trip around some of the eclectic annual festivals along The Crooked Road, including:

Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion

Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion

Experience The Crooked Road’s treasure that is the Southwest Virginia Cultural Center & Marketplace. 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 the Southwest Virginia Cultural Center & Marketplace – and glimpse the frontiers of fusion with other traditions and instruments. The venue 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 their 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.





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You might be interested in a documentary about the music culture of the Crooked Road, the trailer for which can be viewed here: