Patrick County Magazine - Fall 2023

Page 1 / Fall 2023


Make your

MOVE! To scenic Patrick County. And let us find you the perfect tract of land, home or farm.

18376 Jeb Stuart Highway • Stuart, Virgina 24171 276-694-5002 •

The Patrick County Young Professionals invite you to join us at our

VOTER EDUCATION & CANDIDATE FORUM Tuesday, October 10, 2023 at 6:00 PM in Stuart, VA Voter Registration • Ballot Review • Q&A Session • Candidate Meet & Greet Follow pcyoungpros on Facebook for information & event details

the 8th annual

STUART SPOOKTACULAR Tuesday, OCTOBER 31, 2023 5:30PM-8:00PM on main street in stuart



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830 Rockford Street, Mount Airy

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Obstetrics/Gyn (336) 786-4522

510 S. South Street, Mount Airy

Fall 2023 / Vol. 2, No. 2 The Patrick County Magazine is published in partnership by the Patrick County Tourism Office and the Patrick County Chamber of Commerce.

18 For advertising information: Patrick County Chamber 410 Patrick Ave., Suite A Stuart, VA 24171 276-694-6012 For additional copies of the magazine, contact: Patrick County Tourism 126 N. Main St. Stuart, VA 24171 276-693-2005 Chamber Director: Rebecca Adcock Chamber Assistant: Sharon Williams Tourism Director: James Houchins Tourism Assistant: Grace Cooper Creative Director: David Stanley Photographer: Kim Rakes Design: SilverLining Design Contributors: Sue Kolljeski, Kristin Hylton, Sarah Sheppard, Erica Stacy Note: Please know that changes occur with attractions and businesses before Tourism or the Chamber knows about it. We make every attempt to present accurate information, but contact businesses or attractions directly before making plans to visit. The Cover: Willis Gap Community Center musicians at Angel Overlook.



Table of Contents

14 Patrick County Chamber Awards

Announcing the winners of this year’s awards

18 Music in Our Souls Patrick County Music Flows Like Water 22 Wellspring: Through the Mountains The history of music in the county

A playlist of Patrick County’s musicians

26 Striking the Perfect Note 36 Carrying the Tune 40 Bootleg Bike Blitz 48 Coffee Talk 56 Patrick County Holiday Shopping Guide 60 The Crooked Road

Patrick County Music Association and Willis Gap Open Jam celebrate anniversaries Charlie Chaney is teaching music to the next generation The I.C. DeHart Memorial Park gets a refresh

Patrick County has coffee shops and roasters all over Shopping SMALL in Patrick County makes a BIG Impact Visit the local stops and venture farther out into Southwest Virginia

Departments 5 Welcome 6 Find Yourself Here

8 Attractions Map

10 Events

Calendar / Fall 2023


Christmas is right around the corner

Spread Joy this Christmas Season with Delicious & Beautiful Christmas Fruit Baskets! The Christmas season is a wonderful time to delight your friends and family, thank clients, reward employees, or spread joy to anyone else you care about. A Christmas Fruit Basket is a wonderfully delicious gift that can bring a smile to anyone’s face! Every Fruit Basket we make is made fresh when you order and contains 100% fruit and NO FILLER, so every lucky recipient of a Wood’s Produce Fruit Basket is getting the season’s freshest fruit and a great value too! Our baskets are also customizable with a variety of tasty add-ons including Local Honey & Jams, Country Ham, and Christmas Candy!

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Updates from Tourism and the Chamber of Commerce Welcome to the fourth edition of our magazine! We are thrilled with the final product and grateful for all the positive feedback we have received over the past two years. We are confident that you will enjoy this version as well; it’s filled with our unique musical heritage and featuring well-known musicians. Our community has been graced by remarkable artists, groups, and legends that we are excited to share with you. Music has been a significant part of my life since childhood. My late grandfather Richard King was a musician, and now my uncles play, carrying on as they were taught. I also heard many stories in my youth about music from my barber, the late Marvin Foddrell. I enjoy all types of music, from gospel to blues, bluegrass, big band, country, classic rock, R&B, and even the big hair bands of the eighties. I have seen all of these genres played in our community, in homes, barber shops, garages, and at various festivals. I am reminded of a statement made by Denny Alley during a video recording a few years ago, where he claimed that Patrick County has more musicians per square mile than anywhere in the US. While I cannot validate the accuracy of this claim, I believe it holds some merit. We hope you enjoy another treasure brought to you by our award-winning team. Virginia is for Music Lovers, and Patrick County has plenty to offer in that regard! James Houchins Director of Tourism and Marketing

Let’s get some exciting news out of the way. The Fall 2022 issue of the Patrick County Magazine won a prestigious Southwest Virginia Tourism Award for best magazine! This is truly an honor for this collaborative effort between the Chamber, Tourism, and SilverLining Design. Not only is it a great asset for tourism and marketing, but also a great resource for many of our own residents who have been here all their lives and those just now putting down roots here in Patrick County. People frequently tell us how they learn something new about the county with each issue and we are just getting started. September is Virginia Heritage Music Month and Patrick County can celebrate with the best of them. Music is such an integral part of Patrick County, as with the Appalachian Region as a whole. The county is geographically divided with how the gentle rolling fields crash upon the rise of the mountains. That division has led to such a wide array of music for our county. From piedmont blues to traditional mountain music, our county is home to lots of talented folks. We hope you continue to enjoy the magazine. And please note who advertises with us and support them as they support this project. Patrick County is home to great small businesses that are great places to shop, not only for the holidays but year-round. Enjoy reading this issue and join us at one of the many music events around the county or festivals as we kick into the fall and holiday season. Rebecca Adcock Chamber of Commerce Director / Fall 2023


Find yourself here

Legacy Sustaining a

Lynn Foddrell is carrying on a family tradition in Patrick County. His uncle and father became well known as the Foddrell Brothers for playing the Piedmont blues. Although his uncle passed away in 1986 and his father in 1995, Lynn Foddrell continues the tradition with his cousin Doug Turner, and a separate five-piece blues and R&B outfit. Foddrell was born in Martinsville but has spent his life in Patrick County near the North Carolina-Virginia state line. “We used to raise tobacco and corn and garden,” he said. “My grandfather had a tobacco field. We grew up in the country. We were raised on garden food.” His grandfather Posey Foddrell was a multi-instrumentalist who played Piedmont blues and mountain music in a place that has both. Patrick County is where the the Blue Ridge Mountains yield to the rolling hills of the east. Lynn grew up saturated with the vibrant noise of his family’s playing. “It was music all the time,” Lynn said. “My grandfather played, all my uncles played. He had five boys, and all of them played a different style of music.” One uncle, for example, got into jazz music and continues to play in his church. Lynn’s father Turner and uncle Marvin played a different, more traditional style of music they’d learned from their father. “They kept with the Piedmont style blues music,” Lynn said. Piedmont blues is known for its complex fingerpicking patterns, with the thumb playing an alternating bass rhythm against a melody plucked treble strings with the index and other fingers. Lynn first started learning guitar when he was just five. By the time he was in his teens, he joined the Foddrell Brothers on


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stage. Patrick County’s central location allowed them to travel to shows in multiple states, including Virginia, North Carolina, Kentucky and Tennessee. They played the 1982 World’s Fair in Knoxville and Carnegie Hall and the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York City. “I had to learn my dad’s type music and R&B and blues too, so I can play a little bit of both,” Lynn said. “We played just about everywhere. People kept calling, and we played everywhere up until my daddy got sick.” Turner Foddrell passed away in 1995. But Lynn has continued making music. With his cousin Doug, Lynn Foddrell plays traditional Piedmont blues — what he describes as “my dad and my uncle’s type music.” But other times, he plays blues and ‘70s-style R&B with a five-piece band. Think B.B. King, Robert Cray, James Brown, Rick James, and Prince. “It depends on the venue,” Lynn said. Foddrell is a control operator at Duke Energy, where he’s worked for 48 years. He has a son and daughter. He still plays live music. At 67, life is good in Patrick County. “It’s a great place to live,” Foddrell said. “It’s just so peaceful. Everybody gets along. Everybody knows each other in Patrick County.” “Find Yourself Here” is a guest column from someone who is either from the county or has moved to the county, and why they love it here. If you are interested in writing a column in a subsequent issue or know someone we should highlight, please contact us at

COMFORT YOU CAN COUNT ON SALES • SERVICE • DELIVERY Propane – Heating Oil – Kerosene – Diesel – Water Heaters Heating & Hearth – Outdoor Rooms & More


County & Attractions Map

VISITOR CENTERS AND VISITOR INFORMATION Patrick County Visitors Center 126 N. Main Street, Stuart, VA 276-693-2005

Blue Ridge Visitors Center - MP 177.7 2577 J.E.B. Stuart Highway Meadows of Dan, VA 276-694-6012



1 Angel Overlook

23 Meadows of Dan Visitor Center

2 Ararat Thunder Raceway

24 Nancy’s Candy Company

3 Barnard’s Farm and Country Store

25 Patrick County Chamber of Commerce

4 Bluemont Presbyterian Church 5 Buffalo Mountain Zip Lines (Floyd) 6 Chateau Morrisette Winery (Floyd) 7 Cockram‘s Mill Complex 8 Deer Run Campground 9 Doe Run Farm, Ararat 10 Dominion Valley Park 11 Fairy Stone State Park 12 Fred Clifton Park

410 Patrick Ave., Suite A, Stuart, VA 276-694-6012

14 Groundhog Mountain Overlook


16 Jack’s Creek Covered Bridge

Laurel Hill JEB Stuart’s Birthplace 1091 Ararat Highway Ararat, VA

13 Gordon Trent Golf Club 15 Hollow History Center 17 Kibler Valley River Run 18 Laurel Hill J.E.B. Stuart Birthplace 19 Lover’s Leap Scenic Overlook 20 Mabry Mill (Floyd) 21 Mayberry Presbyterian Church

COUNTY PARKS P1 Dan River Park P2 DeHart Park


22 Mayberry Trading Post

26 Patrick County Historical Museum/ Library 27 Patrick County Tourism Visitors Center 28 Philpott Lake 29 Primland Resort 30 Reynolds Homestead 31 Rocky Knob Recreation Area 32 Slate Mountain Presbyterian Church (Floyd)

33 Spirithaven Farm 34 Stanburn Winery 35 Tin Pen Alley 36 Villa Appalaccia Winery 37 Virginia Motorsports Museum 38 Wayside Park 39 Willis Gap Community Center 40 Wood Brothers Racing Museum


L1 Stuart, near Library & DeHart Park

P3 Fred Clifton Park

L2 Blue Ridge Visitors Center

P4 I.C. DeHart Park

L3 I.C. DeHart Park

P5 Mountain Top Park

L4 Nancy’s Candy

P6 Patrick Springs Park

L5 Stanburn Winery

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L6 Uptown Suites of Stuart L7 Willis Gap Community Center L8 Wayside Park (during events) L9 Front Porch Fest site (during events)


Dan River Park Trail


Fairy Stone State Park


Hidden Roads Trail


I.C. DeHart Trails


Laurel Hill Trails


Mayo River Rail Trail


Mountain Top Park Trail


Reynolds Homestead


Rock Castle Gorge

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T10 Rotary Field Trails T11 Round Meadow Creek Trail


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11 T2





P3 12



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1 631

L7 39









38 8

Ararat 614






L5 680

Claudville 677




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40 P2 L1 26 T10 25 T6 L6












103 661




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631 / Fall 2023


It’s happening in Patrick County JANUARY




Stuart Farmers’ Market 8:00am - Noon every Friday


Stuart Farmers’ Market 8am - Noon every Friday


Willis Gap Community Center Open Jam 6:00pm every Friday


Willis Gap Community Center Open Jam 6:00pm every Friday


Willis Gap Community Center Open Jam 6:00pm every Friday


First Day Hike Fairy Stone State Park


Reynolds Homestead Home Tours Every Sunday from 1 - 4pm


Doe Run Sunflower Maze Wed - Fri 1- 7 pm, Sat 10 am - 8 pm


Patrick County Music Association 6pm at the Stuart Rotary Building

Doe Run Sun Flower Maze Ararat - Open seven days a week


Holiday Arts & Crafts Market Reynolds Homestead 10am-3pm


Willis Gap Golden Oldies Willis Gap Community Center at 6pm


Music at the Villa Villa Appalaccia


Patrick County Music Association 6pm at the Stuart Rotary Building


JEB Stuart Civil WarEncampment Laurel Hill, Ararat


Meadows of Dan Christmas Parade 3pm


October Fest Woolwine Volunteer Fire Department


15 & 22

Pancake Days Meadows of Dan Community Center



Patrick County Music Association 6pm at the Stuart Rotary Building


Apple Dumpling 5k Downtown Stuart at 8am



Willis Gap Community Center Open Jam 6:00pm every Friday

Holiday Market at Fairy Stone State Park 10am-2pm


Stanburn Winery Chocolate & Wine Noon-4pm, reservations required

Willis Gap Golden Oldies Willis Gap Community Center at 6pm


Patrick County Music Association 6pm at the Stuart Rotary Building


Willis Gap Golden Oldies Willis Gap Community Center at 6pm


Apple Dumpling Festival Downtown Stuart from 10am - 4pm

Willis Gap Community Center Open Jam 6:00pm every Friday



Willis Gap Golden Oldies Willis Gap Community Center at 6pm

Grand Illumination on Main Street Uptown Stuart from 6pm - 9pm



Spooktacular Uptown Stuart from 5:30pm - 8pm




Willis Gap Community Center Open Jam 6:00pm every Friday

Mistletoe Market Stuart Farmers’ Market from 10am - 1pm


Patrick County Music Association 6pm at the Stuart Rotary Building


Patrick County Christmas Parade Stuart 2pm


Willis Gap Golden Oldies Willis Gap Community Center at 6pm


DeHart Park Festival of Lights DeHart Park in Stuart


Patrick County Music Association 6pm at Patrick County High School

Patrick County Magazine /

Imagination Library Comes to Patrick County Coming this Fall More Doctors & Extended Hours

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Find yourself here

The mountains and valleys are yours to explore here in Patrick County. Stroll through the sunflower fields or vineyards. Cruise the Blue Ridge Parkway or hike Rock Castle Gorge. From the rugged outdoors to 5-Star luxury, there is so much to discover here. Visit the Patrick County Visitors Center at 126 N. Main St, Stuart, VA / Fall 2023


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22199 Jeb Stuart Hwy • PO Box 752 Stuart, VA 24171

Great Wines Without the Pretentiousness

Since 1999, our family has owned and operated a 20-acre vineyard in scenic, rural Patrick County, Va. Come to the winery and leave all of your worries behind. 158 Conner Dr. • Stuart, VA / Fall 2023


Patrick County Chamber Award Winners Winners who were voted on by you for the Patrick County Chamber of Commerce Awards:

Small Business of the Year:


Uptown Stagecoach on Main Street in Stuart opened in December of 2022. They expanded services from their coffee trailer in Patrick Springs which they continue to operate. Their Main Street location has provided meeting locations for groups since reopening the store in early December. They have also jumped in full force with expanded evening hours and Sunday brunch hours. Their themed weekend events have been popular with providing food and entertainment. For more info on Uptown Stagecoach, see our coffee article in this magazine on page 48.

Large Business of the Year:

PATRICK COUNTY FAMILY PRACTICE As the only medical facility in the county, Patrick County Family Practice continues to offer excellent service to our residents. Addressing the health needs of residents, the practice operates both the main office for wellness and recheck visits as well as the Urgent Care for sick visits. The recent addition of the Patrick County Med Spa offers wellness amenities.


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Community Champion:

PICKLE & ASH Since opening their doors, Pickle & Ash have worked on building collaborations with community partners. Their food truck is active at local events such as the Meadows of Dan Easter Egg Hunt, Stuart Spooktacular, Bushels & Barrels and providing VIP meals during Front Porch Fest. Their partnership with Bull Mountain Arts is evident with the beautiful murals that hang on the back patio. Bull Mountain Arts manages the mural design grants. Once they have hung for the year, Pickle & Ash hosts the annual Garden Fete to auction off the beautiful works of art. Through this program they are promoting arts, supporting local artisans and the Bull Mountain Arts group. Employees yearly volunteer during the county’s annual litter pick-up campaign. With the addition of their outdoor yard space, Pickle & Ash is a great place to gather with friends and family and enjoy great food and drinks.

Non-Profit of the Year:

ROTARY CLUB OF STUART While their name suggests the club only focuses on Stuart, Rotary Club of Stuart is active in all parts of the county. This nonprofit is the organizer of the Patrick County Agricultural Fair which has provided entertainment for local residents for over sixty years, while also raising money to support the club’s many scholarship funds. The club also supports the annual litter pickup campaign through their PC Green Team initiative. They contribute annually to the school backpack program throughout the county and sponsor the local Boy Scout troop. Along with presenting the fair, Rotary Club of Stuart organizes the Beach Music Festival and the Uptown Cruise In. / Fall 2023


COME BUILD A CAREER WITH US! SK I LLED E QU IPME N T OPE R ATOR S · EX P ER IEN CED FO R EM EN A N D SUP ER IN TE N DE N TS OFF- R OA D T R U C K D R IV ER S · L A B O R ER S A N D F L AGG ER S Headquartered in Roanoke, Virginia, Branch has been building highways and developing land for 60 years. Being employee owned means we have a stake in projects we build and the communities we serve. No one cares about the region and the mountains like we do. Working for or with Branch isn’t just an adventure, it’s a home.







8735 Woolwine Hwy • Woolwine, VA 276-930-2695 •

Serving the Cities of Martinsville and Danville, and the Counties of Henry, Franklin, Patrick, and Pittsylvania

Make the Agency on Aging your first call for information and services that support older adults and their caregivers.

204 Cleveland Avenue Martinsville, VA 24112 (276) 632-6442 Toll Free: (800) 468-4571 / Fall 2023


The Foddrells: Marvin, Turner, and their father Posey Foddrell. The brothers played locally but also played the World’s Fair in Knoxville and over in Europe.

music in our soulS By the Patrick County Historical Society

Music, perhaps above any other human development, remains an ever-present force that unites people. Music can whip hearers into a frenzy or calm an anxious mind. The religious use music to worship, while the political use it to carry messages to the masses. Patrick County boasts a long tradition of musical excellence. From Country and Southern Gospel to Bluegrass and Blues, Patrick County residents sing, play, and enjoy the sounds carried throughout our history. The earliest residents typically used music in worship or communal gatherings. Native Americans sang, played, and danced to maintain balance in the physical and spiritual realms. Library of Congress researcher Juliette Appold explains, “[Native American music] is an integral part of spiritual, social, moral, and cultural events.” When the first European colonists arrived, few had musical instruments so they sang a cappella in styles called “line singing” and “shape-note singing.” However, where white leaders and congregants sang the same lines together, African “call and response” music acted more as a conversation between the leader and participants. During times of war, fife and drum bands acted as entertainment for troops as well as for swift communication. Patrick County became home to each of these styles which blended together over the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, leading to uniquely American music genres. White and Black Americans eventually bought or made musical instruments from wood, gourds, and other materials. Enslaved African Americans crafted traditional banjars from gourds, becoming the blueprint for modern banjos. Scotch-Irish


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fiddles joined banjos forming the basis for communal string bands. Fiddles, banjos, guitars, and other instruments became influential in establishing Bluegrass and Country music. The Blues also originated in these hand-crafted instruments. According to the Smithsonian Institute, “If asked to identify the instrument most commonly used for playing blues, most music-savvy people today would name the blues-guitar, but guitars were not popularly played until the late 1920s.” In fact, the banjo holds the honor of being the principle instrument in playing the Blues. Multiple

Buddy Pendleton was declared “World Champion” fiddler five times in the 1970s and toured with Bill Monroe. Here he is in 1972 with his many ribbons and trophies along with the fiddle that he made himself.

award-winning groups and individual artists across these music genres have their roots in Patrick County. Usually starting out with handmade instruments from available materials, local musicians developed their talent over the course of their lifetimes. Throughout the twentieth century Patrick County boasted of some of the best Bluegrass banjo and fiddle players in the country, especially Buddy Pendleton and Sammy Shelor. The talented Posey, Turner, and Marvin Foddrell performed in the Piedmont Blues and Country music genres nationally and internationally. The Hutchens Brothers (Bill, Barry, and Bryan Hutchens), Ted Connor, and Kenny Smith hold acclaim as expert guitarists. Patrick County’s love for music carried on into the twenty-first century with greater opportunities to hear local, regional, and national musicians from various genres. The influential Patrick County Music Association under Denny Alley’s leadership meets monthly at Rotary Field showcasing regional Bluegrass and Gospel music. Other opportunities to hear a range of musical genres include Front Porch Fest, the Willis Gap Community Center Open Jam, the Stuart Beach Music Festival, Dominion Valley Gospel Festival and many others which highlight local and national music talent. Whether sitting in a kayak on Philpott Lake, on a blanket at Spirithaven Farm, or in a chair at Wayside Park, Patrick County carries on its strong musical heritage, uniting us in a way that only good music can. For more historical information on this topic and many others, visit the Historical Museum at 116 W. Blue Ridge St. in Stuart or online at


The Patrick County Historical Museum features innumerable items from the past, and extensive genealogical records for people researching families with Patrick County roots.

hours: (subject to change)

Tues, Thurs, Sat. 10am - 2pm and by appointment 116 W. Blue Ridge St. P.O. Box 1045 (mailing) Stuart, VA 24171 276-694-2840

Patrick County



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800-933-PARK (7275) | / Fall 2023


Solutions That Empower People We provide exceptional services to people who want to improve their quality of life through community, economic, personal, and family development. STEP, Inc. is a community action agency serving the counties of Franklin, Patrick, Henry, Pittsylvania, & Bedford including the cities of Martinsville & Danville


Patrick County Magazine /

CELEBRATING TEN YEARS OF SERVICE For a decade, One Family Productions has promoted and supported community enrichment and growth by creating meaningful partnerships and events that are accessible, innovative, and engaging.

2023 marks our yen-year anniversary and we're celebrating our success thus far and setting goals for our next ten years!

OV ER $4 0,0 0 0 D ONAT ED

to Non-Profit and Community Organizations through events like Front Porch Fest, First Fridays, and Bushels & Barrels.

T HO USAN DS OF VOL UNT E ER HO URS UN TE have been poured into OFP and we're always looking to welcome new members to the family to support our outreach efforts!



Buddy Pendleton and Montana Young. Photo by Morgan Miller/Virginia Folklife Program.

Patrick County Music Flows Like Water Through the Mountains Patrick County’s musical traditions run deep, flowing through generations like streams through the Blue Ridge.

People in Patrick County have played music for centuries, passing musicianship down from generation to generation. That music didn’t begin to make its way out of the mountains, though, until the 1920s and the availability of radios. In 1927, Ralph Peer recorded what became known as the Bristol Sessions on the Virginia-Tennessee line. Those tracks in turn became known as the “Big Bang of Country Music” — recorded less than 140 miles from Stuart. Patrick County residents were among early country music stars. Twins Clayton and Saford Hall made their way from the Hollow community of Ararat to play with Roy Hall and His Blue Ridge Entertainers. They became attractions on then-radio station WDBJ in Roanoke, where they played on a show sponsored by Dr. Pepper. The Hall twins played in the 1930s and 1940s. They opened for the Carter Family, Roy Rogers and the Sons of the Pioneers. Clayton and Saford Hall even took a turn at Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry in April 1941. Clayton’s grandson, author and journalist Ralph Berrier, wrote about in his account of the brothers’ fame, titled, “If Trouble Don’t Kill Me: A Family’s Story of Brotherhood, War, and Bluegrass.” Berrier writes, “The Blue Ridge Entertainers played their hit, ‘Don’t Let Your Sweet Love Die,’ and let Tommy [Magness, the


Patrick County Magazine /

band’s fiddle player at the time] strut his stuff on ‘Orange Blossom Special.’ Roanoke’s finest held its own in the hillbilly music capital of America.” The Hall twins fame came to an end when they were both drafted to fight in World War II. But the road they blazed to music stardom lit a path for others. One of them was Buddy Pendleton, a fiddle player from Lone Ivy in the Woolwine area. Pendleton was born in 1935 and grew up in a musical family. “People say, if you’re a Pendleton, you can play music,” says his widow, Barbara Pendleton. His father played clawhammer banjo, and his mother played mouth harp and autoharp. But his biggest influence was his uncle, Delmar Pendleton, who taught him to play fiddle. In 1960, Buddy met The Greenbriar Boys from New York at North Carolina’s Union Grove Fiddlers Contest. He was asked to join the band and did, at one point playing as folksinger Joan Baez’s backing band. The Greenbriar Boys were just a warm-up for Pendleton, though. Two years later he joined the Blue Grass Boys, the influential band led by the so-called “Father of Bluegrass” himself — Bill Monroe. At the time, the band featured Del McCoury on guitar, Bill Keith on banjo, and Bessie Lee Maudlin on bass, according to Pendleton’s obituary in “Bluegrass Today.” Barbara says Buddy eventually got tired of touring and wanted to come home to Patrick County.

“I think he didn’t like city life,” Barbara says. “He didn’t like the traveling. He said it was a hard life. They rode in a car everywhere. The car was pretty old and the shocks were no good. They bounced to the ceiling practically. When he came back, he started working in the Postal Service. That’s a good job for Patrick County.” That’s where Buddy was working when he met Barbara in 1969, and they married later that year. Buddy Pendleton continued playing music throughout his life, before he passed away in 2017. The music didn’t stop with him, though. His daughter received a degree in music education and plays fiddle and French horn. His 14-year-old granddaughter is playing clarinet in a high school marching band, and Barbara says their 13-year-old grandson just contacted her about the drums in her attic. The Foddrells

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Many of Patrick County’s musicians are carrying on family traditions.

Turner and Marvin Foddrell were the sons of multi-instrumentalist Posey Foddrell, a regional legend who played fiddle, mandolin, piano, banjo, and guitar. Turner and Marvin regularly played in jams at their father’s general store before parlaying that into annual gigs at Ferrum’s Blue Ridge Folk Festival and even a performance at the 1982 World’s Fair in Knoxville, Tennessee. They appeared on compilations released by the Blue Ridge Institute and built a following for their versions of Piedmont blues and folk music. The Foddrell Brothers’ popularity peaked in the early ’80s, when they recorded an album in the Netherlands. Sadly, Marvin died in 1986, but Turner continued to play with his son Lynn until his own death in 1995. Today, Lynn Foddrell continues to carry on the family tradition as a performing musician. More recently, singer Olivia Jo began performing after a childhood performing with her father. She released two albums by age 12, and earlier this year dropped a single titled “Nothing To Lose.” Another local performer, singer-songwriter Chris Owens, released an album in the spring under the name Oh, Christopher with a familial reference in its title: “Father. Brother. Liar. Lover.” Evoking emotion and painting a vivid and relatable story, each tune Chris delivers feels like home. Another famous Patrick County musician also learned from family. Sammy Shelor first started playing at age 5, when his fid- / Fall 2023


Sammy Shelor and the Lonseome River Band. Photo courtesy of the band.

dle and guitar-playing grandfather Cruise Howell started teaching him. Sammy grew into it, playing with other local musicians. “We didn’t have video stuff or albums to learn from,” Shelor says. “So I tried to get around people who played. There were musicians everywhere — people that played a little or were very, very good. It ran the gamut. I’d always stay in Meadows of Dan in summertime even into my teens. We’d visit people who played music all over the area.” Shelor joined his first band at age 10, and credits his music teacher, Leon Pollard, with introducing him “to a lot of great music through his record collection.” Not long after, Shelor attended the Country Gentlemen Festival when it came to Patrick County, which allowed him to see some of the best bluegrass acts in the world: Jim & Jesse, the Osborne Brothers and J. D. Crowe. The experience lit a fire under Shelor, and he started working hard at playing the banjo. Shelor soon landed a job with the Heights of Grass, a Richmond band he describes as “more or less a bluegrass show band” — which means they played bluegrass sprinkled with more straight-forward country, western swing and even rock’n’roll. “We would play bars four nights a week around Richmond and then go play outdoor festivals on the weekend, a lot in Florida and Georgia but up in Wisconsin too,” Shelor says. “We were an event-tier band and traveled extensively. I made 250 dollars a week and played five to six nights a week.” The band morphed into the Virginia Squires, and Shelor stuck with them until 1989, when bluegrass’ popularity dipped. A year later, he moved back to Meadows of Dan to take care of his grandfather. In the fall of 1990, Shelor was picked up by the Lonesome River Band, which had already been together for eight years. “We decided when we went in to do a record that we’re going to do the most traditional album we’re capable of,” Shelor says.


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“That was our goal going into it. We just started playing and putting these songs together. When we finished, we didn’t know what we had.” That record became 1991’s “Carrying the Tradition.” Released on Rebel Records, “it got acclaimed as this whole new sound nobody had ever heard before,” Shelor says. The album led to a whole new wave of popularity for the band that’s carried on to the present day. Shelor became an even bigger star when he was recognized as the second-ever winner of the Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Bluegrass and Banjo in 2011. Shelor went on the Late Show with David Letterman to receive the prize from Martin, followed by a performance by Martin and the Lonesome River Band. “Over the next seven or eight years, we definitely built a bigger following,” Shelor says. “I’ve been able to use everything as a whole to build us into a little better financial base.” Shelor’s also invested time into building the next generation of Patrick County musicians. He’s worked with Stuart native Michael Ray Fain and appeared on his new single, “America I Love.” Like others, Fain was first exposed to string music by his grandfather, who played fiddle. “I remember Sunday mornings he’d go to the bedroom, and you could hear him back there playing fiddle,” Fain says. “A lot of times on Saturday nights, he and my uncle Jack and cousin would get together and play anything from the old time tunes to Merle Haggard, Don Williams, and the Country Gentlemen.” Fain followed suit, and eventually began writing his own songs. He sometimes plays covers in his concerts, but most of his music is original. “Music has a way of touching people that a lot of other things can’t do that,” Fain says. “Especially in the last six or seven years, I’ve been focusing more on a positive type of music that would help uplift people and give them encouragement.”

Others are picking up the theater, but is also raising a torch, too. Nick Goad did not son — who is now starting grow up in a musical family, but to play fiddle and perform in when his older cousin started takthe Jack Tales himself. ing music lessons, he decided to as “COVID changed so well. At age 10, he began learning many things,” Blankenhow to play guitar and dove into ship-Tucker says. “I learned bluegrass after hearing IIIrd Tyme how to be still. I learned the After Jack, with Rachel Blankenship-Tucker on banjo. Out on a car stereo at Stuart Tire Photo courtesy of the band. value in taking care of my and Auto Center. And when he family and home and land heard Kenny Smith’s “Studebaker” album, Goad became obsessed and animals. Our focus is not solely on the band anymore.” with the mandolin, which he promptly took up. Not every Patrick County performer is tied to bluegrass and Goad started playing around with local groups, especially at old-time music. Take longtime county soul band Sunset Drive, the dance hall in Cascade. He joined a band called the Downwhich formed in the mid-‘60s. town Boys and started playing regular gigs in high school. In “What we were playing was Top 40,” says Warren Rogers, 2013, Goad competed in the Galax Fiddlers Convention and longtime band member. “That was when all the Stax records were won first prize and best all-around performer for his mandolin coming out. Soul music had just got really big.” playing. The band played the songs they heard on the radio, and that That success led to a gig playing with Still Lonesome from made them a popular draw. Rogers’ parents had played music, 2013 to 2019. The pandemic intervened, but in 2021 Goad too. They both played piano and sang gospel music — a genre Photos courtesy of Branch joined the touring band Sideline. Now, he’s running sound for that laid the foundation for 20th Century soul music. “WeCivil all got the Lonesome River Band. Everything comes full circle. started like that,” Rogers says. Another Patrick County native, Rachel Blankenship-Tucker, The band played for decades, and then in the late ‘90s hooked has built a life from music and theater. She started playing fiddle up with R&B icon Percy Sledge, whose song “When a Man at age 5, but her music really took off when she attended college Loves a Woman” has become an American standard. Sledge enat Radford University. She traveled to Ohio to audition for dozjoyed a one-off gig with the band so much he hired them as his ens of theater companies — only to land back in Virginia at the touring band. Patrick County’s central location allowed Sunset Blue Ridge Dinner Theatre in Ferrum. That’s where she met her Drive to tour with him around the eastern U.S. “We’ve played wife Emily, performed in the long-running “Jack Tales,” and in everywhere,” Rogers says. 2011 formed a band called After Jack. Sledge passed in 2015, but Sunset Drive continues on. “The band was named after the Jack Tale players, or ‘After “The performances are coming slower” since the pandemJack,’” Blankenship-Tucker says. “Jack is lucky and smart and alic, Rogers says, but the band continues to play regular gigs at ways come out on top, defeats devils and witches and giants, and country clubs and weddings. And business is beginning to pick seeks his fortune in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains. up again, he said. It seemed an apt name for the group, which performed Today, groups like the Tommy Morse Band are carrying on regionally from 2011 until 2019, when one of its three members the Top 40 legacy as a “Rock and Dance Variety Band” that plays moved to Richmond. The group reformed with new members in around the region. 2019. It opened for the Indigo Girls before the pandemic arrived. The future of Patrick County’s deep musical heritage is in These days, Blankenship-Tucker still plays music and performs in good hands.

Michael Ray Fain. Photo by Kevin Hubbard of Hubbard 1 Productions.

Sunset Drive. Photo courtesy of the band. / Fall 2023


Striking the Perfect Note in Patrick County By Erica Stacy

With scenic views from winding mountain roads, tempting tastes of down-home cooking, homemade candies, and local wines, the gentle feel of handcrafted quilts and hand-knitted wares, and wafting scents of fresh cut fields, flowers, and misty rains, visiting Patrick County, Virginia is a feast for the senses. While you are in and around the region chances are you’ll catch the sounds of an old-time tune drifting from a home, a business, a church, or even a bench on one of the street corners. In this special southwest Virginia community, music is as much a part of the culture as biscuits and sweet tea. The diversity of the people who settled in the region contributed to the unique musical style now known as “old-time” Virginia music—one of the predecessors of today’s American country genre. Some of the oldest, most poignant, and memorable songs are known as “crooked tunes,” because their irregular measures take listeners in unexpected directions, not unlike the communities that inspired them.


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Playing music at The Coffee Break

“Music is part of our heritage,” explained Denny Alley, director of the Patrick County Music Association, sharing a bit of history to support his perspective. According to Alley, the lack of flatland to grow crops combined with harsh winter weather, forced most early residents to make a living the best way they could, which sometimes meant relying on bootlegging for income. Parties would spring up in homes. They’d move the rugs and chairs out of the way, then pull out fiddles, guitars, harmonicas, and handmade instruments, play music and dance to pass the time. Playing instruments were, and still are, often self-taught, with guidance offered from grandparent to child to grandchild. Songs continue to be passed down generation to generation, also. “At one time there was more talent right here in Patrick County than in Nashville, and in recent years, we’ve had numerous groups to appear on local stages that were more than qualified to be on the Grand Ole’ Opry,” said Alley. For more than twenty years, two groups have anchored the music community in Patrick County, which has one of the richest musical heritages in the region: the Patrick County Music Association and the Willis Gap Community Center Open Jam Session.

A tradition steeped in history: The Patrick County Music Association (PCMA)

Alley, who has been playing the guitar most of his life, spent several years touring with Nashville-based musicians like Chet Atkins and the Osmond Brothers. You can even find him on YouTube. But the draw of the community where he had grown up proved stronger than the lure of music celebrity. Alley came to

Photo by Jason Overb

Monthly Concerts presented at the Stuart Rotary Memorial Building featuring Bluegrass and Gospel music. See our Facebook page for dates, times, and performance lineups, or pick up one of our brochures at the Patrick County Visitors Center or the Chamber of Commerce office.

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sodas, coffee, and bottled Patrick County in 1973 and water. Music and dancing opened The Coffee Break, begin at 7:00 p.m. and last serving breakfast and lunch until 10:00 p.m. to residents and tourists How does the jam alike. session work? Musicians But the call of music ran check in as they arrive, deep. “Around 1990 or so, and their names are added some of my buddies who to a list for the evening. had been in bands were Edgell calls on each playing at houses around Crowd enjoying Patrick County Music Association performer in order. They the county, and just didn’t share their selection, and have enough room. I offered to let them come to The Coffee Break monthly to jam,” explained the other musicians pick up the tune and join in. If there’s time, after they reach the bottom of the performers’ list once, Edgell Alley. begins again. Eventually, there were so many people coming to the jams “We do encourage performers to vary their choices,” said that “we couldn’t shut the door,” Alley said. “That’s when I got Edgell. “I love bluegrass and I love gospel, but I wouldn’t want to the idea for the association.” listen to either of those for three hours every Friday. We get old Early on, events sponsored by the association were offered time mountain ballads and country music, too. There is somefree of charge, but as attendance grew, the need for larger and thing for all to enjoy.” larger spaces meant that organizers needed to charge a small The group also offers an Oldies Rock Jam on the last Tuesday admission fee to help cover expenses. of each month. The PCMA sponsors musical showcases from October “We started the rock jam about three or four years ago,” said through June each year. This fall, the PCMA calendar opens with Edgell. “It’s been very popular. Our spectators sometimes get Opry Night on Oct. 21, followed by Veterans Night on Nov. 11, pretty emotional. Hearing the music of their youth brings them and the association wraps up its 2023 season on Dec. 9 at the back to special moments from their lives. It’s a privilege to hear Patrick County High School auditorium. From January through those stories and to be a part of those moments.” June 2024, music events will be held on the fourth Saturday Edgell says that while the Jam Sessions are about music, they night each month. Also, musicians are invited to gather at The are also about bringing people together and creating connections. Coffee Break for jam sessions every Tuesday. And no one knows more about that than Edgell himself. “I met my wife, Carol, in the kitchen at a session,” said Creating connections note by note: Willis Gap ComEdgell. “I kept going back, getting hot dogs, and asking her to munity Open Jam dance. And she kept telling me she didn’t dance. After three hot Just down the road in Ararat, Virginia, old-time music lovers dogs, I was too full to keep snacking, but I also finally convinced frequent The Willis Gap Community Center Open Jam, which her to join me on the dance floor. We learned to dance together has been in session since around 1995. that night.” The Open Jam was first organized by Otto and Nellie Hiatt in their home. When the musicians outgrew the home’s space, Toe-tapping down Virginia’s Crooked Road the jam moved to the Willis Gap Community Center. Both the Patrick County Music Association and the Willis “My wife loved to sing, and she played the guitar right good,” Gap Community Center Open Jam are featured icons along The said Hiatt. “So, we opened our home to local musicians. I played Crooked Road, Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail. a little bass and sang a little, but mostly I just loved the music The Crooked Road: Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail offiand being with the musicians. When the numbers got too big cially refers to a 330-mile stretch of road in southwest Virginia to manage at home, we worked with the Community Center to that passes through the Appalachians and features stops where reserve space, and that’s where we’ve been ever since.” visitors can experience and learn about the region’s traditional Now, age 92, Otto still works the events, but for the past six music. Although the route, which follows U.S. 58, is focused years, Les Edgell has served as the director of the music jams, on the uniqueness and vitality of the region’s heritage music, it organizing the sessions and emceeing the events. also includes outdoor recreational activities, museums, crafts, “We set up our performance stage a little different than and historic and cultural programs that celebrate the region’s most,” Edgell explained. “We put the musicians in a U-shape rather than the traditional circle. We have about 20 musicians on rich cultural history. The tourism spurred by this celebration has stage and others line the walls of the building. Most of our musi- contributed positively to the economy in the region. For many years, the economy in southwest Virginia was cians are near-professional quality, but we encourage new players largely built on coal, tobacco, farming, and manufacturing. A deto join in as well. And, we applaud for everyone.” cline in these industries in the late 20th century led to job losses The Jam Sessions are held every Friday night. The kitchen and weakening economic conditions. To revitalize the region, opens at 6 pm with hotdogs, fresh slaw and chili, candies, chips,


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Willis Gap Community Center • 144 The Hollow Road, Ararat, VA 24053


(L to R) Mike NoonKester (President), Otto Hiatt (Vice President), Mary Dellenback Hill (Secretary), Sharon Jones (Treasurey), Les Edgell (Order of the Open Jams).

(Back row L to R) Jackie Dunavant, Jesse Young, Don Rierson, Wade McMillian, Rick Sebastian, Pete Welborn, Dan Shikenjanski, Dot Shikenjanski, Carol Edgell, Tim Chappell. (Middle row L to R) Ralph Keen, Paulette Welborn, Bernie Edwards, Jim McManus, Truman Puckett, Ed Dalton, Michael Pyburn Sr. (Front row L to R) Ollie Puckett, Judy Middleton (seated), Ronald Woods, Chris Roth, Les Edgell, Elvin McMillian, Tommy Nichols, Roy Midkiff, Jody Cranford. (Singers not pictured Billy Pack, Mary Dellenback Hill).

The Willis Gap Community Center at 144 The Hollow Road, Ararat, VA 24053. Located a few miles from Blue Ridge Parkway (Maybry's Mill) and few miles from Meadows of Dan (Primland Auberge Resorts), and a few miles from Mount Airy, NC (Mayberry, home of Andy Griffith). A Voting Precinct, Dan River District, also we have Community Crimewatch, hosted by Patrick County Sheriff's Office, Patrick County, VA. Open Jam every Friday Night has been going on since the 1990s. It Began at the Home of the Founder (Otto Hiatt), and got so large he moved it to the Community Center. Doors open at 6 pm for food, Appalachian Acoustic, Old Time, Bluegrass, Gospel, and Country, with Dancing from 7 pm until 10 pm. All age groups are invited. Also on the Last Tuesday of each month, Golden Oldies Open Jam, with 50s, 60s, and 70s music. Doors open at 6 pm for food, Music, and Dancing from 7 pm until 10 pm. There is a 50/50 drawing at each jam at about 8:15 pm. On 22 February 2023, we had an unveiling of the LOVE SIGN, approved by LOVEWORKS Virginia Tourism Corporation. As an affiliated partner with The Crooked Road, Virginia's Heritage Music Trail since the early 2000s, the designer, Mary Dellenback Hill chose the Bass as the L, the O is the logo of The Crooked Road, and the V on the left Mandolin and on the right Fiddle, the E is a musical note that looks like an E. We are thankful for the popularity and guests, the singers, musicians, and the members who give their time to the Jams. Contact: and like us on Facebook!

Willis Gap Open Jam players

state and local leaders supported efforts to showcase cultural assets, including music. In doing so, they helped usher in a new economy built on the scenic beauty and culture that are unique to the region. In 2003, the city of Bristol was featured in an annual folk music festival hosted by the Smithsonian, the Folklife Festival, which brought national interest to the music of the region. State and local groups capitalized on this momentum to create the Crooked Road Heritage Music Trail. Response to the concept from communities, musicians, music venues, and tourism organizations was positive and immediate. The state government worked together with towns and communities, the Birthplace of Country Music Alliance, the National Park Service, and various local groups to develop the route and plans for the trail. State and local tourism boards collaborated to market the road. But, according to Alley, when the original route for the trail was shared, Patrick County was not included. “Members of our community worked with our local delegates at the time to get the support needed to expand the route. We petitioned the planning team, and when the final route was drawn up, Patrick County and Franklin County were added to the local stops on the trail,” said Alley. Before the creation of the Crooked Road brand, the region already featured venues with folk and bluegrass music. But establishing one united route increased awareness of the area, attracted new tourists, and encouraged people who may otherwise have visited just one venue to stay in the region longer or plan a return visit to explore more of the region. Today, The Crooked Road spans nineteen counties, four cities, more than 50 towns, five regional planning districts, two tourism organizations, and over 60 music venues. Many music festivals are hosted in communities along the route throughout the year. Alley and Edgell agree that the development of Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail has boosted travel to the area and increased awareness of and interest in Patrick County’s culture and community.


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“We aren’t too far from some of the larger towns and cities in North Carolina and around Virginia, so it’s an easy day trip to take in some great talent and some beautiful scenery,” noted Alley. “For some folks, the cost of listening to music in one of the big city venues is beyond their means, but they can drive to an open jam or come to a music association event, enjoy a local meal or snack, and get back home in the same evening with a little cash still in their pockets.”

It’s good to be together again

In 2020, gatherings across the region came to an abrupt halt, and although the nation seems to have put the worst of the virus behind it, the extended closures affected businesses and industries, as well as music and entertainment. Coming back from the shutdown has been slow for community entertainment. “It’s been more than two years,” said Alley. “Music is all about relationships and networking, so it’s going to take a little time to return to where we were before COVID.” The Patrick County Music Association will kick off a new season this fall, and Alley is enthusiastic about the return and opportunities for the future. “We’ve got some good bands lined up that I think people will enjoy,” he said. “And we’ve got a new school superintendent who has an interest in working with the organizations that serve the community. He has offered access to the high school facilities for use by nonprofit organizations one night per year. With an auditorium that includes a good-sized stage, good seating capacity and parking, well, that’s the sort of cooperation that will help us reach even more music lovers. It’s that sort of community spirit that brought us all together.” And it’s also the sort of cooperation that will inspire regional music far into the future. “We’re growing the next generation of musicians through our jam sessions and community music events,” noted Edgell. “That’s important work.” In Patrick County, it’s a tradition worth singing about.

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Carrying the Tune By Sarah Sheppard

“If anything, I want to give God all the praise.” Charlie Chaney, a Patrick County native, has been playing music for sixty-two years. Growing up in a family of musicians, he has been influenced by it since birth. “It bit me every time I’d hear my uncles and all of them play. It’d just run all over me. So most of the time I’d go to sleep humming a tune. It was just exciting to me.” Chaney is known locally not only for his musical talent, but also his talent in music education. He has been teaching young and old alike to play and perform bluegrass, gospel, and other forms of mountain music for many years in Patrick and Henry counties. With the help of Chaney and his work, our local musical traditions and culture continue to thrive. “I was seven before it really bit me.” He picked up his first instrument, the banjo, and learned to play a song on his first day of lessons. Later on, after securing his first win at the Old Fiddlers’ Convention in Galax, VA, his father said “Don’t you think it’s time you start the fiddle?” It was the influence of his musical family and his own love and passion for it that launched Chaney into a world of music that would take him places he never expected.


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At eighteen years old, Chaney found himself touring with Charlie Monroe as his last banjo player. He went on to play with various other groups throughout the years, releasing his own recorded music, and gaining two additional wins at the Galax Old Fiddlers’ Convention, bringing his total to three wins. About twenty-seven years ago, Chaney started down another path in his musical career: teaching. He started teaching his first student at True Gospel Baptist Church. “He wanted to learn guitar… He said ‘If you’ll teach me, I’ll pay you.’ So that’s the way that got started. I started off teaching him every week. At that time I didn’t have any drive, any desire to teach.” When a teaching position at Stafford’s Music in Martinsville became vacant, the owner approached Chaney to offer him the job. The thought of a serious teaching career had never crossed his mind. Though he initially turned down the offer, Chaney says he couldn’t get the idea out of his head. “The good Lord laid it on my heart about teaching. I was in my deer stand hunting one day… The Lord just kept on, you

know. ‘You need to pass this on. You need to help these folks.’ Finally, after I agreed to teach, that burden just left me.” After making the decision, Chaney knew he needed a method for teaching his students. “I said ‘Lord I can’t teach. You’re gonna have to give me some knowledge.’ So I prayed about it and asked him to help me and he came up with - I call it - ‘the graph system.’” As opposed to regular sheet music, Chaney teaches his students a unique form of written music that maps out the finger placements on the strings of the instruments. Most of his teaching career has been part time. He would work a full time job then teach in the evenings and at Stafford’s Music on Saturdays. After the closure of Stafford’s Music in 2019, Chaney opened his own small studio on Main Street in Stuart, naming it “Charlie’s Music.” Using all his music knowledge, Chaney can teach eight different string traditional mountain music instruments: banjo, guitar, mandolin, dobro, fiddle, bass (electric and upright), and autoharp. He has students from age five to eighty-one. “All of them have at least learned to play a few songs.” When asked what age is best to start teaching a child, he says the earliest he’ll take them on is age five, though he feels seven is the perfect age. “And the little girls, they’ll listen and learn quicker than the boys. And especially fiddle or violin.” He goes on to say, “If they’ll listen, and want it bad enough, I’ve had a couple start at five and do fantastic. Most of the time they’re seven.” Chaney’s students stick with him for a long time. “Twelve years is about as long as anybody, as far as children, have stayed with me. I’ve got some adults that are still sticking with me. I’ve got one guy, I think he’s been with me about fifteen years. He says, ‘Man, as long as you teach I’m going to come and take some lessons.’”

Chaney says it’s “the enjoyment” of watching his students excel that keeps him going in his work. “It does my heart good to see them. I’ll teach them half the song this week and they’ll go home and learn it… and most of the time they’ll come back and play the whole song.” He especially enjoys when “they come back and play it faster than you can or go off and play with a band.” “It does feel good to teach and to pass it on.” When Chaney is able to see a former student performing on stage he says“ just swells up your whole being. I say ‘Lord thank you for giving me the knowledge to pass this on to them and to see what they are doing and becoming.’” Chaney is very proud of his former students. “I’ve had several that have gone on and done well. I won’t mention any names, but I was honored to teach several of them.” Chaney has a positive outlook for the future of bluegrass and heritage music, of which he is helping to influence its next generation of musicians. “I think it’s going to be very strong. I know this pandemic and everything has hindered a whole lot… If kids still want to learn, and I’m still able to teach, I’m going to try and help put all I can into them. We’ve got a lot of young people that like it and want to keep on. As long as the love of music stays out there, I’m going to do my very best to push them and encourage them.” Charlie Chaney is a great encouragement to anyone who wants to learn to play an instrument. “If you really want to do something bad enough and you’re willing to put yourself into it and work at it, you can do it.” He plans to continue passing along the knowledge and traditions of Appalachian heritage music to students both young and old as long as there are students willing to learn. / Fall 2023



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Patrick County Magazine /

Photo by David Stanley

Already a mountain bike destination, I.C. DeHart Park gets a refresh Mountain bike enthusiasts recognize Patrick County’s I.C. DeHart Memorial Park as a hidden jewel on the banks of the Blue Ridge. The rest of the world may soon learn the secret as well. That’s because the Dan River Basin Association’s Eco Ambassador Council recently kicked in $8,000 for new signs and facilities, as well as a new website to tout the bike trails. Meanwhile the Patrick County Tourism Advisory Council is building a tourist driving moonshine heritage trail to include I.C. DeHart Park. These efforts could well bring more visibility and visitors — and their dollars — to Woolwine. The park is named for Patrick County resident Isaac “Ike” DeHart, who operated a grist mill and legal distillery on the land. At one time, DeHart ran a thriving business that also included a farm with cattle. The distillery shipped corn and rye whiskey. Although it operated legally, the distillery fit right in with the local moonshine culture in Patrick, Franklin, and Floyd counties that led the region to be dubbed “The Moonshine Capital of the World.” The moonshine heritage trail is still in the works, but James Houchins, Patrick County’s director of tourism, says I.C. DeHart Park will be an anchor site. “I.C. DeHart Park will be one of the highlights,” Houchins says. “There’s lots of documented history — photos and information about how liquor was sold prior to Prohibition, its history during Prohibition, and then how it eventually died out. There are some remnants of an old still site on one of those bike trails that’s already been updated and improved.” The craft distilling movement has led to a series of new distilleries that pay homage to the region’s history, but Houchins says moonshining is about more than just liquor. “Moonshine history is much more than consumption,” he says. “It’s true backwoods engineering. It was about the rebel spirit a lot of people had and a way of feeding their families.” Visitors today won’t find a working distillery at I.C. DeHart, but they will encounter some of Virginia’s premier mountain biking trails. Mountain bikers have recognized the park’s whiskey-making heritage through trail names and the names of two races there — Shiner’s Revenge XXC and Bootlegger’s Blitz XC. / Fall 2023


Photo courtesy of Dan River Basin Association

A local resident who did not want to be named began building the trails in 2008 before launching in earnest a year later. He started by reclaiming logging roads, establishing a 2.1-mile loop. That eventually grew into a 16-mile route — which can be divided into western and eastern loops or shorter routes that have been given new names in the recent DRBA project. Originally, though, the greater loop just had one name — Shiner’s Revenge. Much of Shiner’s Revenge was built by local inmates as part of a program called the Trustee Trail Program. Approximately 17 inmates invested countless hours building the trails using only hand tools, and rebuilding bridges and other structures after floods. The trail system they built is a mountain biker’s delight. The trails are flowy, with relatively easy ascents and fun drops that showcase the park’s numerous features, including rock gardens, screaming descents, mountains, creek crossings, and more.


Patrick County Magazine /

Those trails helped to attract the USA Cycling Mountain Bike Virginia State Championships, part of the Southern Classic Mountain Bike Series and Virginia Off-Road Series. County advocates wanted to bring more attention to I.C. DeHart Park, which led to the investment by the Eco Ambassador Council. Jim Frith with Frith Construction, who is also an Eco Ambassador Project Coordinator and avid mountain biker, first pitched the idea of improving the trails at I.C. DeHart Park. The first step the group took on was to replace the park’s trail map, which was hand-drawn from the Strava fitness app. “When you ride those trails all the time, it’s no big deal, but when you don’t, you need more information,” said Brian Williams of the Dan River Basin Association. The next step was to add new trail markers according to standards set out by the International Mountain Biking Association. The group also built a changing station at the trailhead to go with the new map.

Williams said this couldn’t have happened without the contributions of the volunteers and inmates who built and have maintained the trails, and volunteers and county employees who took part in the recent improvements. The trailhead also includes a hand sculpture known as “Reflections: The Ever-Changing Chair.” The sculpture was designed by local artist Joyce Wray, who covered a chair-sized hand in hundreds of mirrors that reflect the sunlight. The trail hand project that produced the sculpture was a way to encourage visitors and locals to get outside, celebrate the county’s beautiful natural resources and learn about the heritage and history that surrounds us. Admission to I.C. DeHart Park is free. In addition to the bike trails, the park is home to a picnic shelter, playground, tennis courts, walking trail, baseball field, horseshoe pitching area, sculptures, and a natural wetland wildlife area with a boardwalk. Photo courtesy of Dan River Basin Association

The Eco Ambassador group also developed new names for different parts of the trail as part of an effort to brand it. Williams says he and Houchins wanted to promote the park’s moonshine history — and one trail is named “Ike” for Isaac DeHart — but another member worried tying it too closely to moonshine might be seen as promoting alcohol. The investment in I.C. DeHart Park recognizes the mountain bike trails as one of Patrick County’s assets — a way to improve a county park and site of a historic business in a way that attracts new visitors and provides an amenity for residents.


CELL 276-692-6480






Mistletoe Market Saturday, December 2, 2023 10:00am - 1:00pm

Shop locally produced crafts, food, and gifts

Fridays 8AM to 12PM every Friday until November 17


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Community is our Business

From ribbon cuttings to lunch-and-learns, we are here for your business. Whether you are a new business looking to network or an established business needing to learn about new tools, we offer many opportunities to make connections and grow. Join the chamber and let’s build together.

We’re in the business of helping your business.

Enterprise Zones. Incentives. Business Development Center. Expansion. Local Small Business.

Have questions about some of these topics and how they may relate to your business or community?

410 Patrick Ave. • Suite A • Stuart, VA • 276-694-6012


Patrick County Magazine /

The Economic Development Department of Patrick County proudly supports all new and existing businesses, industries, and manufacturers throughout the County of Patrick and Town of Stuart. Contact our new Director, Sean Adkins, at 276-692-4490, or

Be a kid in our candy store

A Patrick County Tradition since 1987 HWY 58 at the junction of the Blue Ridge Parkway Meadows of Dan, VA

Factory Outlet Store Monday thru Thursday Expires 12/31/2023 Not Valid with any other discount at time of purchase.

POWERING THE FUTURE We’re investing in more reliable and affordable power for Patrick County / Fall 2023


Coffee Talk By Kristin Hylton

A morning coffee routine can often feel mundane, but when we are traveling, moving to a new area, or even just changing the daily schedule, a disruption to this often integral piece of the day can feel egregious. There is no greater feeling for the coffee lover than to find a new source for their coffee, especially when that source is anchored in the local community, reflecting and magnifying the identity of its place and providing benefits far beyond a simple cup of coffee or bag of beans. Searching out the local coffee joint can be an important step to exploring a new place, and Patrick County offers no shortage of sources for a quality cup of coffee.


Patrick County Magazine /

In nearly every corner of the county, you will find a cozy seat, a friendly face, and a warm cup of coffee or tea waiting for you at the local cafe or shop.

Cross Roads Café

Excellent coffee is available in nearly every Patrick County community, along with tea, cold drinks, meals, and most importantly the friendly service that comes along with these menu items. From Meadows of Dan to Patrick Springs, there is no shortage of spots to find a great cup of coffee, a full plate, local baked goods, carefully sourced market items, and the kind of hospitality that makes Patrick County special. Primitive Coffee offers the upscale but relatable encounters that visitors and locals alike find across the businesses of Meadows of Dan. With nearly half its client base located in Patrick County, the owners of Primitive Coffee find that reinvesting in the community is the best way to sustain and grow the business. A focus on mindfulness, intentionality, and quality means that each customer receives an individualized experience as high caliber as the food, beverages, and market goods offered at Primitive Coffee. As in the case with many of the Meadows of Dan businesses, the store hours flex with the tourist season, but the quality of locally sourced goods such as fresh roasted coffee, seasonal dairy products, and bakery items is always top notch. Putting people and faith at the center of its service, Crossroads Cafe is Mennonite owned and operated in the small community of Woolwine. Opened in summer 2021, Crossroads offers a full menu of coffee, tea, and specialty drinks as well as breakfast and deli-style sandwiches. The sourdough bread shouldn’t be missed - it is baked in house daily and is available on the dine in or carry out menu as well as by the loaf in the market. Crossroads Cafe has early morning hours perfectly suited to locals commuting to work as well as tourists coming through Woolwine and is close to some of the more popular hiking trails of IC Dehart and Rock Castle Gorge in Patrick County. For those who prefer fresh roasted beans to prepare at home, Patrick County has no shortage of locally produced ground and whole bean coffees. Henry’s Fresh Roast is based in Stuart and

features a wide variety of single origin beans from around the world, any of which can be roasted light, medium, or dark to suit the buyer’s needs. A roaster with a well trained and sensitive palate means that coffees from Henry’s Fresh Roast are always accompanied by thorough tasting notes. Buyers can find Henry’s at the seasonally open Stuart Farmers’ Market on Friday mornings, various local pop up events, local stores such as Mattie B’s or order directly from the website. Henry’s Fresh Roast / Fall 2023


Uptown Stagecoach

Honduras Coffee Company began roasting coffee in Stuart more than twenty years ago. Beginning with a familial connection to shade grown coffee plantations in Honduras, coffees from Honduras Coffee Company were the most sustainably sourced. Featuring single origin blends named after locations on and around the family coffee farms, and multi-origin coffees carrying family member names, the business quickly expanded into wholesale markets, and came under new ownership nearly ten years ago. Honduras Coffee Company now continues to create connections with wholesale outlets and fundraising efforts as well as maintain partnerships with regional and nation-wide coffee shops. In addition to ordering direct from the roaster, Honduras Coffee Company beans can be purchased at Pickle & Ash in Patrick Springs and Concord Corner Store in Meadows of Dan. The Coffee Break on Stuart’s Main Street is the perfect spot for those looking for a classic cup of drip and an honest homestyle country breakfast. Sitting firmly as the most enduring coffee spot in the county, the Coffee Break has been open since 1973 and serves a traditional menu but also a taste of ‘old time’ Patrick County. It’s not unusual to find the same familiar faces in the same familiar booths, enjoying the best in small town diner fare. The Coffee Break features a bluegrass jam session every Tuesday morning, and the platter-sized pancakes are great every day of the week.


Patrick County Magazine /

Originally home to Honduras Coffee Company and Shop for over twenty years, the building and restaurant Main Street in Stuart is now known as Uptown Stagecoach. The new owners, who took over a little under a year ago, are carrying on the “community hub” identity of the space proudly and with new energy. Early morning specialty drinks, Sunday brunch and themed weekend evenings of live music are just a few of the many ways that Uptown Stagecoach fills the quintessential definition of “the local coffee shop”. The shop is a common meeting place for community organizations and regular customers, and offers a full pub menu with mixed drinks, beer, and wine on the weekends. Moving east past Stuart on the corner of 58 and Spring Road is the original iteration of Stagecoach Coffee & More, the now-iconic bright yellow trailer dubbed the Stagecoach Wagon. The Wagon opened its drive-through window in May 2021 and quickly rooted itself in the morning commute ritual of many Patrick County residents. Peering inside the tiny trailer, it’s hard to believe how much menu is offered at the Wagon. From coffee drinks and Italian sodas to Jesse Jones hot dogs and grilled Nutella sandwiches, there’s as much menu variety at the Wagon as Uptown Stagecoach, with the convenience of drive-through service. Nestled in a former church building set off the edge of Spring Road, Mountain Chix Coffee is one of Patrick Springs’ best kept secrets. Mountain Chix Coffee Roasters uses small batch equipment in their carefully curated and lovingly decorated workshop

Primitive Coffee

Coffee, smoothies, sandwiches,& fresh baked goods 23 Elamsville Rd., Stuart, VA 24171 (276) 930-1850

Fall Hours: Tuesday through Friday 7:15am to 5:00pm Sat 8:00am to 3:30pm closed Sunday & Monday / Fall 2023


Mountain Chix Coffee

Honduras Coffee Company

to create coffees that are truly roasted to order. With their short turnaround time, orders can be placed online or on the phone, and one of their amazing coffees in hand just days later. The multi-origin blends created at Mountain Chix Coffee are sure to please even the pickiest of coffee connoisseurs. The names of each roast are tied to Patrick County with names for our iconic places such as No Business Mountain, Rock Castle and Bull Mountain. For those looking for something extra special, Mountain Chix collaborates with local distillery Smith River Spirits to create a green apple brandy infused coffee called “Mountain Mama.” Continuing to develop Patrick Springs is important to Mountain Chix Coffee, and adding community based events is at the top

of the list for future plans for this woman and veteran owned business. For coffee lovers, the morning routine is often a cherished ritual, and when traveling or relocating, discovering a new coffee source that is ingrained in the local community can be an exciting adventure. From fresh roasted whole bean coffee to the most elaborate of speciality drinks, Patrick County has the answer to every coffee craving. With a coffee outlet in nearly every community, residents and tourists alike are sure to find a new favorite space to take a moment, take a sip, and enjoy all that Patrick County has to offer.

Thank You!

You have welcomed us into the community and we are honored to be here. Whether you are needing coffee, a full bar, or a meal, our extraordinary team members will take care of you. Visit us at Uptown Stagecoach in Stuart or at the Stagecoach Wagon in Patrick Springs.

also Visit our CoffeE and Food Wagon in Patrick Springs

Mon. and Tue. - 7am to 1pm Wed., Thur., Fri. - 7am to 4pm Sat. and Sun. - 9am to 2pm 121 N. Main St., Stuart, VA • 276-694-7575 Mon. - Thur. - 6:30am to 5pm Fri. - 6:30am to 9pm Sat. - 8am to 9pm Sun. - 10am to 2pm Dinners Fri. & Sat. 5pm - 9pm


Patrick County Magazine /

We carry Jesse Jones Hot Dogs at the Wagon 21983 Jeb Stuart Hwy Stuart, VA • 276-694-4425

Visit our Facebook page

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276-694-7417 • 1329 Scenic Dr. • Stuart, VA

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Allen Bouldin, Jr. Stuart, Va 24171

Take a look back...the museum is only 30 minutes from the Martinsville Speedway. 21 Performance Dr., Stuart, VA

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276-694-7145 ALL ESTATE OR PROBATE MATTERS • WILLS • FORECLOSURES • Serving as Town Attorney; and serving as a Commissioner of Accounts.



Patrick County Magazine /

SUNRISE. SIGHT-SEE. SLEEP. REPEAT. The Blue Ridge Motel is a historical motel with a retro flare. Built in 1963, that nostalgic feel is still prevalent today. Clean, Comfortable, and affordable for all of your overnight needs.

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9 :4 5 A M


101 E. Blue Ridge St. - StuarT (276) 694-3322 / Fall 2023


Patrick County Holiday Shopping Guide Shopping SMALL in Patrick County makes a BIG Impact Patrick County transitions from fall to the Christmas holiday season as quickly as the last candle expires in our Jack O’ Lanterns. A holiday season in Patrick County is full of school plays, church recitals, and family gatherings. Gifts are always part of the equation. So if you need a little help with your shopping list, we have plenty of options. First-off is where to shop- traditional shopping districts in Stuart and Meadows of Dan are busy spots during the festive season. In Stuart, swing by Mattie B’s for clothing, home decor, and more. The Honey Pot on Main has Christian themed books, floral arrangements, and home goods. More shops scattered along Main Street offer cards and gifts from Main Street Cards & Gifts, unique items from The Hatteras Pearl, and wonderful fabric to make something special can be found at Quilted Colors. The Visitors Center offers Patrick County branded t-shirts and mugs. In downtown Stuart, Pet Provisions offers plenty of goodies for your furry friends. Gift cards from our local restaurants on Main Street: El Rancho, Uptown Stagecoach and Leonardo’s Pizzeria and Bistro make great options for stocking stuffers or co-worker gifts. Meadows of Dan has several shopping options starting at the top of the mountain at Poor Farmers Farm for fudge, clothing


Patrick County Magazine /

and yard sculptures. On down the road High Country Lavender offers plenty of lavender infused items to help you and your loved ones handle the stress of the holidays. In the Meadows of Dan business area, Poor Farmer’s Market and Concord Corner Store are great places to hunt for treasures. Nancy’s Candy operates a store front where your sugarplum dreams come true. From truffles to jelly beans, the sweet tooth on your list will be taken care of. Primitive Coffee - Antique Market & Bakery offer everything from coffee, locally produced food, and gifts. Poppy’s is a charming little shop filled with alpaca, vintage, handmade, unique gifts and collectibles. They also specialize in carrying quality yarn, with an eclectic selection of new and used books. And don’t forget The Mayberry Trading Post which is located a few miles south of Meadows of Dan on the parkway. This old-fashioned general store has a little bit of everything from artisan goods, mountain crafts, snacks, and books. Locally produced food is always a great gift option. The aforementioned coffee shops sell coffee by the bag (see the coffee article on page 48). Our county is home to two award-winning wineries, Stanburn Winery in Patrick Springs and Villa Appalaccia located off Blue Ridge Parkway. Across the Blue Ridge Parkway and minutes from Villa Appalaccia is Chateau

Morrisette in Floyd County that offers a wide variety of wines. Wood’s Produce in Meadows of Dan creates customized fruit baskets for any budget and filled with fresh produce and goodies that make great gifts. Christmas markets are plentiful in Patrick County. These markets and craft fairs offer customers so many wonderful options. The season starts with the Reynolds Homestead Holiday Craft Fair on the second Saturday in November, followed by the Christmas Market at Fairy Stone State Park’s Fayerdale Hall on November 25th. The Mistletoe Market at the Stuart Farmers’ Market during our Hometown Christmas weekend, the first weekend in December is a destination for county residents and visitors alike. All markets feature homemade baked items, crafts, gifts, and holiday decor. For the person who has it all on your list, consider making a donation to one of the many local charities that serve Patrick County. Our county would not be complete without the large local nonprofits that provide many services to our residents.

Caring Hearts Free Clinic provides healthcare to the uninsured,and The Patrick County Community Food Bank helps to provide food for those in need. Always appreciative of donations, one of the county volunteer fire and rescue squads that service and protect our county. The Dolly Parton Imagination Library that the Chamber, along with multiple partners, started for Patrick County is a book gifting program to county children under five years of age. The Patrick County Alzheimer’s Group gives support and supplies to families dealing with this disease. The majority of the businesses in Patrick County are small and locally owned. Your purchases from them create a big impact for our county. Part of the holiday shopping tradition is Small Business Saturday. This day is celebrated each year since 2010 on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Many of the local shops offer Small Business Saturday events and promotions that day. For complete listing of businesses and nonprofits, visit the Chamber’s website at

When you give your very best, remarkable things can happen. At Skyline National Bank, we promise to give


Meadows of Dan

our best to the people and local businesses of Meadows of Dan. As a community bank, we’re excited to support our neighbors’ dreams and goals. Visit our new branch to learn more about how our best can bring out your best.

3607 Jeb Stuart Hwy. Meadows of Dan, VA 24120

SkylineNational.Bank / Fall 2023


"Success is where preparation and opportunity meet."

P&HCC is an EEO institution.

-Bobby Unser


Proudly Serving Patrick County

WHAT IS ROTARY? It is an organization where neighbors, friends, and problem-solvers share ideas, join leaders, and take action to create lasting change.


S E P T E M B E R 1 2 -1 6 , 2 0 2 3



June 6-8 2 0 2 4

Supporting Patrick County with school scholarships, Dolly Parton Imagine Library, Mock Interviews with PCHS Students, BRES Backpack Program, & more. 420 Wood l aw n D r i ve St uar t , VA 2 4 1 7 1 M eet i n gs : Mo n d a y s 6: 30P M- 7: 30P M


Patrick County Magazine /


22nd Annual

Apple Dumpling Festival Saturday, October 21, 2023 Downtown Stuart • 10am - 4pm

For more info, contact the Town of Stuart Office at 276-694-3811


Where life happens

We can help with all your real estate needs: Title Searches • Title Insurance Real Estate Settlements • Loan Closings

Stuart—It’s home.

We’re here to protect your corner of the community and everything in it. Jonathan Large Insurance Center of Patrick 115 W Blue Ridge St Stuart, VA 24171-1577 276-694-4989 Erie Insurance Exchange, Erie Insurance Co., Erie Insurance Property & Casualty Co., Flagship City Insurance Co. and Erie Family Life Insurance Co. (Erie, PA) or Erie Insurance Co. of New York (Rochester, NY). Go to for company licensure and product details. CMS149_comun2 2/18

104 W. Blue Ridge St. • Stuart, VA • 276-694-2311 / Fall 2023


The Crooked Road:

Music, History, and Fun Travels By Grace Cooper

Other venue information provided by The Crooked Road: Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail


Patrick County Magazine /

Major Venues 1 2 3 4 5

The Ralph Stanley Museum Country Cabin II Carter Family Fold The Birthplace of Country Music Museum Southwest Virginia Cultural Center







5 4

The Cooked Road is a heritage music trail that winds its way through Southwest Virginia. It was founded in 2004 with the goal of promoting the cultural and musical heritage of the area. Included in the trail are nineteen counties, four cities, and fifty-four towns and communities. The trail features ten major venues, over forty affiliated venues and festivals, and twenty-five wayside exhibits that offer visitors ample opportunity to experience one of the world’s greatest musical traditions. Patrick County is home to three affiliated venues: The Willis Gap Community Center Open Jam, The Patrick County Music Association, and Primland’s Stables Saloon. These affiliate venues are both important gathering places for the community and tools for keeping traditional music alive. The roots of bluegrass music can be traced back to the original Scottish, English, and Irish settlers who came to this area in the 1600s. There are three hundred thirty miles of trail bases around Highway 58 and the communities along it. The Crooked Road works with local governments and tourism agencies to promote youth music education, heritage music and artists from the region, and the preservation of the history of the region’s unique heritage music.

The Willis Gap Community Jam

The Willis Gap Community Jam was founded around 1995. The jam was started by Otto and Nellie Hiatt in their home and then later moved to the Community Center. The Willis Gap Community Jam welcomes anyone with a passion for music who wants to share their work, regardless of their age or skill level. The jam is fully acoustic and features bluegrass, old-time, gospel, and country music. The Willis Gap Community Center has hosted musicians from all over America and from foreign countries. The jam is held every Friday evening starting at six. Hot dogs, drinks, and other snacks are available for purchase. The Willis Gap Community Center also hosts a Golden Oldies Jam on the last Tuesday of each month. The Patrick County Music Association is another important piece of The Crooked Road. The music association hosts free monthly bluegrass concerts throughout the year. It was founded







7 6

The Patrick County Music Association








11 The Willis Gap Community Jam 12 The Patrick County Music Association 13 Stables Saloon at Primland Resort




Patrick County Venues

6 Blue Ridge Music Center 7 Rex Theater 8 Floyd Country Store 9 County Sales 10 The Blue Ridge Institute and Museum




in 2003 by local musician and business owner Denny Alley. The Patrick County Music Association opens its stage to a variety of local and regional bluegrass musicians, from veteran players to newly formed groups. These concerts help promote and preserve the music heritage of Patrick County and Southwest Virginia. The Patrick County Music Association is not Denny’s only contribution to Patrick County’s music scene. While not an official part of The Crooked Road, bluegrass lovers can find live music every Tuesday morning at The Coffee Break in Stuart. The Coffee Break is an adorable cash-only diner that serves breakfast and lunch. It is located on Stuart’s North Main Street near the Hatteras Pearl and Mattie B’s.

Stables Saloon at Primland Resort

The Stables Saloon is the third and final location on Patrick County’s portion of The Crooked Road. This location combines rustic, southern charm with five-star luxury. Primland Resort is a five-star luxury resort located in the rolling hills of Meadows of Dan. The restaurant is located in a former horse stable and it offers a casual dining experience steeped in southern traditions. Visitors can enjoy traditional southern food, served family style, all while listening to traditional bluegrass music. Stables Saloon is open from 6pm-8pm. Reservations are required.

Major Venues

Outside of Patrick County, visitors will find ten major Crooked Road venues scattered across Southwest Virginia. The major venues on The Crooked Road act as important regional focal points for the music trail. Some of these venues have the capacity to host larger audiences and more mainstream artists while others primarily host museum spaces and educational displays. Many of these venues utilize historic buildings and incorporate living history into their programming. The ten major venues provide an economic boost to their communities and the larger Southwest Virginia Region. Bluegrass and old-time music created the foundation for the country music we know today. The 1927 Bristol Sessions recorded seventy-six songs from nineteen different artists, including the Carter Family and Jimmy Rodgers. / Fall 2023


The Birthplace of Country Music Museum

The Birthplace of Country Music Museum

The Birthplace of Country Music focuses on Bristol’s role in the birth and development of country music through the Birthplace of Country Music Museum, the annual Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion Music Festival, WBCM Radio Bristol, and many community and educational outreach programs. The BCM Museum is an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution and tells the story of the 1927 Bristol Sessions recordings by the Carter Family, Jimmie Rodgers, Ernest V. Stoneman, and others – recordings that were influential in shaping the sounds and practices of early commercial country music. Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion, a three-day festival, takes place every September and includes over 100 bands on a dozen stages in historic Downtown Bristol. Radio Bristol is broadcast live from the Museum and can be listened to locally and online.

The Blue Ridge Institute and Museum

The Blue Ridge Institute & Museum in Ferrum, the official State Center for Blue Ridge Folklore, highlights the folk traditions of western Virginia. The BRIM galleries explore folklife’s many facets – music, crafts, foodways, decorative arts, and more – through rotating exhibitions. The museum re-creates life on a Virginia-German farmstead in the year 1800, and the museum store offers hard-to-find authentic folk crafts from Virginia and Appalachia. The Blue Ridge Folklife Festival, which takes place every October, features authentic craft, music, and events like draft horse working and coon-dog racing on display. The BRIM also hosts a weekly jam on the museum grounds. Carter Family Fold

Blue Ridge Music Center

Located in Galax, the Blue Ridge Music Center is a popular destination for music enthusiasts who want to experience the rich musical heritage of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The center offers visitors a chance to enjoy a variety of traditional music genres, including bluegrass, old-time, folk, Americana, country blues, Blue Ridge Music Center and gospel. Guests can attend performances, exhibits, and jams and explore hiking trails. The center has an outdoor amphitheater and an indoor interpretive center with a theater, gift shop, and museum showcasing the thriving American musical culture of the region. During the operating season, Midday Mountain Music is held every day in the museum’s breezeway, and the outdoor amphitheater hosts the summer concert series every Saturday evening from Memorial Day to Labor Day.


Patrick County Magazine /

Carter Family Fold

The inimitable Carter Fold is a rustic, 800-plus-seat music venue offering traditional music nearly every Saturday night. The Carter Family (A.P. Carter, his wife Sara, and his sister-in-law Maybelle) was discovered in 1927 by Victor Recording Studio during the Bristol Sessions. This amazing family recorded 300 songs between 1927 and 1942. Playing traditional Appalachian music, the family is often credited as forerunners of modern-day country music. A.P. Carter’s old general store is now a museum (opens one hour before each show), and recent additions include the newly moved and reconstructed original A.P. Carter Homeplace.

Country Cabin

The Country Cabin in Norton is the longest continuously running site for traditional music along the entire Crooked Road. The original Country Cabin was built in 1937-38, while Country Cabin II was built in 2002 to accommodate larger audiences. As part of the mission of Appalachian Traditions, Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to perpetuating and preserving culture including music, history, storytelling, craft, and dance, the Country Cabin presents old-time and bluegrass music every Saturday night, featuring local and regional musicians. Mountain-style and line dance is taught at Country Cabin throughout the year. Bus tours and groups are welcome. The County Cabin complex is available for events such as weddings, parties, reunions, and much more.

County Sales

County Sales, located directly across from the Floyd Country Store in Floyd, is a hub for mainstream and hard-to-find traditional music. Housing the world’s largest selection of bluegrass, old-time, and early country music recordings, it was established in 1965 and has long been the go-to destination for enthusiasts, collectors, and musicians who can sift through tens of thousands of titles spanning major labels to self-released projects. With a legacy spanning over five decades, County Sales is now a non-profit focusing on preserving, reissuing, and reconnecting people to traditional music. Floyd Country Store

The Ralph Stanley Museum

renowned Dr. Ralph Stanley. The museum features a vast collection of memorabilia donated by the Clintwood native, including vintage instruments and numerous musical awards. Housed in a historic four-story Victorian house, the exhibits focus on Ralph and Carter Stanley, the musical roots of the region, and other bluegrass greats like Ricky Skaggs and Patty Loveless.

Rex Theater

The Rex Theater in Downtown Galax hosts live performances of Bluegrass and Old-Time bands every Friday evening as part of a weekly radio show. Since 1940, the historic venue has welcomed a variety of music acts, both local and national. The theater is also home to “Blue Ridge Backroads Live,” a weekly radio show that broadcasts live on Classic Country 98.1 FM and spans five states, including online listeners. The Rex Theater, which recently underwent extensive renovations, has entertained Galax locals and visitors worldwide for 83 years. Southwest Virginia Cultural Center & Marketplace

Floyd Country Store

For decades, the Floyd Country Store has been a hub for the community, celebrating traditional Southern Appalachian music and dance. It’s renowned for offering an authentic Appalachian music experience, with a group of musicians and dancers carrying on local traditions. Whether it’s jamming on the front porch, participating in the Sunday jam, or dancing at the Friday Night Jamboree, traditional music is what brings people together at this store. Additionally, The Handmade Music School is located here, dedicated to teaching old-time, bluegrass, and traditional music and dance from the Blue Ridge Mountains. The store is also a fully functional country store, featuring a lunch counter, candy, ice cream, and other items.

The Ralph Stanley Museum

The Ralph Stanley Museum and Traditional Mountain Music Center in Clintwood showcases the life and music of the

Southwest Virginia Cultural Center & Marketplace

Discover the captivating people, places, and stories of the stunning Southwest Virginia region at the Southwest Virginia Cultural Center & Marketplace in Abingdon. This vibrant welcome center, situated close to the Virginia/Tennessee state border, boasts a 29,000-square-foot venue that functions as a visitor center, retail center for locally crafted goods, music venue, and community space. Additionally, it is the headquarters for The Crooked Road: Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail, which honors and fosters traditional acoustic string music performances in the area. Be sure to experience the charm of Southwest Virginia at this remarkable venue. / Fall 2023


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