The Backstreet Park is the place to be for fun and entertainment at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, July 25, when the Crooked Road Ramblers, appear for a 90-minute concert of toe-tapping, old-time, good old music, sponsored by the Ashe County Arts Council.
The Ramblers have appeared in the area several times, always to appreciative crowds and are rapidly gaining new followers.
The Crooked Road Ramblers are an old-time band from Southwest Virginia, steeped in the traditional music of the Blue Ridge. They have played at the Carter Family Fold, the Wayne Henderson Festival, Houstenfest and many other venues across Virginia and North Carolina. They have won first place in the old-time band category at the Ashe County, Alleghany County, Laurel Bloomery, Fries and Union Grove Fiddlers Conventions in addition to a second place finish at the Galax Fiddlers convention. They were also named the old time instrumental group of the year at the 2014 Blue Ridge Acoustic Uprising.
The band was started by fiddler Kilby Spencer, originally from Whitetop. Kilby has been playing old-time music most of his life, learning from his parents, Thornton and Emily, who have been in the Whitetop Mountain Band for over 40 years. Peco Watson of Galax, propels the band forward with his driving and steady rhythm on clawhammer banjo. Watson is well known throughout the region for playing and recording with the award-winning New Ballard’s Branch Bogtrotters for many years. John Perry plays guitar and also sings. Perry is a retired welder from Independence and grew up playing with his brothers. They were frequent prize winners and favorites of dancers throughout the region for most of the 1970s until they disbanded in the late 1980s. Perry shares vocalist duties with other band members. Donald Hill is one of the foremost rhythm guitar players in the Blue Ridge in addition to being a wonderful vocalist. Hill lives in Fries and was raised in a musical family. Karen Carr of Galax plays bass and also sings for the band. She has won the Barbara Poole Memorial Bass award for best old-time bass player at Galax twice and has rock solid rhythm in addition to wonderful runs. She also comes from a musical family, being a descendant of old-time Low Gap fiddlers. Wayne Dye of Cleveland plays mandolin and also sings for the band. Dye is a retired coal miner from the coalfields of Russell County and can play anything with strings, in addition to singing many vocal parts. Dye also comes from a musical family.
Bring that lawn chair, a blanket, and come on out to the Backstreet Park and be prepared to have a great time! This is a fun band that plays great music – you’re guaranteed to leave with a smile! After the concert, visit one of West Jefferson’s great restaurants to cap off a lovely evening.
Members of the West Jefferson Community Partnership provide funding for the Backstreet Park Concert Series. The Arts Council is the “go-to” place to learn what is going on in the community including art exhibits, Little Theater productions, all sorts of outreach programs and services, and the list goes on. Call the Arts Council at 336-846-ARTS.
The West Jefferson Community Partnership consists of a group of interested members including the Arts Council, Ashe County Public Library (Friends of the Library), Ashe County Chamber of Commerce, Christmas-in-July, Farmers Market, Florence Thomas Art School, Keep Ashe Beautiful, Town of West Jefferson, The West Jefferson Business Association, and West Jefferson Tourism Development Association.
The Partnership is committed to protecting the resources and to preserving and enriching the spirit, cultural, community and family life of our town. One way the Partnership accomplishes some of these objectives is through our annual concert series.
August 18 Garden Variety String Band
August 22 Grayson Highlands Band
August 29 Zephyr Lightning Bolts
September 5 Carolina Crossing
For more information about happenings in the High Country, visit www.VisitWestJefferson.org or call 1-866-607-0093.