You can help the Elkville String Band keep that old time mountain music alive as they take on downtown West Jefferson Friday night.
From 5:30-7 p.m. on July 27, come to West Jefferson’s Backstreet Park to watch a traditional country roots band celebrate the old ballads and songs from North Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia.
“We love old ballads and story songs,” said Elkville String Band member Bill Williams. “We also do dance and fiddle tunes, and we play a little gospel as well. Some of the stuff we play is pretty fast, but it’s a more traditional style, not really bluegrass.”
Band members include Bill Williams, Herb Key, Trevor McKenzie, and Jim Lloyd.
Williams said the band’s trademark is “traditional country roots music with a Wilkes County sound.”
“We’re interested in the music of Virginia, West Virginia, and east Tennessee and our main goal is to keep the music alive for future generations,” said Williams.
The band plays tunes that date back to the early 1800s, though some of the bands songs were popular in the 1950s and 1960s.
“We do old time, bluegrass, traditional, gospel, and even a blues tune now and then,” said Williams. “All these different kinds of music were played in the Blue Ridge and Appalachian regions of our country so we want to play some of all this music.”
The band has performed all across the high country of Virginia and North Carolina, including the Carter Family Fold, Wayne Henderson Festival, and will play the Ola Belle Reed Homecoming Festival in Lansing in August. The band also recently performed on the PBS-TV show Song of the Mountains.
“We shot the show on June 2, but we don’t yet know exactly when it will air,” said Williams. “The way the show is produced, it could be as much as a year before it comes on.”
Song of the Mountains, now in its fifth season, is filmed at the restored Lincoln Theatre in Marion, Va., and features regional favorites from across Appalachia.
Despite its success, Williams said the band is focused on the music its fans want to hear.
“The main thing is - if it wasn’t for the people who come out and listen to the music, there wouldn’t be any band. We really appreciate everybody coming out, and we certainly do all we can to play what people like and, if we don’t, we go back and learn it and try to come back and do it the next time,” said Williams.
All the Backstreet Park Summer Concerts take place on the Backstreet in downtown West Jefferson behind the old West Jefferson hotel. All shows are free. Bring your chair. In case of rain, the concert will be moved to the farmer’s market shelter or the Arts Council building. A notice will be posted in the park.
For more information on the Elkville String Band visit http://cricketbill.tripod.com/