‘From the Hills of Old Virginia’
August 1, 1927 is recorded in music history.
It’s the date when a rural family from southwest Virginia answered a newspaper ad and traveled to Bristol, Tenn., to make a sound recording.
The Carter Family arrived at a warehouse that had been temporarily converted into a recording studio. Late afternoon into early evening, they recorded four songs.
Ralph Peer, from Victor Records, liked what he heard and asked them to record some more the next morning. They did.
Over time — days, week, months and years — there were many more recording sessions and many more songs, such as “Will the Circle Be Unbroken,” “Keep on the Sunny Side,” “The Wildwood Flower” and “The Wabash Cannonball.”
Through these recordings, and many others, Appalachian roots music became a chapter in the hymnbook of traditional American music.
Mountain Home Music will highlight this rural roots tradition Saturday night, Oct. 13, at 8 p.m. in its presentation of “From the Hills of Old Virginia,” to be performed at the Blowing Rock School Auditorium in downtown Blowing Rock. The performance will feature Skeeter and the Skidmarks, an old-time mountain band from southwest Virginia.
“Skeeter and the Skidmarks have been performing on Mountain Home Music for 15 years,” said Joe Shannon, Mountain Home Music founder and host. “Always an audience favorite, their music ranges from the poignant ballads to joyful old-time fiddle tunes.”
The Skidmarks features Scott Freeman (fiddle and mandolin), Edwin Lacy, (old-time banjo), Willard Gayheart (guitar) and Sandy Grover (bass fiddle).
Gayheart is also a nationally acclaimed pencil artist. His primary theme is “Appalachian People at Work.” The Washington Post has called him the Norman Rockwell of Appalachia. Some of Gayheart’s work will be on display during the concert.
Tickets for “From the Hills of Old Virginia” are $15 in advance and $18 at the door. Student tickets are $10, and children’s tickets cost $5.
Tickets may be purchased at the Mast General Store (Boone and Valle Crucis), Fred’s General Mercantile on Beech Mountain, Kudzu Music in Boone, and at Pandora’s Mailbox and the Dulcimer Shop, both in the Martin House on Main Street in downtown Blowing Rock.
Tickets may also be purchased online though the Mountain Home Music website, http://www.mountainhomemusic.com. For more information, visit the website or call (828) 964-3392.
The purpose of Mountain Home Music is to honor the music and the musicians of the Appalachian region.
Mountain Home Music is affiliated with the Blue Ridge Music Trails, a project of the North Carolina Arts Council.