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Southwest Virginia’s Premier Musicians Celebrate 20 Years of The Crooked Road

For 20 years, the Crooked Road has worked to preserve and promote Appalachian old time and bluegrass music throughout Southwest Virginia. Celebrate this cultural milestone with an unforgettable evening exploring the diverse musical offerings of Southwest Virginia with some of the area’s premier musicians.

Connecting 10 major venues, over 50 affiliate venues, and hundreds of traditional old-time and bluegrass artists along a 333-mile-long driving trail, the Crooked Road was designated as Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail by the Virginia Assembly in 2004.

Featuring performances by the Lovely Mountaineers, Danny Paisley and the Southern Grass, Whitetop Mountain Band, Shelton & Williams, Earl White, and Jared Boyd and Raistlin Brabson, “Celebrating 20 Years of the Crooked Road” comes to the Moss Arts Center on Friday, July 12, at 7:30 p.m.

“It’s a thrill to bring world-class artists from Southwest Virginia to a world-class venue right here in the mountains we love and call home,” said Tyler Hughes, executive director of the Crooked Road. “The impact of the Crooked Road on Southwest Virginia and Appalachian music cannot be overstated. Over the last two decades, it has supported hundreds of musicians, venues, communities, and individuals through its programming and marketing efforts to highlight Southwest Virginia’s unique musical heritage.”

Celebrating 20 Years of the Crooked Road” includes performances by the following:

The Lovely Mountaineers

Gina and Jason Dilg of The Lovely Mountaineers play, sing, teach, write, and make art about old-time and early country music from their home in Radford, high on the Blue Ridge at the foot of Lovely Mount.

Danny Paisley and the Southern Grass

Danny Paisley and the Southern Grass plays powerful, unadorned, and intense traditional bluegrass. There is no hybrid or genre-bending music here – the combination of instrumentation and vocals conveys the energy and emotion of classic bluegrass and country music. With powerful range, Paisley’s soulful lead vocals sound like no one else in bluegrass today.

Since Danny’s father and Southern Grass founder Bob Paisley passed away in 2004, Danny Paisley and the Southern Grass has established themselves in the bluegrass world, producing consecutive chart-topping albums, including the group’s latest release, “Bluegrass Troubadour.” With Paisley on guitar, Southern Grass continues the family tradition by adding Paisley’s son, Ryan, on mandolin — part of the next generation of up-and-coming pickers. Southern Grass continues the rich musical heritage started by Bob Paisley and Ted Lundy with Lundy’s sons, T.J. on fiddle and Bobby on bass and vocals. T.J. Lundy is a highly respected fiddler, bridging the gap between old-time fiddling and bluegrass music, while renowned multi-instrumentalist Bobby Lundy has gained attention for his unique bass style. Southern Grass also includes Dean Phillips on banjo.

Whitetop Mountain Band

The Whitetop Mountain Band is a family-based band from the highest mountains of Virginia. Whitetop is an area rich in the old-time music tradition, and this band has deep roots in mountain music. The members have done much to preserve the Whitetop region’s style of old-time fiddling and banjo picking and are legendary musicians and teachers of the style. The band is currently led by Emily Spencer, who was a founding member of the group in the 1970s.

Shelton & Williams

Featuring members Jeanette Williams, Jay Shelton, and Johnny Williams — all from Danville — Shelton & Williams performs a variety of styles, including original, classic country, gospel, blues, traditional and progressive bluegrass, and Americana. All members are songwriters and seasoned vocalists. Their first project as Shelton & Williams, “So Much Time, So Much Love,” was released in July 2022.

Jeanette Williams has become one of the most successful and celebrated women in bluegrass music. Touring, recording, and industry awards have become a mainstay for Williams, who also plays bass with the band and is expanding her repertoire to include her early influences of classic country, blues, roots, and rock.

Jay Shelton was on the bluegrass scene in the ’70s and ’80s as a lead singer and lead guitarist, changed direction to become the front man for a rock band for many years, and then became a singer-songwriter, performing solo concerts. In 2019 Shelton returned to the bluegrass scene. An accomplished lead guitarist, songwriter, and vocalist, he recorded his first project, “Home” with Jeanette and Johnny Williams this past year.

Johnny Williams plays guitar, shares vocals, and writes most of the band’s original material. An award-winning singer and songwriter, Williams and his wife, Jeanette, were awarded Lifetime Achievement Awards by the city of Danville for their contributions to bluegrass music for the past 30 years.

Earl White

Playing music that many forget was once a part of Black culture and Black communities across the U.S. and in Virginia, Earl White is a fiddler, founding member of the Green Grass Cloggers, and leader of the Earl White Stringband. White co-founded the Big Indian Farm Artisan Bakery in Floyd and is an influential person in the old-time music and dance community.

Jared Boyd and Raistlin Brabson

Jared Boyd grew up in the small community of Laurel Fork in Carroll County and spent the early years of his life surrounded by old-time music. He learned clawhammer banjo from Ray Chatfield through the Junior Appalachian Musicians program, as well as from his grandfather, Jimmy Boyd, co-founder of the Franklin County old-time dance band, the Dry Hill Draggers. He has won clawhammer banjo competitions at area fiddlers’ conventions and currently plays with the Twin Creeks Stringband, winners of the Old-Time Band competition at the 2022 and 2023 Galax Old Fiddlers Convention.

Raistlin Brabson is an old-time musician from Franklin County, who played percussion and guitar in local bands until picking up his great grandfather’s fiddle almost two years ago. Inspired by local masters and musicians such as Clark Kessinger, Hank Williams, and Kenny Baker, Brabson brings driving dance music and classic country with him wherever he goes.


Tickets for the performance are $30 for general admission and $10 for students and youth 18 and under. Tickets can be purchased online; at the Moss Arts Center’s box office, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday; or by calling 540-231-5300 during box office hours.

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