News

Get Ready: The Blue Ridge Folk Festival at Ferrum College

The Blue Ridge Folk Festival returns to Ferrum College Sat., Oct. 28th, and it’s is as authentic as it gets.

Sights & Sounds

Kay Justice and Helen White

There is perhaps nowhere in America with a deeper or more widely recognized ballad tradition than Southern Appalachia. The region has been a draw for ballad scholars (sometimes referred to …

Sights & Sounds

Jim Bordwine and Baron Bordwine

Nestled in the southern Appalachian Mountains, Saltville is named for its unusually high number of salt marshes, or, as locals call them, salt licks. Saltville’s natural salt deposits have influenced …

Sights & Sounds

Frank Newsome: Gone Away with a Friend

A few years back at his Hills of Home Festival in Coeburn, Virginia, Ralph Stanley brought out a special guest during his set that he and his wife Jimmie wanted us to hear. There, alone on that stage, Frank Newsome sang “Gone Away With a Friend.” I’m sure there were many others like me who were riveted and had a profound experience. On many levels it was one of the most powerful, spiritual, mournful, emotional, beautiful, and hopeful things I have ever heard. There is a purity about Frank’s singing that brings a soul-stirring, heart-tugging peacefulness that is beyond words.

Sights & Sounds

Danny Wingate and Sam Linkous

Appalachia, a region that includes Southwest Virginia, could arguably be called America’s first frontier. As early as the eighteenth century, European settlements began to expand west, with many colonists making …

Sights & Sounds

Jimmy Boyd and Jared Boyd

The “clawhammer” banjo style is an essential aspect of “old time,” an ensemble-based, hard-driving music form which has inspired dancers across Southern Appalachia for generations. Unlike the more popularized bluegrass …

News

Elder Frank Newsome wins NEA National Heritage Fellowship

We announce with great pleasure that The Reverend Frank Newsome, a dear friend of the Virginia Folklife Program, is the recipient of a National Heritage Fellowship, the highest honor that …

Sights & Sounds

Remembering Spencer Moore

The Virginia Folklife Program lost a dear friend this June in Spencer Moore, the “singing tobacco farmer” from Chilhowie, Virginia. He was ninety-two. Born into a large family in North …

Sights & Sounds

Emily Spencer and Kilby Spencer

The “clawhammer” banjo style is an essential aspect of “old time,” an ensemble-based, hard-driving music form that has inspired dancers across Southern Appalachia for generations. Unlike the more popularized bluegrass …

Sights & Sounds

Mac Traynham and Robert Browder

While the first European and African settlers of Southern Appalachia carried with them a strong stringed-instrument music tradition, instruments were often difficult to acquire, leading players to be resourceful in …

Sights & Sounds

Breaking Up Christmas

When Christmas is over, the fun is just getting started for many in Southern Appalachia. The tradition of “Breaking Up Christmas” is a week-long series of gatherings, where people get …

Sights & Sounds

Acoustic Youth

Many of the musicians who perform at fiddler’s conventions and music festivals throughout southern Appalachia are, in fact, young kids. Late in the night, long past their bedtimes, children and …

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