Sights & Sounds

Buddy Pendleton: Delivers!

At the eastern end of the Crooked Road lies Ferrum College’s Blue Ridge Institute. Among their folk music archives is a scratchy 1970s recording of a bluegrass jam session at the Pulaski, Virginia Fiddler’s Convention. On it, a fiddler walks up with case in hand and asks if he can join in. After being invited to join, he gets his fiddle out and runs, no, blazes through a warm up scale – three octaves worth! Instantly, all present sense something extraordinary is about to happen. And it does, as the fiddler leads the group on a mad dash through a jaw-dropping rendition of Soldiers Joy, Liberty and Golden Slippers. When it’s over, someone from the thoroughly stunned group says, “Say, Mister, what’s your name?” “Pendleton, Buddy Pendleton” comes the reply in a modest unassuming tone.

Sights & Sounds

Gerald Anderson & Spencer Strickland: Been All Around This World

Gerald Anderson and Spencer Strickland play with an exuberance and joy that is infectious. Whether they are jamming in the sawdust of their instrument-making shop, at a local performance in Grayson County, Virginia, on a festival stage, or in the recording studio, Gerald and Spencer play from the heart and never hold back.

Sights & Sounds

No Speed Limit: Bluegrass Lullaby

Galax, the friendly town on the border of Carroll and Grayson counties is named for the galax leaf, a broad green leaf that carpets some woodlands, and has been used for generations for decorative purposes. Galax has produced musicians in prodigious numbers that has puzzled and delighted musicologists for almost a century. This process continues.

Sights & Sounds

Betty & the Bullet jam on “Hold Me Now” by the Thompson Twins

Betty & the Bullet jam on “Hold Me Now” by the Thompson Twins at the 2014 Galax Old Fiddlers’ convention at Felt’s Park in Galax, Virginia.

Sights & Sounds

Anya Hinkle & Jackson Cunningham: Old Time Duets

It’s easy to forget that most songs—particularly those in American folk, traditional, or popular music—rarely last more than three and a half minutes. We often forget this because the best of songs exude a timeless quality, and tend to unexpectedly revisit us—some might say even haunt us—throughout the course of our daily lives. A good song exists in a kind of “time out of time.”

Sights & Sounds

Gin Burris: Wind and Rain

Gin Burris was born in 1953 and has lived all her life in Carroll County, Virginia. Born to Roscoe and Ethel Lovell Burcham, Gin entered into a family with a profoundly rich musical heritage. Music has been a part of Gin’s life from the beginning. “Dad says that when I was born,” Gin recalls, “Dr. Beeken slapped me on the rear and I hit a perfect high C. That’s a little early for me to remember but if he says it, then it must be true!”

Sights & Sounds

Francisca Ramirez Acosta and Laura Ortiz

The word mole can refer to any of a number of richly flavored sauces traditionally used in Mexican cuisine, or to dishes based on these sauces. Varieties of mole include …

Sights & Sounds

Jim King and Jackson Cunningham

Beekeeping is the care of honeybee colonies, commonly in hives, to stimulate crop pollination and to ensure the production of honey and other hive products, including beeswax, propolis, and royal …

Sights & Sounds

Buddy Pendleton and Aila Wildman

Buddy Pendleton is one of the true pioneers of bluegrass fiddling, having performed as a young man with Bill Monroe and his Bluegrass Boys. In the 1970s, Buddy won the …

Sights & Sounds

Flory Jagoda and Aviva Chernick

Flory Jagoda was born in 1925 in Sarajevo, Bosnia, and was raised in the city’s Sephardic Jewish community. When the Sephardic Jews were forced into exile from Spain and Portugal …

Sights & Sounds

A Conversation With Laura Ortiz

A Mexican Folk Dancer connects to her daughter and heritage through the Virginia Folklife Apprenticeship Program By Anna Kariel “The story of Virginians, other than the story of Virginia Indians, …

Sights & Sounds

HoustonFest 2014: Jewel of Festival Circuit

The city of Galax came alive in early May for the fourth annual Houstonfest. Born out of a community’s grief over the tragic passing of Houston Caldwell, a gifted banjoist …

Sights & Sounds

Wallace Gusler and Bruce Larson

The importation and manufacturing of firearms have been part of Virginia’s history since European settlement. The first documented firearms brought to Virginia in 1607 were muskets equipped with matchlocks, snaphances, …

Sights & Sounds

Harold Mitchell and Dale Morris

If you have attended the Galax Old Fiddler’s Convention any time in the last forty years, you will quickly recognize the familiar voice of Galax native Harold Mitchell. Always impeccably …