Musical Heritage

Music Trail LogoSpent a good part of Thursday with folks who want to create a "Music Trail" that traces the roots of mountain and bluegrass music in Southwestern Virginia.

As proposed, the trail would start in Floyd, home of the Friday Night Jamboree, and wind through the haunts and hollows of the mountains until it reaches the Bristol, Virginia-Tennessee and the Birthplace of Country Music.

Music Trail MeetingAny bluegrass fan knows the important role music played in this area’s history and that role continues today.

The Jamboree has brought international fame to Floyd but the area has a wealth of other music venues. But even those of us who live here don’t know all the bands that play in the county or when many of them are playing.

The music trail folks opened their meeting with music from a local band that just happened to feature two of my cousins — Dan and Sam Bolt. They were invited after one of the meeting participants saw the group at the VFW hall on Wednesday night. Had that person not happened by the VFW, we would have missed a chance to hear some good bluegrass to open meeting.

The music trail meeting ended with a jam session of local musicians and some folks from the committee. Thursday night, I stopped by Oddfellas Cantina for dinner and found a number of local musicans jamming at an open mike night. Long after dinner had cleared away, I sipped coffee and enjoyed good music — a mixture of bluegrass, folk, Celtic and Irish. Which got me to wondering. Why doesn’t someone compiled a directory of musical acts in Floyd County and a good, up-to-date schedule of when and where these excellent musicians and singers are playing?

Fascinating lunch Wednesday with Fred

Fascinating lunch Wednesday with Fred First, a Floyd Countian transplanted from Alabama and creator of the Fragments From Floyd Blog.

Fred and his family discovered the joys of Southwestern Virginia living while he was teaching at Wytheville Community College and moved to Goose Creek (after a brief journey to the Dark Side in North Carolina).

As happens when two people talk about living in a rural area (one who moved here and the other who returned after a 38-year absence), the conversation turned to why people come to places like this.

Sleep…Or Lack Of It

Pulled an all-nighter. Didn’t mean to but just ran out of hours in the day…or two.

Happened this way. Flew back into Washington Sunday after nearly a month on the road (primaries, house sale, other projects). Should have been back a week earlier but didn’t make it, so had to cram a week’s worth of catchup into one day. Needed to be in the studio in Floyd Tuesday morning so the plan was to sackout early Monday night, get up at 3 and leave by 4 for the four-and-a-half hour drive to the mountains.

Road Kill

Driving from Washington to Floyd County is always an adventure, particularly if you take Interstate 81, which the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety calls one of the deadliest stretches of highway in the country.

Left DC at 4 a.m. and the inbound traffic on I-66 was already heavy. Westbound traffic, however, all but disappeared once I cleared the city. I kept the Wrangler at 70 mph until we hit I-81.

That’s when the fun always begins.

Back in the Commonwealth

Ah, back in the Commonwealth of Virginia after three weeks on the road.

Commonwealth? Isn’t Virginia a state? Not exactly. A number of the original 13 colonies established themselves as commonwealths before 1776 and kept the designation even after creation of the United “States” of America.

Heading Home

Mabry MillCatch a plane this afternoon and, in a couple of days, I’ll be back in the mountains, back to where I don’t have to check the newspaper to see if the air is fit to breathe or listen to the traffic reports to see if I need to take an alternate route to reach my destination.

Been away far too long, much longer than I thought, chasing that elusive thing called truth, a commodity impossible to find in a political world of spin, posture and position.

Musical Memories

Saturday morning and I’m still stuck in Illinois. I should have been back in DC a week ago and in Floyd County by now but weather and the house sale from hell have thrown all schedules into the crapper.


The NASCAR season starts Saturday night with the Bud Shootout, an all-star race featuring last year’s polls winners along with past and present series champions.


Seems like it is snowing everywhere. I’m stuck in snow in Belleville, Illinois, there is ice and snow in the Cumberland Mountains of Maryland that prevents us from getting from here to there and I read about fresh snow in Floyd on Fred First’s excellent Fragments From Floyd Blog.


Let me be the first to welcome you to Blue Ridge Muse, a news and information resource for Floyd County, Virginia, nestled in the heart of the Blue Ridge.

This is, among other things, a yet another Blog for myself. I grew up in the county, graduated from Floyd County High School and returned after 40 years on the road as a photojournalist (and a sabbatical to the Dark Side, otherwise known as politics).

The Friday Night Jamboree

The Friday Night Jamboree, an original docmentary produced by Amy and I in 2002 and 2003.