John Deere visits The Crooked Road

Virginia’s Crooked Road, the state’s successful effort to use traditional mountain music as a tourist draw for dozens of southwest Virginia communities, is getting a nice boost from an unexpected place.

The Furrow, a publication of the John Deere Company which cover topics of interest to farmers and others who work in agriculture, has published an article about The Crooked Road, complete with photos and video. Author Joe D. Link visited the region last fall and interviewed a number of musicians, luthiers, and others involved in bluegrass and old time music for his article, which centers around the 1927 Bristol Sessions, the first time authentic mountain music was recorded commercially.

Among the interviewees was Jack Hinshelwood, who serves as the Executive Director for The Crooked Road whose headquarters are in Abingdon. He also oversees the annual Mountains of Music Homecoming, a multi-day celebration of the traditional arts which brings thousands of visitors to the area for a variety of cultural, musical, and culinary events over nine days in June.

Link also spoke with local celebrities like guitar maker Wayne Henderson, violin builder Arthur Conner, and Jessica Turner, director of the Birthplace of Country Music Museum in Bristol. And he spoke with many of the “regular folks” who work hard, and play hard in these mountain communities, keeping alive traditions that their immigrant ancestors instilled in them over generations of living in the region.

After his visit, John Deere sent a photographer and film crew to capture footage of the “deep rolling hills” and the people who live there, which accompanies the article. In fact, a series of videos are expected, with this one chronicling the music of the area being the first.

You can read the full article on The Furrow’s web site, and look for additional videos in the Crooked Road series to be posted later on the John Deere YouTube channel.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.