This past weekend in Marion, VA, a special edition of the PBS program, Song of the Mountains was recorded at The Lincoln Theatre. Its theme was Remembering Miss Dixie, and all the artists on the program performed songs written by Dixie and Tom T Hall.
Included were sets from Heather Berry & Tony Mabe, The Ridge Runners, The Larry Stephenson Band, and Chris Jones & the Night Drivers. These were all special friends of Miss Dixie, whose passing in 2015 left a large hole in the hearts of the bluegrass music community.
Also featured was a special tribute from three ladies who had worked closely with Miss Dixie during the later years of her life, calling themselves the Dixie Trio. They are Nancy Cardwell, former Executive Director of the IBMA, Annette Kelley, Business Manager for Tom T. and Dixie Hall at Fox Hollow, and Melissa Lawrence Buck, graphic designer and personal assistant to the Halls. All three grew up singing bluegrass music in their family bands, and serve on the Remembering Miss Dixie Committee who are involved in Dixie Hall’s charitable giving towards helping young musicians fulfill their bluegrass dreams.
Cardwell said that their group started when she brought her dad’s old guitar out to the office where Annette and Melissa were working on the Hall’s property one day, and the three of them got to singing, swapping out parts and just having a grand old time.
“Tom T. was taking a cat nap down the hall with a movie on TV, and heard us singing, which he thought was part of the soundtrack of the movie that was on. When he figured out that it was coming from inside the house, he tracked us down and said that we absolutely should be involved in the upcoming Song of the Mountains tribute show.
He was very instrumental in putting this show together, and in suggesting who should sing which songs on the program.
We were all honored to be there; we did it for Miss Dixie and her memory.”
Nancy said that they did one song of the Halls’ that has never yet been recorded, or even performed publicly before.
Each of the artists on the show also took part in an interview session on stage, sharing their own remembrances of Miss Dixie. It’s expected that at least two episodes of Song of the Mountains next season will be dedicated to this special event.
The performances captured on May 7 won’t air until next season on television, but thanks to David Johnson, we have this gallery of images from Saturday night’s show.