08 May 2020

Good stuff from south-west Virginia

THE town of Floyd, in Floyd county, Virginia, is a good place for bluegrass and old-time music. It's a major venue on Virginia's Crooked Road; the town centre includes the Floyd Country Store, which hosts (in normal times) the Friday Night Jamboree; and just round the corner is County Sales, the home of Dave Freeman's world-changing County Records label.

In these abnormal times, the Country Store has launched the Handmade Music School, offering online guidance and instruction in banjo, fiddle, mandolin, dance, and other aspects of Southern music and traditions. Tutors who have played in Ireland include Erynn Marshall & Carl Jones, and Kris Truelsen, leader of Bill and the Belles, who instructs in the vocal and guitar styles of Jimmie Rodgers.
On 28 Apr. the BIB included a note on Spider tales, a forthcoming album by Jake Blount on Free Dirt Records. You can now see on the PopMatters website a feature by Jonathan Frahm on the album, which includes a nice photo of Jake Blount with his 6-string banjo (not a banjo-guitar) and a video (also on YouTube) of him fiddling and singing 'Boll weevil' for County Sales. He adds: 'This arrangement of the song came out of some need on my part to reconcile the more traditional renditions that I love with the Ithaca [NY] sound that shaped my musicianship.'

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