Bluefield University in the News


by | Oct 25, 2011

Southwest Virginians have an ear for music, and the "Crooked Road Royalty" photo and film exhibit at Bluefield College showcases and pays tribute to the long history of picking and singing in the Appalachian Mountains.

As part of the college’s yearlong symposium celebrating the history, culture, traditions and people of Appalachia, the “Crooked Road Royalty” exhibit is open and free to the public on the second floor of BC’s Easley Library, now through November 17.

Today’s country musicians know their debt to Southwest Virginia’s musical royalty. In the 1920s the Hill Billies gave their name to an entire form of American music, and the Stoneman Family added more than 200 recordings to the nation’s song bag. In the 1930s and early 1940s, the Carter Family’s sentimental songs soothed the country in hard times, and the Stanley Brothers put an old-time mountain legacy on bluegrass.

“The story of American country music is filled with singers and pickers from the Crooked Road region,” said Andrew Pauly, exhibit researcher. “Even today’s young country music stars know songs that were first recorded by the early Southwest Virginia artists.”

The “Crooked Road Royalty” exhibit highlights the careers of the Hill Billies, the Stoneman Family, the Carter Family, and the Stanley Brothers, four Virginian powerhouse groups that helped build the American country music industry. The exhibit includes rare film footage and photographs of historic Crooked Road musicians.

Produced by the Blue Ridge Institute and Museum with funding from the Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission, the “Crooked Road Royalty” exhibit is available for public viewing in Bluefield College’s Easley Library from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., Monday through Thursday; from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday; from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday; and from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Sunday, now through November 17.

The “Crooked Road Royalty” exhibit is part of Bluefield College’s “A Celebration of Appalachia.” Designed to celebrate the history, culture, people and traditions of Appalachia, events in the yearlong symposium — including lectures, concerts, exhibits, discussions, movies, theatre, field trips, and other educational and entertaining activities — are open to the campus community and community at-large.

“From the people, the work ethic, the loyalties and the challenges, to the natural beauty, the traditions, the music and the food, Appalachia is a fascinating and beautiful culture,” said BC President David Olive. “Author Jeff Biggers once said, ‘you can’t understand America until you understand Appalachia.’ Our desire through this yearlong symposium is to increase the understanding and appreciation for the region in which we live. We hope everyone will join us in this educational and entertaining venture, in this celebration of Appalachia.”

Other events scheduled this fall as part of “Celebrate Appalachia” include:
— Fall Festival, featuring hayrides, a pumpkin decorating contest, a pie eating contest, and bluegrass music, Thursday, October 27
— Billy Dean concert, Thursday, November 3 at 7:30p.m., Harman Chapel
— “The Glass Castle,” dinner, lecture, discussion and book signing with Jeannette Walls, best-selling author of the book of the same name, an Amazon “Top 10 Book of the Decade,” Thursday, November 3, 5:30 p.m., Shott Hall, $20 admission
— “The Glass Castle,” lecture and discussion led by Jeannette Walls, best-selling author of the book of the same name, an Amazon “Top 10 Book of the Decade,” Friday, November 4, 10 a.m., Harman Chapel
— Lecture by Concord University’s Terry Mullins, Appalachian studies historian and author, Monday, November 7, 10 a.m.
— “Thugs, Hillbillies and Heroes: The Untold Story of Bluefield’s Baldwin-Felts Detective Agency,” presented by Bluefield, West Virginia, resident and author/historian John A. Velke III, author of “The True Story of the Baldwin-Felts Detective Agency,” Monday, November 7 at 7 p.m. in Shott Hall A&B
— Instrumental music concert, Thursday, November 10 at 7:30 p.m. in Harman Chapel
— “Opera Theatre: Scenes from Appalachia,” Friday, November 18, 7:30 p.m., Harman Chapel
— “From Seeds to Songs,” a music workshop hosted by Andrew McKnight and Beyond Borders, Saturday, November 19 at 1 p.m., Harman Chapel
— “Beyond Appalachian, Beyond Blues, Beyond Folk,” a music concert, Saturday, November 19 at 7:30 p.m., Harman Chapel
— “An Appalachian Christmas,” presented by BC’s Masterworks Chorale, Thursday, December 1, 7:30 p.m., Harman Chapel
— “Appalachian News,” an art show presented by the Bluefield Daily Telegraph’s Bill Archer, December 9-February 16, BC Art Gallery, Lansdell Hall

For more information regarding events that are part of “A Celebration of Appalachia” at Bluefield College, contact the Public Relations Office by e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at 276-326-4212.

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