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The Crooked Road on Tour

The Crooked Road on Tour

The Crooked Road: Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail concert celebrates the traditional music that has been kept by families and communities of Southwest Virginia since colonial times. Settlers of this mountainous region since the 1700’s have brought various ingredients – a cappella gospel music from German tradition that lives in the Old Regular Baptist churches today; spirituals, emotive singing and a musical gourd we now call a banjo from African tradition; and ballads and fiddles brought by the Scots-Irish and English. Mixed together, these ingredients have produced one of the richest musical traditions on earth. This region produced the Carter Family, the first family of Country Music; Jim and Jesse, Grand Ole Opry stars and one of the most innovative bluegrass groups of the golden era of bluegrass; Ralph & Carter Stanley, who took their home place and its mountains and distilled their very essence down into songs we can all sing. But the real heart and soul of The Crooked Road are the everyday folks who keep this music in their homes, country stores, in churches, and in weekly jam sessions. The variety of it is amazing - old time string bands, a cappella gospel, blues, 300 year-old ballads, bluegrass, and more! It is a music tradition that is as vibrant today as it has ever been.

The Crooked Road On Tour is a concert program of exemplary artists of The Crooked Road region who are steeped in heritage music traditions.

Artist Bios

Wayne & Jayne  Henderson

Wayne Henderson is a world renowned musician and luthier, known for making and playing some of the best acoustic instruments around. His work is sought after by musicians all over the globe. His daughter, Jayne is following in his woodworking footsteps by making her own guitars and ukuleles focused on environmentally thoughtful practices while using her dad's techniques for building instruments. They will chat about Wayne's beginnings in guitar building in an age when he had nothing but patience and trial and error as his guide and how Jayne has taken what he has spent a lifetime learning to make her environmentally focused instruments special and full of soul, just like her dad's.

Wayne Henderson Bio

Wayne Henderson’s top-notch finger-picking is a source of great pleasure and pride to his friends, family and neighbors in Grayson County, Virginia. His guitar playing has also been enjoyed at Carnegie Hall, in three national tours of Masters of the Steel-String Guitar, and in seven nations in Asia.

In addition to his reputation as a guitarist, Henderson is a luthier of great renown. He is a recipient of a 1995 National Heritage Award presented by the National Endowment for the Arts. He produces about 20 instruments a year, mostly guitars; he is almost as well-known for the mandolins he has made. Good friend Doc Watson owned a Henderson mandolin. He said, “That Henderson mandolin is as good as any I’ve had my hands on. And that’s saying a lot, because I’ve picked up some good ones.”

Some of Henderson’s instruments are intricately decorated but are most respected for their volume, tone, and resonance. Blues guitarist John Cephas said that Wayne Henderson “is probably the most masterful guitar maker in this whole United States.” There is a waiting list for Henderson’s guitars made up of the famous (and not-so-famous).

Jayne Henderson Bio

Jayne began making acoustic guitars with her dad, the very talented musician and luthier Wayne Henderson, as a means to pay off her law school loans and ended up loving the work so much that she decided to put a pin in her endeavors to pursue a career in environmental law and focus on learning the craft of instrument building. In 2011 she started her own brand, EJ Henderson Guitars, and has set out to learn every aspect of luthiery from her dad in order to preserve and carry on his incredible trade while putting her own, environmentally focused, spin on his traditional aesthetics and methods.

Most of Jayne's instruments are made from local and thoughtfully harvested wood that she finds within a small radius from her home in the Appalachian mountains. Using these methods and her dad's building techniques she plans to change the idea that only exotic endangered material can produce a beautiful, great sounding instrument. She builds her instruments in her shop in Asheville, NC but comes up to her dad's Mouth of Wilson, VA shop often to learn and work alongside him.

Whitetop Mountain Band

The Whitetop Mountain Band is a family-based group hailing from the highest mountains of Virginia. Founded by the late Albert Hash and Spencer family, the band has roots leading all the way back to the 1940’s. Steeped in the mountain music traditions of southwestern Virginia and a mainstay of the Appalachian dance scene as well, they frequently play venues like the Carter Family Fold in their region.  But the band members have also traveled and performed at extensive venues, festivals and workshops all across the US, Australia, UK, Europe and Canada as well (National Folk Festival, Smithsonian, Merlefest, World Music Institute). Their shows reflect a variety of mountain music traditions mixed with old country, original material, and high energy flatfoot dancing. Whitetop Mountain Band have been included in several books, magazines, and documentaries and also released several albums through the years.

The band was led by Thornton and Emily Spencer for many years until Thornton’s passing in late 2016.

The current lineup still includes Emily Spencer on clawhammer banjo and vocals, and her children- Martha Spencer on guitar, fiddle, vocals, and dance, and Kilby Spencer on fiddle. The band is rounded out by Debbie Bramer on bass, dance and vocals, and Ersel Fletcher on guitar and vocals.

Lineup

Martha Spencer- guitar, fiddle, bass, vocals, dance
Emily Spencer- banjo, vocals
Kilby Spencer- fiddle, guitar
Ersel Fletcher- guitar, vocals
Debbie Bramer- bass, vocals, dance

Buy Tickets

March 6th @ 8pm

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Give By Phone: 276-619-3315
or Check: Payable to Barter Theatre - Mailing address: PO Box 867, Abingdon, VA 24212
Your benefits package includes:
producer iconography
Producer
  • All previous tiers plus
  • Usher concierge service at performances
  • Invitations to company parties
  • Additional customized benefits available upon request
director iconography
Director
  • All previous tiers plus
  • Access to a VIP hotline for reservations
  • VIP Will-Call for tickets & intermission concessions
  • follow the creation of a production from start to finish
stage manager iconography
Stage Manager
  • All previous tiers plus
  • VIP parking
  • invitation to a dress rehearsal
leading role iconography
Leading Role
  • All previous tiers plus
  • invitations for two complimentary seats at each opening performance at Gilliam Stage at Barter Theatre and Stage II, including galas
scene stealer iconography
Scene Stealer
  • All previous tiers plus
  • invitation to watch the set being changed between performances
  • a production mini-poster signed by the cast
supporting role iconography
Supporting Role
  • All previous tiers plus
  • unlimited use of 15% discount for Barter’s Gift Shop & concessions (non-alcohol)
understudy iconography
Understudy
  • All previous tiers plus
  • invitation to Theatre Thursdays, a luncheon & discussion series giving you an insider’s view of Barter Theatre
  • invitation to the 2020 season preview event
player iconography
Player
  • All previous tiers plus
  • Behind the scenes tour
curtain raiser iconography
Curtain Raiser
  • listing in the souvenir program
  • biannual donor e-newsletter
  • window decal