Galax, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
— The Crooked Road — Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail —
Galax. Much of America’s music was invented in Virginia, and Galax and surrounding communities have long been an epicenter for the keeping of historic sounds and the creation of new ones. Greenberry Leonard lived in the Old Town section of Galax and knew tunes he’d learned when Andrew Jackson was president. Leonard’s student, Emmett Lundy, born before the Civil War, brought those tunes to the 1930s and was recorded by Alan Lomax for the Library of Congress. Made famous by early radio, the Hill Billies gave their name to hillbilly music. A Galax barbershop band, they were active from 1924 until 1932, performed for President Coolidge, made the first sound film devoted to country music (1928), and toured vaudeville theaters in the eastern USA. In 1927 Galax Mayor DaCosta Woltz created a band, the Southern Broadcasters, who made notable and influential recordings. The Galax Moose Lodge organized the first Old Fiddlers Convention in 1935. This weeklong annual event is the nation's most respected event of its type.
The Rex Theater and many jam sessions in Galax offer music by local artists. Only “Two songs away from Galax”
The Crooked Road, Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail. From the Blue Ridge Mountains to the Coalfields region, southwest Virginia is blessed with historic and contemporary music venues, musicians, and fretted instrument makers. Historically isolated, the region retained its strong musical legacy by passing traditions down through musical families to an appreciative community.
Old time mountain music, bluegrass, and gospel can be enjoyed all year long and several museums are devoted to showcasing the area’s rich musical heritage.
The Crooked Road winds through the ruggedly beautiful Appalachian Mountains and leads you to the major hotspots of old time mountain music, country music, and bluegrass. Alive and kickin’ for today’s fans, these venues preserve and celebrate musical traditions passed down through generations. Annual festivals, weekly concerts, radio shows, and jam sessions ring out to large audiences and intimate gatherings. Please
Erected by The Crooked Road.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Arts, Letters, Music. In addition, it is included in the Former U.S. Presidents: #30 Calvin Coolidge, and the The Crooked Road: Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail 🎶 series lists. A significant historical year for this entry is 1924.
Location. 36° 40.078′ N, 80° 55.467′ W. Marker is in Galax, Virginia. Marker is at the intersection of East Stuart Drive (U.S. 221) and New River Trail State Park, on the right when traveling south on East Stuart Drive. It is at the parking lot at the trailhead of the New River Trail State Park. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Galax VA 24333, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 7 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. The Railroad: Lifeline to the World (approx. 0.2 miles away); Galax: Home of Traditional Mountain Music (approx. 0.3 miles away); a different marker also named Galax (approx. ¾ mile away); First County Seat (approx. 2.2 miles away); “New River Train” Song (approx. 4.6 miles away); Fries (approx. 4.6 miles away); a different marker also named Fries (approx. 4.8 miles away); The Stonemans (approx. 6.7 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Galax.
More about this marker. On the Galax panel, this marker has a photograph of Emmett Lundy in the upper left; a bicyclist and two horse riders on the New River Trail in the center left, and a photograph of The Hill Billies at the bottom. The Crooked Road panel shows The Carter Family on the upper right, Dr. Ralph Stanley in the center right and a map of western Virginia showing stops on The Crooked Road and “You are Here.”
Also see . . .
1. Explore the Crooked Road. “‘The Crooked Road: Virginia’s Music Heritage Trail’ began as an idea in January 2003. The basis of the idea is to generate tourism and economic development in the Appalachian region of Southwestern Virginia by focusing on the region’s unique musical heritage. ... As a result of this enthusiasm, ‘The Crooked Road’ now includes ten counties, three cities, ten towns, five regional planning districts, four state agencies, two tourism organizations, and a large number of music venues.” (Submitted on September 1, 2013.)
2. The Founding Fiddlers. 2009 article by Amy Boucher. “Many of the tunes still popular with old-time fiddlers were Green Leonard tunes, says Joe Wilson of the National Council for the Traditional Arts, which operates the Blue Ridge Music Center. Tunes like ‘Waves on the Ocean,’ ‘Forky Deer,’ ‘Piney Woods Girls,’ ‘Sheep Shell Corn,’ ‘Flatwoods’ and ‘Highlanders Farewell.’ ” ... “Lundy told the Lomaxes he had to ‘catch’ Leonard’s tunes because Leonard always tried to hide the way he was playing from other fiddlers, if he saw them watching. ‘Green took great pride in being thought of as the best fiddler around,’ says musical historian Dale Morris of Elk Creek. ‘Later on in life, as Green was getting on up in years he told Emmett that he (Emmett) was the only one that was able to catch a lot of his tunes and do them right. Then he started showing him tunes, but Emmett was never able to learn them all before Green died.’ ” (Submitted on September 1, 2013.)
Credits. This page was last revised on April 16, 2017. It was originally submitted on September 1, 2013, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio. This page has been viewed 449 times since then and 23 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on September 1, 2013, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio.
Editor’s want-list for this marker. Photos of the Rex Theather in Galax • Can you help?