The Crooked Road: A Journey Steeped in Music Traditions

crooked road

Many people begin their Crooked Road journey in Abingdon, at Heartwood (5), “Virginia’s Artisan Gateway.” Its state-of-the-art interactive map and knowledgeable staff make it a useful stop for planning your journey. Inside you’ll find products made by local artisans, including instrument makers. There’s a restaurant with old-time music on Thursday evenings, and bi-weekly jam sessions. Luxury accommodations are available nearby at Martha Washington Inn, located in the heart of Abingdon, across from the Barter Theatre—the longest running nonprofit Equity theatre in the country. Down the street is Capo’s Music Store, which hosts its own Saturday night jam.

the crooked road

The Ralph Stanley Museum (9) in Clintwood, near Stanley’s hometown of McClure, tells the story of how Ralph and his brother Carter got started. Ralph Stanley himself narrates the audiophone tour that includes many music samples.

the crooked road
The Ralph Stanley Museum

Allen Hicks Jam (10) in Nickelsville is an experience you won’t want to miss. Hicks, a retired steel worker turned mandolin maker, converted a barn to create a venue below his workshop. Musicians congregate here every Friday night for jams, dancing, snacks, and lots of fun. After the jam, you can check into the locally owned Ole Nickelsville Hotel for the evening. This quaint and comfortable hotel operates like a bed and breakfast.

crooked road
Allen Hicks Jam

(8) Country Cabin II, in Norton, is the longest continuously running site for traditional music along the Crooked Road and hosts concerts every Saturday night. Another Saturday night venue, the Carter Family Fold (7) feels like a step back in time. You’ll experience bluegrass and old-time music and clogging dancers in a real down-home mountain family setting. Before the 7:30 p.m. show you can visit the Carter Family museum and cabin. A.P Carter’s daughter Janette launched the venue to keep a promise to her father that the family’s music would never be forgotten.

Carter Family Fold

Cherie Yurco is a former editor at Making Music and has worked as a freelance editor and writer for over 20 years.

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