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Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Preserving family, community, and heritage

The Crooked Road

Unveiled on a windy, cool, spring morning, the Meadows of Dan, Virginia Crooked Road visitor kiosk is the first information center dedicated on the Crooked Road music heritage trail. With sites from the Blue Ridge to the far western tip of Virginia, the trail commemorates the rich musical heritage of southwestern Virginia.
Visitor's Kiosk at Meadows of Dan
The kiosk is a straightforward 2-panel structure that describes the musical heritage of the area with photos and stories about the local musical families. Located at the end of a parking lot near the intersection of Highway 58 and the Blue Ridge Parkway, it is easily accessible by tourists and visitors.

Meadows of Dan Musicians: Marvin Cockram and Sammy Shelor

Music is often called a universal language, and so it is. We are constantly surrounded by music whether through singing, playing an instrument, or enjoying the efforts of someone else. It is often through music that emotions are more easily expressed, that stories are best told, that people are most inspired. The bluegrass, country, and gospel musical heritage of Patrick County cannot be overstated. Shelors, Cockrams, Blackards, Bolts, Handys, Wades, Williams, Midkiffs, Smiths, Boyds, Spanglers, Foddrells, and others have played music and crafted instruments through the generations, paying tribute to the past and carrying the traditions into the future.

Just a chance to play a tune

The musicians at the dedication – Garland Cockram, Marvin Cockram, Brian Fain, Jimmy Handy, Darrell McCumbers, Tommy Morse, Jim Shelor, Sammy Shelor, Barry Collins, and Waitman Wade – performed with obvious joy and flowed effortlessly from one song to another and across genres. The crowd sang softly and tapped their feet while dining on good food and enjoying each other’s company.

Patrick County Banner

Many individuals and organizations came together to make this event happen: Patrick County Administrator Regena H. Handy, The Crooked Road Organization’s Woody Crenshaw, Patrick County Tourism Director Jeannie Frisco, Congressman Rick Boucher, Senator Roscoe Reynolds, Delegate Ward Armstrong, the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Patrick County Staff and Maintenance Department, and the good people of Patrick County.

If you should find yourself in Meadows of Dan, visit the kiosk downtown and tune your radio to 100.1 FM to hear about the musical heritage of the area. To learn more about The Crooked Road, visit

Article and Photos by Jane George.

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