I was lucky enough to grow up around musicians and, even though I was never any good at it, took guitar lessons as a child. People who could just pick up an instrument and play always astounded me, handicapped as I was on my dependence to read music.
I’ve never been more astonished, though, than the nights I’ve happened upon The Crooked Road jams at Heartwood. I’ve never seen so many naturally talented musicians come out of the woodwork, cluster themselves in a circle or crescent, and go to town like there’s no tomorrow…for hours on end. If you didn’t know better, you’d swear the whole thing had been masterfully choreographed by a virtuoso, though nothing could be farther from the truth. The fact is, the musicians start filtering in right at 6, seem to know which jam they are headed to before they even get through the door (there are always at least 6 or 7 mini jams scattered throughout the building), take their seats, and play their respective mandolin, banjo, guitar, upright bass (you name it, they’ll play it) with ease, enthusiasm, and perfectly in sync. Before long, someone’ll start flat-footin’, and the next thing you know, you’re wondering where the time went and looking forward to doing it again in a couple of weeks. At least that’s how it is for me.
The informal musical gatherings happen the 1st, 3rd, and 5th Thursday of each month, and (like me) you don’t have to play an instrument to partake, though it’s always open to those who do. Either way, just come prepared to have fun and be blown away by the level of talent Southwest Virginia has to offer.
The next Crooked Road open jam is this Thursday, June 21 starting at 6 p.m. at Heartwood, I-81 Exit 14 in Abingdon.
Karen Quina-Doyle | Marketing Director | Southwest Virginia Cultural Heritage Foundation