Last night was one of those rare moments that happen all the time in Southwest Virginia. I sat in on the Youth Music Concert at Heartwood: Southwest Virginia’s Artisan Gateway and was completely astounded by the four young women who took the stage. Sisters, Ashley (vocals and banjo) and Lindsey (vocals and fiddle) Nale, Grace Wilson (vocals and bass), and Channing Russell (vocals and guitar) are as talented as they are beautiful, both inside and out. Their band, The Loose Strings, is a regional sensation that I was pleased to finally be hearing for the first time.
It doesn’t take long to understand what all of the fuss is about. At fourteen, Lindsey is the youngest of the four; the others are each eighteen. All are equally accomplished beyond their years. They energized the room with their blend of bluegrass and traditional music for well over an hour, bringing all generations of the multi-generational crowd to their feet, dancing, throughout.
The Galax-based quartet has been performing together for five years with a 2010 Appalachian Idol contest win to their credit. They have performed at Nashville’s Nashville Palace and the Alabama State Festival, as well as The Crooked Road’s first-ever Youth Music Festival this past May in addition to fiddler’s conventions, benefits, and churches across the region.
They just released their latest CD and are halfway through a Gospel one. You’ll find their performance schedule and other particulars on their website, theloosestringsband.com. Don’t wait as long as I did to seek out one of their gigs.
Karen Quina-Doyle | Southwest Virginia Cultural Heritage Foundation
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