I had the great pleasure of exploring Virginia’s Crooked Road music heritage trail over the weekend with Andrew Cothern (RVA Playlist, RVA News, Virginia Tourism) and Doug Nunnally (Sound Gaze, RVA Magazine). There are a zillion sights and sounds I’d like to share, and I’ll be putting together a bigger piece of writing describing the many reasons why a trip out to the Crooked Road is worth your while, but I thought I’d start by making Orthophonic Joy this week’s CD Monday.
I snagged this copy on my way out of the Smithsonian-affiliated Birthplace of Country Music Museum in Bristol, which is an absolute gem — packed with history and staffed by friendly people who wear their passion for the region’s music on their sleeves. It’s not hard to see why when you listen to Orthophonic Joy. Something truly special happened in Bristol in 1927, and the album tells that story in a comprehensive and compelling way, mixing source audio, narration, and updated takes on some of the songs that were recorded at the Bristol Sessions from artists like Sheryl Crow, Emmylou Harris, and Dolly Parton. See what I mean by sampling Steve Martin & The Steep Canyon Rangers’ rendition of “Sweet Heaven When I Die” below.
Steve Martin & The Steep Canyon Rangers — “Sweet Heaven When I Die” [Spotify/BCM store]
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