The Crooked Road is a 330-mile driving route across Southwest Virginia where authentic American music traditions first took root in mountain communities like Hiltons, Big Stone Gap, Floyd and Galax.
And, now, thanks to the bluegrass band Lou Reid and Carolina that scenic road has its own anthem.
The band’s newest album, “Rollin’ On,” was just released and features the brand new single, “The Crooked Road.”
“Rollin On,” features Reid’s award-winning vocals and mandolin playing highlighted by band members Christy Reid (bass and vocals), Trevor Watson (banjo, guitar and vocals), and Scott County native Marcus Smith (guitar and vocals). Special guests on the album include Ron Stewart (fiddle), and Skip Cherryholmes (guitar and vocals).
“The Crooked Road” was penned by songwriters Ellen Britton and Will Hopkins. Hopkins passed away in 2015.
“The song was Will’s idea and he grew up along The Crooked Road in Rocky Mount, Virginia,” said Britton. “I loved the song from the start and thought the name itself was evocative. It speaks to the contrast between our modern and somewhat hectic way of life and a slower way of living. With that basic idea as the starting point, writing the song came easy. That was a song that wanted to be written.”
“If we had commissioned someone to write a song to capture the essence of The Crooked Road and our annual Mountains of Music Homecoming event, they couldn’t have done better than the song on this record,” said Jack Hinshelwood, executive director of The Crooked Road. “To have one of the most admired groups in bluegrass pay homage to Virginia’s music heritage in a song of this caliber is truly special.”
Reid said when an album is started, you never really know which songs are going to stand out until it’s completed.
“And ‘Rollin’ On’ was no different. When you listen to the record, ‘The Crooked Road’ has a sparkle to it that’s unmistakable. It makes me smile every time I listen to it,” he said.
The release of the album by Lou Reid and Carolina coincided with the second annual Mountains of Music Homecoming, a nine-day music and cultural showcase event that took place June 10-18 across Southwest Virginia’s Crooked Road region.
“The Crooked Road” single is accompanied by a new music video, a cooperative effort between The Crooked Road organization and the band. The video is made possible through support from David and Judie Reemsnyder, the Montgomery Museum & Lewis Miller Regional Art Center, the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce and Bill Kornrich.
“The first song I ever learned on guitar was the ‘Wildwood Flower,’” said Reid. “I watched Mother Maybelle Carter sing that song and play it on guitar and autoharp on a black and white TV along with Lester Flatt, Earl Scruggs and the Foggy Mountain Boys in the early 60s. I didn’t realize until later how much the music from The Crooked Road region would influence my own music and life. The Crooked Road will take you home again.”
After stints with Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver, Ricky Skaggs, and the Seldom Scene, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Reid formed his own band, Carolina in 1992. In 1994, the band received the IBMA’s Emerging Artist of the Year Award. In 1996, Reid re-joined the Seldom Scene and also continues to record with Carolina.