The Crooked Road: G.B. Grayson & Henry Whitter
The Commonwealth of Virginia recognized the musical contributions of the region by designating a 225 mile trail through the hills and hollows as "The Crooked Road: Virginia's Heritage Music Trail".
Perhaps the most influential artists to come from the hills of The Crooked Road were G.B. Grayson & Henry Whitter. Fiddler and singer Gilliam Banmon (G.B.) Grayson was born in nearby Ashe County, North Carolina. He worked as a traveling musician throughout the mountains of the southern Appalachians, playing at fairs, barn dances, and picnics. He was also entered and frequently won, many fiddle conventions in the region.
Guitarist and singer Henry Whitter was born in Fries, Virginia. Whitter and Grayson met at a fiddlers' convention in Mountain City, Tennessee in 1927. The two teamed up and recorded 40 songs over a three year period. Their recording of "Handsome Molly" sold over 50,000 copies! The recordings made by G.B. Grayson & Henry Whitter had a tremendous effect on country music and still does. The songs they recorded during those short three years before Grayson's death in an automobile accident are considered classics: "Cluck Old Hen," "Tom Dooley," "Rose Conley" and "Lee Highway Blues (Going Down the Lee Highway)" Ommie Wise", to name a few. Their songs have been covered by such diverse artists as Bob Dylan, Mick Jagger, Ralph Stanley, and Doc Watson.
Perhaps not the most famous names to be found along The Crooked Road, but G.B. Grayson & Henry Whitter were the most influential on all that followed.
This looks like a good place to start our trip along "The Crooked Road: Virginia's Heritage Music Trail".