Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Road Trip Music in Virginia

Virginia is a state of contrasts, from the bustling suburbs of DC to the winding roads of the Shenandoah Valley, from the elegance of Colonial Williamsburg to the down home vibe of the Carter Fold. One song that gracefully and gently expresses all that is I Do Love Virginia. It’s sung by Sissy Spacek, and written by Paul Reisler, Terri Allard -- and class of elementary school kids in the Charlottesville, Virginia, area.

They were all participating in Kid Pan Alley, a project Reisler started on the national level some years back. The Charlottesville area collaborations resulted in an album called I Used to Know the Names of All the Stars, a collection of songs both whimsical and serious, funny and somber, sung by nationally and regionally well known professional musicians who live in the area.

Allard, who spearheaded the Virginia project, is one of those. With a smoky alto and a gift for writing songs which tell vivid stories in just a few words, her music walks the territory between folk and country. A fine introduction to Allard’s work is the album Live in Charlottesville. Songs of hope, resilience, and good fun filled the air one winter night for the recording of that album, and there's more about that when you follow the link.

If you've been thinking about the floods in Tennessee, Allard does a very fine version of the flood song Louisiana 1927 on the recording, too.

Virginia is, or has been, home to many musicians. A site which will take you on a journey through a number of the places important in the state’s musical history is The Crooked Road.

Other musicians with Virginia connections for your soundtrack include Robin and Linda Williams, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Pasty Cline, The Carter Family, and Jesse Winchester. If you’re looking for Irish and Scottish music in Virginia, one very good place to find out about it is from the web site of Sunspot Productions.


you may also wish to see

Music Road: Terri Allard
Music Road: Robin & Linda Williams: The First Christmas Gift
Music Road: music for mothers and children



This is part of The Great American Road Trip, in which I’m partnering up with A Traveler’s Library to add musical ideas to the book and film suggestions for journeys through the regions of the United States which you’ll find there. Stop by and see what the Library has in mind to inspire travels through Virginia.
For more about the road trip (and a look at some great road songs) see Great American Road Trip: Music begins


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posted by Kerry Dexter at

4 Comments:

Blogger Alexandra Grabbe said...

I did not know about this project. Thanks for enlightening me. I used to live in DC and totally understand what you are talking about in the first paragraph. I think I heard Sissy Spacek sing once on film and was impressed.

2:38 PM  
Anonymous Christine said...

It's amazing how diverse Virginia is, and it's so neat to see the way that is reflected in music. Thanks a lot for this informative post!

3:21 PM  
Anonymous The Writer's [Inner] Journey said...

Like Alexandra, I didn't know about this project - it sounds very interesting.

10:12 AM  
Anonymous Kristen said...

Sounds like a great project--and something you could listen to with your kids. I've always been impressed with Sissy Spacek, she seems like a down-to-earth sort of person.

5:26 PM  

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