Updated 5/31/12

In Podcast #60 the Trekkers take a journey along the Crooked Road: Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail to find out where country music got its start. First we visit the 4th graders at Highpoint Elementary School in Bristol and hear some aspiring country music artists.  Next, discover why Bristol is called “the birthplace of country music;” see the famous Carter Family Fold where country music legend Maybelle Carter lived with her three daughters, Anita, Helen, and June (who married Johnny Cash); learn about the “Stanley Style” at the Ralph Stanley Museum in Dickinson County; and explore where the famous blues musician, Carl Martin, sang for the coal miners in Big Stone Gap. Come on, let’s go trekking!

Country music was influenced by Scotch-Irish, English, and African Americans who lived and worked together in this region.  In fact, Leslie “Esley” Riddle, an African American man, taught Maybelle Carter her famous guitar picking technique known as the “Carter scratch.”  He invented the special technique while recovering from an accident which resulted in the loss of his lower right leg.  Playing the guitar helped him get his mind off his injuries.  Later he met the Carter family and traveled with A.P. Carter collecting folk songs from around the region.  Maybelle learned the special finger picking technique from Leslie and then added her own touch to it.  Now many country musicians use the “Carter scratch”. 

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SOL Correlation:


K.2 The student will describe everyday life in the present and in the past and begin to recognize that things change over time.


2.3 The student will identify and compare changes in community life over time in terms of buildings, jobs, transportation, and population.


VS.4b The student will demonstrate knowledge of life in the Virginia colony by describing how the culture of colonial Virginia reflected the origins of European (English, Scots-Irish, German) immigrants, Africans, and American Indians.


VS.6 The student will demonstrate knowledge of the role of Virginia in the establishment of the new American nation by c) explaining the influence of geography on the migration of Virginians into western territories.


VS.10b The student will demonstrate knowledge of government, geography, and economics by describing the major products and industries of Virginia’s five geographic regions.

Valley & Ridge