The Blue Ridge Music Center is presenting Five Mile Mountain Road and the Earl White Stringband for an evening of old-time dance music at 7 p.m. July 2 in the outdoor amphitheater. The Music Center is located at milepost 213 on the Blue Ridge Parkway, just south of Galax and 30 minutes from Sparta and Mount Airy, North Carolina.
Five Mile Mountain Road performances range from the sounds of Charlie Poole and the fiddle music of Clark Kessinger, to first-generation bluegrass music and original arrangements of western swing. There is ragtime and jazz, too.
The band originated with the meeting of fiddler Billy Hurt Jr. and guitarist Brennen Ernst while in the band Karl Shiflett & Big Country Show. Hurt and Ernst immediately discovered a common love for old-time fiddle music, ragtime and early jazz.
When they met banjoist Seth Boyd in 2015, the nucleus of Five Mile Mountain Road was formed. Rounding out the group are Caleb “Duke” Erickson from Rockford, Illinois, on guitar and J. C. Radford, a Franklin County native, on doghouse bass.
Opening the show is the Earl White Stringband from Floyd County. A prominent figure in the old-time music and dance community for more than 40 years, White is one of the few African Americans playing and perpetuating the music that was once an essential part of Black culture and communities across the country. (See this previous story, with audio, on Earl White.)
White is a founding member of the famed Greengrass Cloggers. Band members include White on fiddle and vocals, Adrienne Davis on guitar and vocals, Victor Furtado on banjo and fellow Greengrass Clogger alumna, Andy Smith on bass.
Tickets are $20, children 12 and younger are admitted free of charge. Advance tickets are available online at BlueRidgeMusicCenter.org. Day-of-show tickets can be purchased at the admission gates in the evening.
Parking opens at 5:15 p.m. and is free. Admission to the amphitheater begins at 5:45 p.m.
The concert is sponsored by The Crooked Road, Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail.