The Steep Canyon Rangers play Sept. 2 at the Blue Ridge Music Center. Photo courtesy of Blue Ridge Music Center.

Here’s a roundup of news briefs from around Southwest and Southside. Send yours for possible inclusion to

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Steep Canyon Rangers, Amythyst Kiah, Sam Bush highlight Blue Ridge Music Center season

The Blue Ridge Music Center has announced the full lineup of artists appearing on its amphitheater stage this summer as part of the annual Roots of American Music concert series.

The Saturday-evening series runs from Memorial Day through Labor Day. The center is at milepost 213 of the Blue Ridge Parkway, just south of Galax. For more information on performers or ticket options, visit

Lonesome River Band and Ashlee & Andrew: 7 p.m. May 27; $25 advance, $30 day of show, free for children 12 and younger.

Scythian and Cabin Creek Boys: 7 p.m. June 3; $25 advance, $30 day of show, free for children 12 and younger.

Watchhouse (formerly Mandolin Orange): 7 p.m. June 10; $40 adults, $20 for children 12 and younger.

Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper and Crooked Road Ramblers: June 17; $30 adults, free for children 12 and younger.

Amythyst Kiah and Foreign Landers: 7 p.m. June 24; $20 adults, free for children 12 and younger.

Sam Bush Band: 7 p.m. July 1; $35 advance, $40 day of show, $15 for children 12 and younger.

Jeff Little Band and DaShawn & Wendy Hickman with Sacred Steel: 7 p.m. July 8; $20 adults, free for children 12 and younger.

Rissi Palmer and Martha Bassett: 7 p.m. July 15; $20 adults, free for children 12 and younger.

Sierra Ferrell: 7 p.m. July 22; $30 adults in advance, $35 day of show, $15 for children 12 and younger.

John R. Miller: 7 p.m. July 29; $20 adults, $5 for children 12 and younger.

The Kody Norris Show and Slate Mountain Ramblers: 7 p.m. Aug. 5; $20 adults, $5 for children 12 and younger.

Doc at 100: A Doc Watson Tribute Concert: 7 p.m. Aug. 19; $25 advance, $30 day of show, $10 for children 12 and younger.

Larry & Joe and Shay Martin Lovette: 7 p.m. Aug. 26; $20 adults, free for children 12 and younger.

An Evening with the Steep Canyon Rangers: 7 p.m. Sept. 2: $40 adults, $20 for children 12 and younger.

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Roanoke County residents may be eligible for free septic tank pump-out

Qualified Roanoke County residents can apply for a free septic tank pump-out through a new program administered by Roanoke County and the Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission.

Households with an annual income at or below 200% of the federal poverty line are eligible to apply for the program, which is being funded with a grant from the Virginia Environmental Endowment, according to a news release from the county.

Interested residents are encouraged to attend an educational workshop from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Glenvar Library. They can also apply for a free pump-out at the event.

Septic systems should be inspected every one to three years and pumped every three to five years, depending on use.

More details about the program are at

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Birthplace of Country Music Museum named a Top 10 music museum by USA Today readers

The Birthplace of Country Music Museum in Bristol has been named one of the Top 10 music museums in the country by USA Today readers.

“This museum showcases the roles Bristol, Tennessee and Bristol, Virginia played in the development of country music,” USA Today wrote. “The Smithsonian affiliate traces this musical history back to the 1927 Bristol Sessions recording — an event that helped shape the sound of commercial country music.”

The Birthplace of Country Music Museum ranked No. 6 in the annual readers poll. 

The museum has ranked among the top 5 in USA Today’s 10 Best Best Pop Culture Museums poll for the past two years and reached No. 1 in 2021.

Here are the final results for USA Today’s 10 Best Music Museums in 2023:

1. Johnny Cash Museum, Nashville, Tennessee

2. Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Cleveland, Ohio

3. Grammy Museum L.A. Live, Los Angeles

4. The Museum at Bethel Woods, Bethel, New York

5. Motown Museum, Detroit

6. Birthplace of Country Music Museum, Bristol

7. Grammy Museum Mississippi, Cleveland, Mississippi

8. Patsy Cline Museum, Nashville, Tennessee

9. Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, Nashville, Tennessee

10. B.B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center, Indianola, Mississippi

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Richmond Fed president to speak at SWVA Economic Forum

Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond President Tom Barkin will present the “State of the Region” address at the eighth annual SWVA Economic Forum in May, the University of Virginia’s College at Wise announced.

Barkin will talk about the overall economy and the Southwest Virginia region and will offer a question-and-answer session at May 25 forum, which will be held at the college’s David Prior Convocation Center.

The forum will be a hybrid event; participants can attend either online or in person. Registration is required; early bird rates are available at $20 for virtual attendance and $40 for in-person attendance.

Visit Southwest Virginia Economic Forum for registration, program and sponsor information.

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IALR to host Family Literacy Night in Danville

To coincide with Dr. Seuss’ birthday and National Read Across America Day, the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research and partners are hosting Family Literacy Night from 4 to 7 p.m. on March 2.

Designed for K-6 students, the free event will feature book giveaways, games
and activities, door prizes and snacks. It will be held at IALR, 150 Slayton Ave. in Danville.

The event will feature stations where students can complete hands-on activities based on
books; 300 book giveaways; photos with Dollar and Scotter, the mascots from URW Community FCU and the Danville Otterbots; and storytime with Rachel Timm of the Pittsylvania County Public Library.

The event is hosted by IALR, Dan River Year AmeriCorps, The Literacy Lab,
REACH AmeriCorps, and Joy of Reading.

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Prescribed burns set in Botetourt and Smyth counties

The U.S. Forest Service has scheduled two prescribed burns for March 1, one in Botetourt County, one in Smyth County.

Botetourt County: The 352-acre Craig Creek Recreation burn area is in the Craig Creek Recreation site, 1.5 miles east of Oriskany off County Road 817. This prescribed burn will be completed over one to two days.

Depending on wind direction, residents and travelers around the town of Oriskany and Lignite may smell and see smoke.

Smyth County:  The 23.1-acre Pierce Tract burn unit is located 2 miles east of Sugar Grove, 5.9 miles northeast of Troutdale and 11.5 miles northwest of Elk Creek. The 22.1-acre Halfey Hollow burn unit is located 0.75 mile north of Interstate 81, 3.6 miles northwest of Atkins and 5.4 miles west/northwest of Rural Retreat. Burning is expected to last about four hours. The Virginia Highlands Horse Trail (Trail # 337) lies within the prescribed fire area and sections will be temporarily closed during the burn for Public Safety.

Firefighters will continue to monitor both areas for several days after the burn.