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The Crooked Road Music Series at Heartwood to Feature Open Jam

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Open JamAt 7:00 pm on Thursday, October 25th, the Willis Gap Community Center Open Jam from Patrick County, Virginia will be the featured Venue Showcase at Heartwood. “As sometimes happens, these Jams grow from modest beginnings,” says Jack Hinshelwood, executive director of The Crooked Road. “This one started back around 1995 when friends of Nellie and Otto Hiatt would gather for music in their home. To accommodate all the folks that wanted to hear and play the music, it was moved to the Community Center but it still retains that welcome to our home atmosphere”.

The Crooked Road: Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail (TCR) music series at Heartwood in Abingdon showcases communities of the region through their traditional music venues and their youth music.

The Community Center Open Jam is held every Friday night from 7-10 pm in Ararat, Virginia, just minutes from Andy Griffith's hometown Mount Airy, NC (Mayberry) and just minutes from the Blue Ridge Parkway. The Jam was featured in the October 2011 issue of Smithsonian Magazine which noted that “some of the older musicians had been born into a world straight out of a country song, where horses still plowed steep hillsides, and mothers scalded dandelion greens for dinner.”

Otto Hiatt serves as emcee for the Jam which is open to all comers. Visitors are treated to old time, bluegrass, gospel, and early country favorites. Hotdogs, chips, snacks, and drinks are available for purchase as well as homemade slaw made fresh every week.

The purpose of the Venue Showcases at Heartwood is to make more people aware of the music venues in the region so they can go visit them. A complete schedule for the music series is available on The Crooked Road website at The Crooked Road supports tourism and economic development in Southwest Virginia by celebrating and preserving this Appalachian region’s unique musical and cultural heritage.

Heartwood: Southwest Virginia’s Artisan Gateway is located off I-81 at Exit 14 in Abingdon, Virginia and features food, music and craft of Southwest Virginia. Admission is free but donations will be accepted for the series performances. For more information call (276) 492-2409 or email:

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