Country music as we know it today was born of neighbors picking tunes on porches nestled in the hollers of Southwest Virginia. Immerse yourself in the sounds of the region at a Song of the Mountains show.
Preserving and celebrating the musical heritage of bluegrass and old time music, Song of the Mountains showcases live performances every month in the historic Lincoln Theatre in downtown Marion. Recorded and broadcast by PBS to over 52 million people across the nation each year, this Grammy award-winning show is a bucket list for any music lover. Visitors to Smyth County shouldn’t miss out on the distinct honor of joining the live audience of this official state television series, taped on the first Saturday of each month at 7pm.
The uniqueness and impact of the music styles of Southwest Virginia have recently been popularized in the 2019 documentary, “Country Music” by Ken Burns, revealing what residents of Smyth County have known for generations: our mountains have a certain sound and rhythm. These diverse sounds from our mountain communities include old-time fiddle and banjo, early bluegrass, traditional ballads, Appalachian vocal traditions, gospel and Celtic music styles. Blended into what is often dubbed as Americana music, Song of The Mountains is the nation’s premier showcase of this culture of music.
Distinctly American, and authentically Appalachian, Song of the Mountains offers an experience like no other. Enjoy one of the richest music traditions in the world at a Song of the Mountains performance. Just about every popular bluegrass artist has appeared on the show since 2005, including masters of the craft like Doc Watson, as well as emerging talent like Carson Peters & Iron Mountain.
The Lincoln Theatre: Home of Song of the Mountains
Originally built in 1929, and magnificently restored in 2004, The Lincoln Theatre serves as the home for Song of the Mountains. A must see in its own right, this former movie palace is listed on the Historic Register of Places and is one of the last remaining Mayan Revival style theatres in the country. Restored to its original grandeur, the theatre has a full calendar of live performances of its own in addition to the Song of the Mountains schedule.
Plan to visit Marion’s Musical Heritage Mural while you’re in town for the show. The mural, featuring the Song of the Mountain host Tim White, tells the story of Smyth County’s colorful musical history. You’ll find references the historic Lincoln Theatre during its heyday as a movie palace, as well as tributes to several musical artists and others who played a significant role in Smyth County’s rich musical history. Look for a wink and nod to a jar of clear “elixir”, also known as moonshine.