Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail: The Crooked Road Announces 2022 Artist-In-Residence

Abingdon, Virginia – Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail: The Crooked Road is excited to announce that Johnny Williams has been selected as the 2022-2023 Artist-In-Residence.

Williams has been active in the traditional music community for over 30 years, playing with multiple bands and music organizations in the region.  Hailing from Fries, VA, Williams has been performing, producing, touring and song writing since the late 1980s starting with the group Clearwater which eventually became the Jeanette Williams Band.  Since that time, Williams has been playing guitar and mandolin with groups such as Big Country Bluegrass Band, Freeman and Williams Trio, Blue 58, Shelton & Williams and the Larry McPeak Tribute Band.

Williams has also been involved with The Crooked Road for many years, as part of The Crooked Road on Tour program, bringing heritage music to many audiences.

Having been involved with over 90 recorded projects, Williams owns record label Grass Tank Music and just released a new Shelton & Williams album entitled “So Much Time, So Much Love” in 2022.  A portion of that recording was supported by The Crooked Road’s Heritage Music Fund, that helps regional artists with professional projects.

Williams was the Chairman of Blue Ridge Acoustic Uprising, co-founded the Dan River Region Bluegrass Association, and has won the Merlefest Chris Austin Songwriter Contest for bluegrass in 1998 and 1999.

“Johnny Williams is a well-respected part of the bluegrass music community.  He will bring a high level of expertise, connections and experience to this appointment as the 2nd Artist-in-Residence for The Crooked Road,” says Dylan Locke, President of The Crooked Road’s Board of Directors.

As The Crooked Road’s Artist-In-Residence, Williams will perform at various events and participate in educational opportunities.   He will also contribute an original piece of music or new performance of an existing traditional piece of music for The Crooked Road’s use.

Williams says, “Working with The Crooked Road in this position is a great opportunity and I’m incredibly honored and excited to be the new Artist-In-Residence and I look forward to sharing my passion for heritage music with audiences all along the Crooked Road.”

“Johnny’s been involved with heritage and traditional music of Southwest Virginia for so long, his participation in the Artist-In-Residence program will be a tremendous asset to The Crooked Road,” comments Carrie Beck, The Crooked Road Executive Director.

Williams will be part of an all-star songwriting workshop and showcase event along with Jeanette Williams, Louisa Branscomb and Larry Cordle, that will be held on October 6 at Mountain Empire Community College.  Details on that event can be found at

This program will be supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts.

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About Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail:  The Crooked Road (TCR)    

The Crooked Road is a 330 mile driving trail through the mountains of Southwest Virginia that connects nine Major Venues and over 60 Affiliated Venues and Festivals that visitors can enjoy every day of the year.  Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail: The Crooked Road is also a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization founded in 2004 whose mission is to support economic development in Southwest Virginia by promoting this region’s rich heritage of traditional music.

The Crooked Road office is located at the Southwest Virginia Cultural Center and Marketplace in Abingdon, VA.  General information can be found at The Crooked Road website,, by email at or by calling (276) 492-2400, ext. 2409.  Southwest Virginia visitation information can be found at

Sarah Mast
Author: Sarah Mast