Billy Joe Shaver

Billy Joe Shaver several years ago at Rythm & Roots.

Johnny Counterfit

Rich Little has nothing on Johnny Counterfit.

Entertainment’s leading impressionist, comedian Counterfit headlines Song of the Mountains on Saturday, Sept. 7. Staged at the Lincoln Theatre in Marion, Virginia, bluegrass’ Merle Monroe and Chatham Rabbits open for the voices-laden Counterfit.

Repertoire massive and not of the tribute ilk, Counterfit tickles while tackling a massive number of voices. From politics, he’s apt to summon Richard Nixon to Bill Clinton. Johnny Cash lives again when Counterfit calls upon the Man in Black. Likewise, when he impersonates television’s Archie and Edith Bunker, Counterfit sounds as if he’s leapt from the set of “All in the Family” and onto the stage. Yeah, he’s that good, a master of his trade.

If You Go

» What: Song of the Mountains

» Who: Johnny Counterfit, Merle Monroe, and Chatham Rabbits

» When: Saturday, Sept. 7, at 7 p.m.

» Where: Lincoln Theatre, 117 E. Main St., Marion, Va.

» Admission: $30-$35

» Info: 276-783-6092

» Web, audio and video:

» And:

Jonathan Scale Fourchestra

Like atoms of music split and scattered to the universe, Jonathan Scales plays steel drums like Miles Davis navigated the trumpet.

Line up at Wolf Hills Brewing Co. in Abingdon, Virginia, on Friday, Sept. 6 for music like no other in these parts. Brought to you by Jonathan Scales Fourchestra, it’s fusion of myriad music.

“It doesn’t sound like Miles Davis. It doesn’t sound like Louis Armstrong,” said Scales, a graduate of Appalachian State University. “It’s progressive jazz, rock fusion with steel drums.”

If You Go

» Who: Jonathan Scales Fourchestra

» When: Friday, Sept. 6, at 6 p.m.

» Where: Wolf Hills Brewing Co., 350 Park St., Abingdon

» Info: 276-477-1953

» Web, audio and video:

K.T. Vandyke

Like a blacksmith hunkered over an anvil, K.T. Vandyke forges songs as stout as the mountains from whence he came.

Guitar in hand and songs in mind, Vandyke ambles to Blackbird Bakery in Bristol, Virginia, on Friday, Sept. 6. He’s not there to eat. He’s there to sing, to transport all who wish on a journey to the center of his songs.

Vandyke learned well. A graduate of ETSU’s Bluegrass, Old-Time, Celtic and Country Music program, he won first place in the Richard Leigh Songwriters Competition in 2012. His recent release, “Portrait of a Nomad,” bespeaks a seasoned musician, crisp of stories and taut of melodies.

If You Go

» Who: K.T. Vandyke

» When: Friday, Sept. 6, at 8 p.m.

» Where: Blackbird Bakery, 56 Piedmont Ave., Bristol, Va.

» Admission: Free

» Info: 276-645-5754

» Web, audio and video:

Music Notes

As fall draws near, likewise the music and the stories that encircle Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion begins anew. For those who may not know, Rhythm & Roots revives to life Friday, Sept. 20, and carries on through Sunday, Sept. 22. High time? Oh yeah.

Like the time when a particular rolling stone from Texas — call him Billy Joe Shaver — rolled out of the back of his van. Yep, he literally rolled right out of the back of his van.

Shaver’s white and obviously miles-laden van scooted through an entrance to park backstage, mere feet from the State Street stage. Its driver thrust it into park. Moments later, the back sliding door slid aside with a thud. Piles of pillows and LPs and clothes lay strewn therein.

From atop the pile came Shaver, the man beloved by millions including Academy Award-winning actor Robert Duvall. Boots on, hat crooked, jeans wrinkled — Shaver rolled out and landed on his boot heels.

“Howdy, man, I’m Billy Joe,” said Shaver.

Within an hour, the man who penned “Georgia On a Fast Train” and “Honky Tonk Heroes” stood on stage. Quite the giant, that Billy Joe Shaver. He reached out in song and held folks as far as a folk could see in the palm of his hand.

Sweat beaded on his forehead. Fellow country troubadour Dale Watson watched nearby, enthralled, like everyone else. Shaver sang as if hungry for food and delivered as if to a starving lot.

Hours later, Shaver climbed back in his van, a cowboy astride his coach. That rolling stone from Texas made an impression like a cattleman’s brand on the hide of a Brahman bull. Like Rhythm & Roots, built to last.

Denver’s Taylor Scott Band stirs the soul in this week’s free MP3 downloads. Slide Latch upon a three-track EP, “Somebody Told Me.” Drama palpable, Scott’s voice echoes Gregg Allman’s gift on the title track and the mid-tempo “Curiosity.”

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Tom Netherland is a freelance writer. He may be reached at

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