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Virginia Rocks! brings back memories

05 April 2010
A gallery guide for "Virginia Rocks! The History of Rockabilly in the Commonwealth" is now available to compliment the exhibit on display at the Blue Ridge Institute and Museum on the Ferrum College campus.

Roddy Moore, director of the BRI, said the guides were received from the printer last week and will be available until the exhibit closes the end of May.

"From here, the exhibit will move to the Virginia Historical Society in Richmond," he said.

The guide gives a visitor "something to take home" after viewing the exhibit, which features Virginia musicians who influenced the new trend...a blend of rock 'n' roll and hillbilly music.

Notable Virginians playing roles in the new sound that lasted through the 1950s include Gene Vincent and the Blue Caps; Janis Martin, the female Elvis; Roy Clark; Jim Eanes and the Shenandoah Valley Boys; Wayne Newton; Moon Mullins; The Dazzlers; and Patsy Cline.

Vincent and his band were the most successful of the Virginia rockabilly artists. In 1956, Presley pulled ahead of a talented group of Rockabilly performers, including Vincent. Presley's big hits that year included "Heartbreak Hotel," "Hound Dog" and "Don't Be Cruel."

In addition to the gallery guide, the exhibit also has available a CD set that features 61 cuts by rockabilly artists, along with an 80-page booklet about the music.

By Morris Stephenson
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