The Alleghany Arts Council is pleased to announce its “And the Beat Goes On” music series, a singer-songwriter showcase. This series runs from January to June and is hosted by Muddy Creek Cafe Sparta. The series concludes with the Backwoods Beat Music Festival with performances by Matraca Berg on June 21 and Mary Gauthier on June 22. 

January 6, 2019

Mean Mary

Known internationally for lightning-fast fingers, haunting vocals, & intricate story songs, Mary travels the genres of folk-rock, bluegrass, and blues. Mean Mary (Mary James), a Florida native now based in Nashville, began life as a musical prodigy—reading music before she could read words and co-wrote songs at age five. By age seven she was proficient on the guitar, banjo, & violin, and entertained audiences across the US with her vocal and instrumental skills. 


February 10, 2019

Jonathan Byrd

A preacher’s son, a Gulf War veteran, and an award-winning songwriter from Chapel Hill, NC, known for literary, outsider songs that have become Americana favorites. The Chicago Tribune called Byrd “one of the top 50 songwriters of the past 50 years.” Multi-instrumentalist Johnny Waken cut his teeth on electric guitar in Pittsburgh with rock legend Norm Nardini, opening for The Blues Brothers Band on their Red, Hot & Blue tour in 1992. After taking a few years away from music, Johnny is back at it with the Pickup Cowboys.

March 3, 2019

Kyle Petty & David Childers

Kyle Petty is a former racecar driver turned racing analyst who has always carried a passion for music. A traveling preacher at the racetrack gave Petty his very writing his own music in high school, finding creative influences in country artists, such as Johnny Cash and Merle Haggard, and singer-songwriters like Carole King, James Taylor, Harry Chapin and Jim Croce. 


Singer-songwriter David Childers is the Proverbial study in contradictions. A resident of Mount Holly, NC, he’s a former high-school football player with the aw-shucks demeanor of a good ol’ Southern boy. But he’s also a well-read poet and painter who cites Chaucer and Kerouac as influences, fell in love with folk as a teen, listens to jazz and opera, and fed his family by practicing law before turning in his license to concentrate on his creative passions. 

April 7, 2019

Rod Picott & Big Ron Hunter

Seventeen years ago Rod Picott dropped his tool belt, picked up an acoustic guitar and released his first album Tiger Tom Dixon’s Blues. The acclaimed debut put a nail in the coffin of his construction career and ignited his second career as a singer-songwriter. With his new album, Out Past The Wires, that second career reveals itself in full flame. 


Big Ron Hunter is called the world’s happiest Bluesman. He owns a voice that gives people chills. It’s the kind of voice that carries warmth and tenderness, a voice that is unmistakably his own and embodies everything that’s raw, pure and beautiful about the blues. 

May 5, 2019

Wild Ponies

Based in Nashville, Wild Ponies have always looked to Southwest Virginia — where bandmates Doug and Telisha Williams were both born and raised — for inspiration. There, in mountain towns like Galax, old-time American music continues to thrive, supported by a community of fiddlers, flat-pickers, and fans.

June 2, 2019

Angie Aparo

Sony publishing artist Angie Aparo is the song writing talent behind Faith Hill’s ‘Cry’ (for which Hill won a Grammy). Aparo has also written songs for Big & Rich, Tim McGraw and Miley Cyrus.