FLOYD, Va.—"Well, hello friends and neighbors. How do you do. It's Dr. Pepper time."
The Java Brothers were on stage at the Floyd Country Store last Saturday night, but it wasn't hard to imagine a broadcast 70 years earlier in the studios of WDBJ radio.
"It was music in the studio every day and it was usually one set followed by another band, followed by another band," said band member Ralph Berrier, "and you had a bunch of great announcers like Irving Sharp and Hal Grant."
On this night, Berrier was the announcer. He's the Roanoke Times reporter who wrote "If Trouble Don't Kill Me," the story of his grandfather and great uncle, twin brothers Clayton and Saford Hall. They were talented bluegrass performers, their music careers cut short by World War II.
Berrier has read excerpts at book signings, but Saturday's concert was the first time he and his Java Brothers band mates were recreating the radio show.
Joe Abercrombie is the band's banjo player. "I actually loved it. The fact that Ralph had the story line and kind of this personality it was kind of fun to get into that mode," he said.
The audience enjoyed the Java Brothers' bluegrass. And almost two years after his book was published, Berrier says he's still meeting people who knew his relatives or remember the old radio shows they played
Whenever he thinks it's time to move on to another project, Berrier says, something like Saturday's performance comes along, and breathes new life into the story.
"And so maybe we'll do more of these," he said.