Virginia Crossroads Whistling - WSLS 10 NBC in Roanoke/Lynchburg Va

Virginia Crossroads Whistling

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The Blue Ridge Folklife Festival is coming up on October 26, and this year along with the old cars and tractors, mule jumping, coon dog races and local foods, the festival will feature a workshop on whistling.  In Virginia Crossroads, we feature Roanoker Eddie Ogle -- one of the Whistlers who will perform for the more than ten thousand people who typically attend the one day event.

Musician Eddie Ogle of Roanoke is giving us a lesson in whistling.

"I don't know you just get a big breath of air and … (at this point Eddie Ogle whistles a few bars) That's all there is to it," said Ogle

That's easy for him to say. Ogle plays in a band called Mountain Fling. The music seems to just flow out of him. He says he's been whistling since he was six.

"I was raised in the coalfields in McDowell County, a place called Newhall and it seemed like everybody whistled some," he said.

At his point he whistled a section of Amazing Grace, giving those of us in the room goose bumps.

Of course, lots of people can whistle – but often, you wish they wouldn't… Eddie says his mandolin, guitar and harmonica helped.

"What helped me a lot was playing other instruments and getting a feel for music that way. So I'm aware of my tempo and rhythm of it and being on pitch," he said.

Even Eddie says – that is the hardest part – that thing about being on pitch.

He agrees that whistling is a dying art. And wonders why more songs don't include it – like Otis Reading's Dock of the Bay -- which he proceeded to whistle flawlessly on camera.

He makes it look – and sound so simple. "Just start out. Get you some air in your lungs. Pucker your lips up and let it go…"

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