DryBread Road consists of Bette and Rick Newsome. Bette does vocals, plays guitar, banjo and bass; Rick does vocals, plays mandolin, fiddle, guitar, and harmonica.
Bette is a native of Drakes Branch, Va., which is in Charlotte County, Va. She is a retired educator having been a teacher and administrator in both the secondary and college arenas, retiring in 2007. Bette’s musical background came naturally, as both her father, William McKinney, and her mother, Sudie Powell McKinney were involved in music. Bette’s father was in traditional country band with his brothers before and after WW2. Bette’s mother was the local piano teacher in and around Drakes Branch and along with Bette played piano for several local churches. Bette is a graduate of Longwood University with a post graduate degree from The University of Virginia.
Rick is a native of Emporia, Va., which is in Greensville County, Va. Rick was born in Roanoke Rapids, NC, about 20 miles south of Emporia, because that was the nearest hospital to Emporia. Rick was radio personality from 1970 to 1991 at various stations in Va. and NC, including WEVA, Emporia, WSVS,
DryBread Road, the duo, came to be in 2007 when Rick and Bette decided start performing together. The name, DryBread Road, comes from Virginia highway 611, more commonly known as the Dry Bread road, that runs through Greensville and Brunswick counties, Va. Rick was raised in a small community called Allen town, aka Sugar Pig Hill, which was just off the Dry Bread Road.
Dry Bread road’s name is a source of much speculation, but the preferred legend is that it received the moniker at the end of the American Revolutionary war. Legend has it that British troops were retreating to Yorktown through North Carolina and southern Virginia, looting and confiscating food from the locals as they travelled through. The residents of the area through Brunswick county, VA (and now Greensville county) were warned of the British approach and took measures to hide most livestock and food from the Brits, offereing them only “dry bread” as they passed through. Upon reaching Yorktown, it is said, that Cornwallis asked his commander (Tarleton, according to legend) about his retreat. The British commander replied that all went well til they got to the “damned Dry Bread road.” This may or may not be true, but it makes for a good story when people ask how the band got its name.