The Belly Guy

The Belly Guy was designed by Keith Lyndaker (Schlabach) (KMLS) to serve as the moniker for the first JR album, Belly Hymns.

The Buddha-like image is meant to symbolize the contemplative nature of formative musical compositions. There is an authenticity to songs that emerge out of one’s center, that rooted place deep within. Hence, the power of such music to resonate within us and to connect us to each other.

That is the hope anyway.

The story is told that before he was born, Keith would dance in his mother’s womb to the rhythm of the hymns sung in church. It is a story that is a warm reminder to Keith that music has been moving him since before he was born!

The Belly Guy has appeared on a variety of Jeremiahs Run related paraphernalia such as web sites and concert publicity.

The Lost Gap’s SoundCloud presence is titled The Belly Hymns Project, harking back to that first musical project, and The Belly Guy serves as the icon for the site.

One of KMLS’ most precious things is a silver Belly Guy medallion designed by a Shepherdstown jeweler and gifted to KMLS by a young friend.


Who? What? Where? Is Jeremiahs Run?

You may notice the name Jeremiahs Run popping up a lot as you peruse info about The Lost Gap. That’s because Jeremiahs Run is the name of the band/musical project that predates TLG.


Jeremiahs Run is a stream in southern Virginia that has its headwaters in what is now the Shenandoah National Forest. Jeremiahs Run has some of the best native trout fishing in the area and carves a beautiful and scenic route through the foothills of the Blue Ridge before it empties into the Shenandoah River near its intersection with Rt. 340 just south of Front Royal in Rileysville, VA. JR Campground is located here.

According to Eric Johnson, trout fisherman and living history volunteer at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, the stream was named after one of the original settlers in the area who, along with his family and many other mountain people, was moved from his home to the valley by the government so that his confiscated land could become part of the National Forest. 

In 1934, all 465 families who lived in the future Shenandoah National Park were evicted from their homes. You can read more about one family’s eviction here. Cynthia Berryman, who traces her family roots to the Blue Ridge, has a wonderful blog at We’re All Relative, where she describes her family’s history and removal from their mountain homes. The Blue Ridge Heritage Project – Page County Facebook Group is also a good source of information.

In 2015, Sue Eisenfeld published Shenandoah: A Story of Conservation and Betrayal which is “Eisenfeld’s personal journey into the park’s hidden past based on her off-trail explorations. She describes the turmoil of residents’ removal as well as the human face of the government officials behind the formation of the park.”

Jeremiahs Run Bridge, Route 340, Rileyville, Va

A Great Name for a Band

Keith Lyndaker, on one of his many drives down Route 340 to visit family in Virginia, saw the sign for the stream and thought that it would be a great name for a band some day.

The album, Belly Hymns, released in 1997, was the first musical project to use the Jeremiahs Run moniker. (The Lost Gap will be re-releasing a number of Jeremiahs Run songs from Belly Hymns and other previous albums).

Like the band, the stream is hard to find these days. It is listed as Jeremy’s Run as can be seen on the map below.

What’s In A Name?

Jeremy’s Run is the name used to refer to the stream at Wikipedia and the majority of other documentation. The Jeremy’s Run loop is a notable hiking trail in the Shenandoah National Forest (SNP).

Hiking Upward gives the following description:

At 14.7 miles the Jeremy’s Run loop is one of the longest in the SNP. On the Neighbor Mountain Trail there are several beautiful views to the west of Kennedy Peak, Duncan Knob, and the Three Sisters Ridge just to the south. Also with 14 crossings of Jeremy’s Run this hike can be a challenge in the spring when the water is at its highest level.

Bridge Hunter refers to the structure over Jeremy’s Run as the Jeremiahs Run Bridge, when the previous bridge built in 1936 was replaced in 2009. Jeremiahs Run Road, which meanders along the course of the stream, carries on the name as well.

Early historical documents such as the original Fairfax land grant below do list the stream as Jeremy’s Run so perhaps the names were used interchangeably.

The document states that in March 2, 1776, Ephraim Leith received a Fairfax land grant for the land assigned to him by Thomas Dodson/Dotson. This was 367 acres on Jeremy’s Run in Dunmore County which was surveyed in 1771 ‘very near Dodson’s late survey on Jeremy’s run’.

The page Pioneers of the South Fork in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia is the main source for much of this information on early pioneers in the area. The site lists the following info which notes those who lived beside the stream and the stream’s previous name:

In 1754 Henry Netherton owned a tract of 167 acres surveyed in 1754.  This property was sold in 1755 to William Bethel.  In 1762 Henry Nelson received a Fairfax grant for 140 acres and also 400 acres adjoining Henry Netherton and Samuel Odell. At one time Jeremy’s run was called Netherton’s Mill or Mill Run. 

Jeremiah Odell

As far as the namesake for the stream, the earliest occurrence of the name Jeremiah in the area was one Jeremiah Odell. The south river grant which included Jeremy’s Run was 7000 acres surveyed by Colonel James Wood in 1735. The map below lists the early pioneer family groups of which Jeremiah Odell is one.

It seems that this Jeremiah Odell was the half brother to a Jeremiah O’Dell who was born between 1701 to 1751, and who died in 1777. Jeremiah Odell is listed as being born in 1735 in Shenandoah County and having died in 1777. This Jeremiah Odell was the son of Samuel Odell and married Leah Tyler, daughter of Leah and William sometime in the 1750s.

So perhaps Jeremiahs Run gets his name from this Jeremiah Odell though I am not sure if this is the original settler referred to above whose namesake graces the stream.

Regardless how the stream was named, Jeremiahs Run served as an excellent band moniker for the many years pre-dating The Lost Gap. In January 2000, JR front man Keith Lyndaker penned a song about the stream/band. The chords/lyrics are below:

Jeremiahs Run

V: Em 5th fret, C top 5th fret

Ch: Am 3rd fret F 3rd fret

You go down south to Rileyville and you make a left turn at the bridge.

You follow the road up into the mountains to the beautiful Blue Ridge.

You pass the white clapboard church on your way and some rusted stills for making mountain beer.

There’s a stream running there called Jeremiahs Run.

It plays the prettiest music you’ll ever hear,

You’ll ever hear.

You make a left turn at Miller’s Holler and you drive to the end of the road.

There’s an old man there who’ll sell you the best honey ever come from a honeycomb.

You better get you some honey from the honey man before the honey and the man disappear.

There’s a stream running there called Jeremiahs Run.

It plays the prettiest music you’ll ever hear,

You’ll ever hear.

Jeremiah wasn’t a bullfrog that used to be his cabin over there.

The government came and took his land away, paid him a price they thought was fair.

He moved his family and things down into the valley, but he left his name to carry on here.

Flowing through the stream called Jeremiahs Run.

It plays the prettiest music you’ll ever hear,

You’ll ever hear.

A History of “the” Lost Gap

Southern Railway train detouring near Meehan Junction not far from Lost Gap, J. Parker Lamb Collection June 1954

On November 1, 2012, Steve Gillespie, Managing Editor of The Meridian Star, referencing the book Railroads of Meridian by J. Parker Lamb, wrote an article in which he detailed the history behind the name Lost Gap:

Lost Gap (just outside of Meridian, Mississippi) got its name because of a compass failure that occurred during construction of the Southern Railroad line around 1859.

For three days two surveying crews each waited on the other to join up with them to lay out the route. Finally their search parties met up.

Underground iron deposits were blamed for the mix-up, skewing the magnetic compasses, which caused the eastbound crew to veer south, and the westbound crew to veer north. Consequently the route has an unplanned section of track running north and south — a “lost gap” in the original route survey.

The Alabama and Vicksburg Railroad operated the rail line through Lost Gap from 1899-1926. A map from this era from Mississippi Rails shows the strange curve in the rail line at Lost Gap.

On the Facebook group Remember When in Meridian, MS, Betty Joe Alexander posted the Meridian Star article below from 1964 detailing the “daylighting ” (the removal of the roof) of the railroad tunnel in Lost Gap.

Band members and brothers Keith and Brent grew up in Lost Gap and after collaborating on a variety of musical projects over the years, decided at this particular season in life that The Lost Gap best fits their past and current musical vision.

Kansas City Southern; Lost Gap MS; 2/23/11
Steve Barry, Kansas City Southern; Lost Gap MS; 2/23/11 A Kansas City Southern westbound heads under Old Highway 80, leaving behind the home of the Singing Brakeman, Jimmie Rodgers, in Meridian and approaching the borough of Chunky.