Country Music

Amos Perrine

Since the show began almost two years ago, A Change of Tune has highlighted some of the best up-and-coming artists out of these West Virginia hills with podcast-y chats ranging from Jordan Andrew Jefferson to Heavy-Set Paw-Paws, Of the Dell to False Pterodactyl and beyond.

But those interviews have been a bit infrequent, and since West Virginia Day is coming up (not to mention A Change of Tune’s second birthday), we thought we’d do something special: 30 days, 30 brand new #WVmusic interviews that range from Morgantown alt-rockers and Parkersburg singer-songwriters to West Virginia music venues and regional artist management and beyond, all of which contribute to this state’s wild and wonderful music scene.

October 21, 1935: Country Musician Mel Street Born in Virginia

Oct 21, 2015
Mel Street
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia

Country musician Mel Street was born near Grundy, Virginia, on October 21, 1935. He gained early show business experience on WHIS radio and television in Bluefield. In the late 1960s and early ‘70s, he hosted his own radio show in Bluefield. During this time, he developed his signature honky-tonk style, inspired by country crooners of the ‘50s and ‘60s.

Courtesy of Fret and Fiddle

This week on Inside Appalachia we pay tribute to fiddler Joe Dobbs, who passed away September 21st at the age of 81. For 25 years he hosted a radio show, called Music From the Mountains, on West Virginia Public Broadcasting.

Flickr bot / wikimedia Commons

West Virginia native and country music legend "Little" Jimmy Dickens has died at the age of 94. According to a press release from The Grand Ole Opry, Dickens passed away Friday afternoon as a result of cardiac arrest following a stroke he suffered on Christmas Day.

Born in Bolt, West Virginia on December 19, 1920, Dickens would go on to be the longest running member of The Grand Ole Opry. He first performed on the show in 1948 and last played on December 20, 2014--just a day after his 94th birthday.

"The Grand Ole Opry did not have a better friend than Little Jimmy Dickens,” said Pete Fisher, Opry Vice President & General Manager through a news release on the show's website Friday evening.  “He loved the audience and his Opry family, and all of us loved him back. He was a one-of-kind entertainer and a great soul whose spirit will live on for years to come."

Dan Schultz

By Dan Schultz and Traveling 219.

It’s Saturday night and the dance floor of the American Heritage Music Hall is crowded with couples swinging, stepping, and shaking to live country and rock ‘n’ roll music.

The music hall is spacious and makes a perfect venue for live music. Its walls are strewn with banjos, guitars, and photographs of early country music stars.

A young yoga skeptic finds interest in the exercises.

Kentucky farmers are testing the nutritional value of hay.

And a music camp carries on the tradition of ole time Appalachian music.

Residents concerned about environmental impact. After approval for a mountain top removal site near Kanawha State Forest, the safety of people living in the area are not the only red flag being raised. As Ashton Marra of West Virginia Public Radio reports, the possible effects on plant and animal life are drawing criticism.