Radio

Brian Blauser / Mountain Stage

Since they first met as students in Syracuse, New York, Ra Ra Riot has put a decade of experience performing under its collective belt. They draw influence from the experimental side classic rock like The Police and Talking Heads, but they also feature a small string section, which sometimes leads to their music being called "chamber pop," like in this performance of "Water."

In 1960, Schaus moved back to the NBA.
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online. / WV Humanities Council

Former West Virginia University basketball coach Fred Schaus died in Morgantown on February 10, 2010, at age 84.

Before entering the coaching ranks, he was a star basketball player at WVU—being the first Mountaineer to score 1000 points in his career.

After five years in the NBA, he returned to WVU in 1954 to coach the most successful teams in school history. Led first by “Hot Rod” Hundley, then Jerry West, WVU made it to six straight NCAA Tournaments and lost the 1959 national title game by only a point.

In reality, McCarthy didn’t have an actual list.
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online & The Wheeling Intelligencer / WV Humanities Council

On February 9, 1950, a speech in Wheeling given by U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy altered the course of history.

During his speech at the McClure Hotel, the Wisconsin Republican held up a piece of paper that allegedly listed 205 communists who worked for the U.S. State Department.

It was a pivotal moment in the early Cold War and propelled McCarthy into the national spotlight.

Wilco, Jeff Tweedy, Space Oddity
Josh Saul / Mountain Stage

Since their formation as an alt-country influenced group in the mid 90's, Chicago-based band Wilco have evolved into the de facto standard bearers for experimental and indie rock. They close their Mountain Stage set this week with a cover of the late David Bowie's masterpiece "Space Oddity."

for 25 of those years, he also was the lead play-by-play announcer for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online. / WV Humanities Council

Broadcaster Jack Fleming was born in Morgantown on February 3, 1923. After serving in World War II as a navigator on a B-17, he enrolled in West Virginia University through the GI Bill.

In 1947, as a 24-year-old undergrad, Fleming became the “Voice of the Mountaineers” on radio.

Hundreds of men died from a debilitating lung disease known as silicosis.
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online. / WV Humanities Council

On February 2, 1946, novelist Hubert Skidmore died at age 36. In the late 1930s and early ’40s, the Webster County native wrote several novels featuring West Virginia settings.

A common theme was the endurance of mountain people in the face of adversity. His best-known book never reached the public during his lifetime. Hawk’s Nest is a fictionalized account of what has been described as America’s worst industrial accident.

Listen: Larry Groce Perform on NPR's Mountain Stage

Feb 1, 2017
Larry Groce
Josh Saul / Mountain Stage

Although he's hosted over 850 episodes, it's been a long time since Mountain Stage host Larry Groce has performed a set of his own on the show. But he does this week, with songs from his first album in over two decades, Live Forever.

This week's broadcast also features performances from seminal indie pop band Guster, established singer and entertainer Robert Earl Keen, and Americana folk band The Westies.

It devastated communities along the entire 1000-mile stretch of the Ohio.
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online. / WV Humanities Council

On January 28, 1937, the Ohio River crested in Huntington nearly 20 feet above flood stage. Days earlier, it’d crested at the same level in Parkersburg and 10 feet above flood stage in Wheeling.

The Ohio River had always been prone to flooding. Just 10 months before, the Ohio had hit record levels at Wheeling.

He later recalled that the spirit of God had told him to build crosses across the countryside.
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online, Charleston Newspapers, Frank Herrera / WV Humanities Council

On January 27, 1925, the Reverend Bernard Coffindaffer was born at Craigsville in Nicholas County.

During World War II, he served in the Marines and was wounded on Iwo Jima. After the war, he returned to West Virginia and amassed a small fortune through a coal-washing business.

Brian Blauser / Mountain Stage

Since their formation in 2000, Portland-based indie rock band Blitzen Trapper have played nearly every major festival in America and shared the stage with the likes of Iron & Wine and Wilco. Here they play "Black River Killer" from this week's encore broadcast of Mountain Stage with Larry Groce.

At the beginning of the Civil War, Virginia seceded from the Union, and Jackson was appointed a Confederate brigadier general.
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online. / WV Humanities Council

Thomas Jackson was born in Clarksburg around midnight on the evening of January 20, 1824. He was raised by an uncle at Jackson’s Mill in Lewis County and then attended the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

He fought gallantly during the Mexican War but resigned from the army after the war.

He spent the next 10 years teaching philosophy and artillery at the Virginia Military Institute.

Hardy’s hanging probably would have been the end of the story if not for a ballad written about the event.
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online. / WV Humanities Council

John Hardy was hanged in the McDowell County seat of Welch on January 19, 1894.

The black railroad worker had been convicted of murdering a man in a gambling dispute at present-day Eckman.

Hardy was just one of tens of thousands of African Americans who poured into southern West Virginia in the late 1800s and early 1900s to work in the coal and railroad industries.

Hardy’s hanging probably would have been the end of the story if not for a ballad written about the event. The song circulated by word of mouth, with the details changing over time.

Lindsay Lou & the Flatbellys
Josh Saul / Mountain Stage

Keeping one foot in their native Michigan's Mowtown soul and another in Music City, bluegrass-inspired ensemble Lindsay Lou & the Flatbellys delivered one of our favorite performances of 2015. You can listen to their entire set on this week's encore broadcast of Mountain Stage.

The Register was then published in the afternoons and on Sundays.
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online. / WV Humanities Council

Newspaperman Charles Hodel was born in Ohio on January 13, 1889. After learning the printing trade, he moved to Beckley at age 24 and became editor and general manager of the Raleigh Register newspaper.

Thanks to the rapidly expanding coal industry, Beckley was a booming town.

In 1929, Hodel and his associates acquired the Register’s competitor, the Post-Herald, which became Beckley’s morning paper. The Register was then published in the afternoons and on Sundays.

. One of the most significant established ‘‘Mother’s Pensions.’’
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online. / WV Humanities Council

Anna Johnson Gates died on January 12, 1939, just before her 50th birthday. In the 1910s, the East Bank native fought for women’s suffrage.

After women were granted the vote nationally in 1920, she served as the associate chair of Kanawha County’s Democratic Executive Committee.

Then, in 1922, she was elected to the West Virginia Legislature, becoming the first woman ever to serve in that body.

Josh Saul / Mountain Stage

Best known for his 1971 acoustic pop hit "Sunshine," Jonathan Edwards also has a solid background in country, folk, and bluegrass music. Here he performs the traditional song "I Wish I Was a Mole in the Ground," from this week's encore broadcast of Mountain Stage.

At the end of the Civil War, Lamon was dispatched to Richmond, making him unavailable to guard the president on that fateful night at Ford’s Theater.
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online. / WV Humanities Council

On January 6, 1828, Ward Hill Lamon was born in Jefferson County. He was raised at Bunker Hill, in Berkeley County, before moving to Danville, Illinois, at age 18. In 1852, Lamon’s life took a historic twist when he became the law partner of a former congressman—Abraham Lincoln.

This new Victorian Capitol was a massive stone-and-brick structure built on the site of Charleston’s first capitol.
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online. / WV Humanities Council

On January 5, 1887, Governor E. Willis Wilson hosted a ball and banquet to dedicate West Virginia’s new capitol building in downtown Charleston. The event marked the end of what had become a running joke in the state’s early years—the location of the capital city. In the first two decades of statehood, the capital had already been moved from Wheeling to Charleston and back to Wheeling, again.

The dedication event in Charleston marked the capital’s final journey—at least in terms of host cities.

Josh Saul / Mountain Stage

From Northampton, Massachusetts, beloved folk-rocker Stephen Kellogg returns to Mountain Stage this week with a band that includes Miranda Mulholland of the Great Lake Swimmers. He closes his 2015 set with crowd favorite "The Bear" on this week's encore broadcast.

Congressman Ken Hechler paid to bring hundreds of miners and the widows of the Farmington miners to protest at the nation’s capitol.
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia online. / WV Humanities Council

On December 30, 1969, President Richard Nixon signed into law the Federal Coal Mine Health and Safety Act.  Since the Monongah mine disaster in Marion County more than 60 years earlier, Congress had been passing laws to address coal mine safety. However, most were filled with loopholes or lacked funding for enforcement.

The tide turned after another Marion County disaster. The 1968 Farmington explosion killed 78 miners. Americans watched in horror as the drama unfolded on national TV. 

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