Encore: From The Land Of The Luchador To East Tennessee, Chatting With Appalachians Across The United States


On this week’s encore episode of Inside Appalachia, we’re journeying far and wide through Appalachia and beyond.

Author Mesha Maren takes us from the hills of West Virginia to the border between Texas and Mexico — the land of the Luchador. We’ll also hear about what West Virginians are doing to help Ukrainian refugees flee the war with Russia. And, we’ll learn about what doctors are saying about medical cannabis in the Mountain State — where it is now available to more than 8,000 patients.

We’ll round out our tour of Appalachia with a chat between our host Mason Adams and East Tennessee native Amythyst Kiah, whose record “Wary and Strange” was released in 2021.

In This Episode:

  • West Virginia Interfaith Ministry Providing Aid To Ukrainian Refugees 
  • Mesha Maren’s “Perpetual West” Melds Appalachia, Mexico
  • Medical Cannabis In The Mountain State
  • Q&A With Amythyst Kiah 

West Virginia Interfaith Ministry Providing Aid To Ukrainian Refugees 

Displaced Ukrainian citizens are being aided by the West Virginia Interfaith Refugee Ministry as they seek temporary refuge from the war between Ukraine and Russia. Charleston, West Virginia’s Rabbi Victor Urkecki spoke with West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s Randy Yohe about the efforts of WVIRM and the benefits of bringing refugees into the state.

Reporter Zack Harold (right) with West Virginia author Mesha Maren.

Zack Harold
West Virginia Public Broadcasting
Reporter Zack Harold (right) with West Virginia author Mesha Maren.

Mesha Maren’s “Perpetual West” Melds Appalachia, Mexico

Folkways Reporter Zack Harold interviewed Alderson, West Virginia native Mesha Maren about her new novel, “Perpetual West” at a live event at Taylor Books in Charleston, West Virginia.

“Perpetual West” melds stories about Appalachia and Mexico, academia and wrestling set in a fictional version of Maren’s hometown of Alderson.

Maren is a professor at Duke University and a writing fellow at the federal prison camp in Alderson.

Medical Cannabis In The Mountain State

Marijuana laws have been changing around America, including in Appalachia. After a long time coming, medical marijuana dispensaries are opening in West Virginia, where more than 8,000 patients are already benefiting from using medicinal cannabis. As June Leffler reports, doctors say there is a lot more potential in the plant, including the relative safety of using cannabis to treat pain instead of opioid medication.

Witty Lines, Wry Observations And The Music Of Amythyst Kiah

Amythyst Kiah logo.jpg

Brian Blauser
Mountain Stage

East Tennessee native Amythyst Kiah is a singer-songwriter whose work about identity and Blackness is catching attention from listeners all over the United States. Kiah self-released four albums before Rounder Records put out “Wary and Strange” in 2021. The record is personal, soulful, and at times, searing and anthemic.

Our host Mason Adams spoke with Amythyst about her music and about what post-pandemic life has in store for her work.


Our theme music is by Matt Jackfert. Additional music in this episode is from Amythyst Kiah and John Ingram.

Bill Lynch is our producer. Our executive producer is Eric Douglas. Kelley Libby is our editor. Our audio mixer is Patrick Stephens. Zander Aloi also helped produce this episode.

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Inside Appalachia is a production of West Virginia Public Broadcasting.