The Inside Appalachia Folkways Project expands the reporting of the Inside Appalachia team to include more stories from West Virginia as well as expand coverage in Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, and Ohio.

The project establishes the Inside Appalachia Folkways Corps, which launched with 10 specialized freelance reporters from four Appalachian states.

The Folkways initiative will include developing ongoing partnerships with folklife organizations and artisans across the region, as well as expanding WVPB’s educational components surrounding Appalachian folk life and culture, providing a tool kit for educators to incorporate “Inside Appalachia” into classrooms everywhere.

Folkways Stories

Zack Harold, Jan 03, 2023

Toy Story Gets A Much Anticipated Sequel

With new owners, the Mountain Craft Shop Co. will bring traditional folk toys to a new generation of kids.

Capri Cafaro, Dec 30, 2022

Columbus Washboard Company Produces Instruments Aimed To Meet Musicians’ Needs

The Columbus Washboard Company in Logan, Ohio is the last and only washboard factory in the United States. Founded in 1895, the company has more recently adapted its product to meet the varied needs of its customers, many of whom are musicians.

Margaret McLeod Leef, Dec 23, 2022

Communion Wafers And Apple Butter Inspire Chefs’ Work At Lost Creek Farm

At Lost Creek Farm in Harrison County, West Virginia, husband-and-wife duo Mike Costello and Amy Dawson hone in on the stories behind recipes served at their famed farm-to-table dinners. Including a curious appetizer that's a mashup of two unassuming food traditions from their childhoods.

Connie Bailey Kitts, Dec 23, 2022

Cookies For A Nativity Fast: Recipe With Ancient History Makes Annual Appearance In Appalachia

To prepare for Christmas, many Orthodox Christians fast for 40 days from eggs, meat and dairy. But that doesn’t mean they don’t enjoy something a little sweet. Ginny Chryssikos’ melomakarona fasting cookie brings a bit of ancient history to Appalachia.

Rachel Moore, Dec 09, 2022

Western North Carolina Barn Quilts Represent Community, History

If you’ve ever driven in a rural area, you may have seen a wooden quilt block hanging on the side of a barn. There might just be a story behind that block.

Zack Harold, Nov 25, 2022

New Book Explores History Of West Virginia Hot Dogs

“Making Our Future” by former West Virginia state folklorist Emily Hilliard dives deep into the niches of Mountain State culture, from songs of the labor movement to the history of hot dogs. The book was released on Nov. 22, 2022.

Nicole Musgrave, Nov 18, 2022

Gospel Musician In Millstone, Kentucky Tries To Salvage Family’s Flood-Ravaged Music Equipment

On July 28, communities all over southeast Kentucky were hit with unprecedented flooding. People lost homes, cars, family photos. Many musicians lost instruments, and that meant they couldn’t participate in cultural traditions that define their lives. But through the generosity of community members, some musicians have been able to reconnect with their music practice, finding comfort and even joy.

Zack Harold, Nov 04, 2022

New Podcast Takes Up Snake Handling Churches — But Leaves Behind The Stereotypes

Folkways reporter Zack Harold interviews musician, songwriter, painter and former preacher Abe Partridge about his podcast “Alabama Astronaut,” which chronicles the world of Appalachian snake handling churches and the unique genre of music found within their walls.

Leeshia Lee, Oct 21, 2022

Funeral Singer Provides Comfort And Healing To Charleston, W.Va.’s Black Community

For many Black communities throughout the country, music is an essential component of end-of-life rituals. When a loved one dies, families often call upon a skilled singer to perform at a funeral as a way to offer comfort and healing. In Charleston, West Virginia 41-year-old Michelle Dyess is one of the go-to singers that people request when it’s time to plan a funeral.

Connie Bailey Kitts, Sep 28, 2022

Country Ham Caprese And Cheesy Eggrolls: Virginia Barbecue Restaurant Serves Up Community-Inspired Dishes

People love to argue over which barbecue sauce is most authentic — vinegar, tomato or mustard. But Cuz’s Uptown Barbeque in Tazewell County, Virginia, is distinguished by something entirely different.

Zack Harold, Sep 27, 2022

Charleston Company Launches Butcher Apprenticeship In Move To Keep Meat Local

Breakdowns in the food supply chain from suppliers to our grocery stores have raised concerns and increased prices. Buzz Food Service in Charleston is trying to alleviate some of that in our region by training new, local butchers. Folkways reporter Zack Harold has the story.

Nicole Musgrave, Sep 25, 2022

In Kingsport, TN, Jerry Machen Sr. Passes Down The Art Of Carpet Design And Repair

Lots of people live with common household objects like furniture, silverware, and rugs. But for many of us, we seldom think about who makes these items, or where to turn when they’re in need of repair. One man in Kingsport, Tennessee has been building and repairing carpets and rugs for over 50 years. For Jerry Machen Sr., the business not only provides him with a livelihood, but also an outlet for expressing creativity and an opportunity for discovery.

Mason Adams, Sep 23, 2022

Floyd's Friday Night Jamboree Builds Community From Music

People from all walks of life travel from Roanoke, Blacksburg and places far beyond to reach Floyd, Virginia — a one-stoplight town in a sprawling county of about 15,000 people on the Blue Ridge Plateau. It’s home to the Friday Night Jamboree at the Floyd Country Store.

Clara Haizlett, Sep 06, 2022

Between The Worlds: A Lost Bird In Appalachia

In the late 1950s, the federal government established a program called the "Indian Adoption Project.” Throughout the nearly decade-long initiative, hundreds of native children were removed from their communities and placed with white families. The children were called “lost birds.” Lena Welker, now 66, was one of them.

Zack Harold, Aug 26, 2022

Wheeling Is Crazy For Cold Cheese Pizza. But Which Restaurant Serves The Best Slice?

People in Wheeling, West Virginia are passionate about their pizza. That’s because an accident of history led to a new style. Consider it Appalachia’s contribution to America’s great regional pizza traditions. And it goes by the name “DiCarlo’s Famous.”

Clara Haizlett, Aug 12, 2022

Sounds Of The Mountains: Appalachian And Ukrainian Musicians 'Play Their History'

You might be familiar with a traditional instrument called the mountain or lap dulcimer. But there’s another, lesser-known dulcimer in Appalachia called the hammer dulcimer. It’s a bigger, stationary instrument that isn’t related to the lap dulcimer at all. In fact, it’s a relative of a Ukrainian instrument called the tsymbaly.

Margaret McLeod Leef, Aug 12, 2022

West Virginia Beekeepers Say Their Tradition Is About More Than The Honey

People in West Virginia get into beekeeping for all sorts of reasons: to protect the pollinators, to make lip balm and other beeswax products, and of course, they do it for the honey. Regardless of what brings people to beekeeping, there’s a vast network of support—both formal and informal—to help people learn the craft.

Connie Bailey Kitts, Jul 19, 2022

Descendant Revisits, Revives African American Cemetery

America has a history of segregating Black and white people — in restaurants, schools, buses… even in death. In Bluefield, Virginia, graves of Black residents who helped build the town were neglected for decades in its segregated cemetery. It might have stayed that way had it not been for the efforts of one persistent woman whose family was buried there.

Mason Adams, Jul 13, 2022

Real-Life Outlaw Otto Wood Went Viral In The Thirties

In the early 1930s, the way for a story to go “viral” was by being sung about in a ballad. That’s what happened to Otto Wood, a real-life outlaw who grew up around Wilkesboro, North Carolina. He spent time with the Hatfields of southern West Virginia, became a famous moonshiner, and died in a shootout with police in 1930. Less than one year later, his story was told in the ballad “Otto Wood The Bandit,” recorded by Walker Kid and the Carolina Buddies.

Zack Harold, Dec 05, 2021

A Champion Guitar Player Continues the Family Legacy While Handing the Music Down

If you know one thing about the Newport Folk Festival, it’s probably this:In 1965, folk wonder boy Bob Dylan took the stage with an all-electric band. He changed the course of rock music forever, but also enraged some traditionalists in the process. Pete Seeger was ap…