Square dance calling — the spoken instructions said over the music — makes participation easy. But there are other aspects — like the prevalence of gendered language such as “ladies and gents” — that can make square dancing an unwelcoming or confusing space. One group of friends in the Appalachian square dance scene are taking action to make the tradition more welcoming for all participants.Continue Reading Take Me to More News
March 4, 2022 – Grammy award-winning artist Kathy Mattea released today a special rendition of Lukas Nelson & Promise Of The Real’s “Turn Off The News (Build A Garden).” The song was captured during a recent taping of “Mountain Stage,” the live performance radio program produced by West Virginia Public Broadcasting and distributed by NPR Music. “I haven’t fallen this hard for a song in a good long while,” said Mattea. “It makes its point in such an elegant way. It’s very rare these days to see something so skillfully written, not provoking or aggressive, but not backing away from the issue either.”
Watch “Turn Off The News (Build A Garden)”- Directed by Chris Oxley for West Virginia Public Broadcasting
Find links to stream the song at the end of this post.
American Songwriter featured the song and stated, “Through her own rendition, Mattea envisions a metaphorical garden as fertile ground for rebuilding relationships severed by political division and digital addiction. The idea is not to turn a blind eye to the shape-shifting, recently devastating, events unfolding on the screen. Rather, it champions a unifying act that pulls people together over party lines, with a fruitful outcome.”
“With some of the polarization that we’re experiencing culturally, it’s like ‘Okay, I might not be able to sit down and talk with you about political things, or cultural things,’” Mattea continued. “‘But if we get in the dirt, and we work on this project together, we’re on the same side of something, and we are making something that’s real in the world—not just on the internet, or on the television. It is a real-world living thing we’re going to nurture together.’”
Mattea is joined by the Mountain Stage Band: Ron Sowell on harmonica, Bob Thompson on piano, Ammed Solomon on drums, Steve Hill on bass, Michael Lipton on electric guitar, and vocalist Julie Adams.
Mattea, who is also a West Virginia native, was named the new host of Mountain Stage last fall. Prior to accepting her new role, she had performed on the show more times than any other female artist (only second overall to fellow WV artist Tim O’Brien) as well as guest-hosted several times. Larry Groce, the co-founder and longtime host since its inception in 1983, handed over the reins after 37 years at the helm, though he still remains with the program as an artistic director.
For nearly 40 years, Mountain Stage has become an institution, standing as one of the most beloved and enduring programs in public radio history, broadcasting thousands of unforgettable live performances by rising stars and veteran legends alike. Produced out of the Culture Center Theater in Charleston, Mountain Stage is heard on nearly 300 public radio stations nationwide. Each two-hour episode of Mountain Stage is recorded in front of an audience and features a variety of musical styles, in genres ranging from traditional roots, folk, blues, and country, to indie rock, alternative, synth pop, world music, and beyond. Some of their most iconic guests over the years have included John Prine, Odetta, Wilco, R.E.M., Angélique Kidjo, Phish, Mavis Staples, Allen Toussaint, Alison Krauss, Townes Van Zandt, Patti Smith, Allen Ginsberg, Miriam Makeba, Dr. John, Buddy Guy, and Preservation Hall Jazz Band.
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