Bill Lynch, Mason Adams, Kelley Libby, Zander Aloi, Zack Harold, Shepherd Snyder, Caitlin Tan Published

Virginia Photographer ‘Openhead Takes Photos,’ Model Trains And The Kentucky Moonshine Trail, Inside Appalachia

An adult woman with dark hair and tattoos poses for a photo and looks up toward the sky, while holding her camera. A flower bush is seen behind her.
Chelse Warren, owner of Openhead Takes Photos.
Courtesy of Openhead Takes Photos

This week, punk music photographer Chelse Warren takes us into the pit.

We hop a tiny train to discover the miniature wonders of a West Virginia model railroad.

Then, we journey to eastern Kentucky, where they’re reclaiming their bootlegging heritage – along a new moonshine trail.

You’ll hear these stories and more this week, Inside Appalachia.

In This Episode:

Open Head Takes Photos

A man is held up by audience members in a mosh pin at a concert.
Courtesy of Openhead Takes Photos

Over the summer, Mason Adams visited a two-day DIY music festival called The Floor is Gone.

In the middle of it all was photographer Chelse Warren, who goes by Openhead Takes Photos online.

Mason reached out to talk music and more.

Tiny Train Trouble

A man sits at a table and works on a large model train and model town.
The Kanawha Valley Railroad Association got a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity in 1998. The county commission gave them some money to build a brick-and-mortar clubhouse. Members decided to use the new space to build one big, permanent model train layout.

Credit: Zack Harold/West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Along with trees and candy canes, trains have become a symbol of the holiday season. Think: the Polar Express, or Santa-themed excursions on local railroads. And generations of people grew up hoping to find electric train sets under the tree on Christmas Day.

These days, model train sets are enjoyed by grownup collectors and hobbyists.

Folkways Reporter Zack Harold visited a model train club in West Virginia and brings us the story.

Beyond Bourbon In The Bluegrass State

Kentucky is known for its bourbon. But that doesn’t mean it’s the only liquor with a history in the state.

A group of distillers wants to attract more visitors to eastern Kentucky by focusing on its historic ties to moonshine.

Shepherd Snyder has the story. 

Remembering Travis Stimeling

Travis Stimeling, a musicology professor and the director of the Bluegrass and Old-Time Bands at West Virginia University (WVU), died on Nov. 15. They were 44.

Stimeling was a big figure in Appalachian academia, and played an important role in establishing the Appalachian Studies and Appalachian Music programs at WVU. Stimeling spoke with Inside Appalachia several times. 

In 2021, Caitlin Tan interviewed Stimeling about a book they edited called, “The Opioid Epidemic and U.S. Culture: Expression, Art, and Politics in an Age of Addiction.” 

In memory of Stimeling, we replayed that interview.


Our theme music is by Matt Jackfert. Other music this week was provided by Collective Action, Dimension Six, Gaol, Sultry, Sean Watkins, Hurlbut-Kaukonen, Tyler Childers, Steve Earle and Gerry Milnes. 

Bill Lynch is our producer. Zander Aloi is our associate producer. Our executive producer is Eric Douglas. Kelley Libby is our editor. Our audio mixer is Patrick Stephens.

You can send us an email:

You can find us on Instagram, Threads and Twitter @InAppalachia. Or here on Facebook.

Sign-up for the Inside Appalachia Newsletter!

Inside Appalachia is a production of West Virginia Public Broadcasting.