Music in the Mountains

By Gresham, Caryn | The Charleston Gazette (Charleston, WV), May 24, 2019 | Go to article overview

Music in the Mountains


Gresham, Caryn, The Charleston Gazette (Charleston, WV)


There's music in the mountains. From traditional tunes to classical symphonies, from indie rock to gospel, West Virginia's music scene has something for every musical taste and many opportunities for musicians to play and audiences to listen.

"Music is embedded in our culture, said Joe Tackett, West Virginia Symphony Orchestra president. "Many people enjoy playing music, and that is a strong foundation for audiences who seek out the music they like.

Randall Reid-Smith, West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History curator, agrees. "Music is a language that everyone speaks, he said. "Visit any county in West Virginia and you'll find an exciting music scene.

"Every state has marquee music names. Here in West Virginia, we have musicians, composers, songwriters and singers who have flown under the radar, said Michael Lipton, West Virginia Hall of Fame director. "Because of the state's isolation, it nurtured unique people whose music, regardless of genre, reflects that.

West Virginia's music scene isn't flying under the radar now. People from all over the world are coming here for "Mountain Stage" and Appalachian String Band Festival. As they travel to the Mountain State for vacations and getaways, they are enjoying music along the Mountain Music Trail and at festivals around the state.

"'Mountain Stage' has been dubbed the state's calling card, said Vasilia Scouras, "Mountain Stage" associate producer. "For some, coming to Charleston for a show is like a pilgrimage. It's on their bucket list!

Ron Sowell, "Mountain Stage" music-director and band-leader, says the mix of musical genres that the show offers keeps it fresh and lively. He is especially proud of the opportunity the radio show affords local bands.

"From December through March, every 'Mountain Stage' show featured a West Virginia band, he said. "Andrew Adkins of Fayetteville introduced his solo album on 'Mountain Stage.' It is No. 4 on the Americana Roots chart, and his single is No. 13.

The Appalachian String Band Festival held each summer at Camp Washington Carver in Clifftop has an international following as well. People camp at the site or stay in local hotels. …

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