Appalachian Music Keeps Flowing through the WV HillsMay 21, 2014
West Virginia is training the region’s next wave of musical talent. Let’s hope they reach the high mark of our current local artists! The Musicians and Songwriters Conference and Workshop next weekend bring area music crafters together to deepen their understanding of musical theory and composition. And there’s a good chance they will! They’ll be under the direction of regional talent, master jazz pianist Jay Flippin. The prolific composer has penned more than 1,000 pieces— everything from jingles to film scores. It’s earned him a handful of Emmy’s and other prestigious accolades. The New River Gorge plays host to local and regional talent all the time. Here are a few frequent (and upcoming) performers, so you can get a sense of the talent around here:
Larry Keel & Natural Bridge
This flatpickin’ Virginia guitarist brings his bluegrass sound to the gorge June 6 at the Mountain Music Festival at Ace Adventure Resort. He’s got a knack for Southern-soundifying popular tunes, as well as whipping up his own catchy Appalachian jams. The Natural Bridge backs him up with vocal harmony, bass, and rock-twang mandolin and banjo.
The Wild Rumpus
Ever heard of Stompgrass? Nobody gets the party quite as riled up as the Rumpus. High demand brings this hoe-down good-time band to town all the time, playing June 5 to help open the Mountain Music Festival and just kicking off the season at Adventures on the Gorge Resort’s Rendezvous River Lodge, in what’s sure to be the first of several appearances this season. Stop in and stomp, jig, and show off your mountain moves (you won’t be able to help yourself.)
New River Youth Symphony
It’s not just roots music that gets West Virginians excited. The New River Youth Symphony and Chorus frequent the Fayetteville music scene. These talented youngsters prove that WV’s musical hold won’t be in jeopardy any time soon. From haunting harmonies to jovial classics, they bring a powerful and moving performance. You can catch them for select appearances through the year, including a holiday showcase at the Historic Fayette Theater this Christmas.
The Boatmen roll their harmonic Americana to the New River Gorge from their home just up the road in Beckley, WV. Their soulful sound keeps them traveling about, but they’re always welcomed with an enthusiastic crowd back home to groove to their funky folk sound. They’ll be playing June 5 as a precursor to the rockstar lineup at the Mountain Music Festival.
The Half-Bad Bluegrass Band
What started as a weekly jam session thankfully evolved into a full-blown phenomenon of passionate bluegrass performance. The West Virginia natives blend banjo, mandolin, and a trio of voices into their rockin’ roots sound. They belt out traditional tunes of the mountain region, so if you want a real WV experience, catch them live. They frequent Adventures on the Gorge and other stops around town. That’s just a sample of acts you can catch here around the gorge. Which have you seen?