Travis D. Stimeling
288pp / 22 images
Sounding Appalachia Series
Songwriting in Contemporary West Virginia: Profiles and Reflections is the first book dedicated to telling the stories of West Virginia’s extensive community of songwriters. Based on oral histories conducted by Stimeling and told largely in the songwriters’ own words, these profiles offer a lively overview of the personalities, venues, and networks that nurture and sustain popular music in West Virginia.
Stimeling is attentive to breadth and diversity, presenting sketches of established personalities like Larry Groce, who oversees Mountain Stage, and emerging musicians like Maria Allison, who dreams of one day performing there. Each profile includes a brief selected discography to guide readers to recordings of these musicians’ work.
A Note on Sources
Part I: Charleston—West Virginia’s Songwriting Capital
Part II: The Ohio Valley—Rivers of Song
Part III: The Eastern Panhandle—Roots and Branches
Part IV: The Southern Coalfields—The Spiritual Home
Shirley Stewart Burns
Part V: The Tamarack Scene—Beckley, Bluefield, Lewisburg
Part VI: Morgantown—Songwriting in the University City
Travis D. Stimeling is associate professor of musicology at West Virginia University, where he also directs the WVU Bluegrass and Old-Time Bands. His previous books include Cosmic Cowboys and New Hicks: The Countercultural Sounds of Austin’s Progressive Country Music Scene, The Country Music Reader, and Fifty Cents and a Box Top: The Creative Life of Nashville Session Musician Charlie McCoy, published by WVU Press.
“Travis Stimeling has painted a representative, pointedly contemporary portrait of West Virginia songwriters.”
Jewly Hight, author of Right by Her Roots: Americana Women and Their Songs
“West Virginia’s hills are alive with the sound of music. And with Travis Stimeling as Mountain State music tour guide, audiences can now explore the work of songwriters who call these coalfields, creeks, and cities their home.”
Joni Deutsch, creator of Change of Tune on West Virginia Public Broadcasting