Tag Archives: Music

Lineup Announced for Downtown Charleston’s Live on the Levee

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Live on the Levee is back again this year with music from all over the spectrum.
Beginning May 24th going through August 30th, there will be musical stylings such as The Verve Pipe, The Cleverlys, and Karen Allen Band. There will also be events most evenings such as the Special Olympics, Biker Bash, FestivALL, and as always – fireworks.
For the full schedule and more information visit: https://wchstv.com

Photo credits: WCHS & Sunnyside Productions

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New show to feature local artists in West Virginia

Host of Rokpad Entertainment, Aaliyah Jones, outside of creative marketing firm Aronfield Agency in Charleston, West Virginia.

Exciting news for many artists in and around West Virginia. A new local television show is in the works that will feature Aaliyah Jones as the host who will interview guests ranging from all forms of mixed media artists to music and fashion, but it’s main emphasis will be on the local music scene in the mountain state for their first season. It will be called Rokpad Entertainment. The show will feature various segments with artist interviews, skits, music videos and much more. It will air on local listings throughout and around West Virginia, see their website for more information. Rokpad Entertainment will also produce segments of the show for YouTube as well. The show is being produced by the creative marketing and advertising agency firm Aronfield Agency, located in Charleston, West Virginia. Rokpad Entertainment will have a set built in their studio for interviewers.If you would like to be featured on the show or have you have news to share about your creative project, Rokpad Entertainment welcomes everyone to fill out a form on their website or reach out on social media with your details. http://rokpad.com

Check out their website for more information.

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Emmalea Deal | An Unapologetically Authentic West Virginia Musician

Emmalea Deal | An Unapologetically Authentic West Virginia Musician
Article by Miranda Woody 

Emmalea Deal, hailing from Summersville, West Virginia, is a young woman with a big dream. Even more so, she’s a young woman with a big voice, and a creative mind full of musical inspiration. As I begin my conversation with the West Virginian singer-songwriter, she tells me, “It might be cheesy to say, but I’ve always been a musical person. I grew up listening to music all the time. My grandparents loved to play bluegrass music at home, and I just really liked it. I liked music and the thought of learning to play music.” I ask Emmalea (“Emmy”) Deal to elaborate, and she does so, telling me, “I was probably six years old and I thought: I want to do this, even if it’s just for fun.”

This humble start is what would eventually catapult Deal into recording original music and playing music all the way from her hometown of Summersville, West Virginia to the “Music City” itself— Nashville, Tennessee. Deal tells me that she played her first talent show when she was merely six years old, and in that moment (after winning the talent show, much to her own surprise) Deal decided to “make music (her) career”, no matter the odds.
Deal followed her dream, learning to play guitar and practicing her vocals almost daily throughout her childhood. Being homeschooled, Deal tells me she had a lot of freedom growing up to explore herself and her connection to the

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Beckley Band Seeks West Virginia’s Sound

Beckley Band Seeks West Virginia’s Sound
Article by Miranda Woody

Heavy Set Paw-Paws, an alternative band from Beckley, West Virginia, was formed in 2011 by musician David Gravely and vocalist Tyler Evans. According to Gravely, the band’s name “began as a joke, and then it just stuck.” Gravely and Evans had been playing music together for many years prior to the formation of Heavy Set Paw-Paws, playing in various bands with one another and some of their college friends. After their college years came to an end, though, the band mates all parted ways – except for Gravely and Evans. Although Evans moved to France for a period of time, he and Gravely recorded an album with one another before Evans’s departure. Their first album was released in 2013, and they released their sophomore album in 2015. Although the band began with only Gravely and Evans, their lineup has expanded and decreased with the passing years. Other members (some current and some former) of Heavy Set Paw-Paws include Drew Bsharah, Kati Grimmet, and Chris Oxley. Heavy Set Paw-Paws are known for their original music, along with the occasional cover. In fact, after David Bowie’s passing in 2016, the band put on a live production of The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust, featuring every track on the entire album. Gravely tells me, “We did the entire Ziggy Stardust record in order – it was great. We did the whole thing live at Sir Walter’s Tavern in Beckley.” Although this is an interesting

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Mountain Musical Makes Waves in Southern West Virginia

Mountain Musical Makes Waves in Southern West Virginia
Article by Miranda Woody

Southern West Virginia has hit hard times in recent years, and FRACK!! The Mountain Music Comedy Spectacular plays up the absurdity of the current fossil fuel-heavy climate in Beckley, West Virginia. The musical, I’m told, is not overtly political in nature, nor does it lean heavily toward one political opinion or another; rather, FRACK!! is simply a musical satire seeking to make a statement and, more importantly, to make people laugh.
FRACK!! The Mountain Music Comedy Spectacular was written by J.C. Lacek. Lacek, a playwright originally from West Virginia who is currently living in California, conceptualized the idea along with Jeremiah Scarborough, a West Virginia musician who is also living in California now. Along with being a playwright, Lacek is a published author with Scout Comics. Jason Lockart, the play’s orchestral conductor and CEO of Kid in the Background Inc. (who is producing the play and its accompanying soundtrack) tells me, “The general idea came out of some pretty dark subject matter. Somehow, we started joking around about doing a musical and then FRACK!! was born. Without giving too much away, I can say this: it’s just hilarious. It’s very absurd, almost cartoonish in nature, and it’s essentially a satire centered around fracking. That drives the plot, and the characters themselves are so absurd. It’s great.”
The musical focuses on a man named Jim, played by Zach Bolon, who has fallen on hard times in his hometown of Beckley, West Virginia. Jim,

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Broadway Comes to Lewisburg, West Virginia

Broadway Comes to Lewisburg, West Virginia
Article by Miranda Woody

Actors Kenneth Derby, Kassandra Haddock, and Chelsea Amoroso prepare for the debut of Pippin at The Greenbrier Valley Theatre.
I walk into a small room, black curtains enveloping it, the sound of a piano ringing clearly throughout the space. A company of professional actors begin a dance number, and an actress begins to sing. This is the scene I’m presented with while visiting The Greenbrier Valley Theatre in Lewisburg, West Virginia, as the company prepares for their late-May debut of Pippin.
Donald Laney leads choreography as I sit and spectate in the corner, taking in the immense amount of preparation and careful planning that goes into choreographing and blocking a scene in a musical. The floor is numbered with tape as the actors imagine the scene before them; the director tells me that the set, once it’s finished, will have multiple levels and dynamics that the actors must learn to work with here in a flat, small rehearsal space. The actors are used to this kind of thing, and they work through the issues with a fair amount of imagination and flexibility. As I gaze on, Laney suddenly tells the actors to strike three poses, completely improvisational, one after another. I watch as the myriad of performers strike flawless poses and flex their impressive, professional dance moves. Laney moves on, working with a female member of the ensemble, tweaking her pose a bit, and his sense of humor comes through; as he instructs the

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Craft Beer and Blues Tunes at Concord University

Craft Beer and Blues Tunes at Concord University
Article by Miranda Woody

The college experience can be quite quiet when you attend a smaller university. However, Concord University has decided to get loud with their third annual Blues Brews and BBQ festival. This year, Blues Brews and BBQ will feature performances from The Allen Smith Band (named for Concord’s very own Allen Smith); Tazewell County teacher Victor Lawson; Trailer Swift & The Bolt Mountain Boys (also featuring some Concord alumni and employees); and the event’s headliner, The Tommy Cox Band. Along with some great blues tunes, West Virginia’s very own Greenbrier Valley Brewing will be serving up some Devil Anse IPA in cans and bottles. A few other craft beers will be featured, mainly sourced from Virginia and North Carolina. Pulled pork barbecue sandwiches and sides will also be served, fulfilling the event’s “BBQ” component. The event is free to anyone who wishes to attend, but food and beverages must be purchased on site.
Blues Brews and BBQ kicked off three years ago thanks to the careful planning and guidance of Concord University’s student activities planner, Andrew Sulgit. Sulgit was seeking to host an event that would be entertaining for students, staff, and the surrounding community. Essentially, Sulgit wanted to host an event that would surely become a staple on Concord’s close-knit campus, drawing attention to the small school for its friendly vibe and laid-back atmosphere. When asked about the general feel of Blues Brews and BBQ,  Sulgit says, “We have a great cross-representation

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Mountain Ears – Spring Music Reviews

Mountain EarsSpring Music Reviews – Album reviews by Ken Bays

“Mountain Ears” looks at some of the latest album releases by musicians living in, originally from, or otherwise associated with West Virginia. To have your CD considered for the next edition, please send a digital copy to kbays1970@gmail.com or mail a physical copy to Ken Bays, PO Box 262, Bradley, WV 25818.

Qiet, “Kiss of the Universe: Composition #9”
“As big as this pond is/It may never hold these fish,” sings Charleston’s Christopher Vincent on “Wild & Wonderful,” and although Qiet’s theatricality suggests Vincent’s songwriting is anything but confessional, you still can’t help but feel that there’s a kernel of autobiography in this highlight from the band’s new disc. If it turns out that West Virginia can’t contain this self-described “gypsy jazz rock band,” it’d be our loss, as Qiet is as national-level ready as any act ever to come out of the Mountain State. “Kiss of the Universe” is their most fully realized album yet, with horns, violins and Vincent’s larger-than-life vocals punctuating songs filled with dark humor, surreal wordplay and the existential poetry of a life lived on the edge. It’s the kind of stuff that could become pretentious in the wrong hands, but Qiet keeps everything grounded with danceable rhythms, inventive arrangements, and tons of hooks, from the layered “hallelujahs” of “So What Anyway” to the New Orleans percussion of “Real Men” to the jump and jive of “Dionysian Dream.” The musical ambition is dizzying,

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Mountain Ears – Winter Music Reviews

Mountain EarsWinter Music Reviews – Album reviews by Ken Bays

Welcome to the first installment in an ongoing series that will look at some of the best new music by West Virginia artists. In each one, we’ll highlight a handful the latest album releases by musicians living in, originally from, or otherwise associated with the Mountain State. To have your CD considered for the next issue, please send a digital copy to kbays1970@gmail.com or mail a physical copy to Ken Bays, PO Box 262, Bradley, WV 25818.

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Event Preview: Bollywood Night 2014

Written by Dawn Nolan
Bollywood Night 2014 is a “celebration of Indian food, movies, dance music and fashion”. This year’s fundraiser will be held at the Charleston Civic Center on Saturday, May 17. This year’s theme is “Bellies, Bodies and Brains”. Proceeds will be divided between three non-profit organizations – Manna Meal, WV Health Right and the Kanawha Pastoral Counseling Center.
“From Those to Whom Much Has Been Given, Much is Expected” – Nilima Bhirud, Chairwoman
The festivities begin with a social hour at 6:00 p.m. A buffet dinner of “delicious, multi-cultural cuisine” will follow at 7 p.m. Bollywood style performances by 100 dancers, including the Charleston Ballet, January’s Dance Studio, Lisa Hughes’ students, Zumba instructor Amy Burdette and partner, Beth Fellure and friends, Victoria Russo’s Latino dance group and the Charleston Filipino community, will take place from 8:00 – 9:00 p.m. A fashion show, choreographed by Meenu Choudhary, and silent auction are also scheduled.
Tickets for Bollywood Night 2014 are $100 and tax-deductable. They can be purchased online at www.bollywoodwv.org.
(Video from bollywoodwv.org)
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oy_GVP3XuLY&w=640&h=360]

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