Charleston Street-Fest Brings the Eighties Back to Life

The streets of Charleston were filled with food, hula-hoops, chalk art and music Saturday evening as Street Fest took place on Capitol Street. Hundreds attended the event, filling the block with everything from an area for children and family activities to costumed attendees available for photos and restaurants filled with food and drink on their patios.

One of the highlights to this eighties themed evening was a band from Clarksburg called Eighties Enough. They played every genre of retro music from the decade that brought us shoulderpads and stonewashed jeans. They crossed the gamut of musicians from Michael Jackson to Devo to the ballads of Bon Jovi and REO Speedwagon. Best of all, they did it well! Too often, events such as these draw bands who lack the ability to hold the interest of a crowd, but Eighties Enough, with their vocalist Eric Lewis, truly made the evening memorable.

It was interesting to see a band’s setlist go from the rock and roll sounds of Poison to Run DMC so seamlessly, but they kept it fun and upbeat for the crowd, who were hoping to find shade from a nearly 90 degree afternoon in the sun. The band includes Lewis on keyboard, guitar and lead vocals, Jim Poling on lead guitar and vocals, Rick Martin on bass and Jason Lantz on drums and vocals. Lewis said that this was their first time playing in Charleston, WV, but they enjoyed their visit. With the impression they left on those in attendance, it certainly won’t be their last!

For more on the band, visit their website at or their facebook page at

Another Charleston Street-Fest is planned in August with activities for all ages.

Join us in #SilentNight2014

Soldiers play soccer during the Christmas Truce of 1914

Soldiers play soccer during the Christmas Truce of 1914

Tonight marks the 100th anniversary of the “Christmas Truce of 1914,” when English and German soldiers temporarily laid down their weapons on the battlefields of France to celebrate the holiday with their enemies.

The soldiers shared food and played games. They also sang together: the English and German voices joining in a song known to some as “Silent Night,” known to others as “Stille Nacht.”

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of this display of peace and goodwill, let’s join in the soldiers’ songs.

Musicians and singers, use a video camera or smartphone to record yourself playing or singing “Silent Night.” Upload that video to YouTube, then post it on Twitter or Facebook with the hash-tag #SilentNight2014,

We will collect your contributions in this blog tomorrow.

Musicians and singers of all skill levels are welcome to participate, and don’t worry about making some fancy video production. As with most things this time of year, it’s the thought that counts.


Bill Withers to join Rock Hall

withers-bill-5096d68b895a0West Virginia’s favorite soul star, Bill Withers, will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The announcement came this morning.

The induction ceremony will be held April 18th, 2015 at the Public Hall in Cleveland, home of the Rock Hall. 

It is customary for inductees (if they are still living) to perform at the ceremony. Although Withers does not perform publicly anymore, he told Rolling Stone he is considering a special performance for the hall of fame induction ceremony.

In October, Withers was one of 16 artists and bands to be included in a public ballot to be inducted into the hall. He came in fourth.

(The Rock  and Roll Hall of Fame selects its inductees through a ballot process. The artists who receive the most votes are inducted into the hall, with usually five to seven artists added each year. Most of those votes come from members of the music industry, but in recent years, fans have also been allowed to vote.)


Clay Center announces 2015 concerts

harry-connick-jr-002The Clay Center announced its Spring 2015 season this morning. Here’s the list of the major concerts:

  • Soul singer Patti LaBelle, Thursday, Feb. 12, 7:30 p.m.
  • Crooner Harry Connick Jr., Thursday, Feb. 26, 7:30 p.m.
  • Classic rockers George Thorogood & The Destroyers, Saturday, March 21, 8 p.m.
  • Montana Repertory Theatre in “The Great Gatsby,” Thursday, April 2 at 7:30 p.m.
  • Singer-songwriter act Citizen Cope, Wednesday, April 8, 7:30 p.m.
  • Comedian Frank Caliendo, Sunday, April 26, 7:30 p.m.
  • Christian artists Matthew West & Colton Dixon, Sunday, May 3, 7:30 p.m
  • Nineties’ sensation Blues Traveler, Friday, May 15, 8 p.m.
  • Comedienne Kathy Griffin, Thursday, June 4, 7:30 p.m.

The venue also announced the creation of a new “Soundcheck Series” featuring up-and-coming acts. This year’s inaugural series will feature:

  • Folk-rockers The Ballroom Thieves, Friday, March 6, 8 p.m.
  • Mexo-Americana band David Wax Museum, Friday, April 24, 8 p.m.
  • Australian hip-hop funk act Jakubi, Saturday, May 23, 8 p.m.
  • Local Pink Floyd tribute act USFLOYD, Saturday, June 13, 8 p.m.

WV Music Hall of Fame announces 2015 inductees

WVMHoF_logoThe West Virginia Music Hall of Fame will induct six state musicians — three living and three deceased — into its ranks next October, the group announced Monday.

Living inductees will be R&B songwriter and performer John Ellison, steel guitarist Russ Hicks and jazz piano man Bob Thompson. Posthumous inductees will be fiddler Ed Haley, country artist Buddy Starcher and pianist Harry Van Walls.

The sixth-annual induction ceremony will take place Oct. 24, 2015 at the Culture Center Theater on the West Virginia Capitol Complex. The ceremony also will be broadcast live on West Virginia Public Broadcasting.

“The inductees for 2015 continues the Hall of Fame’s mission to recognize outstanding artists who were born or raised in the Mountain State,” hall of fame director Michael Lipton said. “Our sixth class honors six unique West Virginia artists who have made lasting contributions to American music.”

Here’s a little more about the inductees:

  • John Ellison, 73, grew up in McDowell County before moving to Rochester, N.Y. to pursue a music career. His band, The Soul Brothers Six, released their first recording “Some Kind of Wonderful” in 1967 on Atlantic Records. It was a modest success, peaking at No. 91 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart. The song would take on a life of its own, however, when rock band Grand Funk Railroad released their version of “Some Kind of Wonderful” in 1973. The cover reached the No. 3 spot. Ellison’s song has now been recorded by more than 62 different artists and sold more than 42 million copies, with notable versions by the Q-Tips, Buddy Guy, Huey Lewis and the News and Joss Stone.
  • Russ Hicks, 72, grew up in Beckley. He started off as guitar player, but took up pedal steel in the mid-1960s. Hicks eventually toured with Connie Smith, Ray Price and Charlie McCoy, and appeared on records by Marty Robbins, Ronnie Milsap, Mickey Gilley, Larry Gatlin, Jerry Lee Lewis, Tom T. Hall, Don Gibson, Wanda Jackson, Townes Van Zandt, the Charlie Daniels Band. He also was a member of the “Hee Haw” house band for 13 years.
  • Born in New York, Bob Thompson, 72, came to West Virginia in the mid-‘60s to attend then West Virginia State College. He has since made his home in the Mountain State, playing with bands like the Modern Jazz Interpreters and Joi. He has traveled the world playing music, and has served as the house pianist for West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s “Mountain Stage” radio show since 1991.
  • James Edward Haley, who died in 1951, originally hailed from Hart’s Creek in Logan County. Blind since hte age of three, Haley traveled throughout West Virginia and Kentucky performing old-time fiddle. He was a significant influenced on many old-time fiddlers, including Clark Kessinger and John Hartford.
  • “Buddy” Starcher, who died in 2001, is originally from Ripley, W.Va. He was best-known as host of “The Buddy Starcher Show, a popular morning TV show on WCHS-TV. He also was a popular recording artist, with hits like “I’ll Write Your Name in the Sand” and “History Repeats Itself.”
  • Harry Van Walls, who died in 1999, was born in Middlesboro, Ky. but grew up in Charleston. In 1949, hes signed on as the house pianist with Atlantic Records in New York. He would play on nearly every R&B track the label released in the 1950s, including Joe Turner’s hit single “Shake, Rattle and Roll.” He also played for The Clovers, Lavern Baker and Laurie Tate, and also released songs under his own name. Walls experienced a resurgence in popularity in the 1990s after a former student — Mac Rebennack, better known as Dr. John — invited him to perform at the Montreal International Jazz Festival.

Attention country music fans

10750134_810293035681181_8358149946872700283_oTwo big country music announcements breaking this morning.

First, the State Fair of West Virginia has announced country supergroup Alabama will kick off the fair’s concert series on Friday, Aug. 14, 2015.

Tickets will go on sale at 10 a.m. this Friday, Dec. 5  at

Also Friday, tickets will go on sale for Miranda Lambert‘s upcoming concert at the Charleston Civic Center on Sat., Jan. 24.

Justin Moore, RaeLynn and Jukebox Mafia will join Lambert in the concert. Visit or the Civic Center box office to purchase tickets.

And for your Monday morning blues, here’s a thoroughly melancholy Alabama classic, “Why Lady Why.”

Goodwolf performs at Sullivan’s, Empty Glass on Saturday


Tyler Grady

In celebration of their latest album release, Tyler Grady of local alternative rock band Goodwolf will perform at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Sullivan’s Records, 1588 Washington St. E. The show will be solo-acoustic due to limited space. The event will take place after regular store hours and it will be BYOB.

After the in-store performance, the full band will perform at the Empty Glass, 410 Elizabeth St. MJX will also perform.

Both events are album release shows for Goodwolf’s new album, “Car in the Woods,” which officially was released this week on vinyl. The digital version of the album was released in October.

For more information, visit the band’s Facebook.

Stolen gear alert

Local jazz guitarist Ryan Kennedy is the latest victim of music gear thieves.

According to his Facebook page, someone stole Kennedy’s Mackie ProFX12 mixer from his car on Tuesday night. It looks like this:


The thieves also got a Boss BCB 60 pedal board containing the following guitar effects pedals:

  • Hardwire Stereo Reverb Pedal
  • Hardwire delay pedal
  • Xotic BB plus distortion pedal
  • Dunlop Crybaby Wah Wah pedal

Keep your eyes on local pawn shops for this stuff. If you have any information about the theft, call Charleston Police at 304-348-6480, or send Ryan a message on his Facebook page.

You might recall back in July that Jeremy Davis, fiddler for the local bluegrass group Total Meltdown, had his fiddle and mandolin stolen from his home. No reason to believe these crimes are related, of course, except that some people are big ol’ jerks.