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Travis D. Stimeling

Now available!
288pp / 22 images
PB  978-1-946684-27-1
Epub  978-1-946684-28-8
PDF  978-1-946684-29-5

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

Ron Sowell               

Larry Groce               

Julie Adams              

John Lilly                 

Dina Hornbaker                    

Mike Pushkin         

Colleen Anderson                 

Mike Arcuri            

Roger Rabalais                       

Part II: The Ohio Valley—Rivers of Song

Todd Burge              

Lionel Cartwright                  

Taryn Thomas                     

Patrick Stanley                      

Jim Savarino               

Part III: The Eastern Panhandle—Roots and Branches

Adam Booth              

Chelsea Mcbee                       

Part IV: The Southern Coalfields—The Spiritual Home

Elaine Purkey            

Shirley Stewart Burns            

Roger Bryant             

Scott Holstein             

Part V: The Tamarack Scene—Beckley, Bluefield, Lewisburg

Doug Harper              

Clinton Collins                        

Mark Spangler                     

Andrew Adkins                   

Part VI: Morgantown—Songwriting in the University City

Maria Allison              

Pam Spring               

Chris Haddox            

Steve Smith              

Dan Cunningham                   




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