Two research projects at West Virginia University focus on native Mountain State musicians who made their mark on the entertainment industry in different ways.
Associate professor of music history Travis Stimeling’s work on the Nashville Sound, a sub-genre of country music noted for its smoother elements (as opposed to “honky-tonk”), led him to Charlie McCoy from Oak Hill. McCoy, the leader of Hee Haw’s “Million Dollar Band” spent 20 years on television and contributed to some of the most successful recordings of country, pop and rock music of the last six decades.
Stimeling’s book, Fifty Cents and a Box Top: The Creative Life of Nashville Session Musician Charlie McCoy (WVU Press, 2017) offers “rare firsthand insights into life in the recording studio, on the road and on the small screen,” according to the WVU Press summary.
Alumna Dizzandra Linger (BA, 2017), focused on the impact of the environment on Melvin Wine (1909-2003), a Mountain State fiddler and folk music educator. Though Wine has been recognized within the National Endowment of the Arts, he has yet to be recognized in West Virginia and is not listed in the West Virginia Hall of Fame. Linger hopes to give Wine the recognition he deserves.
Stimeling and Linger will present their research Aug. 4 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. in the Downtown Campus Library’s Milano Room, which houses the Appalachian Collection and display’s Wine’s portrait. Light refreshments and desserts will be provided by The Tea Shoppe. The event is free and open to the public, and complements WVU Libraries’ current exhibit, Looking at Appalachia.
Stimeling (PhD, musicology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) is associate professor of music history in the College of Creative Arts and director of the WVU Bluegrass Band. A scholar of commercial country and Appalachian traditional music, he recently edited The Country Music Reader (Oxford University Press, 2015), an anthology of primary source readings in country music history spanning the late nineteenth century to the present, and is the author of Cosmic Cowboys and New Hicks: The Countercultural Sounds of Austin's Progressive Country Music Scene (Oxford University Press, 2011), which earned an American Musicological Society Publication Subvention.
He has published articles in such journals as American Music, Popular Music, Popular Music and Society, and Journal of Popular Music Studies, among others. He also served as a Senior Editor for The Grove Dictionary of American Music, 2nd ed. Prior to joining the faculty of WVU, he served on the faculty of Millikin University.
Fifty Cents and a Box Top will be available for purchase and signing by the author.
Linger double majored in History and Art History and double minored in Anthropology and Women’s and Gender Studies. Linger has used her grandmother Susie Wyant’s family photographs with her permission and has referenced some of the family lore of her great-grandfather that has been passed down to her within in her work.
CONTACT: Sally Deskins, exhibits & programs coordinator for WVU