Featured in new
Voice of America Film Report
of America reporter Malcolm Brown recently visited West Virginia for
a film story on Appalachian music, a report that would soon go international.
started at Joe's doorstep at Fret 'n Fiddle in late June and during
the interview, Joe mentioned that the Malcolm and his crew should
head to Glenville, W.Va., that weekend for the annual West Virginia
State Folk Festival.
did and the result was a wonderful video picture of the Mountain State
Bids Farewell to W.Va. Public Radio
after Nearly 25 Years!
almost 25 years, Joe Dobbs has brought you some of the best musicians
you’ve never heard of on his weekly "Music from the Mountain"
radio show on W.Va. public radio. They’re your neighbors –
accountants, teachers, garbage collectors, and lawyers – and
Joe find them and puts them on his show, Music from the Mountains.
June 22, was his last show. He’s 72 years old, and he wants
to spend more time teaching, writing, and playing with his own group,The
On the day of his last broadcast, Scott Finn of West Virginia Public
Radio conducted a wonderful 10-minute interview with Joe about the
show and his plans for the future. Click below to listen to Scott's
was recently named Volunteer of the Year by West Virginia Public
Broadcasting, which has aired his weekly "Music from the
Mountains" show for nearly 20 years. Shown here presenting
the award is Rita Ray, executive director of West Virginia Public
From the Mountains"
program by Joe Dobbs takes
listeners back centuries
Oct. 25, 2002
By DAVE LAVENDER - The Herald-Dispatch
Joe Dobbs performs in "Music From
the Mountains" at 9 p.m. Friday on West Virginia Public Radio.
The old joke goes that "perfect pitch" on the bagpipes is
about 40 feet -- and for some, 40 feet ain’t far enough.
is room in Joe Dobbs’ heart for the wailing pipes that drone
those Scottish dirges most often at weddings, parades and funerals.
minutes into Dobbs’ West Virginia Public Radio show "Music
from the Mountains" this past Friday, and his warm voice has
melted any icy pipes prejudice and is already packing listeners back
a few hundred years when this country’s Appalachian mountains
were being settled by mostly Scotch-Irish.
whose playing is tattooed with those deep, distinct Appalachian influences,
thanked guest Bill Weed for stopping by and visiting and sharing his
pipes. Then, he wondered aloud why the bagpipes never caught on like
you come to a new country, I guess one of the last things you think
of is pipes," Weed said. "You’re thinking about a
house and food."
past 19 years on every Friday night, Dobbs has been a one-man show
tackling all of the technical work while also introducing radio audiences
in the nine-station West Virginia Public Radio Network to any and
everything Appalachian from storytellers to classical guitarists to
kind, white-bearded man who looks exactly like "you-know-who,"
is getting an early Christmas present, of sorts: a producer, a
theme song and even a Web site for his popular old-time music
song, written by longtime band mates Dave Peyton and Charlie Bowen
of The 1937 Flood, airs for the
first time at 9 p.m. today.
who built and maintains the Web site for Dobbs, said as a guest and
a listener, he appreciates Dobbs’ natural interview style and
his ability to run the show behind the scenes.
think it’s amazing listening to these smooth interviews, knowing
he is also watching the clock and picking out the next CD, and doing
the whole thing with one take and making it fit," Bowen said.
won’t have most of those worries anymore. George Walker, a well-known
radio and television man in the Charleston area, has been producing
the show for the past eight weeks.
of Dobbs’ show for about 10 years, Walker said it reminds him
golden era in live performance radio when his mom would make his bed
around the radio while he "tuned in the world."
who loved Honest John out of WNOX in Knoxville -- who would spin records
and leave the microphone on to clap and sing along, said he jumped
at the chance to join in with Dobbs on "Music From the Mountains."
of what you have is formulated radio that could be anywhere radio,
McDonald’s radio, and that is a shame," Walker said. "I
grew up in the 1960s and early 1970s … and I would hear all
of these wonderful live shows from Boston and Chicago and Wheeling,
West Virginia. And I was always tuning into hear the connection that
I could get from a live performance."
nothing is set in stone, Walker said there is talk of a number of
possibilities for the show from live CDs from a collage of performances
in Studio B to possible national syndication sometime down the road.
music is real, and I think the people out there can hear that,"
Walker said. "It is not the canned music you get on commercial
broadcasting, which has a different motivation and dynamic. This is
getting back to the essence and true nature of musical performance."
who turned the show into a live performance show when he took over
in 1983, said he has always tried to feature the wealth of musicians
in West Virginia and Appalachia.
many at his shop, Fret ’n’
Fiddle in St. Albans, and at folk festivals and gigs around the
the show (he works most Friday nights playing music with his band),
Dobbs said he tries to think about what the audience would want to
know about and hear were they there in the studio.
think I have always been interested in people and music," said
Dobbs, who also plays banjo, mandolin, guitar and Irish flute. "Most
of my music knowledge has come through osmosis. I’ve been playing
since I was 10 years old. I have thought of Arthur Godfrey, a very popular
radio host. When you listened to him, you got that feeling that he was
talking just to you. I have cultivated that some. … And when someone
asks what to play. I say, ‘Play what you do best, and play what
the people want to hear.’ "
honored recently by the Friends of Old Time Music and Dance (FOOTMAD)
with its first "Footbridge Living Treasure Award" at the
group's Fall Festival on Sept. 28, 2002, in Fayette County.
event, fellow 1937 Floodster Dave
Peyton penned some of the remarks that were read as Joe was given
not sure whether Joe Dobbs chose West Virginia first or whether West
Virginia chose Joe. It doesn't matter -- Joe and West Virginia are
a team. And there's no denying West Virginia is a better place because
he's made West Virginia his home. ... In fact, he's more of a West
Virginian than many West Virginians I know."
"I met Joe shortly after he arrived in the region," Dave
added. "Those were the days when fiddle players were few and
far between in our neck of the woods and good fiddle players were
as rare as hen's teeth. Joe mesmerized us with his playing the first
time we heard him draw his bow across the strings. We've been friends
ever since and even today, we play in a musical group known as The
1937 Flood, a band of six that would not be a band at all without
Joe, his fiddle and his spirit."
extensive travels both in the U.S. and abroad have made him the perfect
West Virginia ambassador. He has probably done much to spread the word
about the real West Virginia around the world as any native son or daughter.
So what does it matter whether Joe chose West Virginia or West Virginia
chose Joe? The fact that West Virginia has adopted Joe, who lives in
West Virginia by choice, has made all the difference for both of them."
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