Top West Virginia Honors to Two Favorite Sons
Tickets now on sale for November 16, 2013 WV Music Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and Performance
WV Music Hall of Fame to announce 2013 inductees
Berkely County 5th graders’ display on the WV Music Hall of Fame wins first place in Social Studies fair state finals
Join the WV Music Hall of Fame and Café Cimino for a buffet Garden Party, Sunday, May 27
“Peter Cottontail” – West Virginia songwriter Jack Rollins penned the best known Easter song
WV Music Hall of Fame exhibit opens in the Dickinson Street parking garage in downtown Charleston
Students experience innovative way to learn the history of WV musicians’ impact on our nation’s music
Legendary singer/songwriter/activist Hazel Dickens has died.
Peter Marshall and Morgan Spurlock to co-host 2011 WV Music Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony
Country musician and WWVA Jamboree star Doc Williams dies at 96
The Latest Addition to the Hall of Fame’s Collection
West Virginia Music Hall of Fame receives two major grants
Check out the media coverage of 2009's gala induction ceremony
2008 Hall of Fame induction ceremony broadcast on WV Public TV
Trailer taking shape
Nichols Family CD available

The Art of West Virginia Music
Profile of Nichols Family CD featured on NPR’s All Things Considered

Top West Virginia Honors to Two Favorite Sons

Brad Paisley with Distinguished West Virginian Award

West Virginia boy Brad Paisley took to the stage Saturday, March 1, 2014 in Charleston. But before the big show, Paisley was honored by the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame along with the Governor’s Office with the highest honor a West Virginian can receive, the Distinguished West Virginian Award.

When asked how it felt to return to his home state, Paisley said, “It’s not until you come back that all the memories flood your mind. When you come back up this way, it’s a different kind of world.”

He also said it made him extremely proud that West Virginia had a Music Hall of Fame.

Following the award presentation, Paisley took to the stage at the Charleston Civic Center to a packed house.

Michael Lipton, Billy Cox
photo by Joey Ansel

2011 WV Music Hall of Fame Inductee Billy Cox also received the Distinguished West Virginian Award during his appearance at the “Experience Hendrix” concert on March 19.

Billy Cox receives award

photo by Larry Halley

Tickets now on sale for November 16, 2013 WV Music Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and Performance

What do Tim O’Brien, Peter Marshall, Kathy Mattea, the Swan Silvertones, Paul Simon, and Steve Harvey have in common? They are all connected to West Virginia music and will be part of the fifth West Virginia Music Hall of Fame induction ceremony and performance.

Tickets are now on sale for the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame’s 2013 induction ceremony. The event will be held Saturday, November 16, 2013 at the Culture Center Theater in Charleston. VIP tickets include a meet ’n’ greet with inductees and presenters, admittance to the Governor’s Reception and after show party.

The ceremony welcomes the fifth class of inductees and will be broadcast live across the state on WV PBS.

The 2013 inductees are Melvin and Ray Goins, Peter Marshall, Wayne Moss, Tim O’Brien, Ada “Bricktop” Smith, Eleanor Steber, and The Swan Silvertones.

The 2013 Spirit Award will be presented to Landau Eugene Murphy, Jr.

The living inductees – Melvin Goins, Tim O’Brien, Peter Marshall and Wayne Moss – will be present to accept their awards and perform. In addition, there will be performances by Landau Eugene Murphy, Jr., Mollie O’Brien, Curtis and Friendly Womack (of the Valentinos), opera singer Elisabeth Bare, and Shayla Leftridge.

Presenters and acceptors include Kathy Mattea (Tim O’Brien), Charlie McCoy (Wayne Moss), Butch Miles (Bricktop), Nick Clooney (Peter Marshall), and Curtis and Friendly Womack (Swan Silvertones).

Former major league ballplayer and current ESPN commentator John Kruk and Mollie O’Brien will co-host the event.

During the ceremony, there will be videos and letters of congratulations from Paul Simon, Al Kooper, Steve Harvey, and a world famous film director (who requested that his name not be used in press releases).

General admission tickets are $60. Preferred tickets are $200 each and include admittance to the Meet and Greet, the Governor’s Reception before the event and the after-show party.

Doors open at 7 p.m. Showtime is 7:30 p.m.

Tickets are available at Taylor Books and through the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame website home page and HoF office (304-342-4412).

For more information about the 2013 Induction Ceremony or the WV Music Hall of Fame, call 304-342-4412 or email

WV Music Hall of Fame to announce 2013 inductees

On Tuesday, May 14, the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame will host a press conference to announce the seven inductees of the 2013 class. The conference will be held at 11 a.m. in the Great Hall of the Culture Center.

Hall of Fame director Michael Lipton and WVMHoF Board Chair Danny Cline will announce the inductees. In addition, 2013 Spirit Award recipient Landau Eugene Murphy, Jr., will be present as well Scott Finn, Executive Director of WV Public Broadcasting.

The WVMHoF’s fifth induction ceremony will be held November 16, 2013, in the Culture Center theater. WV PBS will broadcast the event live across the state.

Bio and press materials will be available at the conference and on the WVMHoF’s website.

Tickets will go on sale both online and locally on Tuesday.

Berkeley County 5th graders display on the WV Music Hall of Fame wins first place in Social Studies fair state finals

Last fall, five fifth graders from Martinsburg chose the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame as their project to compete in the statewide Social Studies fair. Luxious Burleson, Jackie Kelly, Rhea Ming, Victoria Riley, and Brandon Richie – all students at Eagle School Intermediate in Martinsburg – worked with teacher Debbie Myers to develop a display and a presentation.

Competing in the Division I category for State and Local History, the students’ project included photos of WVMHoF inductees and a clay recreation of the WVMHoF award.

After winning first place in their school (with a score of 98), the students went on to win the county and district competition. On Friday, April 26, the group’s project was selected as the first place winner out of entries from all other RESA districts in the state.

While in Charleston, the students met up with WV Music Hall of Fame director Michael Lipton and staffers Jeff Shirley, Sherry Hobbs, and Ted Harrison to tour the WVMHoF’s Traveling Museum.

“I’ve never had a group of kids who knew so much about West Virginia music,” said Harrson, who has worked with the Traveling Museum for four years. “They not only knew the musicians’ names but something about their careers.”

Meyers, who has had group projects compete at the state level in past years, said the topic was special to her personally.

“I was so happy that the students chose the WV Music Hall of Fame, because I am a native West Virginian and I come from a musical family. As they explored the Hall of Fame’s website, they were amazed at the variety of talent that has come out of West Virginia.

“I was happy that they got to see the Traveling Museum and use the interactive map because they had included information about them in their report. It added a whole new dimension to their learning experience.”

One student, Luxious Burleson, said, “It was an extraordinary experience.” Another, Rhea Ming, said, “It was a great experience – I wouldn't trade it for the world.”

Join the WV Music Hall of Fame and Café Cimino for a Buffet Garden Party on Sunday, May 27 from 3-6 p.m.

Café Cimino will provide a sumptuous served buffet. In addition to music and food (appetizers, salad, entrees, desserts), the WV Music Hall of Fame will have its Traveling Museum on hand, and give a preview of the WVMHoF’s 2013 inductees. Featured performers are Larry Groce, The Carpenter Ants, Blue Million, Julie Adams, Bob Shank and Joe Jung. Individual tickets are $60 each, or two tickets for $100. There will be a cash bar featuring fine ales by Bridge Brew Works and wines (courtesy of Fas Check). Café Cimino is offering a 10% discount on rooms for those wishing to stay the night. All proceeds benefit the WV Music Hall of Fame, a 501(c)3 corporation.

“Peter Cottontail” – West Virginia songwriter Jack Rollins penned the best known Easter song

Jack Rollins, a native of Keyser, Mineral County – and a 2011 WV Music Hall of Fame inductee – is one of the quintessential “unsung heroes” of the music business. While few know him by name, it’s not an exaggeration to say that everyone – young and old – is familiar with at least one of his songs.

Rollins’ best known compositions – “Peter Cottontail” and “Frosty the Snowman” – are two of America’s most popular children’s holiday songs.

Rollins was inducted into the WV Music Hall of Fame in 2011, along with Kathy Mattea, Connie Smith, Billy Cox, Tommy Thompson, Diamond Teeth Mary, and Butch Miles. A DVD of the event is available on the Shop page.

Rollins was born in Keyser, Mineral County, in 1906. As a young boy, he cared for his mother who was blinded by glaucoma soon after she married. To support the family, she sold magazines on the street. Jack helped out with a newspaper route. At night, he sat by her side while she wrote down verses she had made up. Using those words, Jack wrote his first songs.

As a young man, Rollins worked at a glass plant in Pittsburgh. He then moved to Mount Vernon, New York, where he was hired on as a baggage handler at Penn Station. He wrote music on the side and sold his first song for five dollars. At age 40 he quit to pursue his dream of being a full time songwriter after getting an earful from an irate customer. Gradually, the money got better, but not before he was forced to sell off some of his family’s possessions.

In 1949, Rollins wrote the lyrics to the song “Peter Cottontail” with Steve Nelson writing the music. The song was originally recorded by Gene Autry with subsequent versions by Guy Lombardo, Roy Rogers, Dinah Shore and many others. It went on to sell more than a million copies.

The story of the familiar Easter song is a classic and, of course, involves a child. One morning, Nelson complained to Rollins that, in order to put his son to sleep he told him Peter Cottontail stories. Thinking the rabbit would make a good song, Rollins dashed off the lyrics in about six minutes. Nelson then added the music.

Rollins, who wrote about 500 songs in his career, also wrote “Smokey the Bear” in 1952. While the USDA Forest Service’s 1944 campaign featured a character named “Smokey Bear,” it was Rollins who added the “the” – as he was unable to fit “Smokey Bear” into the lyrics.

Rollins also co-wrote songs for country stars including George Jones and Eddy Arnold. His song “I Don’t Hurt Anymore” was a No. 1 hit for Hank Snow in 1953 and Johnny Cash recorded it on his last release, American VI: Ain’t No Grave.

More Peter Cottontail lore
In 1971, “Here Comes Peter Cottontail” was produced as an Easter television special with the storyline based on the 1957 novel The Easter Bunny That Overslept. Rollins and Nelson’s song appeared in the special. In 2005, it was remade as the computer animated film “Here Comes Peter Cottontail: The Movie.” The film included a pop rock version of the original song.



WV Music Hall of Fame exhibit opens in the Dickinson Street parking garage in downtown Charleston

Dickinson Street exhibit

If you’re Christmas shopping in downtown Charleston, take a break and visit the WV Music Hall of Fame’s exhibit in the Dickinson Street parking garage.

The display features instruments, photos, posters and vintage memorabilia from Mountain Stage musicians – with an emphasis on those from the Kanawha Valley.

Artists featured include Sen. Robert C. Byrd, George Crumb, Lefty Shaffer, Hugh McPherson, Bill Withers, Jeff Stevens, Wayne Moss, Charlie McCoy and many others.

In addition there are high school band uniforms, an old sign from Gorby’s Music, vintage record players, manuscripts and awards.

The parking garage is located on Quarrier Street between Dickinson and McFarland Streets. The building is open Monday-Friday, 6 a.m.-10 p.m.; Saturday, 6 a.m.-6 p.m.; and closed on Sundays.

For more information about the exhibit and the WV Music Hall of Fame, or to donate items to be exhibited, contact: 304-342-4412 or



Sissonville Middle School students experience an innovative way to learn the history of WV musicians’ impact on our nation’s music

Traveling Hall of Fame

The West Virginia Music Hall of Fame’s Traveling Museum, which is housed in a 28-foot trailer, recently visited Sissonville Middle School. Redhawk music students experienced a rich variety of West Virginia artifacts as shown in the photo above, in which Redhawk students are pictured with Robert C. Byrd’s fiddle. The exhibit showcases music that has come from the state’s musical heritage – from country, opera and jazz to gospel and rock ’n’ roll. Redhawk students enjoyed the sounds of Bluefield songwriters Bill Withers (“Some Kind of Wonderful”), Maceo Pinkard (the Harlem Globetrotters theme song “Sweet Georgia Brown”) and Kanawha County native Kathy Mattea’s autographed album and gown worn to the White House. In addition, selected music students were able to cut their own CD. The exhibit houses a recording studio which enabled students to record a song and leave with a finished CD.

Hazel Dickens, bluegrass pioneer, dies

On April 22, West Virginia – and the country – lost one of its most singular voices. A woman as strong as she was determined, Hazel Dickens embodied the spirit of the state, singing, speaking out and working for the people and ideals that formed the bedrock of our nation.

Hazel was inducted into the WV Music Hall of Fame in 2007. Alison Krauss, a longtime fan (and label mate) of Dickens was on hand to present her award. Hazel gave one of the most moving acceptance speeches of any inductee noting that with her induction, “I finally feel like my music has a home.”

Hazel’s lyrics were always brief, touching, and to the point. Her speech was no different. In addition to offering that heartfelt sentiment, it was a beacon to everyone involved with the WVMHoF that we were on the right track. No matter what our individual “mission,” Hazel’s spirit and persistence should inspire us all.

Her funeral service in Princeton concluded with a moving version of one of her most beloved songs (and the state’s unofficial theme song) “West Virginia, My Home.” A line of musicians including Ginny Hawker, John Lilly, Tracy Schwarz, Bill & Becky Kimmons, and Dudley Connell sang and played with Hazel’s casket behind them. It was a moment no one there will soon forget.


Born and raised in a mining community in Mercer County, Hazel Dickens’ songs champion women’s rights and the plight of non-unionized mineworkers. A prominent player in the folk/bluegrass movement in the Baltimore/D.C. area during the ’60s, she toured with Joan Baez and issued landmark recordings with Alice Gerrard. Her songs have been recorded by Dolly Parton and Johnny Cash, and have been used in films including the Academy Award-winning documentary “Harlan County, USA.” In 2001, she was presented with a National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.


Peter Marshall and Morgan Spurlock to co-host 2011 WV Music Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony

The WV Music Hall of Fame is excited to announce the co-hosts for its 2011 Induction Ceremony, to be held October 15, at the Culture Center Theater.

Huntington native Peter Marshall – actor, singer and five-time Emmy Award winning host of the popular TV game show “Hollywood Squares” – will co-emcee the event with acclaimed director of “Super Size Me” Morgan Spurlock.

The 2011 inductees are Kathy Mattea, Billy Cox, Connie Smith, Butch Miles, Diamond Teeth Mary, Jack Rollins and Tommy Thompson. Mattea, Cox, Smith and Miles will be present to accept their awards. Tommy Thompson’s former band, The Red Clay Ramblers, will be one of the performers. Other presenters and performers TBA.

General admission tickest are $45. “Preferred Tickets” are $250 each and include admittance to the Governor’s Reception before the event. Tickets are available at Taylor Books and through the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame website and HoF office (304-342-4412).

Bios, photos and music samples are available on the WV Music Hall of Fame website.

The WVMHoF’s website also has an easy-to-use donate button. Donations enable us to continue programs like the Traveling Museum which has now visited nearly 150 schools in all 55 counties.

For more information about the 2011 Induction Ceremony of the WV Music Hall of Fame, call 304-342-4412 or email


Peter Marshall – Best known as the longtime host – and five-time Emmy Award winner – of the game show “Hollywood Squares,” Peter Marshall’s long career includes stage roles on Broadway and London’s West End as well as numerous films. He was born in Huntington and, as legend has it, changed his name from Pierre LaCock (his birth name) to Peter Marshall, at least in part because of Marshall University. Teaming up with comic Tommy Noonan, the duo made a number of appearances on the “Ed Sullivan Show.” After a long run of theater and films, he began a 16-year run as the host of the popular TV game show, “Hollywood Squares.” He also hosted a series of 12 shows for the Disney Channel titled “Big Bands from Disneyland.” More recently, Marshall has toured as a singer both solo and with a group and released CDs in 2000 and 2004. Now 85, he currently is the host/deejay of a syndicated radio show on “The Music of Your Life” radio network. He continues to record and tour.

Morgan Spurlock – Beckley native Morgan Spurlock’s 2004 docudrama “Super Size Me” was nominated for an Academy Award for “Best Documentary Feature.” Before earning a BFA from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, Spurlock graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School in Beckley. Before venturing into film, Spurlock was a playwright, winning awards for his play “The Phoenix” at both the New York International Fringe Festival in 1999 and the Route 66 American Playwriting Competition in 2000. Spurlock served as an executive producer and star of the reality television series “30 Days.” In 2007, he was among the Top 10 “Best Journalists of the World” in Time magazine. His directorial credits include “Freakonomics,” “The Greatest Movie Ever Sold” and “The Simpsons 20th Anniversary Special – In 3-D! On Ice!” Spurlock also created “I Bet You Will” for MTV.

The Latest Addition to the Hall of Fame’s Collection

It’s taken a while, but Hasil Adkins’ 1976 Cadillac Fleetwood limo – dubbed the “Hunchin’ Wagon” – has “come home” to West Virginia.

While it may not be his most famous vehicle – the Boone County wildman immortalized his red Plymouth Satellite with spray painted polka dots in his song “Big Red Satellite” – it was the car that transported him to many gigs throughout the southeast during the last leg of his career.

Boone County’s Hasil Adkins was a self-styled musician who was known for playing as a “one-man band”: beating mercilessly on an acoustic guitar, playing drums and singing – all at the same time. His raw style was the inspiration for a genre of music that became known as “psychobilly.” Notable songs included “She Said,” “The Hunch,” “No More Hotdogs” and “Chicken Walk.”

Adkins was popular in Europe and none other than Miles Copeland, then owner of IRS Records (and brother to Police drummer Stewart Copeland) purchased his entire catalog in the mid-’90s.

One of the Hunchin’ Wagon’s last trips was to the Knoxville, TN, set of Asia Argento’s 2004 film “The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things” in which Hasil turned in a brief cameo as a street musician.

The film was based on the book “Sarah” by 19-year-old JT Leroy, supposedly an account of his disturbing childhood which involved becoming a transvestite and turning tricks in a West Virginia truck stop. Leroy’s story turned out to be a hoax and it was revealed that the author was in fact a 40-something woman and the story was fictitious.

After Hasil’s death in 2005, the car’s caretaker and Hasil’s onetime manager Jim Tucci phoned the WV Music Hall of Fame with the thought that the car’s resting place should be in Hasil’s home of West Virginia.

The car made the trip back to WV on the back of a car hauler, thanks to donations from a number of Hasil fans including Senator Ron Stollings; Sam Hall, Farmer, Cline & Campbell; DL Hamilton; Tom Smith; and Larry Barsh.

The West Virginia Music Hall of Fame receives two major grants

The WVMHoF received a major grant from the WV Humanities Council to produce a four-part documentary series titled “A Film History of West Virginia Music.” Each 15-minute segment will focus on a different geographic area of the state and will include interviews with numerous notable musicians.

The WVMHoF also received a grant from the Greater Kanawha Valley Foundtion to fund visits of its Traveling Museum to 36 schools in an 18-county area during the 2010-2011 school year. The counties to be visited include: Putnam, Kanawha, Clay, Boone, Logan, Wayne, Cabell, Mason, Lincoln, Mingo, McDowell, Mercer, Wyoming, Raleigh, Summers, Monroe, Fayette, and Greenbrier.

The Hall of Fame’s successful Traveling Exhibit is a collaboration with the WV Department of Education and has visited schools in more than 40 counties to date.

Both of these organization have been strong supporters of the WV Music Hall of Fame in the past.

For more information, contact the WV Music Hall of Fame at 304-342-4412 or

Coverage of 2009's Gala Induction Ceremony

Music Legends Enter Hall of Fame
(The Intelligencer/Wheeling News-Register)

West Virginia Music Hall of Fame Inducts New Member Class

Not Singing the Blues: Nat Reese Enters West Virginia's
Music Hall of Fame

(Bluefield Daily Telegraph)


Hall of Fame induction ceremony broadcast live on WV Public TV
On November 6, 2008, nine musicians were inducted into the WV Music Hall of Fame, bringing the total of inductees to 19. Anne Baker, Wilma Lee and Stoney Cooper, Phyllis Curtin, Robert Drasnin, The Lilly Brothers and Don Stover, Charlie McCoy, Maceo Pinkard, Red Sovine and Frankie Yankovic were honored at the event that was once again broadcast live throughout the state on WV Public TV.
The night was filled with tributes, music and memories - and acknowledgments from the inductees and their families of the role that West Virginia played in their musical development.

Charleston native Robert Drasnin, a former 20-year Music Director for CBS Television who is currently teaching film scoring at UCLA, paid homage to that influence by performing a “tiki-styled” arrangement of “West Virginia, It’s You” with an ensemble that included vibes and bongos.

Jazz/blues singer Katherine Russell was on hand to belt out Maceo Pinkard’s standard “Them There Eyes” and Ann Baker’s signature “Ice Man Blues.” The Whites traveled from Nashville to present Wilma Lee and Stoney Cooper’s award to the couple’s daughter Carol Lee Cooper - and then sing one of their best known tracks, “Big Wheel.

Other memorable moments included a video clip of Phyllis Curtin who was unable to attend in person, a performance of Frankie Yankovic’s hit “Just Because” by his nephew (and former bandmate) accordionist Bob Kravos. The night closed with a finale of the 1956 Red Sovine/Webb Pierce hit “Why Baby Why.”

Trailer taking shape

The WV Music HoF’s 28-foot traveling music exhibit was parked in front of the Cultural Center the week of the Induction Ceremony. Now painted with a 20-foot mural designed by Rocket Graphics, the exhibit is slated to be on the road by late spring when it will begin visiting schools in all of WV’s 55 counties. The exhibit is a collaboration with the WV Dept. of Education.


Nichols Family CD available

The West Virginia Music Hall of Fame released its second CD - the Nichols Family’s “A Cry From the Mountains” - in conjunction with the November 6, induction ceremony.

The Nichols Family - Marshalene Nichols and her daughters Lisa Spalding and Rita Estep - sing pure, unadulterated mountain gospel. With their voices blending as only family members can, their a capella harmonies capture the essence of West Virginia in all its beauty, sadness and earthiness. The Nichols Family sang an invocation at the first induction ceremony in 2007. The CD is dedicated to Marshalene Nichols who passed in August, 2008. The majority of these songs were recorded by Don Dixon at the Nichols’ church in Brownsville, Fayette County, in January, 2005.

The CD is available through HoF’s website and at Taylor Books in downtown Charleston.


The Art of West Virginia Music

The WV Music HoF’s hanging exhibit “The Art of WV Music,” now includes nearly 100 items ranging from an Edison cylinder of one of Maceo Pinkard’s compositions and George Crumb manuscripts to Sen. Byrd’s prized fiddle and Red Sovine’s 1948 Gibson J200 and “Nudie” suit. Musicians as diverse as psychobilly pioneer Hasil Adkins, old time banjo master Aunt Jennie Wilson, and opera singer Eleanor Steber are represented with stage clothes, LPs, 78s, posters, photographs and paintings.

The exhibit has been installed in Charleston, Parkersburg, Lewisburg and at the Augusta Heritage Festival in Elkins.

The exhibit is currently at the Landes Arts Center in Petersburg. Next, it will travel to Berkeley Springs for a February 13 opening, to the Wheeling Artisan Center for a March 26 opening, and to the new Chuck Mathena Center in Princeton in May. In the summer, it will be installed at the Masuras Gallery at the Creative Arts Center in Morgantown.

At each opening, the HoF provides staff or scholars to meet the public and discuss the collection as well as the HoF’s various projects.

“The Art of WV Music” was created with funds and support from the West Virginia Humanities Council. If you are interested in contributing items to the HoF’s collection, please contact us at 304/342-4412 or email