The West Virginia Music Hall of Fame is the brainchild of Michael Lipton. Michael is the guitarist for the long-running (30 years) nationally syndicated radio show, “Mountain Stage”. This year, I had the opportunity to be part of the ceremony/show held at the Cultural Center Theater in Charleston WV. Among the very diverse list of inductees were Melvin and Ray Goins, and, Tim O’Brien. Also performing was a list of who’s who including, Kathy Mattea, Mollie O’Brien, Charlie McCoy, Buddy Griffin, Wayne Moss, and more. The weekend included a reception at the Governor’s mansion and some great performances by some of the best West Virginia has to offer. The crew (which is largely the Mountain Stage crew) and a host of volunteers were amazing. What a huge production and all done as a complete labor of love and respect for the artists that have claimed their home in the mountain state.
I’m adding the bios on each of this year’s inductees. Enjoy.
Here are some pics.
L-R Melvin Goins, Kathy Mattea, Tim O’Brien, Mollie O’Brien and me.
with Michael Lipton
Melvin Goins during rehearsal
Volunteers Jeff and Victoria Bosley bring in real china each year to feed the artists and crew. The plates come from local vintage stores, some are actually made in WV. It’s a nice touch.
Charlie McCoy and 2013 Hall of Fame inductee, Wayne Moss
Some bling to set the stage!
Melvin Goins (Born 1933) and Ray Goins (1936-2007). Goodwill, Mercer County
Born on Sinai Mountain, near the coal mining community of Goodwill, Melvin and Ray Goins hold a significant place in the history of bluegrass music. Both together and separately, the brothers played in The Lonesome Pine Fiddlers, The Stanley Brothers, and The Shenandoah Playboys as well as The Goins Brothers Band. From the early ’50s, both have been involved in radio and TV, first on Bluefield radio station WHIS and later on stations in Prestonsburg, Hazard and Paintsville, KY. Ray stopped touring In 1994, due to health problems. He passed away in 2007. Melvin was the first bluegrass musician to be featured on the cover of Smithsonian Magazine and was inducted into the International Bluegrass Music Association Hall of Fame as a member of the Lonesome Pine Fiddlers in 2009, and the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame in 2011.
* Tim O’Brien - Born 1954. Wheeling, Ohio County
Grammy-winning bluegrass/country/folk artist Tim O’Brien is an incredibly talented and respected multi-instrumentalist, singer and songwriter. The Wheeling native came to prominence with the Colorado-based bluegrass band Hot Rize, and its country-Western alter ego, Red Knuckles and the Trailblazers. The group toured the world for a dozen years. In the mid-’80s, fellow West Virginian Kathy Mattea scored a pair of Top 10 hits with Tim’s “Walk the Way the Wind Blows” and “Untold Stories.” In 1990, they recorded the duet “The Battle Hymn of Love,” which went to No. 9. When Tim’s 2005 release, “Fiddler’s Green,” earned a Grammy for “Best Traditional Folk Recording,” he quickly became a sought-after session player and producer. Since Hot Rize disbanded, Tim has released more than 20 CDs including solo recordings and duet projects with his sister Mollie, old time musician Dirk Powell, and, most recently, guitarist Darrell Scott. Tim was named Male Vocalist of the year by the IBMA in 1993 and 2006, while his song “Look Down That Lonesome Road” won IBMA’s “Song of the Year” award in 2006. In 2010, he toured with Mark Knopfler and has recorded with comedian Steve Martin. Tim is a board member of the WV Music Hall of Fame and has played a key role in a number of HoF projects.
* Peter Marshall - Born 1926. Wheeling, Ohio County
While Wheeling native Peter Marshall (born Pierre LaCock) is best-known for hosting more than 5,000 episodes of the five-time Emmy Award-winning game show, “Hollywood Squares,” he is also a gifted actor, singer and entertainer. After moving to New York in his teens, he formed a comedy team with Tommy Noonan and appeared in major night clubs, films, and on “The Ed Sullivan Show.” His first starring role on Broadway was in “Skyscraper” with Julie Harris and, in London, he co-starred with Chita Rivera in “Bye-Bye-Birdie.” In later years, he appeared in major musicals including “Music Man,” “42nd Street,” and Neil Simon’s “Rumors.” Marshall also appeared on television shows including “Love Boat,” “Lou Grant” and “Sabrina the Teenage Witch.” In the 1980s, he performed his role as George in “La Cage Aux Folles” in more than 800 performances. Marshall also hosted the 12-show “Big Bands From Disneyland” series for the Disney Channel. In 2000, he issued the CD “Boy Singer” and, in 2012, “Let’s be Frank with a Touch of Tommy.” In 2009, he and Nick Clooney co-hosted a pair of PBS specials “The Big Band Years” followed by “The Big Band Singers.”
Currently, Marshall is heard nationally on the “Music Of Your Life” radio network and, at 87, continues to perform at venues across the country.
* Wayne Moss - Born 1938. South Charleston, Kanawha County
An accomplished bassist, guitarist and songwriter, Wayne Moss is a true legend among Nashville studio musicians. His credits include sessions for hundreds of country and rock artists as well as stints in storied Nashville groups, Area Code 615 and Barefoot Jerry. Wayne’s first steady job was with the Pioneer Pals, on Sleepy Jeffers’ popular radio and TV show in Charleston. Meanwhile, his rock ‘n’ roll band, The Versitones, toured West Virginia, playing high schools and other venues. Wayne played the signature guitar line on Roy Orbison’s hit “Pretty Woman,” and the often-imitated solo on Waylon Jennings’s “Only Daddy That’ll Walk the Line.” He also can be heard on Tammy Wynette’s “Stand By Your Man,” Tommy Roe’s million seller “Sheila” and Bob Dylan’s “Blonde on Blonde” LP. He resume includes sessions for Simon & Garfunkle, Dolly Parton, Charlie Daniels, Joan Baez, Michael Nesmith and Tommy Emanuel. As a songwriter, his songs have been recorded by The Oak Ridge Boys, Jerry Reed, Chet Atkins, Roy Clark, George Benson, and Willie Nelson. In 1960, he opened Cinderella Sound Recording Studio, currently the oldest continually operating studio in Nashville. Wayne has been honored as a “Nashville Cat” by the Country Music Hall of Fame and continues to perform and record.
* Ada “Bricktop” Smith - 1894-1984. Alderson, Monroe County
Born Ada Beatrice Queen Victoria Louise Virginia Smith in Alderson, Bricktop was a dancer, singer, vaudevillian, and self-described saloon-keeper who owned the Paris nightclub Chez Bricktop. She has been described as “one of the most legendary and enduring figures of 20th Century American cultural history.” After working as a chorus girl in Chicago and Harlem, Bricktop moved to Paris around 1924 to escape racial tension in the U.S. Soon, Cole Porter hired her to entertain at his parties. His song, “Miss Otis Regrets,” was written especially for her to perform, and Hot Jazz innovators Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli wrote a song titled “Bricktop.” Bricktop’s drew many celebrities including the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and John Steinbeck. Her proteges included Mabel Mercer and Josephine Baker, and she employed Langston Hughes as a busboy. Leaving Paris during WWII, she then opened nightclubs in Mexico City and Rome. In 1961, at age 67, she retired to the U.S. Bricktop made a cameo appearance in the 1974 film “Honeybaby, Honeybaby” and the 1983 Woody Allen film “Zelig.” She continued to perform as a Cabaret entertainer well into her 80s. In 1972, Bricktop made her only recording, “So Long Baby,” with Cy Coleman.
* Eleanor Steber - (1914-1990). Wheeling, Ohio County
Wheeling native Eleanor Steber is considered one of the most important U.S. sopranos of the 20th Century and has often been called “the greatest Mozart singer of them all.” At a time when opera was part of popular culture, she was a true international star, known throughout the world for her full, powerful voice, her ability to master a wide variety of roles and her tireless work ethic. In Wheeling, she received a rich, musical education and, after studying at the New England Conservatory of Music, won the coveted “Metropolitan Auditions of the Air.” From 1945 to 1955 she performed on NBC’s syndicated radio show “The Voice of Firestone” which became one of the signatures of her career. In 1948, Eleanor premiered Samuel Barber’s “Knoxville: Summer of 1915,” a work she had commissioned a year earlier. Both “Knoxville,” and the title role she created for his opera, “Vanessa,” were two of her most notable and proudest achievements. On an historic State Department tour through the Middle and Far East, an audience of 80 million tuned in to watch her sing “Madame Butterfly” on Japanese TV. Over 22 Met seasons, Steber did 427 performances of 34 roles and sang more performances of Mozart leading roles than any other singer in the company’s history. In all, she had an astounding 65 roles in her operatic repertoire.
* The Swan Silvertones - Formed in 1938, McDowell County
The Swan Silvertones are unquestionably one of the greatest gospel quartets of the ‘40s, ’50s and ’60s. Originally The Four Harmony Kings, and then the Silvertone Singers, the group was founded in 1938 by Alabama native Claude Jeter, who had moved to McDowell county to work in the mines. After relocating to Knoxville, TN, the group was hired by a local radio program sponsored by the local Swan Bakery - and renamed the Swan Silvertones. The Swans went on to record for the King, Specialty and Vee-Jay labels. One of the first gospel groups to add a rhythm section, through each incarnation, the group remained on the cutting edge of gospel. A line from the group’s 1961 song “Mary Don’t You Weep” inspired Paul Simon to write his 1970 hit, “Bridge over Troubled Water” and the group’s unparalleled version of “Saviour, Pass Me Not” was featured in the 1991 film “The Big Easy.” The Swans were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2002 and the International Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 2003. The sons and nephews of original member Solomon Womack - including Curtis and Friendly who are with us tonight - formed The Womack Brothers who, after teaming up with Sam Cooke, became The Valentinos. In the late ‘70s, the last original Swan, John Myles, retired. His grandson, Rev. RL Bush formed The New Swan Silvertones in 1999 to carry on the group’s legacy.