We all know the Appalachian stereotypes: men in coveralls, missing teeth in poverty with banjo music playing in the background. The film Deliverance did little to contradict those mental images. And I’ll be the first person to admit that some of those stereotypes have a basis in reality. Examples exist all over the region. But, they don’t represent the entire region.
Appalachia has a long history of independence and love of nature and the mountains that surround us. West Virginia is the only state completely contained in the Appalachian Mountains and our state motto is Montani Semper Liberi—Mountaineers are Always Free. There is also a deep culture in our region that is expressed through our music, art and literature.
For many people Appalachian music is about fiddles and banjos with the occasional washboard thrown in there. And that is absolutely part of it. Again, it doesn’t represent the entire region. Appalachian sensibilities and themes show up in just about every genre of entertainment and music, not just the traditional ones. New Appalachian Radio on VoicesofAppalachia.com is based on exactly that premise.
New Appalachian Radio is a streaming radio station broadcasting online 24/7/365. Starting this week the station is having a “relaunch” featuring new music, talk and discussion, completely focused on Appalachia. When there aren’t programmed shows, the station returns to music. All of it is by Appalachian performers, but it covers everything from Rock to Pop to Country and Traditional Music, even reggae. Yes, reggae. Just about everything is original music and recordings on small or independent labels. This is a great opportunity for musicians to get their music in front of a larger audience.
I know all of this, because I’m hosting an interview show called Writer’s Block where I interview Appalachian authors about their craft. It debuted earlier this week. You can see the full schedule of shows and music on the website at http://voicesofappalachia.com/. New Appalachian Radio is based in Charleston.
I’ve often said that I don’t think we as West Virginians don’t do a very good job of telling our own story. Too often, we let others do it for us. In this case, I am definitely wrong. New Appalachian Radio gives a voices to the people of Appalachia and shows that while some of those sterotypes may be true, they aren’t the whole picture.
There is an incredible amount of talent in these hills: writers, comedians, musicians. Take a listen and find out what you’ve been missing..