35 Highlights from the 35th Season of Mountain Stage

Dec 14, 2018

Credit Brian Blauser/ Mountain Stage

In our landmark 35th year we hosted 23 shows, in three states, with 111 guest-artists, one of W.Va's best liars, and we welcomed three guest-hosts. In this post you’ll find some highlights from shows we recorded in 2018, painstakingly narrowed down by our host Larry Groce and staff. There are two Dylan tunes, one Emmy award winner, a Broadway playwright, two Rock and Roll Hall of Famers, plenty of fresh faces and some long-time friends.

Click the play button to hear each highlight, and find the artist’s entire set via our podcast by clicking the episode number. Whenever possible, we’ve linked to VuHaus videos or NPR music features. Of course we always encourage you to purchase music you like, and go out and hear some live music, wherever you are, just as soon as you can. 

Amy Ray made her 10th Mountain Stage appearance on Dec. 2, 2018 at the Culture Center Theater in Charleston, W.Va. when we recorded episode #935 - Broadcast coming in March

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Anais Mitchell was a part of our 35th anniversary show on Dec. 2, 2018 at the Culture Center Theater Charleston in W.Va. Her musical Hadestown is set to hit Broadway in the Spring of 2019. Hear more when episode #935 hit airwaves in March.

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Bettye LaVette  is such a force and we were thrilled to welcome her back to the show on February 25, 2018 in Charleston, W.Va.  Hear episode #916.

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Portland, Oregon native Haley Heynderickx  was featured by NPR Music as an emerging Slingshot artist to watch in 2018.  Haley made her first Mountain Stage appearance on June 3, 2018 – Culture Center Theater Charleston, W.Va.; Episode #924

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Hiss Golden Messenger  joined us for the second time on July 27, 2018 at the Culture Center Theater in Charleston, W.Va. for Episode #926

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It's no surprise  artists like Jason Isbell have nothing but the highest praise for  James McMurtry and his songwriting skills. Hear “The State of the Union” recorded in front of a live audience on March 25, 2018 -  Culture Center Theater – Charleston, W.Va; Episode #919

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Jeff Daniels and the Ben Daniels Band joined us for an intimate evening on July 29, 2018 at the Culture Center Theater, Charleston, W.Va.; Episode #927

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Joachim Cooder busted out his electric mbira for this tune he'd sing to his houseplant.  “Fuchsia Machu Picchu” was recorded on April 15, 2018- Culture Center Theater Charleston, W.Va; Episode #921)

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Joan Osborne  has graced the Mountain Stage eight times since her first appearance in 1995, and she brings something new to the stage every time. She lent her voice and style to the songs of Bob Dylan during her February 25, 2018 visit - Culture Center Theater in Charleston, W.Va; Episode #916

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When we go on the road, we make an effort to bring along good friends. It helps when those good friends are fantastic songwriters. John Gorka joined us for his 11th appearance on April 8, 2018- Radford University with WVRU- Radford, VA; Episode #920

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When introducing this song, John Oates told the audience at WVU's Creative Arts Center in Morgantown, W.Va. that the Hall & Oates hit he penned after vacationing in Jamaica was originally intended to be a reggae song.  Hear his full set in Episode #913

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John R. Miller & the Engine Lights made their Mountain Stage debut and was one of seven West Virginia based bands to hit our stage  in 2018. Hear "Red Eyes" as it was recorded on October 21, 2018- Culture Center Theater Charleston, W.Va.; Episode #933

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Texas native Kat Edmonson has a knack for creating and singing enchanting songs that feel timeless. “I’d Be a Fool” is a wonderful example of her craft. May 13, 2018 – Culture Center Theater Charleston, W.Va.; Episode #923

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In the 70s Kenny White could be found behind the keys and on tour with Livingston Taylor (who is also included in this list of 2018 highlights). In the 80s he was producing and arranging hundreds of America's most memorable commericals.  But on March 4, 2018 he made his fourth Mountain Stage appearance at the Culture Center Theater in Charleston, W.Va.; Episode #917

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“Whistle on Occasion” is what you get when two Mountain Stage favorites come together. We couldn't resist asking Kim Richey and Chuck Prophet  to perform this song outside, steps from our venue and amongst the tulips for a VuHaus video.  April 22, 2018-Culture Center Theater Charleston, W.Va.; Episode #922

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Lee Ann Womack  has one of the most recognizable voices in country music.  On June 3, 2018 she brought her band and a distinct flair of Texas honky-tonk to the Mountain State. - Culture Center Theater Charleston, W.Va.; Episode #924

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Leo Kottke   “From Pizza Towers to Defeat” (September 16, 2018- Culture Center Theater Charleston, W.Va.; Episode #930) Hear more wit and wisdom from the acoustic guitar great with his entire set over at NPR Music.

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Livingston Taylor  took a break from teaching Stage Performance at the Berklee School of Music to grace our stage for this lovely performance.  (October 7, 2018- Culture Center Theater Charleston, W.Va.; Episode #932)

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M. Ward “Chinese Translation” (April 15, 2018- Culture Center Theater Charleston, W.Va.; Episode #921) Hear the career spanning set in its entirety via NPR Music.

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Molly Tuttle “Friend and a Friend” (January 21, 2018 – Culture Center Theater Charleston, W.Va.; Episode #914) Tuttle and her band even touched on a John Hartford tune, as you can hear in this NPR Music segment, which always warms our hearts.

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Natalie Prass “Short Court Style” (August 19, 2018- Peoples Bank Theatre in Marietta, OH; Episode #929) In her first time performing her original music in her home-state of Ohio, Natalie Prass and band brought the goods- as you can hear throughout her entire set at NPR Music.

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Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member Patti Smith and her family returned to West Virginia to accept the posthumous induction of her husband Fred "Sonic" Smith into the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame.   (February 11, 2018- Culture Center Theater Charleston, W.Va.; Episode #915)

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Ranky Tanky's musical roots run deep in the storytelling culture of Gullah traditions. They joined us for the first time on March 18, 2018- Culture Center Theater Charleston, W.Va.; Episode #918

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River Whyless's roots-pop sound can conjure parallels to Ra Ra Riot and Paul Simon on their latest release called Kindness, A Rebel.  They joined us at the Culture Center Theater in Charleston, W.Va. for Episode #934. Take in their entire set via NPR Music.

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Renaissance man Sam Baker  made a repeat visit on March 4 at the Culture Center Theater in Charleston, W.Va, for Episode #917. Hear his entire set of cinematic wonder via NPR Music.

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Malian songwriter and guitarist Sidi Toure shared his special brand of joy on April 22, 2018- Culture Center Theater Charleston, W.Va.; Episode #922

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The Matchsellers made their Mountain Stage debut on May 13, 2018 at the Culture Center Theater in Charleston, W.Va. Hear Episode #923 now.

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The Parachute Brigade was one of six West Virginia based bands featured on the show this year.  Hear their indie roots set recorded on July 27, 2018 at the Culture Center Theater – Charleston, W.Va.; Episode #926

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Hear The Travelin’ McCourys  cover Passenger's “Let Her Go". Recorded on June 3, 2018 - Culture Center Theater Charleston, W.Va.; Episode #924

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With an inspirational sound that blends classic roots, gospel and R&B with country and soul, The War and Treaty are a true treat to experience live.  They joined us on September 23, 2018-Culture Center Theater Charleston, W.Va.; Episode #931

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The Wood Brothers made their third visit to Mountain Stage this year. They shared new tunes and pulled out a few favorites like this one recorded on June 24, 2018- Culture Center Theater Charleston, W.Va.; Episode #925.  Hear their set in its entirety via NPR Music.

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Todd Burge employs wry humor, dexterous  guitar work and a wide variety of life experiences to create his vast catalog of songs. Todd most recently joined the show on the road on August 19, 2018 at the newly restored Peoples Bank Theatre in Marietta, OH; Episode #929

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Todd Snider is a favorite guest of our crew, staff and audience and he made his 15th appearance since 1995 on June 24, 2018. This visit brought him back to the Culture Center Theater Charleston, W.Va. for Episode #925

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Tyminski is the latest solo project of 14 time Grammy award winner Dan Tyminski. He and his band joined us on January 14, 2018 – WVU Creative Arts Center Morgantown, W.Va.; Episode #913

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West Virginia indie rocker William Matheny was welcomed back to Mountain Stage as part of the 35th anniversary celebration on Dec. 2, 2018- Culture Center Theater Charleston, W.Va.; Episode #935 (Broadcast coming in March)