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Folkways

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Folkways

The Inside Appalachia Folkways Project expands the reporting of the Inside Appalachia team to include more stories from West Virginia as well as expand coverage in Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, and Ohio

The project establishes the Inside Appalachia Folkways Corps, which launched with 10 specialized freelance reporters from four Appalachian states.

The Folkways initiative will include developing ongoing partnerships with folklife organizations and artisans across the region, as well as expanding WVPB’s educational components surrounding Appalachian folk life and culture, providing a tool kit for educators to incorporate "Inside Appalachia" into classrooms everywhere.

Watch Folkways Videos


  • This August will mark the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Blair Mountain. Iniside Appalachia Folkways reporter Rebecca Williams talks to Saro Lynch-Thomason, a ballad singer and folklorist from Asheville North Carolina. Saro created the Blair Pathways Project, which tells the history of the West Virginia Mine Wars through music.
  • The famous Civil War-era ballad “Tom Dooley” has everything: love triangle, a grisly murder, a manhunt and a hanging. A version of this song by the Kingston Trio struck a universal chord 60 years ago when it topped the Billboard charts. Inside Appalachia Folkways reporter Heather Duncan is a native of Wilkes County, North Carolina, where the song unfolds. She recently explored why ballads like ‘Tom Dooley’, based on real tragedies and real people, have such staying power.
  • People look forward all year long to the spring ramp collecting season. These days, chefs all over the country use ramps — and experts worry the plants could get over-harvested. For many years, ramps were a hidden gem. What do local communities think? Folkways reporter Laura Harbert Allen brings us this story on this popular — and pungent — food.
  • Like many Appalachian traditions, turkey calls go way back. Historically, they’ve been used as a hunting tool, but one West Virginia artist has taken it to the next level. Brian Aliff makes hand-crafted, prize-winning decorative turkey calls. These pieces are functional and they’re becoming collectors items, but it took a while for Aliff to think of himself as an artist.
  • Appalachia boasts some of the wildest rivers on the East Coast, including the Gauley, the Youghiogheny, and the New River. And though whitewater paddling is now popular in the region, it wasn’t long ago that paddlers first started exploring these rivers, designing their own gear and even building their own paddles. Inside Appalachia Folkways Corps Reporter Clara Haizlett spoke with some of these DIY paddle makers about their love for the craft and perhaps more importantly — their love for the water.
  • When you need to check the time, where do you look? Most people turn to their phones or digital watches. These days, it seems like every electronic device has a clock function, but it hasn’t always been this way. Not all that long ago, marking the passage of time was the job of one device — a clock. Folkways reporter Zack Harold recently spent some time with Carl Witt, a man in Fairview, West Virginia who learned how to repair clocks after crossing paths with the late Charles Decker.
  • Herbal remedies are experiencing a renaissance with industry trackers reporting an explosion in sales — and prices — last year. Those remedies have been a path to wellness and independence in Appalachia for centuries. Folkways reporter Heather Duncan brings us the story from Tennessee.
  • Spinning and weaving are traditions that have been handed down for generations — usually among women. But it doesn’t just begin with the wool. It starts with raising the sheep. If you’ve ever tried to shear a sheep, you know it takes some practice. As part of our Inside Appalachia Folkways project, reporter Heather Niday brings us the passing of that knowledge and about honoring a legacy.