© 2022 West Virginia Public Broadcasting
Telling West Virginia's Story
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

From The Land Of The Luchador To East Tennessee: Chatting With Appalachians Across The United States

portrait of the musician amythyst kiah
Sandlin Gaither
/
Amythyst Kiah, whose 2021 record “Wary and Strange” was released last year, is a singer-songwriter from East Tennessee.

On this week’s episode, we’re journeying far and wide through Appalachia and beyond.

Author Mesha Maren takes us from the hills of West Virginia to the border between Texas and Mexico — the land of the Luchador. We’ll also hear about what West Virginians are doing to help Ukrainian refugees flee the war with Russia. And, we’ll learn about what doctors are saying about medical cannabis in the Mountain State — where it is now available to more than 8,000 patients.

We’ll round out our tour of Appalachia with a chat between our host Mason Adams and East Tennessee native Amythyst Kiah, whose 2021 record “Wary and Strange” was released last year.

In This Episode:

  • West Virginia Interfaith Ministry Providing Aid To Ukrainian Refugees 
  • Mesha Maren’s “Perpetual West” Melds Appalachia, Mexico
  • Medical Cannabis In The Mountain State
  • Q&A With Amythyst Kiah 

West Virginia Interfaith Ministry Providing Aid To Ukrainian Refugees 

Displaced Ukrainian citizens are being aided by the West Virginia Interfaith Refugee Ministry as they seek temporary refuge from the war between Ukraine and Russia. Charleston, West Virginia’s Rabbi Victor Urkecki spoke with West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s Randy Yohe about the efforts of WVIRM and the benefits of bringing refugees into the state.

Mesha Maren’s “Perpetual West” Melds Appalachia, Mexico

Reporter Zack Harold (right) with West Virginia author Mesha Maren.
Zack Harold/West Virginia Public Broadcasting
/
Reporter Zack Harold (right) with West Virginia author Mesha Maren.

West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s Zack Harold interviewed Alderson, West Virginia native Mesha Maren about her new novel, “Perpetual West” at a live event at Taylor Books in Charleston, West Virginia.

“Perpetual West” melds stories about Appalachia and Mexico, academia and wrestling set in a fictional version of Maren’s hometown of Alderson.

Maren is a professor at Duke University and a writing fellow at the federal prison camp in Alderson.

Medical Cannabis In The Mountain State

Marijuana laws have been changing around America, including in Appalachia. After a long time coming, medical marijuana dispensaries are opening in West Virginia, where more than 8,000 patients are already benefiting from using medicinal cannabis. As June Leffler reports, doctors say there is a lot more potential in the plant, including the relative safety of using cannabis to treat pain instead of opioid medication.

Witty Lines, Wry Observations And The Music Of Amythyst Kiah

Amythyst Kiah logo.jpg
Brian Blauser
/
Mountain Stage
Amythyst Kiah performing on Mountain Stage.

East Tennessee native Amythyst Kiah is a singer-songwriter whose work about identity and Blackness is catching attention from listeners all over the United States. Kiah self-released four albums before Rounder Records put out “Wary and Strange” in 2021. The record is personal, soulful and, at times, searing and anthemic. Our host Mason Adams spoke with Amythyst about her music and about what post-pandemic life has in store for her work.

Tweet to us! You can find us on Twitter at @InAppalachia.

Our theme music is by Matt Jackfert. Additional music in this episode is from Amythyst Kiah and John Ingram.

Bill Lynch is our producer. Alex Runyon is our associate producer. Our executive producer is Eric Douglas. Kelley Libby is our editor. Our audio mixer is Patrick Stephens. Zander Aloi also helped produce this episode.

Stay Connected
Inside Appalachia Co-Host/Folkways Reporter, mason.j.adams@gmail.com, @MasonAtoms
Radio Announcer/Host, blynch@wvpublic.org, @LostHwys
Alex Runyon is a proud Huntington, West Virginia native. She attended Marshall University and earned degrees in creative writing and literary studies, dabbling in journalism, photography and women’s studies along the way. She worked as a freelance photographer and social media strategist before joining the Inside Appalachia team as Associate Producer. Alex enjoys writing and performing stand up comedy, hiking, screenwriting and playing board games. She lives in Huntington, West Virginia with her cat, Waylon Kittings. Follow her on Twitter @_AlexRunyon.