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Mason Adams

Inside Appalachia Co-Host and Folkways Reporter

Mason Adams grew up near the Virginia/West Virginia border in Clifton Forge, Virginia. He earned a degree in wildlife biology from the University of Rhode Island, but after a couple of years of working out west, he became a journalist and moved back to Appalachia in 2001. Since then, he’s covered mountain communities and the issues affecting them. Mason wrote for the Enterprise Mountaineer in western North Carolina and the Roanoke Times in western Virginia before going freelance in 2012. His work has appeared in Southerly, Daily Yonder, 100 Days in Appalachia, Mother Jones, Huffington Post and elsewhere. Mason likes Appalachian history, zines, roller derby, punk rock, metal, hip hop, bluegrass and classic country music. He lives with his family and a small herd of goats in Floyd County, Virginia. Follow him on Twitter @MasonAtoms.

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  • This week, we’ve pulled a few gems from our archive. We’re listening back to some of our favorite Inside Appalachia stories from the past year.
  • This week on Inside Appalachia, we meet parents like Megan Hullinger, a single mom with four kids in Pocahontas County. It took her nearly three years to get a spot at a childcare center for her son Nathan. During the pandemic, parents have faced pressures and decisions unlike any before in human history. How do you balance it all, and maintain positivity, in the midst of all these challenges? For many mothers, we’re not just talking about parenting questions — but also how to balance that against work.
  • In the latest episode of Inside Appalachia, we’ll hear stories from creators across Appalachia and how they process their lives through their art. Everything from songwriting, to photography, to self-published zines. Suzie Kelly has been making zines for more than 20 years. She talks about how DIY publishing can connect people in unexpected ways.
  • In this week’s episode of Inside Appalachia, we talk with students, educators, life coaches and psychologists about what can help more young people stay in school, and get trained so they can get jobs, and stay in Appalachia.We meet Sharell Harmon, who works for a nonprofit called Youth Build, training young people with hands-on skills so they can get jobs to help them get a job. Harmon was a participant in the program seven years ago. “I went from being homeless, a college dropout,” Harmon recalled. “And now I'm a college graduate. And, I'm going to buy my first house this year.”
  • This week on Inside Appalachia, we’ve got an eclectic mix of stories from across central Appalachia. We check in with residents in Kentucky who are struggling with the aftermath of devastating floods there five months ago. We also learn about the dark history of Eugenics in Virginia. We’ll talk with author Elizabeth Catte about her new book, “Pure America: Eugenics and the Making of Modern Virginia.” We also talk with biologists who are trying to figure out what’s causing a mysterious illness that’s killing birds across the region. And on a lighter note, we travel to an artist retreat center outside Asheville, North Carolina, where writers come to enjoy nature and focus on writing.
  • If you’ve listened to Inside Appalachia, there’s a good chance you’ve heard LaPrelle’s music before, as one half of Anna & Elizabeth. That would be LaPrelle, who grew up in Rural Retreat, Virginia, and Anna Roberts Gevalt, who is now based in Brooklyn. Inside Appalachia co-host Mason Adams spoke with LaPrelle to learn more, beginning with LaPrelle’s roots as a ballad singer who took up the tradition of regional legends like Texas Gladden.
  • Appalachian Ohio writer Alison Stine’s first novel, “Road Out of Winter,” won the 2021 Philip K. Dick Award in April. Inside Appalachia co-host Mason Adams recently spoke to Stine about the novel and what it tells us about the world of today.
  • This week on Inside Appalachia, co-host Mason Adams sits down with Elizabeth LaPrelle, who grew up in Rural Retreat, Virginia. She and her husband Brian Dolphin moved from Brooklyn back to southwestern Virginia just before the pandemic hit. As longtime performers and new parents they took to Facebook Live, posting weekly livestreams of lullabies and stories. We’ll also hear about a song called “Tom Dooley,” which was first released shortly after the Civil War. It resurfaced 60 years ago, when it topped the Billboard charts.
  • This week on Inside Appalachia, we listen to an encore episode about places in Appalachia that are drawing visitors and newcomers, sometimes at a cost. The region needs new residents to drive economic prosperity, but an influx of buyers can also squeeze out lower income people and put stress on community infrastructure.
  • A new road makes it easier to get from the Washington, D.C. metro area to the rugged backwoods of Tucker County, West Virginia, where nearly 130,000 of acres of state and federal land are accessible to the public. Instead of a four or five hours up winding mountain roads, the new easy, breezy four-lane now shrinks the drive to less than three hours. The growing number of visitors has boosted business — but it’s also strained the resources of a county with one stoplight and just 7,000 year-round residents.