Jim Lange

Host - Eclectopia

Jim has a Master's Degree in Guitar Performance from the Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University. His BA is in Music Education from West Liberty University.

He joined West Virginia Public Broadcasting in 1998, workingin radio part-time on Sunday nights. This developed into original programming called Sunday Nights with Jim Lange. Around 2002, this became Eclectopia- a program that has become a WVPB staple.

Recently, a kind listener, called Jim "the mad scientist of cool music."

From 2007 until 2015, he became host/producer of Classical Music with Jim Lange. He has also produced Symphony of Ideas- a co-production with maestro Grant Cooper and the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra. He has blogged in both Classically Speaking and EclecTopia.

Jim has interviewed classical greats such as John Eliot Gardiner. Joshua Bell, Hans Zimmer, George Crumb, Simone Dinnerstein, Erich Kunzel and many others.

In contemporary music, he has interviewed and produced shows about David Sylvian, Bill Bruford, Ralph Towner (2014) and jazz author Joe Goldberg.

Writing music, playing the guitar, taking pictures and the occasional written word piece amuses Jim to no end.

In 2013, Jim helped form Terra Firma, a group interested in contemporary music of an eclectic nature. Local musical luminaries such as David Porter, Ryan Kennedy, Lisa Peery, John Ingrahm and Scott Milam are the current lineup.

Terra Firma premiered  his sextet, "Brambles and Briers," as part of Kanawha United Presbyterian Church's Kanawha Forum in April of 2014. 

Not long ago, the Velvet Brothers, a band he was in long ago, had a twenty year reunion. People seemed to enjoy themselves.

His greatest accomplishment and that which has given his life real meaning is his marriage to Beverly. Jim notes she is a saint for having tolerated him for over two decades.

And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
    Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born? ~ Yeats

The beast stirs from fitful sleep, opening voluminous eyes - slowly becomes upright. This beast, this Crimson beast, is awake and ready.

What instruments? What batterie? What music?

Trey Gunn

"Trey Gunn is a beast." ~ Robert Fripp

What an interconnected world we live in. When I saw that Trey Gunn, a well-known figure in progressive music circles, had a new album, I reached out via his website. Fully expecting a publicist's reply, Trey himself cheerfully agreed to a chat about his new work.

Who is Trey Gunn?


Do you like Eclectopia? Do you love it?

Consider being a part of the broadcast in the Eclectopia Guest DJ Summer 2015 Series.

YOU will get a chance to not only select music, but I'll record (via phone) a short interview with you on why you selected your songs.

OK, kitty cats, here's the deal:

Starting June 1st, you can submit your ideas. Broadcasting of these will start mid-June and, depending upon response, will continue through July.


"Technically, I think I'm a crap singer. I don't have the chops, but I know that I can move people and I can touch them. That interests me more."

The proliferation of  singing talent shows on American TV all suggest that prodigious vocal technique, along with the singing of as many notes (plus ornamentations) is the pinnacle of musical expression.


More is not better. Quality is not defined by quantity.

Kim Arnesen

To use common parlance: this is big stuff, a big deal and quite an honor.

Charleston-based Opus Chorale has been a given a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to give the American premiere of Norwegian composer Kim Andre Arnesen's Requiem Mass. "Arnesen is a rising star in the choral world," said Opus Chorale director, David Donathan, "and for us, this is a major coup."

Josh Saul

  When Ryan Kennedy picks up a guitar, people pay attention. Kennedy has released his debut CD titled Something to Say– a collection of nine original compositions. The 34-year-old Berklee School of Music trained Charleston native is a member of both the Bob Thompson Unit and the Mountain Stage Band.

The Ryan Kennedy Trio will be performing at his CD release party – Friday, March 27 at Black Sheep Burrito and Brews, 702 Quarrier St, in Charleston at 8 p.m.


The annual Grammys: annual display of crass commercialism or America's best given due recognition?

I am truly curmudgeonly when it comes to any discussion of the Grammys. Truth is, the Glammys are a hit-and-miss and very uneven theatrical event. This is more about what someone wears than the content of the music.

However, there are moments when the Grammys almost redeem themselves. Then there are moments when....eh...er...what?

The list of nominees. Here's my list:

The Return of the King

Feb 4, 2015

The return of King Crimson in 2014 was certainly a surprise to everyone. Robert Fripp, let's just call him the lightning rod of the group as well as its most consistent member, had devoted page after page in his online diary about the bliss of not having to endure what he calls the "wretched life of the professional musician." Fripp writes: "But mostly, the life of the working musician is wretched.


Brian Eno has called them "radio Dadaism," and ranks them among the best in British comedy. Eddie Izzard believes the Goons were the start of modern comedy. And Monty Python? Well, they idolized them. Count John Lennon and The Beatles, Firesign Theater and Prince Charles among their fans.

Jim Lange

A creative life or daily creative activity is a funny thing- fraught with missteps, miscues and misfires. It is not, as we might think, a Sturm und Drang artistic wrestle with the fates. It's far more practical and hilarious than that.

Occasionally, an amusing thought, often containing a bitter grain of truth, will pop into my head.This is a partial list of these nuggets of "wisdom."

1. Coffee helps. A lot.

2. Let your voice be the only one speaking in your head.

3. Create a space for silence. Music comes from there.

4. Listen, don't think.

The Velvet Time Machine

Oct 29, 2014

"Let's get the band back together!"

Is this the battle cry of the midlife crisis? The rallying slogan point with those with far more paunch than punch? Is this just grown men, well past middle-age, trying to relive their youth and former glory? Is it a ridiculous idea fraught with potential hazards?

You double betcha.

Yes. But if you never try anything outside of your comfort zone, what good are ye to thyself?

PART 1. Good or bad idea?

It is estimated that 40 million Americans now practice yoga. If that isn't a cultural mind-shift, I don't know what is.

Beginning with the counterculture of the '60's, slowly, ever so slowly,  concepts like organic, vegetarianism, vegan, and meditation have taken hold in our commercial American culture. I have cynically said of my country that if Americans can't place a dollar amount on something, we are mystified. And spiritualism, in any form outside of the go-to-church-on-Sunday variety, is often dismissed.

Tonight is the last night of the KC Elements Tour. (Sadly, really regretfully, I could not attend any show.)

Most would say that the King Crimson Elements Tour of 2014 was a resounding success. Going through the reviews, all the ones I read were positive.

No surprise to me. This group was different from all my expectations (therefore, in my mind, exciting) and this very difference allowed them the freedom to explore the music in a new way. 

The Unseen Hand of God

Sep 24, 2014

"If we and the rest of the back-boned animals were to disappear overnight, the rest of the world would get on pretty well. But if they (invertebrates-insects) were to disappear, the land's ecosystems would collapse.  These small creatures are within a few inches of our feet, wherever we go on land – but often, they're disregarded. We would do very well to remember them." ~Sir David Attenborough

Tony Levin.

A musician lives for music.

Perhaps better to say, for the 'experience' that music has to offer. More precisely, a musician lives to further clarify and deepen the relationship between themselves and that mystical experience when music removes us from any sense of time, ourselves, our obligations - all those encroaching weights that keep us aground.

A friend of mine, normally taciturn, expressed his experience after a joyous reunion of our old band:

Jim Lange

Symphony of Ideas: SEPTEMBER 25 at 12:15pm & OCTOBER 2 at 8pm. 2 hours.

Symphony of Ideas, a collaboration between WV Public Radio and the WV Symphony Orchestra returns this Thursday with a brand new program with many West Virginia connections.

This week's show is all over the musical map.

So, how's that any different from any other show?

Good point. This week we embrace funk, rock, alt folk and the once king of dances- the mambo.

Perez Prado was called the Mambo King. He is easily identifed by his famous grunts (Huh!) that you hear throughout the nearly-off-the-rails brass arrangements of his band.

Lest you think me being ironic with all this mambo business, thus embracing hipsterdom, I am not. This is fiery, vivacious, Latino music that gets me moving.

Tony Levin. Used by permission.

I know I'm a bit obsessed about this band. I get that.

To be perfectly honest, my tireless enthusiasm is founded on one basic idea: by comparison, every other band seems lame. When friends or family talk wildly about some country singer (yawn) or some muso drones on endlessly about a new hot band, I sigh internally. About 40% of the time, the music is engaging and I might even download it and roll it through the Eclectopian wheels. It's clever and catchy, but it pales by any comparison. It's not fair to do that, but music people are like that.

I am a dreamer.

Far worse when I was young when just about everything jolted me or made me fearful. To counterbalance, I developed a strong imagination. My mother told me that I never needed entertaining; that hours spent with clay, comics, TV or outside activities largely kept me engaged.

But my dreaming nature created a mind that easily left the room. In short, being truly present, controlling or crawling out of that dream state, was an issue that followed me through adolescence and well into my adult years.

King Crimson 2014: Joy?

Sep 3, 2014

"Everything you've heard about King Crimson is true. It's an absolutely terrifying place." ~Bill Bruford

King Crimson - a place where the music might resemble a tsunami, a typhoon, a hurricane and that's just the nice bits. King Crimson - where musical ideas such as acerbic Bartokian Jimi Hendrix guitar riffs, wicked bass lines and polyrhythmic drumming are commonplace. King Crimson - where the 21st century schizoid man roams in all his fractured red nightmares.

K Flay - Mixing It Up

Aug 27, 2014
K Flay

Channel surfing one night, I stumbled upon a video of a young woman performing on Carson Daley's Last Call.  She was rapping and singing what appeared to be original material. It was infectious.

Teacher, Teach Thyself?

Jul 30, 2014
Jim Lange

We are binge watching In Treatment, starring the marvelous Gabriel Byrne, and there is a relationship, in the most respectful terms, between certain elements of private counseling sessions and private music lessons.

Byrne's character, Dr. Paul Weston, is having all sorts of fits with his patients, his private life is fractured, and his detached therapeutic persona is shattered by the revelations of his own therapist, the bright and insightful Gina.

My life is nowhere near that level of upheaval, but there's no doubt I've had some strange encounters with students.

Dowland or O'Dolan?

Jul 17, 2014

The man of mystery, the enigmatic composer and lutenist, John Dowland (1563 –  1626) has been on my mind lately.

Periodically, I go through these heavy Dowlandesque periods where I immerse myself in his profound songs, finger-tangling lute music or his soft and sorrowful music for viols.

You see, there are more than a few of us who believe that Dowland, among a myriad of other Renaissance composers, never get a fair shake in the world of classical music. They are largely ignored and it is duly noted.

The Power of Silence

Jul 3, 2014
Jim Lange

Consistently, the concept of music coming from another time or another place, far different from our own, is an idea you will encounter again and again in artistic circles. It's as if music is imported, allows itself into or gently descends upon the practitioners of this noble art. 

Then there's silence. What's so special about that? How does it relate to music?

Silence of the nature that Robert Fripp and Sandra Bain Cushman talk about occurring on Guitar Craft or now as it is known, Orchestra of Crafty Guitarists courses, is a keenly felt presence.

Jim Lange

I am pretty much a home body and by Eric Douglas' world traveling life, I could be called a house slug.

Eric is a renaissance man: writing, photography, many aspects of scuba diving, teaching and he takes on special projects like telling the stories of our vets. Despite the diversity of activities, he is no dilettante. He dives in (Oh, a pun!) with an iron determination to learn and master what interests him.

A writer tells his story through words. Listen to Eric tell his story.

The Boys Are Back

Jul 1, 2014
Tony Levin. Used by permission.

Never say never, especially in the world of King Crimson.  

My Lithium Sunset

Jun 30, 2014
Jim Lange

Whatever our homes say about us, mine is one that is filled with sound.

We reside in an area two blocks from the bridge and a stone's throw from the busiest avenue in the city.

CAMC, our neighbors, is building a new cancer center across the street. All the while demolishing buildings, one row over from us, to "put up a parking lot."


VH1's Behind the Music is always fun to watch. You can revel in the personal struggles of the band and cheer on the comebacks, but the real reason we watch is simple. We love when the narrator begins the segment with, "and then it all went horribly wrong." That's the point when the featured band begins to implode, explode and generally go sideways into an oak tree. A pure case of schadenfreude.

Don't Meet Your Heroes

Jun 16, 2014

"Expectation is a prison." ~ Robert Fripp

Literary giant T.S. Eliot was a fan of comedic genius Groucho Marx and vice versa.

It is thought that expectations of one another thawed what could have been a spectacular meeting of the minds.

This BBC special is part history and part speculation about their friendship. King Crimson's Jakko Jakszyk created this work as well as the music.

Jim lange

Walking into Roger Morillo's shop in St. Albans, you cannot help but feel a tinge of excitement. 

Here is a place where not only valuable instrument repair is done, but it's also where Roger makes his own basses and guitars. This is the proverbial "kid in a candy store" for a guy like me.