LOGAN, W.Va. – The grandson of West Virginia folk legend Virginia Myrtle “Aunt Jennie” Wilson will share the stage with other notable old-time musicians during a pair of free Labor Day concerts at the Museum in the Park at Chief Logan State Park.
Wilson’s grandson and Logan native Roger Bryant, whose musical roots are in the old-time and folk music traditions, will serve as emcee for the ninth annual “Aunt Jennie Music Festival” on Aug. 31 – Sept. 1. Bryant, who has shared the stage with Tom T. Hall, Tammy Wynette, Kathy Mattea and Kris Kristofferson, also will open for Saturday’s 4-11 p.m. concert.
Bryant achieved national attention in the late 1970s with his song “Stop the Flow of Coal” and has recorded four albums, the most recent of which is “On the Banks of the Old Guyan.” He has shared the stage with Tom T. Hall, Tammy Wynette, Kathy Mattea and Kris Kristofferson.
Bryant will open the Saturday concert. Other performers for the concert include Glen Simpson, a folk musician from Hardy, Ky.; Elaine Purkey, known for her powerful voice, mountain singing and “The Friendly Neighbor Show” band from the weekly radio program on WVOW Radio in Logan; The Dick Taylor Band, a bluegrass group from Chapmanville; the Easy Street band from Logan; and Jeff Ellis, a Huntington native who has released five albums including his latest, “The Line.” Ellis has appeared on Mountain Stage, was a featured artist on National Public Radio and was one of five co-winners of the 2008 Mountain Stage NewSong International Songwriting Contest. Rounding out the Saturday lineup will be the classic pop/rock sounds of the Daddy Rabbit Band.
Sunday’s concert, set for 1-8 p.m., will feature another Bryant set; Cora and Fred Hairston, gospel singers from Omar; The Earl of Elkview, George Daugherty, a trial lawyer who has traveled the world singing and talking about West Virginia; Robert Shafer and The Pour House Band, a country band based in the Charleston area; The Samples Brothers, an old-time music and bluegrass band from Duck; the Stewarts, a gospel group from Clear Fork; and classic rock from the Street Players of Logan.
The concerts will be held in the park’s Liz Spurlock Amphitheater, about a half mile from the museum. Concessions will be available outside the amphitheater. In the event of rain, the concerts will move indoors to the Pickin’ in the Park theater, located in the old Park stables building.
Jennie Wilson was born in 1900 in the Doc Ellis hollow of what is now Chief Logan State Park. She was one of the first women in the region to learn to play the banjo, and her music and storytelling made her internationally known for her preservation of Appalachian culture. Wilson died in 1992.
Visitors also are welcome to tour the Museum in the Park and see the current exhibits from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. They include We Are Marshall, Railroads and Coal Mining in Southern West Virginia, DeHue: A Special Place, Blenko: West Virginia’s Gift to the World and the General Store. There also are quilts, textiles, looms and spinning wheels from the West Virginia State Museum’s collection on display.
For more information about the festival, contact Elizabeth Williams, site manager at the Museum in the Park, at (304) 792-7229.
The Museum in the Park is a regional cultural center showcasing the best in West Virginia history and the arts. It features changing exhibits and displays of artwork and historical items from the collections of the West Virginia State Museum and the State Archives. One area of the museum is dedicated to local and regional history. It is operated and maintained by the West Virginia Division of Culture and History and is four miles north of Logan on W.Va. Route 10 at Chief Logan State Park. The museum is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
The West Virginia Division of Culture and History is an agency within the West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts with Kay Goodwin, Cabinet Secretary. The Division, led by Commissioner Randall Reid-Smith, brings together the past, present and future through programs and services focusing on archives and history, arts, historic preservation and museums. For more information about the Division’s programs, events and sites, visit www.wvculture.org. The Division of Culture and History is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.
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