CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Terry Lowry, historian and musician, will present “Rocking the Kanawha: The Golden Age of Music in the Kanawha Valley” in the Archives and History Library at the Culture Center, State Capitol Complex in Charleston, on Thursday, May 19. The program begins at 6 p.m. and is free and open to the public.
Long before Mountain Stage, the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame, the Clay Center or many of the other musical outlets in present-day Charleston and the Kanawha Valley, there was a 10-year period from 1964 to 1974 that has become known as the “Golden Age of Music” in the region. During that time, the area flourished with outstanding local musicians, a variety of clubs and venues and a fan base that has not been equaled. These musicians and the environment in which they performed made them pioneers, opening doors to future musicians and paving the way for projects like Mountain Stage.
Beginning in 1964 with soul bands such as the original Esquires (with singer Bobby Lanham), the King Sound Interpreters (with Curtis Price), The Barons, The Seven Seas, The Rooks, recording artist Turley Richards and others, and continuing with the hippie-era bands of the late 1960s and early 1970s such as Heavy Rain (with legendary guitarist Randall Wray), Quiet (with Tom Benson), The Bristols, The Mojos and national recording artists The Mind Garage, the Kanawha Valley sparkled with musical creativity and diversity. Clubs were packed, outdoor festivals abounded and national recording acts played there, including Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin. Lowry will take visitors on a journey through Charleston rock and roll and describe how these musical pioneers set the stage for those who followed.
Lowry is a 50-year veteran guitarist of the Charleston music scene and has performed or jammed with most musicians of the “Golden Age” and those who followed. He founded and edited Charleston’s first rock music “fanzine” called The Kanawha Rocker and was music critic for the Charleston Gazette from the late 1960s to 1979. He interviewed artists like Hendrix, Canned Heat and Lou Gramm of Foreigner. Lowry attended more than 1,000 concerts and performs with Charleston’s Diablo Blues Band. He is a staff historian with Archives and History and has written several books on the Civil War in West Virginia.
For additional information about the Archives and History lecture series, contact the Archives and History Library at (304) 558-0230.
Patrons may park behind the Culture Center after 5:30 p.m. on May 19 and enter the building at the back loading dock area. The new bus turnaround is open, and handicapped spots are available there. Visitors parking there should enter at the front of the building.
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.