WV’s most historic music stage

Once a week, the uplifting chords of Larry Groce’s “Simple Song,” moving from major to minor, kick off another 2-hour episode of the historic NPR show “Mountain Stage.”

Although the song, show’s title and its regular venue in Charleston’s Culture Center Theater evoke pure Appalachian West Virginia, Mountain Stage has showcased artists and genres from around the world for more than 30 years.

The show is a unique combination of the local and the cosmopolitan. Both established and up-and-coming musicians earn featured gigs on this historic show, and it is an honor for all.

The diversity of Mountain Stage’s lineup over the years is astounding. Musical icons Sarah McLachlan, Phish, R.E.M., Ben Harper and Cassandra Wilson all played here before they were nationally known.

The beautiful piano/vocals of Regina Spektor and Norah Jones; the virtuosic bluegrass of Nickel Creek; the classy jazz of John Pizzarelli; the folk music of Arlo Guthrie; the energetic alternative rock of Barenaked Ladies– all have stood out on the stage as well.

Up-and-coming bands like The Earls of Leicester, Greensky Bluegrass, and West Virginia’s own Ona are also tearing up the stage more recently.

Mountain Stage first aired in 1983, the brainchild of Andy Ridenour, Larry Groce and Francis Fisher. Since then, more than 850 episodes have been broadcast and recorded, broadcasting on 150 public radio stations each and every week.

The show has occasionally moved beyond its home base in Charleston. Mountain Stage has been taped at other regional centers like Morgantown; Elkins; Beckley; Lewisburg; Athens, OH; Ashland, KY; and even farther-flung locales like New York, Boston and Glasgow, Scotland!

So, if you enjoy well-played, earthy music of any genre, tune into or download an episode of Mountain Stage. Better yet, head to West Virginia and catch a live show in Charleston or a nearby city. You won’t be disappointed!

Which Mountain Stage acts have been your favorites?

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