Front Porch Blog

News from the Appalachian Voices Concert Tour!

By Colette Henderson

Five days ago, we kicked off the Dear Companion tour in Lexington, KY in full force. We packed the house and many stopped by the Appalachian Voices table to pick up materials and ask questions. The amazing part of doing this work in areas like Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Virginia is the stories you can come across. One of the ushers at the Lexington show stopped by and commented on how she had protested strip mining in Eastern Kentucky back in the 60’s. Others talked of family and friends in the region who have come and gone due to the the distressing effect mining has on the area. A young woman nabbed an I Love Mountains bumper sticker before rushing into the show calling over her shoulder, “I’m from Eastern Kentucky, I”m so glad they are doing this work..”

After a great show in Knoxville, TN which brought in a new App Voice member (whee!), Dear Companion took a small break in Louisville before working our way to Charleston, WV. On stage in Charleston, the Dear Companion crew showed no shyness in letting the audience know why they were doing this tour. The crowd was receptive and the boys received a standing ovation for their performance. Later that night, many of us jumped on bicycles and rode around town, enjoying the cooler climate and new scenery.

It’s day five of the Dear Companion tour and we have landed in the small mountain town of Marlinton, WV. The town’s population is probably around 2,000. Nestled in Pocahontas County with the Greenbrier River running through, Marlinton is quiet and charming. I currently bring this update to you from a small local coffee shop called the Dirt Bean where the conversation has been abuzz with tonight’s performance. A family walked in earlier that drove from Huntington, WV to see the show. They were excited about the project and were looking forward to the evening. A young girl skipped in and said she had been to a gas station in Lewisberg, WV where a sign was posted condemning anyone who attended the show this evening. The barista commented the town was mostly pro coal and that she was skeptical about how many would attend.

Marlinton, WV is an interesting stop. It’s the smallest town we will be visiting on this tour and could be the most challenging. This is what this tour is about though, further opening a difficult conversation through the beautiful voices of Kentucky artists. Perhaps we’ll reach some new audiences today.

If you haven’t seen them yet, there’s still time! Catch em at the following venues:

Jul 27 – Charlottesville, VA – Jefferson Theater
Jul 29 – Woodstock, NY – Bearsville Theater
Jul 31 – Newport, RI – Newport Folk Festival
Aug 1 – Newport, RI – Newport Folk Festival

Learn more about the Appalachian Voices tour by clicking here.

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