Critically acclaimed singer-songwriter Bill Withers will speak on his career and craft during a public interview at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 11 in the Museum Education Center at the Art Museum of West Virginia University.

Withers will be in Morgantown to receive an Honorary Doctoral Degree from WVU’s College of Creative Arts, an award bestowed upon individuals who enrich the world through their talents, their passion and their commitment to giving back.

A native West Virginian, Withers’ 1971 debut album broke into the Top 40 of the Billboard album charts and generated two singles, “Ain’t No Sunshine” and “Grandma’s Hands,” that reached the Top 50 of the Billboard “Hot 100” singles chart, launching more than a decade of chart and critical success. He is one of the most successful soul musicians of the 1970s and, since leaving the music industry in the early 1980s, has remained a significant influence and his music has served as a rich pool of inspiration for such successful contemporary musicians as John Legend, the Roots, Kanye West and Maroon 5.

Withers was born in Raleigh County, West Virginia in 1938, spending much of his early life in Slab Fork, a rural coal camp, and later moving to Beckley. A songwriter whose work explores the challenging daily lives of working people and offers a seemingly endless supply of hope at the same time, Withers has achieved all the markers of success in the highly competitive international music business while remaining a model of integrity for his fellow musicians and one of the Mountain State’s most outspoken proponents.

A free public interview will be conducted by Travis Stimeling, assistant professor of music history in WVU’s School of Music.

“A critically acclaimed singer-songwriter, a spokesperson for West Virginian values and a musician whose influence is felt in a wide variety of musical styles, Withers is a significant West Virginian,“ Stimeling said.

Hall of Fame Mourns the Passing of Jim McCoy

We are excited to announce The West Virginia Music Hall of Fame’s 2018 class of inductees. We feel this is one of our most exciting lineups of inductees, presenters, and performers to date.

Once again, these artists represent the quality and the diversity of West Virginia talent, and the impact they have made on the music of the state and the nation.

The six inductees are: Hasil Adkins, Ann Magnuson, Frank Hutchison, The Morris Brothers, Fred “Sonic” Smith, and Michael W. Smith. The presenters, acceptors and performers include: Patti, Jesse and Jackson Smith; Lenny Kaye; Tim O’Brien; Jerry Douglas; Southern Culture on the Skids; Alan Griffith; John Morris; and Jack Morris.

We will also be announcing the names for a new category called “In The Wings.” This new addition includes artists and bands that will be inducted into the WVMHoF at some future date. As we induct just six artists every two years, it is another way for the WVMHoF to recognize West Virginia musicians who have made a lasting contribution to American music.

The induction ceremony will be held February 10, 2018, at the Culture Center Theater in Charleston. Stay tuned for information regarding tickets and performances.

Click here for the Inductees' biographies, photos and song samples.

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The WV Music Hall of Fame’s CD tribute to Little Jimmy Dickens, The Rhinestone Hillbilly, will be shipped to the duplicators very soon. The compilation includes tracks by many of WV’s finest: Bill Withers, Kathy Mattea, Connie Smith, Charlie McCoy, Ann Magnuson, Mayf Nutter, Tim O’Brien, Landau Eugene Murphy, Jr., Larry Groce, Russ Hicks, James Price, Mollie O’Brien & Julie Adams, Todd Burge, John Lilly, and the Carpenter Ants. Stay tuned…
West Virginia My Home Musicians and the Mountain Stage Experience

The West Virginia Music Hall of Fame’s new documentary, “West Virginia My Home: Musicians and the Mountain State Experience,” offers a fascinating look at some of the most prominent musicians to come from West Virginia, and how the “Mountain State Experience” influenced their lives and music.

Artists including Bill Withers, Brad Paisley, Little Jimmy Dickens, Hazel Dickens, George Crumb, Kathy Mattea, John Ellison, Everett Lilly, Charlie McCoy, Billy Edd Wheeler and Billy Cox, recall their experiences growing up in West Virginia, and how those values and ideals helped shape their careers.

Educational and inspiring, the documentary is suitable for all audiences. For students in particular, the film illustrates that growing up in a small town in a small state does not need to be a barrier to pursuing their dreams.

The film was produced by the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame and was funded by the West Virginia Humanities Council, the West Virginia Legislature, and the Hamilton Family Foundation. To purchase a copy of the film, or for information about setting up a screening: 304/342-4412;

Hall of Fame Pros Present Music Business Career Day

The West Virginia Music Hall of Fame’s “Music Caeer Counseling Program” visited South Charleston Middle School recently.

Tapping the talent and experience of music industry pros, students are exposed to the many career opportunities – both performing and non-performing – that exist in the music industry including audio/video engineers, producers, tech and stage hands, managers, agents, photographers, and writers.

The four guest professionals visiting SCMS are: Larry Groce, Bob Thompson, Landau Eugene Murphy, Jr., and Rachel Burge.

The WVMHoF’s Music Career Counseling Program was created to address one of the most serious problems facing West Virginia: the “brain drain” of its youth and the out-migration of its work force. This issue is raised whenever there are discussions on how to stabilize the state’s lagging economy and decreasing population. The innovative program – a “career day” for the music business – was funded by a Challenge America grant.

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