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Ann Magnuson, “I Remember You”
Bongwater, “No Tresspassing”
Ann Magnuson (b 1956) Kanawha County
Presenter: Richard Metzger
Acceptor: Ann Magnuson
Music: Ann Magnuson
Ann Magnuson is a multi-talented writer, actress, singer, musician, and stage performer whose extensive career covers almost every facet of the arts. She has acted in Hollywood blockbusters, off-Broadway plays, TV sitcoms and indie films, fronted various bands, written for numerous publications and has presented her original performance art pieces at museums including The Museum of Modern Art, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, The Andy Warhol Museum, and Tokyo’s Sogetsu Hall.
Growing up in Charleston, she performed in local theater productions. After studying theater in London, she moved to New York City in 1978 where she became an integral part of the city’s art scene, managing the now-infamous Club 57 and performing regularly at other venues including Mudd Club, Danceteria and CBGB. Her movie career includes Clear and Present Danger, Desperately Seeking Susan, Making Mr. Right, The Hunger and Panic Room. She was a series regular on the ABC-TV sitcom Anything But Love starring Jamie Lee Curtis.
As a singer and songwriter, Ann has been in many bands including the sardonic folk trio Bleecker Street Incident and the heavy metal band Vulcan Death Grip. Her psycho-psychedelic band Bongwater issued five albums and gained an international cult following. She also wrote and performed songs with the legendary John Cale for his performance piece “Life Underwater.” Magnuson has released four solo projects and has written and performed in numerous one-woman shows, many which feature stories and songs about growing up in West Virginia.
She recently released “Open Letter to an Open Letter” (an epic spoken-word-with-music rant about the Internet) and is guest curator of a major gallery exhibition about Club 57 that will open at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in October.
The Morris Brothers, “Salt River”
The Morris Brothers, “Shady Grove”
The Morris Brothers, “The Hog Eyed Man”
The Morris Brothers
David Morris (1944-2016) • John Morris (b 1946) Clay County
Acceptor: John Morris, Christine Morris
Music: John Morris and Jack Morris
Born in Ivydale, Clay County, into a family steeped in traditional music, David and John Morris learned from family and neighbors that included banjo player Jenes Cottrell and fiddler French Carpenter. After David returned from Vietnam in 1968, the brothers began organizing musical get-togethers and, in 1969, held the first Morris Family Old-Time Music Festival that same year. The festival became a major traditional music event in Clay County and filmmaker Bob Gates documented the 1972 festival in his film The Morris Family Old-Time Music Festival.
Members of The Morris Brothers band included Pocahontas County old-time banjo player Dwight Diller and the late North Carolina harmonica player John Martin. Playing a mix of old-time, bluegrass, and country styles, including some of David’s original music, the group played together through the mid-’70s, releasing an LP in the late ’60s, Music As We Learned It, and two live shows on eight-track tapes. John, a traditional fiddler, and David, a singer, songwriter and guitarist, were involved in union and environmental activities from the late 1960s through the 1970s. They were also instrumental in establishing the first Vandalia Gathering at the Cultural Center in 1977.
The Morris Brothers music was featured in Barbara Kopple’s 1976 film Harlan County, USA. David, who passed away in 2016, contributed music to Kopple’s 2015 film about Vietnam vets, Shelter. John lives in Ivydale and plays fiddle at music events across West Virginia. He is a rich source of information about the history of old-time music in central West Virginia, and one of the few native fiddlers of his generation to continue the older style of playing.
Michael W. Smith, “Old Enough to Know”
Michael W. Smith, “Place in This World”
Michael W. Smith, “Human Spark”
Michael W. Smith (b 1957) Wayne County
Acceptor: Michael W. Smith
Music: Michael W. Smith
Born in Kenova, Michael W. Smith is a Grammy award winning singer, songwriter, musician and actor. Before he reached his teens, Smith developed a love of music through his church which led him to learn piano and join the church choir. Encouraged by family, church and community, he moved to Nashville in the late ’70s. By the mid-’80s, he was on his way to becoming one of the best-selling and most influential artists in Contemporary Christian music.
As he added elements of rock, his popularity crossed over to secular music. Smith has won three Grammys and 45 Dove awards, as well as selling more than 15 million albums which have yielded 32 No. 1 hit songs. He has written and composed scores for film projects, authored 12 books, and has acted in assorted motion pictures. Keyboard Magazine also named him one of the “Top Keyboardists in Rock."
Smith has written songs for Sandi Patty, Kathy Troccoli, Bill Gaither and Amy Grant. In 2009, he was named one of People Magazine’s “most beautiful people.” Smith is the founder and visionary pastor of New River Fellowship in Franklin, TN, and works with a number of non-profits to help change the lives of teens.
Hasil Adkins (1937-2005) Boone County
Acceptor: Miriam Linna (Norton Records)
Music: Southern Culture on the Skids and Alan Griffith
With a reckless and self-styled approach to his music and his life, Boone County’s Hasil Adkins embodied the “wild and wonderful” spirit of West Virginia. The youngest of 10 children, he grew up in a tar paper shack on property rented from a coal company and reportedly attended a total of six days of school. Adkins began recording as a “one-man band” in the mid-’50s, most often singing, and playing guitar and drums at the same time.
With the roguish aura of a hillbilly James Dean and songs like “She Said,” “Chicken Walk” and “No More Hotdogs,” he pioneered a genre that would be dubbed “psychobilly.” When Billy Miller, owner of New York’s Norton Records, began re-releasing his early singles and issuing new recordings, Adkins became a cult figure with fans all over the world.
In 1994, I.R.S. Records’ Miles Copeland purchased the rights to Adkins’ catalog. Adkins also appeared in several movies, documentaries, and television shows including Asia Argento’s 2004 film, The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things, and was the subject of Julien Nitzberg’s documentary The Wild World Of Hasil Adkins. Among his fans are Mike Judge and the bands The Cramps and Southern Culture on the Skids.
On April 25, 2005, Adkins was found dead in his home at age 68, the result of injuries sustained when he was run over in his front yard by a teenager on an ATV.
Frank Hutchison, “Back in my Hometown”
“The Train That Carried The Girl From Town”
Frank Hutchison, “The Burglar Man”
Frank Hutchison (1897-1945) Logan County
Presenter: Tim O’Brien
Music: Tim O’Brien
Frank Hutchison, known in Okeh Records promotional materials as “The Pride of West Virginia” was one of the first white musicians to record in the country blues idiom. Born in Raleigh County in 1897, he moved with his family to Logan County before 1900, where he worked for most of his life as a coal miner. At age seven he started learning guitar from a black railway worker named Henry Vaughn, at the time the railroad first came into Logan County, and later from a black musician named Bill Hunt who lived in the hills above the coal camps where Hutchison worked in the mines.
Between 1926 and 1929 he recorded an eclectic repertoire of blues, pre-blues music, blues ballads, Civil War songs, and popular Tin Pan Alley songs, totaling more than 30 sides for Okeh Records. His rendition of “Stackalee,” a popular murder ballad of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, was included in Harry Smith’s 1952 Anthology of American Folk Music, a six-LP compilation that jump-started a major revival of interest in Appalachian music and blues music. His songs and his guitar stylings have influenced a great many musicians, including Doc Watson, John Fahey, Cowboy Copas, Bob Dylan, The New Lost City Ramblers, and Chris Smither.
MC5, “Kick Out The Jams”
MC5, “Ramblin’ Rose”
MC5, “Shakin’ Street”
Fred “Sonic” Smith (1949-1994) Lincoln County
Presenter: Lenny Kaye
Acceptor: Patti Smith with Jesse and Jackson Smith
Music: Patti Smith with Jesse and Jackson Smith
Fred “Sonic” Smith, a guitarist for the influential rock band the MC5, was born in the Harts Creek area of Lincoln County and grew up in Detroit. He began playing guitar when he was 12, performing in a number of local bands before co-founding the MC5 in the mid-1960s. The band helped create the Detroit sound, a high-powered, low-fi precursor to heavy metal and punk. The band was signed to Elektra Records – one of the label’s first hard rock acts – after its performance at the stormy 1968 Democratic National Convention.
The group subsequently appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone, and released its controversial debut, Kick Out the Jams. MC5 opened for many top acts including Cream and Janis Joplin. The group disbanded in 1972.
In 2003, Rolling Stone ranked Smith 93rd in its list of the “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.” His nickname was the inspiration for the name of the band Sonic Youth. Smith went on to lead his own group, Sonic’s Rendezvous Band, with former members of other Detroit groups including The Stooges.
In 1980 he married poet/singer Patti Smith, and the couple retired from music to raise their children. In 1988, the couple released Dream of Life together, an album that featured Fred’s songs and guitar work. He died from heart failure in 1994.