Joni Deutsch does more than spin West Virginia tunes. She geeks out over it (check out wvpublic.org/wvmusic), and she wants you to do the same. So for this week’s UpThink, the NPR Music-contributing Mountain State native is highlighting a few emerging acts who are making the #WVmusic scene wild and wonderful.
Hello June (Morgantown, WV)
John Denver referred to West Virginia as “almost Heaven.” If that’s true, then it would only make sense for the state to be occupied by ethereal rock bands like Morgantown’s Hello June. Fronted by Sarah Rudy, with Whit Alexander on drums and Chad Brown on guitar, the three-piece creates organic indie pop rooted in the darker rock of Jason Molina, Daniel Johnston and Beach House (all of whom have connections to West Virginia). Recommended track: “Dance”
The Dividends (Huntington, WV)
If Charleston gypsy rock band Qiet had musical relations with the soulful Alabama Shakes, The Dividends would surely be the result. The five-piece just released their debut EP Shakesy (named after the Alabama Shakes, naturally), which has enough funky-folky-rocky sounds to toot a horn at (which they do, thanks to trumpeter Heath Holley). Recommended track: “Ain’t Been Missin’ You”
Whiskey Victor (Morgantown, WV)
Meet Anna-Kate and Shannon Bean. They’re your new favorite sister folk duo. Especially if you’re in the market for excellent harmonies and dreamy melodies à la Lucius or First Aid Kit. Recommended track: “The Answer”
Matt Deal (Bluefield, WV)
Matt Deal is singer-songwriter who likes his tunes like he likes his AMC television shows: disarming, disturbing and, most importantly, entertaining. Most definitely, his music is made all the sharper by his wit. Recommended track: the post-apocalyptic “Front Porch”
Katelyn Read (Parkersburg, WV)
Although currently residing in North Carolina, the Mid-Ohio Valley native has kept to her #WVmusic roots with a soulful sound that calls to mind Bill Withers (who, himself, is a native of Slab Fork, West Virginia). Recommended track: “Brick + Mortar”
Joni Deutsch is host of the indie/alternative music program “A Change of Tune” on West Virginia Public Broadcasting and assistant producer/occasional guest host of “Mountain Stage.” In 2017, she was named to The State Journal’s “Generation Next: 40 under 40” for her work in promoting #WVmusic through radio programming and live events (see below for one coming up on September 3!). When she’s not speaking into a microphone, Joni can be found curled up with a good cup of tea (Tazo Passion, if possible), a great podcast and her lovable Polish Lowland sheepdog. You can follow more of Joni’s work on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Like party favors, but for your brain. Enjoy these weekly goodies including viral videos, interesting articles, curated playlists, and more!
- LISTEN: Joni filled this playlist with music from the Mountain State
- WATCH: Iron & Wine’s documentary about the Jerry Run Summer Theater in Cleveland, WV (bonus: watch the end credits for a familiar name *wink wink*)
- READ: NPR Music’s Turning the Tables: The 150 Greatest Albums Made by Women
- TUNE IN: Us & Them podcast’s new “Hillers & Creekers” episode (think S-Town in West Virginia)