Category Archives: Pops Walker

Uncle Terry’s Gift Ideas from WV Authors List 2015

Nigh on a decade ago, Terry McNemar, our former president who recently passed away, began an annual gift guide for books by West Virginia authors.  The last time we ran one on this blog, however, was 2011.  With his passing this year, we felt it was time to re-institute this annual tradition in his honor.  And as such, it's only fitting that Terry's books are #1 and #2 on the list.

So while you’re doing your holiday shopping, don’t forget to support these WV Writer, Inc. authors. And don’t forget to stop at your local bookstores: Tamarack, Taylor Books in Charleston, Empire Books & News in Huntington, the Open Book in Lewisburg, Four Seasons Books in Shepherdstown, Vandalia Press, Main Line Books in Elkins, …to name just a few.  Those are great places where you might find these books!

If you are a member of West Virginia Writers and your book is not listed here, please send it in immediately and we will get you added to the list.  Send those to wvwriterssecretary@gmail.com.  You may also send links to your own website.  We'll be happy to post them as well.

Thanks.

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WVW Conference Vidcasts: Conference Entertainment Sampler

Continuing our vidcast series to whet appetites for the 2011 WV Writers Summer Conference, we present a two part sample of our conference entertainment. First up is a sample of the music of the amazing Pops Walker. He's a three-time conference entertainer as well as the composer of the music we use in the WV Writers Podcast. His albums can be found at CDBaby.com.

Next up is former president Eric Fritzius doing a passable channelling of Garrison Keillor in a loose parody of the News from Lake Wobegon, a.k.a. the News from Cedar Lakes. This was produced as part of the Friday Night Entertainment in 2010, which was themed as A West Virginia Writers' Home Companion.

Tune in tomorrow for a look at THIS year's Saturday Night Entertainment musicians, Doug and Telisha Williams.

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WV Writers Podcast: Keith Pitzer Tribute with Pops Walker

Episode 24 of the WV Writers Podcast is now available. It is a special double-size episode in tribute to musician Keith Pitzer, who was a friend of WV Writers and of this podcast. Keith died after a battle with cancer on December 22 , 2009. Joining us for the episode is Pops Walker, who was a good friend of Keith's. We talk about Keith the man, the musician and the tireless servant of the ecological health of the Cheat River. We'll also hear some of the outtakes from my interview with him last June, including some of the amazing music he made alongside his wife Joan.

Find Episode 24 posted on our podcast website.

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Keith Pitzer’s passing.

Received some sad news today from friend of WV Writers, Pops Walker, regarding the passing of another friend of our organization, Keith Pitzer.

Pops writes...


Friends and loved ones….

It’s with a heavy heart that I write to you today, for we have lost a great friend and performer, Keith Pitzer. Keith passed on this morning after a courageous fight with cancer. His wife Joan, and his four grown sons mourn the loss of their loved one, as do I, Bobbi, and anyone who knew Keith.

I first met Keith in 2003 at the Mountain Stage NewSong Festival. After hearing him play, and jamming with him, I knew I’d found a kindred musical spirit. After talking with him for a while, I knew I’d met a dear friend.

He and Joan played at two of our events at the river, and another at the performing arts center in Luray. Each performance was special, and folks who had the good fortune of listening to them walked away richer for the experience.

We shared some stages together in West Virginia, and while on the road in that region, the Pitzer farm became our home-away-from-home. His hospitality was warmer than a fresh buttered biscuit, right out of the oven. And when dinner was done, and the dishes put away, the instruments came out. My oh my – did we have fun. Some of the best music I ever played was with Keith – he was such an accomplished musician, he brought out the best in me. And we laughed. Oh, did we laugh. I love him for it.

While driving today, taking care of some Christmas errands, Bobbi and I were amazed by the amount of snow still on the ground from this past weekend’s blizzard. We saw many cars still snowed-in, and many by-roads that looked impassable. Bobbi mentioned that it reminded her of Keith’s instrumental, “Loudon County Snow”. He wrote the song some years ago while at Drew McKnight’s place. They were snowed in that weekend and hadn’t much else to do except play music. Apparently, the snow brought out something deep within Keith’s soul. If you’ve ever heard him and Joan play it, you’ll understand. Quite simply, it’s a masterpiece of picking. How strange, and perhaps fitting, that he passed while so many of us were snowed in again.

There will be no public ceremony for Keith in the coming days. Rather, Joan and the boys will mourn with loved ones for a while, and in the Spring, host a celebration of his life at the family farm that he so dearly loved. As Joan told me this morning, Keith wouldn’t want a mournful event. Rather, a celebration is in order. And the timing of Spring will be just right. It’s a time of new life. No, gentle people, we don’t have a date yet.

One last thing … Keith was the Executive Director of “Friends of the Cheat”. The Cheat River in West Virginia had been abused and pillaged by industry for years. “Friends of the Cheat” are dedicated to restoring it and protecting its future. Keith took his job seriously and loved that river. So, rather than flowers or sympathy cards, I ask you, on behalf of Joan and the boys, to send a small donation in Keith’s honor to:

Friends of the Cheat
119 South Price Street
Suite 206
Kingwood, WV 26537-1478

I can hear Keith’s voice now – “Shucks Pops, just a couple of bucks each from a slew of caring folks could make a big difference”. You’re right, Keith – it would.

He was one of the gentlest souls I’ve ever met, and having him for a friend made me a richer man.

Your friend in loss,


Pops Walker

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Shenandoah Valley Acoustic Roots Fest Songwriting Contest Winners

Performing Arts of Luray is pleased to announce the top three winners of the first Shenandoah Valley Acoustic Roots Fest and Songwriting Contest.

Those songwriters are: 1st place: Bryan Elijah Smith, of Dayton, VA, for his song, “The Other Side of Town”. Bryan won $500, six hours of studio time, and a future gig with Performing Arts of Luray.

2nd place: Judith Avers, of Weirton, WV, for her song, “Raining”. Judith won $300 and a guaranteed future booking.

Con Burch, Fort Valley, VA, for her song “Maybe Someday”. Con won $200.

The finals competition took place on October 3, 2009, at the BB&T Center for the Performing Arts in Luray, VA.

Be on the lookout for news about next year’s show and competition. Details are forthcoming at: http://www.popswalker.com/ and http://www.performingartsluray.org/.

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Conference Countdown: Entertainment

Once again, WV Writers has lined up two stellar nights of entertainin’ for the Summer Conference.

On Friday night conference attendees will be treated to Joe’s Shorts Part II: The Revenge, a selection of live readings from the short plays of the late Joe McCabe. Before Joe passed away in 2007, we had already been planning on asking him for a repeat performance of Joe’s Shorts, which were a hit as entertainment at the 2006 Summer Conference. With Joe’s passing, it seemed only fitting that we go right ahead with plans for Joe’s Shorts II. We’re currently casting our net for cast members to take on roles in these plays, so if you have a hankering to act or just to honor Joe, please contact El Presidente Eric Fritzius at eric.fritzius@gmail.com.

Saturday night features another reprise of a past conference favorite, Pops Walker. Last year Pops absolutely blew the roof off the assembly hall using a guitar, sound system and his voice alone. Well, almost alone; he did have a particularly memorable special guest join him mid-way through the show, one Mr. Lee Maynard, who read a new short story he’d written while Pops provided musical accompaniment. It was a wholly impressive and appropriate collaboration, being as how Pops is responsible for the music in the Mountain Whispers audio adaptation of Mr. Maynard’s novel, Crum and is also responsible for the tunes in the upcoming adaptation of Crum’s sequel, Screaming With the Cannibals. If you were there to witness the show, you know how great it was. If you weren’t there, man, you missed out—but you now can make up for it with Pops return performance this year.

For Pops grand return he will be accompanied by not one but two very special guests in the forms of Keith and Joan Pitzer. Keith and Joan are known and respected West Virginia musicians. Haling from Kingwood, they’ve appeared as part of the Voices of West Virginia touring group with songwriters John Lilly, Kate Long and Todd Burge. Their song "Underneath a Blackened Moon" is included in the Mountain Whispers adaptation of William Blizzard’s, “When Miners March.” Their musical style is a blend of blend contemporary style with Appalachian and Celtic music. So it shall indeed be an unprecedented event to hear their style mix with Pops Walker’s trademark Southern Fried Zen Mojo style.

Pops and the Pitzers will also be leading two workshops during the conference, one a tag-team workshop on Songwriting and the other a panel discussion on Issues in the Arts.

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