Category Archives: WVW Podcast

Pops Walker, in memorium

Sad news to report for the West Virginia Writers family. WVW co-founder Kirk Judd has reported on Facebook that Pops Walker died on October 29, at his home in Luray, Virginia, surrounded by friends and family. Pops was a dear friend of West Virginia Writers, myself, and of this podcast in particular.

Pops was an amazing guy and so very supportive of the music community throughout the region and beyond.  He was also just a downright fantastic musician in his own right.

I came to know Pops in 2007 when he attended the West Virginia Writers Summer Conference as the main musical entertainment for Saturday night, as well as participating in a couple of workshops. However, I think Pops was there to hang out with Lee Maynard. Not long before the conference, the audiobook adaptation of Lee's book Crum had been released by Ross Ballard through his Mountain Whispers Audiobooks. Pops provided the music for the project and released a separate album called The Crum Session. For the 2007 conference, Lee, Pops and Ross were in attendance and we got to hear some of that adaptation live, as well as the three of them in a workshop speaking about the collaboration process. Pops concert on Saturday is among my all time favorite musical concerts, conference or no. His performances were so much fun to watch, partly due to the quality of the music, but also for the energy with which Pops attacked his work, seemingly devouring the notes from the air and grinding them in his grinning teeth.

After I told him how much fun I'd had watching him, he replied, "Nobody has as much fun at my show as I do. They might be having as much fun as me, but no one's having more."

That conference also marked the first time that Lee and Pops teamed up for what would become regular reading/music combo concerts for them, with Lee reading from his work accompanied by Pops on guitar. To say it was magical is an understatement. Lee and Pops, who had only just met, quickly became fast friends and remained so until Lee's passing in 2017. (Pops spoke about their friendship in a memorial podcast to Lee, which was the last new episode produced here.)  They would re-team for similar combos in 2011 as well.

Pops was gracious enough to return to the conference on two more occasions, and he always brought friends who quickly became new favorite musicians. In 2008, he brought West Virginia musicians Keith and Joan Pitzer, who were wonderful. And in 2010 he brought musical protégé Kipyn Martin Kae. They joined the West Virginia Writers family of musicians and fit right in.

When the idea first occurred to me to produce a podcast for West Virginia Writers, in 2009, I knew whose music I wanted to use as the theme song. I contacted Pops and he gave me permission to use any of his music that I wanted. His only requirement was that I needed to send him copies of the show on CD, because his internet in Luray was too slow for downloading them. It was one of the best deals I ever made, as Pops' music was a large part of making the show sound as good as it did. I chose his instrumental "Southeastern" as the podcast theme. Pops said he wrote that tune to sound like what might happen if Ravi Shankar and Greg Allman were to collide with one another while carrying stringed instruments. An apt description if there ever was one.

In 2012, I was invited to help plan the first Lewisburg Literary Festival. My first proposal was to bring in Lee and Pops for one of their combo concerts, and for Pops to be part of the festival entertainment on his own. They readily agreed, since they always like an excuse to hang out with one another. That summer we had their tag-team magic recreated on the stage of the historic Lewis Theater. Not only that, but Lee did a live reading of the infamous apple slice chapter from Crum, which was a piece he said he had never read live before. Truth be told, he was nervous about it, and had asked me in advance if I thought the audience might rebel. I explained that we were a literary festival first and foremost and the written word was something we celebrated, even if that word might potentially offend. We were pretty sure our audience would be up for it. They absolutely were. And, of course, Pops brought a guest musician to help out in the form of Kipyn Martin Kae, who the audience fell in love with as well. They joined one another for Pops' concert that night. Pops even played "Southeastern" for me.

Pops and his wife Bobbi liked to give back to the music community and I was honored to be able to attend two of the Shenandoah River Song Fests which they hosted near their home in Luray. These were tented concerts on the banks of the Shenandoah River itself, during which music lovers from all walks of life gathered to camp for three days punctuated by catered food cooked right there on the riverbank, libations, and, of course, music by an assembly of musicians. My CD collection grew with each festival, and it was always great to see familiar faces take the stage there, from Kipyn to the Pitzer Family, to WVW friends Doug and Telisha Williams' band Wild Ponies, and new faces like Beaucoup Blue. It was so much fun to experience these bands he'd curated, who jammed together as easily as they played their own wonderful tunes, You could also see the love Pops had for them. These were his friends he was showing off to the world, celebrating their talent and joining their with his own brand of what he called Southern Fried Zen Mojo.

During the last fest I was able to attend, in 2014, we were treated to another Pops/Lee Maynard combo show, as Lee was in attendance as well. It would unfortunately mark the last time I would to see both Lee and Pops in person.

Pops was not only a musical contributor, but the show's most frequent guest. Unfortunately, two of his three appearances were memorials to friends who had passed. The first was for Keith Pitzer, who had passed in 2010. And his second appearance was the last episode I produced, a tribute by Pops to his friend Lee Maynard, who passed in 2017.

If you've not heard them, I encourage you to listen to the Pops Walker podcasts, or revisit them if you've heard them before. Most of all, though, I encourage you to listen to his music. Two of his albums, Milepost 5, Live `N Drivin On, and The Crum Session can be found at Amazon. You can also find Pops work on the Crum audiobook as well as its sequel Screaming With the Cannibals courtesy of Mountain Whispers, also available via Amazon. You can also find Pops' book of essays, The Existential Redneck as an ebook for Amazon/Kindle.

Pops Walker's like will not be known again, but those of us who got to know him even a little bit are the better for it.

You can read Pops' obituary here. In lieu of flowers memorial contributions can be made to Page Alliance for Community Action.

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WVW Podcast Episode 43


Episode 43 of the WV Writers Podcast features an interview with WV Writers' own Richard A. Lewis. Richard has served the organization in the past as Parliamentarian, First Vice President and Treasurer. He recently published his first collection of short fiction entitled Naked Man's Rock. We joined him at his home in Lewisburg to talk about it.

Download it at our Podcast Page or subscribe in iTunes.

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WV Writers Podcast Episode #42 Now Available

We return with Episode 42 of the WV Writers Podcast, another of our patent-pending recorded live readings (Q: "But if it's recorded, how can it be live?" A: "Zzzzzzzzipit")

This recorded live reading comes from the September 21st Brown Bag Tuesday session at Carnegie Hall WV in Lewisburg and features WV Writers' current parliamentarian, author Belinda Anderson. Belinda will be reading a selection from her three collections of short stories, The Well Ain't Dry Yet, The Bingo Cheaters and Buckle Up, Buttercup assisted by Elizabeth Spangler and Dr. Larry Davis.

Find it HERE.

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WV Writers Podcast #41 Now Online

We return with Episode 41 of the WV Writers Podcast, another of our patent-pending recorded live readings (Q: "But if it's recorded, how can it be live?" A: "Shhhh. Don't you worry your purty little head.")

This recorded live reading comes from the September 16th Literary Tea session at the Greenbrier Valley Theatre in Lewisburg. WV Writers' featured reader is poet Miles Dean, honorable mention in the Humor Category of the 2010 WVW Annual Writing Contest as well as voted the 1st place winner in poetry for the Writers Wall at the 2010 Summer Conference.

The Literary Tea series continues October 7 and October 14. They take place at 5:30 p.m. at the Greenbrier Valley Theatre in downtown Lewisburg.

If you're a member or extended friend of WV Writers, Inc. we invite you to submit your own recorded live readings to wvwpodcast@gmail.com.

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Podcast Episode 33: Belinda Anderson Interview

We had intended to podcast our Pitch Session Primer interview with Christine Witthohn for this week's podcast, but due to a wicked case of laryngitis followed by a convention trip, we've had to delay that recording until next week.

Instead, this week we're speaking with Belinda Anderson, writer, journalist, nomination for WV Writers' parliamentarian and presenter at the 2010 WV Writers Summer Conference. We cover Belinda's extensive past history with WV Writers, what she will be teaching at the conference and cover some of her current and past writing projects that she's involved with, including an oral history project detailing the history of a lost community located atop Wolf Creek Mountain, near Alderson, WV.

Check it out at our podcast page... Podcast.WVWriters.org.

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MOMCAST 2010


This week, the WVW Podcast celebrates Mother's Day with a triple-sized MOMCAST 2010. This special podcast features poems, stories, essays and memories as phoned in by our members and sundry listeners.

Contributors inclue Elvera Denning, Terry McNemar, Tracy Seiffers, Sandra Clay, Barbara Wittington, Llewellyn McKernan, Sal Buttacci, Kate Dooley, John Nagle, C.J. Farnsworth, Dianne Tarantini, Tim Armentrout, Susan DeVan, Charlotte Sneed, Linda Hoagland, Barbara Smith, Cat Pleska, Heidi Hartwicker and Eric Fritzius.

Download it for yourselves at our Podcast Page.

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Article on WV Book Festival and Mary Lucille DeBerry

The Charleston Gazette has a nice article on the subject of the WV Book Festival, as well as WVW member Mary Lucille Deberry's first poetry collection, Bertha Butcher's Coat.

Read the article HERE. And hear our podcast with Mary Lucille, rebroadcast last weekend, HERE.

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WV Writers Podcast seeks Mother’s Day Poems and Stories

UPDATE 5/6/10: The Hotline for the WV Writers MomCast 2010 is now closed.

In honor of Mother's Day (May 9, 2010), the WV Writers Podcast is seeking your poems, short stories and essays on the topic of your mom. Furthermore, we'd like to broadcast you reading them.

In order to do this, we've set up a special Mother's Day Hotline which will allow us to record your poems, stories, etc. and be able to play them back on our Mother's Day Podcast, which will be posted May 9.

The instructions for this are as follows:

  1. Have your piece in hand.
  2. Phone our Mother's Day hotline at 304-661-9745 (this is a WV-based cellular number, so long distance charges may apply). Wait for the voicemail to pick up (usually after 4 rings) and listen to the opening.
  3. After the beep, please state your name, your town and anything you think people might need to know about your piece. After that...
  4. Read your story, essay or poem. Please try to keep them under 2 minutes 45 seconds in length. Anything longer than this will be automatically cut off by the voicemail. If you have a longer piece, feel free to call back and continue it in a second segment. However, please limit the entire piece to between 4 and 5 minutes. Preference may be given to pieces shorter than 2:45. Depending on the number of pieces we receive, we may or may not be able to use all of them.
  5. If you mess up while reading, it's no problem. Just pause and then say "THREE, TWO, ONE..." and start where you left off. We'll edit out the messups on our end.
  6. The hotline will take Mother's Day pieces through May 8, 2010. (After that, we'll try to keep the line open for Recorded Live Readings for possible use in future shows.)

This is something of an experiment, so please help us out by participating. Everybody's got a good mother story in them, so please share yours.

Participation is not limited to WV Writers members, though, if we have more entries than we can use, preference will be shown to our members.

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WVW Podcast Episode 28

Episode 28 of the WVW Podcast is now online. In it we celebrate National Poetry Month by playing part 1 of our two part recorded live reading taken from the WVW co-sponsored poetry edition of the literary tea series this past November at the Greenbrier Valley Theatre in Lewisburg. The featured poets for this recording are Sarah Crickenberger (2nd place winner of the Short Poetry category of the 2009 WVW Writing Contest) and our member Sammye Lewis.

Find the episode available at our podcast page...

http://podcast.wvwriters.org/

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Podcast Episode 27 Now Online

The WV Writers Podcast Episode 27 is now online featuring an interview with 2009 WV Writers Summer Conference success story Sheila "S.G." Redling. Sheila is a morning radio show cohost at WKEE in Huntington and the author of a book called Storyteller that is currently making the rounds of publishers via her literary agent. The details of how she came to be in this position are illuminated in this podcast. (We'll give you a hint: it has something to do with the 2009 WV Writers Summer Conference, not to mention a healthy dose of talent.)

Find Episode 27 at our new address of Podcast.WVWriters.org.

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