Greg Brown: Review, Issue #7

Greg Brown’s roots were, in part, sprouted from an electric guitar-playin’ mama, and banjo-strumming grandpa and a dad who was a Holy Roller preacher in the gospel- and music-infused section of Iowa called Hacklebarney. His cleverly crafted music was bound to flower. Brown traveled to New York and threw himself into the “hootenanny” scene and […]

Got Country Class: Talent Show Review, Issue #6

Last Saturday the culmination of the Got Country Class competition was held in the lush surroundings of the Greenbrier Hotel. We from LBSPY attended, and were entertained by the finalists, of which the remaining ten had been whittled down from a staggering 130. After several consecutive evenings of friendly rivalry, the ten finalists were there […]

Cuddle Magic and Anais Mitchell: Review, Issue #5

To culminate one last sweet-toothed caloric intake of the Chocolate Festival, I attended Carnegie’s concert of singer/songwriter ANAIS MITCHELL and opening band CUDDLE MAGIC. I found the 6-piece opening ensemble to be a bit of a slightly robotic breath of fresh air, if those two descriptions can possibly match in one’s mind. The stage and […]

Zextrobe Concert Review, Issue #3

Zextrobe. I cannot tell you what a Zextrobe is, but I can give you an overview of what Zextrobe sounds like. Let’s say it sounds a little like Danzig, a smidge of Misfits, a fistful of Metallica and a punch of Alice and Chains. Does that sound like hard rock to you? It sure did […]

Brown Chicken Brown Cow String Band, Issue #6

I must admit, I usually prefer to listen to BCBCSB in an outdoor setting by the light of a campfire. Tonight, the band performed at the Wild Bean and I was reminded, yet again, that this band has the chops to entertain in any setting. By now, West Virginia is well acquainted with our beloved […]

Landau Eugene Murphy Jr.: A Wash-Rags to Riches Story, Issue #4

From just a few months ago, when this amazing performer was still washing cars in Logan , WV , until next month, when he will be knocking the audience dead at Harlem ‘s legendary Apollo Theatre, the story of Landau Eugene Murphy, Jr. is more than a Cinderella tale. Having won the first place title […]

Ladysmith Black Mombazo, Issue #3

Ladysmith Black Mombazo, Concert Review For those of us fortunate enough to share Carnegie Hall’s performance of South Africa ’s Ladysmith Black Mombazo a few weeks ago, it was a lovely and heartfelt appearance by a warm and joyful group of amazing vocalists. Having been formed by Joseph Shabalala (then in his 20’s, in 1964), […]

From Hollers to Hilltops, Morningstar Shines Bright, Issue #7

From Hollers to Hilltops, Morningstar Shines Bright The wild people and wonderful stories of West Virginia have a unique voice in Mike Morningstar. The state native (and legend in many parts) will bring his folksy and straightforward storytelling to Greenbrier County, performing at Stuart’s Smokehouse in Alderson, WV on Sunday, June 2 at 9pm. Mike […]

Wisdom from the Woods: Distrustful People, by Jim Shock

Wisdom from the Woods –Life lessons learned from being around distrustful people. I’m not sure what life event causes someone to become wary of the world but I suspect it’s very draining to live that way. Always seeking clues for motives that don’t exist is a relentlessly disappointing endeavor. In the end, no one wants […]

Wisdom from the Woods: Seasoned Country Cooks, by Jim Shock

Wisdom from the Woods –Life lessons learned from being around a kitchen full of seasoned country cooks. While enjoying ramps this spring, I had a revelation. Ramps have a bad reputation. The indigenous delicacy represents the wonderful spirit of West Virginia perfectly. It’s an uncommon delight that grows wild in the mountains and leaves a […]

Wisdom from the Woods: Snobbish People, by Jim Shock

Wisdom from the Woods –Life lessons learned from being around snobbish people. Living simple makes lots more sense. The greatest advantage West Virginians have is how ignorant we let people think we are. Dumb folks wouldn’t have the good sense to live here. It’s just a shrewd ruse meant to keep the riffraff away. How […]

Wisdom from the Woods: Hospitable People, by Jim Shock

“Wisdom from the Woods” –Life lessons learned from being around hospitable people. Acts of kindness aren’t random at all. I’d sooner be needy, hungry and broke down in WV than anywhere else in the world, ‘cause I know someone is gonna help me, feed me and fix me, probably all in the same dang day. […]

Wisdom from the Woods: Thoughtless People, by Jim Shock

Wisdom from the Woods” –Life lessons learned from being around thoughtless people. Kindness becomes valueless when given to worthless people. If equivalent effort isn’t applied at both ends of a king gesture, it profits no one. Certainly, the giver gets satisfaction from doing something good, but diminishing returns over time quickly bankrupt a person’s cache […]

Wisdom From the Woods: Wary People, by Jim Shock

“Life Lessons Learned from being around wary people.” The plunge hurts a little, but I respect anyone who cuts the cord and doesn’t leave you hanging. I’ve learned, it’s better to keep your feet close to the ground than have higher expectations of an average person who is incapable or reaching too far. – Jim […]

Flipping the Bird, Issue #6

My yard is a beautifully landscaped oasis of flowers, ivy, and lush green hostas as far as the eye can see. At least, that’s what the yard was like when I bought the place. It was a big part of what made me fall in love with the house, but I didn’t think about the […]

Rooster, Issue #3

I miss my neighbor’s rooster. Wait. Let me start again. I am not a morning person. I don’t return a “Good morning!” with a “Yeah, what’s so good about it?!” (OK. Maybe just once.), but I’m not chomping at the bit to see the sun rise, either. Lately, I have been wearing out the snooze […]


I’de like to share with you the story of one of 6 test drive I undertook recently. I’d like to share with you the story of one of 6 test drives I undertook recently. At first it was all very predictable. Before I picked a vehicle to take out, he showed me the different trim […]

Homemade Beer, Issue #5

Recently, I have been trying my hand at homebrewing as a hobby. It’s been a little half-hearted on my part, truthfully, but I have been lucky enough to have a very enthusiastic partner in the endeavor. We’ve gone thru the process twice so far, I can safely say I have no idea how anyone does […]

Dining out with Mom, Issue #7

If restaurants are Superman, my mother is kryptonite. No matter how reliable a restaurant’s food and service is, my mother can show up and the whole place just goes to pot. It’s as though they can sense her hunger, and it scares them. She came to visit me for a weekend recently, and we decided […]

Steel Pterodactyl at Casasanta, Issue #2

STEEL PTERODACTYL at CASASANTA By Susanna Robinson-Kenga Last night I attended the performance of long-missing-in-action band Steel Pterodactyl at my favorite venue, CasaSanta, the loft atop the Masonic Building on Court Street. It’s hard to believe it’s been 20 years since the early days of their then-raggedy inception, when they were known as Home Brew. […]