Out of the Blocks Podcast Highlights Voices from Charleston’s West Side

This winter, West Virginia Folklife partnered with WYPR producers Aaron Henkin & Wendel Patrick to field produce two Charleston West Side episodes of the Baltimore-based neighborhood podcast, Out of the Blocks. The audio collage features Charleston West Side locals in their own words, mixed with an original musical score, and is presented in two parts:…

Field Notes: Doris Fields aka “Lady D”

Doris A. Fields, aka Lady D, known as “West Virginia’s First Lady of Soul” is an R&B, soul, and blues musician and songwriter living in Beckley. She is the founder and organizer of West Virginia’s Simply Jazz and Blues Festival and previously hosted the weekly Simply Jazz and Blues radio show on Groovy94 in Beckley. In 2008, Fields’ original song “Go Higher” won an online contest sponsored by the Obama Music Arts and Entertainment Group. She performed the song as a headliner at the Obama for Change Inauguration Ball with President Obama and the First Lady Michelle Obama in attendance.

Building a Broom by Feel: An Interview with James Shaffer

At 87, James Shaffer of Charleston Broom & Mop Co. in Loudendale is the last handmade commercial broom maker in West Virginia. We worked with West Virginia Public Broadcasting to produce a radio & video mini-documentary about Shaffer and the changes he’s seen in his 70 years in the broom industry.