The State Folklorist’s Notebook: “Only limited by the size of the tree and your imagination”: Charles Steven Adams of Martinsburg

The State Folklorist’s Notebook is a regular column written by state folklorist Emily Hilliard for Goldenseal Magazine. This article appears in the Winter 2017 issue. Charles Steven (“Steve”) Adams spent almost 40 years as a social worker dealing, as he says, “with people and their problems.” When he was in his mid-50s and nearing retirement, Steve started carving…

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.

Field Notes: Sam Rizzetta

Sam Rizzetta is a dulcimer designer, builder, and musician who moved to West Virginia in the early 1970s. He was a member of the string band Trapezoid and founded the hammer dulcimer playing classes at the Augusta Heritage Center at Davis & Elkins College. He has built dulcimers for musicians including John McCutcheon, Guy Carawan, and Sam Herrmann (read our Field Notes with her). Rizzetta now collaborates with the Dusty Strings Company who build hammer dulcimers based on his designs. He lives with his wife Carrie Rizzetta in Berkeley County, WV.

Ken Sullivan Remembers Alan Jabbour

A tribute to pioneering folklorist, scholar, and fiddler Alan Jabbour (1942-2017), from West Virginia Humanities Council Executive Director Ken Sullivan

That’s A Grand Story to Tell: Documenting Jim Costa’s Collection

“I should have been a historical archaeologist,” said Jim Costa. “I guess I am in my own way.” Jim and I sat on the porch of his Summers County, West Virginia home, a restored 19th century log cabin built by a local Civil War veteran and saved from decay by Jim himself. It was the end of a humid and flooded summer, and we were doing one last interview before I prepared to go home.