West Virginia Public Broadcasting will present the first public screening of its newest television documentary, “In Tune: A Community of Musicians,” in Clay County, a Mountain State community with a rich history of old-time country music.
The free screening will be Monday, July 8, at Clay County High School, 1 Panther Drive, Clay. It will feature clips from the documentary, live music by fiddler Bobby Taylor of Roane County and banjo picker Kim Johnson of Kanawha County, as well as a Q&A session. Doors will open at 6 p.m. and the one-hour screening will begin at 6:30 p.m.
“In Tune: A Community of Musicians,” which was produced by Russ Barbour and narrated by Mountain Stage’s Larry Groce, is a celebration of old-time music and its history in the Mountain State. Interwoven throughout the production are archival film, photos and video, as well as performances by many of the old-time musicians featured in the documentary.
Barbour, who is retiring from WVPB after 40 years, said he’s thankful for the opportunity to present another story showing the significant impact West Virginians continue to have beyond the state’s borders.
“It has been a privilege to travel around the Mountain State, meeting and serving alongside people who are determined to help bring out the best in our past, present and future,” Barbour said. “It’s an honor to share ‘In Tune’ with our viewers because old-time music has played such a significant role in our state’s history.”
The film takes a look at the popularization of what was called ‘hillbilly music,’ which grew out of what became known as ‘old-time’ music in the first half of the 20th Century. The documentary also explores customs and music culture; the impact of the American Folk Revival; rediscovery of old-time musicians; the arrival of back-to-the-landers in Appalachia; and the growing popularity of old-time music festivals.
Additional public screenings of “In Tune: A Community of Musicians” will take place on July 25 in the Rhododendron Room in the Mountainlair at West Virginia University at 2:45 p.m., and on August 22 in Charleston at the West Virginia Culture Center at 6:30 p.m. Visit wvpublic.org/intune for details about the film as well as for a list of scheduled public screenings.
“In Tune: A Community of Musicians” will air on WVPB’s statewide network on September 14, at 9 p.m. as a localized companion film to the eight-part “Country Music: A Film by Ken Burns,” which will begin airing on September 15 at 8 p.m. Both documentaries will be available on WVPB Passport thereafter.