HENLAWSON — The grandson of West Virginia folk legend Virginia Myrtle “Aunt Jennie” Wilson will share the stage with other notable old-time musicians during a pair of free Labor Day concerts at the Museum in the Park at Chief Logan State Park.
Wilson’s grandson and Logan native Roger Bryant, whose musical roots are in the old-time and folk music traditions, will serve as emcee for the 8th annual “Aunt Jennie Music Festival” on Sept. 1-2. Bryant, who has shared the stage with Tom T. Hall, Tammy Wynette, Kathy Mattea and Kris Kristofferson, also will open for Saturday’s 4-10 p.m. concert.
Bryant achieved national attention in the late 1970s with his song “Stop the Flow of Coal” and has recorded four albums, the most recent of which is “On the Banks of the Old Guyan.”
Also performing Saturday will be Cora and Fred Hairston, gospel singers from Omar; Glen Simpson, a folk musician from Hardy, Ky.; Elaine Purkey, known for her powerful voice, mountain singing and “The Friendly Neighbor Show” band from the weekly radio program on WVOW Radio in Logan; The Dick Taylor Band, a bluegrass group from Chapmanville; the East Street band from Logan; Jack Morris and his father, David, an Appalachian singer, songwriter and artist-in-residence from Ivydale; and Jeff Ellis, a Huntington native who has released five albums including his latest, “The Line.” Ellis has appeared on Mountain Stage, was a featured artist on National Public Radio and was one of five co-winners of the 2008 Mountain Stage NewSong International Songwriting Contest. Rounding out the Saturday lineup will be the classic pop/rock sounds of the Daddy Rabbit Band.
Sunday’s concert, set for 1-6 p.m., will feature another Bryant set; The Seekers, a local gospel group; The Earl of Elkview, George Daugherty, a trial lawyer who has traveled the world singing and talking about West Virginia; last year’s Vandalia Award winner, Buddy Griffin with Retro and Smiling, a bluegrass and country duo from Glenville; the Stewart Family, a gospel group from Clear Fork; Robert Shafer and the Pour House Band, a country band based in the Charleston area; The Samples Brothers, an old-time music and bluegrass band from Duck; and classic rock from the Street Players of Logan.
The concerts will be held in the park’s Liz Spurlock Amphitheater, about a half mile from the museum. Concessions will be available outside the amphitheater.
Visitors also are welcome to tour the Museum in the Park and see the current exhibits from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and from 1-6 p.m. Sunday.
Jennie Wilson was born in 1900 in the Doc Ellis hollow of what is now Chief Logan State Park. She was one of the first women in the region to learn to play the banjo, and her music and storytelling made her internationally known for her preservation of Appalachian culture. Wilson died in 1992.
For more information about the festival, contact Elizabeth Williams, site manager at the Museum in the Park, at 304-792-7229.