Appalachian Zines, a racial overhaul of climbing routes and musician W.Va. John R. Miller talks

In the latest episode of Inside Appalachia, we’ll hear stories from creators across Appalachia and how they process their lives through their art. Everything from songwriting to photography to self-published zines. Suzie Kelly has been creating zines for over 20 years. She explains how DIY publishing can connect people in unexpected ways.

“Maybe a kid in California finds an Appalachian zine and decides to move to Appalachia,” Kelly said. Inside Appalachia co-host Mason Adams.

And there’s a new edition of a guide that lists the climbing routes in the New River Gorge. We’ll talk to a climber who challenged the climbing community to rename racist and sexist route names – and won. Also in this episode, West Virginia singer and songwriter John R. Miller gives us an update on his new album…a lot has changed in his life over the past few years.

In this episode:

New River Gorge guide renames route names

New issues of “New River Rock” include a message from those who helped request the change of road names.

In October 2020, we spoke with climbers from West Virginia who took racist, sexist and offensive road names in the New River Gorge. DJ Grant is a black climber who helped start the effort to change the offensive names found in the gorge. The routes – and the pioneer climbers who created them – are recorded in a two-volume guide called “New River Rock”, which contains around 3,000 climbing routes in and around the gorge. Last year, Grant and others asked the New fluvial alliance of climbers changing some of these route names to get rid of racist and offensive language. A new edition of the book came out in July. Inside Appalachia reporter Zack Harold inquired with Grant about the latest.

Self-published zines can connect people

A zine, in essence, is a self-published magazine. A zine can be big and shiny, but it’s much more likely to be produced by an individual person, often handwritten and done on a photocopier, with the paper folded and stapled. Artist and designer Suzie Kelly made zines for more than half of his life. She eventually moved to Florida where she went to a few zine festivals and ignited again. When she moved to Johnson City several years ago, she asked, “Why not have a zine festival here too?”

johnson city zine festival

After spending time in Florida, Suzie Kelly moved to Johnson City and started the Johnson City Zine Fest.

Mason Adams recently visited Suzie’s home in Johnson City to talk about how she got into zines and what they mean to the people who read and make them.

John R. Miller’s new album attracts international attention

Singer and songwriter John R. Miller grew up in the Eastern Panhandle, West Virginia, in a small town called Hedgesville. He became quite well known throughout the state and performed a few times on West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s Mountain Stage. Now he has a new album called “Depreciated”.

John R.Miller 2021

West Virginia native John R Miller, who now lives in Nashville, returned to Mountain Stage on August 1.

This is his third album and it has garnered international attention. He was featured in SPIN magazine and on official Spotify playlists like “Emerging America” and “Fresh folklore.” He moved to Nashville to pursue his career, and it was during this transition period that he wrote most of the songs for “Depreciated”. But the Mountain State is never far from his mind. Miller spoke with Inside Appalachia co-host Caitlin Tan on the songs from her new album. They started with the song “Shenandoah Shakedown” – which is set in the Shenandoah Valley where he grew up.

Story Of Man’s Struggle Wins The Murrow Prize

the Edward R. Murrow Award for journalism were announced last month. Our team here at West Virginia Public Broadcasting won two first-place awards, including for a story that our producer Roxy Todd spoke about the plight of small farmers in West Virginia. And an episode that the program Us & Them product on grandparents raising grandkids.

We are thrilled to work with other journalists who have also won the Murrow Awards, including reporter Sandy Hausman of WVTF Radio IQ. His story about one man’s struggle gain freedom won first place in the Hard News category. Rojai Fentress entered prison aged just 16 and spent 24 years there for a murder he said he did not commit. Six years ago, another man confessed to the crime, but the governor of Virginia ignored a request for a pardon from Fentress until Hausman reported his case. A day later, the state announced it would release Fentress, 40. This week on the show, we hear the story of what happened next in the Hausman story, which originally aired in July 2020.

Many still face food insecurity

We live in times of plenty, yet many people still struggle to access or obtain fresh, healthy food. Central Pennsylvania Food Bank in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania uses donations to provide meals to people living with food insecurity.

The people who deliver these meals do their best to connect those in need with other types of support. And they say food awareness works. But as Transforming Health’s Brett Sholtis reportsthere are limits to what the program can achieve without broader support for people living in poverty.

Three women reunite to form the Asheville Band

Asheville, North Carolina is known for its vibrant music scene. It’s a destination for touring musicians, but it’s also home to a thriving local scene, anchored by record stores, small venues and house shows. The Smoky Mountain Sirens were formed by three women who had played in several Asheville bands, and as Reporting by Matt Peiken of Blue Ridge Mountain Radiothey decided to try something new.

North Carolina Author Annette Saunooke Clapsaddle

Annette Saunooke Clapsaddle is a member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee in North Carolina. At the end of 2020, she published her first novel, “Even As We Breathe”. It’s something of a mystery, set in an upscale hill station, and as great books always do, it calls us to think seriously about the world around us. NPR’s Neda Ulaby visited the author near the reserve where she grew up.

Our theme music is Matt Jacquier. Other music this week was provided by John R. Miller, the Smoky Mountain Sirens, Wes Swing and Dinosaur Burps.

Roxy Todd is our producer. Jade Artherhults is our associate producer. Our executive producer is Andrea Billups. Kelley Libby is our editor. Our audio mixer is Patrick Stephens. Zander Aloi also helped produce this episode. You can find us on Twitter @InAppalachia. You can also email us at Inside [email protected].