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Inside Appalachia
Sundays at 6pm

Inside Appalachia tells the stories of our people, and how they live today.

Host Mason Adams leads us on an audio tour of our rich history, our food, our music and our culture.

Latest episodes of Inside Appalachia
  • This week, we look back at some of the stories we told in 2022. We took you to the floods in eastern Kentucky, where you met people who witnessed terrible destruction. We also invited you along as we talked to Appalachians who know a little something about resilience, like Dolly Parton. Because you invited us into your homes, we invited you into ours with a special trip to Mason’s hometown — Floyd, Virginia. You’ll hear these stories and more this week, Inside Appalachia.
  • This week, we talk with folklorist Emily Hilliard about her new book exploring contemporary folklife and Appalachian culture — like the lore behind the West Virginia slaw dog. We’ll also hear about the Asian-Appalachian experience from a student filmmaker who was born in China and grew up in western Maryland, and we’ll travel back to 2016 and listen to an interview with JD Vance. Back then he was a newly published author, promoting his book, “Hillbilly Elegy.” Now, he’s Ohio’s newly elected U.S. senator. You’ll hear these stories and more this week, Inside Appalachia.
  • This week on Inside Appalachia, we talk with contributors to a new collection of writing by LGBTQ Appalachians — about how they see themselves reflected here in the region. We also hear about the history of baseball in the coal camps of southwestern Virginia and we return to flood damaged eastern Kentucky and meet gospel musician Dean McBee. You’ll hear these stories and more this week, Inside Appalachia.
  • This week on Inside Appalachia, we’re talking about traditional ballads -- how they tell stories and connect us to the past. These old tunes can mean so much. They can tap into difficult emotions and give feelings space to be heard. Some songs may even be too uncomfortable to sing. In this special episode with guest co-host, ballad singer Saro Lynch-Thomason, we explore songs about lawbreaking folk heroes, runaway trains and murder ballads.
  • This week on Inside Appalachia, we talk to podcaster Abe Partridge about a uniquely Appalachian art – the religious music heard in snake handling churches. We also travel to southern West Virginia and talk real estate. The Itmann Coal Company Store building is up for sale, and the owner’s looking for a buyer who appreciates its history. And, it’s hunting season. We visit with women who tan deer hides – using animal brains. You’ll hear these stories and more this week, Inside Appalachia.
  • This week on Inside Appalachia, we travel to Cabbagetown, an Atlanta neighborhood that was home to Appalachian workers who migrated there for textile jobs. We also tag along with Cole, a dog with a big job in a southern West Virginia elementary school. And just in time for the spooky season, we hear about Mountain Cove, a community of spiritualists who came to Western Virginia in 1850. You’ll hear these stories and more this week, Inside Appalachia.
  • This week, we travel to Charleston, West Virginia, to learn about the importance of funeral singers to Black communities. We’ll also hear about a new tool whose maker believes he can help save thousands of lives from fatal opioid overdoses. And we talk with author Barbara Kingsolver about the influence of Appalachia in her books. You’ll hear these stories and more this week, Inside Appalachia. The Funeral Singer For many Black communities throughout the country, music is an essential component of end-of-life rituals. When a loved one dies, families often call upon a skilled singer to perform at a funeral as a way to offer comfort and healing. Lyme Disease Lurks With Ticks Fall colors are really beginning to pop where I live, along the Blue Ridge Parkway. For a lot of people, this is the peak season to get outdoors. But while the end of summer comes with a drop in biting flies and mosquitos, we’re not out of the woods yet. Folks venturing out into the forest are still at risk for tick bites and lyme disease. And y’all, here in central and northern Appalachia, we’re in prime Lyme disease country. West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s Chris Schulz sat down with former West Virginia state health officer Dr. Ayne Amjad to discuss safety and prevention. The Great Eastern Trail In 1948, a hiker named Earl Shaffer came up with the idea of an alternative to the Appalachian Trail – the hiking only trail that passes through 14 states and spans nearly 2200 miles. Named the Great Eastern Trail, this other route stretches from the deep south to New England, just west of the Appalachian Trail, but it wasn’t until 2007 that the Great Eastern Trail Association was created and parts of the trail began to open up to hikers. As Jessica Lilly reports, when hikers get to southern West Virginia, they find a trail that is incomplete. A Box To Help Stop Overdoses Opioid addiction costs thousands of lives each year. Health officials and advocates are thinking creatively to find ways to stem the loss – but not everyone is thinking outside of the box to find solutions. Some people are thinking very much inside the box. Producer Bill Lynch has this story. Barbara Kingsolver and Appalachia Barbara Kingsolver is one of Appalachia’s most acclaimed authors. Her novel “The Poisonwood Bible” held down a spot on the New York Times bestseller list for more than a year. It’s been in development at HBO since 2019. Kingsolver’s fiction takes readers all over the world, but she says her Appalachian roots inspire key parts of her stories. Liz McCormick sat down with Kingsolver to learn more. Our theme music is by Matt Jackfert. Other music this week was provided by Jesse Milnes, The Company Stores, Tyler Childers and The Appalachian Road Show. Bill Lynch is our producer. Our executive producer is Eric Douglas. Kelley Libby is our editor. Our audio mixer is Patrick Stephens. Zander Aloi also helped produce this episode. You can find us on Instagram and Twitter @InAppalachia.
  • This week, we bring back our special Halloween episode of Inside Appalachia from 2021. It’s packed with ghost stories and mysteries from across the region. Museums Central West Virginia has a new monster museum that pays tribute to Bigfoot. The Sutton museum is small, and located in the back of a store that sells knick-knacks and handmade items by local artisans. The museum was created to document local sightings of what people described as these big, hairy primate-looking creatures. As if one monster museum weren’t enough for a small town, Sutton is home to two. The Flatwoods Monster Museum is just about a block away. And like the Bigfoot museum, it’s dedicated to a cryptid that’s become part of modern pop culture. Spooky Season Fall is a season of spooky sounds, hayrides and pumpkin festivals. It’s a time for bats and owls and black cats. We’ll hear what happens when a self-proclaimed scaredy-cat takes a Halloween-themed wildlife tour. In 2019, reporter Brittany Patterson went on the "Spooky Nights Tour" at the West Virginia Wildlife Center, where visitors of all ages could see wild animals in the dark. Note, the Wildlife Center has stopped these special tours, for now, but they are still open during the day, so you can visit the wolves, panthers and otters that live there. Witches The story of the “Witch of Wildwood” takes place in a small coal camp town outside of Beckley. In the early 20th century a person named Kazimir Kiskis moved to town. Kazimir didn’t fit in with the locals and Kazimir cooked food that smelled unlike anything the locals had ever experienced. One day the locals accused Kazimir of practicing witchcraft, potentially even casting a spell on local children. The night before Halloween, Kazimir was burned at the stake. We’ll hear Beckley historian Scott Worley explain the story behind the supposed “Witch of Wildwood.” Skeletons You can’t have Halloween without skeletons. In this episode, we hear a story about a skeleton named Mr. Death and how an elderly woman outwitted him by enlisting him to help with house-cleaning. Storyteller Lyn Ford told this story several years ago at the Timpanogos Storytelling Institute in Utah. Ford lives in Columbus, Ohio, but she grew up in Appalachian Pennsylvania and spent childhood summers in East Liverpool, Ohio. She says many of the stories she tells are adapted from folktales she heard as a child. Music in this episode is by Colby White, Nora Keys, Slate Dump, Tosca and The Soaked Lamb. Bill Lynch is our producer. Our executive producer is Eric Douglas. Kelley Libby is our editor. Our audio mixer is Patrick Stephens. Zander Aloi also helped produce this episode.
  • Something About The Water In Berkeley Springs There are natural springs all over Appalachia. The deep folds of rock that make up our mountains bring water from the depths to trickle out of our hillsides. That's where many people got their fresh water in the years before indoor plumbing. But in Berkeley Springs, West Virginia, people are still filling jugs with spring water to lug back home. Why? Folkways reporter Zack Harold decided to fish around for some answers. Keeping the Fires Lit On The Cass Railroad Since 2019, our folkways team has produced more than 100 stories about Appalachian folklife — that is, traditions that are being passed down from one generation to the next. Passing down those traditions is important. In our story about the Cass Railroad, you’ll meet railroad senior employee Rex Cassell. He passed away during the making of this story. But during his life, he was a crucial part of why visiting the Cass Railroad in Pocahontas County, West Virginia, feels like you’re stepping back in time. Folkways Reporter Lauren Griffin brought us this story. “Lark Ascending” Amid extreme weather events like floods and fires, a new literary genre is emerging, called cli-fi. Short for climate fiction. Cli-fi tells stories about the effects of climate change on people and society. And Appalachian writers are penning their own works in the genre, including one of the region’s premier writers, Kentucky author Silas House. His new novel is “Lark Ascending” which tells the story of a climate refugee from Appalachia. The Message Behind The Music At “Healing Appalachia” The Healing Appalachia music festival returned to Greenbrier County in September. Headlined by eastern Kentucky’s Tyler Childers, the festival went from a single day to two and included performances by Arlo McKinley, Margot Price and Galactic, among others. But the festival has a larger mission than just having a good time. Producer Bill Lynch spoke with organizer Charlie Hatcher about what the festival hopes to accomplish. Our theme music is by Matt Jackfert. Other music this week was provided by Appalachian Road Show, The Company Stores, June Carter Cash and Tyler Childers. Bill Lynch is our producer. Our executive producer is Eric Douglas. Kelley Libby is our editor. Our audio mixer is Patrick Stephens. Zander Aloi also helped produce this episode.
  • Welcome Inside Appalachia. We’re glad you’re here to join us on our weekly journey through some of the thirteen Appalachian states. This week, we’re learning about an unexpected immigrant to central Appalachia – the armadillo. We’ll also take a ride on the Cass Scenic Railroad and follow reporter Randy Yohe as he explores some one-of-a-kind getaways in West Virginia. And, just in time for the pawpaw harvest, we revisit one of our 2020 stories about this wild food delicacy. That and more this week on Inside Appalachia.