The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Sunday Profile

October 27, 2013

Induction ceremony, performances planned for West Virginia Music Hall of Fame

What do Tim O’Brien, Peter Marshall, Kathy Mattea, the Swan Silvertones, Paul Simon, and Steve Harvey all have in common?

They all have a connection to West Virginia music — and will be part of the fifth West Virginia Music Hall of Fame induction ceremony and performance.

Tickets are on sale for the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame’s 2013 induction ceremony. The event will be held Saturday, Nov. 16, at the Culture Center Theater in Charleston. VIP tickets include a meet ‘n’ greet with inductees and presenters, admittance to the Governor’s Reception and after-show party.

The ceremony welcomes the fifth class of inductees and will be broadcast live across the state on WV PBS. A video by comedian — and McDowell County native — Steve Harvey will welcome everyone to the show.

The 2013 inductees are: Melvin & Ray Goins, Peter Marshall, Wayne Moss, Tim O’Brien, Ada “Bricktop” Smith, Eleanor Steber, and The Swan Silvertones.

The 2013 Spirit Award will be presented to Landau Eugene Murphy Jr.

The living inductees — Melvin Goins, Tim O’Brien, Peter Marshall and Wayne Moss — will be present to accept their awards and perform. In addition, there will be performances by Landau Eugene Muprhy, Jr., Mollie O’Brien, Curtis and Friendly Womack (of the Valentinos), opera singer Betsy Bare, and Shayla Leftridge.

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Inductees from this region include:

- Melvin Goins (born 1933) and Ray Goins (1936-2007) of Goodwill, Mercer County.

Born on Sinai Mountain, near the coal mining community of Goodwill, Melvin and Ray Goins hold a significant place in the history of bluegrass music. Both together and separately, the brothers played in The Lonesome Pine Fiddlers, The Stanley Brothers, and The Shenandoah Playboys as well as The Goins Brothers Band. From the early ‘50s, both have been involved in radio and TV, first on Bluefield radio station WHIS and later on stations in Prestonsburg, Hazard and Paintsville, Ky. In 1994, when Ray stopped touring due to health problems, Melvin changed the band’s name to Melvin Goins and Windy Mountain. Melvin was the first bluegrass musician to be featured on the cover of Smithsonian magazine and was inducted into the International Bluegrass Music Association Hall of Fame as a member of the Lonesome Pine Fiddlers in 2009 and the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame in 2011.

- Ada “Bricktop” Smith — 1894-1984. Alderson, Monroe County.

Born Ada Beatrice Queen Victoria Louise Virginia Smith in Alderson, Bricktop was a dancer, singer, vaudevillian, and self-described saloon-keeper who owned the Paris nightclub Chez Bricktop. She has been described as “one of the most legendary and enduring figures of 20th Century American cultural history.” After working as a chorus girl in Chicago and Harlem, Bricktop moved to Paris around 1924 to escape the racial tension in the U.S. Soon, Cole Porter hired her to entertain at his parties. His song “Miss Otis Regrets” was written especially for her to perform, and Hot Jazz innovators Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli wrote a song titled “Bricktop.” Bricktop’s drew many celebrities including the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and John Steinbeck. Her proteges included Mabel Mercer and Josephine Baker, and she employed Langston Hughes as a busboy. Leaving Paris during WWII, she then opened nightclubs in Mexico City and Rome. In 1961, at age 67, she retired to the U.S. Bricktop made a cameo appearance in the 1974 film “Honeybaby, Honeybaby” and the 1983 Woody Allen film “Zelig.” She continued to perform as a Cabaret entertainer well into her 80s. In 1972, Bricktop made her only recording, “So Long Baby,” with Cy Coleman.

- The Swan Silvertones — Formed in 1938, McDowell County.

The Swan Silvertones were one of the greatest gospel quartets of the ‘50s and ‘60s. The group, originally called The Four Harmony Kings, and then the Silvertone Singers, was founded in 1938 by Claude Jeter, an Alabama native who moved to McDowell County to work in the mines. One of the original members was Solomon Womack whose nephew, Bobby Womack, became a star in soul and rock. Moving to Knoxville, TN, the group was hired by a local radio program that was sponsored by the local Swan Bakery and renamed the Swan Silvertones. The Swans were one of the first gospel groups to add instruments to its a capella sound. Jeter received many offers to perform R&B and rock ‘n’ roll but chose to honor a commitment he had made to his mother that he would always sing for the Lord. With an angelic falsetto, elements of Jeter’s style were picked up by later singers including Sam Cooke and Al Green. A line from the group’s 1961 song “Mary Don’t You Weep” — “I’ll be a bridge over deep water if you trust in my name” — inspired Paul Simon to write his 1970 hit, “Bridge over Troubled Water.” The group’s version of “Saviour, Pass Me Not” was featured in the 1991 film “The Big Easy.” The Swan Silvertones were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2002 and the International Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 2003.

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Presenters and acceptors include Kathy Mattea (Tim O’Brien), Charlie McCoy (Wayne Moss), Butch Miles and Art Simmons (Bricktop), Nick Clooney (Peter Marshall), and Curtis and Friendly Womack (Swan Silvertones).

Former major league ballplayer and current ESPN commentator John Kruk and Mollie O’Brien will co-host the event.

During the ceremony, there will be videos and letters of congratulations from Paul Simon, Steve Harvey, Al Kooper and more.

General admission tickets are $60. “Preferred Tickets” are $200 each and include admittance to the Meet and Greet, the Governor’s Reception before the event and the after-show party.

Tickets are available at Taylor Books and through the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame website (www.wvmusichalloffame.com) and HoF office (304/342-4412). Doors open at 7 p.m. Showtime is 7:30.

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