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Episode 1 - Old Home Place

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There was this West Virginian who went away from home for 10 years, and then he came back. That’s the start of “The Dillards” song “Old Home Place.” There’s a particularly resonant line for people who left home, but especially people who have left West Virginia. “What have they done to the old home place? Why did they tear it down? And why did I leave the plow in the field And look for a job in the town?”

Travis Stimeling is a man who left his home near Buckhannon, West Virginia. But he left for a different reason than depicted in the song and came back under more hopeful circumstances.

He went to college as a low brass major, got his master’s degree in music from West Virginia University in 2003 and then went on to get a PhD in musicology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He was away 10 years, just like the song. And when he came back he saw this need around music, the music he grew up enjoying in his community.

He created WVU’s Bluegrass Band and its sister band the Old Time Band and he took the bands on tour. This episode lets you experience what happened.

We owe many thinks this episode to Travis Stimeling and the spring 2016 band for letting us follow them along on their trip. We also want to thank the schools that welcomed us on the tour: Glen Middle School in New Cumberland, W.Va.; Brooke High School in Wellsburg, W.Va.; and Washington Lands Elementary School in Moundsville, W.Va.

We’ve got a whole bunch of music videos of the band’s work that you can enjoy, like the one above that was featured in this edition of “The List.” Many thanks to the Reed College of Media for their help in making the 360-degree videos.

You can also read the magazine story which appeared on the band in the fall 2016 issue of WVU Magazine.

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