Charleston, WV – The newest members of the WV Music Hall of Fame were announced Wednesday in Charleston.
“The West Virginia Music Hall of Fame’s class of 2023 continues our mission to recognize outstanding artists who were born or raised in the Mountain State,” said Michael Lipton, Director of the WV Music Hall of Fame. “Our ninth class honors five unique and diverse West Virginia artists who have made lasting contributions to the music of their home state and American music.”
“Like most West Virginians, these inductees come from humble beginnings and succeeded on their own terms thanks to their passion and determination,” he added. “We want to send a message to all young West Virginians that no matter where you live and no matter what your circumstances are, if you have passion and determination you can succeed!”
Buddy Griffin (b. 1948) Richwood (Nicholas County)
One of WV’s best-known and most widely respected bluegrass and traditional country musicians, Buddy Griffin is a multi-instrumentalist who has toured and recorded with legendary acts including Jim & Jesse and the Virginia Boys, the Osborne Brothers, Mother Maybelle Carter, Johnny Russell, the Goins Brothers, and Mack Samples and the Samples Brothers. Growing up in a musical family, his parents taught him all the instruments as well as the importance of using humor to entertain an audience. Griffin graduated in 1971 from Glenville State College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in education, and became the staff banjo and fiddle player for WWVA’s Jamboree USA in Wheeling. Over the years, he has played at the Grand Ole Opry more than 200 times and has appeared on more than 150 recordings. In 2002, working with the Fine Arts Department at Glenville State College, Griffin introduced the first-ever four-year college degree program in bluegrass music and ran the program for several years. In 2011, he received the Vandalia Award from the West Virginia Division of Culture and History, and in 2019, he was honored with an honorary doctorate from Glenville State College.
Clarence “Fuzzy” Haskins (b. 1941) Elkhorn (McDowell County)
Calvin Simon (1942-2022) Beckley (Raleigh County)
The careers of these two West Virginians, Fuzzy Haskins and Calvin Simon – WV’s Funk Brothers – took them to the helm of what is perhaps this country’s most groundbreaking and influential funk band, Parliament-Funkadelic. After their families moved to New Jersey in the mid-’50s, they joined The Parliaments, a doo wop barbershop quintet led by George Clinton. Clinton, Simon and Grady Thomas were barbers; Haskins and Ray Davis were patrons. The group relocated to Detroit in the mid-’60s where it charted its first hit, “(I Wanna) Testify” in 1967. Haskins, Simon and Thomas stayed with “the Mothership” for two decades as it morphed into the deep soul, outrageous funk and acid-rock of Parliament-Funkadelic, and appeared on seminal LPs like Chocolate City and Mothership Connection. Haskins, Simon and Thomas left the band in 1978 and, in 1981, released Connections & Disconnections under the name Funkadelic. They rejoined “the Mothership” a little more than a decade later as part of the P-Funk Allstars. In 1998, Haskins, Simon and Thomas, along with Davis, founded Original P. Haskins went on to release solo projects while Simon, after battling cancer, turned his focus to gospel music. The two were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997 along with the other 15 members of Parliament-Funkadelic. In 2019, they were given Grammy Lifetime Achievement Awards.
Barbara Nissman (b. 1944) Philadelphia, PA
Born in Philadelphia, Barbara Nissman is a “West Virginian By Choice” who has lived in Lewisburg for more than three decades. Hailed as “one of the last pianists in the grand Romantic tradition of Liszt, Rachmaninoff, and Rubinstein,” her recordings include a number of “definitive” works as well as releases on her own Three Oranges Recordings label. Nissman has performed with some of the world’s leading orchestras including the London, Royal, Rotterdam, Munich, and New York Philharmonics, as well as the Chicago, Pittsburgh, and St. Louis Symphonies. In addition to performing and recording, contributing to books and music publications, presenting master classes at universities in the U.S. and Europe, her music lecture series, “Barbara & Friends,” appeared on the BBC network and has been adapted for children in collaboration with the Greenbrier Valley Theatre. She performed with Don Henley and Billy Joel at a fundraiser at Lincoln Center as well as performing at the Kennedy Center’s 25th Anniversary Gala Concert. Since 2002, she has been involved with the Robert James Frascino AIDS Foundation, raising more than $2 million for AIDS service organizations worldwide. She holds the Governor’s Distinguished Service to the Arts Award from the State of West Virginia along with the Lifetime Achievement in the Arts Award.
Lonesome Pine Fiddlers (formed 1938)
With members hailing from Mingo and Mercer counties, the Lonesome Pine Fiddlers represent a significant chapter in WV’s musical history. Founding members Ezra, Ray and Charlie Cline, and later members Melvin and Ray Goins formed a group that was one of the first to play what is now called “Bluegrass Music” and, as such, were a very influential first-generation bluegrass band. The group formed in 1938 and continued in various forms until 1966. Former members Melvin Goins, Bobby Osborne, and Paul Williams are regarded as true masters of the genre. Later, various members of the group made their own marks in Bluegrass, playing with artists including The Osborne Brothers, the Stanley Brothers, and Bill Monroe. The Lonesome Pine Fiddlers performed on radio in Bluefield and Huntington as well as in Pikeville, KY, and Detroit, MI. Recording for the Cozy, RCA and Starday labels, its songs “Windy Mountain” and “Brown Eyed Darling” are considered Bluegrass classics. A few years ago, the German label Bear Family Records compiled and released Windy Mountain, a definitive reissue of the Lonesome Pine Fiddlers’ music.
Winston Walls (1942-2008) Ironton, OH
As the story goes – and there are many when it comes to Hammond B-3 great Winston Walls – he was born in a car near Ironton, OH, as his family was returning home to Charleston. And, depending on who was telling the tale, Winston became an instant piano prodigy when, as a child, he was hit on the head with a brick or a rock. We do know that Winston started studying drums with the great Charleston musician Frank Thompson – who would later play with Winston for many years. Winston got his first break when the drummer for famed Hammond organist Bill Doggett was a no-show for a performance in the late 1950s at Charleston’s Municipal Auditorium. Later, learning from Doggett, he eventually made the switch to organ. Charleston’s own “Boss of The B-3” was a member of an elite group of players who turned the Hammond B-3 into an instrument all its own. For four decades, Winston played regionally and was revered by musicians and fans alike. Traveling the country, he was part of “Battle of the Organ” shows that also featured B-3 greats Jimmy Smith, Groove Holmes, and his longtime friend Brother Jack McDuff. Winston also backed artists including The Pointer Sisters, Dionne Warwick, Al Green, Charlie Pride, and Ike and Tina Turner. He also had a brief career as a motorcycle trick rider, a roller derby player, and a professional wrestler who fought under the name “The Claw.” Winston’s father, Harry Van Walls, a legendary house pianist for Atlantic Records, was inducted into the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame in 2015.
The WV Music Hall of Fame induction ceremony is scheduled for May of 2023 at the Culture Center Theater in Charleston and will be broadcast live on WV Public Broadcasting.
For information about the 2023 induction ceremony or if you are interested in being involved as a sponsor or volunteer, please call (304) 342-4412; or email email@example.com.