West Virginia is home to the world’s most talented musicians and has nurtured the growth of some of the greatest singers, songwriters, and producers in the music industry. Musicians like Brad Paisley and Little Jimmy Dickens represent the best of traditional country music.
At the same time, artists like Hazel Dickens and Zao have pushed the boundaries of what is possible in bluegrass and metal music.
To learn more about these famous West Virginia musicians, here’s a list that you will surely enjoy:
- 1. Bill Withers
- 2. The Lilly Brothers
- 3. Brad Paisley
- 4. Hazel Dickens
- 5. Johnny Paycheck
- 6. Steve Whiteman
- 7. Johnny Staats
- 8. Hawkshaw Hawkins
- 9. Little Jimmy Dickens
- 10. Hasil Adkins
- 11. Rozwell Kid
- 12. Byzantine
- 13. Landau Eugene Murphy Jr.
- 14. Bobaflex
- 15. Seven Day Jesus
- 16. Red Sovine
- 17. Zao
- 18. Kathy Mattea
- 19. Jeff Stevens
- 20. Asleep at the Wheel
1. Bill Withers
Bill Withers was a soulful singer-songwriter who rose to fame with hits such as “Lean on Me,” “Ain’t No Sunshine,” and “Lovely Day.” He won three Grammys and has been inducted in several halls of fame.
Withers’ music was known for its honest lyrics and simple, yet powerful melodies, and his work has had a lasting impact on the music industry.
2. The Lilly Brothers
The Lilly Brothers, a bluegrass duo consisting of Bea and Everett Lilly, gained recognition for bringing bluegrass music to New England. They were known for their tight harmonies and traditional sound. The Lilly Brothers were inducted into the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame.
3. Brad Paisley
Brad Paisley is a country music superstar. He has won numerous awards throughout his career, including three Grammy Awards and 14 Country Music Association Awards.
Paisley is known for his clever songwriting, virtuosic guitar playing, and ability to blend traditional country sounds with modern production techniques.
4. Hazel Dickens
Hazel Dickens was a singer-songwriter and activist. She was a pioneer in the world of bluegrass music, and her music often addressed social and political issues, including coal mining and labor rights. Dickens’ influence can still be heard in the work of contemporary bluegrass artists.
5. Johnny Paycheck
Johnny Paycheck, with his real name Donald Eugene Lytle, was a country music singer who had a string of hits throughout the 1970s and 1980s, including “Take This Job and Shove It” and “She’s All I Got.”
Paycheck’s powerful voice and rebellious persona helped to cement his place in the history of country music.
6. Steve Whiteman
Steve Whiteman is the lead singer of Kix, a hard rock band. Kix gained popularity with hits like “Don’t Close Your Eyes” and “Blow My Fuse.” Whiteman’s energetic stage presence and distinctive vocals helped to make Kix one of the most popular bands of the hair metal era.
7. Johnny Staats
Johnny Staats is a bluegrass musician. He is known for his virtuosic mandolin playing and his ability to blend traditional bluegrass sounds with other genres, including jazz and rock. Staats has won several mandolin championships and also been seen in several television shows and magazines.
8. Hawkshaw Hawkins
Hawkshaw Hawkins was a country music singer who was known for his smooth baritone voice and traditional country sound. His songs “Dog House Boogie” and “The Sunny Side of the Mountain” were some of his hits.
Hawkins was tragically killed in a plane crash in 1963, and his music continues to be celebrated by country music fans.
9. Little Jimmy Dickens
Little Jimmy Dickens was a beloved country music singer who was known for his humorous songs, diminutive stature, and flamboyant stage costumes. Dickens had a long and successful career, which included hit songs like “May the Bird of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose” and “Take an Old Cold Tater (And Wait).”
10. Hasil Adkins
Hasil Adkins was a musician who was known for his unique blend of rockabilly, country, and blues. An unconventional performer, Adkins had a penchant for playing all the instruments on his recordings and singing in a peculiar manner.
11. Rozwell Kid
Rozwell Kid is an indie rock band who was formed in 2011 and has released several albums, including the critically acclaimed “Precious Art.” Rozwell Kid is known for their energetic live performances and their catchy, indie and pop punk songs.
Byzantine is a heavy metal band who has released several albums, including “The Cicada Tree,” which was released in 2017. Byzantine is known for their technical proficiency and their ability to blend different subgenres of metal, including thrash, death, and progressive metal.
13. Landau Eugene Murphy Jr.
Landau Eugene Murphy Jr. is a jazz singer who rose to fame after winning the sixth season of the television show “America’s Got Talent.” Murphy is known for his smooth and soulful voice. He has released several albums and continues to tour and perform.
Bobaflex is a rock band that has released several albums, including “Apologize for Nothing” and “Eloquent Demons.” Bobaflex is known for their aggressive, riff-heavy sound and their energetic live performances.
15. Seven Day Jesus
Seven Day Jesus was a Christian rock band that was known for their melodic pop-rock sound and their earnest lyrics, which often addressed themes of faith, doubt, and personal struggle.
Seven Day Jesus released two albums, including their self-titled debut, which received critical acclaim and helped establish the band as one of the most promising acts in Christian rock at the time.
16. Red Sovine
Known for their truck-driving songs, Red Sovine was a country music singer and songwriter. He had a long and successful career, which included hits like “Teddy Bear” and “Phantom 309.”
Sovine was famous for his sentimental, story-driven songs and his distinctive speaking voice, which he used to great effect in many of his recordings.
Zao is a metalcore band that has released several albums, including “Where Blood and Fire Bring Rest” and “The Fear Is What Keeps Us Here.”
Zao is known for their heavy, aggressive sound and their thoughtful, introspective lyrics, which often explore themes of spirituality, redemption, and personal struggle. They have been praised for their technical proficiency and their ability to blend different subgenres of metal.
18. Kathy Mattea
Kathy Mattea is a blues and country music singer. She had a string of hits, including “Eighteen Wheels and a Dozen Roses” and “Where’ve You Been.”
Mattea was known for her rich, expressive voice and her ability to blend traditional country sounds with more contemporary pop and folk influences. She has won two Grammy Awards and continues to be one of the most respected and admired artists in country music.
19. Jeff Stevens
Jeff Stevens is a singer-songwriter and record producer. He has written and produced hit songs for a variety of country music artists, including Tim McGraw, George Strait, and Luke Bryan.
Stevens is known for his ability to craft catchy, memorable hooks and his deep understanding of the traditions and conventions of country music.
20. Asleep at the Wheel
Asleep at the Wheel is a Western swing band. The band has included a rotating cast of musicians over the years. Asleep at the Wheel is known for their lively, danceable sound and their ability to blend different musical genres, including swing, rockabilly, and country.
They have won eight Grammy Awards and continue to tour and perform regularly, bringing their unique sound and style to audiences around the world.
West Virginia is not only a visually stunning state but also a treasure trove of musical talent, having given rise to a diverse range of skilled musicians who have made a legacy on the music industry.
From rockabilly to country to metal, the state has produced legendary artists across a wide range of genres which is enjoyed by all music lovers and musicians worldwide.