Bobby Osborne on revived Wheeling Jamboree

The Wheeling JamboreeThe famous Wheeling, West Virginia, radio programme, the Wheeling Jamboree, on WWVA 1170AM, returns the air on Saturday, April 19. The Wheeling Jamboree Inc. will host their first show from John Marshall Center for the Performing Arts in Glen Dale, West Virginia.

On the bill is Bobby Osborne, who comes back to the stage on which he and his brother, Sonny, as the Osborne Brothers, were stalwarts in the 1950s and 1960s. Topping the bill is country star Earl Thomas Conley, a contemporary country music star in the1980s, while also on the show are Bluegrass Express from Eastern Ohio, Logan Wells from Cleveland who does a great tribute to Patsy Cline, and Roger Hoard with the Fabulous Bender Boys.

Bobby Osborne and the Rocky Top X-Press can be heard also on their latest Rounder CD, Bluegrass Melodies (0582).

Tickets for this show are available at Wheeling Jamboree website or by calling 800-875-8702. Show time is 7:00 to 10:oo p.m. (EDT). Doors open at 5:30 pm.

Radio station WWVA aired its first broadcast on December 13, 1926, and like so many radio stations at the time it had its own Barn Dance featuring local music talent, particularly yodelers. Spurred by the success of these live music shows WWVA owner George W. Smith gathered several local musicians, set them up at WWVA’s Hawley Building studios, and broadcast the program as a late-night Saturday Jamboree. The first Wheeling Jamboree took place in the station’s Hawley Building studios in January 1933.

During its very storied history the Wheeling Jamboree has been the home to many fine singers.

Among the early performers were Loye Donald Pack, professionally known as singer/guitarist “Cowboy” Loye; “wandering minstrel” Elmer Crowe and Marshall Jones, the banjo and guitar player who would later achieve fame as Grandpa Jones. These were followed by Doc Williams and his Border Riders, Chickie Williams, Doc’ wife, who became legends on the programme; Lee and Juanita Moore; Dusty Owens; the Clinch Mountain Clan, led by Wilma Lee and Stoney Cooper; Everett Lilly; Little Jimmy Dickens; Harold “Hawkshaw” Hawkins; Charlie Louvin; the afore-mentioned Osborne Brothers; Mac Wiseman; the Davis Sisters; the Stanley Brothers; Jim Greer’s Mac-O-Chee Valley Folks; and Brad Paisley, a twelve-year-old when he made his debut.

The programme celebrated its seventieth year of continuous broadcasts in 2003. Only the Grand Ole Opry has had a longer stage run. For millions of country music fans who come to the Capitol Music Hall every year, or who tune in the station on a Saturday night, Jamboree USA is an important piece in the country music tapestry.

The show ran for 72 years, until in 2005, when the Wheeling Capitol Music Hall changed ownership.

Wheeling Jamboree, Inc. is a non-profit corporation established by a group of dedicated individuals who have decided to revive the show, to promote educational opportunities in the music industry and performing arts, and to promote travel and tourism to the Wheeling area.

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About the Author

Richard Thompson

Richard F. Thompson is a long-standing free-lance writer specialising in bluegrass music topics. A two-time Editor of British Bluegrass News, he has been seriously interested in bluegrass music since about 1970. As well as contributing to that magazine, he has, in the past 30 plus years, had articles published by Country Music World, International Country Music News, Country Music People, Bluegrass Unlimited, MoonShiner (the Japanese bluegrass music journal) and Bluegrass Europe. He wrote the annotated series I'm On My Way Back To Old Kentucky, a daily memorial to Bill Monroe that culminated with an acknowledgement of what would have been his 100th birthday, on September 13, 2011.