Eddie Stubbs provides music library to Glenville State College

Eddie Stubbs, longtime WSM broadcaster, voice of the Grand Ole Opry, and former fiddler and bass singer with The Johnson Mountain Boys, has made a it possible for his music library and memorabilia to reside at the Bluegrass Music Program at Glenville State College in West Virginia.

The Pioneer Stage and the Bluegrass Music Education Center at Glenville will be the permanent home for this lifelong collection of recordings, posters, memorabilia, furniture, and many other unique artifacts that Eddie has acquired over a long career in bluegrass and country music.

First appearing on the scene with The Johnson Mountain Boys in 1978, a 16 year old fiddling sensation in the form of Eddie Stubbs made his debut with the band on stage. He stayed with them for a decade, during which time he discovered that his distinctive, rich bass voice was a natural for radio, doing a weekly bluegrass show for WYII in Williamsport, MD in 1983. Soon, the DC area’s big bluegrass station at WAMU came calling, and in 1984 he moved there doing his own show and helping out in various station duties until moving to Nashville in 1995. There he went to work for WSM, where his evening program was popular all over the central US. He was a regular announcer for the Grand Ole Opry, and performed that same role for the IBMA Awards for many years.

Stubbs made the trip from Nashville to Glenville, WV this week to deliver boxes upon boxes of vinyl records, CDs, and other items, literally a truck full that Eddie brought from Tennessee.

Professor and Director of The Glenville State College Bluegrass Music Program, Dr. Megan Darby, says that the effort to provide a home for this impressive Stubbs collection has been several years in the making. A conversation with Eddie during a trip to Nashville during SPBGMA 2019 to confer honorary doctorates to Bobby and Sonny Osborne, Mac Wiseman, Jesse McReynolds, and Buddy Griffin, founder of the Glenville program, started things in motion.

“I was fortunate enough to be able to organize and plan a community tour bus trip to Nashville, Tennessee a few years ago. The purpose of this trip was to recognize the last living legends of bluegrass music with Honorary Doctorates from GSC. The ceremony was held at The Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville, Tennessee. Eddie Stubbs facilitated in some of the logistics, and a quick visit to his house during that time is where the opportunity and discussion about his future retirement plans and possibility of obtaining the precious collection was initiated.”

When Stubbs announced his retirement during the summer of 2020, plans to find a home at the college for this iconic compilation of music jumped into high gear. And on Monday, March 29, Eddie steered a rental tuck on to campus and delivered his sizable collection to the Bluegrass Music Education Center at Glenville.

The President of the college, Dr. Mark Manchin, along with Dr. Darby and other faculty and administrators, plus members of the Glenville community, were on hand to meet with Eddie, and thank him personally for this priceless donation to the school.

Dr. Manchin commented on the appropriateness of housing the Eddie Stubbs Archives at Glenville State.

“One of the major components of our new Appalachian studies program is the bluegrass music, and that’s integral to West Virginia. Much of it started here, and it still thrives here and we’re excited.”

The Bluegrass Program has many hours of work ahead, cataloging and preserving all the music and memorabilia in the dozens of containers they unloaded on Monday. Dr Darby gushed over the possibilities for the program with these materials.

“Having an opportunity to build and tailor our curriculum and music venue around such an iconic collection is powerful, and quite an honor.

And she was quick to acknowledge all the people who dedicated time and resources to this effort.

“We are nearing three years of countless hours of communication and work to pull this off. It would not have been possible without our students, President, Dr. Mark Manchin, Gus Arrendale of Springer Mountain Farms, Barry Blank, Dave Hutchison of GSC Foundation, Nick Blake, Luke McKnight, and certainly our donors and supporters of the program.”

Many congratulations to Glenville State College for acquiring The Eddie Stubbs Archive, and hats off to Eddie for finding such a suitable home for his collection, where it can aid in the education of future artists in bluegrass music.

Megan also expressed deep gratitude in particular to Gus Arrendale of Springer Mountain Farms and Barry Blank who made significant financial donations in support of their mission of preserving American Music, which made obtaining the Stubbs Archives possible.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.