Old time music lovers in the Charleston/Huntington, WV region are mourning the loss of Joe Dobbs, a prominent fiddler, radio host, businessman, and music personality who had made St. Albans his home some years ago. Dobbs passed away on Monday (9/21) after a brief bout with pneumonia at 81 years of age.
Though born and raised down south in Mississippi and Louisiana, where Joe lived until he was roughly 30 years old, he spent the rest of his life in West Virginia where he raised his own family with his wife, Amy.
For a time he traveled as a fiddler, but after becoming a permanent resident of the Mountain State, Dobbs launched Fret ‘n Fiddle, a music store serving the needs of traditional music folks, with his brother Dennis in 1976. The shop started in Huntington, but moved to St. Albans after Dennis left in 1980. The store remains open to this day, and still operates as a focal point for the folk, bluegrass, and old time community though they have expanded into electric instruments as well.
Joe had continued to be a fixture in the shop, doing repairs and other tasks, until his health began to deteriorate a few weeks ago.
Radio listeners some distance from St. Albans became familiar with Dobbs through his long-running program, Music From The Mountains, which aired for 25 years on West Virginia Public Radio. There he played a mix of bluegrass and traditional mountain music, and hosted live performances from string musicians of all kinds. He left the program in 2007.
In 2012, Joe saw his autobiography, A Country Fiddler, published by Mid-Atlantic Highlands.
WCHS television in Charleston aired this report yesterday following news of Joe’s passing.
Family and friends will gather on Friday (9/25) at Bartlett-Chapman Funeral Home in St. Albans at 7:00 p.m. Visitation will be scheduled from 5:00 – 7:00.
A Celebration of Life event is expected to occur sometime in the near future.
R.I.P., Joe Dobbs.