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Summer 2002

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WV songwriters on new CD

Quilting the Sun: Journey of
a Play

Dance from your heart

New festival celebrates

A win-win collaboration
West Virginia songwriters featured on new CD

By Colleen Anderson

Songs of Home, a music collection featuring West Virginia songwriters and musicians, was released in May by the West Virginia Lottery Commission as a promotional item for its Hot Lotto game.

"Songs of Home" CD

The 17-song CD, beginning with Tim O’Brien’s “A Mountaineer Is Always Free” and ending with Jim Truman’s original arrangement of “The West Virginia Hills,” celebrates the state’s independence, hospitality, natural beauty and the enduring, mysterious pull it seems to exert over anyone who tries to leave. Songs of Home is an appropriate title for a collection in which the word “home” is part of nearly every lyric.

The anthology, which is available only as a promotional giveaway, represents a win-win situation for the artists whose songs were included. The Lottery Commission plans to distribute 20,000 copies of the album, broader-than-ordinary exposure for at least some of the songwriters. Each songwriter received, in addition to payment for one-time mechanical rights, the right to use the recorded version of his or her song for future self-promotion.

Ron Sowell, who performs weekly on Public Radio International’s “Mountain Stage” and directs the Mountain Stage Band, produced the anthology. He credits Lottery director John Musgrave and Mike Ross, the commission’s advertising manager, for conceiving and sponsoring the project. “I’m so impressed with the way the Lottery Commission has supported West Virginians,” Sowell said. “For several years now, most of the music for their ads and promotions has been produced in the state.”

The recording engineer for the project was Ritch Collins, with additional engineering by Bob Webb. Most of the songs were recorded in Huntington or Charleston.

Sowell has also produced a collection of patriotic songs, which will be released on July 4 as part of another Lottery Commission promotion.

For more information, or to hear samples of the songs, visit the WV Lottery Commission website: