Archive for September, 2009

Beware! This October retro rock duo Mad Tea Party is releasing ZOMBIE BOOGIE, a spooky Halloween EP. “So you thought vinyl was dead? And the ukulele? And letterpress? Well, think again,” the band warns. The EP is a collectible 33 rpm 7” vinyl record with a disturbing letterpress cover created at Hand-cranked Letterpress in Asheville, NC. The four tracks on the EP capture Jason Krekel (guitar, drums) and Ami Worthen (ukulele, guitar) at their most raw and rockin’. With two original songs and two obscure covers, ZOMBIE BOOGIE is certain to get you in the mood for the Halloween season. Brave souls who dare to purchase the vinyl record also receive a download card to get mp3s of all four songs, plus a surprise bonus song. ZOMBIE BOOGIE will be available at Mad Tea Party shows and through their website starting in October, as well as in all of the major online digital stores. The time has come for some crazy, chilling uke-abilly music.


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By Sarah Hall


Salisbury Post  www.salisburypost.com

“But I don’t want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked.

“Oh, you can’t help that,” said the Cat: “we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.”

“How do you know I’m mad?” said Alice.

“You must be,” said the Cat, “or you wouldn’t have come here.”

(“Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,” chapter 6)

Mad Tea Party (Ami Worthen and Jason Krekel) will be headlining Friday at Looking Glass Artist Collective. photo by Scott McCormick
Mad Tea Party (Ami Worthen and Jason Krekel) will be headlining Friday at Looking Glass Artist Collective. Photo by Scott McCormick

So what more appropriately-named band to invite to their stage than Mad Tea Party? This high-energy, honky-tonk duo from Asheville brings uke-a-billy madness to the Black Box this Friday.

A march hare would feel right at home at this party, and at times Jason Krekel does appear “mad as a hatter” with his wildly enthusiastic musical delivery. He manages to deftly perform like three men, singing, alternating between guitar and fiddle, while not missing a beat playing percussion with his feet.

Ami Worthen is more rad than mad with her electric ukulele and her equally electric wardrobe, which throughout her career has gotten “curioser and curiouser.”

Her clarion vocals sparkle in quieter moments,then wend their way through any musical craziness Krekel dishes out. The joy in her voice draws the audience in.

In fact that’s what Worthen says the audience should expect when they come to the show. “We want to bring joy and make people feel good” she says. “Everybody can use more joy.”

Worthen began her mission of spreading musical happiness as a solo act in her Asheville hometown. Then things really took off when she was joined by Krekel and they released their popular 2004 album “73% Post-ConsumerNovelty.”

The duo became a trio, adding a bassist for touring and on the albums “Flying Saucers” in 2005 and “Big Top Soda Pop” which listeners to WNCW voted as the #2 regional release of 2006.

They’ve gone back to being a duo, and two of them seems plenty, as evidenced in their latest release, the album “Found a Reason” which prompted Southeast Performer magazine to describe them as, “B-52s meets Buddy Holly with a lot more thump.”

Next month, just in time for Halloween, they’ll be releasing “Zombie Boogie” as a 7-inch vinyl EP.

Opening for Mad Tea Party this Friday will be Looking Glass’ own one-man, band David Lamanno.

Lamanno is also a photographer, and an exhibit of his work will be on view in LGAC’s purple room, next door to the black box theater. The opening reception for the exhibit is at 7 p.m.

Besides musical entertainment, attendees to Friday’s event can shop from handmade crafts, view works by local artists, have their fortunes told, or get a chair massage. And there will be refresments—including tea, of course.

“Oh my ears and whiskers!” It will be madly entertaining.

Mad Tea Party is coming to Salisbury this Friday. [Photo by Jonathan Welch].

Mad Tea Party is coming to Salisbury this Friday. Photo by Jonathan Welch

Looking Glass Artist Collective is located at 405 N. Lee St.

The reception for the David Lamanno exhibit begins at 7 p.m. and is free

The show starts at 8:30 p.m. Tickets to the Mad Tea Party performance are $5 in advance and $7 at the door. Advance tickets are available at Looking Glass or at Tastebuds Coffee and Tea, 106 N. Main St.

For more information, call 704-633-2787, contact salisburyartists@gmail.com or visit http://www.salisburyartists.org.

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By Dan Kunz

Center Daily Times– State College Pennsylvania

Friday September 18, 2009

Perhaps it was the complementary barbecue food. Maybe it was the crowd’s response. Whatever the reason, North Carolina’s Afromotive is back at Zeno’s Pub less than two months after their July gig. Electric bassist Ryan Reardon couldn’t be more pleased with State College’s reception to his group.

“This will be our third time playing here,” Reardon said. “We’re hoping for an even bigger turnout than the previous show, and the last one was great.”

Photo By Monty Chandler: Rhythm band Afromotive returns to State College.

Photo By Monty Chandler: Rhythm band Afromotive returns to State College.

As the name would imply, the band fuses traditional African folk music and rhythms with a jazzy funk twist. The sextet effectively channels Afrobeat legend Fela Kuti at his most vibrant and political, 1970s-era James Brown at his most brooding and militant, and, when trumpeter Sean Smith takes center stage, Miles Davis at his most exploratory.

“People were definitely enjoying us from the get-go when we began playing gigs in Asheville,” said Reardon, originally a native of Buffalo, N.Y. “I had traveled to Africa in 2001 and was exposed to Afrobeat and traditional folk music for the first time. It changed my life. I relocated to North Carolina from New York when I finished school. I just needed a change of scene.”

Among the musicians Reardon met up with was singer and percussionist Adam Dembele, a 33rd-generation djembe player originally from the Ivory Coast, who embodies the elements of old African griot storytellers and is crucial to the Afromotive sound.

“Music is in this man’s blood,” Reardon said of Dembele. “He brought an encyclopedia of musical knowledge to the band, as well as many songs indigenous to Africa that we perform in a modern style.”

So does one need to grasp the intricacies of jazz or the evolution of African music to fully appreciate what Afromotive is trying to achieve, or is this a group you can simply shake your butt to?

“Hopefully, the latter,” Reardon said. “If a band can pull of different complex musical elements — jazz, African poly-rhythms and so forth — and make it look easy, that’s when the audience can respond. I’d like to think Afromotive’s music is challenging enough for the serious music listeners who keep an ear out for all the different components, yet simple enough for the dancers who just want to get down.”

Afromotive will perform at 10 p.m. Sept. 18 at Zeno’s. Call 237-4350 for more information.

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Photo by Jonthan Welch/ Asheville's Mountain Xpress

Photo by Jonthan Welch/ Asheville's Mountain Xpress

by Johnny Woodie


A really great band is coming through folks, don’t miss out. I believe this is the next hidden NC musical treasure… and believe me, I wouldn’t just say that for no reason. Personally, to me they seem like the Southern version of the The Thermals, which in my book is a good thing. There is a track at the end of this post.

Ukebilly Garage-Pop band, The Mad Tea Party is heading to Salisbury and will be performing at the The Looking Glass Artist Collective on Friday September 25th. David Lamanno, the one man band from Salisbury, will be opening for the evening.

Southeast Performer describes Mad Tea Party, “If The White Stripes and Southern Culture on the Skids mated, had fraternal twins and raised them to rock out with ukulele accompaniment, we would have the Mad Tea Party. The newly-minted duo’s new release FOUND A REASON is playful old school rock that is both straightforward and wonderfully melodic. It’s B-52s meets Buddy Holly with a lot more thump; Americana with a funky fire underneath the plaintiveness of Jason Krekel’s smooth vocals and Ami Worthen’s jukebox-era delivery…”

Mad Tea Party is also a featured musical act in the recent film release, the Graduates which, is climbing the charts on both I-tunes and Hulu.”   You got that everyone?

Don’t slip on this show…

They’re even so kind to let us offer you a free download of “Every Way”.

Download avialable on AltRowan Blog.




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Article written by TJ Boley, music writer in Southern West Virgina

The folks at Rivermen Whitewater are rather proud of their new facility perched atop the New River George on Ames Heights Road. If you would like proof of their pride, just stop by and take a look around. You will soon be accosted by a friendly staff member who will more than likely insist on showing you what they have to offer. If you run into staff member Jim Heffernan as I did, your look around might take awhile.

Heffernan is quick to point out that Rivermen is “so much more than just a whitewater rafting company. Of course we offer the full gambit of whitewater experiences, but with the new facility, we have become a resort destination that a family, group, or individual could spend an entire week or more enjoying.” And if one partook of every activity that the New River Gorge Adventure Center (made up of Rivermen, Class VI, and Mountain River Tours) has to offer, it may well take more than a week.

And Heffernan has more. “Our guests can camp, stay in rustic cabins, or sleep in top of the line resort quality accommodations, ” he points out. “ And they can choose between three great restaurants on site, the newest being Bufflers Barbeque. We also have a masseuse on staff, and you can’t forget the Treetop Canopy Tour.”

The Tree Top Canopy Tour starts at the Rivermen facility, and after a short hike and a brief training period, you soon are zip lining through the magnificent foliage of the New River Gorge, under the watchful eyes of not one, but two highly trained guides. Jim points out that the Canopy Tour was recently featured in Popular Mechanics Magazine.

After another long list of activities too great to cover here in depth, Mr. Heffernan offers a nice segue to the real reason for my visit. I’m there to discuss this Sunday’s upcoming live show featuring Larry Keel and Natural Bridge. Jim leads me right to it.

“One of the things of which we are most proud,” Heffernan says, “is our 10,000 square foot entertainment area that features a game room, a lighted volleyball court, a viewing area for our in-house rafting videos, and a performance stage where we feature local and national artists.” And with that, we are at the crux of the matter, for Larry Keel and Natural Bridge are of the latter group, and truly have a national following. For those that follow acoustic Roots Music, Americana, or bluegrass, Keel and his band are a big deal, and the buzz around the area has been growing louder by the day since the gig was announced.

Photo By Jon C Hencock taken at the International Newgrass Festival

Photo By Jon C Hencock taken at the International Newgrass Festival

Larry Keel, internationally recognized as one of the foremost guitarists in the business, was equally enthused about his visit to the Gorge in a telephone interview on Tuesday. His travels have brought him from his native Virginia to our mountains many times, and he indicated a fondness for our locality in his conversation. But, as much as he enjoys the area, it is the crowd and the music that drive him in his pursuit of musical excellence.

Having grown up with a father playing the banjo and a brother playing the guitar, it was a natural thing for him to listen to Flatt & Scruggs and the Stanley Brothers, but he soon branched out in his musical tastes, and started listening to pop acts, as well as the early beat-box master Grandmaster Flash, and ranging afield to Hendrix, the Grateful Dead, and many classical and jazz artists. And he acknowledges that these influences have a bearing on his style of music.

“I’m influenced by all of the music I like, and the places I’ve been, and the people I have met,” Keel commented. “I hear different kinds of music in my head, and I need to get it out there.” And perhaps different is the best way of describing his sound, without trying to pigeonhole him into a certain category. And once you hear Keel sing, you will realize that he is far from being like anyone else you have ever heard.

Some might argue that Keel is a bluegrass musician, simply because he plays music that is identified with bluegrass, performs it on bluegrass instruments, and is frequently seen performing at bluegrass festivals. But there is a difference in his music that has to be heard to be recognized. And that difference is first of all found in his voice. If bluegrass is known as the “High, Lonesome Sound,” Keel might be disqualified from bluegrass immediately, as his voice is dark and smoky, soulful and of a far lower register than that of most bluegrass singers. But he shares the commonality of great singers in that, like all great voices, he has the ability to make the joy and the sorrow come out in his songs.

Add to the voice the fact that he is said to be by some the greatest flat-picking guitarist alive, and you have a truly incredible musical experience. Throw in mandolinist Mark Shimick and banjoist Jason Flournoy, along with Jenny Keel, Larry’s wife, on bass, and things just seem to come together. And coming together is the goal, according to Mr. Keel.

“We hope,” says Keel, “to achieve a commonness between everyone that listens to our music, and let the magic of the music take over the moment and bring everyone together. We want them to be pulled into the music.”

This Sunday evening at 8:00 no doubt the music of Larry Keel and Natural Bridge, along with the beautiful setting of the Rivermen Resort will bring out the magic of the evening, and it will be an event not to be missed.

For tickets to Sunday’s show, or more information about Rivermen, visit www.rivermen.com, or call 800-545-7238, and for more information on Larry Keel and Natural Bridge, visit www.larrykeel.com .

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By Noor Al-Sibai


Published: Thursday, September 10, 2009

UNCA’s The Blue Banner


Photo by Emily Kerrr

LAAFF 2009

laff 1 laff 3 laff 6 laff 9 laff 11 laff 13 laff 14 //

Fairy wings, rainbow-hued hair, pirate attire and other sundry modes of dress adorned this year’s Lexington Avenue Arts and Fun Festival. Festival-goers, artists and vendors alike said LAAFF is the most local of happenings in Asheville.

LAAFF ran from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday. The three stages, two courtyards, 60 vendors and six bus tours made LAAFF a success, according to PR director Erin Scholze.

“The community really owns it, which is amazing” said Scholze.

The stages, placed at various locations on Lexington Avenue, were the Greenlife Electric stage, the Mountain Xpress Walnut stage and the BoBo Gallery stage.

Each stage offered up a variety of local and national acts, from Pierce Edens to the nationally acclaimed Blue Rags.

“There’s no such thing as free time, and I’m not so sure about luck. There’s no easy way to break up,” sang Shane Conerty and female lead singer Dulci as their band, Now You See Them, played the Mountain Xpress stage.

Listeners at New You See Them show included a couple from Knoxville, Tenn. who came to LAAFF exclusively for the band and for beer, and a baby with a mohawk who split his time between schmoozing with the audience and lead singer Conerty.

Now You See Them, originally from Pennsylvania, were very excited to play LAAFF according to drummer Jason Mercer.

Down the street and a few hours later, Ami Worthen and Jason Krekel of Mad Tea Party ravaged the crowd as various fairy-winged women boogied like zombies alongside men in skirts and face-painted children.

Around sunset at the BoBo stage, acoustic singer-songwriter Angi West captivated the crowd with a voice reminiscent of folk singer Joanna Newsom as fans lounged on the street.

West’s breathy, gospel-tinged vocals accentuated the dwindling sunlight and the ambiance it created during the festival.

The cross-legged audience sat in a hush as Mad Tea Party’s vocalist smiled near the sound booth.

Songwriter’s circle at Liquid Dragon Tattoo’s courtyard had the appearance of spontaneity as local songwriters democratically performed acoustic versions of their own music.

“It’s just amazing to hear a person with their instrument and their song” said Rory Carroll, a local performer.

Cello during Ash Devine’s haunting performance flowed with Carroll’s bluesy voice, while Now You See Them’s Conerty brought about an upbeat note.

“I’m so grateful to be a part of this community,” Carroll said.

Indeed, community was a dominant theme at LAAFF.

Groups of friends gathered on the street and in front of stages, parents and children conversed with other families, and strangers stopped to talk to not only those dressed outlandishly, but to offer genuine compliments to each other.

The party atmosphere was supported by the nature of the goods being sold.

Booths selling handmade jewelry and local foods were flanked by vendors selling clothes both tie-dye and hand-printed, as well as novelty stands selling paintings and pottery.

One such stand was a man with the bottle cap truck, a mainstay at arts festivals such as LEAF, whose proprietor was wearing a white tailcoat with multicolored fuzzy craft balls.

The eccentric attire of many of the festival goers fazed none, and were even considered by some to be beautiful.

“The most beautiful thing I saw was a woman with curly hair down to her knees” said Tommy, a local attendee. “She was slow-dancing.”

Alongside festival-billed oddities such as bike jousting were many impromptu happenings, a symbiosis of street performances and participating spectators.

Near Spiritex clothing store, a woman played harpsichord for hours while another woman played a silver painted snare drum.

The performance art of LAAFF did not end with musicians. There were at least three people on stilts roaming the festival at their leisure, sometimes stopping to pose with other personalities, and otherwise perpetuating the carnival atmosphere the festival created.

Another of the festival’s main draws was the beer.

Eight local breweries supplied LAAFF attendees with enough plastic cups to need “compost only” trash-cans.

The community building reached beyond Lexington Avenue.

Various shops sold scraps of fabric and took donations to support Responsive Education Accessing Creativity for Healing, or REACH, a program for battered women.

LAAFF’s impact varies almost as much as the outfits of those who attend, but they all agree on at least one note: Ashevillians, out-of-towners and artists alike love LAAFF.

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in When Steel Tlks- Pan on the Net


New York, USA – The Big Apple will be privy to a performance by a standout musician who is in the process of making a name for himself, both on the national and international performance circuits, and has already released two CDs. Whether leading his group “the Jonathan Scales Fourchestra,” or performing as a solo artist, the pan is Jonathan Scales’ instrument of choice, with Ryan Lassiter on drums, Duane Simpson on guitar, with Shannon Hoover as bassist. Photo by Sandlin Gaither

Photo by Sandlin Gaither

Scales and his crew will be holding musical court at The Shrine in Harlem, New York on Friday September 11.

Within a two-hour time slot between 6:00–8:00 p.m., the Fourchestra looks forward to plying the audience with either two 45-minute sets, with a short break in the middle, or, says Jonathan “If we’re feeling crazy…we might decide to play one long set, maybe an hour and a half long. I’ll get the Fourchestra to vote on the matter…”

Jonathan gave WST (When Steel Talks) some insight into the intriguing name “Fourchestra,” his sophomore release “Plot/Scheme” – and more.


WST: How did the term “Fourchestra” came about – besides the obvious indication of four musicians, and why the name?

Jonathan: “To be honest, I didn’t want to have just another ‘quartet.’ Everyone puts quartet or trio after their names, and I felt that ‘Jonathan Scales Quartet’ was a little too generic-sounding for what I was trying to do artistically. (Not that there’s anything wrong with Quartets!) We were actually called Jon Scales Quartet for the first couple months of the band’s existence. I racked my brain and SOMEHOW stumbled upon Fourchestra. When I think of the term Orchestra, I think of a consistent, set group of musicians that bring their individual strengths to the table to perform a composer’s work… I like to think of us as a very small, non-traditional orchestra.”

WST: What has been the reaction to your sophomore release “Plot/Scheme” to date?

Jonathan: “Well, I guess I have a different approach when it comes to the steel pans and I feel like people instantly “get” what I’m trying to do when they listen to “Plot/Scheme.”  I’m always pleasantly surprised when listeners like the album, because it’s never what people expect to hear.  I feel like ”Plot/Scheme” does a good job of explaining where my influences come from and who I am as an artist/composer.”

WST: There are probably specific selections from your first CD “One-Track Mind” which engendered crowd response.  Can fans coming to see you at ‘The Shrine’ in Harlem, expect to hear any selections from that debut release, included in your repertoire for the evening?

Jonathan: “There are a couple of tunes from “One-Track Mind” in particular that people seem to latch on to.  People seem to like “Desert” ….it’s one of the easier songs to get into right off the bat, but still has my ‘signature’ complexities… hahaha…

We’re from the mountains of North Carolina, so “Pan Grass” turned out to be a popular piece from that album… it’s a bluegrass/latin fusion number.  We will more than likely play “Desert,” but we may get run out of the city playing Pan Grass! (just kidding) We’ll see…”

WST: What do you want your audience to come away with on Friday evening – in addition to having heard some really great music, with the pan as lead instrument?

Jonathan: “I’m just happy to have a solid cast with me, playing my original music for people who appreciate it.  What individuals walk away with is on them!  BUT…I’m a composer before I’m a panist, so I hope that the audience can appreciate the thought I’ve put into my writing. I hope the audiences understand that I LOVE the music of Trinidad & Tobago, but I have to do my own thing that is more in line with my life experiences.  I also thank T&T (Trinidad & Tobago) for bringing a great instrument into the world – and thanks for letting me do my thing with it, as far removed as it may seem!


Follow When Steel Talks On

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By: Samantha Ricketts

The Concordian, Issue date: 9/9/09 
Concord University in Athens
Media Credit: MySpace (From left) Lassiter, Hoover, Scales, and Simpson make up the Jonathan Scales Fourchestra.

Media Credit: MySpace (From left) Lassiter, Hoover, Scales, and Simpson make up the Jonathan Scales Fourchestra.

The Jonathan Scales Fourchestra entertained students Thursday night on the Subway Stage in the Student Center. Scales’s use of the steel drums provides a unique and catchy sound to the group.

Based in Asheville, North Carolina, the band is made up of four talented musicians—Ryan Lassiter on drums, Duane Simpson (originally from West Virginia) on guitar, Shannon Hoover on bass, and Jonathan Scales on the steel drums.

The Fourchestra’s music can be described as a fusion among rock, jazz, funk, reggae, and bluegrass. And the traditional Caribbean steel drums add yet another element to the style.

While the band’s songs are instrumental, they still manage to tell an intricate story. One of the songs, Scales explained, was written a couple years ago about the war. Although no words were said, his message was clear to the audience.

This inventive group left Concord students both content and impressed. Freshman Clifton Jowers comments, “It was like four different kinds of music fused into one.”

The blend of sounds was both soothing and exciting at times. The band joked that their steel drums sound nothing like Jimmy Buffett; the group truly has a sound unlike any other band.

The band currently has two CDs out: “One-Track Mind” (2007) and “Plot/Scheme” (2008).

They are playing numerous shows on the East Coast this fall, so anyone who missed out on Concord’s performance can still catch them nearby.

For more information about the Jonathan Scales Fourchestra, to purchase a CD, or to see their schedule of upcoming performances, visit their myspace at http://www.myspace.com/jonathanscales.

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By Alli Marshal

Asheville’s Mountain Xpress September 9th, 2009


Photo by Sista Irie

Photo by Sista Irie

The Rastafarian Ancient Living Arts & Kulture (RALAK) Festival provides an opportunity for those interested in Rasta culture to learn a little more. Those already involved can celebrate the ideology and deepen their commitment to “co-creating unity and love for all colors and creeds.”

Created by the Black Mountain Asheville Rastafari Collective (a group whose mission it is to dispel myths about the Rastafari way of life), the festival promises to be a day speakers, food, arts and crafts, children’s activities and music.

Bands include Jamaican reggae and dub act Ras Michael & The Sons of Negus, Virgin Islands recording artist Harry Mo, Reggae Infinity from Columbia, S.C., and Asheville-based performers U-N-I Verse and Lyndsay Wojcik.

But this festival is more then a booty-shakin’ good time. There’s a very serious educational component: Speakers include Jake Homiak who curated the Rastafari Exhibit at the Smithsonian Museum. Also, elders from a cornucopia of faiths (Native American, Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Catholic and others) will address the crowd.

Sunday, Sept. 13 (10 a.m.-9 p.m., $30 advance/$35 at the gate; children under age 13 are free.)

[RALAK is full day festival at the Lake Eden Events site (adjacent to the LEaf Festival site at Camp Rockmont).
Starts at 10am and runs til 9pm
Full day of speakers, music, and workshops for only 30 bucks.
Complete info and description of bands at… Read More


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posted Sunday Sept 6th @ 12:26 PM 2009/

The Herald-Dispatch


FAYETTEVILLE — If you want to get a little whitewater wild with it, the mighty, bearded, flat-picking legend Larry Keel, traipses over yonder mountains to play a 9 p.m. show Sunday night Sept. 6 at the Rivermen Adventure Resort, 219 Chestnutburg Road, in Fayetteville, W.Va., making for a perfect weekend of rafting on the Lower New and then listening to Keel and Natural Bridge, a band that’s been crisscrossing the great festivals around the U.S., promoting their new Keller Williams-produced CD of originals called, “Backwoods.”

Tickets for the show are $10 day of show or you can hook up a rafting, camping and meals package with Rivermen for $99. Call 800-545-7238 x 20 or go online at http://www.rivermen.com. Keep up with all the latest events and stories happening in the Outdoors online at http://www.herald-dispatch.com. Click onto Entertainment and then Outdoors, for up-to-date coverage on outdoors fun in Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia.

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