Chris Stimeling was a examine in four-string stoicism that Sunday afternoon again in 2019.
The center-schooler was bearing down on his Epiphone bass guitar from one mounted spot on the stage.
He was rocking the basis be aware for all it was value, as he and buddies of that very same classic – they referred to as themselves Refrain of Chaos – had been tearing by way of “Come On, Really feel the Noise,” by Quiet Riot, their forefathers of distorted guitars and massive hair, because it had been.
The younger outfit (not but of their teenagers) was on the invoice for an annual live performance from PopShop, a Faculty of Rock-type enterprise that places folks of all ages collectively, as a band.
Whereas Stimeling, the bass participant, didn’t essentially share the identical sonic proclivities of his father, Travis – a nationally identified WVU musicologist who headed the bluegrass and old-time music divisions of the Faculty of Artistic Arts – it additionally wanted noting that none of that mattered on today.
Nope, not one bit.
The elder Stimeling was head-banging with the perfect of them from a perch within the viewers halfway again from the stage.
And that’s as a result of the professor was additionally a performer may by no means assist having fun with and celebrating that wondrous act of creating music in entrance of individuals, regardless of the style.
Double-coil humbuckers coexisting with the Delmore Brothers, because it had been.
Stimeling, who most well-liked they/them pronouns for that want of inclusivity within the arts and society, died final week after battling an sickness.
It didn’t take lengthy for the tributes to cascade in, like a fiddle break in an old-time jam session.
“Travis was radically inclusive,” their finest good friend and fellow musician Mary Linscheid stated Friday.
“They wished to carry everyone into the circle.”
Fiddling, full circle
As a child in Morgantown, Linscheid, who grew up enjoying classical violin, discovered herself gravitating increasingly more to old-time music, as she obtained older.
She converted to guitar and mandolin as she explored the music in earnest, and met Travis when she joined the WVU Bluegrass Band on her technique to graduating with an English diploma final spring.
Linscheid absolutely dedicated to her first instrument throughout that tenure. Like her professor’s inclusivity, her shift was simply as radical.
Whats up, fiddler.
And sure, they’re two completely different animals and devices, Linscheid stated, with just a little chortle.
Whereas the violin is about strict rehearsals and staid live performance halls, the fiddle traits extra organically to that circle Travis all the time talked about, the musician stated.
“Every little thing’s completely different about it,” she stated, of the distinction – from the way in which one bows the instrument to the way in which one merely approaches the music.
For her, old-time over the outdated masters is simply extra liberating, she stated.
“If you’re enjoying old-time fiddle, you’re virtually all the time sitting knee-to-knee with somebody who’s in all probability truly instructing you the tune on the similar time,” she continued.
“Travis was all about that. They’d all the time say, ‘Individuals first, then the music.’ They all the time celebrated that connection.”
‘I gotcha, Boss’
This coming Thursday, folks and music will probably be a part of the celebration of Stimeling’s dwell and instances that may happen at 4 p.m. that day at The Encore music venue on Powell Avenue.
Chris Haddox, a fellow WVU professor and old-time music buddy, will probably be there.
Haddox, a songwriter who additionally performs a number of stringed devices in that model, is in possession of a self-titled album presently making a stable run up the Americana music charts right here within the U.S. and abroad.
The album was produced by Ron Sowell, the music director of public radio’s famed “Mountain Stage” present out of Charleston.
Stimeling profiled Sowell and Haddox in his 2018 e book, “Songwriting in Up to date West Virginia: Profiles and Reflections,” which gave a take a look at performers who sing songs and craft them, too.
“I wouldn’t have an album if it hadn’t been for Travis,” he stated.
“That e book obtained me on Ron’s radar.”
Haddox and Stimeling picked music collectively and collaborated on songs and educational works, additionally.
At WVU, Haddox teaches sustainable design practices in new constructing building. Stimeling, he stated, reminded him that music – particularly music of the Appalachian ilk – can construct complete communities spanning generations throughout the Mountain State.
The final time they performed was at The Encore in October, for an old-time honky-tonk present, the place Haddox led a band that labored by way of tunes by Webb Pierce, Lefty Frizzell and different vanguards of a golden age of Nashville music that peaked within the Nineteen Fifties.
Stimeling, an authority on that music, performed bass within the band, and grooved on the strolling, boogie-woogie traces simply a few steps away from the leap blues.
He was trying ahead to a different such present on Dec. 16, which will probably be devoted to Stimeling’s reminiscence.
Their closing gig, Haddox stated, was magic.
“Each time I seemed again, Travis could be there with this big grin,” he stated.
“I would say, ‘Hey, Travis, it’s in A, buddy,’ and he’d say, ‘I gotcha, Boss.’ Now, he’s not gonna be there once I flip round. I’m getting emotional, simply fascinated by it.”