It’s common on any typical day to hear bluegrass music echo through the valleys and hills of Pocahontas Coun-ty. Now, it’s possible to hear the calming groove of reggae every Thursday from 1 to 3 p.m. on WVMR.
Thanks to Blair Campbell, owner of The Pretty Penny Café, in Hillsboro, the not so common musical genre is coming to the county.
Campbell is sharing the radio time with Mary “Sissy” Moore McLaughlin and Roger Foreman, but she is the only one bringing the good vibes of reggae.
“I got really excited about the radio, because first of all, I love music,” Campbell said. “I’ve always loved music. I think when they built the studio [at Hillsboro library] I got really excited about that. I use the library a lot. It’s like my little office over there. I’d like to have a real radio show where people can call in or they can send me emails about love advice. I think it could be really fun.”
Campbell’s passion for music and her CD collection don’t match at all, though. While she has a great love for music, her collection is greatly lacking, making her raid her husband, Charlan’s, collection of reggae which spans the decades.
“When the opportunity was presented to me to play music on the radio – you have to have a lot of music,” Campbell said. “If you look at my CD collection, it’s like eight CDs. My music collection is not… it’s bad. I still had tapes until like yesterday. It was easy to do [reggae] because Charlan has all the music.”
Campbell’s love of music goes back to her childhood, when she listened to Paul Simon with her mom.
“Mom – I remember her favorite record was Paul Simon’s ‘Graceland’ album, and I love that album to this day,” she said. “I knew if it was on, she was going to be cleaning the house and be in a good mood. I really always liked it and Black Mumbaza, an African band, they do a lot of the tracks on that. So, I always liked the African vibe, the drums and stuff like that.”
The African vibe and beat led Campbell to her love of reggae – a love she wants to share with the county.
“Reggae songs have such a good message about love and about hope, and social justice, freedom,” she said. “That’s what Bob Marley’s message was, and you can kind of have a safe bet with reggae because Bob Marley reached everybody. Everybody knows about Bob Marley and reggae music, so I think there’s something in everybody that can relate.
“I don’t care who you are, there’s a part of you that’s nodding your head and moving with it,” Campbell continued. “Whatever you are doing, wherever you are, it’s going to get you moving. You’ve got to feel that beat. I think it’s good for people. It’s nice to have something different.”
WVMR hopes to expand on the “something different” Campbell has helped bring to the radio. Campbell is chairperson of the newly formed Community Advisory Committee which is looking for volunteers to share their love of music, as well.
“WVMR is striving hard to be very eclectic,” Campbell said. “That’s why they’ve embraced a show like mine. They want to try to reach the older people, the young people and everybody in between. This board is open to ideas and suggestions from the community and I’ve kind of been in charge of recruiting new volunteers.”
Interested volunteers may contact Campbell through email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Suzanne Stewart may be contacted at email@example.com