To purchase the C.D. "Folks Are Talking"-
The double CD costs $17 plus $3 shipping and handling. Checks should be sent to “Folks Are Talking,” c/o Garret Mathews, 7954 Elna Kay Drive, Evansville, Indiana 47715.
Or to order online click here.
Special Thanks

Eric Gettings did a great job recording the oral histories and music. I also don’t want to forget Wade Spees, a wonderful photographer now based in Charleston, S. C., who was on the road with me when we met some of these folks. We had a blast.

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Oral Histories From The 1970s

Gathered By Garret Mathews

"Folks Are Talking" is a double CD that includes 28 oral histories of folks Garret Mathews interviewed as a young feature writer on the Bluefield, W. Va., Daily Telegraph between 1974 and 1979. The mountainous circulation area includes Mercer, McDowell, Wyoming, Monroe and Raleigh counties in West Virginia and Tazewell, Buchanan, Bland, Wythe, Russell and Giles counties in Virginia. It’s rural America. No community in the two-state area has more than 20,000 residents. Some places visited for this collection – Bandy, Rhodell, Jenkinjones and Beeson – have fewer than 300 inhabitants.

During his stay in Bluefield, Mathews published two books – “Folks” and “Folks 2” – about some of the characters he met while prowling back roads in search of feature stories. “Folks Are Talking” seemed a logical title for the looking-back project that also contains original songs by his wife, MaryAnne, as well as Appalachian-related music contributed by friends in the Evansville area.

Garret Mathews, 1979

Introduction of Folks Are Talking

In 1972, I left my hometown of Abingdon, Va., for the 80-mile drive to my first newspaper job in Bluefield, W. Va. I was greener than the keys on the manual typewriters.

Mrs. Archie Caldwell

She Cuts Down Hides With A Smile

When you find a woman who used to sleep with a pet bobcat and who eats her lunch while skinning a raccoon, there is no doubt you've met a certifiable fur trader. That's Mrs. Archie Caldwell.

John Stout

Pop Bottle Cannoneer

"I can lob an old Pocahontas Fuel Company pop bottle over that hill just as pretty as you please. If I put enough gun powder behind it, I could fire a round over a mile, I reckon." - John Stout

Song Sample - Route 52 Blues

Hear an original song about the route between Huntington, W. Va., and Bluefield, W. Va. written by MaryAnne Mathews.