Stalnaker, Founder of the Johnnie Johnson
Blues & Jazz Society, Inc., Wins Arts
and Humanities Music Award
Stalnaker has won the Arts and Humanities
Music Award for 2003. The award
was presented in a ceremony in Fairmont,
WV at the Highgate Carriage House, on Sunday
October 26, 2003.
Stalnaker started playing
music at a young age. After being exposed
to his mother and father’s record
collection, he fell in love with the blues.
Bill started playing in bands in his early
teens. Many of his compositions have appeared
on radio, television, and several PBS productions.
Stalnaker has also appeared
in the movie “Strangest Dreams: Invasion
of the Space Preachers,” which has
aired many times on the USA Network. Bill
has also composed music for live theatre
productions that include Sam Shepard’s
play, “A Lie of the Mind,” which
ran for two weeks at the Creative Arts Center
at West Virginia University.
Stalnaker is perhaps best
known locally as the founder of the Johnnie
Johnson Blues and Jazz Festival, held the
second weekend in July every year in Fairmont,
West Virginia. Stalnaker says, “I
never received any formal music education
but I consider myself a "roads"
scholar, because like so many other musicians
that play roots styles of music, I’ve
gotten my education on the highways and
byways of the road.”
Bill Stalnaker's band,
Bill Stalnaker and Night Moves, performed
at the Awards Ceremony, with special guest
star, Mr. Johnnie Johnson himself! Naturally,
Johnnie had to fly into Fairmont to see
his good friend Bill receive the award!
And if Johnnie's in town, you know he'll
be at at a piano, jamming with Bill's band!
It would seem the committee
recognized that Bill has started a new tradition
for Fairmont with the Annual Johnnie Johnson
Blues & Jazz Festival. Bill and Johnnie
also record a blues radio show, which airs
on the local station, but might eventually
reach syndication. One thing is certain:
Bill will continue in his efforts
to see Johnnie Johnson honored in his hometown!