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Welcome Home Jessica (to West Virginia)

(Diary of West Virginia promotional tour 7/13/03-7/21/03)


Anna accompanied her management team to West Virginia with great anticipation.  The West Virginia welcome went far beyond our greatest expectations and was a week to remember.  West Virginia is one of the most beautiful states we’ve traveled and the West Virginia folk reflect that beauty; they are warm, gracious, hospitable and kind as well as helpful (these are but a few adjectives to describe these Americans).

Weirton was our entry point where we felt the heat (and heart) of America’s steel industry.  Sue, at the Weirton Daily Times, welcomed an interview with Anna, describing Weirton as a melting pot (true Americana).  Dawn at WEIR, Weirton, gladly accepted the CD and sent us to Steubenville, OH where we she introduced us to Jennifer at Froggy 103 and Pam at Channel 9.  LuAnn at WRKP in Moundsville, WV and Amy, the buyer at Sam Goody’s in the Ohio Valley Mall thought the CD cover looked terrific and couldn’t wait to listen.  Dawn at WOMP in Belaire, OH and WWVA, WKWK, WVKF, WFFD, WEGW, WOVK and WEEL in Wheeling have the CD on hand.  We left a CD for Mayor Sparacham in Wheeling and stopped at WKKX and WRIR to leave a package.  WETZ in New Martinsville, WJAW, WMDA and WRRR in Marietta all have a CD.  Paul LaPann, a reporter from the Parkersburg News and Sentinel, was hooked as Anna sang a few acapella lines on cue.  He ran the article.  Mr. LaPann suggested we head on down to Palestine to visit Jessica’s parents.  Another adventure in our midst, never thinking we’d accomplish the impossible, we found the path easily before us.  A growling dog allowed us some hesitation but gentle words to the dog worked wonders and Cody, the dog, escorted Anna to the Lynch’s front door.  Upon presenting Mr. and Mrs. Lynch with two CDs, Anna burst into tears as she told them meeting them was not only her dream but she realized she was experiencing a first-hand view of American history personally.  Anna chose to not utilize this moment as a photo op and told the Lynch’s how honored she was and that she respected their privacy and just hoped they would love the music.  They welcomed her warmly!

WXIL, WADE, WGGE, WKYG and WLTP in Parkersburg have their copies.  The PD at WRZZ in Vienna met Anna and accepted the CD.  Anna was then on to Charleston where Mr. Hoppy Kercheval of WCHS-AM interviewed Anna live in their studio and played the CD.  He was surprised to see Anna (after listening to her own composition at least 150 times) quite emotional during airing.  Anna remarked the lyrics are so powerful, even as the artist, she feels them deeply upon each listening or performing. 

Michael at Budget Tapes and Records in Charleston stocked the CDs, played the title cut while we were there and loved both Anna’s voice and the cut.  Dylan, the buyer at Cheap Thrills in Beckley, immediately recognized Anna and took twice his usual consignment number as he loves the song.  John Anthony at KICKS 96 in Charleston has a copy.  Cheryl, a reporter at the Charleston Daily Mail interviewed Anna at length and their staff photographer, Craig, clicked his shutter multiple times (he mentioned he snapped Marylou Retton just before she became famous).  Anna sang Welcome Home Jessica (to West Virginia) live for WOAY-TV (ABC), Beckley, WV, with an interview for their 6:00 news.  A lengthy telephone interview by Elizabeth, the Lifestyle Editor of the Beckley Register Herald, added to another exciting day.  WCIR-FM in Beaver, WJLS in Beckley, WRNR in Martinsburg, Ann (Andy) and Zach at WCST-AM, Berkeley Springs were delighted with our visit.  They commented it’s much nicer meeting record people and the artist personally than just getting a package in the mail.

Jim Perrow, the General Manager/Program Director of WSLW in White Sulphur Springs, WV (a real old time radio man who knows them all) was delighted to meet Anna and promised a quick listen and on-air play if he liked it.  We found Matt at WWVU-FM, West Virginia University in Morgantown, working on Sunday, very happy to accept the CD.  Jason Kent at WVAQ in Sabraton also worked on Sunday and opened the radio door for us.  The weekend anchor/reporter, Jake Ploeger, of ABC-TV in Pittsburgh, telephoned Sunday night and anticipates playing Welcome Home Jessica (to West Virginia) as their wrap up of Jessica’s homecoming.