The Walkin' Jim Stoltz event


One of America’s most unique folksingers and backcountry travelers, Walkin’ Jim Stoltz, on tour from the mountains of Montana, will bring his powerful multi-media show, Forever Wild, to the 1908 Courthouse in Independence, Virginia, on Friday, November 6th, at 7:00 PM. The mix of stunning photography, stories, and music make this one-of-a-kind concert an inspiring journey into our nation’s last wilderness areas. This event is brought to you by the Grayson County chapter of Blue Ridge Discover Center and the 1908 Courthouse Foundation.
Tickets were made available through Deb Shell, Barr's Fiddle Shop, Main Street, Galax, VA, S&L Outdoors, Sparta, NC, and at Rouse House Music, next to the 1908 Courthouse, Independence, VA.

Event Summary:

Walkin Jim Concert, November 6th, 2009, at the Historic 1908
Courthouse, Independence, Virginia.

Due to the diligence of many volunteers, and their getting the word out, last night's concert was well attended. Three complete rows of extra chairs were necessary to accommodate the crowd. At 7:00 PM, and as planned, I opened the evening with a simple description of BRDC, how I became acquainted with Jim Stoltz, and a thanks to the volunteers and the 08 Courthouse Foundation. Joyce Rouse opened for Jim with several of her songs, livening up the audience with her unlimited energy. Among her offerings were a piece on the Blue Ridge Parkway, and her hopeful candidate for the Virginia State Song, "Virginia Beauty".

Jim began with some stories, a brief history of his wilderness walking life, and then a song. Throughout the evening, he alternated between lights on, with his story telling and singing, to lights off, with his amazing slide show accompanied always by his deep resonating voice and the guitar. He took us all over the North American landscape to places few of us will ever see. For the exception of four or five images, all of the slides were his. And all of his songs are originals.

Jim is passionate about saving the wild places for all things living, and continued to push that theme on every level. His merchandise table also included, besides CDs, tee shirts, his book, and some educational videos, an array of ways to get involved with wildlife and natural areas advocacy. He also had several original paintings done with cattle markers, a unique concept.

For the audience, it was a ride through canyons, over high sierra peaks, wandering rivers of Alaska, and deep alpine forests. It was also emotional, as his voice can invoke the deepest passions, sadness, celebration, humor, and a spiritual overtone that he does well. From "Just one Mosquito", a funny song about critters he's encountered along his way, to "Old Crystal Bell", a tribute to an old school house and the ghosts found within, he plumbed the full range of feelings, allowing us all to share in the fullness of his life. He had said to me earlier in the day, while setting up, that he is completely aware of how lucky he is.

During intermission, while the 08 Foundation served snacks, Jim signed CDs and books, and conversed with many new admirers. In other words, he got a lot of love. The second half was shorter, with one different approach. Close to the end, he had Susan Gleason and yours truly come on stage to read quotes from famous folks whose work and ideas have helped to grow our awareness of protected outdoor spaces, as well as the essential value of ecological balance. This reading was accompanied by guitar and slides, creating yet another strong message.

Everyone seemed to go away with smiles and many hugs were passed around. Those who stayed, were enlisted in helping Jim pack up his gear and van. By 11:00 PM, the courthouse was locked and dark. You, the community and our collective interests all made it more than worth every minute invested. Happy trails, will keep in touch.

- Scott Jackson-Ricketts