Bringing Music to Raleigh County

One small town has high hopes of bringing Eef Barzelay of Clem Snide to a concert near them this fall.


You might not guess it, but Beaver—population 1,308—might just be West Virginia’s newest live music destination, at least that’s the hope. “If you bring in musicians, people get a better idea of what’s out there, and they get excited about what we have to offer here in our state,” says Melanie Hicks, owner of Coffee Beans & Books. As part of the relatively new School of Harmony complex in Beaver, just outside of Beckley, the bookstore has been attracting regional bands and entertainers like Clinton Collins & The Creekboys to play in its intimate, coffeehouse atmosphere since opening in 2010.

But organizers aren’t stopping there. Melanie and local magazine editor Ken Hays have been turning their attention to national names as well, both to support the music school and to attract more artists and entertainers to the Mountain State. “We want to give the young musicians exposure to successful artists of all kinds, but everybody benefits from great music, “ Melanie says.

On November 9, 2012, Melanie and Ken hope to bring Eef Barzelay of indie country/rock band Clem Snide to the bookstore for a special fundraising event. Known for his deceptively simple yet cleverly crafted lyrics and vivid, unpredictable storytelling ability, Eef and Clem Snide have been touring nationally since the ’90s, creating the opening theme for the TV series Ed and recording acoustic covers of well-known pop songs like Christina Aguilera’s “Beautiful” and Journey’s “Faithfully.” Their recent album, The Meat of Life, released in 2010, has been touted as their most mature record to date, compelling audiences with its wry humor, thought-provoking narratives, and slightly off-kilter perspectives.

For Melanie and Ken, the draw isn’t just the music; it’s the opportunity to prove that the coffee shop is a music and art venue. “We really try to support the arts and musicians in general, and the fact that we might get a nationally known act to come here is beneficial for the entire state,” Melanie says. In order to raise the $1,600 needed to bring Eef to Beaver and have a little money left over for the School of Harmony, which offers music lessons and a scholarship program, Melanie and Ken are relying on generous donations and a lot of word of mouth advertising. “We want people to come out and discover different types of music and new places within the state.”

As the only general bookstore in the Raleigh County area, Coffee Beans & Books is hoping this event will open doors for them in the future. “As we grow, we’d like to get more big names and more great local bands. Our goal is to be a cultural center for the community.”

You can help Melanie and Ken bring Eef Barzelay to Coffee Beans & Books by visiting and purchasing tickets or donating. A single ticket is $25 and dinner is included. Purchase multiple tickets and receive a special discounted rate. Proceeds will go to funding the School of Harmony’s music scholarship program.

Coffee Beans & Books, 159 Granby Circle, Beaver WV; 304.860.1990;

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