Larry Groce has been host and artistic director of West Virginia Public Radio's Mountain Stage since its beginning in 1983. His taste and personality have helped set the tone of this long running radio and television series.
Larry was born in Dallas, Texas, in 1948 and attended Adamson High School in the Oak Cliff section of that city. It was apparently fertile ground for aspiring singer-songwriters at the time as Michael Martin Murphy ("Wildfire"), Ray Wylie Hubbard ("Up Against the Wall Redneck Mothers") and the late B.W. Stevenson ("My Maria") attended along with Larry. Stevie Ray and Jimmie Vaughn and Edie Brickel also grew up in Oak Cliff.
Larry made his first commercial record album in 1970 for Daybreak Records, a division of RCA. In all, he's made 22 albums, ranging in style from Americana to gospel to children's music. In 1976, his Warner-Curb top ten hit, "Junk Food Junkie," led to radio and television appearances on The Tonight Show, The Merv Griffin Show, American Bandstand, The Midnight Special, The Rich Little Show, Nashville Now, a Disney Channel special, Doctor Demento and A Prairie Home Companion.
Of the nine Disney albums he has recorded, five went platinum. In all, 36 of his songs have been included on Disney recordings. In 1976, he was Grammy-nominated for Disney's Children's Favorites Volume I.
Larry has performed in 48 states, Canada, Mexico, Venezuela, France, Belgium, England, Italy, Greece and Russia. He has also composed music for two film documentaries and played a leading role in Paradise Park, a feature film made in West Virginia. From 1972-86, he was involved in National Endowment for the Arts sponsored "musician-in residence" programs in 20 different states. One of those residencies brought him to West Virginia in 1972.
In 1991, Larry produced, directed and composed music for a radio version of "Gauley Mountain," a book of poetry by the late West Virginia Poet Laureate, Louise McNeill. In 2003, he produced an audio version of five short stories written by Louise's father, G.D. MacNeill.
From 1980-85, Larry owned The Morgantown School of Ballet and, from 1992-2004, he was co-publisher of West Virginia's only alternative tabloid, Graffiti. In 2005, he became Executive Director of FestivALL Charleston, a ten-day arts festival, and was awarded a West Virginia Governor's Art Award for Leadership in 2008.
In celebration of the Grateful Dead, hear these performances from Catherine Russell, Joan Osborne and Larry Campbell & Teresa Williams, live on Mountain Stage.