Monday, October 1, 2012

Episode 130 (10-1-12): "Shenandoah" by Timothy Seaman and Paulette Murphy

Please see below (after the transcript and show notes) for links to news and upcoming events.


From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of October 1, 2012.

This week we feature a famous tune about a famous Virginia body of water—at least, that’s what the tune might be about!   Have a listen for about 35 seconds.


You’ve been listening to a version of “Shenandoah,” by Timothy Seaman and Paulette Murphy on the 1997 CD “Here on This Ridge,” from Pine Wind Music.  Whether this ballad was originally about Virginia’s beloved Shenandoah River is debatable, because the origin of the tune is not definitely known and various versions of the lyrics exist.  But there’s no debate about the strong connection between Virginia and the Shenandoah River.  Starting from tributaries in Augusta and Rockingham counties, the Shenandoah’s North and South Forks flow northeast along opposite sides of Massanutten Mountain before merging near Front Royal.  From there, the mainstem Shenandoah flows into West Virginia to join the Potomac River at Harpers Ferry.  Across this approximately 3000-square-mile watershed, the landscapes, history, culture, and economy have all been shaped by the winding turns of the legendary Shenandoah.  Thanks to Timothy Seaman for permission to use this week’s music.   

For other water sounds and music, and for more Virginia water information, visit our Web site at, or call us at (540) 231-5463.  From the Virginia Water Resources Research Center in Blacksburg, I’m Alan Raflo, thanking you for listening, and wishing you health, wisdom, and good water.


(Above) South Fork Shenandoah River in Andy Guest Shenandoah River State Park in Warren County, Virginia, December 27, 2003.

(Above) South Fork Shenandoah River at the U.S. Rt. 211 bridge in Page County, Virginia, July 22, 2012.

(Above) North Fork Shenandoah River at Mt. Jackson in Shenandoah County, Virginia, January 16, 2010.

(Above) Shenandoah River at Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, August 14, 2008.

Acknowledgments: The “Shenandoah” excerpt was from the start of “Hazel River,” on the 1997 CD “Here on this Ridge,” copyright Timothy Seaman and Pine Wind Music, used with permission.  The CD was a project celebrating Shenandoah National Park and the people and lands of the Blue Ridge.  Mr. Seaman’s Web site is  Another version of “Shenandoah” was previously featured in the sound segment of Virginia Water Radio Episode 11 (week of 4-5-10), now archived.

Sources and More Information: More information about the origin of “Shenandoah” is available from the Library of Congress’ Performing Arts Encyclopedia, online at, as of 10/1/12. Information on the Potomac-Shenandoah watershed’s tributaries and landscape was taken from “The Geology of Virginia—Rivers and Watersheds: Potomac-Shenandoah System,” available from the College of William and Mary’s Department of Geology, online at (as of 10/1/12).  Information about tributaries and water quality in the Shenandoah basin is available from the U.S. EPA’s “Surf Your Watershed” Web site, at (as of 10/1/12).

For a twice-weekly discussion of the Shenandoah River, listen to “Shenandoah River Report,” with Mark Frondorf, from the Shenandoah Riverkeeper organization.  From spring to fall, the show airs every Monday and Friday on WZRV 95.3 FM in Front Royal.  The four-to-five-minute segments discuss cover river conditions, fishing conditions, events, and conservation activities and issues.  Podcasts are online at

Recent Virginia Water News
            For news relevant to Virginia's water resources, please visit the Virginia Water Central News Grouper, available online at

Water Meetings and Other Events
            For events related to Virginia's water resources, please visit the Quick Guide to Virginia Water–related Conferences, Workshops, and Other Events, online at  The site includes a list of Virginia government policy and regulatory meetings occurring in the coming week.