With a voice reminiscent of country legends like Alan Jackson, Branson Tolliver is a local teen with Nashville dreams. Tolliver, who will be a sophomore at Winfield High School this fall, performed at the John Henson Senior Center in Hurricane last Friday, May 20. This is the first social event that Putnam Aging has hosted at the senior center since the COVID pandemic and subsequent shutdowns.
Tolliver, who has played guitar for four years, says that Johnny Cash inspired him to play. His favorite song is “Folsom Prison Blues.” He has been singing for three and a half years, and takes lessons from Mike Parker at Route 60 Music in Barboursville. He says that he especially likes the “outlaw country” genre of music. Other artists who have inspired him include Cody Jinks, Travis Tritt, John Anderson, Waylon Jennings, and Rob McNurlin.
Tolliver says that he wants to pursue a music career after high school. He relates that his music career was just getting started, and then the COVID pandemic struck. He did Facebook Live broadcasts, but said that he missed seeing the smiles on his audience’s faces. “I like playing people’s favorite songs,” he says.
Last year, Tolliver performed at the Cabell and Mason County Fairs, and the Putnam County Homecoming, as well as numerous other smaller events in the local area. He will be performing at the Cabell and Mason fairs and the Putnam Homecoming this year as well.
“This is probably one of the best crowds I have performed for,” he said of the crowd at the senior center last Friday.
Putnam Aging has multiple events scheduled for this summer. The Senior Games will be held on June 21 from 9 a.m. to noon at the Hurricane City Park, and the annual senior picnic will be held on August 18 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Wave Pool. This will be the first time since 2019 that these events have been held. On June 11 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., there will be a benefit yard sale at the Putnam Aging building located at 2558 Winfield Road, Saint Albans. Proceeds go towards the Walk to End Alzheimers, which will be held in October. In addition to yard sale items, the agency will be giving away medical equipment to those in need. On June 16, the agency is planning a trip to the West Virginia Quilt Festival in Summersville. For more information, call the main office at 304-755-2385 and ask for Karen Johnson.
The John Henson Senior Center is open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Lunch is served at 11:30. There is bingo on Mondays and Wednesdays starting at 9 a.m. There is also pool and cards, as well as occasional crafting.