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'Mountain Stage' returns with Fruition for first 2020 show in Charleston


Indie band Fruition performs Sunday night on “Mountain Stage” in Charleston.

Some years pass by in a flash. Mimi Naja, of indie Americana band Fruition, called 2019 “topsy turvy.”

Naja joins her band Sunday night at the Culture Center Theater when “Mountain Stage” returns for its first show in Charleston of 2020.

“I think we stayed busy,” she said. “I think we recorded a bunch of music. It’s hard to say for sure. It was really good.”

She also made the move from Asheville, North Carolina, to Nashville, Tennessee.

“I kind of had a breakup,” she said. “So, I just moved to Nashville and changed my whole life.”

That happened late in the year. She said she’s still getting used to it.

“I wasn’t anticipating a big switch at the end of the year, but that’s what I got,” she said, adding, “But I’m loving it. I’m still reestablishing what ‘off the road’ looks like for me.”

Fruition formed in Portland, Oregon, as a group of musical friends who began playing together, first out on the streets as buskers and then in bars. They toured the Pacific Northwest and the West Coast as a group, sometimes working both the sidewalk and the stages inside the clubs.

“We were just young kids jamming in Portland,” she said. “That’s how Kellen [Asebroek] and Jay [Cobb Anderson] and I met, that’s why we started busking and why we joined forces.”

It was fun, but Naja said she wasn’t sure they were actually thinking about the band as a profession in the beginning.

“We just wanted to perform together and be part of something that makes these songs,” she said.

Portland seems like a long time ago to her. With success, the group left Portland and scattered.

“We’d been in Portland for so long,” Naja said. “But we’ve been lucky enough to be successful enough to live where we want. Our drummer, Tyler [Thompson], has been in Pittsburgh for several years. Jay was out in Denver for awhile and I was in Asheville.”

Spreading out hasn’t changed much; it has just given everyone a little space. Like a lot of bands, they text back and forth, send emails and sound files, and work on music regardless of the distance.

“Writing songs is a lot more democratic than you might think,” she said. “It’s also easier than you think.”

Just going back and forth electronically, Naja said, made them feel very connected, but still independent of each other.

She said last year was hectic and hard to keep up with; this year might have a slower pace.

Naja couldn’t think of any upcoming recording sessions, but said she expected Fruition would tour and then maybe record whenever they break.

It wasn’t a plan or a resolution for them. As far as the new year, she just hoped to make some more musician friends in Nashville and maybe get to the gym a little more.

“I’m 33,” she said. “That’s a lot in touring years. I’m really starting to feel it on my body, so I think this year, I’m going to work on my health.”

Reach Bill Lynch at, 304-348-5195 or follow @lostHwys on Twitter. He’s also on Instagram at and read his blog at

Funerals for Monday, February 17, 2020

Batten, Richard - 2 p.m., Taylor-Vandale Funeral Home, Spencer.

Cook, Dorothy - 1 p.m., Blue Ridge Memorial Gardens, Beckley.

Dickenson, Cosette - 11 a.m., Redeemer Lutheran Church, Charleston.

Hamilton, Stephanie - 7 p.m., Fidler & Frame Funeral Home, Belle.

McComas Jr., Oscar - 1 p.m., Lewis Memorial Baptist Church.

Mullenax, Claude - 1 p.m., Keller Funeral Home, Dunbar.

Triolo, Angela - 11 a.m., St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church, Logan.

Van Camp Sr., Danny - 2 p.m., Chapman Funeral Home, Hurricane.

Wilson, William - 1 p.m., Wilson-Smith Funeral Home, Clay.

Withers, Rosa - 1 p.m., Wilcoxen Funeral Home, Point Pleasant.

Yoak, Norma - 1 p.m., Stump Funeral Home & Cremation, Grantsville.