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Nutter sang first song in Parkersburg

Mayf Nutter remembers singing “Jesus Loves Me” at 3 years old in Parkersburg’s Epworth United Methodist Church.

“It was my first solo (performance) in public … before I was in the first grade,” Nutter told me recently. The Nutter family attended Epworth UM Church while living in Parkersburg.

Nutter has gone on to enjoy a hall of fame career as a singer-songwriter-actor. His recordings have been released on major labels and he has acted in TV series.

On April 4, Nutter, who was born in Clarksburg, will be inducted into the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame at the Culture Center Theater in Charleston.

Actor-singer Pat Boone will help to induct Nutter into the state’s music hall of fame. “Pat will also sing one of my songs,” said Nutter, who lives in California.

Nutter said he and Boone, who is 85 years old, met during a celebrity basketball game in Hollywood about 45 years ago.

Boone still plays tennis everyday, Nutter said.

Nutter attended first grade at Fairplains Elementary School and second grade at Tavennerville Elementary School, both in Parkersburg, before his family moved to Harrison County. Nutter, whose first name is Mayfred, graduated from Bridgeport High School in 1959.

His parents, Lawrence “P-Nut” and Anna Nutter, returned to Wood County in the early 1960s when Lawrence went to work at Marbon. The Nutters lived on Meadow Lane in Lubeck.

Mayf remembers performing at fundraisers for the Lubeck Volunteer Fire Department.

Nutter and his parents performed together at shows in Wood County, with Lawrence playing the mandolin and fiddle, Anna playing the guitar and singing and Mayf singing and playing the ukulele. Mayf moved to California in 1966, he said, but loved returning to West Virginia for visits and these musical performances with his family.

“Mom and dad were always playing music,” he said.

Nutter has performed in Carnegie Hall, the Grand Ole Opry and the Los Angeles Coliseum before 75,000 people. Nutter said he is the happiest when his audience is happy.

He always strives “to make the audience forget a car payment or problems. I can feel that. It’s a mutual gift,” Nutter said.

With all his accomplishments and accolades, and upcoming state music hall of fame induction, Nutter said, “I am blessed and highly favored.”

Nutter has been honored in the Nashville Country Music Hall of Fame Walkway of Stars, and was inducted into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame and the Bakersfield Country Music Museum.

Nutter noted that he became the first American to sing on national TV in China in 1982 and was in a TV series with Jimmy Stewart. Nutter was a friend of the late Buck Owens.

Nutter has performed at “Jamboree in the Hills” and on the stages in Las Vegas. He had songs published by Frank Zappa’s music company.

According to his biography for the April induction, “Nutter continues to write, record and make guest appearances all over the country.”

And Nutter told me he sang “Jesus Loves Me” to his children and grandchildren.

Contact Paul LaPann at plapann@newsandsentinel.com

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