Eric Slick

Getting to interview a musician who made one of your favorite albums of the year is quite an honor, but getting to interview a musician whose music changed your life for the better? That’s something else entirely. Something rare and special.

Hearing “You Are Not Your Mind,” from Eric Slick’s 2017 Palisades album, was a truly revelatory experience. I ended up writing about it back in April:

I often fall into the trap of assuming there’s a way to think my way out of every situation. I also tend to prioritize my inner experience when I’m feeling less than good about what’s going on on the outside, whether that’s the clothes I’m wearing or my inability to force myself to exhibit extroversion when it counts. And while the mind can certainly act as a refuge, I love the idea that there’s some other self that’s even more basic — something that’s not so readily accessible or easily tinkered with.

With that in mind (no pun intended), it was such a gift to be able to speak with Slick over the phone and learn more about how that song was written, how he balances the brightness of his personality with the heft of this songs’ themes, and how he came to be part of this beautiful Richmond music community. The interview just went up on Richmond Navigator’s site — click here to check it out. (Print copies of River City Magazine should be on newsstands any day now.)

I want to thank Eric very sincerely for doing the interview, and I want to encourage you good people to take a listen to “You Are Not Your Mind” below. Maybe you’ll end up with a revelatory experience of your own.

Eric Slick — “You Are Not Your Mind” [Spotify/Bandcamp]

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The Novel Ideas

Boston-based country-folk group The Novel Ideas just released their debut full-length this past Friday. It’s a fantastic album — packed with harmonies and strong songwriting — and the timing couldn’t be better for Richmonders, because the band is stopping by Capital Ale House tomorrow night.

With that show on the horizon, I spoke over the phone with singer and guitarist Daniel Radin about the album, how their harmonies take shape, how they ended up at a studio on the other side of the country… all sorts of fun stuff. Check the interview out over at Richmond Navigator, and click here for more info about tomorrow’s performance. (Spoiler alert: No cover!)

The Novel Ideas — “The Old Ways” [Bandcamp/Spotify]

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Larry Davis

I picked this compilation up a few years back at the Thrift & More Store, located in the median of Pocahontas Trail in New Kent County. The collection is named after the Larry Davis song — a tongue-in-cheek number about how attractive the women in Houston are. Given the events of the last few days, and the harrowing rescue videos coming out of Houston as Harvey continues to cause flooding, it’s tempting to think about the song’s title in another context. I’m not religious, but when I see people with small boats risking their safety to help others, that seems pretty angelic to me.

Davis is also the one who wrote “Texas Flood,” which Stevie Ray Vaughan would go on to cover and even name an album after. It’s an incredibly sad listen right now, but I hope it moves one or two of you to contribute to relief efforts. The Red Cross is where I decided to donate (click here to do so now), though plenty of other organizations could use your help. Consider it your own angelic act in the face of something truly awful.

Larry Davis — “Texas Flood” [YouTube]

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American Tunes: “All Lives, You Say?”

[Editor’s Note: American Tunes is a series of posts dedicated to songs that address America’s social and political challenges. For more information on the series, click here.]

“Your skin so thin your heart has escaped.” What an image. It cuts deep, reaching an underlying truth that I’ve been thinking about since this weekend: Shows of force like the one that took place in Charlottesville often betray profound weakness.

Click here to snag “All Lives, You Say” — proceeds benefit the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Wilco — “All Lives, You Say?” [Bandcamp]

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Virginia’s Travel Blog

One more post for Virginia’s Tourism Blog to tell y’all about, called “Building Bridges: International Music Experiences In Virginia.” I sincerely hope you’ll read it and send the link around — getting outside of your musical comfort zone is such a worthwhile and soul-replenishing thing to do, and I’m certain that if it happened more often, people would understand each other in ways they don’t currently.

Best of all, Richmonders can get started right away! You’ll find Afro-Zen Allstars among the bands mentioned, and they’ll be at Garden Grove Brewing Company in Carytown tonight, continuing their monthly residency there. Can’t recommend it highly enough.

I wanted to take a second to thank Andrew Cothern and all the other folks at Virginia Tourism for letting me write these posts. It’s such an honor to tell these stories and represent the musical traditions of the state I’ve called home my entire life. I’ve learned a ton in the last few months, and I hope to be able to share more stories like these in the future.

To play us out, here’s another Richmond band I mention in the post — venerated salsa outfit Bio Ritmo:

Bio Ritmo — “La Vía” [Spotify/iTunes]

 

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Minor Poet

When people are doing what they love, you can tell. Cooking, singing, repairing bicycles, doesn’t matter. Being in your element means tapping into something deep and true, and that’s what Andrew Carter’s debut album as Minor Poet sounds like to me. His love for recording is unmistakable; it stands out like a third dimension, with layers and harmonies only a devoted craftsman would seek out and execute.

Sitting down with Carter for an interview at Black Hand Coffee absolutely confirmed this first impression, and I’m excited to say that the results of that conversation are available now in the newly released RVA Magazine summer issue. Carter kindly called it the “definitive” version of the events surrounding the release of And How!, an album (out August 25 on EggHunt Records) that promises to reach many ears and make Minor Poet a very familiar name both in Richmond and beyond.

I want to thank Carter for such a candid interview, and Doug Nunnally for all his help with writing this piece. I also want to recognize the inimitable Joey Wharton — it’s an honor having my words next to his photos. Just stunning.

Click here to read the article online, or snag yourself a print copy around town. I have a couple other pieces of writing in the issue I’m psyched to tell y’all about, so stay tuned…

Minor Poet — “River Days” [Spotify/Bandcamp]

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Dharma Bombs

Y’all know about the Carter Family Fold, right? Hiltons, VA? Shows every Saturday evening? Johnny Cash’s rocking chair?

If you’ve been following along with my posts for Virginia’s Travel Blog, you know it’s one of the most sacred musical locations in the commonwealth, given the Carter family’s prominent role in the early days of country music. As it turns out, it’s also the perfect setting for some Appalachian Dixieland.

Richmond’s Dharma Bombs recently collaborated with the folks from Virginia Tourism and Overcoast Music on the above porch-set live session, shot right there on the grounds of the Carter Family’s homestead. Fittingly, they performed “Virginia Swing,” which can be found on the group’s Old Time Romance album from earlier this year.

The studio cut is below — you can snag it via Bandcamp, and in case you hadn’t heard, Bandcamp is donating its profits today to the Transgender Law Center, so don’t be shy about forking over some dough.

Dharma Bombs — “Virginia Swing” [Spotify/Bandcamp]

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