Monthly Archives: May 2013



Yanni — “Santorini” [Spotify/iTunes]

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Happy Birthday, RVA Playlist!

RVA Playlist

Between the high of No BS! Brass Band’s record release show on Friday and the low of the Toots & The Maytals incident on Saturday, I spent a fair amount of time this week talking about the Richmond music community. I still consider myself somewhat new to that community, and I definitely don’t make it out to as many shows as I’d like, but the musicians who call Richmond home have come to mean a great deal to me, as have the bloggers who work hard to shine a light on the city’s amazing pool of musical talent. This coming Wednesday, May 29, at The Camel, we’ll have an opportunity pause and say thank you and happy third blog birthday (Blirthday? Yeah? No?) to a blogger who truly understands the meaning of the word “community” — Andrew Cothern of RVA Playlist.

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Toots & The Maytals

Toots sign

I snapped the picture above a little after 10:00 p.m. on Saturday night. A light rain was falling on Brown’s Island and Toots & The Maytals were a few minutes from performing their rendition of John Denver’s “Country Roads,” having already made their way through “Pressure Drop,” “Reggae Got Soul” and a handful of other classics. About 15 minutes later, when “Country Roads” was winding down, someone in the audience threw an empty liquor bottle at the stage, striking frontman Frederick “Toots” Hibbert in the forehead. He was immediately taken to the hospital, and guitarist Carl Harvey announced that the show was over. A few paralyzed minutes later, Mrs. YHT and I started a long and quiet walk back to our car.

There were so many things that I wanted to say then, and there are so many things I want to say now.

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No BS! Brass Band

no BS! Brass Band

Early Friday evening, Mrs. YHT and I met up with Bandmate 4eva Doug, his wife and guest poster Gormie outside the Squirrely Gates of The Diamond and headed inside to watch the Richmond Flying Squirrels do battle with the Altoona Curve.

For three of us, it was our first game of the year. But for Doug and his wife, who recently moved back to Richmond after a few years away, this was their first time seeing the Squirrels (and their spectacular marketing team) in action. I was practically giddy. OK, whatever, I was giddy. I get a huge kick out of showing newcomers the clever branding, squirrel puns and general silliness. Some of that has to do with being fond of bad jokes, some with the fact that my day job is in marketing, but mostly it’s because I derive a sense of pride from what baseball in Richmond has become. I like being able to say to people, essentially, “Look at what we have here! Isn’t this great?!?” It’s a flattering (I think) reflection of what our city looks like at its most creative and enthused, and I can’t help feeling lucky and proud.

I feel the exact same way about No BS! Brass Band.

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You Watch That?!?

Arthur Conley

I spend a fair number of keystrokes chatting you fine people up about the virtues of vinyl, but I spent last Saturday night having a fling with a different physical medium — the ol’ Digital Video Disc (or “Digital Versatile Disc,” depending on who you ask). A coworker who has a great taste in/encyclopedic knowledge of music lent me a DVD of what is considered one of the greatest soul concerts of all time — Stax/Volt Revue: Live in Norway 1967. I managed to dig up YouTube clips of some of the Oslo show’s high points, and I thought I’d share a few thoughts, starting with the night’s first act, Booker T. & the M.G.’s.

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Pretty & Nice

Pretty & Nice

I want to talk to you about value.

(No, this is not a first time home buyers’ seminar, and I’m sorry to say that there’s no free timeshare waiting for you at the end of this post.)

I want to talk to you about value because Golden Rules for Golden People, the fantastic new album from Boston-based mad pop scientists Pretty & Nice, strikes me as one of the most valuable albums I’ve ever heard.

So what makes a band’s work valuable? It is, of course, an intentionally broad question, and you could answer it in a zillion different ways. A song that reminds you of the day your son or daughter was born would have emotional value. (I’m told Aaron Copland’s Billy The Kid was playing on the radio when I popped out, which is a tad bit creepy when you consider that my father’s name was Bill.) That first pressing of Meet The Beatles your parents never let you touch has some serious historical/monetary value, while the EDM you blast to keep yourself awake while driving long stretches at night has a very specific, practical value. We could keep going, but you get the point. Circumstances, time, our needs… all these things turn a piece of music into something more than just notes and words.

That said, Golden Rules has me thinking about a totally different kind of value. Something more objective and less ascribed. Something inherent in the recording itself.

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Happy Mother’s Day!

Robot and the WIzard

Things “Mother And Child Reunion” was inspired by, according to Wikipedia:

  • Paul Simon’s dog dying
  • A chicken and egg dish Paul Simon saw on the menu at a Chinese restaurant

Things with which “Mother And Child Reunion” would appear to have no relationship whatsoever:

  • Mother’s Day

Compelling reasons not to post this funky 8-bit cover of “Mother And Child Reunion” I just found:

  • None

If you’re a mom, happy Mother’s Day! If you’re not, call your mom, tell her you love her, and then walk outside and high five the first lady with a baby you see!

Robot and the Wizard — “Mother And Child Reunion” (Paul Simon cover) [Soundcloud]

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