The opening set will be played by Lonnie Holley, who is an artist in more than one sense of the word. Holley first gained recognition for turning reclaimed junkyard objects into arrayed sculptures on a massive scale, which he started to do when he was 29. More than 30 years later, he’s still in constant creative motion, and from the sound of the New York Times profile White tweeted out, creation isn’t just an impulse for Holley — it’s more elemental than that. Here’s a bit I found fascinating:
We were sitting at an outdoor table with a partly filled ashtray. Holley stopped talking to reach over and pluck out a cigarette butt, examining it as if he had discovered a rare penny in a handful of change. He asked me for a sheet of paper from my notebook, then tore apart the butt and affixed its cottony filter to a wooden coffee stirrer, also liberated from the ashtray. “This is called white oak,” he said. “It’s what they use to weave baskets and things, because it’s flexible.” He fashioned a miniature paintbrush and then painted a heart and the word LOVE using ashes mixed with a few drops of his iced coffee, the solution creating an appealing speckled-eggshell patina.
It wasn’t until later, but Holley started recording music in which looped elements backline winding and soaring image-based vocal storytelling. That same New York Times piece described how all of Holley’s musical performances are unique pieces — how he makes something new each time he addresses an audience. As a person who tries to write songs and feels lucky for whatever fleeting moments of inspiration I can hold onto, I’m in awe of the total paradigm shift Holley embodies. He doesn’t so much grasp at inspiration as he floats in it. Surrounds himself in it.
I can’t want to see what he has in store tonight. In his tweet, White called it a “rare event,” which I love, given the irony at work here: Everything Holley does is once-in-a-lifetime.
He and I met up at Perly’s and discussed — between bites of matzoh ball soup — everything from the history of No BS! to the need for more coverage of Richmond’s hip hop scene. It’s a conversation I won’t soon forget, and it’s one I feel very grateful to have had. Many thanks to Pace for meeting up and to Lauren Serpa for letting the magazine use one of her photos for that amazing cover.
Now for the giveaway — be the first to comment below or on this blog’s Facebook/Twitter/Tumblr and you’ll win a pair of guest list spots for tomorrow’s No BS! ten year anniversary show at The Broadberry. Really excited for this one. I’m feeling a little under the weather, but I don’t care — I’m not missing it. Hope to see you there!
I can’t remember what day this week it was, but I had to get out of the car right when Marketplace was starting a story about Radiohead’s finances and, presumably, how they start new companies for each record they release. Bandmate 4eva Doug unknowingly came to the rescue by sending me this Guardian article about the same thing a day or two later. Interesting stuff, I think. Maybe I need to start a couple corporations for YHT, especially now that I bought an actual domain for the site.
Hey! I forgot to tell y’all! I bought youhearthat.com, so there’s that. Feels like I got my own little plot on this great big internet, and it feels like I should be saying that while standing with a cup of coffee in one hand and a suspender strap in the other, looking out over my growing crop of blog posts through the early morning haze. That’s how the internet works, right…
James Blake? Gooood. Radiohead? Goooood. Beyoncé? I trust that it’s good, but I still haven’t heard more than a couple songs. I don’t want to pay to download it, since it might come out on vinyl at some point, and it’s not on Spotify, and I’m not about to sign up for Tidal while I’m still paying for Spotify Premium, so…
I had a fantasy football draft scheduled for last Wednesday night, which happened to be the same night as a Broadberry show I’d been looking forward to for some time. Lucy Dacus… Young Rapids… Manatree… Avers… So I did what any music-loving perennial fantasy failure would do: I went to the Broadberry, found a place to sit, opened up Yahoo’s fantasy app and neglected to pick a running back until the fourth round.
Did I mention I’m terrible at fantasy football? Fortunately, the onstage lineup fared better than my virtual one.
A very special CD Monday today, y’all. The RVA Playlist 5th Anniversary party is this Thursday at the Broadberry, and I’m very sad to be missing it due to out-of-town-ness. But Andrew was kind enough to give me an advance copy of this incredible compilation he’s assembled in partnership with Triple Stamp Press. It’s a thoughtful and immaculately assembled representation of the music community RVA Playlist has done so much to support. From the track list to the materials used, it really is stunning.
This was fun. As part of a River City Magazine article, I got to interview folks who work at some of Richmond’s most beloved venues about their favorite shows and live music moments. When I was done working on it, a few things became clear:
There are bands you appreciate, and then there are bands you root for. Not because they need the extra backing, but because there’s something that joins your experience with theirs. It could be that their music is so good that you feel passionately that it needs to be heard as widely as possible, and that passion acts like glue — their success is your fulfillment. It could also be the case that you meet the members of a band, and their approach to music aligns with some ideal you hold onto — a picture you’ve painted in your mind after hearing and dissecting an album you love.
All of the above applies to Sleepwalkers, who I had the chance to interview for River City Magazine/West End’s Best in early October. The highlights from that conversation just hit the interweb, and you can read them here (a slightly shorter printed version will hit newsstands any day now). There are two quick things I’d like to add:
Almost exactly two years ago, when writing about Frank Ocean’s Channel Orange, I coined a term (sounds so much better than “made up a word,” doesn’t it?) that I’m still waiting for popular culture to whisk away. It’s confrenzus — the consensus frenzy that results from a book, movie or album that is so clearly worthy of acclaim that everywhere you look, someone is heaping praise on it.
There’s a confrenzus brewing, and it’s about to bubble over at the Broadberry. Tonight is the release show for Greenwood Shade — the new album from Richmond-based band Sleepwalkers — and I can’t resist joiningthechorus in saying that tonight’s event (which also features Black Girls and Dead Professional) is well worth your time.