So I’m going to attempt to end this jerk of a year with five wrap-up posts in five days. Fingers crossed this works. I tend to overwrite these things until they become albatross-y, so I’ll try to keep things snappy, starting with a quick list of links to music writing I did in 2016. Add in weekly contributions to the Off Your Radar newsletter and an August appearance on Sound Gaze and I can definitively say that this is the most blabbing about music I’ve done in a year.
Many thanks — seriously, too many to mention here — to the people I interviewed and the people who made what I wrote sound better and look prettier. Y’all know who you are, and I hope you also know how awesome and appreciated you are. Lots of fun stuff in the works for 2017. Until then…
Featured Off Your Radar weeks:
For Boomer Magazine:
For Richmond Navigator online
For River City Magazine
For RVA Magazine
For West End’s Best
Non-bloggy writing update Part Deux: I wrote an article for West End’s Best (just turn River City Magazine upside down and you’ve got yourself a West End’s Best!) about music venues in the West End of Richmond.
This was really fun — I got to talk to friendly people from Innsbrook After Hours, The Tin Pan, Enzo’s, J.J.’s Grille, and Rare Ole Times, all worth checking out if you haven’t had a chance to yet. Many thanks to everyone who I interviewed. It was heartwarming to connect with all these people who care about putting on good shows and showcasing bands from near and far. Some articles I finish and want to start all over again, so I can continue the conversation. I hope I get a chance to do this one again with other venues around Richmond.
Click here for spots where you can grab a copy of the magazine. Magazines, really. Two magazines, one grab. In the meantime, here’s a video of Don McLean singing “American Pie” at The Tin Pan earlier this year.
Don McLean — “American Pie” (live) [YouTube]
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:
You heard me say this less than two months ago, but it bears repeating: I owe a great deal to Todd Herrington. As part of DJ Williams Projekt, he helped open my eyes to the vast array of homegrown musical talent I’d been blind to during my four years as an undergrad at the University of Richmond, and nine years later, I’m still in awe of how transformative those Tuesday nights at Cafe Diem were.
Given that history, and how much enjoyment I’ve gotten from his Things album since it was released last year, getting to interview him moments before he kicked off a Monday evening performance with Mekong Xpress & The Get Fresh Horns was a profoundly rewarding experience. I assembled the highlights of that conversation in an article for West End’s Best magazine, and it just hit the interweb. I sincerely hope you’ll check it out.
It’s not every day you get you chat about music with someone whose album is on your reigning Top 10 list. Someone who just finished playing Letterman and Conan. Someone who has insider knowledge of how Twix are made. I mean, c’mon.
I had that opportunity in March, when I talked over the phone with J. Roddy Walston for West End’s Best magazine. I haven’t gotten my hands on a hard copy yet, but I’m going to horde at least five, because this was a real treat. Get pumped for his Saturday show at the National and his May 30 show at Friday Cheers by taking a look here.
J. Roddy Walston & the Business — “Black Light” [Spotify/iTunes]
Mark your calendars — on April 12, the Richmond Symphony Orchestra will paint the Altria Theater black (figuratively speaking, of course).
They’ll be partnering with Windborne Music for a “Music Of The Rolling Stones” program, complete with a full rock band, singer and a set list that, according to the Symphony’s website, contains “nearly all of the Stones’ number 1 hits.” I was curious about what went into a production like this, so I reached out to Windborne and talked with the company’s founder, Brent Havens. Arranging, conducting, and composing, Havens has developed nine of these symphonic rock programs (others include The Who, Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd). He also composes for TV and film. He’s a busy dude.
We had a really interesting conversation, and you can read the highlights in this West End’s Best article.
I’ve dedicated this week to catching y’all up on some of the extra-blog writing I’ve done lately, and there’s one more piece I’d like to share — my recent interview with Nelly Kate.