Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Interview with Irma Thomas

"I still say it — I’ve said it in front of Keith — Mick Jagger can’t sing, and he’s laughing all the way to the bank." My expanded interview with the legendary Irma Thomas (who sang the original "Time is On My Side") is now available at the Richmond magazine website.

In this candid talk, the Soul Queen of New Orleans speaks frankly about the Rolling Stones, her collaborations with writer/producers Allen Toussaint and Jerry "Swamp Dogg" Williams, why she won't mix gospel and soul music in her concerts, and how winning a Grammy award in 2007 may have actually hurt her career, among other things.

Get to know the Soul Queen by going here.

And for more on the music of Irma Thomas, click here.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Bewitched in Hanover

In Hanover County, no one can hear you scream.

RED VEIN ARMY's macabre haunted house attraction at the Hanover Vegetable Farm is a few cuts above your normal spook fest.  Read my Richmond Magazine piece on this bone-chilling Halloween stop by going here.

And for more on RED VEIN ARMY, a group of inspired frighteners who prompt goose pimples all year with special events, run right here.

(Photo by Richard Bailey / Red Vein Army)

Monday, October 2, 2017

Last Man Standing: The Sherman Holmes Project

No one sounded quite like the Holmes Brothers, from Christchurch, Virginia.

The roots music trio were as steeped in the ways of traditional and modern country as they were in R&B and gospel. But when Wendell Holmes and Popsy Dixon passed away within months of each other, surviving member Sherman Holmes had to find a new sound and way of working.

Now available online, my July-August Virginia Living Magazine music column, which is about Sherman's journey, his excellent new album (produced in Richmond by state folklorist Jon Lohman), and how a veteran musician can reinvent himself and his music at an advanced age.

Read "Last Man Standing" by going to the VL website right here 

For more on the Sherman Holmes Project, go to this place.

And to read my Virginia Living profile of Jon Lohman and the Virginia Foundation For the Humanities Folklife Program, click this spot.

(Photo by the mighty Pat Jarrett!)

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Christopher Maxwell: Radio Ringleader

Christopher Maxwell is back on the air.

The dogged community activist who helped launch low-power radio in Richmond with WRIR 97.3 FM (where you can find my radio show, Open Source RVA, every Friday at noon)   is working on five limited-range frequencies in Virginia and Maryland, including a new station in Midlothian called The Work 93.9 FM that just began airing this past week.

Read my Richmond Magazine interview with Maxwell, and find our more about low-power radio, by clicking right here.

(Yeah, I know the article is from December. I forgot to post it. So sue me.)

(Photo by the mighty Jay Paul!)

Monday, August 28, 2017

Richmond Magazine: Q&A with Leo Kottke

The legendary Leo Kottke has been called one of the greatest guitarists of the modern age; a blues master, a country picker, a jazz explorer and someone who can take the oddest cover (like the Byrds' "Eight Miles High" or Buck Owens' "Buckaroo") and make it his own.

Even after five decades of music making, the self-taught virtuoso says that he "can't let go" of the guitar. "It isn't love," he says. "It's more like possession."

My recent Richmond Magazine interview with Kottke, slated to appear at the Tin Pan in September, has been posted to the magazine's web site.

Get it right here. 

For an expanded interview I conducted with Kottke a few years ago for Style Weekly, click here.

For more on the music of Leo Kottke, go here.

(Photo courtesy of the Tin Pan)

The Last of the Old-Time Moonshiners

A few years ago, working with the Blue Ridge Institute at Ferrum College, I trudged through the Franklin County woods to talk one on one with veteran moonshiner Jimmy Boyd.

Brewing up mountain dew has been a family tradition for Boyd, who learned how to cook up homemade whiskey from his brother, who learned it from his daddy.  “There’s something ‘mother about making it that just draws a person to it,” he says. “It’s almost like it’s habit forming, just like drinking it.”

My in-depth Q&A with Mr. Boyd, where he reveals the secrets of making illegal whiskey and recounts his clashes with revenuers and spying neighbors, has been published in the latest edition of Savor Virginia magazine.

Read "The Last of the Old-Time Moonshiners" by going right here.

And for more on the history of moonshine in Virginia, visit the Blue Ridge Institute's page right here.

(Photo by the mighty Pat Jarrett at the Virginia Foundation For the Humanities!)

Prohibition at the Library of Virginia

What a difference 100 years can make.

In 1914, when Virginians voted to completely ban alcohol -- three years ahead of national Prohibition—it was the start of an ambitious social experiment that seems worlds away from our experience today, as Virginia now wholly embraces wineries, craft breweries, distilleries and all things hooch.

My Savor Virginia feature article on the Library of Virginia's intoxicating (and, considering the changing times, ironic) exhibit, "Teetotalers and Moonshiners: Prohibition in Virginia, Distilled," has been posted to the magazine's website.

Click here and drink up.

And for more on this excellent Library of Virginia exhibit, and related events, go right here.

(Broadside photo: The Library of Virginia)