Monday, April 29, 2013

Open Source RVA: All The Pretty Podcasts

Have you missed recent episodes of Open Source RVA, Richmond's weekly audio news digest?

By all means, CATCH UP! That's why the Good Lord made podcasting.

The April 26 episode features a frank interview with Richmond City Councilman Chris Hilbert. Among other things, the 3rd district rep will talk about why he has announced his 2016 mayoral candidacy so early. We also introduce you to a new Virginia hip-hop archive at William & Mary College that charts the early days of in-state beatmasters like Timbaland and Pharrell Williams (shown). W&M PhD candidate Kevin Kosanovich, who helped to start the project, joins us.

Our April 19 installment introduces you to OSRVA's newest co-host, Style Weekly news editor Scott Bass. We talk about the politics of minor league baseball with Charles Robideau of the Peace Education Center of Richmond and Brian J. Callaghan, a minority owner of the Richmond Flying Squirrels. Also: Kim Gray and Kristen Larson, Richmond school board members, join us for a discussion about the possible uses of school-owned real estate, and also chime in on the recent surprise retirement announcement of RPS Superintendent Yvonne Brandon

The April 12 broadcast showcases a peanut gallery of ace political pundits (Jamie Radtke, Charles Diradour and Paul Goldman) discussing truth, lies and Virginia politics -- including recent scandals involving Richmond School Board member "Doctor" Shonda Harris-Muhammad and Governor Bob McDonnell. Also: Music Nerd Alert! We talk all about Record Store Day with Jim Bland of Plan 9 Records, Marty Key of Steady Sounds and Deep Groove's Chris Pittman. Also sitting in: Jon Berger of Broadtime, a local company that maintains the national Record Store Day website

You do know that you can listen to these in real time, right? Tune in every Friday at 4PM to Open Source RVA on WRIR 97.3 FM and on the vast series of tubes at And bookmark our informative OSRVA website at You'll thank yourself later.  

Hampton Roads Magazine: Singing It Pretty

My latest feature in Hampton Roads Magazine, "Singing It Pretty," is a look back at the career of the Phelps Brothers, the country and western performers from South Norfolk (now Chesapeake) who started the Tidewater area's first recording studio, Fernwood Farms.

They also ran a popular dance hall with the same name that once boasted the largest dance floor on the East Coast -- an early stamping ground for Patsy Cline, Link Wray, Jimmy Dean and many others. The article is in the magazine's May/June issue.

The Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame is hardly the place you’d think of finding a trio of singing South Norfolk country cowboys. But among the recent additions to the Cleveland music museum’s collection is the original recording console that the Phelps brothers—Norman, Willie and Earl—used in order to capture a slew of area rockabilly artists in the early days of rock ‘n’ roll, right here in Hampton Roads.
“It had been sitting for years in my dad’s garage, and when he passed away it sat in our garage,” says Bobbie Beard, the daughter of Willie Phelps. “I was pleased that anyone wanted it.”
It’s one more reminder of how, starting in the late ’40’s, the Phelps Brothers transformed sleepy South Norfolk—now Chesapeake—into a musical hotbed.

Read "Singing It Pretty" by clicking right here.

And here's a plug for the Phelps Brothers Music Festival, an annual country music showcase at Chesapeake's Lakeside Park that pays tribute to the brothers and their legacy. For more on the festival, which happens this year on June 9, go here.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

2013 Rock Marathon: Classic Crock Show on April 14

The 2013 WTJU Rock marathon is in full swing. Hear it at

Every so often, the marathon is taken over by the ghosts of other FM formats. This year, on "The Classic Crock Show," you can get the Led out and join Don Arlo, "Cozy" Powell and WTJU's Overnight Drive-Time Madman, Turd Dog, as they play the "deep cuts" from all of your Classic Crockin' favorites, which may or may not include Blue Oyster Cult, Black Sabbath, Rush, Styx, Kiss, Queen, Genesis, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Steve Miller Band... hey, we may even go hog wild and play a Sugarloaf double-shot! 

"Rockin' since the Nixon Administration!"TM is our motto!

Why do we do this? Well, we want to make enough money at WTJU to not EVER have to play any of these bands, unless we want to. That's our pledge to you. 

Join the fist-pumpin' fun, rockin' listener! Support WTJU and give to The Classic Crock Show at 11PM on Sunday, April 14 (following the Virginia Funk and Soul Spectacular). You can donate by calling 434-924-3959, where the Crimson Dominator is waiting to take your pledge. (Or you can give online at

And have we mentioned that the marathon is happening right now! Flick your Bics and tune it to 91.1 FM or We're turning the transmitter up to 11!

2013 Rock Marathon: Funky Virginia on April 14

The annual WTJU Rock marathon is in full swing. If you don't know about this great freeform station's annual orgasm of rock, click here and listen loud. The real purpose of all of this great specialty programming, live bands and remotes is to raise money for WTJU 91.1 FM in Charlottesville. But the rockers make the fundraising fun.

I'll be participating in two shows this year, in my usual closeout slot. And I couldn't be more excited. Before I tell you about the first one, a series of questions:

Do you know about Swamp Dogg? How about Mr. Wiggles or Little Tommy? Does the mention of the 35th Street Gang make you move like a chicken?

Worry not. Just listen to Funky Virginia: The Virginia Funk and Soul Spectacular on Sunday, April 14 at 9PM. The show is going to bring you up in step with the Old Dominion’s great, often obscure, indigenous funk and soul artists – showcasing classic cuts by Lenis Guess, the Randolph Brothers, Prince George, Ida Sands, Flip Flop Stevens (pictured) and many more ear-bending hometowners from the ‘60’s and ‘70’s. 

It’s the radio show that will make you ask: “What? This is from Virginia??!!” 

So don’t touch that dial, Mr. Hackenbush. Join Brother Breakdown and I -- along with special guests, like the Scorpio Brother himself, Troy Hurt, one of the guys behind the excellent Funky Virginia blog -- as we put some pep in your step and some glide in your stride. 

All to raise money for WTJU Rock's annual fundraiser at 91.1 FM, which is happening right now! Call 434-924-3959 to pledge or listen and donate online at

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Open Source RVA addresses the Podcast Pileup!

A region mourns as missing podcasts of Open Source RVA mount. But no more. No more, we vow!

On the April 5 episode of Open Source RVA, we talk about all aspects of gay marriage with Becky Lee and Diana Hoover, a longtime couple recently wed in a civil union. Retired Episcopal priest Buck Aiken and Bill Harrison of the Gay Community Foundation also join us. We also speak with Katrina Fontenla about her new plan, requested by Richmond's Public Art Commission, that addresses artist live/work spaces in Richmond. Read the plan right here.

Download/listen to the April 5, 2013 podcast of Open Source RVA by clicking right here.

The March 29 episode features a very frank exit interview with architect and urban ecologist Lisa Taranto, the founder of Tricycle Gardens. Taranto leaves the city better than she found it, but has some harsh words for Richmond's power elite. We also welcome writer, archivist and friend-of-the-show Dale Brumfield who talks  about his recent Style Weekly cover feature on the unsolved murder of Richmond poet Rik Davis. Read his excellent article right here.

Download/listen to the March 29, 2013 podcast of Open Source RVA by clicking right here.

And how about the March 22 installment of Your Show of Shows? We talk with Peter and Francoise Kirkpatrick, the founders and organizers of the annual French Film Festival, about the cultural treasures that the festival brings to the Byrd Theatre every year. And we also speak with school board members Glen Sturdevant and Kim Gray about recent truancy developments and a plan to have RPS boycott the state’s SOL tests.

Download/listen to the March 22, 2013 podcast of Open Source RVA by clicking right here.

(Yeah, I know a couple of our past episodes are still missing in action. Rest assured that our diligent staff of unpaid interns is working on it.)

It's your Source, Fridays at 4PM on 97.3 FM and