My October music column for Virginia Living Magazine has been posted online. "A Road to Grow On" is all about the success of the Crooked Road music heritage trail in Southwest Virginia, and how that region is using the area's music and indigenous culture for economic development.
And to find out more about the Crooked Road music heritage trail, go right here.
This, sadly, is my final installment of the Virginia Music column, which I originally started at VL in 2003 (there were a few years that I didn't write it because of other job requirements, but I resumed it in 2012). The decision to stop writing it was based on many factors, including timeliness (my deadlines are often months in advance - hard to organize this gig with that kind of lead time). Also, to do the job well, the columnist has to listen to a lot of music - which is time I don't always have these days. So while I'll continue to write for Virginia Living, I just won't be doing the column anymore.
I will cry about it, though. Boo-hoo.
And I hope that the magazine continues on with a fresh new set of ears on the beat. This was the first (and still the only) regular music column with a Virginia-wide scope, and I'm proud of the diverse array of subjects I was able to explore (see below). In addition to the main topics, I also got the chance to review a host of noteworthy music releases -- in genres ranging from punk to funk to hip-hop and bluegrass -- and perhaps expose some Virginia Living readers to great contemporary music from the Commonwealth they would otherwise have been unaware of.
Among others, the Virginia Music column covered the following topics:
The early music of Jamestown
The Blue Ridge Institute and Museum at Ferrum College
John Cephas, Piedmont blues master from Bowling Green
WGH in Norfolk and the legacy of top-40 radio
Swamp Dogg, R&B/soul legend
The Rah-Bras, Richmond punk-pop trio
Mark Linkous of Sparklehorse
Robbin Thompson, singer-songwriter
TheFerguson Center for the Arts in Newport News
Archivist/engineer Chris King and the People Take Warning box set
The legacy of Portsmouth's Ruth Brown
The Lonesome Pine label and the Music of Coal box set
The James River Blues Society
The Virginia Foundation for the Humanities' "Crooked Road" CD series
Hobart Smith, banjo master
Invisible Hand, Charlottesville alt-rockers
Music producer Steve Buckingham
Barky's Spirituals record shop in Richmond
The Mockers, Hampton Roads power popsters
Maura Davis and Ambulette, Richmond alt-rockers
The Patsy Cline museum in Winchester
The Richmond Folk Festival
Special Ed and the Shortbus (now called the Hotseats)