Welcome to Richmond Virginia and it's surrounding areas. This website is about Richmond bands, venues, music, the arts, people and lifestyles.

Find articles and stories on the Richmond area scene. Please feel free to leave us comments. Join the MusicRVA Forum

MusicRVA is always looking for more writers! If you would like to write copy for the site please join the network forum above and ontact me.

If you would like to leave commentary on the blog, we welcome interaction. State your thoughts - Speak your mind!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

MusicRVA and Rockitz team up!

MusicRVA and Rockitz.net are now working in conjunction as a team!

Brooke Saunders is the new administrator for our network and Grand things are in the works!

MusicRVA will begin booking shows asap, in response to many bands and musicians who have asked previously for this service. In addition to booking shows, I will be looking for bands in the RVA region who would like to be a part of some shows designed to fundraise money for a project in the immediate works, which will help put the music of RVA and this general region on the map.

If you are a band and would like to be a part of this roster, please contact me asap. You can reach me here at the network thru messaging, or on FaceBook!

Lets put this town on the map together!


If your on the East Coast, be sure to sign up for
MusicRVA Social Network!

And Be sure to sign up for the new Sojournstar Music Network!

and if you want to make money while having fun and promoting your band, music or business, then you must
Join me at Weblo Virtual World for Fun & Profit!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Caravan of Thieves Put on Devilishly Delightful Performances

by: Christy Sheppard The Caravan of Thieves are Ashland Coffee & Tea's latest Artists in Residence. The quartet, led by husband and wife team Fuzz and Carrie Sangiovanni, will be back in Ashland Wednesday, October 21. I caught up with them on the phone from their hometown, Bridgeport, Connecticut. Caravan of Thieves, despite being a relatively young band, has gotten off to a very promising start. "Our very first show with Caravan was the Spring of 2008," says Carrie, who sings and plays guitar. "We've been playing together for about a year and a half." The couple married in 2005. "It was an intimate relationship before it became a musical one," says Fuzz, who also sings and plays guitar. It's likely you've never experienced a show like theirs. Both Fuzz and Carrie say music has been a part of their lives since childhood. "As a kid I was doing a lot of theater and Broadway," recalls Carrie. "I was classically trained on piano first and then started playing guitar in high school. My dad taught me." "I started off as a kid playing guitar, Rock-n-Roll," says Fuzz. "I played my first show when I was 14. I just kind of got hooked on performing and playing in bands." Fuzz went to school for classical music and arrangement and composition, played everything from blues to jazz to R&B to dance-pop, toured with Deep Banana Blackout and joined up with Tom Tom Club, which is the drummer and bass player from Talking Heads.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

In case you have not noticed....

I have been moving articles and reviews from the old writers blog, over to the main blog here, to save time, and create less confusion.

All the MusicRVA writers have been transferred here except one. We no longer support that writer or their work for a number of reasons, BUT, we do support the bands that were written about, so you can still find all those articles and any other posts that were not articles on the old blog, and that is where they will stay, as they are already indexed and spidered by the search engines.

Moving the writers articles over to the main blog, not only gives them a boost for the articles they have written, but also enables anyone who did not see them on that blog, a chance to read them on the main blog, so its a double benefit!
Plus, since the MusicRVA Blog has gotton several write ups, and good attention called to it on its own, everybody wins.

Check out the old blog at it's new address Aspiring Writers and if you are looking for the articles about the bands that did not make the move over to here,
Click Here (this link has been updated)


If your on the East Coast, be sure to sign up for
MusicRVA Social Network!

And Be sure to sign up for the new Sojournstar Music Network!

and if you want to make money while having fun and promoting your band, music or business, then you must
Join me at Weblo Virtual World for Fun & Profit!

Jim Morris Music

Jim has something in his music that everyone can like. Along with great guitar playing like Joe Satriani and up-lifting and inspirational melodic movements like Dream Theater, Jim captures the music lovers heart as well as their mind. Jim Morris is an articulate singer/songwriter with a devotion to storytelling. Whether it is a thoughtful ballad about doomed love or an anthem to a night of drunken revelry, the listener can always count on well-crafted songs with carefully drawn characters, clever lyrics, and satirical charm. Although Jim’s musical style is admittedly reminiscent of Jimmy Buffett and Jerry Jeff Walker, he has a knack for defying categorization. He mixes a whimsical island sound with a splash of Texas to produce a sound that is uniquely Gulf and Western. Jim grew up in Georgia and has a heritage rich in music. His grandfather led a dance band, and everyone in the family either played an instrument or sang. At age 10 Jim taught himself to play the guitar by listening to Hank Williams records. After college (BA in English and graduate studies in English and Human Resources Management) while pursuing a career in human resources management, he continued to write songs and dream of the day when he could do it full-time. "After I graduated, I wanted to be a drifter and a writer; instead, I settled for corporate executive and closet entertainer." During his 15-year corporate career, his job allowed him to live in several interesting locales, such as Montana, New Orleans, and St. Simons Island, all of which would figure prominently in his writing. Following a business trip during which he renewed his love affair with the southwest coast of Florida, Jim took the leap he had been contemplating for some time and left the corporate world for good. Jim spent the subsequent years writing songs and playing gigs around Florida. From the beginning he took a big risk by featuring original music. "I spent about a year writing and developing a catalog of songs. I was unsure of my ability to sing and play the guitar professionally, but I thought my songs might separate me from the other performers." A fortuitous meeting with recording artist Randy Matthews would result in Matthews producing Morris’ first recording, "Laid Back and Key Wasted," released in 1996 by Fish Head Music. As you would expect, each song tells a story: the title track is about a guy who gives up the corporate world for the beach; one is about the exploits of a pilot who flies contraband; another is about roadkill and the people who collect it; others tell great stories of sailing, fishing, and drinking. "After my first CD was released, I changed my focus. I stopped playing bars so much and I worked coffeehouses and bookstores. I wanted to play before a listening audience who might appreciate what I had to say. I made less money, but I started to develop a fan base." Jim returned to the studio during the summer of 1997 to work with noted guitarist/producer Chris Hattingh. The result was "Bocanuts" which was released by Fish Head Music the following November. "Bocanuts" shows again that Jim is capable of creating memorable stories in a variety of musical moods. "With 'Bocanuts' I found a formula that I’m comfortable with and that people seem to enjoy: some tropical, some jazz, some country, some acoustic folk, and some humor. It certainly reflects my musical tastes." With the success of "Bocanuts" and a growing catalog of songs, Jim decided to release a CD every year. In November of 1998 he was back with Hattingh recording "Looking for a Place to Happen" which was released in February 1999. "The CD didn’t turn out exactly as planned," says Morris. "Several songs I was hoping to include were not as good as I wanted them to be. Sensing my frustration, my wife, Sharon, sat me down with a list of my songs and pointed out a lot of songs I had neglected. Consequently, songs like "What Kind of Fool Can I Be," "The Hammock Club," "Gatsby Dreams," and "Sometimes I Wish" were added." "Looking for a Place to Happen" became the most critically acclaimed CD to date. Hattingh had little doubt that the CD would be successful. "As soon as we listened to the final mix, I knew that Jim had topped his other CDs. For a CD with a variety of musical styles, it had such an amazing continuity." Following the release of "Looking for a Place to Happen," the pressure grew to perform more outside the state of Florida. "I wanted to be a 'lifestyle artist,' fishing by day and playing music by night. But I also wanted to broaden my fan base, so I hit the road a bit." He also formed the Big Bamboo Band in order to capture the full sound of his CDs in live performances. "Playing with the Big Bamboo Band required more discipline and concentration than playing solo. It took a while to get used to it. Playing with a band is like playing team sports, and you get the same feelings after a tight performance that you do when you win the big game." True to his plan to produce a CD every year, December 1999 found Jim back in the studio working on his fourth CD, "Bar Stools and Beach Chairs." He took a different approach this time, preferring creative spontaneity to careful planning. "I wanted to feel my way through the project and do some tweaking and changing as we went along." As it turns out "Bar Stools" may be his best effort yet. Along with his customary strong lyrics Jim has produced a work with remarkable musical diversity. Chris Hattingh knew that once again Jim had a winner. "I know that Jim felt some pressure to top "Looking for a Place to Happen," but there is something for everyone on this CD." Jim will direct his efforts to expanding his fan base and touring with the Big Bamboo Band. He will still make time to fish and will always be on the lookout for song material. "I don’t have much to show for my years except some great experiences, and that’s what I write about – the characters I’ve met and the places I’ve been. The thing that is both satisfying and alarming is that most of it is true." Check out some of Jims Tracks below:
Find more music like this on Sojournstar Music Industry Network
Jim will also be perfoming in Richmond Virginia on August 22, 2009 with Sunny Jim for Stars On The Water. Time to be announced. The excerpts here are from Jims website Jim Morris Music! where you will also find full tour schedules and more.

Sol from Alexandria Virginia

Band/Resource Name : Sol
Band/Resource Rep Name : 9th Floor Music

Take two scoops of Funk; throw in a heathly serving of Reggae; stir in a few large cups of deep Piedmont Blues; throw in a pinch of Latin Flavor for spice, and top it off with some Old School R&B. Shake it up and you've got the music of Sol. A venerable pan stew of groove.

Sol leads a collaboration of musicians from the southeast and mid-atlantic US. Sol and his band members are no strangers to the road.

Sol has covered much of the surface of the earth on tour, lighting up venues across North America, Europe, Australia and the Caribbean.

Sol has shared the stage with blues heavyweights such as Taj Mahal, BB King, Cootie Starks, Cool John Ferguson, John Dee Holeman, Robert Randolph, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Derek Trucks and others.

Paying homage to the greats, Sol seeks to bring Roots Music to a new generation of listeners.

Sol's CD release entitled Freedom, features the core musical unit of Sol on guitar and vocals, King George on drums, and Jake D on bass. Also guest appearances by Tim Smith (Squirrel Nut Zippers, Hobex, and Countdown Quartet), as well as members of VA’s reggae groups the Seed and the Alliens. With these special guests, the new album moves from greasy delta grooves to deep reggae, and from stanky funk to soulful R&B.

Here's what some reviewers are saying about the new CD Freedom:

"one of the top 15 CD's of 2008!"- Green Arrow Radio (created by the Funk Soul Music Director at WHUS) placed the album alongside Sean Costello, Taj Mahal, Bill Laswell, PBS, Marcus Miller & more in top picks of 2008!

“Sol is excellent at morphing rock, blues, soul, and reggae, taking it all to a different level and contributing to the evolution of music into- quoting Sly Stone- 'a whole new thing'. Freedom is a great example of this band’s music and a truly enjoyable listening experience”- Len Comaratta- WUVT Music Director

"Sol pulls together funk, soul, blues and reggae elements...

Sol uses his right hand fingers, not a pick, to get his bluesy, dirty-sweet solo lines, and he delivers the raw and tasteful in even helpings....

You have to admire a blues/soul singer who is trying to sound like himself, instead of some old blues guy... Good Party Music... " - Tad Dickens- Press Review

"Sol pours out his heart and soul on Freedom. A must have for any music collection" - Wes Lee- Locals Only Radio (Washington DC area)

Band/Resource Website 1 : http://www.sol-roots.com
Band/Resource Website 2 : http://www.myspace.com/solblues


If your on the East Coast, be sure to sign up for
MusicRVA Social Network!

And Be sure to sign up for the new Sojournstar Music Network!

and if you want to make money while having fun and promoting your band, music or business, then you must
Join me at Weblo Virtual World for Fun & Profit!


By Crystal Snyder

Far down West Broad Street 11:00pm is oddly quiet for a Friday night in Richmond, cars come and go, few people walk the street, but in their hurried rush to get to various clubs and bars they miss my destination, a small pool hall called The Triple.

Upon approaching this unlikely venue, I see several familiar faces, one in particular of the man who had me coming out here in the first place, Seth Nicholls (also of Red Clay Village). Seth was excited, I could tell that from down the street, and his voice belied his cool demeanor as we talked before entering the club. He told me about the bands that were playing that night, and about his new band, the one I came to see, Before the Machine.

I quickly took stock of my surroundings as we entered the bar, blood red walls, a cool tile floor, billiards in the back, and the familiar smell of alcohol and cigarette smoke encompassed my senses, as the first bands music assaulted my ears. I looked for the familiar faces I had seen outside, the other members of Before the Machine, Johnny Throckmorton, Jeb Mease, Chris Ratterree and Mike Lester. Knowing the superb talent they showed in other bands, I felt that this new project had a lot to live up to, I knew then this was going to make for an interesting night.

As the second band took the floor, I talked to some of the other patrons of the bar, all of them excited to see Before the Machine. This was their second show, and as the second band’s set drew to a close, the tension grew thicker, almost suffocating as the guys picked up the instruments that had been so patiently waiting in the corner.

Sound check and tuning commenced as people rose from their various perches like bones rising from the dead, waiting to pass judgment. Then it happened, the first note, the first chord , and Throckmorton took the mic. With a quick shout out of “What’s up RICHMOND?!?!?” Before the Machine had arrived, and even in the Intro it was apparent they were at no less than 110%.

As they slipped into “Blissful“, “Mikie’s Song” and “Eye if the World“, the crowd reaction went from swaying bodies and nodding heads to a full on mosh pit. Mease’s drumming was right on, never once skipping a beat, the phenomenal guitar work of Ratterree and Lester surpassed my expectations, and Nicholls’s bass work rounded out the whole outstanding package.

They ended the night with “Silent Movie” and “The New Song”. Even as the clock approached 2:00am all five members never lost the breakout energy of the Intro. Before the Machine is a ton of talent a mile outside of the box and a live show should not be missed, find out where you can catch them next near you on their MySpace Page!


If your on the East Coast, be sure to sign up for
MusicRVA Social Network!

And Be sure to sign up for the new Sojournstar Music Network!

and if you want to make money while having fun and promoting your band, music or business, then you must
Join me at Weblo Virtual World for Fun & Profit!

Morrissey and Mia Riddle

Christy Sheppard
Thursday, March 19, 2009
Scene + Heard Concert Review: Morrissey at the National and Mia Riddle at Poe's

Sometimes you look forward to a show for a long time and you end up disappointed. Sometimes you hear a band's recorded music and are bummed when you hear them live. Sometimes, though, reality exceeds your expectations.

I saw two shows last week that were excellent. I see a lot of shows. Shows about which I don't usually care enough to write.

These two shows I didn't want to let fade from my ever-waning memory without putting down in writing for all of you (and all of the world!) to see. Hey, I'm a giver.

First, I caught Mia Riddle and Her Band as they stopped through Richmond via Poe's Pub on their way to Austin's SXSW, promoting their album, Tumble and Drag.

I arrived around 8:15 (because I thought the show as supposed to start at 8) and around 10 o'clock all preparation was complete and Mia's band was ready to go.

I'd been listening to their myspace playlist for a few days prior to the event because I never like going to show completely in the blind, and Mia's band is new to me. She sounded just as great in person as she did in recording. She was pop and she was rock, and she was a little country ... a delightful mixture.

Mia's voice continually reminded me of Jenny Lewis'; a comparison most would welcome. Although she did sound a little raspy and admitted she was battling a cold, it didn't distract from her performance and her voice was strong and pleasant.

I don't know if you've ever seen a show at Poe's but the "stage" is rather small. On several occasions I felt like the band really wanted to rock out but were hindered by the size of the stage. Despite the space limitations, they made the most of the night, and our attention spans.

Everyone but Dave Wyss (bass) had a mic; geez, he must really be a bad singer, huh? I kid.

The rest of the band consisted of Amy Merrill (keys, back-up vocals), Dan Barry (guitar, back-up vocals) and Jeff Neuberger (drums, back-up vocals). Mia stuck to singing and the guitar although she also plays the glockenspiel and keys.

Amy and Mia harmonized well and sounded sweet together. At the risk of sounding creepy, Amy had these super delicate fingers that looked as if they were sculpted just for the keys or for rescuing objects that have fallen into really tight spaces (or for stealing food from the vending machine). She had a funny smirk on her face that lasted most of the set. Apparently we were all having a great time.

As a testament to their songwriting skills, I recognized "Grandchildren", "City Song" and "Open Wide" right away and (happily) was even able to sing along.

In red flats that matched Amy's keyboard, Mia stomped and played her way though the set. I'm compelled to liken her to actor-turned-singer Zooey Deschanel; but Mia has a stonger voice and she's cuter, too. Sorry, I'm only into She & Him sans the "She &" part.

This was the first stop on their tour, so naturally they had a few blips here and there but they easily laughed them off. I've seen bands make a big deal out of mistakes and, frankly, peeps, most of us won't notice unless you don't call attention to your screw-ups.

I kept thinking to myself that this little performance deserved more of an audience and perhaps a larger venue. I won't complain, though, I'm glad they stopped by and I'm hoping they'll return. Maybe one day soon, they'll have ample opportunity to show off their talent to larger crowds.

Check out their video for "Open Wide" on YouTube.

The next night, myself and a few friends ventured our way out to the National to see the legendary Morrissey.

I've said this before, but I've never been a really big fan of his or of the Smiths, the band he used to front. This only means I had no idea what to expect and that I was blown away by what I saw and heard.

The guy is pushing 50 and he ran that stage like it was his, umm ... let's just say he showed everyone who was boss. Looking like a mixture between Dr. Troy McNamara (Nip/Tuck) and Robin Williams (in looks and in stage presence, respectively) he commanded the attention of every face in the crowd.

The stage was set up so the Moz had plenty of space to stalk around, whipping the mic cord to and fro. Picture a bullfighter with his cape ... with imaginary bulls coming at him from every direction.

I recognized more songs than I'd expected to, and when that insane riff from "How Soon Is Now?" started, nearly everyone in the sold out crowd of 1,500 took to their feet.

As big a ham as Morrissey was, his band wasn't leaving without making its presence felt. Drummer Matt Walker rocked an impressive set of drums that included an 18-wheeler-tire-sized bass and even a gong. Chris Bopst said recently, "The larger the drum set, the more likely the band is going blow." Sorry, Chris, but in at least this instance, that argument fails. (read the article here)

Moz sang the line 'But then you open your eyes and you see someone that you physically despise' from "Let Me Kiss You" at the precise moment he decided to remove shirt number two of three for the evening (if the timing was unintentional I'll eat my chucks). He'd already briefly left the stage long enough to change from a blue and white checkered print into the black dress shirt he was currently removing.

When he took off said black dress shirt, it was just too much for one excited fan to handle. This super-fan squeezed his way through a team of scowling security guards and chased Morrissey off-stage, dragging annoyed staff-members along with him. In line with the theme of the night (Morrissey is touring in support of his latest album, Years of Refusal), this eager-beaver wasn't giving up without a fight.

An unphased Morrissey reappeared in less than 5; donning another button-down ... this one pink.

Everything about the show was huge: the sound, the production, the enthusiasm, the egos.

All week I'd been a little skeptical as to whether he'd even show up (many shows had been cancelled prior to this one). Luckily he didn't let us down. Maybe he showed because it was Friday the 13th, maybe not. Whatever the reason, I'm glad I was there.

Morrissey on myspace | Mia Riddle on myspace

NOTE: Christy Sheppard is an established writer with publications like Richmond.com and was kind enough to share this article with us. We look forward to many more of Christy Sheppards writing contributions. Keep watching.


If your on the East Coast, be sure to sign up for
MusicRVA Social Network!

And Be sure to sign up for the new Sojournstar Music Network!

and if you want to make money while having fun and promoting your band, music or business, then you must
Join me at Weblo Virtual World for Fun & Profit!

Eric Margan And The Red Lions


New York-based indie-chamber rock musicians, Eric Margan & the Red Lions, present their debut release Midnight Book (March 17, 2009/Self-Released). Drawing from years of classical training and a personal devotion to modern jazz and classic rock, the talented songwriter/multi-instrumentalist/front man, Eric Margan, makes an original and sophisticated entrance with an impressive collection of 12 incredible tracks in Midnight Book.
The debut album for 22-year-old Margan resonates as a somber, theatrical novel - complete with love, tragedy, heartbreak, and revival. Midnight Book, as the title might imply, is best experienced from "cover to cover." Midnight Book delivers stellar and distinctive compositions, augmented by ensnaring and intriguing lyrical poetry, leading the listener into an introspective musical journey.

The album opens with "An Ocean Blue", a swirling, seductive tapestry of orchestral grandeur, seemingly emerging from the darkest depths of the piano and sets the stage for a colossal, metaphor-laden song cycle. As the pages of Midnight Book turn, the love story that began so triumphantly begins to unravel in Margan's "A Speckled Mind." It is here that Margan displays the delicate touch of an impressionist painter, through the juxtaposition of orchestral strings combined with a powerful yet poignant drum and bass polyrhythm.

The album's standout "Old Man River" is the turning point in the story, full of grandiose and massively cinematic crescendo. Margan's colorful plot thickens to a soaring climax, telling a story of an estranged marriage - complete with twists, turns, murder and revenge.

Margan appropriately concludes his heavy narrative with the relatively bare instrumentation of strings, piano, voice and guitar. The last notes are imminent, chords that are prepared to leave their final impression - but not without a last fighting chance.

Born and raised in Columbia County of Upstate New York, Eric Margan's musical endeavors started at just nine years old when he began studying flute. It was when he turned 14 that the hobby had become a potential career. He began treading new waters with the formation of his first band - a three-piece rock group in which he was a co-songwriter, bassist, and singer. Margan furthered his bass skills by participating in various jazz ensembles and combos throughout his high school years. Furthering his music studies, he brought together his classical training with his passion for modern rock and live performance with the addition of the talented musicians that make up the Red Lions.

A stellar line-up of musicians was assembled to augment Margan's music on stage, including drummer Jim Bertini, bassists Scott Kellerhouse and Vince Chiarito, keyboardist Zachary Seman and guitarist/flutist/vocalist Johanna Warren. Live performances and Midnight Book also feature various string, woodwind and brass players.

Eric Margan and the Red Lions are rapidly earning the respect and admiration of fans and bands alike, from opening for such acts as the Benevento Russo Duo and L.A.-based Bittersweet, to recording sessions with Pete Seeger and Richie Havens, as well as playing a multitude of shows in the Northeastern United States.

What critics have been saying about Eric Margan and the Red Lions:

"There are a number of acts that are currently creating music right now that I would call good, but I would have to downgrade them to "passable" just so I could get the proper amount of distance to the "great" that I would assess to Eric Margan & The Red Lions. "Midnight Book" should be seen as a "must-have" album…"-NeuFutur Magazine

"Elegant, sophisticated and refreshingly open-hearted, singer-guitarist Margan pens wonderfully literate and melodically inventive songs that he has orchestrated for a most unusual but oh-so effective ensemble of musicians featuring drums, bass, keyboards, violin, cello, clarinet and flute. This is Chamber music for the 21st Century, and it simply sparkles." -Greg Haymes, The Times Union

"Eric Margan's songs and aesthetic are from another time: His musical influences seem drawn entirely from before he was born. His jazz-leaning, ornate, orchestral pop is unlike anything that's come out of the Capital Region in as long as we can remember, and the band's busy gig schedule has amassed them a devoted, even defensive, fan base. Trust us: This band will be going places." -John Brodeur, Metroland

Eric Margan and the Red Lions will begin touring this spring in support of Midnight Book. The confirmed list of shows is as follows:

February 13, The College of Saint Rose, Albany, NY February 21, (PRE-CD RELEASE SHOW) The Bowery Poetry Club, New York, NY March 5, Muddy Cup, Albany, NY March 13, (CD RELEASE SHOW) Valentines, Albany, NY March 17, Banjo Jims, New York, NY March 18-22, SXSW Music Festival, Austin, TX March 30, The Living Room, New York, NY April 3, Valentines Upstairs, Albany, NY April 4, Bard College, Annadale-on-Hudson, NY

More dates will be released at Eric Margan

Eric Margan MP3


If your on the East Coast, be sure to sign up for
MusicRVA Social Network!

And Be sure to sign up for the new Sojournstar Music Network!

and if you want to make money while having fun and promoting your band, music or business, then you must
Join me at Weblo Virtual World for Fun & Profit!

Video Review for Lamb of God "Set to Fail"


Feb. 25, 2009
On the Set of "Set to Fail"
Author - Ayne Bales

“We need fans who are wiling to get slammed around for 12 hours in Richmond, VA on January 9.”

This was the casting call put out by RVA’s Lamb of God for their first video off the new album Wrath. They weren’t kidding either. Not only was this an extraordinary experience for the seventy or so friends and fans packed into the third floor of Sound of Music Studios, it was an exercise in endurance. Go find the largest clothes dryer you can. Put yourself, your iPod cranked as loud as it will go, a few random blunt objects (to simulate elbows and fists), and three or four pairs of sweaty gym socks into this dryer. Turn the dryer on, listen to the same song for eight hours, and you’ll start to have an idea what it was like to be in “Set to Fail”. The thing you’ll be missing is how much freaking fun it was.

Initially I figured this would be a ‘live’ shoot, with the band on a stage and the crowd in front. Instead we walked into a room with nothing but Chris’s drums on a low riser, a couple of prop amps, and plain white lighting. We were about to get up close and personal with one of the hottest metal acts out there today. Our instructions amounted to “mosh, don’t look directly into the camera, and try not to hurt the band members”.

Over the next eight hours we head-banged, slammed, crowd surfed, and generally wreaked havoc. I saw Willie accidentally give someone a black eye with his guitar. Randy broke three of my toes. We were having too much fun to care. The song absolutely rocked. If you haven’t heard it yet you need to go directly to the closest record store and pick up a copy of Wrath – you won’t be disappointed. This was a low budget shoot with only one camera, and I was impressed with not only the crowd but the video crew – they did an amazing job. Despite the close quarters and rather diverse crowd no one lost their cool, if someone went down twenty hands were there picking them up. This may have been due in part to another email sent to everyone invited to the shoot… “Don’t be a dick. Lamb of God will think you’re lame if you act like a dick.”

During our downtime I met fans from as far away as Dallas and Chicago. That’s dedication. The band members and crew were extremely gracious and friendly, as they always are. (Does Willie ever stop smiling?) Together the band and the fans made this a day no one there will soon forget. How often do you get to spend the day with your favorite band AND get to be in one of their videos? Whether you see them in the grocery store on a regular basis or only on television, it was honor to participate.

The end result is a video just as raw and gritty as the song itself. “Set to Fail” will not disappoint fans. In typical Lamb of God fashion it sounds like nothing they’ve done before, and the advances in musicianship and vocals are obvious. The new album is nothing short of amazing, even returning to the bands original instrumental roots on the opening track “The Passing”. The hometown boys continue to not only be some of the nicest guys in the business; they continue to be the best at what they do – making pure American metal.

Check out the bands MySpace Page for more!

Photo Credits – Ayne Bales and James Taylor


If your on the East Coast, be sure to sign up for
MusicRVA Social Network!

And Be sure to sign up for the new Sojournstar Music Network!

and if you want to make money while having fun and promoting your band, music or business, then you must
Join me at Weblo Virtual World for Fun & Profit!

Travis St.Charles

Sitting at a low table at the back of a coffee shop, I looked down at my watch and scanned the dim interior, waiting. I looked at my notes, scatted thoughts and questions I had planned out, deciding on a plan of attack. Looking up again I saw the subject of my interview. Standing at about 6'6, dressed in all black with long dark hair, he was not hard to spot. I studied him for a moment, tattoos of skulls and the like adorned his forearms, and scanning his face revealed a pierced eyebrow and lip. This was the guy all right. Not really knowing what to expect, I stood, waved him over and introduced myself.

Travis St.Charles is a young talent on the Richmond music scene, and over the next hour I learned how this laid back guitarist triumphed in the face of adversity and found his footing in creating and sharing what he loves, music.

C~ Well time to go dig in the archives of your musical life...

St.Charles- Go for it.

C~ first and foremost: How long have you been playing?

St.Charles -All together, about 7 years now.

C~ Just guitar?

St.Charles- [Nods] Mhm.

C~ Nice. When did you know that guitar was what you wanted to play?...Why not be a drummer?

St.Charles - Well, guitar was the first thing I started on. I remember being about...hm, I guess 11 or 12, my mother showed me Metallica, and I remember liking the way Kirk Hammett played, so I guess he was my main inspiration. I tried drums at one point, but I'm really terrible at multitasking, hahaha.

C~ Ha-ha. You anticipated my next question...Any other than Hammett you would like to mention?

St.Charles- Oh a few. The guy that taught me how to play, a guy named Randy Scantling, always said that if, "Kirk Hammett, Dimebag Darrell, and Chuck Schuldiner, all had a bastard love child who played guitar, it would be you." [Laughs and pauses] I don't think I'm as good as any of them, but they're definitely my main influences.

C~ Do you have any main influences outside of musicians?

St.Charles- Both of my parents, but especially my dad. It will probably make me sound like a spoiled brat, but my father always bought at least half of the gear I currently own, he was always helping me out, and was always my biggest supporter. I guess that's really it...

C~ Well we've talked about where your roots are, lets fast forward to the bands in your life. Now I know about Fall of Vanity, can I get a timeline on that one or previous bands?

St.Charles- Sure thing. I joined Fall of Vanity in...the middle of May, 2007, after my previous band, Curse The Memory, had disbanded. Fall of Vanity is definitely the biggest thing I've done so far, including a sold out battle of the bands, in July of 2008. I joined them in May, after their other guitarist had quit the band, and they had a show that weekend, so I had about 5 days to learn four songs. [laughs] That was fun...

C~ ha-ha I can imagine. And now that Fall is sadly no more you are working, or at least attempting to work on, a new band, yes?

St.Charles- Yes, I'm currently -trying- to work on a new band, [laughs]. Setbacks keep happening, but I'm as vigilant as ever, and want to keep going! Right now, it's just myself, a bass player, and a drummer, so we're at least writing songs.

C~ Have you guys come up with a name for this project?

St.Charles- At the moment, no, we don't have a name yet. We agreed that we want at least 4 or 5 songs before we do that.

C~ Writing songs, that’s always an interesting process. Between the three of you how does a song come about?

St.Charles- Between the three of us, I usually write most of the parts. Bryan, (bass) will usually come up with a way, if I'm stuck, on how to either extend a part, harmonize it, or figure out a way to go into the next part. Herbert (drums), is also good at giving suggestions like that. Hell, he figured out how to fix one part of our song the other night.

C~ How often do you guys practice?

St.Charles -At the moment, 2-3 times a week. I tend to write a lot better when I'm on my own, and then we all come together for a structure.

C~ Makes sense...Knowing the band is a fairly new and not yet a whole deal, I understand if this question is tricky, but at the moment, is there a general sound backing the songs?

St.Charles -Well, with the song we have right now, it's interesting. [chuckles and pauses] It starts off as something you might hear on an old In Flames song, and then goes into something you might hear in an As I Lay Dying song, then it goes into a groove oriented part....then back into the fast, thrashy stuff. [as an afterthought] It's a very interesting song. I have one song in the works right now, that's just very, very aggressive, I started writing it after my father died.

C~ I see how something like that would be such a big influence on your music...Where else do you tend to find inspiration, with the band or otherwise?

St.Charles -Honestly, as cliché as it may sound, I draw a lot of my inspiration from my emotions on how I feel, with everyday things, and there’s a lot of stress in my life right now. So everything tends to be much more aggressive. Where as everything I was writing in Fall of Vanity, was very...melodic, and in odd time signatures. I'm still doing that with this new project, but it has more edge to it.

C~ Now obviously every local musician dreams of becoming a successful rockstar, love and adored by all, or hated by all depending on the genre and general look. What is your definition of a "successful rockstar"?

St.Charles -Someone who keeps writing and playing because they enjoy it. They're not out there to really impress anyone, even though we're happy when we do, but on our own terms.

C~ What would you like to say to the scene? To Richmond? If you could sell yourself right now as to why you WILL make it, and what makes you different, what would you say?

St.Charles - I don't write breakdown after breakdown in my songs, and I refuse to work with a vocalist that doesn't write real lyrics. That being said, I devote myself almost fanatically to my music, where as many of the people on the Richmond scene, don't. They just don't care, which is fine, but I do.

C~ I want to thank you for taking the time to talk with me this evening, it is obvious you are passionate and will go places if you keep the attitude you harbor now.

I will do my best to bring you-up to-the-"as-soon-as-I-get-them"-updates on Mr. St.Charles and all of his endeavors. Till then, support your scene, tip your bartenders, and never stop listening!!

C~ Travis, anything you would like to add?

St.Charles- Yeah. Come and see me play!


If your on the East Coast, be sure to sign up for
MusicRVA Social Network!

And Be sure to sign up for the new Sojournstar Music Network!

and if you want to make money while having fun and promoting your band, music or business, then you must
Join me at Weblo Virtual World for Fun & Profit!


If your on the East Coast, be sure to sign up for
MusicRVA Social Network!

And Be sure to sign up for the new Sojournstar Music Network!

and if you want to make money while having fun and promoting your band, music or business, then you must
Join me at Weblo Virtual World for Fun & Profit!

You’re that damn good! No, really.

Read a great article by Forest George on the old blog. I dont want to move this one because it has comments.

MusicRVA Articles and Reviews: You’re that damn good! No, really.


If your on the East Coast, be sure to sign up for
MusicRVA Social Network!

And Be sure to sign up for the new Sojournstar Music Network!

and if you want to make money while having fun and promoting your band, music or business, then you must
Join me at Weblo Virtual World for Fun & Profit!

Halflit Halo at the Canal Club

Halflit Halo burns bright.

Late last year the rock scene in Richmond VA had some big things happening; some of the best known bands on the scene were breaking up and reforming, only to find that they couldn’t get the “right fit” for their personal and professional taste. In September 2007 Jeb Bach, Peyton Dowdy (formally of Fallen Under) and Chris White decided to give this “new band thing” a shot. After finding local vocal talent Kevin Hagaman (formally of Memory Fade, Fail-Safe, and Kabura) and drummer Stuart “Tripp” Coughlin (formally of Chalkline Beauty) the stage was set and Halflit Halo was born.

Walking in to Canal Club I was a bit skeptical at first, I had heard good things about these guys, personally and musically, but I have always been one to not believe everything I hear and only half of what I read, so I got my hands X‘ed and with innate curiosity surveyed the club. Immediately upon scanning CC I noticed five guys that seemed to be everywhere at once, from the bar to the stage to the tables in between their energy was unparalleled, this I said to myself should be quite the show.

Searching for Timothy got up on stage and opened up the show with a blast of energy and an amazing sound that really got the crowd going. After the intensity that was SFT the next band had a lot to live up to, As Summer Dies a hardcore band from Buffalo NY, rocked the house with a sound and light show that left us all wondering, how can any band top that?

With intense vocals, haunting melodies and copious amounts of energy, Halflit Halo took to the stage and summoned every ounce of emotion and talent they could muster. The fans and the other bands looked on in awe as the first notes of the set rang out. One could easily get lost in the passionate and poignant lyrics of “The Passing” and as they slipped into “Bitter End” and “Eulogy in Transilence” I was struck with a realization: these songs were not just something written to fill a record, each one of these pieces of art meant something to them and in turn conveyed the deepest emotions that seem to get lost in Halflit Halos’ offstage happy-go-lucky personas. However the night was not all dark and heavy, in between songs the mood was upbeat and lively as the guys joked around and laughed about this and that. After “Seeping”, “Say Goodbye” and “Fire Escape from Purgatory” (a personal favorite) they revealed a guest singer for their last song, “Divine Judgment”. A more hardcore song, Gregg Reynolds, jumped up on stage and screamed right on time, complementing Hagaman’s voice beautifully; it was truly a marvelous ending to a spectacular show.

Halflit Halo definitely has proven themselves time and time again as a new force to be reckoned with on the scene, with a stunning live show and a mastered sound that’s all their own, these guys are sure to be a staple on the RVA circuit for a long time to come.

For more info where you can catch HH next, check out the bands official myspace at


Author: Crystal Snyder
Crystals MusicRVA Profile


If your on the East Coast, be sure to sign up for
MusicRVA Social Network!

And Be sure to sign up for the new Sojournstar Music Network!

and if you want to make money while having fun and promoting your band, music or business, then you must
Join me at Weblo Virtual World for Fun & Profit!

Thousand Yard Stare Review at Alley Katz

Thousand Yard Stare- RVA
Alley Katz, 7/25/08, 10:00PM

A Taste of Thousand Yard Stare

2007 was a great year for the RVA metal scene, with spectacular bands coming out of the woodworks like college kids to beer, it really was a year to go big or go home. If one was to ask around for the best bands in the local metal niche the answers found would vary greatly, but there would be one definite constant, Thousand Yard Stare. Founded in 2006 by Jason Brown and Scot Long (both formerly of Undone and Preshus) and rounding out their sound with Rodney Barnett, Garrett Grubbs (formerly of 15 Minutes of Shame) and Chris Rutherford (former singer for Preshus) these guys enjoyed much success in the local scene, but change was coming.

Fast forward to February of 2008, Thousand Yard Stare hadn’t had a show since November and was searching for a new guitarist. Hope was not far off, however, because out of the ashes of Burn to the Core stepped Ben Rinker ready to take on duties as axeman for this metal machine. After five months holed up in practice and writing, local metal heads held their breath when TYS made the announcement that they would return to the stage, at non-other than Alley Katz.

Many of the locals wondered if these metal mad dogs would have the same power they once had, could they reclaim the title as one of Richmond’s best? Even after a seven month disappearance and a change in the lineup?

At 10:00 on July 25th I found myself walking through the familiar foyer of Alley Katz to find out just that. Standing in the familiar smoke filled room, I saw many faces I had become accustomed to seeing at only the best shows, these were the faces of guys and chicks who knew their metal, and this was judgment day. The chilled atmosphere surrounding the crowd during the first bands set, slowly became more attentive and tense as the members of TYS started to recede back to corner where their instruments waited. Watching the crowd I noticed a keen sense of curiosity over Rinka, the new comer, there was some buzz about if indeed he could compare to Rodney Barnett, a key component in the TYS of yesteryear.

Tuning came and tuning went, without even a hint of what was to come, these guys were good at keeping a crowd in suspense. All eyes in the room were on the stage and it seemed as though even the walls held their breath, the lights went down and Rutherford stepped up to the mic, and after a shout out of “what’s up Richmond?” came a thunderous assault on the ears, Thousand Yard Stare had returned.

With heavy riffs, machine gun rhythm and melodic madness right out of the gate, it was clear from the first note that they were here to conquer. From “Residence” to “A Chance Meeting” to “The Dead in The Corner” Rutherford’s powerful vocals and primal screams were dead on, and with Brown, Long, Grubbs, and Rinka doing their thing as only the best can, it became clear that not only had Thousand Yard Stare returned, Thousand Yard Stare was here to stay.

After a few shout outs and thank yous from the band (Chris from Alley Katz, Justin from Saint Diablo (for running lights), The Bartender, NUMA, Remembrance, and Halflit Halo) The band proceeded to dedicate a song, “Fascist Freaks,” to Rob Baylor (original member of Preshus) who couldn’t resist the opportunity to rejoin his old bandmates, and jumped up on the stage to sing.

The crowd was going nuts from the first note to the last, the moshing got intense and the head banging even more so, Thousand Yard Stare is incredible blend of raw talent, high energy, in your face metal, that is sure to raise the standard of new and old bands alike. A live show shouldn’t be missed.

By: Crystal Snyder


If your on the East Coast, be sure to sign up for
MusicRVA Social Network!

And Be sure to sign up for the new Sojournstar Music Network!

and if you want to make money while having fun and promoting your band, music or business, then you must
Join me at Weblo Virtual World for Fun & Profit!

Music and Mayhem: The Metal Scene of Richmond Virginia

Richmond is a city unlike any other, it is a city that over the years has seen more than its share of violence, reform, and peace. This history has shaped the culture in many ways, but the thing I’m most interested in is how this city’s rough past lends itself to the sound of its metal scene today.

Walking down Mainstreet Richmond it is 9:30 at night and my friends and I are all carefully reading the street signs, there is one we don’t want to miss again. Suddenly I spot it- Walnut Alley, so I speak up “ladies and gentlemen, we have arrived.” the crew and I turn down the alley. There is a small door to the right with the words “Alley Katz” on it in chipping, peeling paint. This is our final destination.

Upon opening the door our eyes have to adjust to the light, the familiar smell of alcohol and cigarette smoke softly plays with our senses. “money and ids! Have money and ids ready!” a rather beefy security guard is sitting at the counter, he is a nice guy but a little impatient.

I go first, “Age?” he asks, “18” I reply. He looks at the id then looks at me, satisfied, he takes my money and puts “Xs” on my hands. My friends are put through the same procedure. When all of us are stamped, we walk through another doorway and take a small, dark, narrow hall that veers off to the left. The end of this passageway opens up into a large, dimly lit room. Immediately there is a change in smells. The cigarette smoke and alcohol seem almost stifling but as my lungs adjust, the smell becomes just another part of the experience and almost comforting.

Walking up to the stage I scan the sea of fifty or so people there already. Ripped jeans, dark eyeliner, band shirts, long hair, tattoos, an odd piercings are the norm for this crowd. I’m looking for one person in particular, “Crystal” I hear the familiar voice of my cousin off to my right, “Hey!” I reply and we hug. “Nice turnout tonight eh?” I say, “Yeah” he replies, this show is his bands debut and he is trying to conceal his excitement.

Ben motions for me to follow him, I leave my friends and walk with him to the back where the musicians instruments are sitting, waiting for their for their time. Ben shows me a sticker the band had made, a sticker that showcased a design that I had created for them. “That’s awesome!” I exclaim, and Ben looks pleased with my reaction.

By this time the first band has taken the stage and their first set has begun. Their music is so loud I can feel it in my bones, a feeling that cannot be matched by anything else on earth. When the music starts it fills the endless caverns of the mind with thoughts and images only found in the darkest corners of the human soul. It feeds upon the energy, emotions and thoughts of the listener leaving one helpless to the raw talent pounding through the speakers. It is this kind of assault on the senses that Richmond metal lovers live for.

One of Ben’s band mates walks over and yells something in his ear. Ben looks up, his face lit with excitement, a devilish grin crosses his face as he turns to go. I watch him walk away with a swagger only a true rockstar could pull off. He’s excited, he’s nervous but mostly he’s confidant. I know this show is going to be spectacular.

Several events leading up to that night at Alley Katz had peaked my interest in the local metal scene. One being the promotion before and after the Avenged Sevenfold concert at local hotspot Toads Place. Many of the local bands, knowing the type of audience Avenged Sevenfold attracts, were set up outside, passing out stickers, CDs, and flyers to anyone they could.

The next day I met up with Ben at the family Thanksgiving get-together. Ben had no idea I was into metal and I had no idea that he was in a metal band. He invited me to their debut show at Alley Katz and opened up a Pandora’s Box into a whole new world, and I thirsted for knowledge about this gritty underworld of local metal.

When did it come about? How had it changed? What is the cultural connection? And where can I get one of those awesome belts? Ok, so scratch that last question, but regardless of the awesome belt or not, I still wanted to investigate the rest.

The groundwork for Richmond’s metal scene was laid 147 years ago. In 1861 the most recent war to be fought on American soil began, it was a war that pitted Southern Americans against their Northern counterparts, and Richmond was right in the middle. Bodies in the street and the James River running red with blood was a common sight in this dark time in Richmond’s history. The city that once strived with life had been completely torched twice and was now forced to admit defeat. However the Southern heart still pulsed with pride and this coupled with its angry history led Richmond to develop its own sound, an infusion of folk and Southern rock, sprinkled with the heated passion of the city’s inhabitants forefathers.

Reconstruction came and went ,as did the turn of the century and as Americas landscape changed new music began seeping into the cultural cesspool. New Orleans had jazz and blues, New York had disco, Seattle had grunge, and Los Angeles had psychedelic drug induced music. For a while it seemed that the music scene had become stagnant in Richmond Virginia, but something was brewing under the surface, something dark, something heavy, a beast that would be nigh untamable, metal was coming.

In 1990 three floor mates at Virginia Commonwealth University realized they had a small problem; nobody was playing the type of music they liked. Sure there were some great punk bands but they wanted something more Black Sabbath than The Sex Pistols. So Mark Morton, Chris Adler and John Campbell came to one conclusion, they had to start their own band, thus Lamb of God was born.

Lamb of God didn’t reach their full potential until around early 2000. Over the course of the 90s the band had been a constant staple on the tight-knit local scene, however they had gone through a few lineup changes due to wishes for higher education and differences in opinion of band direction, leaving them crippled with a lack of stability. It was in 1999 that the permanent line up of Lamb of God which included founding members Morton, Campbell, and Adler along with Randy Blythe on vocals and Adler’s younger brother Willie on guitar was formed.

This new found stability and a rigid practice schedule, set the stage for stardom for these old dominion born boys, but the success of Lamb of God would prove to be much more than a dream come true, it would in fact become the driving force of the American metal movement, and Richmond Virginia became the perfect home for the hardcore.

Alongside Lamb of God the rise of GWAR, Strike Anywhere , Agnostic Front, and Avail have all received national recognition for their music, along with national underground favorites such as Four Walls Falling, Swamp Thing, Bracewar, Cast Aside, Impulse and Ten-33. I got curious during my research, I wondered if with all of the hardcore resurgence and the spotlight glaring on Richmond if there was a pressure on the smaller local bands to “fit the mold“

Who better to ask than a member of a local band? When I asked if there was a “pressure to fit the mold” Ben Rinker of Thousand Yard Stare had this to say;
“Not at all, we’re just fortunate to live in a place where bands can get noticed. RVA is a great jumping off spot for local bands. There’s no pressure at all because first and foremost music is about expression, and as long as you’re happy with what you do then that’s all that matters. Some bands have worked really hard to get where they are in their careers to be able to do this for a living. Sure everyone dreams of being rockstars but we all are local rockstars in our own little way. we play because it feels good to play. It feels good to be creative, and it feels good knowing that everyone has a blast at local shows.”(Interview: Ben Rinker)

Ben mentioned having to work really hard to be able to do this for a living, I held the belief that this was a true statement any where if a band was on the local level, I soon however found out otherwise. John Campbell of the afore mentioned internationally acclaimed Lamb of God was quoted as saying;
"To this day, we practice five days a week out of necessity. The bands in Richmond can flat outplay you and if you don't practice, they will blow you off the stage”

Back at Alley Katz as I watch Burn to the Core take the stage and start setting up, many questions are running through my mind, I love my cousin dearly but being that this is not only their debut to the world, but the debut for me as well and, considering I have brought my friends with me I hope he wont let me down.

The radio “filler” entertainment has come on as we all hold our breath waiting for the tuning to begin. I scan the room for my friends, they have scattered here and there, talking to the other bands who mingle with the crowd and I busy myself by finding the bassist from the first band and asking him about their merchandise and any promo deals I can scratch up.

After some small talk, I walk with him up to the stage. My friends migrate to where I am as the last note of the tuning process hangs in the air, this is it, no turning back. I take a quick sweeping glance around the room all eyes were on the stage. Then it happens, the first note, that first chord rings out and the crowd around me goes nuts. The power surging from the instruments that have been sitting so docile before is surreal, I can feel it coursing through every fiber of my being. For a moment I look away from the band and see the look on the faces of the crowd and for a single moment it takes me back to the crowd at the Avenged Sevenfold show, the pure awe that takes over their countenance and the look in their eyes are reminiscent of not a local show in a shiesty bar but of a sold out concert in Madison Square Gardens. I realized at that moment I was staring at the heartbeat that pumps the blood of the underground metal scene not only in Richmond but across the nation. I can see what Lamb of God has to be so worried about.

I look over at the bassist for the first band and he too is seemingly in shock, and as I turn my attention back to the stage I can see Ben in a whole new light, he’s not just my cousin, he’s not just another guy in a band, Ben is a rockstar plain and simple. And the other bands in the room, came to that very same conclusion that night.

I sat down and had a chat with Saint Diablo, a local band that has had some widespread acclaim along the east coast. I asked them, from a traveling bands perspective, how is the Richmond metal scene different from any other city? Their reply confirmed my belief that history does have a role on the sound of the hardcore sound of Richmond.

“The scene here in Richmond is great! All the bands support each other, from the guys that are just starting to the bands that are signed! You can go out to any metal show here and you will see really good bands! Richmond has a lot of talented bands. We (Saint Diablo) are on the road a lot and we always hear how much other bands want to play in Richmond. A few years ago I think the fan base here for metal wasn’t that great, but now with new clubs opening up and more traffic for outside of the area to come in has help bring life back to the crowds and bands that are here! I think this town has always been a heavy based music scene and its good to see it stronger than ever now!!!”(interview: Saint Diablo)

Little echoes of our great city’s history are every where, from the historic buildings and the old money last names, to the huge oak trees and timely traditions to the museums and cemeteries filled with reminders of great Richmonders long dead, nothing in the city is without a story, and the Richmond metal scene is bringing that story to life one beat, one chord, one scream at a time. The camaraderie felt by the bands is much like that of the soldiers, the bass notes are the sound of them marching off to battle, the drumbeats are the cannons, and the primal screams are the agony of defeat in a city so proud.

However the music does differ in one way to war and the agonies of unrest, the music brings people together, people seek refuge amidst the shiesty bars and dubious clubs. These people do not see just the history but they see the future, they see peace and solace in this gritty world, in Ben’s words;
“the Richmond scene is like a big incestuous family, there’s always bands splitting up and new ones forming….”(Interview: Ben Rinker) Old endings and new beginnings Richmond is a phoenix, her wings are the music in her streets but her heart, muscle and soul belong to her metal scene.

By Crystal Snyder


If your on the East Coast, be sure to sign up for
MusicRVA Social Network!

And Be sure to sign up for the new Sojournstar Music Network!

and if you want to make money while having fun and promoting your band, music or business, then you must
Join me at Weblo Virtual World for Fun & Profit!

The Prospect of Real Rap

About three years ago at a small and frequently visited night spot in Warsaw, Virginia, namely Anna’s, two of the most well rounded musicians the Northern Neck has to offer met for the first time and began a musical career as both friends and occasional partners.

The night began as most nights do at Anna’s, enjoying a few drinks while listening to various strangers and friends trying their voices at karaoke. As the night progressed, J Rock was approached by Brian Sprouse, a friend of Prospect South, and was asked if interested in doing a free style session with Prospect South. Not a typical free style battle, but more of a game of wits and a friendly jam session, J Rock agreed and along with Prospect South, they made their mark and began a friendship that has helped both musical careers along, and has now grown into a brotherhood or adoptive family.

Merriam-Webster’s Online Dictionary defines the word prospect as, “…an extensive view and/or the act of looking forward“. Furthermore Merriam-Webster‘s Online Dictionary also offers, “…prospect also implies expectation of a particular event, condition, or development of definite interest and concern“. All of the above meanings and definitions apply to an artist from Hendersonville, North Carolina, Prospect South, who firmly believes in karma (what goes around, comes around), and hopes to open people’s eyes and change the world with his music.

Thomas Clinton Elkins, aka Prospect South, uses inspiration from his personal life and experiences to create dynamic synthesized sounds and electronic beats, accompanied by vocals that demand your attention and make you think, both evident in his original song “Originality by Definition”. Prospect South ensures a good show, by getting into the zone, and getting the crowd into his music and performance. His music not only appeals to fans who fall into the Rap and Hip Hop genres, but also anyone who is willing to listen and to people who want to learn. He has released two records, Southern Engineer and Change the World, which will be made available to itunes, Napster, Rhapsody, and Emusic in the near future.

J Rock, aka Jerrell Golden, hails from the Northern Neck town of Tappahannock, where one day during high school study hall, he and his friend Clarence Taylor were visiting a website, when his first performance name, Golden Boy was born. With the help of his home boys, the name stuck, and shortly after he and some friend started a group Solja Squad. Later on in his musical career J Rock left Solja Squad and joined Zero Professionals, then deciding to bring real rap back into the fold, he left and started his new career as J Rock.

Since graduating and striking out on his own, J Rock has played many shows, including Tappahannock’s annual summer event, Rivafest, and has recorded a demo entitled Thinking Out Loud Part Two: The Birth of My Grind. Along with the help of friend and adoptive brother Prospect South, J Rock has risen above conflict and strife in the refreshing and monumental task of bringing real rap back into the musical fold. He has done this with bold lyrics, a free thinking mentality and the ability to improvise and get into the zone, while producing songs and compositions that define him and what he represents. The thing that aids J Rock in his musical career is that his music is not aimed at on demographics, but appeals to a diverse fan vase, and welcomes anyone who wants to experience a fresher side of rap. J Rock describes his fan base and directed audience as “anyone who and everyone who is willing to listen“. It is this concept that helps drive J Rock and continues to boost his reputation.

Since their first meeting, the two musicians have recorded demos, separately and together, played shows, and helped each other along. But first and foremost, as both will tell you, they are not just friends but a part of each other’s family. “Prospect is my thesaurus, my encyclopedia, and my internet man. If I can’t think of a word or definition or if my web pages need work, this is my go to man, he’s almost like my step father or brother”, says J Rock of the bond they share. “I totally agree with J (Rock), if he needs me I’m there and vice versa, believe it or not, if I stutter or lose my place he can pick it back up for me”, Prospect offers about the friendship. These two friends and adoptive family members produce good music, both separately and together, have a good time, and help each other along when the other needs it. This gives them a unique advantage over other artists and musicians in the Northern Neck- the ability to gain valuable insight from another musician at a moments notice, and receive beneficial feedback and necessary criticism.

Both J Rock and Prospect South are currently working on their next albums, making their names and music known, and building their musical careers and reputations. Prospect hopes to release his next demo and promote his music within the next year, and also hopes to show mainstream music something new and fresh and change the way people listen to music over the next few years. J Rock and Prospect South would both like to thank the fans and BFLC, and Brian Sprouse. Namely Prospect thanks his mother Cindy and his step father Rick, his father, his new family (Karen and the girls and his son Robbie), J Rock, and the South (that includes Virginia). J Rock would like to thank his supportive mother Theresa Golden, his girlfriend and daughter, and Prospect South. For more information on J Rock and Prospect South, visit their Myspace pages and look for Prospects music on itunes, Napster, Rhapsody, and Emusic.

Zach Jefferies
Prospect South and J Rock Article


If your on the East Coast, be sure to sign up for
MusicRVA Social Network!

And Be sure to sign up for the new Sojournstar Music Network!

and if you want to make money while having fun and promoting your band, music or business, then you must
Join me at Weblo Virtual World for Fun & Profit!

Walking The Line

Chalkline Beauty, a band who hails from the Commonwealth’s capitol city, combines their insatiable appetite for having a good time with the ability to play good music with a fresh sound and shockingly strong vocals. The band began in 2006 with Rashad and Jeff hanging out in their Richmond apartment having a chill and mellow time, and consists of Rashad (vocals), Jeff (guitar), Chris (guitar), Joe (bass), and a new drummer, Adam Sowder.

Rashad, who sang previously in another band, grew weary and unhappy, and along with Jeff, decided to start a new band, Chalkline Beauty, whose music appeals to the metal and hardcore genre of Rock, and to people who are tired of the same shit on a different day, tired of listening to the radio, and who don’t fall into a particular crowd. That being said, Chalkline Beauty plays music straight up, without worrying about being stereotyped or criticized for having an open mind and doing what they want and enjoy: playing good music and having a great time while doing it. The band recorded their first demo in 2007, I am the Wolf, which is available via the bands Myspace page and by attending a show (which they highly suggest).

When asked to give any words of wisdom or if they had any philosophies, Jeff and Rashad gave two completely different words of advice, but at the same time they appeal to both fans and aspiring artists and ring loud and clear. Rashad said that one piece of advice he can offer to aspiring musicians is, “to be true to yourself in your musical endeavors, don’t conform to standards, be yourself, and do what you want and enjoy it”. Jeff on the other hand provided a piece of advice for the fans, “… if and when you do find that band you connect with and whose music appeals to you, stick with them and catch their show (s), but don’t leave after they are done performing, stick around and check out the other bands and show your support for us all.” Rashad also offered a piece of advice for the fans saying, “… unplug the fucking radio and turn off Myspace and your damn computer and catch a show, get out there and experience music, don’t just sit back and expect it to move you”. These two pieces of advice serve to show and amplify the fact that Chalkline Beauty is about the music, and having a good time.

Chalkline Beauty, along with its new drummer, are looking forward to their new future, and hope to further develop their careers as musicians, and also hope to play more shows both locally and outside the Richmond area. They also hope to catch Adam up to speed, and record a new demo. This journalist wishes this band all the best, and can’t wait to catch the next Chalkline Beauty show, and firmly believes this band is a force to be reckoned with, and also a band that takes no prisoners and shows no mercy. For more information on the band and their music, visit their Myspace page at ChalklineBeautyRVA and for Christ’s sake get out there and catch a damn show, unplug the radio, support local music, and enjoy the music and the experience.

Zach Jefferies
June 20, 2008


If your on the East Coast, be sure to sign up for
MusicRVA Social Network!

And Be sure to sign up for the new Sojournstar Music Network!

and if you want to make money while having fun and promoting your band, music or business, then you must
Join me at Weblo Virtual World for Fun & Profit!

Canal Club Show Review by Bridget Taylor

The Canal Club

Threat of Scarlet: 7/10

Nemesis 10/10

Unheard Concept 9.5/10

Silk Attraction 9.5/10
Silk Attraction

A review by rokbonka aka Bridget Taylor

February 2nd was the day of two shows: The mighty Killswitch Engage at Toad’s Place and Unheard Concept with special guests at The Canal Club. I decided to ditch the Killswitch Engage show in order to hear music I haven’t experienced yet… And I was a little too late on buying a ticket. Anyway.

Would these four bands make up for a nationally recognized band?

The first band that kicked it off was Threat of Scarlet. Hailing from Richmond, these guys probably had the least show experience, so to speak. They started with an instrumental track before the lead singer took the stage. Their songs were interesting, but lacking in a bit in the variations. After growling out the performance, the vocalist thanked everyone and the band left the stage.

Nemesis was next. These guys, from Virginia Beach, epitomized the core definition of a metal show. Not only was this their first time at the Canal Club, it was also the last show of their bassist, Bruce. Not that any of that stopped them from putting on a hell raising show. The vocalist involved the crowd by getting them to yell out phrases, such as “Something Evil”, “Social!”, and. During the song “Everyone”, the band threw jumping in with their headbanging, causing a guitar peg (which holds the strap) to break off solidly. During the last song, the crowd paid tribute to Bruce leaving by giving him the bird, the only fitting way to say goodbye.

So how do you follow up that? You bring out Unheard Concept, of course. This was the mark of their 1st anniversary together, as well as their guitarist (Mike)’s 21st birthday. These guys have bonded with Nemesis (seeing as both bands are from Virginia Beach), and have another show with them March 1st; the singer came out sporting a “Nemesis” shirt as well. Throughout playing their set, free “Silk Attraction” shirts were thrown into the crowd to hype up for the next band. Not only did they rock out their songs, but also added a cover of “Ice, Ice Baby” to the mix. The only problem they had of the night (and it only occurred to them) was momentary feedback of the mic. That didn’t bother anyone, and the show carried on with more headbanging, jumping, and craziness. During the last song, all the bands and a few others were onstage, rocking out to the tune.

The final band of the night was Silk Attraction. It’s been a while since the Richmond-based band has played, and they have a busy schedule coming up (their album is due to release, and they plan to tour over the summer). They also gave out shirts as well as copies of their CD through the course of the show. Singer Jenna belted out the words with a sultry voice, accompanied by the hard riffs of guitar and bass and the steady bang of the drum. The songs were not only rock, they were also surprisingly danceable. “Poison” got the crowd to move, while “Blood” pumped fists and raised horns everywhere.

So, back to my original question: Were these bands really as cracked up as a national act? I think so. You can find all these bands on Myspace to find out what they’re doing next and listen to their hits. I highly recommend at least one show with each band – you won’t regret it.



If your on the East Coast, be sure to sign up for
MusicRVA Social Network!

And Be sure to sign up for the new Sojournstar Music Network!

and if you want to make money while having fun and promoting your band, music or business, then you must
Join me at Weblo Virtual World for Fun & Profit!

Leaving a Point

In 2003 two of the most chill and insane musicians,
Matt and Daniel Stowe, began mashing and jamming at a
practice house called the Cabin in Danville, Virginia.
Through adding and losing members and laughing at
times, the two original members of Point Left formed a
solid group of musicians who they both mesh well with
and trust. And since the beginning, by randomly
creating songs they often would not remember at the
Cabin, the newly formed band realized that they
enjoyed creating new songs and writing their own
material far more than being a cover band.

This intent and drive is clearly evident in their
music, even when you first begin to listen to the
song. The raw, provocative, and fresh sound draws and
pulls you in and forces you to sit back and enjoy. In
their song University, fresh and meaningful vocals are
accompanied by an echo of Offspring like guitar
playing. And while Point Left is a metal/hardcore
band, they show their softer side in Too Late, with
gripping vocals and an acoustic flare of the lighter
side of metal, while staying true to the hardcore
aspects and not pussy footing around.

Setting out to make themselves known and taking a
chance, Point Left bought some recording instruments,
and recorded their first demo as a 3 piece band last
year. Since then they have been playing shows in the
Danville/Dry Fork and North Carolina areas. And
earlier this year they discovered a new friend,
guitarist, and member, Matt Phillips, and are
currently working on recording and releasing their
second demo in the next three months, and are still
working on gaining momentum and experience in the
music community and expanding horizons. To listen to
their music and become a fan, visit their Myspace page
and the band’s website, PointLeft.com.

Zach Jefferies

Interview with Point Left
Zach Jefferies

Zach: Who are the band members and what instruments do
they play?

Point Left: Members- Matt Stowe- vocals, guitar
Matt Phillips- guitar
Adam Morris- bass
Daniel Stowe- drums

Zach: Where are the band and its members from?

Point Left: Danville / Dry Fork, VA

Zach: When did you start the band and what was the

Point Left: The band petty much started as just
something to do when we hang out. The original two
members were Matt S and Daniel. They started jamming
together at the Cabin (the best party/practice house
ever!!!) back in 2003. Matt had never been in a band
and had recently started playing guitar while Daniel
had played in another local band. From the beginning
we were more interested in writing our own songs
rather than just being a cover band. It just went on
from there we have added and lost several members
since then until we found a mixture of people we trust
and mesh with. We get laughed at at times because we
will just all get together and just make up songs on
the spot and then never remember them later on. We are
all incredibly creative. We are just hoping one day
our music skills will catch up with what we want to

Zach: Who was responsible for the name, Point Left?

Point Left: Haha....do u wanna here the real story or
what we tell people? The truth is not as interesting
as the fiction. The truth is we could never agree on a
name. We had several that we would agree on for maybe
a day or a week at the most and then we would sit down
and be like "that name is whack" Finally Matt S. just
came up with Point Left and pretty much was like
that’s the name whether any of us like it or not, no
more changes, and so the name stuck. Now what we tell
people is that we lay it all out there when we play,
which we do, in our music, words, and our crazy live
performances. Thus we make our point, or in other
words our point is left through our music. That’s
where Point Left came from.

Zach: Have any of the band members previously played
in another band?

Matt S.: This is my first experience in a band

Matt P.: This is the first official band I've been a
part of, I mean I've played music with friends that
played different instruments but nothing organized.

Adam: I've been in a lot of bands since I started
playing, but only two had names. Trauma and Worst Case

Daniel: I was in one other band. We were called

Zach: What has been the most encouraging and
discouraging moment for the band? Why?

Point Left: Wow that’s a loaded question. This band
has been through so many ups and downs. We would have
to say the most encouraging moment as a band is any
time we play and the crowd gets completely into our
music. We have gathered quite a local following
without playing many official shows. We have open
practices and many times we have had so many people
crammed into our little practice house that it seems
it might cave in. But anytime you look out and have
people getting off to your music and singing the words
along with you is such an uplifting feeling. The most
discouraging moments to be overtime we get a big show
booked with a nationally signed act something always
happens. Once we had our former lead singer quit on
the day of the show and lately the venues we normally
play at are all closing down. That’s always difficult.
You get yourself geared up for a show and promote it
and know you are gonna draw a big crowd and then it
gets cancelled. Not a good feeling to have.

Zach: What has been your most encouraging and
discouraging moment as a musician?

Matt S.: Once the band almost fell apart after our
lead singer quit. We took some time off and then got
together as a 3 piece. I took over the vocals and was
scared to death. The first show we played as a 3 piece
was incredible. We had a huge crowd and our friends
were there to support us. We played harder and with
more emotion then ever before. At that point I think
we really became a band!! The most discouraging moment
for me is having shows cancelled and having such a
hard time finding shows. It’s hard to get attention in
a small town like Danville.

Matt P.: My most encouraging moment is when the fans
are feeding off of the energy you're putting out which
in turn makes you play twice as hard. My most
discouraging moment as a musician is when someone
yells "Freebird!"

Adam: The most encouraging moment would probably have
to be when I first joined Point Left. I came in not
knowing most of the members very well but everyone was
really cool and we jammed and, with the exception of
the dickhead singer that we don't have anymore, we all
clicked and things have been awesome ever since. The
most discouraging time happens every now and then when
we play. When we're up on stage doing our best and
there are people in the crowd just standing there
barely even paying attention. You paid to see a show,
dammit! Get up and enjoy it!!!

Daniel: The most encouraging moments for me are seeing
people react positively to your music. There is no
greater feeling in the world. The most discouraging is
definitely not getting shows.

Zach: What is your favorite thing about being in the

Matt S.: For me personally it was finding people who
had the same emotion and drive to perform and write
music as me. We all feed off of each other and push
each other to improve everyday. Plus we get to meet a
lot of other really awesome bands and people!!

Matt P.: That we are all friends and we have fun.

Adam: The atmosphere. We get together, have a few
beers and just go. The music we've made in Point Left
is, bar none, the best music I've ever played.

Daniel: Actually being in a band!! And we are all very
good friends.

Zach: What is your most memorable moment as a musician
and band?

Matt S.: Oh wow.......the are so many turbo sweet
moments!!! Haha...ok here is one of many. A while back
everyone threw me a toga party for my birthday. We are
all chilling (dancing to Michael Jackson) and having
fun at the cabin. I go outside to help a someone that
is passed out on the sidewalk and I see a line of cars
as far as i can see pulling in. Well over a hundred
people showed up out of no where. They demanded us to
play. In order to get them to leave we played a few
songs and they all went crazy. We gained a lot of new
fans that night.

Matt P.: When I played at Carington Pavilion here in

Adam: We drink a lot so a lot of the memories I have
are fuzzy. Anytime at the cabin is almost always

Daniel: Our first show after our former lead singer
quit was awesome. The way the crowd went nuts at that
show was incredible.

Zach: Do you or any other band members have a way of
ensuring a good show?

Matt S.: We usually meet up before the show and just
relax. We drink a few beers and take the time to make
fun of ourselves.

Adam: We usually get together an hour or two before a
show, drink a few beers and goof around. It really
helps me relax and get ready to go out and have fun.

Daniel: I take the day off form work to concentrate on
the show. I drink a few beers with the guys and we
pump each other up.

Zach: What do you feel is your best original song?
Matt S.: My favorite song has always been "Recluse".
It takes u on so many highs and lows. Hopefully it
will be on our next demo.

Matt P.: My favorite song so far is "Thanks 4
Sharing". It can be heard on our Myspace page.

Adam: Shit...They're all flippin sweet! I can't pick.
I do have a favorite though, and that’s "University".
That song works the hell out of my fingers but I love
it. As long as it’s not the first one in the set.

Daniel: "Supra the Deer" is my favorite song we play.

Zach: What venues have you played at?

Point Left: Plan B in Danville VA, Somewhere Else
Tavern in Greensboro NC, The Eagles Nest in Grifton
NC, The Salty Dawg in New Bern NC, White Oak Mountain
Amphitheatre in Danville VA, Lucky Break in Danville
VA, Aces Basement in Greensboro NC and of course THE
CABIN!!!! (out practice house) in Dry Fork VA

Zach: What’s your favorite place to play?

Matt S.: For me it’s the cabin. We have our best
shows when people come out to here us practice. It’s
always good to play for the hometown crowd at Plan B

Daniel: Plan B and the Cabin. And The Salty Dawg just
cause that was a crazy night.

Zach: How many albums have you recorded and released?
Where are they available?

Point Left: We are of course and unsigned band so we
do the best we can to get our music out there. We
purchased our on recording equipment and recorded a
demo ourselves last year. It sounds good for the
limited equipment we had to work with.

Zach: Are you currently working on any cds or

Point Left: We plan on recording a new demo as a 4
piece instead of a 3 piece since Matt P. recently
joined the group. It should be out by May.

Zach: Who would you like to reach with your music?

Matt S.: Anyone and everyone. We want to reach as many
people as possible with our music, hopefully inspiring
a few people along the way.

Matt P.: Everyone who has ever been through anything
that music helps relieve.

Adam: Everybody. I'm not trying to reach any one
specific group of people with what I do. What one
person gets out of a song is gonna be different than
what another person gets out of it. As long as people
are getting SOMETHING out of our music, I'm happy.
We've done our job.

Daniel: Our music mostly appeals to the younger crowds

Zach: What do you hope to accomplish within the next

Point Left: We have a lot planned within the next
year. First we hope to get Matt P. up to speed on all
our old songs and then set about writing new music as
a 4 piece. We are very excited about that. We will be
able to expand our range and do things we wanted to
but never had the chance to do as a 3 piece. Of course
we plan on recording a new demo within the next 3
months. Also we have grossly neglected our website. We
hope to have that all new and up in running soon as
well. We are looking into a lot of new places to play
and are really looking forward to being on stage

Zach: Philosophies or words of wisdom for aspiring
artists and musicians?

Matt S.: Just stay true to yourself. Play what you
like and don’t worry about what other people think. if
it makes you feel something it will connect with
others too.

Matt P.: No matter what type of music you play, always
pursue your dreams. Music is very medicinal and your
music will help someone make it through something.

Adam: Don't give up. There are people that are going
to tell you that you can't do it or that its stupid or
whatever. Fuck their opinion. If its what you want to
do, do it. And then....tell them that Adam rocks.

Daniel: Never give up. When you do your dreams could
float away and never come back.

Zach: Shout outs?

Matt S.: The guys in the band. All of our crazy
awesome friends. The Cabin Boys and the Cabin Girls!!
My family and anyone who told me I couldn’t do what
I’m doing because that pushed me harder to prove them

Matt P.: Yeah I want to thank Matt Stowe, Daniel Stowe
and Adam for making me a part of their band and I want
to shout out to the CB's (Cabin Boys)

Adam: Definitely the guys in the band. We've been
through a lot over the years and stuck together. We
rock and we're gonna continue to rock, beatrice! And
then there's everybody else. Jon T, Jeff, Charmian,
Chris...there's no damn way I could get everyone's
name here. Big thank yous to everyone that comes to
the cabin and has fun with us and enjoys the music. My
girlfriend Tina. She hasn't heard much from the band
yet other than the stuff on the site, but I know she
supports us and she makes me want to jam. My son, who
gets down in the floor and moshes with me to Point
Left! My dad who has always been there to support me
and help me haul band equipment all over town (and out
of state) back in the day. Hells yeah!

Daniel: Thanks to everyone who has supported us and
everyone in the cabin crew.

Point Left: The most important thing to know about us
is that we are a bunch of down to earth guys who
respect our roots and all music past present and
future. We are really insane....you'd just have to
hang out with us to understand.


If your on the East Coast, be sure to sign up for
MusicRVA Social Network!

And Be sure to sign up for the new Sojournstar Music Network!

and if you want to make money while having fun and promoting your band, music or business, then you must
Join me at Weblo Virtual World for Fun & Profit!