To check out what music I've listened to lately, you can check out my page on

Here are some blog posts about music:

pawnshop row

Leaving Doc Watson early, I headed up State St. in a hurry, taking the sidewalk to avoid the crowd in the road. But I had to stop to listen to a few classics from a five-piece string band, sitting under the awning of Uncle Sam's Loan Office, in front of the display of old stereos and swords. Bunch of real old-timers. Pulled myself away only to pass by an even better, six-piece band in the entrance to The Gold Man pawn shop. The fiddle was played by a girl who couldn't be older than ten. I wanted to listen to them some more, but I managed to pull myself away in time to get into the Paramount and get a good seat for the Red Stick Ramblers.

Conclusion: This town needs more pawn shops. And it's Rhythm and Roots time in Bristol.

Best bands so far: Mike Marshall's trio, Cephas and Wiggins, Larry Keel and Natural Bridge, Chatham County Line.


yay, rising applachia

I finally got to hear Rising Applalachia just now (at Java J's). They're about to play a song they wrote last night called "the Shouting Sprout", about this nice little organic food store with the same name hidden in the middle of the strip mall fast food wasteland of Bristol's exit 7.

I can happily reocmmend both the band, and the store, which I discovered myself on Friday. :-)


I'm up in Charlottesville this week at work -- after over a year, it's nice to spend some time in the office, and Cville is a nice town to visit. Over at the Gravity Lounge last night, we got to hear the fiddle-bow-destroying Wilders and the Red Stick Ramblers. A real treat in such an intimate and relaxed setting.

on the air

The Mountain Stage show that I attended in Bristol this July is on the air now.

ryhthm and roots

One of the best part of Rhythm and Roots is that all of downtown Bristol is open, and accessible on a whim. This is the only time of year I can go into the Cameo and enjoy the balcony of this rundown ex-theater turned Christian radio station, with no worse effects than listening to a little Gospel music. The gorgeous Paramount is open to explore (and leech off its wifi), and so many stores up and down have musicians in them providing an excuse to go in and look around without feeling any commercial pressure. It's also nice to walk down the middle of the state line on State St.

My other favorite thing is the jam sessions that spring up here and there later in the day with so many bands in one place. Passing a bassist and fiddler on the sidewalk, or six-seven people from two or three bands sitting off playing quietly for themselves and a small, happy audience.

As for the actual performances, this year I most enjoyed the Cajun/jazz/swing/innovative mix of The Red Stick Ramblers. It was good to see the divineMAGees in person, but the outdoor sound system wasn't good enough for their sound and I missed the indoor gig. I also appreciated nice bluegrass from Chatham Cty. Line, and old-timey Piedmont music of the Carolina Chocolate Drops. And bits and peices from a dozen or so other bands.

mtn stage

Back from seeing Mountain Stage record a radio show at the Paramount. Dale Jett, Tim O'Brien, the attack mandalin and bass of the Yonder Mountain String Band, Odetta (who has a commanding presence onstage even before she speaks), and Ralph Stanley & The Clinch Mountain Boys. Great fun watching Larry Groce croud them all onstage at the end and arrange an song on the spur of the moment.

First time I've been to a radio show. Got me thinking to one of the first times I remember being struck by something on the radio, when we were driving up to the tobacco warehouse one night in Abington in Silas's truck, with its noxious chaw spit can, and I heard this ethereal mountian voice coming out of the radio, sounded 50 years ago and at the same time so immediate. Could have been Ralph Stanley, come to think..

After the show, I humped a dorm-style cube fridge half an hour downhill thru the woods in the dark. But that's a different story..