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Virginia Review Archives

One More Time

Review of: Bryan Elijah Smith

(self-released) After reviewing the quietly excellent Dear Puppeteer by Nathan Moore, I couldn't help but notice that his album had been enhanced by a co-producer, musician, and collaborator named Bryan read more...


Review of: Pontiak

(Thrill Jockey) A power trio of different sort, Pontiak is composed of three Virginia brothers from Blue Ridge Mountains.  Van, Lain, and Jennings Carney initially connected to Baltimore's growing scene as they got their start there.  They are still associated with read more...

Dear Puppeteer

Review of: Nathan Moore

(Royal Potato Family) The jamband scene is not a safe haven for songwriters.  On the surface, fans of live music should enjoy music of all kinds, but the reality of that scene is that the top bands are performers and instrumentalists first.  By nature, ten minute read more...

The Errant Charm

Review of: Vetiver

(Subpop Records) George Harrison was the quiet Beatle.  He left it to John Lennon and Paul McCartney to make their respective big musical statements.  Harrison found his niche within the band with exquisitely compact guitar playing and the occasional songwriting read more...

Ragged and Right

Review of: Jack Rose, D. Charles Speer & the Helix

(Thrill Jockey) The concept for Ragged and Right originated from inspiration surrounding the Mordicai Jones/Link Wray 3 Track Shack sessions. Released in 2010, Ragged and Right counts as one of Virginia guitarist Jack Rose's final recordings before he died read more...

Bride Of The Noisemakers

Review of: Bruce Hornsby

(429 Records) With the release of his new live album, Bride of the Noisemakers, Virginian Bruce Hornsby celebrates his 25th anniversary of his recording breakthrough.  It is hard to believe that it was 1986 when his song "The Way It Is" dominated the read more...

The Palace Guards

Review of: David Lowery

(Savoy/429 Records) Texas born songwriter/singer/producer David Lowery founded the bands Camper Van Beethoven and Cracker. Lowery now works with David Barbe at The University of Georgia. The read more...

By The Hand

Review of: Bobby Thompson

For quite some time, Bobby Thompson has been a fixture in the DC music scene, camping out on the Virginia side the Potomac.  He's played reggae and funk, but his heart lies with blues guitar.  Thompson explains his deep connection as he relays a story of going to play read more...

I'll Never Get Out of This World Alive

Review of: Steve Earle

(New West Records) Produced by T-Bone Burnett, 11 original Steve Earle songs comprise I'll Never Get Out of This World Alive. Earle read more...

Borrow A Horse

Review of: Old Calf

(No Quarter) Ned Oldham's musical journey has been both at one and in parallel with his more famous brother Will who is best known for his early career Palace incarnations and his more recent Bonnie read more...

Hard Bargain

Review of: Emmylou Harris

(Nonesuch) Hard Bargain counts as Emmylou Harris' 21st studio album. Produced by collaborator Jay Joyce these songs, recorded in Nashville, include formidable original material. The read more...

The Hackens Boys

Review of: The Hackens Boys

(hackensboys.com) The debut from The Hackens Boys is filled to the rim with good ol’ fashioned Southern rock and country sounds. The Virginia quartet comes out kicking with “Movin On,” a rockin’ tune that kind of caught me off guard. The read more...

Water Bound

Review of: Shannon Whitworth

(Thirty Tigers) Water Bound counts as Shannon Whitworth's second release. Whitworth served as a member of The Biscut Burners. She released her first album--No Expectations--in 2008 and hit the road. Born in Virginia, Whitworth grew up in South Carolina and read more...

Tears. Lies and Alibis

Review of: Shelby Lynne

(Everso) Tears. Lies and Alibis counts as Shelby Lynne's 11th studio album. The basic tracks were recorded in her home studio, finished in Nashville complete with ten original compositions and released on her own label. Guests on the album include Muscle Shoals read more...

Day Out of Days: Stories

Review of: Sam Shepard

(Knopf) Mystery And Manners' Honorary Southern Artist Sam Shepard’s new book Day Out of Days proves the read more...

Tight Knit

Review of: Vetiver

Vetiver is the musical brainchild of Andy Cabic, who is part of a loosely organized group of musicians from the Swampland Footprint who have made their way out to California seeking creative refuge.  Some of the more famous members of his coterie are the Black Crowes' Chris read more...

Love Filling Station

Review of: Jesse Winchester

Jesse Winchester's songs have been recorded by songwriting legends like Waylon Jennings, Emmylou Harris, Jimmy Buffett, Ralph Stanley, Delbert McClinton, and the Everly Brothers too name a few.  

Song Up In Her Head

Review of: Sarah Jarosz

(Sugar Hill Records) "Song Up In Her Head" is the title of the excellent debut album by singer, songwriter and mulit-instrumentalist Sarah Jarosz. Hailing from Austin, Texas, Jarosz’ album is a wonderful example of the music being made by the newer read more...


Review of: Steve Earle

Townes Steve Earle New West Records By James Calemine "Townes Van Zandt is the best songwriter in the whole world and I'll stand on

Buckaroo Blue Grass

Review of: Michael Martin Murphey

(Rural Rhythm Records) I’ve always been a fan of Michael Martin Murphey’s early work from the 1970’s. Songs like “Wildfire,” “Cherokee Fiddle,” “Flowing Free Forever,” and “Carolina In The Pines” have read more...

More Dirty Laundry: The Soul of Black Country

Review of: Various Artists

More Dirty Laundry: The Soul of Black Country Various Artists Trikont By James Calemine The genius of this collection resides in defying musical prejudices. This CD proves black artists appreciated and recorded songs by white country musicians. read more...

Boots, Buckles and Spurs

Review of: Various Artists

(Legacy) “I grew up dreamin’ of being a cowboy/ And loving the cowboy ways Pursuin’ a life of my high ridin’ heroes/I burned up my childhood days...” -Willie Nelson. “My Heroes Have read more...

Polk Miller & His Old South Quartet

Review of: Polk Miller & His Old South Quartet

Polk Miller & His Old South Quartet Polk Miller Tompkins Square By James Calemine James "Polk" Miller was born in Virginia during 1844. His story is important because he was one of the earliest examples of a white read more...

The Imus Ranch Record

Review of: Various Artists

(New West) Bekka Bramlett has a mystical effect on me. She always has, even as backing singer for Faith Hill, or dueting with Sam Moore, Billy Burdette or Joe Cocker. But like her mother before her, soul sensation Bonnie Bramlett, and her daddy Delaney for that matter, she read more...

With Roots and Wings

Review of: Angel Band

Angel Band With Roots and Wings Appleseed APRCD-1108 For Nancy Josephson, the long arm of the South stretches all the way to the Canadian border. Northern bred, the summers of her youth were spent traversing the backroads and byways of her parents' read more...

All I Intended To Be

Review of: Emmylou Harris

All I Intended to Be Emmylou Harris Nonesuch Records By James Calemine All I Intended To Be counts as Emmylou Harris’ first solo album in five years. Recently inducted into the

Thing Of The Past

Review of: Vetiver

Vetiver is simply one of America's best bands, and some of the most vital and timeless music being made. Andy Cabic's understanding and deep knowledge of great songs and dynamic music is astounding, it does not suprise me that he cut his teeth in North Carolina, he has a way of read more...

Keep Your Silver Shined

Review of: Devon Sproule

Keep Your Silver Shined Devon Sproule Waterbug Records There are only a handful of musicians good enough to pack the house with other musicians, and Devon Sproule is one. She is a magnet to them as much as music is a magnet to her. B.J. Cole knows. read more...

The Very Best of Outlaw Country

Review of: Various Artists

(Legacy) The thing that sets this compilation apart from the plethora of others that are always being flooded into the market is the fact that it brings together Southern rockers and “outlaw” country artists on one excellent CD. It could be used as a read more...

See You In A Hundred Years

Review of: Logan Ward

See You In A Hundred Years by Logan Ward Benbella Books Has the stess of today's world with instant communication (Internet, cell phones, and texting), long work hours, and hectic urban pacing made a life on a rural farm seem appealing?  read more...

Third And A Mile

Review of: William C. Rhoden

Third And A Mile by William C. Rhoden ESPN Books Third and read more...


Review of: A. J. Roach

A.J. Roach Revelation Waterbug Records Some guys have roots and some guys have roots. A.J. Roach has roots growing out of the bottoms of his feet. Make no mistake, Roach is not tied to the roots, but he lives and breathes read more...

Desperate Man Blues

Review of: Joe Bussard

Desperate Man Blues: Discovering The Roots of American Music The Story of Joe Bussard Dust-To-Digital By James Calemine Desperate Man Blues tells the story of Fonotone read more...

Blues Sweet Blues

Review of: Music Maker Relief Foundation

Blues Sweet Blues Various Music Maker Artists Music Maker Series #91 & #92 By James Calemine Most of these songs (recorded from 1994-2006) on Blues Sweet Blues can be heard for the first time. Only Music Maker's stellar read more...

Song of America

Review of: Various Artists

Song of America Various Artists 31 Tigers Records By James Calemine This 50-song, 3 CD collection tells the story of America through songs from the year 1492 through modern times. Song of America contains a diverse line-up of artists read more...

Camp Meeting

Review of: Bruce Hornsby

(Legacy) Virginia boy Bruce Hornsby can do it all. He has given us Top 40 pop classics like “Mandolin Rain” and “The Way it Is.”He has performed as a member of The Grateful Dead. He has worked with jazz guitarist Pat Metheny, horn man Branford read more...

Fred's Restaurant, Franklin, VA

Review of:

Fred's Restaurant 107 South Main Street Franklin, Virginia (757)562-2919 http://www.fredsrestaurant.net/ After breaking down on our way to play the Leon Wilkeson Memorial Concert in read more...

All Star Bluegrass Celebration

Review of: Various Artists

(Sugar Hill) Both the DVD and the CD of this live show, recorded onstage at the revered Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, are absolutely indispensable to any lover of Bluegrass music. I mean, the cream of the crop of today’s pickers are on hand, and the read more...

Rocking The Mile

Review of: Rhythm Pigs

Rhythm Pigs Rocking The Mile (Swine) Drummer Timmy Fodrey says that Rocking The Mile is being released as a kind of buffer between the full length original album Stone Ground and their next original release coming in late 2006 . Rocking read more...

Friends Of Old Time Music

Review of: Various Artists

Friends Of Old Time Music The Folk Arrival 1961-1965 (Smithsonian Folkways) Between 1961 and 1965, New York’s Friends of Old Time Music presented 14 concerts that introduced dozens of traditional musicians to city folk for the very read more...

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