I like to consider myself a person of constant change and growth. In my short 25 years on this earth I have gone through many phases which were all heavily influenced by the music that I was into at the time.
Between the ages of 14 and 18, I dressed in black and neon, wore studded belts and pony bead necklaces. I had a Xanga account where angsty music played in the background to convey all my juvenile feelings. I listened to a LOT of Blink 182, Sum 41, and Dashboard Confessional. I was a scene girl.From 18-21, I got really into screamo and metal music. I wore lots of black, rode lots of bikes, was vegan, and was not adhering to a strict bathing schedule. I was a dirty, hipster, bike kid and it was a blast. I started going to see my favorite bands play at local venues such as Strange Matter, The National, and Canal Club. This is when I really started to realize what an epic music scene Richmond had. One could find a show to attend almost every night of the week and ticket prices wouldn’t put you into debt.
Since fading out of my Richmond hipster, scene kid days, I have widely expanded my taste to include all types of music. One day I might be listening to Jay-Z and the next I might be pumping a little Zac Brown Band through my car speakers. I have evolved.
In my later years, I have come to appreciate Richmond not only for the events that I am interested in but for the musical diversity that the city offers to its residents. From jazz to country to rap to folk, there is something for every type of music lover in the area. It is a true harmonic melting pot.
This Summer, I decided to take advantage of the many live music events taking place across the city. I attended the Richmond Jazz Festival which was, in my opinion, incredibly overpriced. Fortunately I did get to see a performance by one of the greatest saxophone players in the world, Joshua Redman, as well as the Grammy winning artist, Anthony Hamilton. It was a once in a lifetime experience and ultimately, I am happy I went.
In June, I attended Friday Cheers on Brown’s Island. Though not a free event, tickets were cheap and the bands were above par for who I would expect to play for a smaller crowds. I was lucky enough to get to see, for the 3rd time in 2 years, The Wood Brothers. This trio is one of my favorite bands out there right now. Boasting a mix of southern rock, folk, and county, these guys are lyrically brilliant and all three are incredibly talented instrumentalists. Everyone should check out their newest album called The Muse and if you ever get a chance to see them live, you must go. They put on one hell of a show.
This past weekend, I went to The National, which was built in 1923 and has been a host of musical acts for almost a hundred years. I attended the show with Jonathan and a group of his friends who are all huge fans of the night’s performer, Chris Stapleton. An established songwriter with decades of experience, Stapleton has recently started making a name for himself beyond writing hits for other country artists such as Kenny Chesney, George Strait, and Darius Rucker. His powerful voice brings soul to the masterfully crafted lyrics of his songs and breathes new life into Bluegrass music that in my opinion, tends to sound very one note. His wife was on stage with him singing harmony and their rendition of “You are my sunshine” will linger in my memory for years to come. Here is my favorite song from his first solo album that was released earlier this year.
As an up and coming artist, Stapleton is still an affordable act to see. Although, I don’t foresee that being the case for long as the world is introduced to his talent.Long story short, this summer has reminded me, once again, why I love Richmond. The diversity of the music scene is unmatched and I am grateful to have the opportunity to witness the talent of so many different artists that pass through. Many thanks to the rhythm makers and shakers of RVA for allowing me to grow as a listener and a human being throughout the years.