Desire' Moses



Jessica Lea Mayfield wrote her way out of an abusive marriage, and the result is her new album, Sorry Is Gone. Mayfield performs at the Southern on Sunday. Photo by Ebru Yildiz

Jessica Lea Mayfield gets personal about domestic abuse

Jessica Lea Mayfield is done apologizing. The Nashville-based artist made her solo debut in 2008 with the album With Blasphemy So Heartfelt, produced by The Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach. Known for towing the line between straight-ahead roots (she grew up playing in a bluegrass band with her family) and snarling alt-rock, Mayfield delivered languid vocals […]

Keller Williams performs solo at the Jefferson on Friday. Photo by C. Taylor Crothers

Keller Williams keeps stacking up the sets

There are certain musicians whose style is so unique that any snippet of their music is immediately identifiable. Multi-instrumentalist Keller Williams is one of those artists. A staple on the jam scene and the festival circuit for nearly 25 years, Williams has created a singular sound, which he dubs “acoustic dance music.” Although he wields […]

Pulitzer Prize-winning composer and trumpeter Leo Wadada Smith appears with his Golden Quintet at Old Cabell Hall in Impulse Festival Concert #4 on Saturday. Photo by Michael Jackson

Wadada Leo Smith’s creative music leads the Impulse Festival

Heralded as a pioneering figure in the field of music for more than five decades, composer and trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith’s artistic vision knows no bounds. Throughout his prolific career—which boasts upwards of 50 albums—Smith has delved deep into the power of sound, language and even color, to discover what art can tell us about […]

John Waters breaks tradition in his standup comedy show that informs on “how to act at Christmas, how to get through it, how to love it, how to hate it and how to not let it defeat you.” Photo by Greg Gorman

John Waters showcases the odd humor in Christmas

John Waters is a man of many names. Dubbed the Prince of Puke, the People’s Pervert and the Pope of Trash, among others, the legendary filmmaker has made a career out of his personal brand of quirky, twisted humor. Although best known for bringing Hairspray to the big screen along with cult classics like Pink […]

Billy Bloom is the vibrant protagonist at the heart of Freak Show, which tackles the realities of high school bullying and addresses the violence and bigotry aimed at LGBTQ communities today. Courtesy Virginia Film Festival

More fabulous: Trudie Styler’s Freak Show champions LGBTQ youth

In The Importance of Being Earnest, Oscar Wilde writes: “The truth is rarely pure and never simple.” It’s one of many mantras employed by self-prescribed “trans-visionary gender obliviator” Billy Bloom, the vibrant protagonist at the heart of Freak Show, an adaptation of James St. James’ 2007 YA novel of the same name, and the directorial […]

alt-j performs at the Pavilion on November 1. Photo: Gabriel Green

Unusual folk: alt-j plays it smart

It might come as a surprise to learn that alt-J members conceive of themselves as a folk band. After all, the U.K. trio’s synths, patterns and rhythms don’t conjure the same aesthetic as an acoustic guitar-wielding troubadour. The experimental art-rock does, however, evoke its own brand of folklore. Take “Adeline,” a track from the group’s […]

Gov't Mule performs at Lockn' on Friday night with Ann Wilson of Heart. Image: Jacob Blickenstaff

Gov’t Mule’s Warren Haynes looks ahead at Lockn’

Warren Haynes is one of the most prolific guitarists and songwriters of our time. After joining The Allman Brothers Band in 1989 at the request of Dickey Betts, Haynes formed Gov’t Mule with bassist Allen Woody and drummer Matt Abts as a side project in 1994. Over 20 years later, Mule is an enduring rock […]

Rock legend Ann Wilson of Heart performs with Gov’t Mule at Lockn’ on Friday.
Photo by Jess Griffin

Ann Wilson on inspiration and ways to agitate

Ann Wilson has been pushing boundaries since the release of Heart’s debut album, Dreamboat Annie, in 1976. Wilson joined the band in the early ’70s at the age of 22, and her younger sister, Nancy, soon followed suit. Between Nancy’s guitar virtuosity and Wilson’s killer vocals, the two changed the face of music, reframing preconceived […]

Portugal. The Man plays the Pavilion on Monday. Publicity photo

Portugal. The Man finds inspiration in the past

The old adage “history doesn’t repeat itself, but it often rhymes” rings particularly true in 2017. You don’t have to search hard to find parallels between the current sociopolitical landscape and the one that served as a catalyst for the counterculture movement of the 1960s. This observation wasn’t lost on the members of Portugal. The […]

Own world: The Wild Reeds’ unified harmonic vision

Own world: The Wild Reeds’ unified harmonic vision

In his essay titled “The Decay of Lying,” published in 1891, Oscar Wilde famously wrote that “life imitates art far more than art imitates life.” The Wild Reeds (in town on July 31) experienced this concept firsthand when they were filming the music video for “Only Songs,” the first single off their sophomore album, The […]

Spoon performs at the Pavilion on July 19. Publicity photo.

Crossing boundaries: The story of Spoon’s latest sonic adventure

For more than two decades, Spoon has forged a path that embodies consistency. Across nine studio albums, the Austin quartet has dabbled in mainstream success (think “I Turn My Camera On” from 2005’s Gimme Fiction), but lives comfortably in the hook-laden, meticulous ebbs and flows that have solidified the group’s status as indie stalwarts. Comprised […]

Spoon performs at the Pavilion on July 19. Publicity photo

Spoon’s latest sonic adventure began in the woods

For more than two decades, Spoon has forged a path that embodies consistency. Across nine studio albums, the Austin quartet has dabbled in mainstream success (think “I Turn My Camera On” from 2005’s Gimme Fiction), but lives comfortably in the hook-laden, meticulous ebbs and flows that have solidified the group’s status as indie stalwarts. Comprised […]

Animal Collective blends a collision of musical cults into modern jams at the Jefferson on Saturday. Publicity photo

Animal Collective is ‘Kinda Bonkers’ in the best way

As one-fourth of experimental pop band Animal Collective and a solo artist in his own right, Noah Lennox (who creates under the moniker Panda Bear) has been making music professionally for nearly 20 years. Along with Dave Portner (Avey Tare), Brian Weitz (Geologist) and Josh Dibb (Deakin), Lennox and the Collective made their mainstream crossover […]

DaQuadre Taylor (right) is among Chance Dickerson’s Albemarle Alternative Arts House students who learn through creative engagement. The A3 House Showcase shares a variety of projects and performances on April 28 at IX Art Park. Photo by Amy Jackson

A record label at AHS puts passion into learning

In 2013, Chance Dickerson was working as a teaching assistant in the ESOL (English as a Second Language) department at Albemarle High School and he wanted to share his love of music with his students. So he set up an “underground studio” in an English class book closet and began teaching the ins and outs […]

Richmond’s Lucy Dacus didn’t go searching for a music career, but it found her anyway. She made her first record, No Burden, on a lark, as a school project for a friend. Recorded in just one day, critics raved about the album, a bidding war began, and she signed with Matador Records a few months after its release. Publicity photo

Lucy Dacus sets course for big topics on second record

On “Troublemaker Doppelgänger,” a bluesy jaunt from Lucy Dacus’ debut album, the singer-songwriter posits, “No child is born knowing there’s an ugly or evil thing / When did my folks stop covering my eyes?” It’s a thesis statement of sorts for No Burden, a record that explores the responsibilities of adulthood. The cover art features […]

WNYC radio says, "the quintet Parsonsfield is based in western Massachusetts, but their music draws on the string bands of Appalachia. At least in part. They also like to crank up the amps and pin your ears to the wall.”  Parsonsfield play the Southern on April 5.

Parsonsfield brings the best of the past into the present

Named after a town in Maine, folk quintet Parsonsfield formed by happenstance at the University of Connecticut around 2009. “I was beginning college and I really wanted to meet some people that had an interest in old songs like I did,” says member Chris Freeman.  “I was playing guitar and discovering music from all eras […]

River Whyless bassist Daniel Shearin (right) says that when the songs weren’t clicking for the new album, producer Justin Ringle of Horse Feathers pointed them in a new musical direction. Publicity photo

River Whyless patches world music influences into new album

‘‘We all deserve the light” members of River Whyless croon on “Baby Brother,” the captivating opener on their second full-length album. The lyric resurfaces in the record’s final stretch: It’s both the name and crux of the closing track, before it fades into reverie. The Asheville-based quartet even used the line to inform the album […]

PWR BTTM plays The Southern Café and Music Hall on Wednesday, February 15. Publicity image.

PWR BTTM flip the switch on vibrant punk rock

The 2013 documentary The Punk Singer chronicles the rise of the riot grrrl movement in the ’90s and focuses on the revolution’s central figure, Kathleen Hanna. During a highlight of the film, Hanna discusses how she and her bandmates decided to form Bikini Kill even though none of them could really play an instrument. For […]

Margaret Glaspy plays the Southern on Wednesday, February 8. Publicity photo

Margaret Glaspy gets to the point on new album

Margaret Glaspy doesn’t mince words or deal in excess. Clocking in at a brisk 34 minutes, the singer-songwriter’s debut, Emotions and Math, made several best-of lists in 2016 with its blend of bluesy riffs and pared down rock ’n’ roll. “I do like things boiled down to their kind of most distilled nature. That was […]

Margaret Glaspy plays the Southern on Wednesday, February 8.  Publicity image.

Margaret Glaspy gets to the point on new album

Margaret Glaspy doesn’t mince words or deal in excess. Clocking in at a brisk 34 minutes, the singer-songwriter’s debut, Emotions and Math, made several best-of lists in 2016 with its blend of bluesy riffs and pared down rock ’n’ roll. “I do like things boiled down to their kind of most distilled nature. That was […]

Blind Pilot touches down with its first album in five years at the Jefferson on Monday. The band returned to touring and recording after a series of losses for frontman Israel Nebeker. “The past isn’t finished with us yet,” says Nebeker. Publicity photo

Blind Pilot’s vocalist finds solace and courage on new record

The lion is a central figure in religious tradition and popular mythology that represents strength. Throughout history, lions have adorned royal coats of arms while political figures have taken up variations of the moniker to demonstrate valor. Known as the king of beasts, its likeness is just as common in fine art, literature and popular […]

Nadim Sawalha stars in Captain Abu Raed, which was released in 2007 and is the first independent film made in Jordan in 50 years. The screening will be followed by a conversation with director Amin Matalqa. Courtesy Paper and Pen Films

Jordanian film promotes hope

Captain Abu Raed is a film of firsts. Released in 2007, it was the first independent film to emerge from Jordan in 50 years, becoming the country’s first official submission to the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar category. It received accolades at Sundance, the Seattle International Film Festival and the Dubai International Film Festival, among […]

Kurt Vile & The Violators channel new obsessions from the Jefferson stage on Thursday. Photo by Marina Chavez

Kurt Vile is happily going nowhere slow

Musical gatherings known as pickin’ parties are staples in the bluegrass tradition. These communal jam sessions can be found on the porches of Appalachia, or in the case of musician Kurt Vile, in the suburbs of Philadelphia. Before he became an established guitar virtuoso, the first stringed instrument the Philly native picked up was a […]

Tandem Friends School grad Hannah James continues her role as a Civil War nurse when the second season of PBS’s “Mercy Street” premieres on Sunday. James is also set to appear on the upcoming season of “Outlander,” the show adapted from Diana Gabaldon’s historical time-travel novels. Publicity photo

Hannah James steps into the spotlight on ‘Mercy Street’

What happens when the television network that brought you “Downton Abbey” takes on one of the most seismic time periods in American history? You get “Mercy Street,” a Civil War drama that weaves together the tales of real-life historical figures with the help of rich writing, lavish costumes and sleek cinematography. Set in Alexandria, Virginia, […]

Constant touring and a hot new album position South Carolina’s SUSTO for a breakout year. The band performs at the Southern on Tuesday, January 17. Publicity photo

SUSTO balances its genre through personal narrative

Charleston, South Carolina-based SUSTO’s forthcoming album kicks off with all the Western swagger you’d expect from a group most commonly tasked with the alt-country moniker. But just over a minute into the opening track, “Far Out Feeling,” it becomes evident that this is no standard foray into dive bars and backwoods. As the chorus hits, […]

Guys and Dolls, starring Natalee McReynolds, opened at Live Arts’ Gibson Theatre on December 9 and runs through January 15. Photo by Martyn Kyle

Natalee McReynolds brings pizzazz to Guys and Dolls

Brimming with gamblers, gangsters, showgirls and soul-savers, the bustling world of the Broadway classic Guys and Dolls has come to life this season at Live Arts. Based on short stories by Damon Runyon, with music and lyrics written by Frank Loesser, this legendary production debuted in 1951 and won five Tony Awards, including Best Musical. […]