Shea Gibbs

Members of the Kansas City Barbecue Society may have different levels of judging experience, but they all agree that flavor and texture are the most important when it comes to the smoky meats. File photo.

Pig picky: At the table with the Kansas City Barbecue Society

When I received an e-mail about a bunch of barbecue competition judges getting together in January to taste some ’cue because they were “missing the competition smoke in the dead of winter,” I was skeptical. “You realize this could be the most awkward hour of my life,” I told my editor. A dozen strangers, around […]

New folk favorite Joe Pug returns to the Southern for one last outing before retreating to the studio to cut his next record.

Joe Pug takes one last spin before making a new record

The cover art on singer-songwriter Joe Pug’s latest album, The Great Despiser, shows a nearly naked man barely hanging on to the end of a rising balloon. Who knows what it means? Pug says his lyrics are somewhat autobiographical, but they have enough metaphor and allegory thrown in to create some space between the man […]

The Korner has been serving up classic burgers since the 1950s. Photo: Martyn Kyle

Burger bash: The Korner quietly serves up a crosstown rivalry

Almost nothing upsets me more than a poorly constructed sandwich. I’m not kidding. This may show my crazy a bit more than is appropriate for general audiences, but I have literally coldcocked a sandwich for falling apart in my hands. Yep. Dropped it on the plate, and decked it. If you’re anything like me (God […]

Matthew Houck makes records under the name Phosphorescent. He will be backed by a full touring band at his Jefferson gig on Thursday.

Interview: Matthew Houck steps from behind Phosphorescent

Musicians. They’re just like the rest of us. Some of them you hit it off with immediately—you get them, and they try their best to understand you. With others, you just don’t see eye-to-eye. Phosphorescent’s Matthew Houck is the type of guy it would be hard not to see eye-to-eye with. An Alabama native who […]

Ted Bowne (second from left) and Passafire extract the best of the reggae sound and fuse it into high energy rock.

Passafire likes its rock with a side of reggae

Passafire’s Ted Bowne says he has nothing but respect for his peers in reggae, but there’s one figure in the modern game he doesn’t like—Snoop Lion, formerly Snoop Dogg. “I thought the transformation was well-intended, but if someone starts coming around your house and wearing your clothes and talking like you, it is weird,” Bowne […]

Champion Brewery, run by president and head brewer Hunter Smith, offers a winter warmer style beer and a new chocolate-cherry stout this season. Photo: Elli Williams

Six seasonal beers to warm you in the chilly months

Beer is like a moody lover. It can do you so right, before turning around (as soon as the next morning!) to do you so wrong. But beer still loves you, baby. Don’t be like that. Seasonal beers, more than any other, know how to find the right mood. In the summer, you want to […]

Moto Pho Co.’s banh mi features vegetables pickled in house, chicken liver, pork paté, and mayonnaise on a French baguette. Photo: Elli Williams

Vietnamese please: Can Charlottesville produce a decent banh mi?

The only thing that could make the banh mi sandwich better is if there were some obscure, obnoxious way to pronounce it. Then all the people who call pho “fuh” could lord their culinary superiority over everyone else in yet another way. “It’s not a ‘bon-me,’” they’d say. “It’s a ‘boon-mh.’” I take that back. […]

Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder still rocks with all the angst and passion of his grunge movement youth. Image: Dan Addison

Three for ’13: A take on the best shows of the year

Live music is as important now as it’s ever been. With the days of the huge record contract all but behind us and the era of the small label in full swing, most bands can’t make a living without hitting the road hard. “It’s a hard business,” Cold War Kids front man Nathan Willett told […]

Crozet resident and internationally known folk muscian, Ellis Paul finds creative freedom in the local music scene. He plays the Southern on Saturday and Sunday.

Local songwriter Ellis Paul breaks down the craft

There’s a scene in Animal House where John Belushi’s character Bluto walks by a folk singer strumming a tune in the Delta Tau Chi fraternity house. He listens to the lyrics for a moment—“I gave my love a chicken that had no bones” —before smashing the guitar against the wall and handing it back to […]

The crispy, gooey tuna melt has become a regular favorite at the Cavalier Diner. Photo: Martyn Kyle/Pernmoot Photography

Big tuna: Cavalier Diner takes on greasy spoon classics

I was once talking to my boss from across his cubicle when he stopped me mid-sentence and asked, “What’s that smell?” Of all the people you don’t want to hear this from, your boss is probably behind only someone you’d like to bed. Maybe it’s not me, I hoped. But after a quick self-inventory, I had […]

Matt Greene of JM Stock Provisions & Supply, a local butcher shop that works with nearby farmers. Photo: Martyn Kyle/Pernmoot Photography

Whole animal butcher shop aims to increase accessibility of local food

Ben Rindner is standing over one side of a freshly slaughtered pig. In front of him, running left to right along the butcher block at JM Stock Provisions & Supply, is the animal’s bisected backbone. Below that are loins and chops, shoulders and shanks, meaty muscles tucked into the carcass’s cross-section among organs, bones, ligaments, […]

The Green (L to R: Zion Thompson, Jordan Espinoza, Caleb Keolanui, JP Kennedy, Ikaika Antone, Brad “BW” Watanabe) is leading the way for a U.S. reggae breakthrough, thanks to the stalwarts at Easy Star Records.

Easy Star Records helps U.S. reggae step out of Jamaican shadow

If Lem Oppenheimer is at all worried about perpetuating the stereotypes that come with being in the reggae business, he didn’t show it when he walked into a Belmont coffee shop for an interview on October 18. Tall and lanky with close-cropped hair, Oppenheimer clutched a handful of CDs produced by his record label, Easy Star […]

None of the three original members, Nathan Willett, bassist Matt Maust, or drummer Matt Aveiro, had toured seriously before they started the Cold War Kids as a hobby. In a way, Willett said they weren’t even trying to make anything happen when all of a sudden they were producing EPs and touring professionally.

The Cold War Kids refine their spin on indie rock

The Cold War Kids are kind of like leftovers from a good restaurant in the back of your fridge. You remember them being tasty, but you forget to eat them for a while, and then you start to wonder if they’re any good anymore. If only old leftovers could produce an album like the Kids’ […]

Scott Hutchison (center) leads Frightened Rabbit, currently touring on Pedestrian Verse, its first album release on Atlantic Records. The band made the leap to the major label in 2010 after three albums with indie label FatCat.

Interview: Frightened Rabbit’s Scott Hutchison finds his voice

When Scott Hutchison started writing songs, he wasn’t sure he wanted to be heard. He says he intentionally mumbled early in his career so people wouldn’t understand his lyrics. His band’s name, Frightened Rabbit, was taken from a nickname his mom gave him because he was such a shy kid. What a difference a bit […]

Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Aoife O’Donovan has found success with Goat Rodeo Sessions, Crooked Still, Sometymes Why, and Alison Krauss. She makes her solo mark on Saturday at The Festy Experience.

The many sides of Aoife O’Donovan’s talent

Aoife O’Donovan (pronounced ee-fah) has girl-next-door good looks, which makes it all the more shocking when she breaks into the opening lines of “Too Repressed,” a song she wrote for her folk trio Sometymes Why. “I wanna fuck you/But I’m too repressed/ I wanna suck you/but I can’t take off my dress,” she breathes on […]

Lauren McRaven’s Downtown creperie will soon expand to a new food truck. Photo: Elli Williams

Holy crepe! The Flat still sets the street food standard

Crepes are dainty, right? They’re carefully plated with drizzles. They’re dusted with powdered sugar. They’re prized for being as thin as the chef can make them. They’re about as dangerous as Rachael Ray’s housecat. Right? Not Downtown at The Flat. These are street food crepes. These are flour-based vehicles for stuffing delicious ingredients in your […]

The hip-hop supergroup Deltron 3030 (with Del the Funky Homosapian center) hits the Jefferson on Friday. Image: Darren Samuelson

Fact-checking with Del the Funky Homosapian

Of all the music Del the Funky Homosapien has made since his first record dropped in 1991, he’s probably best known for a rap he wrote in less than an hour for the Gorillaz. The group never intended “Clint Eastwood,” a platinum track on their self-titled debut album, to include Del at all. Fortunately his […]

Conceding to song licensing and playing the name game is all part of the trajectory of success for zany popsters STRFKR (clockwise from top: Josh Hodges, Patrick Morris, Shawn Glassford, Keil Corcoran).

STRFKR blurs the divide between dance and pop rock

Josh Hodges was a deejay who didn’t like phonies. So when an obnoxious musician started bragging about his sexual conquests out on tour in 2007, Hodges thought of a way to put him in his place. “I wasn’t even trying to start a band,” he said. “The name Starfucker was intended to make fun of […]

Jay Farrar (front) formed Son Volt in 1994 after the break up of Uncle Tupelo, the seminal alt-country rock band that also featured Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy. Publicity image.

Son Volt’s Jay Farrar defines success on his own terms

Boy meets boy. Boys start band. Boys break up. Boys start new bands. That pretty much leads us to today, with Jay Farrar fronting Son Volt, an alt country/Southern rock band with a relatively strong cult following—and there is also the story of the other boy, Jeff Tweedy, who formed Wilco, a band so popular […]

Stylish soul singer Mayer Hawthorne turns up the pop on his new album 
Where Does This Door Go?.

Mayer Hawthorne talks about reaching for the next level

Indie artist Mayer Hawthorne wants to go pop. For those who remember his first full-length record from five years ago, the change in direction is obvious, and Hawthorne’s publicist says as much. “He’s relaxed his DIY ethos of crafting every song from start to finish,” reads the multi-talented R&B musician’s bio. “Now, he’s motivated to […]