Karl Wallinger had a really bad year. The former Waterboy was sitting on top of things when his band World Party released an excellent (and very Beatley) CD, Private Revolution, in 1987. But in 2000, things went awry: He was released from his label, EMI, his manager died, and Wallinger himself suffered an aneurysm that landed him in the hospital for many months. The injury was so severe, he actually had to relearn how to speak and play music. Just prior to his convalescence, Wallinger’s label gave one of his tunes, “She’s the One,”
to British pop star Robbie Williams, who scored a No. 1 hit with it. Wallinger was reportedly unhappy about that piece of good news at the time, but the royalties got him through the down time.
Wallinger is now back out on the road, and he will play Starr Hill this week. His most recent CD, Dumbing Up, is available through his own Seaview Records, as are his old EMI recordings. The only fallout from Wallinger’s physical ailment is that he has no peripheral vision, and can’t see the guitar while playing—but it doesn’t seem to have hurt his songwriting.
On Preston Avenue, there’s a spanking new green paint job covering The Outback Lodge. Go inside, and you’ll see that new owners Terry Martin and Pete Katz have spruced up the interior, as well—and they have similarly big plans for live music in town. It is hard to describe Martin as the “new” owner, since he has been part of the Outback for the past 12 years, but now he’s making the executive decisions. In one way, he wants to return the bar to what it used to be: a place where you were sure to hear good bands from in town and all over. But he is also maximizing use of the space. He’s planning to have stages both upstairs and downstairs, and music seven nights a week. New sound systems are coming soon. Martin wants to continue goth and punk nights downstairs, as well as the salsa night on Sundays that has become a fixture. Upstairs, he has reinstated reggae night on Wednesdays, including the rock steady Stable Roots, who seem to have just inherited Culture’s rhythm section. Martin also wants to give time to jam bands, like Ekoostik Hookah, and blues bands, who will play at least twice a month. Also on his calendar are The Hamiltons (who are hard at work on their first record) on Saturday, September 2, to be followed by Frontbutt, Alligator, The Stoned Wheat Things and Chickenhead Blues Band.
One band that Martin is pushing hard is Richmond’s Sin City Revival, which he describes as “in-your-face Southern rock.” When he puts the CD on the Outback player, the room fills up with a Black Crowesy sound, all beautifully produced Les Paul tone and B-3 keyboards. “They are ready, bar none. Not a weak link in the band. I have seen them play for two people like they were playing for 20,000. They are going to take Charlottesville by storm.” See the band at the Outback on Friday, September 29, which also happens to be Charlie Pastorfield’s birthday. As a bonus, Pastorfield is planning to be there.
As Martin cranks up the stereo a little louder, it is obvious that he has a deep love of music that will surely be reflected in the renovated venue.
In the local songwriter de-partment, Jamie Dyer has pick-ed up a regular Tuesday night spot at the Outback, and he hopes to use it to get older and younger Charlottesville musicians to mix it up—an effort he’s dubbed Charlottesville Acoustic Resistance. Dyer says that the scene here is “not the recombinant music scene that it used to be,” and he would like to try to bring together mem-bers of the many local “disparate music scenes.” Music starts around 8ish, and you can catch some of Dyer’s new tunes, like “Lord Save Us All From Northern Virginia.” You can contact Dyer through this column, or simply show up on Tuesdays.
Seems like everyone is trying to figure out how to expose new music in underexposed places. From New York City, Kitchen Sink Productions has assembled a tour of a classical string quartet paired with a singer/songwriter, and they’ll be coming through town this weekend to play at The Shebeen pub on Saturday night and Starr Hill on Sunday. The Boston-based Parker String Quartet have played everywhere, including Carnegie Hall, and will soon release a Naxos CD of Bartok quartets. Singer Wynn Walent is a former Wahoo and up-and-coming New York songwriter who has just released his debut album. The music will range from Beethoven, Bartok and Ligeti to group improvisations and original songs. So order up a draft and get yourself some cultcha.