Road trip!

Road trip!

The other weekend Feedback took a vacation to the Big Apple. The plan was to catch up with some friends and enjoy a little time away from Charlottesville. (Hey, we love this place, but sometimes you gotta get out!) However, our escape didn’t work very well, because Charlottesville music followed us to the big city.

We couldn’t wait: Feedback saw Sarah White perform with the NYC skyline as the backdrop.

Our first dose of Charlottesville-in-NYC was Sarah White, who was competing in the international finals of the Mountain Stage NewSong competition at the South Street Seaport on Saturday, September 22. We hopped the One Line downtown and spent the afternoon waiting for Sarah to play (by “waiting” we mean strolling around the waterfront, enjoying the terrific weather and sipping Sam Adams).

Our hometown gal’s turn finally came, and, after Gar Ragland, the master of ceremonies, gave a shout out to Charlottesville and the infamous Gus Burger (he himself was a local musician here in the early ‘90s), Sarah and Pearls bassist Jeffrey Grosfeld busted into “Sweetheart,” the song that got her to the finals. After mentioning that she had been changing her mind all day about the other song she would play (each of the 12 contestants was allotted time for two tunes), Sarah settled on “I Can’t Wait,” one of our favorites from White Light.

Take a listen to Sweetheart by Sarah White:
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Courtesy of Sarah White – Thank you!

We hummed along and enjoyed the wonderful moment, and it seems the judges did too, since they named Sarah as one of the five NewSong winners and gave “Sweetheart” the competition’s Best Song award. Now Sarah will wait to see if she gets the contest’s ultimate prize, an invitation to perform on the renowned Mountain Stage radio show.

After watching Sarah we hit the pavement and made it to Tribeca’s Knitting Factory just in time to see country rockers and recent correspondents Sons of Bill take the stage. A few familiar faces were in attendance, including UVA Assistant Dean William M. Wilson (Bill himself!).

Despite a couple of technical problems (the sound girl forgot to plug in James Wilson’s monitor speaker), the boys maintained their Southern charm and tore through a great set, dedicating “Lost Love and Indie Rockers” to the cooler-than-thou inhabitants of Williamsburg (Brooklyn’s hipster ‘hood) and inspiring the crowd to boogie down on the dance floor with “Roll On Jordan.” The highlight for Feedback, though, was watching Sam Wilson completely conquer the place with a soaring guitar solo.

Sons of Bill performing "Lost Love and Indie Rockers."

Since they were the first of four bands to play that night, Sons of Bill’s set was pretty short, but James told the crowd, “Come to Virginia and we’ll play all night.” You can see the boys when they open for Jason Isbell at Satellite Ballroom on October 9 and at the Crozet Music Festival on October 20.

Because they wanna: The Hives will do garage rock Swedish style when they open for Maroon 5 on October 8.

We’re telling you so

There must be something in the water in Sweden. The Nordic kingdom produces all kinds of music, from scary, ear-splitting “death metal” bands to the indie-pop trio Peter Bjorn & John (you’ve probably heard their whistle-along single “Young Folks” on 106.1 The Corner). One Swedish band, though, really rocks our socks: The Hives. The band hit it big in 2000 with their second album, Veni Vedi Vicious, which featured scorching numbers like “Hate To Say I Told You So” and “Main Offender.”

Music video for The Hives’ "Hate To Say I Told You So."

With The Black and White Album, out on October 9, The Hives continue to rock faces, and they’ll gladly rock yours if you come to John Paul Jones Arena on Monday, October 8 to see them open for Maroon 5. Brendan Fitzgerald, C-VILLE’s arts columnist and resident Hives fan, tells Feedback, “There’s more Mick Jagger in frontman Howlin’ Pelle than there is in Mick Jagger.” You heard the man. If you missed the Stones at Scott Stadium, this may be your chance for redemption.

Genius blues

Last week the MacArthur Foundation announced the recipients of this year’s MacArthur Fellowships (also known as “genius grants”), and Feedback was excited to see Charlottesville’s own blues musician and songwriter Corey Harris on the list. He joins the ranks of other songmen like Ornette Coleman, John Zorn and Ali Akbar Khan as fellowship recipients.

The grant provides $500,000 over five years with no strings attached, and Harris will no doubt put that to good use. He tells us that personally the half-mil won’t change much for him. “I’m going to keep doing what I planned on doing. Now I’ll just be able to do it with more ease,” he says. “I’m definitely going to give back. There are a lot of people I’d like to donate money to.”

Any definite plans? Not yet, but Harris is interested in starting an educational exchange program with Africa. In a 2004 interview with C-VILLE, Harris said, “It’s a dream of ours to be able to establish a nonprofit and find somebody to fund a trip to send some chaperones and some children over to the continent.” Well, it looks like the MacArthur Foundation has become that “somebody,” and we’re happy to see Harris’ dream one step closer to realization. You can see Harris play at Outback Lodge this Wednesday, October 3.

Viva La Appalachia! This weekend Alex Caton (second from right), Chris Leva (far left) will travel to France with their band (Lew Burrus, right, and Susan Rosen, second from left) to play the Les Bordees de Cancale music festival.

Bon Voyage

Why do we keep sending off our prized local musicians to Europe? Well, they are just that good, we guess. Devon Sproule has found success in the U.K., and now fiddler Alex Caton and guitarist Chris Leva are traveling to France to headline the Les Bordees de Cancale music festival from October 5 through October 7. The festival usually features sea-related music, but the organizers really dug Caton and Leva’s Appalachian tunes. Feedback wishes them a great trip, and we look forward to their first show back on October 27 at Gravity Lounge.

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