C-VILLE Writers



Stray Fossa tops the bill at the Southern on Friday. Publicity image.

ARTS Pick: Stray Fossa

On the hook: It’s been about a year since three friends from Tennessee who make up the atmospheric rock band Stray Fossa chose Charlottesville as their creative center—and the choice of relocation has ignited the trio’s output. SF released a three-song EP in September; posted the self-recorded and self-produced single “Swells” in January; and prepares to […]

Celebrate Joni Mitchell's 75th birthday with a screening at the Paramount. Publicity Image.

ARTS Pick: JONI 75

People’s parties: The one and only Joni Mitchell—the legendary musician behind the iconic songs “Free Man in Paris,” “Help Me,” and “Big Yellow Taxi”—turned 75 years old last November, and the occasion didn’t pass quietly. JONI 75 is a concert celebration of Mitchell’s career from Canada to California, with a diverse list of guest artists including […]

El Ten Eleven take off at the Southern on Friday. Publicity image.

ARTS Pick: El Ten Eleven

Going to twelve: Something about Kristian Dunn and Tim Fogarty’s music makes you think they know something about life. Daring and enlightened, the indie project El Ten Eleven uses complex instrumentals and spellbinding lyrics to be at once reflective and forward-thinking. The Los Angeles-based post-rock outfit is named for an airliner, and rightly so, as the […]

Jam with Pigeons Playing Ping Pong on Wednesday at the Jefferson. ©Jay Blakesberg

ARTS Pick: Pigeons Playing Ping Pong

Birds of a feather: Wild is an accurate descriptor for Baltimore’s banging bunch of birds, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, a funky foursome that channels happy vibes all around. The group’s latest release, the psychedelic LP Pizazz, features driving bass and heavy drums with a positive twist. Live performances allow the group to flourish, as it […]

Charles Hurt, Casey Breneman, Isaac Tolliver star in Play It Cool by Ibrahim Muhammad as part of UVA Drama's New Works Festival.

ARTS Pick: New Works Festival

Staging it: UVA Drama’s New Works Festival highlights fledgling playwrights in collaboration with other students for three original works. They’re Still Friends by Savannah Hard explores trauma and connection; I’m Game by Jessica Harris finds a group of recent high school grads pondering their lives as they prepare for next steps; and Ibrahim Muhammad’s Play […]

Phil Vassar, who has penned hits for Tim McGraw, Alan Jackson, and Jo Dee Messina, among others, plays The Jefferson Theater Saturday, January 26.

ARTS Pick: Phil Vassar

With wistful country vocals propelling his chart-smashing hits, snatching hearts is Phil Vassar’s game. Before signing his own recording contract and landing 10 original songs at No. 1, Vassar penned hits for Tim McGraw, Alan Jackson, and Jo Dee Messina, among others. His recent induction into the Virginia Music Hall of Fame is another step […]

The Charlie Ballantine Trio plays UVA's Brooks Hall this Sunday, January 27. Publicity photo

ARTS Pick: Charlie Ballantine Trio

Charlottesville Jazz Society kicks off its concert season with guitarist Charlie Ballantine and his trio. Ballantine’s music pays homage to his childhood in the Midwest through a unique melding of folk and jazz. Among his influences are some of the greatest jazz, rock, and pop musicians of the ’60s and ’70s, and his latest release, […]

Gold Connections plays songs from its upcoming EP, Like A Shadow, at The Southern Cafe and Music Hall on Thursday. Publicity photo

ARTS Pick: Gold Connections

Gold Connections’ upcoming EP, Like A Shadow (due in March), benefits from the camaraderie that Will Marsh found with his touring bandmates while on the road last year. Going into the studio with familiar players allowed Marsh to move past his former indie-rock associations and forge a path of his own musical volition on songs […]

Panic! at the Disco plays John Paul Jones Arena Wednesday, January 23. Publicity photo

ARTS Pick: Panic! at the Disco

From the old-time fan favorite “I Write Sins Not Tragedies” to the latest platinum single “High Hopes,” Panic! at the Disco serves up another album full of soaring vocals and punk-tinged brass orchestrations. Pray for the Wicked is the sixth record by the emo pop forefathers whose tumultuous membership finds frontman Brendon Urie as the […]

Laura Mulligan Thomas directs the Charlottesville High School Orchestra String Ensemble rendition of Sergei Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf on Sunday, January 20.

ARTS Pick: Peter and the Wolf

The award-winning Charlottesville High School Orchestra String Ensemble breaks out of an academic setting to put a new twist on a classic fairy tale. Directed by Laura Mulligan Thomas (right), the ensemble’s rendition of Sergei Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf is accompanied by narration from filmmaker and author Jamie Bernstein (daughter of the legendary Leonard […]

Wild Rose (pictured), Girl Choir, The Chuggernauts, and The Unholy Four play IX Art Park Friday, January 18. Photo by Farrah Skieky

ARTS Pick: Wild Rose

Girl Choir is distortion driven. The Chuggernauts opt for a punk-rock pirate vibe. And while The Unholy Four strives for old-school hard rock, Wild Rose keeps it modern as a quartet. Expect a blend of grit and tenderness when punk rock meets punk ‘n’ roll during an evening with these four local bands. Friday, January […]

King Tuff plays The Southern Cafe & Music Hall Friday, January 18. Publicity photo

ARTS Pick: King Tuff

Kyle Thomas, known by his moniker King Tuff, hit rock bottom last year—and it was exactly what he needed. With his most recent album The Other, he’s traded in his “party monster” persona for an authentic, vulnerable musician who refuses to stick to one particular sound. His sax lessons come through when he veers into […]

ARTS Pick: Oldest Sea

Haunting vocals paired with gentle guitar strumming define Sam Marandola’s solo project Oldest Sea. There’s no need for heavy rhythms on her self-released LP Sage Burner—it showcases just how effective pure instrumentation paired with melancholy vocals can be. With Winterweeds, Brandon Morsberger, and The Big Drum In The Sky Religion, fingerpicking blues and psychedelic also […]

Catch rising Americana musician Caitlin Canty at the Southern on Saturday night before she outgrows the small venue setting. Publicity photo

ARTS Pick: Caitlin Canty

Caitlin Canty is a weaver—and her threads are folk, blues, and country music. Loyal to no genre, Canty creates listening experiences with her 1930s Recording King guitar, while her “casually devastating” vocals shape dark poetry into dreamy alternative folk tunes. The young but wise songstress’ latest release, Motel Bouquet, features fiddler Stuart Duncan and vocalist […]

Kieran Kane and Rayna Gellert play The Prism Coffeehouse Series Friday, January 11. Photo by Molly Secours

ARTS Pick: Kieran Kane and Rayna Gellert

Dubbed by peers as the “godfather of Americana music,” singer-songwriter Kieran Kane’s roots-oriented bluegrass blends seamlessly with Rayna Gellert’s Appalachian-inspired fiddle playing to form a groovy twist on traditional folk music. The duo released its first album, The Ledges, in 2017, and for its follow-up due in March, listeners can expect more of Gellert’s sultry […]

Gospel singer Cora Harvey Armstrong comes to town for a supper and a show at Mt. Zion Baptist Church on Sunday, January 13. Publicity photo

ARTS Pick: Cora Harvey Armstrong

A popular performer who’s lovingly referred to as the queen of Virginia gospel music, Cora Harvey Armstrong makes every day feel like Sunday. Her songwriting is inspired by her poet grandfather while her mother’s turntable, stacked with Mahalia Jackson and Clara Ward Singers records, influenced her musical style. Fifty years later, Harvey continues to keep […]

ARTS Pick: Mitchell Tenpenny

Nashville native Mitchell Tenpenny writes stories about where he comes from as he navigates the musical landscape that established his love for creating personal connections onstage. The star football player turned country musician’s soulful, edgy vocals combined with his acoustic guitar-playing reflect his influences, which vary from Dustin Lynch and Lynyrd Skynyrd to Michael Jackson. […]

Kelly Lonergan paints with personality and an insight to human relationships in “And Then There Were Two,” opening Friday at McGuffey Art Center. Photo by Martyn Kyle.

First Fridays: January 4

By Sabrina Moreno If you ask Kelly Lonergan, he’s not a figure painter. The figures he paints on 48 by 60 inch canvas—a scale that excites him—are slightly awkward, clunky. But to him, that’s the best part. It gives them a sense of personality for viewers to cling and relate to. In his show “And […]