C-VILLE Writers



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 […]

The married duo performs alongside their band at Glass House WInery on January 4 at 6pm. Publicity photo.

ARTS Pick: Beleza

He was finger-picking in the name of classical guitar and Spanish flamenco in Brazil. She was hitting the keys with her jazzy-blues tones along the East Coast. It’s a modern-day musical romance that culminated in the formation of the band Beleza (above) as well as the duo’s marriage. With the fusing of funk and blues, […]

ARTS Pick: New Year, New Vibes Part 3

Lady Sag, as in Sagittarius, doesn’t follow the average hip-hop path. She’s all about the signs, branching out, and alternating between gospel, ballads, and country songs. As one of 10 featured local artists in New Year, New Vibes with Bam Bam, Sav, Tae Da God, and Tavi, Lady Sag says we can look forward to […]

Little Ozzy performs authentic Black Sabbath live shows The Southern Café & Music Hall on January 4 at 9pm. Publicity photo.

ARTS Pick: Little Ozzy

His middle part is nearly as symmetrical as the real Ozzy Osbourne’s—and with the signature circular sunglasses and a feature in Rolling Stone, Lin Doak, the 4’8″ frontman of Little Ozzy (right), is well on his way to inheriting the crown from the original Prince of Darkness. Little Ozzy’s gained the attention of the original […]

Vivian Leva and Riley Calcagno perform their roots revivalist twist on folk music at The Prism Coffeehouse on January 4 at 7pm.
Publicity photo.

ARTS Pick: Vivian Leva and Riley Calcagno

Vivian Leva and Riley Calcagno (left) push back against the mainstream with a fiddle roots revivalist twist. The duo has spent years honing their rhythmic craft. From Leva’s folk music-filled upbringing in Appalachia, and being one of Rolling Stone Country’s “10 New Artists You Need to Know,” to Calcagno’s years spent fine-tuning his chops on […]

Courtesy DMV

In brief: DMV’s court order, Brown’s abrupt closing, Murray’s lump of coal and more

Driver’s license suspensions under siege A federal judge granted a preliminary injunction December 21 and ordered Department of Motor Vehicles Commissioner Richard Holcomb to reinstate the driver’s licenses of three plaintiffs who automatically lost their licenses when they were unable to pay court costs and fines. The judge said they are likely to prevail in […]

UVA alum Bruce Kothmann, who was removed from the steps of the Rotunda in May for reading a Bible without permission, tested restrictions again in July by waiving a gay pride flag.

Bruce Kothmann

Come together: Revised UVA speech policy earns high marks

By Jonathan Haynes Despite the controversy over the University of Virginia’s revisions to its right-to-assemble policies, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education has awarded the university its highest free speech rating. FIRE, a group that defends the constitutional rights of students and faculty in higher ed, ranked UVA as a “green-light” university, along with […]

Downtown Mall on the A12 anniversary. Photo: Sanjay Suchak

About last year: Looking back at 2018 — News

By Lisa Provence and Samantha Baars Most of the biggest stories we followed this year were fallout from 2017: both the direct effects of the Unite the Right rally, with its continuing arrests and trials, and the continued furor over monuments, free speech, and present-day inequities as our city grapples with its full history. Martial […]