Artist Snapshot: Paul Tressel

“There’s a feeling you get performing that can’t be described. It’s like an addictive substance. Even a bad performance, of which I’ve had my share, while sometimes disheartening, feels better than the best day at any job I’ve worked. If a single person is moved in even the slightest way by what my friends and I are trying to do on stage, I leave happy.”

Shop local, Shop Music

Shop Local, Shop Music This Holiday Season

‘Tis the season for shopping, and we have already begun the 12 days to Christmas countdown. What better way to shop for the music lover in your life than with music-themed gifts from LOCAL shops? In Roanoke, we have oodles of interesting little retail outlets scattered around town. In this article, we focus on just three where you can find unique gifts and quality instruments for those near and dear to your heart.

Artist Spotlight: Matt Browning

“Life inspires my music. The words may not come out right, or at the right time, or come at all, but there is never a shortage of life to turn into songs.”

“I was a very shy person growing up, in many instances I still am. I haven’t always known the right thing to say, that is evident in my stage banter and radio interviews.  However, performing is different. I enjoy the experience of each performance.  I’ve had some that were wonderful, played only to the bartender, and others that were train wrecks, performed in front of 800 people. The magic is in the process.  It is one part, “this is what I’ve got, hope you like it,” and 99 parts, this is some sort of mathematical, emotional, black magic that some divine figure has graciously allowed me to be a part of.”

Big Bad Voodoo Daddy

Swing into the holiday season with Big Bad Voodoo Daddy

By Jenna Lazenby

Ventura, California swing revival band Big Bad Voodoo Daddy brings its “Wild and Swingin’ Holiday Party” to the Harvester Performance Center next Tuesday, Dec. 13. Together for nearly 23 years, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy has toured virtually nonstop, playing in more than 3,000 venues across the world. This is the first time the nine-piece group will visit Southwest Virginia.

“We are really excited about playing at the Harvester,” said drummer and BBVD co-founder Kurt Sodergren in a phone interview yesterday. “We always like coming to new places, and we’ve never played there before. Most of the other places on the tour are places we’ve played. So, we’re really looking forward to it.”

Artist Spotlight: Steele Whisnant

“The people I meet while playing music have always kept me motivated to continue to play; everyone from venue/bar owners, event promoters, to fellow musicians. Roanoke has such a vast amount of talented and driven people, many of whom are working together to continue to expand the culture of the area. I’m extremely happy and inspired to be a small part of that scene.”

New wave of artists announced for FloydFest 17 Freedom

FloydFest 17, just added an additional 18 new artists to its already impressive lineup. The five-day festival, being billed as “Freedom,” returns to Floyd, VA, July 26 – 30, 2017.

The newly announced artists include:

Leftover Salmon, Steel Pulse, TAUK, Aaron Lee Tasjan, T Sisters, Banditos, Jon Stickley Trio, The Tillers, Alanna Royale, The Stash! Band, Strange Americans, Whiskerman, The Brother Brothers, Strange Machines, Dixon’s Violin, author Howard Falco and Oakley the Greenman.

Feed the Need

Feed the Need: Martin’s Downtown and Tobacco Apache Host Thanksgiving Food Drive

As Thanksgiving Day draws near, friends and families are prepping their birds, finalizing their menus, and picking out loose pants in anticipation of stuffing themselves into a tryptophan-induced haze. It’s all a big part of our time-honored tradition of Thanksgiving. In Roanoke, another tradition has become well established to help provide for our neighbors who aren’t as fortunate. Now in its 6th year, Martin’s Downtown and Tobacco Apache are kicking off the festivities with a pre-Thanksgiving, Feed the Need Thanksgiving Food Drive.

This Wednesday, Nov. 23, local bands and artists will play to help raise donations for the local area food bank. If this year is anything like past years, patrons can expect a packed house complete with some of the best local tunes our region has to offer.

The Avett Brothers

Concert Review: The Avett Brothers at Roanoke’s Berglund Center

The Avett Brothers returned to The Berglund Center last night, this time in support of their latest album, “True Sadness.” As an admitted core fan of the Avetts of yesteryear, I wasn’t quite sure where I landed on the group’s latest body of work. Last night as I watched the two inherently gifted brothers, Seth and Scott, accompanied by five other equally impressive musicians, play to a smaller, yet devoted audience, my fandom was reconfirmed.

The show, which covered 28 songs and lasted a little over two hours, was, in true Avett fashion, a musical and emotional roller coaster, complete with laughter and heartache, joy and sorrow. The songs danced between high-energy, upbeat rhythms and heavier, emotional tempos incorporated with honest and weighty lyrics that delivered a mix of positive and thought-provoking messages.

Although cognizant of the other high-caliber acts in town last night, I still was somewhat disappointed with the turnout of the crowd. If the band was, they hid it well, generously dishing out praise and love to the audience amid melodies that exhibited their expert musicianship and soaring vocals.

Elmwood park

Music and Money: The Region’s Increased Number of Entertainment Venues Attract Revenue and Buzz

This is an excerpt from an article that appeared in Roanoke Business Magazine, Oct. 2017
The Roanoke region has rebranded itself as an outdoors destination over the past half-decade, and at the same time has developed into a musical hotspot.
Music venues have popped up so rapidly it’s hard to believe the 2008 Roanoke city council election split in part over the question of whether to build an amphitheater in Elmwood Park or along the Roanoke River. Today, both sites are home to outdoor music venues that book a steady stream of acts through the warmer months. The Berglund Center — formerly known as the Roanoke Civic Center — is upgrading its facilities, and the Jefferson Center continues to serve as a cultural anchor for live music and performance.
Half an hour to the south, the town of Rocky Mount bought, refurbished and opened the Harvester Performance Center, which now books a steady stream of national acts. In the next county over, the Floyd Country Store is operating under new ownership with renewed dedication to live music. FloydFest, a multi-day music festival, annually attracts crowds of more than 15,000 to see a variety of national touring acts, many of whom eventually return to play smaller regional venues.  And across the Roanoke and New River valleys, bars and restaurants regularly open their doors to a wide variety of musical styles.
That’s a dramatic departure since the early ’90s, when Dylan Locke first began booking music in Blacksburg. Since then, he worked at the Jefferson Center for 13 years until 2014, when he left to buy and operate the Floyd Country Store with his wife, Heather Krantz.