Blue Ridge Rocks started as a simple idea: A website that would shine a light on the talented artists who ply their trade in the Roanoke music scene, and an events calendar for fans to find those acts. In the 21 months we’ve been here, we’ve featured more than 75 local and regional artists, sharing…
This weekend more than 30,000 athletes, adventure seekers, music lovers, and craft beer enthusiasts will converge in Roanoke’s River’s Edge Park for the 7th Annual Anthem Go Outside Festival, which kicks off Friday night and runs through Sunday, Oct. 13 – 15, highlighting the best of our region’s outdoor recreational activities.
This year, the festival organizers, the Roanoke Regional Partnership and Roanoke City Parks and Rec, continue the partnership with Across the Way Productions, to bring in top-quality musical acts. This year’s lineup promises to showcase some of our best regional acts, and is bringing the guitar phenom Marcus King to the stage Saturday night.
Twenty years ago, San Francisco based rock band, Third Eye Blind, released their self-titled debut album. This summer, they’ve been touring around the nation, celebrating the success of that album. As someone who grew up with that album on repeat in my first car, these songs are like the soundtrack of my high school years. With the catchy, fun songs like “Semi-Charmed Life” and introspective rock ballads such as “God of Wine”, 3EB spanned the emotional roller coaster that is adolescence.
The band’s latest stop was Elmwood Park in downtown Roanoke, thanks to the Budweiser Summer Concert Series. Seventy degrees and clear, it was a perfect night for an outdoor show, and Third Eye Blind was blasting the past right out of every person in attendance. The crowd was as diverse as ever: early 20’s girls in flannel, middle aged folks, parents with kids. They all had one thing in common; an excited anticipation to see one of the 90’s most anthemic bands.
This article also appeared in the September edition of THIS! Magazine
By the time you read this, FloydFest 2017 will be long over. The grounds that held a crowd of nearly 13,000 will be emptied. The assorted mix of creative souls who converged on the land will be displaying their talents for new audiences. Other than the permanent wooden stage installations and few other signature FloydFest icons, the tranquil beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains and the innumerable memories are all that will remain from the five-day musical carnival.
For those five days in late July, the FloydFest grounds housed more than 100 musical acts, acrobats, stilt walkers, jewelry makers, concert painters and eclectic performers, and personalities of all types. The music was spread over the festival’s nine music stages and featured a diverse amalgam of genres. One of those artists, Virginia native Keller Williams, exemplifies the musical diversity that FloydFest embodies.
“Music has had such an impact on my life and has shaped who I am today. The thought of not playing music has never really entered my mind. I’ve definitely had struggles trying to manage work, relationships, and music. I’ve left jobs and I’ve lost plenty of relationships, but music has always been there for me.”
Mitchell Ferguson is a man deeply committed to his craft of songwriting and musicianship. As the pedal steel guitar player in the Americana / Country band, Faded Travelers, he is helping make the music that he can’t find in modern country music these days. In the lead up to the band’s performance this Saturday at the Harvester, we were able to find out a bit more about Ferguson and his backstory, and where he plans to grow from here.
“Musicians do what we do because we simply can’t NOT do it. We are compelled. We need it. When you love what you do, you’ll put in the extra effort.”
Guitarist, vocalist, and percussionist, Melissa Mesko, has fed that compulsion for quite a while now. She has gathered an eclectic range of styles and genres in her travels, which she now shares with Roanokers through her main bands, Melissa and the Growlers, and The Meskos, as well as performing in numerous side projects.
We caught up with her last month to find out what got her started and what keeps her creating.
When I read that Mipso was playing the Jefferson Center, my heart skipped a little beat and I said an audible “hell yeah” to myself, and have anxiously awaited the show ever since. I am probably one who gets too excited about live music, but this one my friends, is MY top ticket for 2017. I’ve seen a LOT of great shows this year, and as super pumped as I am for Dawes, Willie Nelson, Third Eye Blind, and Amos Lee to come to town, but it’s Mipso that I’m looking forward to the most.
It may be because I have never seen them live; It may be because they just released a new album (WHICH IS FANTASTIC); It may be because the tickets are going for $15 (what a bargain); Or it’s simply that Mipso has been a constant on my playlist for quite some time now. Regardless of the reason, this North Carolina-based indie Americana quartet and its growing setlist of accessible songs are a real treat for the ears.
Their 2013 release, “Dark Holler Pop”, is one of those albums I listen to from start to finish and don’t skip a single song. “Coming Down the Mountain,” which was released in April of this year, is just as good, sparkling with gems like “Hallelujah”, “Hurt so Good,” and “Cry Like Somebody”.
I was able to chat with Mipso’s fiddle player, Libby Rodenbough, about the new album, songwriting styles, and their recent serious car accident. Read more and purchase Mipso tickets before they sell out!
Beer and music have become a bit of a hot trend in the Roanoke Valley. Now, a local brewery is starting an inaugural festival that highlights both. This Saturday will see the launch of the first annual Creekfest, a celebration of music, beer, and community, in downtown Vinton.
The brainchild of Andy Bishop, cofounder of Twin Creeks Brewing, the day promises to be a family-friendly event, featuring three live bands, five food trucks, vendors, and of course, Twin Creeks signature brews. Bishop has partnered with the Town of Vinton to commandeer the Farmer’s Market area and main stage, to transform the place into a regular block party permitting guests to wander among vendor stalls of local merchants, all while the melodies of regional music acts Mason Creek, Josh Marlowe, and Faded Travelers drift over the crowds.
Per the gentle persuasion of a friend, I was recently introduced to new Roanoke band, Appalachian Soul. Having a penchant for soul and R&B music, it wasn’t a hard sell for me to fall immediately in love with the groove and moving lyrics. Appalachian Soul is a new project for veteran Roanoke songwriters, Phil Norman and Will Farmer. The two have been performing together for years as part of an acoustic, “not-quite bluegrass” band, Blue Moonshine. Wanting to expand their sound, they added Mike Parker on bass and Breyon Fraction on drums. They’re set to record an EP this fall, and if word of mouth keeps their music traveling, it will be a happy highway playlist for all of us.
Their song “On Your Own Now,” which was written by Farmer and Norman this past winter, actually helped inspired the sound for the band. That’s the power of a song: it can totally define a musician’s moves. And it surely lives up to the hype. When I first heard “On Your Own Now,” I couldn’t stop tapping my foot and dancing in my chair, and by the end of the song I was singing along with the chorus. It was stuck in my head for days, and I was totally fine with that. You can see Appalachian Soul live on September 17th at Fork in the Alley, and then on October 12th at the Five Points Music Sanctuary. In the meantime, listen to “On Your Own Now,” and read Appalachian Soul’s story behind the song: