Virginia is for Music Lovers

Look, I like the Beach Boys as much as the next guy, maybe more. I’d rank “Sloop John B.” among my top 20 favorite tunes of all times, and I’ve downloaded a bunch of other Beach Boy classics, from “Kokomo” to “Heroes and Villains,” onto my laptop. But is Virginia so sparse of home-grown musical talent that we need to import a headliner from the West Coast to fete Tim Kaine’s inauguration?

If I were elected Governor, here’s whom I would ask to play at my inauguration:

Susan Greenbaum, a Richmond musician. A half dozen cuts on her CD, “Hey, Hey, Hey,” are as good as — nay, better — than any of the popular music heard on the radio today. A former communications executive for Chesapeake Corp., she’s too old to fit the mold of the 20-something pop Diva, but she’s way more talented. Not only can she belt out a song, she writes her own music.

Carbon Leaf, a Richmond band, hasn’t made it into the Top 40 yet, but it is doing national tours. Every song on its latest album, “Indian Summer,” is solid, and some are inspired. Carbon Leaf’s music is not easily categorized, but it’s darn good.

And my absolute favorite, Scott Miller and the Commonwealth. Miller lives in Knoxville, TN, but he grew up in Virginia and the lyrics in his albums — “Downside” and “Thus Always to Tyrants” draw heavily upon Virginia themes. Plus, his music totally rocks. Great lyrics, great tunes, great range, great guitar.

Mr. Governor, why not use your inaugural gala to showcase some of the great musical talent that Virginia has to offer!

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12 responses to “Virginia is for Music Lovers”

  1. Anonymous Avatar

    Great, he wants more “talent” from Richmond. As if that were the center of the world. Man, can’t you find something a little more worthwhile to pick at?

  2. ShortPumpShorty Avatar

    Why not big Virginian Dems Bruce Hornsby and the Dave Matthews Band?

  3. Anon 9:43 Avatar
    Anon 9:43

    Hey I don’t care about your intent. The effect was apparent, however. To you guys, Richmond stops at the fall line of the James. You didn’t even mention Ralph Stanley.

    But this is all beside the point. Don’t you have anything of substance to write about or is the “Battle of the Bands” your idea of a burning gubernatorial issue?

  4. Anonymous Avatar

    Good to know that the governor elect’s musical taste now counts as “politics and public policy in the state of Virginia”.

    I’m excited at the prospect of these sort of snipes for the next four years.

  5. Jim Bacon Avatar
    Jim Bacon

    Anon 9:43, You’re sounding terribly cranky this morning. Get out of the wrong side of the bed? I have plenty of substance to write about — and do. On occasion, however, I like to leaven the serious stuff with something lighter.

    As for thinking that “Richmond stops at the fall line of the James,” I can assure you that I have seen as much of Virginia, have lived in as any places in Virginia, and appreciate the regional differences of Virginia as much as anyone you can name.

  6. Jim Bacon Avatar
    Jim Bacon

    Anon 10:54, Jeez, we’ve got some hyper-sensitive readers today. How anyone can construe my post as a “snipe” against anyone is beyond me.

  7. Will Vehrs Avatar
    Will Vehrs

    Jim, I sure don’t understand the broadsides against you on this.

    Usually these kind of affairs offer a “focus on Virginia” theme. Prior to his inauguration, Gov-elect Kaine is doing some good works around Virginia (not California or West Virginia or anywhere else). It’s a little surprising that he’s not using Virginia performers from any part of the Commonwealth as the headliners.

    Surprising, not shocking, not inexcusable, not a sign of corruption, not a sign of any disaffection with Virginia.

    It’s just something to mention in passing, something to get people talking about their favorite groups or their favorite Beach Boys song. Would we rather have this blog go dark if we don’t a wonkish post to offer?

    My favorite Beach Boys song is “Wendy.” I hate “Sloop John B.”

    Unfortunately, I have no suggestions for Virginia bands.

  8. The concert announcement by the Kaine Inaugural Committee did say the Beach Boys would play and added:

    “The “Promise of Virginia” Concert will also feature a collection of Virginia talent to be announced later.”

    So, perhaps folks shouldn’t get all huffy about this until after the “collection” of “Virginia talent” is announced.

    But, really… Mike Love and the sort of reconstituted Beach Boys?

  9. The Ghost of Tom Joad Avatar
    The Ghost of Tom Joad

    Actually, Carbonleaf does a rendition of “Sloop John B” as an introduction to their song “Home”.

    Carbonleaf is one of the best undiscovered bands that is hanging just below the radar. “Indian Summer” is solid but I think “Echo Echo” might be their best album.

  10. Anon 9:43 Avatar
    Anon 9:43

    Hey CG2, Mr. Bacon’s the one who started this “huffy” business. I’m sorry about the “fall line of the James” crack–I understand he stopped in Pearisburg once.

  11. Jim Bacon Avatar
    Jim Bacon

    Ghost of Tom Joad, Thanks for the tip. I’ll go out and buy “Echo Echo” today!!

    Huffy Anonymi: If you think my original post was disagreeable, take a look at Eddy Slipek’s column in Style Weekly, objecting to moving the inaugural to Williamsburg! (Thanks to Jason Roop for the tip.)

  12. Ben Mays Avatar

    I thoroughly agree with you on both Susan Greenbaum and Carbon Leaf. Check out both of their eponymous web sites. My wife argues that you (and the governor-elect) should definitely add Robbin Thompson to the list, since “Sweet Virginia Breeze” should be the State song. There’s certainly something to be said for Ralph Stanley as well.

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