On Thursday, January 26th, blues artists Corey Harris will open the 2017 JAMinc Concert Series with an evening of acoustic solo tunes. Reservations are open now, with seating is limited to 80! Corey will be playing in schools in the Richmond area — our school outreach has now reached well over 75,000 local students, at over 50 schools. A MacArthur “Genius” Grant winner, astounding guitarist and singer Corey Harris composes and performs music that spans the Mississippi Delta to Mali, from New Orleans to the Caribbean, with songs sung in French, and elements of reggae. Possibilities include Skip James’s “Special Rider Blues” and “Cypress Grove,” Robert Petway’s “Catfish Blues,” “Charlene,” a song Harris wrote and sings in French, Blind Willie Johnson’s “Dark Was the Night, Cold Was the Ground,” and material from his album Fulton Hill Blues, written while he lived here in Richmond.
For tickets, please visit Upcoming Events page.
Singer, songwriter, storyteller, humanitarian Robbie Schaefer joined us for a very well-timed performance at In Your Ear on November 11th, the Friday after our long and exhausting election season. He provided a breath of hopeful and encouraging fresh air. Our public radio show necessitated leaving so much out as it’s only an hour long, and Robbie’s thoughtful stories and song intros are such an important part of his music, we offer the following links to stream the entire two hour concert unedited. We encourage you to spend some undistracted quality time with Robbie, who some of you might know through his work with Eddie From Ohio or the last two editions of SPARC’s Live Art. It will fill your heart.
The 2nd Annual Scott Street Five String Finals honors the memory of original JAMinc board member, distinguished attorney and dedicated banjo player Scott Street, who we lost in February of 2015 to cancer. This year the competition expanded to include both bluegrass/Scruggs-style and clawhammer/old time style. Finalists competed live on the CarMax Family Stage at the Richmond Folk Festival on Saturday, October 8th, 2016.
We are pleased to report the results here:
Logan Redding, age 16-Pickens, SC–1st place
Taylor Parks, age 12-Parksley, VA –2nd place
Johnny White, age 14-Richmond, VA–3rd place
Madison Shepherd, age 16-West Jeffereson, NC–1st place
Uma Peters, age 9-Nashville, TN–2nd place
Rachel Dunaway, age 17-Richmond, VA–3rd place
Winners in each division received a crystal trophy, a demo recording session at In Your Ear Studios, and a $1000 cash prize. Runners-up receive $600 with $400 for third place.
Congratulations to all of the wonderful participants! JAMinc would like to thank all participants and judges for helping us honor Scott Street and carry on his memory through the talents of these young, amazing musicians.
First place winners Logan Redding and Madison Shepherd with Gini Street
Robbin Thompson lost his 15-year fight with cancer late Friday night. He was at home with family and friends. Virginia – and the world really – lost too. He endured many lengthy treatments, with devious side effects, but rarely if ever complained. By all accounts, he faced his illness with courage and his well-known sense of humor. In a newsletter this year he talked about the battle and his decision to take another shot at beating cancer.
“I was able to deal with most of this without anyone really knowing … Easy to hide but hard to ignore… so, here I am, facing another surgery. The way I figure, it’s like that moment in para-sailing right before running down the mountain. Once you decide to go for it there ain’t no turnin’ back and the rewards of goin’ for it far exceed sitting at home wondering how it would’ve been if you had just taken the chance.”
A singer, songwriter and multi-instrument musician, Robbin gave many fans a soundtrack to their lives (judging by numerous comments on social media). During a January 2014 all-acoustic show at In Your Ear Studio he talked about some of the inspirations for his songs: watching TV while lying sick on a couch, the people he’s met and places he’s traveled to. His beloved sail boat, Song Bird, and life on the Chesapeake showed up as well. Robbin’s music was upbeat and often introspective.
But Robbin was much more than an accomplished and successful musician. He was a supporter of the arts and causes by those he cared about. He was one of the main instigators creating the JAMinc house show series which features regional touring artist highlighting the roots of American music. This series also includes a school out-reach program which has put the bands in front of over 80,000 area school kids to date.
He was involved, from the beginning, with SPARC’s “Live Art,” both performing and writing songs for the shows and working directly with hundreds of budding talent. Robbin played a huge part, both up front and in the background, getting the Billy Ray Hatley charity show at the National in 2013 put together. A message posted by ACT Today (Autism Care and Treatment) thanked him for a song he wrote and donated to their military families living with autism initiative. Just a few of many ways Robbin made our world better.
But he was a musician first and last. From his 1969 VCU days forming Mercy Flight and opening for Bruce Springsteen’s Steel Mill to recently seeing his “Sweet Virginia Breeze” (co-written and performed by Steve Bassett) named Virginia’s “popular” state song, he accomplished a lot in a too short life time. To the end he was having musician friends over, booking shows and preparing to perform in several productions.
He left his mark on our music even when the music wasn’t his, never hesitant to jump in and work to make a song better. Long time guitarist and collaborator Velpo Robertson said in the Richmond Times Dispatch, “To me, I think that was the best thing about him. He was always happy to collaborate. No matter who he was working with, he wanted to make the songs better.”
There will always be a sweeter breeze because of the life of Robbin Thompson.
By Bill Rice (original post on SIFTER here)
Since JAMinc’s Studio A concert series at In Your Ear Music and Recording takes the summer off, we felt it was a great fit to partner with the Wilton House Museum’s monthly “Jammin’ on the James” events in Richmond’s Westhampton neighborhood. Featured artists this season were country band Andy Vaughan and the Driveline in June, the big band Tom Cunningham Orchestra in July and RVA favorite singer/songwriter Susan Greenbaum in August. All drew large crowds of all ages, with lots of families and couples packing picnic baskets and lawn chairs. Tim Timberlake and Jim Bland from the JAMinc board took turns manning our table to spread the word about our mission and signing up folks for our email list. It’s a perfect spot for outdoor live music, plus many toured the historic Wilton House itself, built originally in the 1750s east of Richmond and moved to its present location in 1933. Check out the elegantly carved wood paneling…it’s one of only two fully paneled colonial homes in the U.S. More at www.wiltonhousemuseum.org
88.9 WCVE Richmond Public Radio will be broadcasting live from the Altria main stage at the 10th anniversary edition of the Richmond Folk Festival the weekend of October 10-12. The following Saturday, October 18th at 1pm, WCVE will air the first of seven brand new programs in JAMinc’s In Your Ear live performance radio show, produced and hosted by board member Tim Timberlake.
We’ve offered up a total of 26 hour-long programs since IYE radio began a few years ago and all are available for on demand streaming at www.ideastations.org/iye. Each hour is an abridged replay of one or more of our past live studio concerts, lovingly recorded and mixed by Carlos Chafin and Andrea Stefl at In Your Ear Music & Recording in downtown RVA. Coming up in this new season are recent performances by the Robbin Thompson Band (unplugged), Missy Raines & the New Hip, Jim Hurst, celtic fiddlers Kevin Burke & John Carty and the Snyder Family Band. We’ll also be opening our growing archives for some earlier samplings from past artists including Peter Ostroushko, Wayne Henderson & Helen White, the Bee Eaters, Phil Wiggins & Rick Franklin and Anne & Pete Sibley.
And please thank and support our loyal sponsors make our radio presence possible: HohnerUSA, TKL/Cedar Creek Custom Case Shoppe, Digital Video Group and Will & Molly Perkinson. Catch as many as you can Saturdays at 1pm on WCVE, at 88.9 on the FM dial or stream it live at http://ideastations.org/radio
JAMinc is co-sponsor of this summer’s Jammin’ on the James Concert Series held at the beautiful and historic Wilton House in Windsor Farms. This year’s lineup features Andy Vaughan & Driveline on June 14, the Tom Cunningham Orchestra on July 12, and Susan Greenbaum on August 9th.
For times and further information on these free outdoor family concerts, visit their website at http://www.wiltonhousemuseum.org/events/.
For the past eight years, JAMinc and the Richmond Folk Festival have partnered to bring internationally recognized folk musicians into Richmond schools to perform for students. This partnership has enabled over 23,000 students to be exposed to a diverse array of folk music rooted in cultural traditions from across the globe.
Tomorrow, JAMinc, a local nonprofit music education organization, will coordinate ten school performances by six of the festival musicians at Richmond area schools, including the Faison School for Autism and St. Andrew’s School.
Coordination involves a host of volunteers who donate their time and resources to organize transportation and sound equipment set-up to ensure an enjoyable and unique musical experience for the students and musicians, alike.
This year, select students will be treated to a performance by Tuvan throat-singers, Alash. Throat-singers learn to sing multiple harmonic notes with one voice, sometimes creating two and three separate tones.
“It is the most amazing, out of this worldly kind of sound that you’ve ever heard,” said Tim Timberlake, Richmond Folk Festival programming committee member and JAMinc chairman.
Students will also have a chance to experience music from polka and reggae groups, as well as traditional mountain music from Elizabeth LaPrelle and Anna Roberts-Gevalt. Exposure to a variety of musical genres teaches students that the word “folk” can have multiple meanings across different cultures.
“Folk is the indigenous music from any culture. It’s the traditions that are passed down that stem from the roots of all of these different cultures all over the world,” explained Timberlake.
Promoting music education in the school systems is something that is very important to JAMinc and the Richmond Folk Festival, but music education goes well beyond the school walls for both organizations. It took some time to educate the people of Richmond about the diversity that underlies folk music, but attitudes are moving in the right direction.
“The complexion [of the festival]…beautifully reflects the demographic composition of Richmond. There is nothing that happens near here that approaches that success of being able to bring everybody together, to be that inclusive, have it all work and have everyone have a wonderful time and celebrate music together,” said Timberlake.
In addition to coordinating the school music events, JAMinc is sponsoring four local musical acts on the festival’s Genworth Financial Family Stage. Saturday’s sponsored acts consist of the kids group, Silly Bus, and VCU graduate Andrew Ali, who which will lead a harmonica workshop. JAMinc sponsor, TKL/Cedar Creek Case Shoppe, donated approximately 100 harmonicas to be passed out to the children who want to take part in the workshop.
On Sunday afternoon, JAMinc will present big band composer, Samson Trinh, who will conduct a ukulele workshop and play alongside a ukulele orchestra of young musicians. Sunday’s Family Stage festivities will come to a close with the high-energy stringband music of The Hot Seats Shortband.
It is the hope of JAMinc and Richmond Folk Festival organizers that young music lovers will walk away from these experiences inspired and enlightened.
“Generally, music just has that potential for just opening and unlocking doors. At their ages their minds are open, and they are receptive to hearing and learning new things. That’s definitely what this is all about–to let them hear some things and let them realize that there is more to the world and to music than what they are hearing on commercial radio,” said Timberlake.
The Richmond Folk Festival is a free event from October 11-13, 2013. Organizers anticipate that this weekend’s festivities will draw over 200,000 attendees to Richmond’s beautiful, historic downtown riverfront. Festival grounds include the American Civil War Center, Brown’s Island and Tredegar Street.
In addition to being held on a picturesque campus, the Richmond Folk Festival boasts a stellar line-up that spans the globe and a solid foundation of dedicated volunteers working behind the scenes to ensure a smooth and successful event.
JAMinc hopes to continue their role in the Richmond Folk Festival well into the future. The collaboration has extended JAMinc’s mission of promoting music education and appreciation beyond their school and evening concert series, and established a bond that gets stronger with each passing year.
“I think the Richmond Folk Festival appreciates what we do and I think we, JAMinc, really enjoy being associated with such a quality event, such a successful event and such a jewel in Richmond’s crown. All of us are really proud of how this thing has played out, that it’s continuing and that most people will say it’s the coolest event in town, down there on the river in the RVA,” said Timberlake.