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.
Kevin Burke and John Carty, two world-renowned Celtic fiddlers, will be in town on Thursday, playing at In Your Ear studios, as well as making appearances at two local schools.
Their performance is part of a series held by the nonprofit JAMinc, which puts on one concert a month, excluding the summer months, featuring a variety of music from jazz to bluegrass. Unfortunately, the 7:30 p.m. show at In Your Ear is sold out, but the lucky students at Mary Munford Elementary School and Maggie L. Walker’s Governor School will get to hear Burke and Carty perform during their visit to Richmond. Here’s a clip of the duo playing in San Francisco:
In Your Ear, a recording studio at 1813 E. Broad St., seats 80 people in a house-concert setting, says Robbin Thompson, a member of JAMinc’s board of directors. “It’s a very homey atmosphere,” Thompson says. Guests are even encouraged to bring a covered dish to share with the rest of the audience.
Tim Timberlake, another member of JAMinc’s board of directors, says that 85 percent of the cover charge ($20 in advance, $25 at the door for Thursday’s show) goes to the artists and 15 percent goes toward renting the space, JAMinc’s PayPal fees and soft drinks for the audience. JAMinc has been putting on the concerts for 10 years. Timberlake says that artists enjoy playing at these small concerts because of the attentive audience, rather than for the money. The board of directors decides whom to invite to the next concert, though there has been an increase in artists inquiring to play for JAMinc. A recording featuring highlights from the shows, JAMinc Concert Series 1, is available through In Your Ear.
“Our mission is to bring in music that would not necessarily come through Richmond and songwriters that may not be on the tour,” Thompson says. He says that the artists invited to perform are also encouraged to play for children at both public and private schools in the area.
Timberlake adds that these visiting artists have played for 53,000 students in the area over the years. “Our school outreach is the main thing we are proud of,” he says.
Looking ahead, Missy Raines and the New Hip are the next group scheduled in the series. Their show is set for March 20 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 in advance. Raines is a seven-time recipient of the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Bass Player of the Year Award. The New Hip includes guitarist and co-producer Ethan Ballinger, mandolinist/acoustic guitarist Jarrod Walker and drummer/percussionist Josh Fox.
To launch their 2013 concert series, JAMinc.–a local non-profit organization that promotes music appreciation through education, performance, and support–brought in singer/songwriter/master storyteller Jim Avett from Concord, NC to perform for a sold-out crowd at In Your Ear Recording Studio in Richmond, VA this past Friday night.
As a part of his collaboration with JAMinc., Jim spent time before his evening performance visiting two Richmond schools–Maggie Walker Govenor’s School and Douglas Freeman High School. This push to get talented musicians into Richmond area schools is part of the core mission at JAMinc. Over the past decade, they have successfully reached over 47,000 K-12 students in the Richmond area.
During his time with the students, Jim shared his stories and songs, and offered them encouragement rooted in reality. He “encouraged them to be the best they can be,” not only in music, but also in life. This “just do your best” theme is pervasive in any music from the Avett family, indicating a firm belief that each of us has a purpose in life, and doing our best is always enough to make an impact.
Later that evening, music lovers gathered in the listening room at In Your Ear Recording Studio for Jim’s show. Many of those present had never seen Jim perform live, but were eager and excited to hear the music of the Avett family patriarch. Little did they know, they were not only about to hear a gifted singer/songwriter, but also one of the best storytellers this side of the Mason-Dixon line.
Unlike the crowd, I have had the pleasure of seeing Jim Avett perform several times. While no two shows are alike, I have heard most of his stories a time or two. Though he is always quick to apologize for his redundancy, it is in his redundancy that lessons are reinforced and new connections to music are created. Therefore, it’s not surprising to still find myself completely engaged and entertained when he dives into one of his old trusty tales about getting his first guitar, the art of picking, or his admiration for great songwriters like Tom T. Hall. Somehow Jim’s stories never wear thin. They never get old. Perhaps it’s his lighthearted country charm and down-home humility, or the simple wisdom and appreciation for what is true that keeps listeners like myself coming back for another helping of Jim Avett.
Flanked by lead guitarist Ray Morton and fiddlers Ali and Justine Parker, Jim took the stage in his trademark cowboy hat and black leather vest, and did what he does best–took listeners on a musical journey through his life. During the first half of the show, Jim wove childhood stories in with the songs that have shaped him into the musician he is today. His set list was thoughtful–deliberately complimenting tales about growing up in the foothills of NC, learning his first guitar chord progressions, and stealing history lessons from Johnny Horton songs. He delighted the captivated audience with classics like, All I Have to do is Dream, Wreck of the Old ’97, Sink the Bismarck, Keep on the Sunny Side, (Old Dogs, Children and) Watermelon Wine, and Hey Good Lookin’.
After a short intermission, Jim, Ray and Ali returned to the stage to play original tunes from Jim’s most recent albums “Tribes” and “Second Chance”–and you better believe that the stories continued as well. As Jim explained the details behind each songs, it was evident that he not only writes from personal experiences, but also through a keen observation of others, which he displayed in songs like Willard and Decisions. Through his tough facade, hardened by a lifetime of honest and dirty work, a sweet and candid family man emerged as he spoke fondly of his his wife Susie and their three children. With ease, he admitted his propensity for writing love songs, before transitioning into some of his favorites including Leaving Knoxville, Through the Passing Years, Tribes, and Saying Goodbye. Jim also treated the audience to a new song called, World Goes Round and Round–a heartfelt story of a grandaddy walking along a wooded path with his granddaughter and offering up a lifetime of advice.
With his first performance in Richmond, VA on the books, Jim proved, once again, that he is a master of lyrical imagery. With his stories and songs, he painted a picture of a simpler, fonder time that many of us long for, as we forge ahead into the tech-savvy, hustle-bustle world in which we live.
In a city so defined by its history, Jim Avett has gifted Richmond with his own little piece of the past–a kind reminder that sometimes we must look back through the history of music to allow ourselves to evolve and move forward in our own story and song.