Nellie McKay captivates audience at In Your Ear Studios on May 23, 2019

After board member and long-time friend Samson Trinh’s introduction of Nellie McKay to the nearly full house in Studio A, she stepped to the microphone, ukulele in hand, and began to sing without saying a word.

She immediately captivated the audience with her sweet and wide vocal range. During the rest of the evening she proved that great things really can come in small packages. Besides singing and playing both ukulele and piano, she did several funny yet poignant “conversations” with herself as subtle commentary on today’s political landscape. In a word, Nellie was entertaining.

Towards the end of the all-too-short evening, which kicked off with yet another spectacular potluck buffet, Samson joined Nellie, now on the studio’s grand piano, for a couple of songs playing saxophone. The evening was capped off when local jazz vocalist and musician John Winn (who happened to be in attendance) joined the two (at Samson’s urging) for an improvised jazz vocalization number known as “scat” singing. The audience signaled their approval of the performance, and the evening in general, with a standing ovation.


Nellie McKay is hard to categorize. She’s done Brecht on Broadway, opened for Lou Reed at Carnegie Hall, sung Woody Allen movie songs at the Hollywood Bowl, performed on A Prairie Home Companion, duetted with Eartha Kitt and Triumph The Insult Comic Dog, played Hilary Swank’s sister on the big screen, paid tribute to Doris Day, and released three wildly acclaimed albums of original music.

Nellie McKayHer music is as tuneful and clever as the best of the Great American Songbook  – part cabaret, part sparkly pop. But beneath the charming melodic surface is a wit that cuts, and a sharply tuned social conscience.

Sister Orchid marks Nellie McKay‘s seventh label release. Previous albums include, Pretty Little Head Obligatory Villagers, Normal as Blueberry Pie: A Tribute to Doris Day, Sweet Mobile Home, Get Away From Me and My Weekly Reader (both co-produced by Beatles engineer, Geoff Emerick.

She won a Theatre World Award for her Broadway portrayal of Polly Peachum in The Threepenny Opera. As a motion picture actress, Nellie has been in “P.S. I Love You” and “Downtown Express.” Film soundtracks include “Rumor Has It”, “Monster-in-Law” and her music has been heard on television’s “Mad Men”, “Boardwalk Empire”, “Weeds”, “Grey’s Anatomy”, “NCIS” and “Nurse Jackie”. Nellie has performed on TV shows including The Late Show with David Letterman, Conan, Ferguson, and The View.

Nellie has made numerous radio appearances on NPR’s Mountain Stage, A Prairie Home Companion, and Marian McPartland’s Piano Jazz. The Chase Brock Experience produced a ballet of her album, Obligatory Villagers, and her writing has appeared in The Onion, Interview, and The New York Times Book Review.

Nellie is a recipient of PETA’s Humanitarian Award and The Humane Society’s Doris Day Music Award in recognition of her dedication to animal rights.

JAMinc receives donation on behalf of Lucy Dacus

The Newport Folk Festival Foundation has made a donation on behalf of Lucy Dacus to support JAMinc’s school outreach efforts.

“JAMinc is beyond grateful to Richmond’s own Lucy Dacus for tapping us as her musical non profit-of-choice,” said JAMinc’s President, Tim Timberlake.

“It’s so important for us to provide opportunities for young people to hear music performed live, never knowing how one single moment might trigger the lifetime joy that only music can provide.”

Since 2004 JAMinc has taken studio concert artists to public schools with more than 90,000 students served so far. This donation will be used to underwrite the instructor fees JAMinc provides each artist.

Lucy Dacus, one of Richmond’s best known singer/songwriters of late, will be performing at the Newport Folk Festival on July 27, 2019.

Blue Note Records: Beyond the Notes at RIFF on April 28, 2019

JAMinc is pleased to be partnering with the Richmond International Film Festival
to present the screening of BLUE NOTE RECORDS: BEYOND THE NOTES, a documentary
exploring the unique vision behind the iconic jazz record label.

Through rare archival footage, current recording sessions and conversations with Blue Note artists, the film reveals a powerful mission and illuminates the vital connections between jazz and hip hop, with Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Robert Glasper, Norah Jones, Don Was and many more.

BLUE NOTE RECORDS: BEYOND THE NOTES will be screening at the Richmond International Film Festival at the Byrd Theatre: 2908 W. Cary St. Richmond, VA 23221 on Sunday, the 28 at 1:30 pm.

Buy your tickets at rvafilmfestival.com

Watch the trailer

Chesapeake native Eric Stanley and friends bring electric energy to JAMinc

Eric Stanley

Read about Eric’s two school visits as part of his IYE experience. »

Eric Stanley performed on April 18, 2019 at the In Your Ear Recording Studio. The sold out crowd was excited since Eric Stanley’s performance with fellow violinist Daniel D, DJ Calculation Of, keyboardist Brett McKinley Cypress and bass player Anthony Cavanaugh would truly be an out-of-the-box experience from the typical JAMinc show. No other band had ever included a DJ – a historic moment.

An interesting aspect of the band that night was that the quintet had only been playing together for several hours – put together by Eric and Daniel specifically for this performance. It’s a mark of their combined level of musicianship that nobody would have known had Eric not mentioned it during their performance.

The crowd’s anticipation was richly rewarded. Every song was punctuated by applause and whoops of approval. Comments from the audience ranged from “That was totally different” to “I’ve never heard violins played like that…I was amazed at what they did.”

Eric Stanley & DanielD_JAMinc-IYE-7743Eric and the band combined classical lines with hip-hop beats and even the random nursery rhyme hook thrown in keeping it unique and fresh. Several times Eric encouraged the audience to “Stay inspired” which, without a doubt, all truly were.

The evening began as every JAMinc show does with an array of interesting food brought in for the potluck buffet. There was even an unofficial “meatball challenge” that ended up a draw as each serving bowl was equally empty by the end of the evening.


Twenty eight year-old Chesapeake native Eric Stanley began playing violin at age 12 with encouragement from his musical family and his teachers. His mother played the piano while he, his sister and brother would sing along. Taking up the violin as an elective in middle school soon developed into Eric’s passion. He joined the Richmond Symphony Youth Orchestra while in high school.

At Virginia Commonwealth University, Eric began creating YouTube videos remixing popular songs fusing improvisational violin with hip hop, pop, and classical.  He has received the YouTube Silver Play Button surpassing 150,000 subscribers and 21 million total upload views.

In 2015 the “Eric Stanley EP” was released worldwide, featuring four original compositions. His style embodies – without being derivative – the “brilliance and fire” phrasing of Jean-Luc Ponty. This musical prodigy continues to elevate his passion, and has performed for former President Bill Clinton as well as at the International Emmy Awards, the Richmond Jazz Festival, and even at a Cleveland Browns football game.

Eric remains active in his church and often performs with gospel choirs while he tours along the East Coast.

Dovetailing with JAMinc’s mission to bring music to young people, Eric has performed before students in over 200 schools and has raised money to help purchase instruments for deserving students. One of his favorite quotes is, “Trying to be better than someone else is a pure waste of time. Strive to better than you were yesterday.”

Eric often collaborates with fellow violinist Daniel D who will join him for our JAMinc show. In the summer of 2005, Daniel was awarded a scholarship to study at the Juilliard School of Music and in 2007 he won the Apollo Award in New York City.

Want to learn more about Eric? Listen to this WCVE Virginia Currents Episode »

Bruce Molsky and students connect with the violin

Just hours after flying into Richmond, Bruce Molsky’s Mountain Drifters played to an appreciative 125 students at Oregon Hill’s St. Andrew’s School before heading to In Your Ear Studios.

The students were treated to a 45 minute set that included tunes, stories and positive reinforcement about always doing your best and following one’s dreams.
At one point Bruce asked the students if anyone played the violin. He was taken aback when every student raised their hand. It turns out every St. Andrew’s student is required to take violin as part of their instruction. It was a sweet moment for all.

Talking with WRVA’s John Reid

On Feb 12, as part of John Reid’s Giving Tuesday weekly segment, JAMinc board member Tim Timberlake talked up JAMinc with the WRVA morning news host. It was sort of a coming home for Tim, who worked 16 years as Richmond’s morning news host at WRVA.

Listen to the nine minute session on News Radio WRVA.

Trumpeter Rex Richardson leads clinics at local schools

On Feb 5, 2019 RVA trumpet master Rex Richardson led a clinic for Nick Merillat’s brass class at Maggie Walker Governor’s School.

Rex Richardson is a Professor of Trumpet at VCU and Award of Excellence recipient and offered MLWGS musicians instruction on sound production on brass instruments, improvisation, and creativity.

On April 25, 2019 he also stopped by The Steward School to teach a clinic to the upper school band. Rex instructed proper music techniques such as posture, tone, playing in tune as an ensemble and music theory.


Video:  Rex plays his trumpet solo on the jazz standard, “On Green Dolphin Street” directed by the school’s music instrumentalist teacher, John McAlister.

Vote for JAMinc at In Your Ear

2019 Best of Richmond Voting

Last year JAMinc fans voted us one of the best Live Music Series in RVA. It’s that time again and we’d sure appreciate your vote this year as well.

Visit Style Weekly’s voting page, scroll down to “Best Local Music Series” and write in JAMinc at In Your Ear.

Voting ends March 15, 2019. We thank you in advance!

Bruce Molsky’s Mountain Drifters with Allison de Groot and Stash Wyslouch

Just hours after flying into Richmond, Bruce Molsky’s Mountain Drifters played to an appreciative 125 students at Oregon Hill’s St. Andrew’s School before heading to In Your Ear Studios. Read about their visit with Richmond students »

That evening the band played to a sold out audience that included an amazing array of food as part of the before-show potluck buffet. Along with fine musicianship, guitarist Stash Wysllouch and banjo player Allison De Groot contributed amazing harmonies to fiddler Bruce Molsky’s vocals.

About Bruce Molsky and the Molsky’s Mountain Drifters

Introducing Bruce Molsky’s trio with Allison de Groot and Stash Wyslouch, Molsky’s Mountain Drifters.

Bruce Molsky is a self-described “street kid” from the Bronx who bailed on college and big city life for a cold-water cabin in Virginia in the 1970s. His mission? To soak up the passion that was dramatically upending his parent’s life plan for him – authentic Appalachian mountain music – at the feet of its legendary pioneers, old masters who are now long gone.

Today, Bruce Molsky is one of the most revered “multi-hyphenated career” ambassadors for America’s old-time mountain music. For decades, he’s been a globetrotting performer and educator, a recording artist with an expansive discography including seven solo albums, well over a dozen collaborations and two Grammy-nominations. He’s also the classic “musician’s musician” – a man who’s received high praise from diverse fans and collaborators like Linda Ronstadt, Mark Knopfler, Celtic giants Donal Lunny and Andy Irvine, jazzer Bill Frisell and dobro master Jerry Douglas, a true country gentleman by way of the Big Apple aptly dubbed “the Rembrandt of Appalachian fiddlers” by virtuoso violinist and sometimes bandmate Darol Anger.

“Bruce Molsky is one of those great players who ‘gets it’: has all the links to the past but is happy not to be chained to it.” – Mark Knopfler

“Molsky is easily one of the nation’s most talented fiddlers…he transports you … geographically, historically, and most of all emotionally.” – Mother Jones

“It is no exaggeration to say that Bruce Molsky is one of the greatest American fiddlers of all time. His playing is mesmerizing and transporting, and best experienced live.” – WBUR (Boston NPR)

Read more about the Molsky’s Mountain Drifters »

RVA’s Rex Richardson plays ICA session on Feb 6, 2019

VCU’s Institute for Contemporary Art and In Your Ear presented Rex Richardson on Wednesday February 6, 2019 as part of an exciting partnership that offered something a little different than our regular In Your Ear studio concert. Stellar RVA trumpeter Rex Richardson and an a-list band played in the ICA’s stunning new theater (capacity 200) to a sold out and very appreciative audience.

Applause was heard often after band members took solos. As Rex Richardson said the show was all too short but he was appreciative to be asked to play in such an incredible hometown venue and to such a supportive audience since he mostly plays on the road and rarely in Richmond. The show made many in the audience feel as if they had been transported to a NYC jazz club if only for an hour or so.

Light refreshments were served (no pot luck) and beer and wine was available for purchase at the adjacent Ellwood’s Cafe in the lobby. We’re eager to pursue this relationship as it will give us a viable alternative venue for acts that would likely outdraw our 80-seat capacity at IYE. Stay tuned for future events.

About Rex Richardson

A veteran of the acclaimed chamber ensemble Rhythm & Brass, jazz legend Joe Henderson’s Quintet and Sextet, William Russo’s Chigago Jazz Ensemble, and the Brass Band of Battle Creek, known as the world’s “Rolls Royce of Brass Bands” (Brass Band World), Rex Richardson stays busy as a headline artist at international classical and jazz festivals and as a soloist with a multitude of orchestras, concert bands, brass bands and jazz ensembles on five continents.

These ensembles have ranged from the Phoenix and Oregon Symphonies to the U.S. Army Field Band and Tokyo Wind Ensemble, and from England’s Fodens Brass Band to the U.S. Air Force’s Airmen of Note Jazz Ensemble.

Richardson has taught at Virginia Commonwealth University since 2002. He served as Yamaha Artist-in-Residence for the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, England for spring of 2012 and thereafter served the RNCM as International Tutor in Trumpet until 2015. He has a degree in Anthropology from Northwestern University and degrees in Music from Louisiana State University.

“A startling display of virtuosity…This was something very different, played by a performer of rare gifts indeed.” – 4barsRest.com, in a review of Rex Richardson’s performance at the 2013 World Music Championship in Kerkrade, Netherlands