Dead Air II is Out Now!

WNRN Presents: Dead Air 2 captures the joyfully raucous atmosphere of our second annual Central Virginia tribute to the music of the Grateful Dead. On November 22nd, 2019 at the historic Academy Theatre in Lynchburg VA, 23 Central VA bands (plus a few special guests!) stepped on stage to perform a song from the vast Grateful Dead catalog. The concert itself was an enormous undertaking, featuring over 100 musicians on stage, and it was captured flawlessly by our friends at Blue Sprocket.  ORDER NOW to get the full album as a digital download, CD, or  limited edition LP. Your purchase also includes a one-year membership to WNRN and access to our member-only VIP mailing list. Scroll down to see the track listing, sample tracks, and videos from the concert!

Order Your Copy

Dead Air II performance videos

Track Listing: 

Adams Plastic PondShakedown Street
The CurrysTill the Morning Comes
XenithSugar Magnolia
Dogwood TalesSt. Stephen
Free UnionBrown Eyed Women
The GladstonesNew Speedway Boogie
Lowland HumBrokedown Palace
Rob CheathamChina Cat Sunflower->I Know You Rider
LA DiesBox of Rain
Blake ChristianaCandyman
Gold ConnectionsFriend Of The Devil
Crush LimbaughTennessee Jed ->Greatest Story Ever Told
David Wax MuseumCassidy
Good Dog NigelGolden Road (To Unlimited Devotion)
Firecracker JamEyes of the World
TinnaroseRamble on Rose
Strong WaterThe Music Never Stopped
The Judy ChopsSugaree
Scott MillerAttics Of My Life
Chamomile and WhiskeyMississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodeloo
Saw BlackMorning Dew
Travis ElliottStella Blue
Lord NelsonBertha
Tony Camm and the Funk AllstarsFranklins Tower
Hackensaw BoysRipple
2020-11-23T11:44:39-05:00April 2nd, 2020|

In-Studio at WNRN Volume 7!

The In Studio at WNRN CD compilation features songs performed exclusively for WNRN by artists including Phosphorescent, Illiterate Light, The Lone Bellow, Sean McConnell, and many more!

You can also check out videos of in-studio performances from artists featured on the compilation on WNRN’s Youtube page, including performances by Minor Poet, Cordovas, Amos Lee, and more.


Track Listing-

1 Frank Turner- Blackout
2 Cordovas- This Town’s a Drag
3 Phosphorescent- New Birth in New England
4 Lily and Madeleine- Can’t Help the Way I Feel
5 Sean McConnell- Here We Go
6 Illiterate Light- Better Than I Used To
7 Charley Crockett- If Not the Fool
8 Blue Highway- Both Ends of the Train
9 Strong Water- If I was
10 Brett Dennen- Already Gone
11 Free Union- Good Day to Cry
12 The Lone Bellow- Time’s Always Leaving
13 Minor Poet- Tropic of Cancer
14 Amos Lee- No More Darkness, No More Light
15 The Marcus King Band- Homesick

2019-12-09T11:27:50-05:00September 17th, 2019|

Red Wing Roots Music Festival VII

Join WNRN at Red Wing Roots Music Festival at Natural Chimneys Park in Mt. Solon, Virginia on July 12th, 13th & 14th!

The initial artist announcement has been released and we’re excited for another great year. Hosted by The Steel Wheels, the festival will feature Lucinda Williams, The Wood Brothers, Mandolin Orange, Peter Rowan’s Carter Stanley’s Eyes, The Tim O’Brien Band & more!

Purchase your tickets here, and find the full lineup here!

2019-05-20T11:46:25-04:00February 6th, 2019|

Thanks For Making ‘Dead Air’ A Success!

Thanks to everyone who celebrated 22 years of WNRN with us at The Paramount Theater!

A special shout-out to the bands, nonprofits, crew, sponsors, staff and volunteers who made this event possible. And a huge thank-you goes out to Shenandoah Valley Organic, Blue Mountain Brewery, Blue Ridge Graphics, Vitae Spirits, The Paramount Theater, The College Inn, Steve Haske, The Catering Outfit, Chris Jackson and Blue Sprocket Sound and Southard Audio in Harrisonburg.

And thank you to all of our members, whose support has kept independent music radio on the airwaves for more than 20 years.

Below you will find the winners for each of the raffle items, along with the evening’s setlist and list of nonprofits that we partnered with throughout the evening.

Here are the results of our raffle! If you’re a winner, email raffle@wnrn.org to claim your prize before February 14th!

  1. Fall 1989: The Long Island SoundCollector’s edition: An all new 6-CD box set featuring two complete, previously unreleased performances from the Jerry Garcia Band and Bob Weir & Rob Wasserman  recorded September 5th, 1989 in Hartford, CT and September 6th, 1989 in Uniondale, NY.  This collection features cover art by Stanley Mouse, liner notes by author Blair Jackson and over 5-1/2 hours of previously unreleased music.  The Collectors Edition includes the 6-CD set, a signed & numbered (edition of 750) limited edition Stanley Mouse screen print, large format booklet and exclusive t-shirt presented in a handcrafted, California-made solid wood frame. WINNER: 307486
  1. Jerry Garcia Studio Album Vinyl Collection:The complete Garcia solo studio catalog pressed to 180gram vinyl.  The collection includes: Garcia, Compliments, Reflections, Cats Under The Stars, and Run for the Roses WINNER: 148131
  1. GarciaLive Series: Volumes 1 -> 10  Every installment of the in the GarciaLive series thus far (23 CDs in total) which includes seven Jerry Garcia Band shows (December 31, 1975, November 8, 1976, March 22, 1978, March 1, 1980, May 20, 1990, August 5, 1990, and November 23, 1991), two December 1974 Legion of Mary performances, as well as two Jerry Garcia and Merl Saunders shows from July 5, 1973 and August 11, 1974. WINNER: 147844

Volume 1: March 1, 1980 Capitol Theatre
Volume 2: August 5, 1990 Greek Theatre
Volume 3: December 14-15, 1974 Northwest Tour 
Volume 4: March 22nd, 1978 Veteran’s Hall
Volume 5: December 31st, 1975 Keystone Berkeley
Volume 6: July 5th, 1973 Lions Share
Volume 7: November 8th, 1976 Sophies Palo Alto
Volume 8: November 23rd, 1991 Bradley Center 
Volume 9: August 11th, 1974 Keystone Berkeley
Volume 10: May 20th, 1990 Hilo Civic Center

  1. Bruce Hornsby & The Noisemakers –Rehab Reunion Signed Vinyl: Bruce Hornsby’s most recent studio album, autographed by Hornsby. WINNER: 307747
  1. Grateful Dead – Pacific Northwest 73-74: The Complete Recordings Boxed Set: 6 complete shows on 19 discs, individually numbered limited edition of 15,000 WINNER: 307432
  1. Grateful Dead – Playing In The Band, Seattle, Washington 5/21/74. 180 gram vinyl limited edition of 7400 (The Dead’s legendary and longest uninterrupted song ever recorded), PLUS a Blu-ray copy of Long Strange Trip: The Untold Story Of The Grateful Dead (the four hour documentary and a bonus disc of two extra hours of live footage) WINNER: 147728
  1. Grateful Dead – Cornell 5/8/77, 5-LP Set with custom etched 10th side WINNER: 307467
  1. Grateful Dead – Portland Memorial Coliseum, Portland OR 5/19/74, 6-LP Set of 180 gram vinyl (limited edition of 7500) WINNER: 922525
  1. Grateful Dead – Fillmore West, 2/27/69, 4-LP set (limited edition of 9000), PLUS a Blu-ray copy of Long Strange Trip: The Untold Story Of The Grateful Dead (the four hour documentary and a bonus disc of two extra hours of live footage) WINNER: 922466
  1. Grateful Dead – Long Strange Trip motion picture soundtrack 6-LP set (limited edition of 3000) WINNER: 307264
  1. Keller Williams’ KWahtro –Sync Signed Vinyl: A collaborative studio album by Keller Williams’ KWahtro four piece band, featuring Danton Boller, Rodney Holmes, Gibb Droll, and autographed by Williams himself. WINNER: 922693
  1. Trampled By Turtles –Wild Animals Signed Vinyl: Trampled By Turtles’ seventh studio album, autographed by all band members. WINNER: 147184
  1. Yonder Mountain String Band – Aint Love Signed Vinyl: Yonder Mountain String Band’s most recent studio album, autographed by all five band members. WINNER: 307423
  1. The Man –Woodstock Signed Vinyl: Portugal. The Man’s eighth and most recent studio album, autographed by the band and featuring the Grammy award-winning track “Feel It Still.” WINNER: 922048
  1. Ziggy Marley –Ziggy Marley Signed Vinyl: Ziggy Marley’s sixth solo studio album, signed by the artist himself and featuring his brother Stephen Marley. WINNER: 147546
  1. Old Crow Medicine Show –Volunteer Signed Vinyl: Old Crow Medicine Show’s most recent studio album, autographed by all six band members. WINNER: 307174
  1. Greensky Bluegrass –Shouted, Written Down & Quoted Signed Vinyl: Greensky Bluegrass’ most recent studio album, autographed by the five-piece band. WINNER: 922054
  1. Galactic –Into the Deep Signed Vinyl: Galactic’s most recent studio album, autographed by all six current members and featuring JJ Grey, Mavis Staples, and more. WINNER: 147220
  1. Dark Star Orchestra – Signed Poster: Dark Star Orchestra 11” x 17” psychedelic poster signed by all current members. WINNER: 307429
  1. My Morning Jacket – Signed Poster: Signed My Morning Jacket 18” x 24” The Waterfall WINNER: 307439
  1. Widespread Panic – Signed Poster: Signed Widespread Panic 17” x 25” Street Dogs poster designed by Chris Bilheimer. WINNER: 307419
  1. Sturgill Simpson – Signed Poster: Signed Sturgill Simpson 22” x 28” Metamodern Sounds in Country Music poster by Thinking Out Loud Design. WINNER: 922086

Dead Air at The Paramount Theater, Charlottesville, VA, USA
January 11, 2019 Setlist

Travis Elliott – Cryptical Envelopment > Wharf Rat
Gallatin Canyon – I Know You Rider
Sammi Lanzetta – Brokedown Palace
Lord Nelson – Brown Eyed Women
The Front Porch – Monkey and the Engineer
Eli Cook – Deep Elem Blues
Scott Miller – Black Peter
Charlottesville Day School Chorus – Bird Song
The Steel Wheels – Friend of the Devil
Andy Jenkins – Box of Rain
The Judy Chops – Shakedown Street
The Gladstones – Cold Rain and Snow
Gold Connections – Cumberland Blues
Early Music Access Project – China Doll
David Wax Museum – If I Had the World to Give
Rob Cheatham Music – Eyes of the World
Kenneka Cook – Easy Wind
Chamomile and Whiskey – Touch of Grey
Minor Poet – Here Comes Sunshine
Free Union Music – Casey Jones
Charlottesville Ballet – Rosemary > Dark Star
Strong Water – New Speedway Boogie
Bryan Elijah Smith – Truckin’
Lowland Hum – Attics of My Life
J Roddy Walston and The Business – Fire on the Mountain


Our nonprofit neighbors who joined us for the evening:

BRIMS: Blue Ridge Irish Music School

LEAP: Local Energy Alliance Program

BGF: Building Goodness Foundation

Wild Virginia

Common Ground

Embrace Richmond

Project GROWS

SARA: Sexual Assault Resource Agency


EFN: Emergency Food Network

Literacy Volunteers

Charlottesville Ballet

Wintergreen Adaptive Sports

The Listening

Early Music Access Project

The Front Porch

Cville Day School

Camp Kum-ba-yah at Cosby Woods

City Schoolyard Garden

Lime Kiln Theater

Charlottesville Free Clinic


Check out our photos from the night, taken by G. Milo Farineau, below!

Dead Air is sponsored by:

2019-10-08T15:39:18-04:00January 14th, 2019|

Top 10 Albums of 2018: WNRN Show Picks

Thanks to everyone who voted for their favorite albums of 2018! You can see where your picks landed on our countdown here.

The hosts of some of your favorite WNRN speciality shows joined in on the fun, too. Check out their top releases of the year below. 

Steve Hamilton, Host of Fresh Roots, New Blues

  • Top Overall Albums of 2018
  1. Shemekia Copeland – America’s Child
  2. Father John Misty – God’s Favorite Customer
  3. The Teskey Brothers – Half Mile Harvest
  4. Queens Of The Stone Age – Villains
  5. Courtney Barnett – Tell Me How You Really Feel
  6. The War & Treaty – Healing Tide
  7. Boxed In
  8. Ural Thomas & The Pain – The Right Time
  9. Charles Bradley – Black Velvet
  10. Tom Petty – An American Treasure

Bob Mosolgo, Host of Country Feedback

  • Top Alt-Country Albums of 2018:
  1. John Prine – Tree of Forgiveness
  2. Dave Alvin and Jimmie Dale Gilmore – Downey to Lubbock
  3. Various – King of the Road – A Tribute to Roger Miller
  4. Willie Nelson – Last Man Standing
  5. Joshua Hedley – Mr. Jukebox
  6. Ashley Monroe – Sparrow
  7. Robbie Fulks and Linda Gail Lewis – Wild! Wild! Wild!
  8. Blackberry Smoke – Find A Light
  9. Eric Church – A Desperate Man
  10. Sarah Shook and The Disarmers – Years
  • Top Overall Albums of 2018
  1. Father John Misty – God’s Favorite Customer
  2. Nathaniel Rateliff and The Night Sweats – Tearing at the Seams
  3. Parquet Courts – Wide Awake
  4. Elvis Costello – Look Now
  5. Leon Bridges – Good Thing
  6. Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever – Hope Downs
  7. River Whyless – Kindness, A Rebel
  8. Hop Along – Bark Your Head Off, Dog
  9. Neko Case – Hell-On
  10. Richard Ashcroft – Natural Rebel


Desiré Moses, Host of New Rock Now

  • Top Overall Albums of 2018
  1. Courtney Barnett – Tell Me How You Really Feel
  2. Hop Along – Bark Your Head Off, Dog
  3.  boygenius – boygenius EP
  4. Soccer Mommy – Clean
  5. Mitski – Be The Cowboy
  6. Snail Mail – Lush
  7. Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever – Hope Downs
  8. Middle Kids – Lost Friends
  9. Father John Misty – God’s Favorite Customer
  10. Neko Case – Hell-On
2019-10-08T15:39:19-04:00December 30th, 2018|

Top 10 Albums of 2018: Host Picks

Thanks to everyone who voted for their favorite albums of 2018! You can see where your picks landed on our countdown here.

We joined in on the fun, too! See what our hosts enjoyed cueing up for you this year below.

WNRN General Manager & Program Director, Mark Keefe

10. Leon Bridges – Good Thing. You need only refer to the title for a summary of this release – for his second album, Leon Bridges is firing on all cylinders. Pop and soul accompanied by infectious grooves and just enough of the classic sound made modern by a man in control of his path to notoriety. Don’t miss his show this spring in Charlottesville.

9. Middle Kids – Lost Friends. The way the guitar rings on these songs shines in a way that makes you want to hear it again and again. Tight songs with that sing along quality throughout, it’s fun to hear what comes next when you press start. If only they would tour long enough to play nearby…

8. Mark Knopfler – Down The Road Wherever. Survey Mark Knopfler’s output of the last decade and you’ll find a man who does what he wants when he wants to. So glad he decided to release another solo disc. I admit I wince when one of my favorites takes so long between releases, but this one is worth the wait. That guitar sound! It’s like a welcome visit from an old friend.

7. Elvis Costello and the Imposters – Look Now. I winced here, too, but it’s just as rewarding. He’s reworking some of his covered material that he never fully put his mark on, but it’s not an album of leftovers. He can polish the gems of others and took a turn at some of his own to great effect. After a health scare this year, I hope he’s with us for a long time doing whatever suits him.

6. Lo Moon – Lo Moon. I admit to a borderline obsession with latter years Talk Talk discs and truly believed no one would capture that band’s sound and feel. Until now. Lo Moon have it and you should have this album to hear for yourself (and go back and listen to Talk Talk’s “The Colour Of Spring” to understand where I’m going here). You can bite off more than you can chew when you attempt this sound, but this is a feast for your ears that’s worth many listens.

5. Neko Case – Hell-On. I fear a year where a new Neko Case album doesn’t make my top 10. Not this year. Seek out the backstory on the recording sessions here and you’ll be even more impressed by the result and lyrics. I love artists whose output forces me to listen several times before I really get what they’re doing, but Hell-on makes it worth every successive listen. Love the catchy ones, live for the moody, spooky, ethereal outliers that wouldn’t make many playlists but make a good album great.

4. Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever – Hope Downs. Sometimes, you just wanna Rock! Okay, this is not simple rock music because it caught my ear with a sound that smacks of a band I seldom hear in modern rock music – The Fall. R.I.P. Mark Smith, but know your influence is found here, intentional or not. A smart, taught almost punk rock guitar attack with enough pop sensibility to keep you bopping along. Looking for something to get you moving? Here it is with a snarl to boot.

3. Marcus King Band – Carolina Confessions. Southern rock is alive and well and in the hands of this generation’s guitar hero who is as kind as he is hard-working. He respects those who came before him as much as they admire him (specifically Warren Haynes). This one makes you feel good and puts into words that feeling you might find hard to express. These songs translate beautifully whether performed in our studio or on a stage in front of hundreds or thousands. Do your ears a favor and have a listen.

2. Tash Sultana – Flow State. A perfectly named album once you put an ear to it, the flow is there from start to finish. Songs you want to crawl up into and drift away into whatever space you’ve been longing for. It’s the groove, and it flows through every note, every song. I want to see her live because I know she’ll make me smile and feel good for the length of a concert and long afterward.

1. Gold Connections – Popular Fiction. The first song Will Marsh sent me several years ago snapped my head back and I’ve been hooked ever since. I won’t bore you with why it took so long to get this finally out and in completed form, but I’m so glad it finally arrived. Not a one listen record, my favorite song here has changed half a dozen times and we’ve given a spin to several of them for the last three years. As much as I like this album, I’m looking forward to the next one and hoping it doesn’t take half as long to arrive.


WNRN Morning Host, Anne Williams

10. JD McPherson –Socks. Last year, McPherson’s album Undividied Heart and Soul was my No. 1 album of the year. This year, what an amazing holiday classic he has created! For those of us who are more “nay-sayers,” this is just a great album of roots of rock and roll songs with a theme. Enjoy!

9. Ruston Kelly – Dying Star. This year, I signed up to interview Ruston Kelly in Nashille and was a bit nervous. How to do talk to a guy about his near death experience with a heroin overdose? Kelly just owns his mistakes and turned his life experiences into an amazing album of insightful and well made tunes.

8. Mark Knopfler – Down the Road Wherever. If you are looking for the tempo of some of your pop or rock favorites from either Knopfler solo albums or Dire Straits, you will not find it on this new one. These slower pace compositions are an easy listen. The melodies, lyrics and guitar work are outstanding.

7. Brent Cobb – Providence Canyon. On this second album, the overall tempo is more upbeat and swampy. Through his lyrics, Brent Cobb takes us to some of the places near his hometown in Southern Georgia including the state park where Cobb takes the title to the album.

6. Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats – Tearing at the Seams. They created a live sound on this album with the help of producer, Richard Swift. (Swift passed away suddenly this year.) It is evident on “Hey Mama,” which evolved from an acoustic guitar riff Rateliff devised to one of the catchiest songs on the album. “You Worry Me” features echoing guitars that has the trademark soulful vocals and horn section.

5. Aaron Lee Tasjan – Karma for Cheap. Throughout this new album, you can hear the Beatles influence and the guitar work that won him that scholarship to the Berklee College of Music. He didn’t go to college; He just jumped into life as a professional musician and songwriter. This is his second album for New West Records.

4. Neko Case – Hell-On. It’s Case’s first solo album in five years. She did help with the recent New Pornographers’ album and teamed up with Laura Viers and kd lang. These collaborations inspired her to look for new sounds and a different process. Case asked Bjorn Yttling (Peter, Bjorn and John) to help produce it. “Bad Luck” was recorded after her barn and house burned down.

3. Israel Nash – Lifted. With this third album for 30 Tigers, listeners can finally hear the fully actualized Israel Nash sound that harkens back to Brian Wilson’s production of Beach Boys classics. Nash’s cosmic folkadelic album is a blissful listen from start to finish.

2. Shemekia Copeland – America’s Child. How could we not want to play “Ain’t Got Time for Hate”? It is a look at what and how issues divide us, but also a prescription for how to heal. The whole album is an examination of the state of America right now from Copeland viewpoint. Songs were chosen or written for her to articulate how to create a better world for her son.

1. Lucy Dacus – Historian. This album is confident, insightful and rocks just right. I was excited to hear the preview track a year ago, “Nightshift.” Now we get to celebrate with folks around the country as this Richmond based artist’s album is topping other critics ‘best of’ lists. (Be sure to check out boygenius — her collaboration with Julien Baker and Phoebe Bridgers.)


WNRN Midday Host and Assistant Program Director, Tad Abbey

10. Kamasi Washington – Heaven and Earth. Kamasi Washington is a tour de force. The jazz artist is not just creating compelling songs; He is crafting complete orchestrations that are cinematic in scope. Just as he did with 2017’s Harmony of Difference, Washington dares to go further. The arrangements are so rich, you have to listen to the songs again and again to experience the subtleties of all the musicians. There are times when it feels like the song will lose control and spiral off into a free jazz exploration, but Washington never lets things go too far. He conducts like a an expert falconer. Kamasi lets the music out into the sky but knows when and how to signal everything back to him and his style. There is funk, rock fusion, bebop, classical, and even opera in the compositions. Somehow, it all works together in a harmony only his vision can create.

9. Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever – Hope Downs. Five Aussie guys just playing great music. This debut album is a breath of fresh air. Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever are just making great honest indie gems. From the beginning of Hope Downs, you want to load up a car with close friends and go for an adventure. This is that rare album that you don’t really have to care what the songs are about. The references aren’t there for anyone but the band to get. Yet, the upbeat energy keeps your toes tapping and wanting a carefree day. Hop in, go for the ride, and enjoy the trip.

8. Khruangbin – Con Todo El MundoA trio from Houston, Texas reinvents world chill music. As far fetched as that statement is, it is totally true. Laura Lee on bass, Mark Speer on guitar, and Donald Johnson on drums have created an album of true splendid bliss. I have gone back to this album so often this year when I needed time of reflection. When I needed to have space to breathe. When I just wanted to feel calm. When I wanted to simply watch the world go by.

This instrumental album feels so connected with the human experience no matter what your background. There are Middle Eastern, funk, Latin, jazz, rock, and so many other forms of music that are delicately woven into the music. There are many groups that try to sound this refined with global influences but Khruangbin has somehow mastered how to use many ingredients without overpowering the recipe. And this dish is best served chill. Cue up Con Todo El Mundo and just unwind a bit. You’ll feel better for it.

7. Marcus King Band – Carolina ConfessionsThis album is not going to be on a lot of “Best of” lists, which is a shame. Too many critics will dismiss this as just being a jamband album. Marcus King has come a long way since singing that there “Ain’t Nothing Wrong with That.” OK Marcus, no one was debating you on the merits of “that” being wrong. Now, a little older and a little wiser he has cultivated a band that is delivering a standout rock album. The opening organ riff ushers you to your pew, the sermon is about to begin. This album can stand alongside Idlewild South. A young group of musicians with something to prove. King is a beast on his Gibson guitar and the MKB rhythm section just wail around his phenomenal leads.  This is a turning point album. This the album that progresses MKB from being the opening act to the headliners. King’s confession is that he is more than ready for the spotlight.

6. Middle Kids- Lost FriendsWe first got hip this trio at the end of 2017. From the beginning, I found their songs very infectious. When the full length came out, I went back to it often. The lyrics are very relatable and you don’t have to dig deep to get the meaning. I think that is why I enjoy this album so much. Middle Kids are not reinventing music or searching for a new sound. In a nonchalant manner they created a record that could sound great in any decade. It has a timeless indie quality that many strive for but few create.

5. Tash Sultana- Flow StateThis is a great case of me being wrong. When Tash Sultana first broke in the U.S., I did not get it.  I could hear that she is a an accomplished guitarist but that’s all I heard. When Flow State came out, everything clicked for me. Sultana can pay with intensity, but also intricately subdued. She has somehow found a way to marry R&B with an indie spirit. The fact that Sultana plays everything on the album is just icing on her talent-filled cake.

4. Angélique Kidjo – Remain in LightEven as the “covers guy” for Take 2@2, I’ve never had a tribute album in my Best Of list before. Angélique Kidjo just doesn’t perform the songs of the Talking Heads. She uproots the songs, strips them of their essence, and then puts them back in the Earth to grow and flower anew. If it is possible to find someone that is not familiar with the original Talking Heads material and play them Kidjo’s album first, I am sure they would think this is an incredible album of rock and African styles that is taking the world by storm.

Kidjo somehow blended her own narrative into the songs, without changing the lyrics of the source material. Each song is completely re-worked to Kidjo’s perspective and story. Her version of “Houses in Motion” is almost an African folklore story song.

This album truly shows her as an artist. Yes, these are cover songs. But through Kidjo’s transformation, the music is born again. It is a new vision; A new sound; A new story; A new art.

3. Janelle Monae – Dirty ComputerJanelle Monae is a true entertainer: Singer, producer, dancer, showstopper, actor, and fashionista. Her first album, The ArchAndroid, broke through with her incredible sci-fi meets hiphop vision. Now, Monae is ready to conquer all with Dirty Computer. So often she puts a mirror in front of Millennial culture and dares to challenge its ideals. Do we all need to be social media, internet stars? Is there more than just a carefree Instagrammed photo to say that you exist?
Monae is never afraid of showing the world exactly who she is. The songs may sound light and poppy but if you dig into the lyrics you can see she is teaching her audience. Monae believes that everyone can be strong and should live their most independent and creative lives. Just be you, at all costs.

2. Brandi Carlile – By the Way, I Forgive YouIn early May, Brandi Carlile performed for Music at Maymont in Richmond. The band vamped, the Hanseroth twins strode on stage and did their ceremonial crowd wave. Once Phil & Tim helped the music swell and Brandi Carlile appeared. The concert began with track one, “Everytime I Hear That Song.” The audience had no idea but she played her new album in its entirety. Carlile has that rare “it” quality. She can immediately hook a listener in with her stadium sized voice. Most of the crowd had yet to hear these new songs. They were quiet and absorbed by every note.

I did not expect Carlile to create an album that would eclipse The Story. A decade later, Brandi wrote a masterpiece. Every song showcases her power as a singer, as a songwriter, and as a band member. Brandi knows when to let Phil or Tim take control with a song and when to let the music breathe. This is smart since so often she creates audible gasps from her audience. There are few acts that I muscle to get to see every time. I look forward to losing my breath to a Brandi concert again.

1. Leon Bridges – Good Thing.

On a May afternoon, I had to do a big box store shopping run. I was on a mad dash to gather supplies for a large party I was hosting. Earlier that day, I got the new album from Leon Bridges. With my earbuds on I pressed play and began my mission. When track one, “Bet Ain’t Worth the Hand,” with the strings and gentle xylophone and harp touches I immediately found a mellow groove. Then my stride hit and I was dancing down the isles with “Bad Bad Thing.” To say the least this album made my shopping experience a great funky experience.

Leon creates an audio tapestry with Good Thing. If his first album, Coming Home, was the second coming of Sam Cooke, this album is the spirit of early Stevie Wonder reborn. There is no limit to Bridges’ creativity. He leans on his R&B roots to also bring in rock and roll, love ballads (like the gorgeous song “Beyond”), and pop jams. I dare you to put on this album and not dance, not be moved, not feel Leon’s love for music.


WNRN Afternoon Host, Liz Dinwiddie

10. Strongwater – Bearfoot.

9. Lykke Li – So Sad So Sexy.

8. Rainbow Kitten Surprise – How To: Friend, Love, Freefall.

7. Wild Child – Expectations.

6. Lake Street Dive – Free Yourself Up.

5. Caamp – Boys (Sides A & B).

4. First Aid Kit – Ruins.

3. Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit – Live at the Ryman.

2. Lord Huron – Vide Noir.

1. The Decemberists – I’ll Be Your Girl.
I’ve been fortunate to see all but 2 of these bands live in 2018, which definitely altered my list. Strongwater made the list after their show at the Southern last weekend — so yummy. The Decemberists have always had a secret highway straight to my heart and this album resonated with me as the months of 2018 rolled on. At any given point, almost all of these albums could have or were my top choice and the order within my list is arbitrary, but all in all, these were 10 albums that sweetened and enriched my 2018.


The hosts of some of your favorite WNRN speciality shows joined in on the fun, too. Check out their top releases of the year below. 

Steve Hamilton, Host of Fresh Roots, New Blues

  • Top Overall Albums of 2018
  1. Shemekia Copeland – America’s Child
  2. Father John Misty – God’s Favorite Customer
  3. The Teskey Brothers – Half Mile Harvest
  4. Queens Of The Stone Age – Villains
  5. Courtney Barnett – Tell Me How You Really Feel
  6. The War & Treaty – Healing Tide
  7. Boxed In
  8. Ural Thomas & The Pain – The Right Time
  9. Charles Bradley – Black Velvet
  10. Tom Petty – An American Treasure

Bob Mosolgo, Host of Country Feedback

  • Top Alt-Country Albums of 2018:
  1. John Prine – Tree of Forgiveness
  2. Dave Alvin and Jimmie Dale Gilmore – Downey to Lubbock
  3. Various – King of the Road – A Tribute to Roger Miller
  4. Willie Nelson – Last Man Standing
  5. Joshua Hedley – Mr. Jukebox
  6. Ashley Monroe – Sparrow
  7. Robbie Fulks and Linda Gail Lewis – Wild! Wild! Wild!
  8. Blackberry Smoke – Find A Light
  9. Eric Church – A Desperate Man
  10. Sarah Shook and The Disarmers – Years
  • Top Overall Albums of 2018
  1. Father John Misty – God’s Favorite Customer
  2. Nathaniel Rateliff and The Night Sweats – Tearing at the Seams
  3. Parquet Courts – Wide Awake
  4. Elvis Costello – Look Now
  5. Leon Bridges – Good Thing
  6. Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever – Hope Downs
  7. River Whyless – Kindness, A Rebel
  8. Hop Along – Bark Your Head Off, Dog
  9. Neko Case – Hell-On
  10. Richard Ashcroft – Natural Rebel


Desiré Moses, Host of New Rock Now

  • Top Overall Albums of 2018
  1. Courtney Barnett – Tell Me How You Really Feel
  2. Hop Along – Bark Your Head Off, Dog
  3.  boygenius – boygenius EP
  4. Soccer Mommy – Clean
  5. Mitski – Be The Cowboy
  6. Snail Mail – Lush
  7. Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever – Hope Downs
  8. Middle Kids – Lost Friends
  9. Father John Misty – God’s Favorite Customer
  10. Neko Case – Hell-On
2019-10-08T15:39:19-04:00December 21st, 2018|

Become a WNRN VIP Member!

Celebrate 22 years of WNRN by becoming a member, renewing your membership, or making an additional gift to your existing membership here!

Keep WNRN independent by making a contribution and you’ll receive the following thank-you gifts:


$5/mo or $60 annually: The new WNRN Fall T-shirt or ladies T-shirt

Shirt200 (1)

$10/mo or $120 annually: In-Studio at WNRN Vol. 6 CD AND T-shirt/ladies T-shirt 

  1. Blitzen Trapper – Furr

  2. Dr. Dog – Heart Killer

  3. Phoebe Bridgers – Motion Sickness

  4. The New Pornographers – Whiteout Conditions

  5. The Wood Brothers – Happiness Jones

  6. Ani DiFranco – Everest

  7. Steve Earle – Copperhead Road

  8. Robert Finley – Get It While You Can

  9. Frightened Rabbit – Head Rolls Off

  10. Becca Mancari – Arizona Fire

  11. Matthew Logan Vasquez – Same

  12. The Trongone Band – Blind

  13. Brent Cobb – Ain’t a Road Too Long

  14. Rhett Miller – Timebomb

  15. Keller Williams – Doobie in my Pocket

$15/mo or $180 annually: WNRN Fall socks  AND T-shirt/ladies T-shirt, OR In-Studio at WNRN Vol. 6 CD

$15mo Socks

$20/mo or $240 annually: Insulated stainless travel coffee mug AND T-shirt/ladies T-shirt, OR new WNRN Fall socks OR the In-Studio at WNRN Vol. 5 CD.

Untitled design (21)


$30/mo or $360 annually:WNRN Hoodie AND T-shirt/ladies T-shirt, OR WNRN Spring socks, OR the In-Studio at WNRN Vol. 6 CD, OR an insulated stainless travel coffee mug 

Shirt200 (2)

$50/mo or $600 annually: Choice of one gift (Echo Dots are for new members only), and membership in our Sponsor’s Club, guaranteeing you two spots at every WNRN event we host


$100/mo or $1200 annually: Choice of one gift(Echo Dots are for new members only), and membership in our Producer’s Club, guaranteeing you two spots at every WNRN event we host, access to our VIP seats at The National in Richmond and a thank you in the liner notes of our next In-Studio at WNRN CD

Thank you for supporting community radio in Central Virginia!

2019-10-08T15:39:24-04:00October 1st, 2018|

NPR Music’s Turning The Tables: 200 Greatest Songs By 21st Century Women+

NPR Music’s Turning the Tables is a project dedicated to challenging old norms in popular music history and re-centering the canon on voices that have been underestimated, overlooked, marginalized or hidden in plain sight.

Last year’s premiere season challenged the standard approach to the history of recorded music with a list of the 150 Greatest Albums By Women. This year, Turning the Tables takes on history in the making with a playlist of the 200 Greatest songs by 21st Century Women+. In this 21st Century edition, Turning the Tables examines how women+ are at the forefront of the shift in music consumption to playlists and streams.

WNRN’s Managing Producer, Desiré Moses, was part of a panel of nearly 70 women from across public radio and music criticism that convened to vote on and compile the list.

Read her blurbs on Shovels & Rope’s “Birmingham,” Thao & the Get Down Stay Down’s “We The Common (For Valerie Bolden)” and Eve ft. Gwen Stefani “Let Me Blow Ya Mind,” and explore the rest of the list at NPR Music.



2019-10-08T15:39:28-04:00August 1st, 2018|