Decade of Difference: Tom Jones

Sir Tom Jones began his career with a string of top 10 hits in the mid 60’s, eventually selling over 100 million records. A musical shape shifter, Jones has sung almost every form of popular music. Choosing a full throated robust style over nuance, Jones is best described as maintaining a swaggering presence in the songs he records.

After recording a string of pop hits in the 60s, Jones followed with readings of country classics, then moved on to becoming a Las Vegas favorite.

Tom Jones began his career in Wales in 1963 with a beat group. After recording some solo tracks, Jones was recruited for a solo career starting in 1964. Initially he paired his strong vocals with over-the-top orchestration and later, repackaged himself into a more mature crooner style.

Always adventurous, Jones has covered everyone from Billy Joe Shaver to the Milk Carton Kids to Radiohead. In 1988 Jones surprised many with a cover Of Prince’s Kiss recorded with the Art of Noise. This led to a new tour, his first in several years and a return to playing clubs which continued for several years.

Tom Jones took a five year break from recording after the passing of his wife of 59 years, but returned this year with a new record. Amongst the tracks is Bobby Cole’s 1967 ballad “I’m Growing Old” — the jazz singer had given it to Jones in 1972. Jones loved the song but felt he was too young to record it. He promised the composer he would cut it when he reached 80.

2021-09-14T22:00:14-04:00September 15th, 2021|

Get Limited Edition T-Shirt Reissues during our 25th Anniversary!

We’re celebrating our 25th anniversary by revisiting some of our favorite past t-shirt designs. Check out the calendar of t-shirt releases below and get yours by adding $5/month to your Evergreen Membership (email membership@wnrn.org) or become a member at $25/month to get all 12 designs!

2021-09-14T15:29:26-04:00September 10th, 2021|

Become A Member During Our 25th Anniversary!

This fall marks WNRN 25th year broadcasting in Central Virginia! We’ll celebrate all year with special events, on air programs, and unique member opportunities. Help us continue to grow in the next 25 years when you become a Member and you’ll have a front row seat to all of our 25th anniversary events. Click a button below to join (choose Evergreen Membership to make an ongoing monthly donation or Annual Membership or you’d prefer to make a one time contribution) Thank you for supporting WNRN! When you become a member you’ll get access to our weekly VIP email list with your chance to win concert tickets, music downloads, gift cards, and more, plus our latest t-shirt! Scroll down to see our design this fall by Richmond artist Bizhan Khodabandeh.

See Haim, St. Vincent Cautious Clay & More at Merriweather Post Pavilion October 16th!

Join before September 23rd at 11:59pm and you could win a pair of tickets for All Things Go Music Festival on Saturday October 16th at Merriweather Post Pavilion on Columbia, MD plus a hotel stay for the night! Line up includes Haim, St. Vincent, Cautious Clay, Soccer Mommy, and more! You can also enter to win All Things Go Festival tickets by emailing allthingsgo@wnrn.org.

Fall 2021 T-Shirt Design:

Check out our amazing new James River inspired t-shirt design from Richmond artist Bizhan Khodabandeh and get yours when you become a Member!

2021-09-14T14:58:48-04:00September 7th, 2021|

Decade of Difference: Maria McKee

Maria McKee grew up in southern California, attending Beverly Hills High. She showed an early ability to perform, beating out classmate Nicolas Cage for leading roles in school plays. Musically, her interests turned towards country and rockabilly and her capabilities as a songwriter were demonstrated through her penning Feargal Sharkey’s worldwide hit A Good Heart at nineteen.
McKee co-founded Lone Justice in the early 80s, a group central to the emerging cowpunk scene. The band attracted considerable attention, drawing Tom Petty and Dolly Parton to their club shows. Parton described McKee as “the greatest girl singer a band could ever have”.

Bob Dylan wrote a song for Lone Justice, and they opened shows for U2, Tom Petty and other big name bands of the era. Their first album featured a hit with the Petty and Mike Campbell pinned Ways to be Wicked and was a critic’s favorite – but it did not connect with either a country or rock audience. After some band reshuffling and an album featuring a more pop sound, Lone Justice was gone for good in 1987.

In 1989 Maria McKee launched her solo career and had a song place at number 1 in the UK in 1990. Show Me Heaven was recorded for the Days of Thunder soundtrack but never appeared on any of her thirteen solo records. Through her first four records, McKee looked poised to be the next big thing.

1996’s Life is Sweet took the singer in a different direction with a guitar heavy sound inspired by Bowie and punk and left her foundation as a queen of Americana behind. The album failed to gain traction, although one song was the only original material used in the soundtrack for the movie Pulp Fiction.

McKee continued to record and tour for another decade before largely removing herself from the public eye. Only last year did McKee return with new material, releasing La Vita Nuova, her first new record in thirteen years.

2021-08-17T08:41:45-04:00August 17th, 2021|

Country Feedback Playlist for Aug 1, 2021

Country Feedback Playlist for 8/1/2021
Artist – Album – Title – Release Year
Johnny Cash – Out Among The Stars – Rock And Roll Shoes – 2014
Blue Cactus – Stranger Again – Worried Man – 2021
Emmylou Harris – Quarter Moon in a Ten Cent Town – Two More Bottles of Wine – 1978
Drew Emmitt – Long Road – Get ‘Er Rollin’ – 2008
Janet Simpson – Safe Distance – Nashville Girls – 2021
Dallas Moore – Mr. Honky Tonk – Somewhere Between Bridges – 2018
Graham Sharp – Truer Picture – Generation Blues – 2021
Chicago Farmer – Flyover Country – Indiana Line – 2020
Johnny Rivers – The Memphis Sun Sessions – Mystery Train – 1998
Lucinda Williams – Car Wheels on a Gravel Road – Metal Firecracker – 1998
The Malpass Brothers – Memory That Bad – I’m A Good Loser – 2011
Tony Joe White – Homemade Ice Cream – Saturday Night in Oak Grove, Louisiana – 1973
Karen Jonas – Oklahoma Lottery – White Trash Romance – 2014
Michael Reno Harrell – Ways To Travel – Tommy Stops By – 1997
Sonny Landreth – KGSR Broadcasts, Volume 4 – Son of Native Stepson –
Chet Atkins and Mark Knopfler – Neck And Neck – Yakety Axe – 1990
Bobby Bare – Bobby Bare Sings Lullabys, Legends and Lies – True Story – 1973

2021-07-30T09:16:29-04:00August 1st, 2021|

Decade of Difference: Tonic

Emerson Hart, who turns 52 today, formed Tonic along with Jeff Russo in 1993. The band played regionally around LA for a couple of years before recording their first album in 1996. For the album, the band added lap and pedal steel guitars to give the group a more rootsy feel. The album produced the band’s biggest hit with If You Could Only See. Released in 1997, it was one of the most played songs on radio that year, and the album is often included in best of lists for the decade.

Tonic would then tour for two years before returning to record their second album. Sugar was self produced and had one moderately successful single, supported by it’s use in the movie American Pie.

Tonic returned with a third album in 2002 with Head on Straight. The group received two Grammy nominations for the album and it’s single Take Me As I Am, In 2004 Tonic went on hiatus while band members pursued different projects. After returning to record a fourth album in 2010, the band has continued to tour and in 2016 recorded a twentieth anniversary all acoustic version of their debut album Lemon Parade.

This year the group released their first stand alone digital single while each member has remained active with their own projects. Emerson Hart has teamed up with Sugar Ray’s Mark McGrath and Better Than Ezra’s Kevin Griffin to form Ezra Ray Hart. The band has a series of state fair appearances scheduled for the summer and fall.

2021-07-20T08:42:47-04:00July 21st, 2021|

Member Appreciation Week Sessions!

Thanks to all of the members who joined for a spectacular run of events celebrating the return of live music in Central Virginia for Member Appreciation Week 2021! We took members to see Free Union for opening night at the Southern Café & Music Hall, invited David Wax Museum to take over our Instagram and airwaves, hung backstage with Illiterate Light at The Jefferson and  hosted member in studio sessions with Leftover Salmon and Japanese Breakfast. Scroll down to stream all of our M.A.W. sessions including a video of our full session with Japanese Breakfast, filmed live at In Your Ear studios in Richmond!

Watch Now: In Studio Session w/Leftover Salmon

Monday we kicked off Member Appreciation Week with our first member in studio session in nearly 18 months! 20 lucky members joined us to hear Leftover Salmon perform live and chat with Tad Abbey about their new album Brand New Good Old Days. Stream the full session and check out their performance below featuring Central VA's own Jay Starling on dobro.

By |July 26th, 2021|

Listen Now: Illiterate Light In Studio Session

WNRN favorites Illiterate Light returned to Charlottesville Friday July 23rd to perform the first show at the Jefferson Theater of 2021. Before the show Jeff and Jake stopped by the station to perform an acoustic set. Stream it above to hear the pair play two new songs (including a web-only bonus track “Wake Up Now”) and chat with WNRN’s Lindsay Goldin for Member Appreciation Week! Playlist: “February 1st”, “Sometimes Love Takes So Long”, “Wake Up Now”) […]

By |July 26th, 2021|

Listen Now: Devon Gilfillian In Studio Session

En route to Newport Folk Festival to perform Marvin Gaye's What's Going On with an all star cast of musicians, Devon Gilfillian stopped by the WNRN studios for a surprise in studio session for Member Appreciation Week. In addition to answering questions from WNRN's Lindsey Goldin he performed two songs solo including "Unchained" and "The Good Life" from debut album Black Hole Rainbow as well as unveiling a gorgeous new ballad "Love You Anyway". Stream the full session above!

By |July 26th, 2021|

Watch Now: Japanese Breakfast In Studio Session

For Member Appreciation Week a group of lucky members joined us Thursday July 22nd to watch Japanese Breakfast perform a live in studio session ahead of the first concert of 2021 at The National in Richmond for WNRN Presents Japanese Breakfast! Not among the lucky few? Stream the full video session below courtesy of our friends and hosts at In Your Ear in Richmond to hear the band perform three songs from new album Jubilee and Michelle Zauner talk with WNRN’s Desiré Moses about the making of the album. […]

By |July 27th, 2021|

2021-08-09T17:26:47-04:00July 20th, 2021|

Decade of Difference: Betty Lavette

Betty Lavette grew up in Michigan, the child of occasional bootleggers who also hosted travelling R&B musicians in their home. Add in the fact that they also owned a jukebox stocked with R&B, blues and country music and you have an environment primed to cultivate a musical interest.

Lavette took up singing and by sixteen was good enough to become a professional. Her first manager suggested that her given name Betty Jo Haskins was not exciting enough, so she adopted the Betty Lavette stage name. Her first single, recorded for a small regional label, was heard before release by an executive for Atlantic records, and she had a deal with them to distribute the new record. Although Lavette had several top 10 R&B songs in the 60s, successive issues with record companies limited her sales success.

The pattern of failed record deals would persist and it was not until the early 80s that Lavette reappeared – this time in the cast of a touring company for a Broadway revue. After spending the following years performing mostly in Europe, Lavette’s profile began to rise in the US around the turn of the century.
2005’s I’ve Got My Own Hell to Raise finally brought Betty Lavette the critical acclaim and success she had long deserved, and her new status brought more work, including an appearance at the Kennedy Center to perform Love Reign O’er Me at the Honors event for the Who. This led to a 2010 album covering classic British rock.

Betty Lavette celebrated her 50th anniversary as a singer with an album of folk and roots oriented covers and an autobiography. Since then Lavette has received two Grammy nominations and taken two artist of the year awards from the Blues Music Association.

2021-07-07T08:20:15-04:00July 8th, 2021|

Decade of Difference: Todd Rundgren

For casual listeners, Todd Rundgren is best known for his 70s era pop hits like the Carole King written I Saw the Light. It would be easy to dismiss the artist as a pop artist who had his moments. That would be an incorrect reflection on Rundgren, who was a rock and roll maverick who after tasting pop success chose to take a different direction, performing pioneering work in new musical territory including electronic music, videos and internet delivery of the content.

Rundgren grew up in a Philadelphia suburb, fascinated with his parents’ small collection of records that mostly consisted of show tunes and classical music. After high school he moved into Philadelphia and played in a blues band before forming Nazz, inspired to record original music by the British Invasion bands. After some minor success with Nazz, Rundgren left to work solo while also producing records. Off record, his first big success came as the engineer on The Band’s Stage Fright album in 1970.

Rundgren’s fears of never appearing as the recording artist after starting his production career were unfounded. Starting in 1970, he released a string of successful albums – first achieving underground success, then with major commercial appeal.

1972’s Something/Anything was the peak of Rundgren’s pop career, an album that has been cited as a landmark 70s release, Rundgren left that formula for more experimental work including the prog rock group Utopia. His solo work also moved away from formulaic pop and include an acapella album on which all voices were his own, and a calypso album covering his pop classics.

As the internet grew, Rundgren and others formed one of the first musician support networks. PatroNet was a vehicle for supporting artists for their new or unreleased work. Rundgrens’ work as a producer has been widespread and influential. While often they were one off records, his longer term relationships with bands include Grand Funk Railroad, The Tubes and The New York Dolls. Rundgrens production of XTCs Skylarking is considered his best production work and also the best output from the band.

2021-06-21T09:11:13-04:00June 22nd, 2021|

Record Store Day Highlights for June 12th!

Record Store Day returns for the first of several 2021 events this Saturday June 12th! We’ve asked Jim Bland, owner of Plan 9 Music and Cal Glatfelder Jr., owner of Sidetracks Music to highlight some of the Record Store Day releases they are most excited about. Check them out below as well as all of the info you will need to head out and hit up your favorite independent record stores this Saturday at RSD Drop #1! 

www.plan9music.com / 3017 W Cary St. (Richmond) & 339 Hillsdale Dr. (Charlottesville) / Hours: 9am-7pm limited indoor capacity

Grateful Dead – Olympia Theatre, Paris, France 5/3/72

The complete OLYMPIA THEATRE, PARIS, FRANCE 5/3/72 show from the Grateful Dead’s legendary Europe ‘72 Tour is available as a 6-LP, 180-Gram, Limited Edition of 10,000. Featuring an “Other One” that comes out of Truckin’ and weaves in and out of other thematic and deep-space jams, as well as a side trip to Me And Bobby McGee, this is some of the Grateful Dead’s best, most inspired improvisation. The performance also includes five songs sung by Pigpen on what would be his final tour, including a massive Good Lovin’ which allows Pigpen to do what he does best: hold the audience in the palm of his hand while they hang on his every word.

Conor Oberst – Ruminations

A remastered version of Conor Oberst’s legendary album on double black vinyl, with five previously released bonus tracks, and an etched Side Four.

Elton John – Regimental Sgt. Zippo

Recorded at Dick James Studios in Central London between late 1967 and Spring 1968, Regimental Sgt. Zippo was all set to introduce Elton John to the world before it was ultimately shelved. The world would have to wait a little longer for Elton’s debut, coming in the form of 1969’s Empty Sky, and Zippo would be lost in the archives. Until now. Six of the 12 songs were released on Jewel Box, but five are here in their finished versions for the first time and a debut release for “You’ll Be Sorry To See Me Go”.

www.sidetracksmusic.net / 310 2nd St. SE (Charlottesville) / Hours: 9am-4pm, limited indoor capacity (live music starting at 12pm from Eli Cook / Pale Blue Dot / Studebaker Huck / Breakers / BroX)

Prince – The Truth

The Truth is widely regarded as one of Prince’s most underappreciated hidden gems. Originally released as an accompaniment to the 1998 triple album Crystal Ball, which marked the first time that Prince released an album totally independently, The Truth was also the first Prince album to be labeled “acoustic,” though it does contain electronic instruments and elements, and it gave listeners an unprecedented chance to hear his songwriting and voice in a stripped-down presentation. This release as part of RSD Drops marks the first time The Truth is available on vinyl, with gorgeous, foil-embossed artwork designed by Prince’s long-time art director Steve Parke.

Col. Bruce Hampton – Arkansas

A limited edition, remastered 180g pressing of the 1987 album that garnered **** ½ from All Music Guide. “This is a country record, we’re just not sure what country.” – Col. Bruce Produced by Col. Bruce Hampton & Ricky Keller
Special Guests: Paul Barrere, Tinsley Ellis, T Lavitz, Sonny Emory, Oteil Burbridge, Jimmy Herring, Rev. Jeff Mosier, Jeff Sipe and more.

Danny Barnes – Dirt on the Angel

The first time on vinyl for the 2003 release, on a limited edition, remastered 180g pressing for RSD Drops #1. Special Guests: Chuck Leavell, Bill Frisell, Carlton Jackson, Dirk Powell.  “Barnes is to the banjo what Jimi Hendrix was to the guitar…taking picking to new levels of sound and fury.” -Hittin’ the Note

2021-06-14T10:47:47-04:00June 10th, 2021|