Decade of Difference: Wood Brothers

Chris and Oliver Wood found their individual ways into music before forming the Wood Brothers in the mid 2000s. Chris was a part of the jazz trio Medeski, Martin and Wood while Oliver played in the roots combo King Johnson. It was about fifteen years before the pair played together when Oliver sat in with Medeski, Martin and Wood.

Soon they were recording together performing songs written by Oliver and drawing from the music they heard in their youth. John Medeski produced their first album Ways Not to Lose and it earned the group high praise from critics.

The group’s music is difficult to categorize and according to Chris, that was part of their plan from day one.

Now with seven full length albums, the Wood Brothers remain difficult to categorize but easily accessible. According to Chris, “So we’re always striking that balance. We want our music to be accessible. We’re not out to do things that are so out there and challenging. But for me, what’s exciting is to create accessible music that is also not what you’d expect musically.”

The current tour is their first time to play songs from the new Kingdom in My Mind live to an audience. Wood says “There are certain songs that come together in the studio in such a way that you have to reinvent them a little bit for the live performance, which we love to do anyway. And we often rearrange old songs to make them come across a little different, make them interesting in new ways. Yeah, it’s all part of the fun challenge” .

2022-06-05T20:22:45-04:00June 7th, 2022|

WNRN Profiles Central VA for NPR Music’s Slingshot!

All month long WNRN teams up with NPR Music to spotlight Central Virginia’s music scene for NPR’s Slingshot series. Find out how Harrisonburg’s Blue Sprocket Pressing is putting Virginia on the vinyl map, Central Virginia’s Illiterate Light thinks about sustainability while touring, and how the diversity of Richmond’s music scene helped shape the unique genre-hopping style of McKinley Dixon. 

Virginia rapper McKinley Dixon on the power of community and making music for himself

Although McKinley Dixon grew up between Annapolis, Md. and Queens, N.Y., he ultimately found his home as an artist in Richmond, Va. Growing up an avid drawer who loved cartoons, he moved to Richmond in 2013 to pursue animation, but soon discovered that music gave him the best space to communicate. "I loved being transported to other worlds through media," Dixon explains. "But there was a moment where I felt like I had a lot [...]

February 25th, 2022|

How Illiterate Light Is Making Bike-Powered Concerts A Reality

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the state of live music has been in flux, shuttering venues nationwide and bringing touring to a halt. As the music industry continues to navigate the nuances of COVID-19 variants on a global scale, outdoor concerts and club shows have reemerged in modified formats. While necessary, these precautions tend to exacerbate an element that's already inherent to performance — the physical space between the performers and their audience. [...]

February 21st, 2022|

Learn How A Record Gets Made At Blue Sprocket Pressing

Central Virginia has been an incubator of music and culture amidst the Blue Ridge Mountains for decades – look no further than the success of veterans like Dave Matthews Band, the breadth of lo-fi poetry from Stephen Malkmus and David Berman, the deep tradition of bluegrass, or the rise of a new generation of indie stalwarts like Lucy Dacus. Charlottesville, Richmond and the Shenandoah Valley boast no shortage of recording studios and treasured venues, but [...]

February 9th, 2022|

2022-03-01T12:54:00-05:00March 1st, 2022|

Concert Review: Waxahatchee at The National

After the Covid-19 pandemic prevented artists from touring for over a year and half, Waxahatchee held off from performing in support of 2020 album Saint Cloud until late last year. Katie Crutchfield and her band took to the stage at The National in Richmond on Monday to finally share the songs from their critically acclaimed release live, and were met with a packed crowd who’d been waiting in anticipation for her return.

Waxahatchee performs at The National

Waxahatchee performs at The National

Following the opener Madi Diaz’s beautifully intimate performance of some soul-crushing numbers from her recent History Of A Feeling, Crutchfield and co. took to the stage and jumped right into Saint Cloud’s intro, “Oxbow”. From the pure jolt of energy that came as the band all joined in together, it became abundantly clear to all that they’d been waiting for this moment just as anxiously as we had.

Opener Madi Diaz performing at The National

Opener Madi Diaz performing at The National

They jumped back and forth, playing songs from the new record and going back to some classics. With the support of a full band, “Recite Remorse” filled the cavernous room with sonic tension, threatening to burst the ceiling. Crutchfield switched between electric and acoustic, and the crowd erupted in excitement as she began strumming the chords to the bouncy hit “Lilacs”.

The group followed with “The Eye”, and her voice seemed to smooth out the atmosphere in the room. Crutchfield handles the weight of her lyrics admirably in her Birmingham indie folk vocal style, and the songs carry you along as she and the band sway in unison.

She also shared one of the five songs she wrote for a new Apple TV series El Deafo, called “Tomorrow”, and played a cover of Lucinda Williams’ “Fruit of My Labor”, which appeared on the expanded version of their album Saint Cloud +3 last year.

Katie Crutchfield of Waxahatchee

Katie Crutchfield of Waxahatchee

She ended the show with the album’s title track, followed by the fan favorite “Fire” before leaving the stage to a thunderous applause.

As many acts make their eventual return to the stage, Waxahatchee is one you don’t want to miss. The band brings a newfound energy to the country ensemble sound evident on many of the tracks on the new album, and Crutchfield’s performing some of her best and most brutally honest songs with a passion that’s hard to match. They’ve also found a great balance in the setlist that counters the mellow songs with upbeat jam band anthems that melt away the despair. Crutchfield’s voice and their chemistry reaches new heights on songs like “Can’t Do Much” that make the show so very worth it.

2022-03-24T14:38:17-04:00February 10th, 2022|

Decade of Difference: Richie Havens

At about 5PM on August 15th 1969, Richie Havens opened the first Woodstock Music Festival. Originally scheduled to perform only four songs, Havens was asked to perform much longer, as other bands scheduled for later in the evening were stuck in traffic and not on site.

Richie Havens started his career in Greenwich Village, initially reading poetry and drawing portraits. Only after a couple of years listening at folk clubs did Havens decide to try it himself. His solo performances were strong enough to get the opening slot at Woodstock. His concert performance and his inclusion in the Woodstock move catapulted his career, putting him before an international audience.

After exhausting his entire catalog on stage at Woodstock, Havens improvised his final encore, putting Freedom to the tune of an old spiritual, ‘Motherless Children.’

Ritchie Havens recorded more than 20 albums, with his biggest success coming from his soulful covers of popular music. Touring constantly throughout his forty-year career, Havens says he never planned a show beyond his opening and closing songs, preferring to feed off the energy of the audience.

Havens was also an accomplished actor, appearing in several movies and the original stage presentation of The Who’s Tommy. His philanthropic interests were focused on educating children about ecology.

Havens did not recover fully from kidney surgery in 2010 and in 2012 announced his retirement. In 2013 he died from a heart attack.

2022-01-20T17:43:08-05:00January 21st, 2022|

Decade of Difference: Art Neville

Happy Birthday Art Neville. The founder of the New Orleans funk band the Meters would have been 84 today. Growing up in the city Neville and his brothers started performing at an early age with Art playing piano. Influenced by R&B, doo-wop and local piano giants like Professor Longhair, Neville joined the Hawketts in high school and recorded Mardi Gras Mambo with Art on vocals.

In the early 1960s he and his brothers formed the Neville Sound and after some band mates left the group, they changed their name to the Meters. Early on the band was mostly improvisational and they developed a sound later referred to as New Orleans funk.

The Meters developed a following amongst the rock stars of the day, and in 1975 Paul McCartney invited The Meters to play a party on the Queen Mary in California.  Mick Jagger was at the party and was enamored with the Meters and their sound. From that exposure the Stones invited the Meters to tour with them in the US in 1975 and in Europe in 1976.

After the Meters run ended, Art and his brothers went on to form the Neville Brothers and win two Grammys with the group. Art Neville and the Meters also received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

The improvisational style that emphasized rhythm over melody employed by the bands had a lasting influence on hip hop and even more so on jam bands. Art Neville described his love of improvisation as “The best part, to me, is when the [rhythm] just evolves into some other stuff.”

The man known as “Poppa Funk” retired from performing in 2018 and passed away the following year.

2021-12-17T07:42:47-05:00December 17th, 2021|

Country Feedback Playlist for December 5th, 2021

Country Feedback Playlist for      12/5/2021

Artist – Album – Title – Release Year

John Denver – The Flower That Shattered the Stone – High Wide and Handsome – 1990

Joshua Hedley – Mr. Jukebox – I Never Shed a Tear – 2018

Johnny Cash – I Walk The Line – Luther Played The Boogie – 1971


Connie Smith – The Cry of the Heart – Here Comes My Baby Back Again – 2021

Tammy Wynette – (Single) – Stand By Your Man – 1968

John Prine – Fair & Square – Bear Creek Blues – 2005

The Band – Cahoots – Thinkin’ Out Loud – 1971


Aaron Burdett – Dream Rich, Dirt Poor – I Won the Fight – 2021

Dallas Moore – The Rain – On Through the Night – 2021

Esther Rose – Songs Remain – How Many Times – 2021

Robert Earl Keen – Live Dinner Reunion – Merry Christmas from the Family – 2016


Johnny Russell – Rednecks, White Socks and Blue Ribbon Beer – Rednecks, White Socks and Blue

Ribbon Beer – 1973

The Gourds – Haymaker! – Decline-O-Meter – 2009

Brad Marino – Looking for Trouble – Even the Score – 2021

Ottoman Turks – Ottoman Turks – Low Down Blue Dog Whine – 2019


Uncle Tupelo – No Depression – So Called Friend – 1990

Chet Atkins – (sSingle) – Mr. Sandman – 1954


2021-12-04T23:27:23-05:00December 5th, 2021|

Country Feedback Playlist for November 21, 2021

Artist – Album – Title – Release Year

Tommy Emmanuel – Accomplice One – Song and Dance Man (with Ricky Skaggs) – 2018

Asleep At The Wheel – Half a Hundred Years – Marie (with Willie Nelson) – 2021


Waylon Jennings – Honky Tonk Heroes – Slow Rollin’ Low – 1973

Randy Rogers & Wade Bowen – Hold My Beer Vol. 2 – Rhinestoned – 2020

Rosanne Cash – The List – Sea of Heartache (with Bruce Springsteen) – 2009

Sonny Landreth – Blacktop Run – Don’t Ask Me – 2020


Wayne Hancock – A-Town Blues – Miller, Jack & Mad Dog – 2001

Hayes Carll – You Get It All – Any Other Way – 2021

Suzy Boggus – Lucky – The Running Kind – 2014

Kacey Musgraves – Pageant Material – Dime Store Cowgirl – 2015


Garrett T. Capps – I Love San Antone – I Like Austin but I Love San Antone – 2021

Webb Pierce – Single – In the Jailhouse Now – 1955

K.C Jones – Queen of the In Between – Heat Rises – 2021

Various – Broken Hearts and Dirty Windows: Songs of John Prine – (Drive By Truckers> Daddy’s Little

Pumpkin – 2010


Marshall Tucker Band – A New Life – 24 Hours At A Time – 1974

Sam Bush – Laps In Seven – New Country – 2006


2021-11-22T10:01:23-05:00November 21st, 2021|

Visit the Taps & Tunes Trail to score WNRN prizes!

Just Announced: Starr Hill Richmond Dec. 10th!

We’ve added one more Taps & Tunes showcase to the schedule! Join us for our Dead Air III pre-party at Starr Hill Richmond and we’ll share some of our favorite performances from Dead Air and give you a chance to win VIP passes to this year’s show at The National on January 21st, plus live music from Woody Woodworth & the Piners and the release of Dank Air – a beer collab inspired by our Saturday morning Grateful Dead & Phriends show. This series is presented with support from Rockingham Insurance.

WNRN Taps & Tunes Trail

Did you miss any Taps & Tunes shows? It’s not too late to join in the fun. Stop by any of the breweries below and tag us on social media w/hashtag #cheersWNRN and we’ll send you a prize like our new 25th anniversary pint glass, tickets to Dead Air III.  Thanks for spreading the love when you travel the WNRN Taps & Tunes trail this holiday season! 

Castle Hill Cider Nov. 11th

Thursday November 11th, WNRN brings Taps & Tunes to Castle Hill Cider in Keswick from 6-9pm. Live music from Erin Lunsford and your first chance to sample our Listener Supported Cider collaboration with Castle Hill, plus you could win prizes like our new pint glass or tickets to Dead Air III!

Three Notch’d Richmond Nov. 3rd

Wednesday November 3rd, WNRN brings Taps & Tunes to Richmond and Three Notch’d Brewery’s Collab House from 6-9pm. Live music from Paulo Franco & The Freighliners duo plus your chance to sample our Richmond signal namesake Eighty Eight Five IPA and win prizes like our new pint glasses or tickets to Dead Air III!

Pale Fire Brewing Oct. 28th

Thursday October 28th, WNRN brings Taps & Tunes to Harrisonburg’s Pale Fire Brewing from 6-9pm. Sample our new Over-Nite SMaSH beer brewed in collaboration with Pale Fire and JMU’s Madison Academic Brewery. The beer nods to Frank Zappa’s classic album Over-Nite Sensation and features Zappa hops. Named for the man himself, these hops will bring a pretty wild mixture of tropical fruit, mint, & spice to the party. Dogwood Tales will bring the tunes!

Rockfish Brewing Co. Oct. 21st

Thursday October 21st, WNRN brings Taps & Tunes to Charlottesville’s Rockfish Brewing Company from 5-8pm. Longtime WNRN afternoon host Tad Abbey will be on hand to hang out with members and sample his namesake Tad Abbey Ale plus music from Boxed Lunch!

Blue Toad Cider Oct. 16th

Saturday October 16th, WNRN’s Taps & Tunes series comes to Blue Toad Cider in Roseland. Hear Reverend Bill and Molly Murphy of The Judy Chops perform and sample our new 96er cider (named after the year the station signed on in 1996) from 1-4pm.

Stable Craft Brewing Oct. 8th

Friday October 8th, WNRN kicks off the Taps & Tunes series at Stable Craft Brewing in Waynesboro. Join us starting at 6pm to sample our collaborative beer release for  I.M.P.A. (Independent Music Pale Ale naturally) and hear live music from Kai Crowe-Getty of Central Virginia band Lord Nelson.

2022-04-07T10:13:52-04:00November 12th, 2021|

Watch Matthew E. White play live from Spacebomb!

This Wednesday November 10th WNRN joins our fellow public stations across the country in celebrating national Public Radio Music Day! We’ll mark the occasion by premiering our livestream concert with Matthew E. White from Spacebomb studio in Richmond at 8pm right here at WNRN.org (tune in to catch it on the air at 5pm as well). In addition to performing live at Spacebomb, the recording studio and label he co-founded, White talks with WNRN’s Desiré Moses about the making of his new album K Bay and the growth of Spacebomb over the past decade and the differences between producing and performing. (photo by Dave Parrish). 

2021-12-20T10:41:45-05:00November 9th, 2021|

Decade of Difference: Gram Parsons

Today would have been Gram Parson’s 75th birthday. Generally accepted as the father of country rock, the singer songwriter pioneered the concept of a rock band playing country music with his work in a series of bands, from the International Submarine Band, the Byrds and then the Flying Burrito Brothers before finishing his tragically short career with a pair of solo records.

Parsons began playing piano as a nine year old. After his father committed suicide three years later, his new stepfather adopted him, and that’s when he received the parsons name. By fourteen he was playing in a local rock band with two bandmates who would go on to form the folk rock group Lobo.

Parsons was enrolled at Harvard for one semester before dropping out to focus on music. Parsons met Chris Hillman who recruited him to restock the Byrds and he was heavily involved on the Sweetheart of the Rodeo album, only to have most of his work removed due to contractual issues.

Parson’s discomfort with the Byrds’ plan to tour South Africa led to him quitting while the band was in the UK. Parsons then spent time with the Rolling Stones before his return to the US, introducing the band to country music.

Returning to the States, Parsons sought out Chris Hillman and the pair formed the Flying Burrito Brothers. Dressed in psychedelic Nudie suits, the group toured the US by train and were met by curious but confused audiences. In retrospect Chris Hillman claims the band was the original outlaw country group – unable to find a home on rock or country radio.

Parsons solo career consisted of two albums recorded with his performing partner Emmylou Harris. His last record, Grievous Angel came out after his death from an overdose of morphine and alcohol.

2021-11-04T10:54:19-04:00November 5th, 2021|