Virginia Artists

The Kings: Rocking Roanoke Since 1965

The Kings performing at Elmwood Park in Roanoke, VA on July 5

If you think of longevity with rock bands, the Rolling Stones are the first that comes to mind on the international music scene. In the Roanoke community, look no further than The Kings, a Roanoke based band that has been in existence for over 53 years.

I had the opportunity to meet the band members of the Kings and attend their July 5th concert at Elmwood Park. Along with the Kings, DJ Jerry English was laying down danceable tunes before and during intermission times. Many in the crowd danced to the music as DJ English played tunes from legendary Carolina Beach bands like the Tams, Band of Oz and Jim Quick.

DJ English and I at Elmwood Park on July 5

DJ English was kind enough to allow me to shadow him during the entire evening. I had an excellent vantage point from my seat next to him, observing his DJ duties and interacting with the band. I was extremely impressed with the friendliness and hospitality of the Kings band members.

Prior to the Kings opening first set, I met the members of the band and the man that founded the group, Perry Caligan. Caligan started the band, then known as The Royal Kings, 53 years ago and was the lead singer and lead guitarist. He now acts as the business owner of Kings Entertainment Agency.

From 1969 until 1980, The Royal Kings were the house band for the Roanoke nightclub The Kings Inn. The current leader and manager of the band, Larry Wheeling, joined the band during February 1969. It was a thrill for me to be able to meet both Caligan and Wheeling at this event.

Larry Wheeling and Perry Caligan at Elmwood Park on July 5

Before the concert began, I asked both Caligan and Wheeling about some of the bands that The Royal Kings opened up for during their days performing at The Kings Inn. Here are just a few of the artists they mentioned: The Four Tops, Ides of March, Chairmen of the Board and Billy Stewart.

Over the years there have been many members playing with the Kings. However, Wheeling has been with the band ever since he joined in 1969. Joining Larry Wheeling in the 2018 edition of the band are his brothers Brian Wheeling and Randy Wheeling. Below are the current 7 members of the Kings:

Brian Jones—guitar bass

Terry Brown—lead singer

Brian Wheeling—guitar

Tim Martin—lead singer and guitar

Larry Wheeling—Trumpet and Keyboards

Randy Wheeling—Trumpet and Trombone

Ray Mitchell—Drums

The Kings performing at Elmwood Park on July 5

The Kings official motto is “These guys play everything.” That slogan is accurate.

With a total of 29 songs during their two-sets, the Kings had a wide variety of musical styles on their set list. Basically the Kings play all types of dance music: From Motown to current chart topping songs, the band keeps the groove going with guitars, bass, drums and a brass section. Plus the vocals of Terry Brown and Tim Martin makes the Kings a top-notch band.

For a majority of the songs performed in concert, Terry Brown takes the lead singing vocals. For the remainder of the Kings songs, Tim Martin provides lead vocals for the band. This combination of vocalists gives the Kings a nice balance with the various styles of music played during concerts.

The Kings opened up their first set of the evening with the classic Chicago song, ‘Does Anybody Really Know What Time It is.” Other highlights during the first part of the concert includes covers of Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together”, Looking Glass’ “Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl)”, the Spinners’ “I’ll Be Around” and KC & the Sunshine Band’s “Boogie Shoes.’

Towards the end of the first set, Tim Martin sang the Old Crow Medicine Show song “Wagon Wheel” which actually mentions the name of Roanoke in the lyrics of this tune:

Walking to the south out of Roanoke

I caught a trucker out of Philly had a nice long toke

But he’s a heading west from the Cumberland Gap

To Johnson City, Tennessee

And I got to get a move on before the sun

I hear my baby calling my name and I know that she’s the only one

And if I die in Raleigh at least I will die free

After DJ Jerry English played classic Carolina Beach music during the intermission, the Kings came out rocking the house with covers of more contemporary tunes from the past five years. Highlights of the second set includes, DNCE’s “Cake By the Ocean”, Justin Timberlake’s “Can’t Stop the Feeling”, Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” and The Time’s “Jungle Love.”

There were two other exceptional performances by the Kings during the second set. The first song was the Portugal The Man’s “Feel It Still” which featured Terry Brown’s outstanding falsetto vocal range along with the band’s wonderful rhythm section.

The final song of the evening was Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars’ “Uptown Funk” song. Every part of this performance was excellent. From the vocals, the bass riffs, guitars and drums in sync and the brass section rocking, this ending song was “smokin’ hot” and was a fitting end to an excellent concert by the Kings.

After this event ended, I asked some folks for their thoughts about the Kings concert. Here are a couple responses:

Beth Ledwith of Salem:

“I thought they were great. They offered a variety that appealed to the audience and also played some current hits. They also played a good mix of slow and faster tempos. A great party band with talented members. The brass also adds additional richness to the overall sound. I would highly recommend them!”

Bruce Bias of Roanoke:

“Probably no other band has had such a local impact on the Roanoke Valley’s music scene than the Kings. Going back to the late 60’s to the present they have remained the most known group within a 200-mile radius of the valley. They stayed on top of current hits, while always keeping the roots of their beginnings true. I have always believed the horns was what set them apart form other really good local bands. Larry Wheeling: If Roanoke had a hall of fame for bands, you’d be in the very 1st class. Big thanks for your efforts to keep THE KINGS alive and thriving.”

Thanks to Beth and Bruce for sharing their thoughts on the Kings.   If you are interested to know more about the Kings, check out their webpage.

I want to thank DJ Jerry English, Larry Wheeling and the rest of the Kings band for allowing me to witness the “Party in Elmwood” concert on stage with them on July 5th. It was an honor for me to be able to watch Roanoke’s legendary band perform their magic the day after Independence Day 2018.

Long live The Kings!

To subscribe to my blog via email, please click the “Follow” button in the menu above. I am looking forward reading your comments on my latest blog message. Rock on!

 

 

 

 

 

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Virginia Artists

Caroline Weinroth: Pageant Queen/ Rock Star

Caroline Weinroth performing with Cinema Hearts. Photo by Ethan Sahlin.

Can someone actually be the lead singer, electric guitarist and songwriter for a rock band while at the same time serving as a titleholder for the Miss Virginia/Miss America organization? If your name is Caroline Weinroth, the answer is yes!

Originally from Fairfax, Virginia, Caroline is currently a graduate student at George Mason University and is pursuing a Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing, with a concentration in Poetry. She also earned her undergraduate degree from George Mason in Theater Performance and Audio Engineering.

While Caroline was an undergraduate at George Mason, she formed a band called Cinema Hearts with her brother Erich Weinroth. This is how Caroline describes her band: “A pageant queen fronts a rock ‘n’ roll band: Haunting harmonies soar over electric guitar in Cinema Hearts’ tribute to the Wall of Sound.”

Caroline’s Cinema Hearts band was selected “Best Local Band 2017” by Northern Virginia Magazine last year and the band has recorded two albums during their career. Cinema Hearts regularly tours at concert venues around the Northern Virginia/DC/Maryland area and also has played in major east coast cities such as New York, Philadelphia and Richmond.

In addition to her leadership with Cinema Hearts, Caroline is also a pageant queen. Last year, she served as Miss Mountain Laurel 2017 and then competed in the Miss Virginia 2017 state pageant. Then in February earlier this year, Caroline won the Miss Northern Virginia 2018 title and will be competing in the Miss Virginia 2018 pageant next month in Lynchburg, Virginia.

Being the front woman for a rock band is not always an easy thing. One prime example of the type of hardship Caroline has encountered is gender discrimination. Three years ago Caroline was on a family vacation in Corona, California and touring the Fender guitar factory when she faced an extreme dose of sexism.

Caroline Weinroth. Photo by Ethan Sahlin.

Caroline describes the Fender factory experience on her blog: “I wore my She Shreds t-shirt and told the tour guide how happy I was to be at the factory, because I play a Fender Jaguar. Instead of welcoming me and treating me like the other older men guitarists in our tour group, the tour guide said, “Wow, you really play? Chicks who play are so cool.” He prodded me the whole tour, testing me with hard questions about pick-ups and gear and telling me my Modern Player Jaguar was not a “real Fender instrument.” It was hard to be reminded at the place where my favorite guitars are made, ‘You’re not part of the boys’ club’. Later that day, I cried in a hotel bathroom and wrote the lyrics to “Fender Factory.”

The song Caroline wrote that day, “Fender Factory” has become one of Cinema Hearts most popular songs. Caroline plays her Fender electric guitar with this tune as she sings the chorus, “Doesn’t make me wanna buy a Strat, when you talk to me like that.” The song has a catchy new wave/punk groove and features a guitar solo by Caroline during the middle part of the tune. The song absolutely rocks!

Although both men and women love the “Fender Factory” song, it especially resonates with women who have faced sexism not only in music but also with other areas in their lives. Here is a video of “Fender Factory” when Cinema Hearts played the song in Brooklyn, New York during March 2018:

For the upcoming Miss Virginia 2018 pageant, Caroline’s community service platform is Music Empowerment, a movement to create civic change through music education and performance.

On Caroline’s website she states what her goal is when she competes in the pageant: “My platform is Music Empowerment, because I believe that music has the power to impact individuals and communities. I advocate for women and girls in music by performing with my band, speaking at music events, and collaborating with arts groups. One of my favorite groups I’ve volunteered with was Girls Rock Roanoke, a music camp for girls in Roanoke, Virginia.”

Caroline Weinroth – Miss Northern Virginia 2018. Photo by Carlos Velez.

With the Miss Virginia 2018 pageant happening next month, Caroline will be singing and playing her electric guitar during the talent part of the competition. I am not sure if there has ever been a Miss Virginia contestant to play a guitar for the talent section of the competition before, but I am excited that Caroline will get the opportunity to play her Fender guitar next month in Lynchburg.

You can vote for Caroline to win the Miss Virginia “People’s Choice” award here.

Both the 2017 Cinema Hearts album “Burned and Burnished” and the 2016 debut album “Feels Like Forever” are available for streaming and purchase with Bandcamp, iTunes, Spotify, and Amazon.

In reviewing Caroline’s mission of music empowerment, she already promotes that type of activity through her Miss Northern Virginia 2018 functions and also with the leadership of her Cinema Hearts band.

Cinema Hearts performing. Photo by Ethan Sahlin.

No matter the outcome of the Miss Virginia pageant 2018 next month, I am confident that Caroline Weinroth will continue to be a positive role model for music empowerment throughout the commonwealth of Virginia.

To subscribe to my blog via email, please click the “Follow” button in the menu above. I am looking forward reading your comments on my latest blog message. Rock on!

 

 

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Virginia Artists

Adele Marie Music: “No, I’m Not Done”

Adele Marie, "What it Was About You"

“What it Was About You” album artwork. Art credit: Adele Marie

As the title of my blog indicates, I will be writing about various musical topics within my local sphere of interest here in Virginia as well as giving my perspective on the historical aspects of popular music. I will also be giving out information and critiquing musical concerts that I attend from time to time. Hang on to your hats and welcome to my ride.

For my first blog of 2018, I am featuring Virginia artist Adele Marie. I want to say right up front that Virginia’s Adele Marie is not to be confused with the British singer-songwriter Adele who is known for hits like “Rolling in the Deep”, “Someone Like You” and “Hello.”

Adele Marie spent her high school years in Roanoke, Virginia before heading off to college. She attended Shenandoah Conservatory of Music and then received a Bachelor of music degree at Radford University with a concentration in music therapy, classical guitar and voice. Currently Adele Marie is residing in Alexandria, Virginia.

Last Christmas, Adele Marie released a ten song album “What It Was About You.” The album features 10 songs and is available for streaming or purchase online.

I am going to be focusing on one of Adele Marie’s newest songs, “No, I’m Not Done” for the rest of this blog as I viewed a video of her tune that she released on YouTube last weekend.

After I viewed this video, I asked Adele Marie about her lyrics and the message of her new song. She replied, “This song is about letting someone go, but still feeling deeply emotional about that person. It also resonates with the challenges of being a highly sensitive and empathetic person in a relationship.”

Obviously, the message of “No, I’m Not Done” resonates with anyone having gone through a similar situation in a relationship. Another positive aspect of Adele Marie’s song is the music and vocals with her new tune.

When viewing the video, I love that fact that Adele Marie starts off playing an electric guitar and then accompanies herself by playing the keyboard. The tune has a new age/folk quiet groove that produces an almost magical, dreamy flow. Adele Marie’s vocals bring forth emotions of both angst and reluctance with an almost hypnotic, yet soothing appeal.

The other aspect that I like about the video is the swirling visuals behind Adele Marie that gives the film clip a psychedelic feel. Plus the double box feature on the video also is visually pleasing to the eye.

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Art credit: Adele Marie

I hope you will check out Adele Marie’s music after reading about her and listening to her music either here on my blog and/or via the Internet. As I wrap up my first blog, I hope you liked my musical musing on Adele Marie. Please feel free to share your thoughts on my blog and any comments on my featured artist and her music.

 

Until my next post: Rock on!

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