Artist Profiles, Concert Reviews, Music, Podcasts, Retro Rock, Virginia Artists

Chris Keaton with the Kings: Roanoke’s Quintessential Band

Earlier this year, vocalist Terry Brown of Roanoke’s legendary band the Kings temporarily stepped down due to some health issues. Finding a stand-in substitute could have posed a problem for long-time Kings leader Larry Wheeling.

In finding a fill-in pinch hitter, Wheeling didn’t have to call Ghostbusters.  Instead, he found Roanoke native Chris Keaton to sing and play saxophone for the Kings while Brown is convalescing from his illness.

The Kings were founded in 1965 by Perry Caligan, who still acts as the business owner of the band. Current leader and manager of the Kings is Larry Wheeling, who joined the Roanoke based group during 1969.

Larry Wheeling and Perry Caligan at Elmwood Park in July 2018.

Over four years ago, I featured the Kings on a music blog message and attended one of the band’s concerts in downtown Roanoke.  Here is the link for The Kings Rocking Roanoke Since 1965:

The Kings in concert in downtown Roanoke on July 5, 2018.

While Terry Brown recovers from his health issues, the Kings have been fortunate to secure the services of Chris Keaton. I had the opportunity to interview Keaton last month, just before he and the Kings had a concert at Roanoke’s Black Dog Salvage.

Chris Keaton was born in Roanoke, Virginia and grew up in the town of Vinton.  After graduating from William Byrd High School, Keaton spent a year at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) in Richmond. Chris then following in the footsteps of Bob Dylan left college life to pursue a career in music.

During the mid 70s, Keaton played saxophone and toured with pop/rock bands ranging from Gary U.S. Bonds to Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. He also had gigs with Jay & the Techniques during this time period.

A few bands that Keaton was a member of during the 70s and 80s were High & Mighty, Dazzle Boys and Band of Oz.  Interestingly, Chris also had two separate stints performing as a member of the Kings during his younger years.

An album from the Kings: 1989. Chris Keaton co-produced this LP with Brian Wheeling. Band members (L-R), Bruce Wall, David Ferguson, Randy Wheeling, Chris Keaton, Kent Martin, Larry Wheeling and Brian Wheeling.

In 1993, Keaton moved to Nashville, Tennessee and became a business partner with another Roanoke native Tommy Holcomb. Eventually, Holcomb moved back to Roanoke while Keaton stayed in the “Music City” to venture into a new career path.

Since the mid 90s, Keaton’s career has become multifaceted.  His official bio states: “Chris is a Nashville-based entertainment industry executive, award winning music publisher, artist management consultant and a 2016 Inductee in the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame.”

When I interviewed Chris last month, 3 words stood out to me that describe Keaton’s current profession: connector, influencer and encourager. Keaton utilizes various forms of social media during his day-to-day activities.

One social media avenue Keaton uses is podcasting. He describes his “Random Acts” podcast, “of kindness, stories, a song or two, seeds of hope and love, and the randomness of it all through the eyes of Chris Keaton.”

Another fascinating venture of Keaton’s work is with the fashion industry.  For a number of years, Chris has been a member of Macy’s Style Crew as a “brand influencer.” As a result of his Macy’s gig, Keaton published a book in 2020 called “Dapper.”

Published at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, “Dapper” was written by Keaton and the text is supported by photographer Keith Charles.  The book conveys, “Serious tips on being a dapper gentleman tempered with a dash of humor.”

Two years ago, Keaton was a guest on Larry Dowdy Mic Side podcast and talked about his book “Dapper” along with some of his past musical performing career.

Versatility and Chris Keaton go hand-in hand as he has been a long-time voting member of the Recording Academy (Grammy Awards) and is a reviewer for an Internet country music site.

2016 was a memorable year for Keaton as he was inducted into the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame. Working with the beach music group Band of Oz, Keaton composed an award-winning rendition of the song, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” for his induction.

Considering all of the activities that Keaton has been involved with during the past few years, the influencer hasn’t performed many in-person concerts. However, that changed a few months ago when Larry Wheeling asked Chris to play with the Kings on a temporary basis.

Chris Keaton singing a cover of the Time’s song, “Jungle Love” with the Kings. First Fridays downtown Roanoke in September 2022.

The current 2022 lineup of the Kings:

Terry Brown–Vocals

Mike Feamster –Drums

Brian Jones– Bass

Chris Loder–Guitar

Melody Irby — Vocals & Keyboards

Alan Walker— Sax

Randy Wheeling–Trumpet & Trombone

Larry Wheeling —–Trumpet

Chris Keaton—- Vocals & Sax

Chris Keaton singing a cover version of Wilson Pickett’s song, “Mustang Sally” with the Kings. Black Dog Salvage Roanoke on October 15, 2022.

With Keaton temporarily performing with the Kings, he plays saxophone and shares lead vocal duties with Melody Irby.  The brass section of the band is superb.

Chris Keaton singing cover of Justin Timberlake’s song, “Can’t Fight this Feeling” with the Kings. Black Dog Salvage Roanoke on Octotber 15, 2022.

Musically, the Kings are a pop/rock band and have a large following in central and southwestern Virginia.  The band plays a wide variety of cover tunes, ranging from the 60s through songs from the past ten years.

The Kings are Roanoke’s quintessential band and have been fortunate to secure the services of Keaton on a temporary basis. Providing his vocal talents and excellent saxophone skills, make him a perfect fit with the Kings.

My assessment of Keaton can be summed up as “renaissance man.”  He flows within a wide mixture of diverse areas, bringing his talents and knowledge for positive results.

Without a doubt, Chris Keaton is helping to make the world a better place by being an encourager, spreading peace, love and tranquility to everyone on his path in life.

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Artist Profiles, Broadcasting, Music, Radio, Retro Rock, Virginia Artists

Tommy Holcomb: Roanoke’s Marvelous Music Man

All photos on this message are courtesy of Tommy Holcomb.

If you have lived in central or southwestern Virginia over the past 50 plus years, chances are you have heard music written by Tommy Holcomb. The Roanoke, Virginia native has created hundreds of musical TV/radio commercials, which have been aired throughout Roanoke/Lynchburg media markets, as owner of Tommy Holcomb Productions.

Holcomb musical talent is much more than just creating ads for clients. He is also a founding member of two successful Roanoke pop/rock/folk bands during the 60s, 70s and 80s: The Vikings and Woodsmoke.  Holcomb’s journey creating music is renowned among those associated with history of the rich Roanoke music scene.

Tommy Holcomb performing in Atlanta, Georgia 1975
When Glen Campbell came to Roanoke. From left: Tommy Holcomb, Rita Matthews, Glen Campbell, Nancy Holcomb Fisher and Jack Fisher.

I had an opportunity to conduct a phone interview with Holcomb earlier this month, as we discussed a musical career spanning over 60 years. I have known Tommy since 1975.  We first met at WROV 1240 AM Roanoke, when Holcomb was delivering a commercial that he produced to the radio station where I was employed.

Vikings cover of Simon & Garfunkel song, “Keep the Customer Satisfied.”

Holcomb’s musical roots started the summer before his senior year at Patrick Henry High School in 1961. Tommy started a band named the Vikings, along with his fellow classmates Allen Nelms and Lane Craig.

The Vikings band as a trio. Sometime in early 60s.

After Nelms and Holcomb graduated from high school, the young adults left Roanoke to attend the University of Virginia (UVA). The Vikings occasionally played gigs together, when Nelms and Holcomb were in college at UVA between 1962 and 1966.

Vikings cover of Linda Ronstadt & Stone Poneys song, “Some of Shelly’s Blues.”

Upon graduation from college in 1966, Holcomb and Nelms returned to Roanoke and resurrected their Vikings band. One of the guys joining this new version of the band was the legendary WROV 1240 AM DJ Fred Frelantz.  Another prominent person that was added to the Vikings was Joy Ellis in 1969.

The Vikings Band in 1972.

For the next 7 years, the Vikings became the house band for the historic Coffee Pot Roadhouse restaurant and concert venue.  The band signed a recording contract with London records during 1967.

During the early 70s, Holcomb’s Vikings band recorded a couple of albums before the group broke up in 1975.  Forward to 1982, the Vikings came back together again and held a series of reunion concerts at Caesar’s Club in Roanoke. After the success of those shows, the band decided to resume performing live concerts.

Vikings band continued playing shows during the mid 80s, and the group changed their name to “Roanoke” when they signed a record contract in 1984.  The following year, two singles were released but received limit airplay locally on the biggest Top 40 station in the Roanoke Lynchburg market: K92 FM 92.3. Consequently, these songs did not chart nationally.

The Vikings band at Caesar’s Reunion 1982

The final ending for the band became reality in 1986, with the tragic, untimely death of group member Fred Frelantz.  For a complete history of the Vikings band, I am providing a link to an article that Holcomb wrote for the Roanoker Magazine in 2006, that is reprinted via the WROV History Online Website.

Fred Frelantz and the Vikings: Mr. Bojangles (Video produced after his death)
Woodsmoke band during mid 70s.
Medley of Woodsmoke songs.

The other band that Holcomb was associated with during the 70s is Woodsmoke. Along with Joy Ellis, the band was formed in 1975 and attracted a younger audience than patrons who came to attend Holcomb’s original Vikings band shows.

The Vikings performing at Festival in the Park concert, Downtown Roanoke.

While Holcomb is known for his singing and playing in Roanoke bands since the 60s, he is not just a one trick pony.  Equally as impressive is his creative talent writing music with Tommy Holcomb Productions.

Vikings cover of Kingston Trio song, “Scotch and Soda.”

In the field of advertising, Tommy has created hundreds of commercials featuring his musical genius. Before starting his own ad agency, Holcomb joined fellow Vikings band member Fred Frelantz, to work at Creative Advertising in Roanoke.

During his time at Creative, Holcomb wrote a musical jingle for Smartwear clothing store. Tommy enlisted his Vikings bandmates playing music and utilized Joy Ellis on vocals for the spot.

Smartwear music jingle ad 1971

Much to the surprise of Holcomb, his Smartwear commercial actually won a national ad agency award in 1971.  After his multiple success writing musical spots at Creative, Holcomb decided to launch out with his own ad agency.

Over the years, Holcomb has created many wonderful, catchy musical ads.  Below is a Roanoke jingle medley, a compilation of various musical ads that Holcomb has produced.

Roanoke Jingle Medley of Tommy Holcomb created musical ads.

Three years ago, Holcomb was honored by the Roanoke chapter of the American Advertising Federation (AAF), with its Silver Medal Award.  This AAF 2019 achievement recognized Tommy’s “outstanding lifetime contributions to advertising furthering the industry’s standards, creative excellence, and responsibility in areas of social concern.”

An 11 minute mix of some of the jingles that Tommy Holcomb created over the years. Many aired in the region around Roanoke, Virginia, Tommy’s hometown.

Tommy Holcomb doesn’t just write music for advertising.  He also has written songs about and for the city of Roanoke.

Vikings cover of Nilsson song, “Without You.”

Roanoke’s centennial happened in 1982 and Holcomb was commissioned by the Virginia City to write a song for the 100-year celebration. The composition is called “Roanoke Shining Through.” A YouTube video of this tune features paintings by Eric Fitzpatrick and photographs by Terry Aldhizer.

Another excellent tribute to Roanoke is a song written and performed by Holcomb called “Looking Back.”  Tommy fondly remembers living in the “Star City of the South” during younger years.

During 2011, Holcomb tried his hand in radio and hosted a show called Retro Roanoke Radio (RRR) on Sunny FM 93.5. The format of the weekly program had Holcomb playing 60s/70s oldies, talking about Roanoke in the 20th Century, airing musical spots he created and interviewing pop/rock artists.

Some of the artists that Holcomb interviewed on RRR were Davy Jones, Melanie, Petula Clark, Anne Murray and Robbin Thompson.

Compilation of Retro Roanoke Radio Interviews by Tommy Holcomb 2011.

For the past 15 years, Holcomb has been the Music Producer for the Miss Virginia Pageant. Seven years ago, Tommy wrote an orchestra score for one of Virginia’s official state songs: “Our Great Virginia” written by Mike Greenly. Miss Virginia contestants performed this arrangement during the 2015 pageant.

Woodsmoke band in the mid 70s.

An excellent podcast I want to recommend is episode 3 of the Larry Dowdy Mic Side podcast, where the retired popular Roanoke area DJ interviews Holcomb.  There is superb interchange of information provided by Dowdy and Holcomb with this Mic Side episode.

Last official Vikings photo prior to Fred Frelantz death.

It is clear to me that Holcomb exemplifies humility, as he has woven an awe-inspiring tapestry of living experiences within the area of music.

Vikings cover of Tanya Tucker song, “Delta Dawn.”

As I reflect upon Holcomb’s music legacy, he has enriched the lives of countless Roanoke residents with musical magic. For over 60 years, Holcomb has continued to share his music talent with folks all across the Roanoke Valley and Southwestern Virginia.

Without a doubt, Roanoke continues to be blessed, receiving wonderful gifts of harmonies and melodies by this marvelous music man:  Tommy Holcomb.

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Album Review, Artist Profiles, Music, Virginia Artists

Come Home: Album from Bent Mountain: Encouraging Bluegrass Music

The CD cover of Come Home by Bent Mountain. **All photos on this music blog message were provided courtesy of Quigg Lawrence.

In my home state of Virginia, many bluegrass song lyrics are written about topics pertinent to living life in the valleys and mountains of Appalachia.  Besides the universal subject of love, many Virginian bluegrass songs mention hard living, working the land, feeding families with wages below poverty or permanently loosing coal mining jobs.

In contrast to the lyrical content of most traditional bluegrass created within the Appalachian region of Virginia, others are producing music that is full of hope and encouragement. One such project is an album called “Come Home” by Bent Mountain.

The overall message with this new Roanoke, Virginia bluegrass compilation, can be found on the album’s front CD cover, referencing Matthew 11:28 from the New Testament of the Bible: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” 

The spiritual aspect of this project comes as no surprise, as the genesis for this new 10-track bluegrass music album comes from Dr. Quigg Lawrence, who is senior pastor at Church of the Holy Spirit, an Anglican parish in Roanoke, Virginia. Lawrence has ministered with his Roanoke congregation for 32 years.

Bishop Quigg Lawrence

In addition to his pastoral duties with Church of the Holy Spirit, Lawrence also serves as a Bishop for the Diocese of Christ Our Hope, which is part of the Anglican Church of North America (ACNA). Lawrence was consecrated Bishop in February 2013.

My family and I have been members with Church of the Holy Spirit (COTHS) since 2002, so I have shared many experiences with Pastor Lawrence over the past 19 years. Recently, I had the opportunity to speak with Lawrence about his new bluegrass album project.

During the beginning of my first interview with Bishop Lawrence, I asked two main questions:

1. Why was the name Bent Mountain selected?

2. What is the purpose and goal for recording the album?

Scott Mulvahill and Eric Imhof at Church of the Holy Spirit Roanoke during Bent Mountain recording session.

Bishop Quigg replied, “Bent Mountain is not the name of a band but is a collaboration of musical talent by my friends. Those friends include folks from Church of the Holy Spirit, plus musicians from Roanoke, Southwestern Virginia and even Nashville, Tennessee.”

Answering my second question, Lawrence stated the purpose and goal of the album: “It is a bluegrass style offering, created during Covid and a time while I was watching my mom battle cancer and go home to Jesus.

Lawrence continued, “The common theme with the 10 tracks on “Come Home” is death, resurrection and the “life of the world to come.” It is an invitation to come and experience the peace, rest and joy of the Lord”

The Inspiration behind “Come Home.” Quigg Lawrence TV Interview with Lindsey Ward WSLS Channel 10 Roanoke.  Daytime Blue Ridge show. May 24, 2021.

Bluegrass music has always been a passion for Bishop Lawrence.  His fondness for acoustic stringed instrumental music, formulated during his high school years in Richmond, Virginia.

While growing up, Lawrence loved listening to bluegrass records on his parent’s stereo system.  He also showed fondness of watching his father, Quigg Lawrence Senior play bluegrass music.

Lawrence’s dad owned Alpha Audio recording studio in Richmond where albums from many genres of music were recorded.  Quigg Senior also played in his own bluegrass band called BlueRidge.

Photo of Quigg Lawrence Senior and his band BlueRidge during 1982.

Over the years, Lawrence’s father would often have jam sessions and play with other talented bluegrass musicians. Included in the mix of talented performers that Quigg Senior played with are Ben Eldridge, Bill Clifton, Ralph Stanley and the Country Gentleman.

As a side note, Quigg Lawrence Senior once owned a 1954 Martin D-28 guitar back when he played bluegrass music.  The guitar is said to be “one of the best on the planet” according to Bishop Lawrence. Photo below is of the vintage 1954 Martin D-28 guitar.

Just before Quigg Lawrence Senior passed away, he sold his guitar to an unidentified buyer. Eventually, this famous guitar ended up being owned by Chris Eldridge, who is a guitarist and member of Punch Brothers band. Ironically, Eldridge is one of the musicians who performed on the “Come Home” album and he actually played the celebrated 1954 Martin D-28 guitar on many of the album’s tracks.

Chris Eldridge playing the 1954 Martin D-28 guitar during Bent Mountain recording sessions, that had once been owned by Quigg Lawrence Senior, father of Bishop Lawrence.

After graduation from high school, Lawrence attended the University of Virginia for two years and then earned a degree in emergency medicine from Central Washington University.

It was during this time period that Lawrence found his main pathway for living: Becoming a Christian and following Jesus.

 During the summer of 1980, a surfer friend of Lawrence gave him the book, “Basic Christianity” by John Stott.  By reading Stott’s book, Lawrence started understanding things in the Bible and began his journey as a Christian.

Obviously, proclamation of the gospel is important for Bishop Quigg.  He shared with me about his unique album set, “It has been my dream for several years to record the wide breadth of styles of music COTHS uses.  We regularly use banjo, mandolin and cello alongside electric guitars, keyboard, and bass.”

Julie Wright and Scott Mulvahill at Bent Mountain recording session: Church of the Holy Spirit Roanoke.

Two years ago, the COTHS worship team recorded an EP which included 4 original songs (both contemporary and traditional worship in style) and one cover tune. The brand-new Bent Mountain collaboration features a pleasing mixture of bluegrass and Americana genres of music.

Scott Mulvahill singing backup vocals for Bent Mountain album. Church of the Holy Spirit Roanoke.

Producer for the “Come Home” album is Scott Mulvahill, with Quigg Lawrence as executive producer and Evan Sieling handling engineering duties.

Besides Bishop Lawrence, there are four members of his COTHS congregation that contributed to the “Come Home” project:

*Eric Imhof:  Son-in-law of Quigg Lawrence, Worship Arts Pastor/Stewardship Pastor for COTHS.

Eric Imhof, Scott Mulvahill and Julie Wright taking break during Bent Mountain recording session.

*Julie Wright:  Former Worship Arts Pastor at COTHS and a current member of the praise/worship team.

*Ayden Young and Blane Young: The Brothers Young are a sibling bluegrass duo. Ayden is 15 and plays banjo with the COTHS praise/worship team. Blane age 10, is a mandolin player. Last October, I featured the Brothers Young with one of my music blogs here on DJ Dave’s Musical Musings:

Blane and Ayden Young: The Brothers Young duo from Roanoke, Virginia.

The remaining personnel who are part of the Bent Mountain collaboration, are all excellent musicians and performers.  In fact, Bishop Lawrence brought together a world-class, all-star ensemble for his debut compilation.

*Annie Lawrence:   Singer-songwriter who lives Nashville and has recorded multiple albums. She is the daughter of Quigg Lawrence and grew up in Roanoke. Two years ago, I featured Annie Lawrence’s musical story on my music blog:


Annie Lawrence performing at Church of the Holy Spirit. Roanoke, Virginia.

*Scott Mulvahiill:  Front man, singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and world-renowned upright bassist.  Has played with Ricky Skaggs and Bruce Hornsby.  Now has a solo career. Mulvahill is producer of the Bent Mountain album.

Scott Mulvahill with upright bass during recording session for “Come Home” album.

*Junior Sisk:  Lead guitarist, vocalist and front man for the Junior Sisk Band.  Lives in Ferrum, Virginia. His past bands include Rambler’s Choice and BlueRidge.  Sisk has won numerous accolades including the 2013 International Bluegrass Music Association’s Male Vocalist of the Year award.

*Chris Eldridge:   Singer and guitarist.  Member of Punch Brothers: A hybrid bluegrass/classical/country/chamber band. In 2018, Punch Brothers won a Grammy for Best Folk Album with “All Ashore.”  Past member of the Infamous Stringdusters bluegrass band. His father is Ben Eldridge, founding member of the Seldom Scene.

*Justin Moses: Dobro maestro and multi-instrumentalist. Prominent Nashville session musician. Versatile musician in all forms of acoustic music. Named Dobro Player of the Year by the International Bluegrass Music Association. Married to singer-songwriter and mandolin player Sierra Hull since 2017.

Justin Moses playing a dobro guitar during Bent Mountain recording sessions.

*Sierra Hull: Virtuoso mandolinist, singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist.  Debut on Grand Ole Opry stage at age 10, played Carnegie Hall at 12 and had first recorded album at age 13. Married to Justin Moses. Performs and tours with husband as a duo.

*Russ Carson:   Superb banjo player.  Member of Ricky Skaggs’ band Kentucky Thunder. Started picking banjo at age 10. Bluegrass Today online considers Carson to be “among one of the top banjo players in the world.”

Russ Carson playing banjo at Bent Mountain recording session.

*Ryan Ogrodny:  Polka prodigy as a teen and plays the fiddle.  Nominated for a Grammy in the category of Best Polka Album in 2004. Ogrodny is a violin/fiddle professor at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee.

* Doug Bartlett:  Fiddle specialist and multi-instrumentalist, formerly with Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver. Currently with Junior Sisk band. Received a couple of Grammy nominations in 1999 and 2000 for two separate bluegrass albums.

* Jonathan Dillon: Mandolin is main instrument with exceptional banjo skills.  Plays in the Junior Sisk band. At age 17, Dillon was nominated for “Mandolin Player – Performer of the Year” at the 2013 Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music of America Awards.

*Heather Mabe: Lead and harmony vocalist. Heather and her husband Tony are members of Junior Sisk Band.  Ms. Mabe is known for excellent harmonies, amazing tones and perfect pitch vocals.

Heather Mabe, Junior Sisk and others playing a bluegrass song.

There are a total of 10 tracks on the Bent Mountain album:

  1. Shoutin’ On the Hills of Glory (Featuring Quigg Lawrence)
  2. The Darkest Hour (Featuring Quigg Lawrence)
  3. Mother’s Only Sleeping (Featuring Eric Imhof)
  4. Little Birdie (Featuring Junior Sisk and the Brothers Young)
  5. Forever Ain’t No Trouble Now (Featuring Quigg Lawrence)
  6. Down the Road (Featuring Quigg Lawrence)
  7. You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive (Featuring Eric Imhof and Julie Wright)
  8. Eulogy for Dr. Ralph Stanley (Spoken by Ricky Skaggs)
  9. Come to Jesus (Featuring Annie Lawrence)
  10.  Softly and Tenderly (Featuring Julie Wright)

Four songs on the album feature vocals by Bishop Lawrence. Eric Imhof and Julie Wright sing on three tracks: Both artists have lead vocals with a single song and the pair also perform a duet together.  Rounding out the singing tracks from the Bent Mountain assemble are vocalists Annie Lawrence and Junior Sisk.  

The tenth selection is not musical but actually the spoken word:  It is a eulogy that country/bluegrass superstar Ricky Skaggs gave at the funeral for the legendary Dr. Ralph Stanley, the Southwestern Virginia pioneer of bluegrass and country music genres.

Audio for “Eulogy for Dr. Ralph Stanley” by Ricky Skaggs. From Bent Mountain album.

Inclusion of Stanley’s eulogy on a bluegrass album may seem odd to some. However, Bishop Quigg says of Skaggs’ oratory, “I have never heard a clearer explanation of the Gospel.”

In breaking down the musical tunes from the “Come Home” production, the Gospel message pervades throughout each selection, and proclamation of Christian themes is at the forefront on this project. The musicianship on the album is outstanding.

Since I had an advance copy of “Come Home” last month, I have listened to the album multiple times. Before I heard the four songs where Bishop Quigg performs lead vocals, I was curious how Lawrence would sound, since he is not trained as a singer.

I was pleasantly surprised to hear Lawrence’s ease of delivery, showing confidence with his phrasing and comfort within the bluegrass genre of music. Bishop Quigg sounds assured with his debut recordings.

Bishop Quigg striking a pose while recording a song for the Bent Mountain album.

Besides Lawrence’s four tracks, the remaining 5 musical tunes are strong and showcase excellence among the various artists. 

  • You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive:  Duet vocals by Eric Imhof and Julie Wright.  Cover of folk song written by Darrell Scott. The duo harmonize superbly and perform the album’s most melodic tune. Additional backup vocals are provided by Scott Mulvahill.
  • Come to Jesus: Annie Lawrence vocals.  Mindy Smith’s written song was a hit on multiple formatted radio stations in 2004.  Annie’s rendition is compelling and expressive. One of Lawrence’s best vocal performances during her recording career.
  • Little Birdie: Junior Sisk vocals.  Traditional bluegrass song. Most famous cover is by Dr. Ralph Stanley. The Brothers Young play on this tune performing their first recorded song. Sisk’s strong vocals are prominent on this selection.
  • Mother’s Only Sleeping:  Eric Imhof vocals.  Written by Bill Monroe in 1946. Song has been covered by the Stanley Brothers and many other bands. Imhof is effective with his engaging vocals on this traditional bluegrass tune.
  • Softly and Tenderly: Julie Wright vocals.  A Christian hymn composed and written by Will L. Thompson in 1880. The last song on the album features Wright singing a cappella and is absolutely transcendent. This outstanding vocal performance is the crown jewel on the “Come Home” album.

The new Bent Mountain album is now available on all major streaming platforms and can be purchased online at Amazon and Apple itunes.

I highly recommend the “Come Home” Bent Mountain compilation set.  Musically, it is top-notch, with nationally acclaimed instrumental performers.  One would be hard pressed to find a similar grouping of world-class musicians together, on any other music album collection.

The message of “Come Home” encompasses many different attributes:  It is calling, challenging and questioning, but also is hopeful and encouraging.  

Without a doubt, the essential theme for the Bent Mountain album is found within the “Softly and Tenderly” chorus, the traditional hymn that closes this superb album: “Come home, come home, you who are weary come home.”

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Artist Profiles, Music, Virginia Artists

The Brothers Young: Virginia Bluegrass Phenoms

Traditional Appalachian stringed instrumental mountain music has always been an important part of Southwestern Virginia’s heritage. In our portion of Virginia, we celebrate the rich legacy of two Appalachian mountain music pioneers:  The Carter Family, founders of country music and Dr. Ralph Stanley, from the first generation of prominent bluegrass musicians.

Since the early formation of Appalachian mountain music, the bluegrass genre of music has flourished in Southwestern Virginia. There is now a new generation of musicians playing bluegrass in my home city of Roanoke: The Brothers Young.

The Brothers Young are a duo of actual siblings:  Ayden and Blane Young.  Older brother Ayden is 15 and plays banjo, while Blane handles mandolin duties at age 11. Parents for these talented bluegrass performers are Melissa and Chad Young of Roanoke.

Ayden and Blane have been playing together for the past three years. Their mother Melissa Young provided the following text on how her sons became a musical bluegrass duo:

“The Brothers Young is a brother duo playing bluegrass in the mountains of Roanoke, Virginia.  Close to the Crooked Road – Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail of SW Virginia and heart of traditional music. Their love for Bluegrass music came from growing up listening to classics such as Flatt & Scruggs, Ralph Stanley, Osborne Brothers and many more.

Ayden found an old banjo at his grandparents’ house about 3 years ago and it was an instant connection!  He had to learn “Foggy Mtn. Breakdown.”  We were given a mandolin to borrow from a family at church since they knew Ayden was into bluegrass, but his younger brother Blane took to the mandolin and the Brothers Young was born.”

My first experience hearing the Brothers Young play music live was during May 2019, at an Anglican parish, Church of the Holy Spirit (COTHS) in Roanoke.  The event was celebrating the 30-year anniversary of Quigg Lawrence, being lead pastor for the COTHS congregation.  Lawrence is also a Bishop with the Anglican Church in North America.

Bishop Lawrence loves bluegrass music and he invited guitarist/vocalist Junior Sisk from Ferrum, Virginia, to perform music at this celebration. Ayden and Blane joined Sisk that afternoon to play various bluegrass tunes.

The second encounter that I had hearing TBY was earlier this year at Church of the Holy Spirit, just before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. In February, COTHS had a chili cook-off fundraising event, to raise funds for Rwanda missions.  Brothers Ayden and Blane provided music throughout the event that was pleasing to my ears.

In preparation for me writing this music message on TBY, I had the opportunity to speak with Ayden, Blane and their mother Melissa, with a 30-minute interview via Zoom.  We spoke on a wide variety of topics, including playing with Junior Sisk and recording a couple of bluegrass songs at Mountain Fever Studios in Willis, Virginia.

During my interview, I asked the Blane and Ayden when they started listening to bluegrass music?  Ayden attributes listening to old bluegrass records when visiting his grandfather, Allen Worrell of Courtland, Virginia as a younger boy. The Brothers Young were also exposed to other types of music genres, by their parents Chad and Melissa.

The pivotal moment for heightened awareness of bluegrass music came during 2017 when Ayden brought home an old beaten-up banjo from his grandparents’ home. Soon after, Ayden started taking banjo lessons and his love for the instrument grew. Just two years later, Ayden placed 2nd at the Galax Old Fiddlers Convention for Youth banjo during August 2019.

Ayden playing “Shuckin’ the Corn” and winning 2nd place at Galax Old Fiddler’s Convention for Youth Banjo. August 2019.

Ayden disclosed to me that he considers Earl Scruggs as his biggest influence with the three-finger banjo picking style. The older brother is also versatile and accomplished, playing two other instruments:  Guitar and the piano. Ayden is talented with his piano skills and has composed a few songs with this instrument, including a tune called, “Roanoke Rag.”

Blane is the quiet member of TBY and plays the mandolin.  Considering that he took up his instrument just two years ago, his mandolin dexterity is strong and his skills continue to improve on a monthly basis.  It is impressive to me how smooth Blane performs when playing his mandolin. Ricky Skaggs is the bluegrass artist that the younger brother admires, in relation to excellent mandolin musicians.

Obviously, music is a big part in the lives of Blane and Ayden.  Spirituality also plays an important role with the daily routines for the boys.  An important mentor is Bishop Quigg Lawrence, who provides both musical and spiritual guidance for the Brothers Young.

I asked Bishop Lawrence for some of his opinions on the Brothers Young as he has watched the boys grow with their musical talents over the past three years: 

“It has been really fun to watch these boys progress in their musicianship.  They have gotten really good, really fast.  I remember the first time I heard Ayden play banjo, I thought, “that little dude is pretty good and has potential.”   At the time he had been playing for maybe a year.”

“Blane is a kid to watch.  Instead of chopping rhythm, (his little hands are too small for four finger chords), he mainly plays lead.  With his current rate of progress, by the time he is 16 he will be turning heads and able to play with most anyone. Crowds find little Blane, endearing; He just grins from ear to ear and “goes for it.”

“One of the things I love most about these boys has nothing to do with their talent.  They are humble and know that the Lord has given them these talents.  They are never preachy but neither are they shy to give the Lord credit.”

October 2020 has been an exciting month for the Brothers Young.  The duo had two Roanoke TV interviews after the release of their debut single, “Pretty Polly.”  TBY spoke with Melissa Gaona on the WDBJ, “7 @ Four” show and then were featured on the WFXR, “Loving Living Local” program by Kianna Price.

The bluegrass duo recently performed their latest single, “Roanoke” live on the WDBJ7 afternoon program 7@Four and was interviewed by Melissa Gaona on July 13, 2021.

Blane Young, Melissa Gaona and Ayden Young on the set of WDBJ7 program 7@Four on July 13, 2021. Photo courtesy of Melissa Worrell Young.

Both of the Young brothers TV appearances focused on the duo recording two songs at Mountain Fever Studios in Willis, Virginia, with well-established bluegrass artists.  Ayden and Blane expressed to me how thankful they were for the opportunity to be with Junior Sisk and the other musicians assembled for their debut recording experience.

The Brothers Young had an outstanding lineup of musicians according to Melissa Young:

“The boys got an amazing opportunity to collaborate with some amazing musicians back in August.  Ayden plays banjo and Blane added mandolin chops.  The amazing vocals from Junior Sisk and Heather Berry Mabe.  On mandolin: Johnathan Dillon, guitar: Heather Mabe, fiddle: Doug Bartlett, bass: Scott Mulvahill. 

On that hot summer day in August, Blane and Ayden recorded two songs with the consummate bluegrass band: “Pretty Polly” and “Little Birdie.” Also in the studio that day was Quigg Lawrence, who was the connection between Junior Sisk and TBY coming together to record music with the bluegrass all-star musicians.

Here are some observations that Lawrence had when he saw the Brothers Young in the recording studio for the first time:

“I was struck by how confident these kids were in the studio.  At their age, I would have wet my pants to play in a recording studio with one of the best in the country, but they just jumped right in and played their hearts out.  When Junior Sisk and his band heard them play during the warm up at Mountain Fever Studio, I THINK THEIR JAWS DROPPED. Sisk could not believe how much the boys had improved in one year.”

Two weeks ago, “Pretty Polly” was the first TBY song to be released as a single.  The debut tune features vocals by Junior Sisk and Heather Mabe. The second TBY single to be released will be “Little Birdie” on November 13.  Here is the link to purchase the “Pretty Polly” single:

I enjoyed speaking with Ayden and Blane about playing bluegrass music and being in a recording studio for the first time. At the end of our Zoom conversation, I asked the brothers about their plans for the future: Is playing bluegrass music for a living something that the brothers want to pursue when they become adults?

The consensus among the Brothers Young on future bluegrass career plans are unclear at this time.  Both Ayden and Blane said they wanted to attend college after graduation from high school and explore different options with career paths.

Blane and Ayden also proclaimed wisdom to me when they shared how they wanted to be guided by the path that God was directing for them, as they grow from boyhood into adults. Being a positive Christian witness is important for TBY.

Official Facebook page for the Brothers Young:

Official YouTube channel for the Brothers Young videos:

For the immediate future, playing bluegrass music is a focal point for the Brothers Young.  They are committed to improving their banjo and mandolin skills, wholeheartedly maintaining excellence as musicians. 

I am encouraged to see the dedication and loyalty that Ayden and Blane show as they endeavor to hone their craft of playing bluegrass music together.  Obviously, we do not know what the future holds in store for the bluegrass boys. I am confident the Brothers Young of Roanoke will be a positive force within the local Southwestern Virginia community from this point forward. Rock on!

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Artist Profiles, Music, Virginia Artists

David Hollandsworth: Musical Maestro

My music makes you dance and gives you spirit to take a chance,

And I wrote some rock ‘n roll, so you can move,

Music fills your heart, well that’s a real fine place to start,

It’s from me, it’s for you,

It’s a worldwide symphony,

I am music and I write the songs.

Bruce Johnston wrote the above lyrics for the tune “I Write the Songs,” which became a number 1 hit in America for Barry Manilow in 1976.

Although Johnston’s lyrics are referring to God and not an individual person, the concept of writing multiple musical songs for the world to hear reminds me of composer David Hollandsworth.

David Hollandsworth 2019

Over the past 10 years, David Hollandsworth has written hundreds of short, instrumental songs and melodies that have been used in countless TV shows, movies and commercials. The Roanoke, Virginia resident has also written many full-length instrumental tunes, some which have been heard by millions of listeners, via SoundCloud, YouTube and other online music platforms.

More than likely, most have never thought about the instrumental music playing while watching reality shows, movies on Netflix or even viewing commercials. Quite frankly, this is probably a topic that many have never considered prior to reading this message about Hollandsworth and his prolific career.

Some may be wondering how Hollandsworth got started on a career path of writing musical tunes. I had the opportunity to interview David earlier this month to find out how his musical past during childhood and as a young adult helped influence his career.

The seeds of Hollandsworth’s musical talent began during his high school years in southern California. Jethro Tull was a favorite band of David’s, and he asked his mother Dot Hollandsworth to buy him a flute. His mom thought a flute was too expensive so she bought him a cheap classical guitar instead of David’s desired woodwind instrument.

Young David Hollandsworth with Guitar

After Hollandsworth received his guitar, he took lessons for around a year. As a young adult, David started playing guitar during his church’s morning worship services, where his father Jimmy Hollandsworth was the pastor

During this same time period, Hollandsworth started listening to the “Jesus Music” scene in Southern California, which was being developed by the Calvary Chapel fellowship in Costa Mesa. David’s favorite artists at Calvary Chapel both played the piano: Chuck Girard, who played in the band Love Song, and singer-songwriter Erick Nelson.

With the influence of Girard and Nelson’s music, Hollandsworth decided he wanted to play the piano. Since David could not read music, he taught himself how to play the piano by ear.

In 1977, Jimmy Hollandsworth moved his family to Roanoke, Virginia and founded a new church. David and his mother became the worship leaders at the new Church of the Living Way.

David Hollandsworth with Piano 1986.

Eventually David’s mom stepped away from playing piano and David became the sole worship leader for his father’s church. Piano became the instrument of choice for Hollandsworth with these new duties.

For the next 20 years, Hollandsworth was the worship leader for the same church: first called Church of the Living Way and then renamed Grace Covenant Church in 1990. Here in 2019, David is still involved with music ministry.  Hollandsworth continues to play keyboard in the worship band, most Sunday mornings, at the church where he now attends.

David Hollandsworth Playing Guitar 1986

When the Internet grew in popularity during the mid 90’s, Hollandsworth took his love and knowledge of Contemporary Christian Music from his teenage years and made a website called “ A Decade of Jesus Music 1969-1979.”

David wrote about the early days of Jesus Music, covering artists like Larry Norman, Randy Stonehill, Keith Green, Love Song, 2nd Chapter of Acts and many other pioneers in this genre of music.

Although this website may seem antiquated by today’s standards, Hollandsworth’s website was one of the first to document the history of “Jesus Music” on the Internet. Below is a quote from David about the beginnings of his creation:

“The idea for this site started as a wild thought back in 1995. This thing called the World Wide Web was the new buzzword all over the world. As I surfed around I realized that there wasn’t much to be found about the Jesus movement, its history and music. Then and there, I decided that I would put together a site dedicated to this music and the artists who created it. Call it a historical, pictorial, musical archive of a very special time in Christian history.”

While Hollandsworth doesn’t currently maintain or update the “Jesus Music” website he created, it is still available for viewing on the Internet.

During the mid 2000’s, David slowly exchanged his “Jesus Music” historian activities for composing instrumental music tracks. This undertaking was not an overnight venture for Hollandsworth, as he slowly developed his skills and learned how to record music on a professional level.

Ten years ago, Hollandsworth started the process of composing music on a computer, utilizing the Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI). With the MIDI technology, David used a keyboard to create multi-track files.

Since that time, David has created hundreds of music tracks. Some songs are full-length songs, lasting 3 minutes or longer, while “production” tunes that Hollandsworth creates are shorter segments of music, generally lasting less than two minutes in duration.

In my interview with David, I asked him to classify the type of music he composes and he replied, “I would classify most of the music I have out there for the public as new age, neo-classical and ambient. I also have some albums of orchestral and vocal/choir music.”

“Flow” is the most played track of David Hollandworth’s music on social media sites.

Hollandsworth went on to explain to me how TV producers and commercial writers utilize his instrumental music. “Reality TV uses a lot of different genres of music these days. If you listen to a show, you will hear dozens of short cues used throughout a program. The most commonly used are quirky, “dramedy” shows with a hip hop/urban feel and tension music. Tension music is big with all the crime, CSI, investigative type shows on the air.”

David continued, “Other types of music used a lot in commercials and ads are what they call positive, uplifting, or corporate music. Often these have a pop feel to them or use a piano motif to convey what they want to get across. I’ve even done some creepy music for horror/alien type use.”

“A lot of times I will hear something on TV that will spark an idea for a composition. I have dozens of unfinished projects that I will often go back to years later and finish,” Hollandsworth said.

Below are various links for David Hollandswoth’s music:

“Discovery” album was voted Best Ambient album 2015 by One World Music Radio.

The song “Flow” has been streamed over million times on Soundcloud:

The official Webpage of David Hollandsworth music:

The IMDB link:

David Hollandsworth 2019

Before ending my conversation with David, I was curious to find out what artists and genres of music that he listens to on a regular basis. Hollandsworth quickly stated, “Anything with piano is my favorite.”

Core artists that Hollandsworth plays frequently include: Windham Hill artists; pianists/keyboardists Yanni, George Winston & David Lanz; synthesizer artists Vangelis & Tangerine Dream; Progressive rock bands Emerson Lake & Palmer, Pink Floyd, Traffic & Yes; plus jazz fusion artists Pat Metheny and Spyro Gyra.

David’s music is available on multiple outlets, throughout a variety of sources on the Internet: streaming platforms such as Soundcloud, Pandora, Spotify, Apple and Amazon. His music is also available for purchase on his official website and various other online media platforms.

David Hollandsworth 2019

As I think about the prolific musical scores of Hollandsworth, I am amazed by how this man has written hundreds of tunes over the years but can’t read music. (Paul McCartney is also a person who can’t read music but it hasn’t hurt his career). Obviously, the fact the David doesn’t know how to read music hasn’t stopped him from creating professional music either.

The other thing that I admire about David is his tenacity to start a new career writing and composing music later in his life. His perseverance to switch careers and perform in an area in which he is gifted is extremely encouraging to me.

When all is said and done, instrumentalist David Hollandsworth is truly a musical maestro.

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Artist Profiles, Music, Radio, Virginia Artists

Robin and Linda Williams: The Shenandoah Valley’s Musical Pioneers

When I want to hear quintessential Americana music, all I need to do is to travel up the Shenandoah Valley, 90 miles from Roanoke to Staunton, for the music of Robin and Linda Williams.

Known to many for their regular performances on Garrison Keillor’s live radio show “A Prairie Home Companion,” the husband and wife duo have been making music from the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia since the 1970’s.

As their official website states: “For more than four decades now, Robin & Linda have made it their mission to perform the music that they love, ‘a robust blend of bluegrass, folk, old-time and acoustic country that combines wryly observant lyrics with a wide-ranging melodicism.

“Today some might call it ‘Americana,’ but these two revered music masters were living and breathing this elixir 20 years before that label was turned into a radio format.”

Robin and Linda Williams in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia

Last month, I spoke with Robin and Linda via phone to find out what the couple has been doing musically over the course of their career and to check out what their plans are for 2019.

I first met Robin and Linda during my junior year attending James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia during the late 70’s. I worked at public radio station WMRA and was the producer of a daily radio program called “Country Afternoon.”

My radio program featured folk, bluegrass and old time country music. Once a month, “Country Afternoon” would have bands and performers from the Shenandoah Valley come to the station to give a live one-hour concert on the radio. Robin and Linda performed on my “Country Afternoon” radio program. Little did I know that this husband and wife duo from Augusta County would one day be nationally known for their iconic music style.

Robin and Linda met in 1971 and quickly realized that they made beautiful music together. The duo started writing their own songs and by 1975, they recorded their first album, the self-titled, “Robin and Linda Williams” on Flashlight Records in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Around the same time, the husband and wife team met Garrison Keillor in Minnesota. As Robin and Linda’s website states: “They made their first appearance on a little radio show just getting off the ground called “A Prairie Home Companion” and their rich relationship with that icon of American broadcasting has continued for four decades.”

In my joint phone interview with Robin and Linda last month, I asked the Williamses if they ever lived in Minnesota? Linda replied “No. We would fly to Minneapolis on Thursday evenings prior to a Saturday show and then stay in the land of 10,000 lakes for a total of 11 days. We would then perform on consecutive Saturdays but still live in the Shenandoah Valley.”

The Virginian couple met Garrison Keillor, “when he came to see us at a venue about 60 miles from St. Paul,” Linda explained. “After watching us for a set of songs, Keillor asked us to come play the radio show. That was in the fall of 1975 and we have worked with him ever since: On the radio, doing concerts and performing on cruise ships.”

“Concerning Garrison, he has been a friend and a mentor to us and he’s the most talented person we’ve ever been around. And we’ve been around some legends”, Linda admired.   The Shenandoah Valley couple will be working again will Keillor again next winter on a Cuban cruise.

Robin and Linda Williams

Over the years, the duo has performed thousands of concerts across the United States, Canada and Europe. Additionally, Robin and Linda are known as superb songwriters. Emmylou Harris, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Kathy Mattea, Tom T. Hall, George Hamilton IV and the Seldom Scene have all covered songs written by Robin and Linda.

According to their website, “Robin and Linda have made appearances on such major programs as ‘The Grand Old Opry,’ ‘Austin City Limits,’ ‘Music City Tonight,’ ‘Mountain Stage’ and they continue to make frequent appearances on ‘A Prairie Home Companion.’   Having always sung gospel music, in the late 1980s they teamed up with their old friend and “A Prairie Home Companion” host Garrison Keillor and bluegrass songstress Kate MacKenzie to form The Hopeful Gospel Quartet.

Robin and Linda Williams

One of the things that I admire the most about Robin and Linda’s music is their focus on the place they have called home for over 40 years: The Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.

I asked the Williamses if they could share with me the influence that living in the Shenandoah Valley has had on their music. Here are Robin and Linda’s thoughts with their four selections:


  1. “Stonewall Country”


“[This song] got its title from a little known fact that the term was used in the early to mid-19th century as a moniker for the Shenandoah Valley. Evidently the farmers used the limestone rocks they cleared from their fields as fences and walls, thus “stone wall country.”


“We changed the title to “Stonewall Country” because the song was written for the musical we wrote about Stonewall Jackson for the “The Theater “at Lime Kiln in Lexington, Virginia.


I make my home in Stonewall Country/Down a crooked lane/Where the fields steep and rocky/Took such toil to claim/Now the plows run deep in Stonewall Country/The ground gives back good yields/And the rocks that blocked the furrows/So worrisome to wield/Stand in fences ‘round the fields.


I may leave the Shenandoah/But she’ll never leave my heart/ Stonewall Country, clear-eyed daughter of the stars/Stonewall Country, clear-eyed daughter of the stars.

  1. “Buena Vista”


“Another song that comes to mind our song “Buena Vista,” a tale that mentions not only the Rockbridge County town but also some landmarks like the Maury River.”


So you beat a path to Rockbridge Baths/ ’cause blood kin won’t quit ya/

Or try to dry you out like they do in Buena Vista/

It’s a long walk from your front porch to the Maury River’s edge/

But it’s longer when you’re drunk and hauling back a broken leg/

So here’s to the sawbones who pinned you up and fixed ya/

But you’re out of action lying in traction down in Buena Vista


  1. “These Old Dark Hills”


“Linda got the title of the song “These Old Dark Hills” after a late afternoon winter walk around our property and looking over to the Allegheny Mountains. Seeing those mountains every day for over forty years, they almost seem like friends,” said Robin.

These Old Dark Hills/On which sore eyes can rest/These Old Dark Hills/Ridge after ridge to the west          

  1. “October Light”


“[This] is a song that comes quickly to mind. It’s about the beauty of fall in the Shenandoah Valley.”

Each day we walk up on the hill/And watch the setting sun/Play on the trees and fields until/It falls and day is done/Yellow, orange, blue and rose/The colors neon bright/The evening sky is all aglow/With this October Light.


Robin and Linda Williams

Obviously, the Shenandoah Valley is a special place for Robin and Linda. However, their songs cover a wide variety of topics and are respected by fellow songwriters all across many genres of music.

So I asked the Williams couple if they could share with me their top 5 essential songs. These would be the songs they would like for a person to hear, if they were checking out the Virginia duo’s music for the first time. Here are Robin and Linda’s thoughts on each song:


  1. “Old Plank Road”


“On the last day of filming ‘A Prairie Home Companion,’ director Robert Altman’s last movie, we were asked to perform one of our songs to use for the movie soundtrack. ‘Old Plank Road,’ is a song about a music party in Batesville, VA, and Altman used seven or eight minutes of the film cutting away from us singing it to other scenes that helped develop the story line.”

Charlie you’re a good old boy Charlie you’re all right/Charlie open up the store, we’re coming down tonight/Out where you can see the stars and the living’s slow/We’ll eat potluck and pull guitars down on Old Plank Road.

  1. “Rolling and Rambling (the Death of Hank Williams)”


[This song] has never left our repertoire (probably the only one) and which Emmylou Harris recorded.”

Rolling and Rambling, the women loved him half to death/He sang with whiskey on his breath/His heart broke like a child/Rolling and Rambling, the sun has set out on the trail/The hobo’s drifted up the rail/He’s taken his last ride.


  1. “Don’t Let Me Come Home A Stranger”


“[This song] was in the “Stonewall Country” musical and has made it into the repertoires and recordings of several American and British Isles singers.”

Will there come a time when the memories fade/And pass on with the long, dark years/When the ties no longer bind. Lord save me from this darkest fear/Don’t Let Me Come Home A Stranger/I couldn’t stand to be a stranger

  1. “Across The Blue Mountains”


“[This is] a local, traditional, a cappella song that we found on a party tape with Paul Clayton singing it. We’ve sung it for over 35 years and it’s the vehicle that opened the door to our friendship with the legendary Dave Van Ronk.”

One morning, one morning, one morning in May/I heard a married man to a young girl say/Go dress you up pretty Katy and come go with me/Across the Blue Mountains to the Allegheny


  1. “Famous In Missouri”


“We’re proud of it because it was sung and released as a single by Tom T. Hall, a member of the Country Music and Songwriters Halls of Fame. He was so successful and had such respect as a songwriter that folks labeled him “The Story Teller.” His recording of our song helped us garner respect as songwriters ourselves.”

I was famous in Missouri/Everybody knew my name/Kansas City to old St. Louis/They knew how well I played my game/Now it sure feels strange /To be in South Dakota, out on the range

Robin and Linda Williams in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia

Being part of the Shenandoah Valley music community has always been extremely important for the Williams couple. Linda states, “We have a network of local musician friends – some professional, some not – some old, some new – and via this musical community we’ve been able make contributions to the area.

“Robin and I started a concert series at the Lime Kiln Theater during the mid-80s. We have also helped start a couple of festivals: The Oak Grove Folk Music Festival in Verona (now in its 36th year) and the Fortune-Williams Festival with Jimmy Fortune, the Country Music Hall Of Famer, which ran for 10 years.”

Clearly, Robin and Linda have been an integral part of the Shenandoah Valley music scene for over 40 years and the duo continues to work on and develop new musical projects here in 2019.

Robin and Linda Williams

One proposed project is for a new musical TV show on Virginian music called ‘Road Trip: Virginia Live.’ Robin explains, “The idea is to go to historic venues in Virginia and present a half hour music show based not only on the musical acts but also the venues.”

The other project for the Williamses this year is the production of a new album, which will be recorded at their home in Staunton. “We called our friend Kevin McNoldy, who showed up with portable recording gear and two Townsend microphones in April and we recorded six songs,” said Linda.

“Our house in Staunton is old and has high ceilings and the room sounds wonderful, better than some studios we’ve recorded in the past,” she said. “We sat in our living room with those Townsend mics and got some really good stuff. Robin and I have recorded six CDs with Kevin in the past and it’s been fun re-connecting with him. We’ll continue recording in June and July.”

Robin and Linda Williams in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia

Touring has always been an important part in the musical career of Robin and Linda, and the couple will have concerts scheduled between now and October. Their next show will be at The Harvester in Rocky Mount, Virginia. The Williamses’ friend, Scott Miller will be opening up for the duo at this concert venue. I am looking forward attending this concert, along with my wife Priscilla. For more information on upcoming concerts and to purchase music, please go to the official Robin and Linda website.

What will be the legacy of Robin and Linda? They are leaders in the Shenandoah Valley music scene and their fingerprints are throughout the musical landscape of Virginia. Without a doubt, Robin and Linda Williams are the quintessential duo of Americana music in America!


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Music, Retro Rock, Virginia Artists

Agents of Good Roots Celebrate 25 Years

Agents of Good Roots Celebrate 25 Years

In 1993, “I Will Always Love You” by Whitney Houston was the biggest single of the year, Michael Jackson played the Super Bowl halftime show and the Dave Matthews Band from Charlottesville, Virginia released their live album, “Remember Two Things.”

While the Dave Matthews Band was gaining popularity nationally during 1993, another Virginia band was formed that same year in Richmond: the Agents of Good Roots (AOGR). Andrew Winn and Stewart Myers, friends from Patrick Henry High School in Roanoke, Virginia, hooked up with Brian Jones and J.C. Kuhl to form the band that became a darling of East Coast college campus venues and club circuits throughout the 90’s.

Agents of Good Roots are celebrating their 25 years as a band by performing two Virginia concerts. AOGR will playing at The Broadberry in Richmond on December 21st and then the next night will be performing at Roanoke’s 5 Points Music Sanctuary.

My connection with AOGR goes back to the late 80’s when I met Tom and Nancy Myers along with their son Stewart. I was a sound engineer for Grace Covenant Church in Roanoke, Virginia and Stewart played bass with the worship team during his high school years.

Stewart Myers met Andrew Winn at Patrick Henry High School. The two boys played together in various rock bands and formed their musical bond during this time period. After graduation from high school, Winn attended James Madison University and Myers went to school at William and Mary.

By 1993, both Myers and Winn ended up in Richmond and formed a band with Brian Jones and J.C. Kuhl. The original name of this new band was River Jacks and their first show was played at Shockoe Bottom in Richmond 25 years ago. Quickly after the first concert, the band became Taxicat and then finally came up with the name Agents of Good Roots within the first year of the band’s forming.

From 1995 until 2001, AOGR toured up and down the East Coast and had a regional following. The band toured with Virginia artists Dave Matthews Band and Bruce Hornsby, along with Blues Traveler during their active touring years.

Agents of Good Roots recorded five studio albums, two EP’s and released four singles during the years 1995 through 1999. Two of the AOGR singles received airplay on Triple A rock radio stations and one of the band’s videos was played on MTV.

The single, “Smiling Up the Frown” was a radio hit on Triple A rock radio stations and reached number two on the Billboard Triple A chart during 1998. Another popular single for the band in 1998 was “Come On (Let Your Love Come Alive).” This tune also received airplay on Triple A rock radio and MTV added a video for this song to their rotation when the song was popular.

Starting in 2001, AOGR cut back on their massive touring schedule and maintained a limited amount of concerts in and around the Richmond area. Then in 2006, the band went on hiatus and remained dormant until 2017.

According to the official Agents of Good Roots website, the band, “reunited for a memorial show for their tour manager and spiritual advisor, Jeff Peskin.” Since that time in October 2017, AOGR have performed 12 concerts in Richmond, Roanoke, Hampton, Charlottesville and Arrington, all in Virginia, plus in Baltimore, Maryland and Washington D.C.

I had the opportunity to attend the Agents of Good Roots Roanoke concert back in October and also met with band members Andrew Winn and Stewart Myers three hours before the beginning of their concert that evening. It was great reconnecting with Myers and a pleasure meeting Winn for the first time at the 5 Points Music Sanctuary concert venue.

So how does one describe what kind of band AOGR is and what genre of music they play? I asked this question to Winn when we met and he came up with one word: “improvisational”. My one word to describe AOGR’s music is “hybrid”. They play rock, pop, jazz and old school R&B with some retro grooves. The band is known for playing its songs differently each time they perform live.

If you are attending one of AOGR’s 25th anniversary concerts, here is the lineup you will see:

Drums, Vocals / Brian Jones

Tenor, Bari, Soprano Sax / J.C. Kuhl

Bass, Vocals / Stewart Myers

Guitar, Keys, Vocals / Andrew Winn

So what are the “day jobs” that the Agents of Good Roots members are performing here at the end of 2018? Winn now lives in Roanoke and is an anesthesiologist with Carilion Clinic. Myers works in the recording industry and recently produced an album by Virginia folk/country artist Sarah White. Kuhl and Jones both teach college jazz courses at the College of William and Mary, the University of Richmond and Virginia Commonwealth University.

If you are looking for more current facts on AOGR band members, Tad Dickens of the Roanoke Times provided an excellent article on the band just before their Roanoke concert during October.

Recently, I asked Andrew Winn a couple of questions on AORG music:

What are the Top 5 AORG songs?

  1. “Sidewinder”
  2. “Smiling Up the Frown”
  3. “Bucks in Cash”
  4. “Shot Down”
  5. “The Ballad of Hobby and the Piano

What is the signature song of AOGR?


AGOR’s member Brian Jones wrote “Sidewinder” and here are the opening lyrics to the signature song from the band:

“Standing in the Eden Garden

Lying in the shade

Sidewinder in the dirt

Grass cutting King of Spades


Adam was combing hair

Eden was bearing fruit”

Agents of Good Roots Facebook Page:

Agents of Good Roots Official Online Page:

Agents of Good Roots: Photo by Dylan King

As I mentioned above, I attended AOGR’s Roanoke concert a couple months ago and I came away impressed with the musical variety and musicianship of each member of the band. I enjoyed their show and would definitely attend another concert by AOGR.

If you ever have the opportunity to attend an Agents of Good Roots concert, you will not be disappointed. Happy 25th anniversary to the band.


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Virginia Artists

Josey Lackey & Tim Lowe: Virginian Artists on the Rise

Josey Lackey with guitar.

It was a perfect sunny October afternoon in Botetourt County, Virginia when I met Virginian recording artist Josey Lackey for the first time. I had the pleasure of attending one of her concerts at Blue Ridge Vineyard that afternoon. I also got to hear Tim Lowe, another musical artist, who opened up for Josey at the concert venue.

Highlighting new and promising Virginian artists is one of the goals I have writing this blog and I am glad to share on these two budding artists.

I first learned of Joesy ‘s music while communicating with her step-grandmother Cheryl Miller Lackey. She is a regular reader of my blog and knew that I feature Virginian artists like Caroline Weinroth/Cinema Hearts and Adele Marie on a regular basis. Cheryl also enjoyed reading about legendary Roanoke band the Kings and suggested that I feature Josey in one of my future blog messages.

So I agreed to Cheryl’s suggestion of attending one of Josey’s concerts. Since I had not ever heard Josey sing before, I didn’t know what to expect when I attended her concert during the first Sunday in October. After listening to the first couple songs at Josey’s show, I can tell you: She did not disappoint. Josey’s performance was engaging and refreshing.

Josey Lackey: Photo by Jenna B Photography.

I met Josey 30 minutes before the start of her show and had the opportunity to interview the 17 year-old singer. Lackey is a senior at James River High School in Buchanan, Virginia and is the starting catcher for her varsity softball team. During the 2018 season, Josey was first all-district and all-conference with her catching skills.

In addition to her softball activities, Josey is taking classes this fall to become an ENT. She also has a goal to study nursing at either Radford University or James Madison University after her graduation from high school in 2019.

Obviously, music is Josey’s passion and she has been furthering her music career during the past two years. She just released her first album, “Made in Virginia,” this past August. Lackey maintains a limited concert schedule on weekends during the school year.

Another young musical talent that I met at Josey’s concert was Virginian singer-songwriter Tim Lowe. It was an unexpected pleasure to speak with Tim and to hear his music as he performed an eight-song music set prior to Josey taking the stage.

Tim Lowe

Tim is a 2017 graduate of James River High School in Buchanan, Virginia and uses social media sites like Instagram and YouTube to promote his new music projects.

Tim released his first single, “Wildfire Season,” in September and in October he debuted the instrumental song “Coloring,” which features Tim playing every instrument on the tune. Later on this month, he has scheduled the release of another song called, “Virginia Summers.”

For Tim’s eight-song set, he mixed self-penned songs and cover versions of pop and rock tunes. One of the highlights for me was Lowe’s performance of “Have You Ever Seen the Rain” by Creedence Clearwater Revival.

The other song on Tim’s set that stood out to me was Bob Dylan’s “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door.” Before he sang the song, Tim gave a shout out to his girlfriend Hope McCormick, who was in the audience. Lowe announced that Hope had purchased tickets for his birthday to see Bob Dylan’s Roanoke concert on November 10th.

After a short break, Josey came on stage to perform two sets for the afternoon. My best description of her music is a pop/country mix. Josey’s vocals are polished for a young singer and she has a smooth, modern country feel to her voice.

During Josey’s concert, she accompanied herself with a guitar and performed some well-crafted songs. She sang many self-written songs along with a few cover versions from Simon & Garfunkel, Guns ‘N Roses and Bob Dylan.

“Take Me To Georgia” was one of the original songs performed at the concert. Josey shared this with me before the show, explaining why the song is meaningful to her:

“The first song that I ever played in front of anyone was ‘Take Me to Georgia.’ I was with my aunt and uncle in Peachtree City, GA. We decided to eat dinner at their golf resort right down the road. My aunt, Deb, went over to the man playing music on the patio and asked him if I could play one of my original songs. I had no clue, and it was TERRIFYING! He ended up calling me up there, and everyone loved the song! It was so thrilling, and that’s when I knew that I wanted to play as much as I could. I really have my aunt to thank for helping me overcome that fear of sharing my music with people.”

Josey Lackey performing at Blue Ridge Vineyard.

A second song that Lackey performed was, “Daddy’s Song,” a song that she wrote as a tribute to her father. Here are Josey’s thoughts on this tune:

“‘Daddy’s Song’ is another one of my favorites. I wrote it for my dad about two Father’s Days ago. I recorded and put it on a CD for him, and he cried like a baby!”

A third highlight of the concert was the song “Girl’s Night” and Josey revealed to me about how this song came to be written:

“’Girl’s Night’ was inspired by my best friend, Evie, and I. We’ve been close since we were little, and I loved being able to compose a song about that bond.”

Josey Lackey at Blue Ridge Vineyard concert, October 7, 2018.

For anyone interested in Josey’s music and purchasing her CD “Made in Virginia,” you can access her Facebook page here.

Tim Lowe is also available on social media. Click here to view his Instagram.

After the concert ended, I asked Lackey to send me some information on her career and what music means in her life. Here is what Josey shared with me:

Josey Lackey: Photo by Jenna B Photography.

“I’ve always been so thankful for the blessings upon blessings that music has given me. It has truly made the hard times seem like a breeze, and the great times even better! People will ask me, ‘When did you start singing?’ and I really can’t give an answer to that. A better question would be, ‘Have you ever stopped?’ because I really can’t remember a time when I wasn’t singing.”

“Picking up a guitar and writing my own music has been the best therapy for me during my high school years, and I know it’ll continue to help me wherever I go in life. That is what makes me so incredibly thankful for music. Wherever you go, it’ll follow you. You can never escape it, and I don’t think I’ll ever want to. From singing with my grandmother as a baby to being a little rebellious and getting a guitar tattooed on my ankle. music has and always will be a part of who I am. “

I was thankful that I had the opportunity to attend the concert of Josey Lackey and Tim Lowe last month at Blue Ridge Vineyard. As Josey expressed to me: “I am so happy to be able to write music freely and have it as a stress-reliever.” It is a good thing to hear new songs from emerging Virginian music artists. Here is hoping that I will get to hear much more new music in the future from Josey and Tim.

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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!

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Artist Profiles, Music, Virginia Artists

Caroline Weinroth: Pageant Queen/ Rock Star

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. Two years ago, she served as Miss Mountain Laurel 2017 and last year she was named Miss Northern Virginia 2018. During both years, Caroline competed in the Miss Virginia pageant contest. Then back in January, Caroline won the Miss Roanoke Valley 2019 pageant competition. She will be vying to be crowned Miss Virginia 2019, next month at Liberty University in Lynchburg.

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, Miss Roanoke Valley 2019. Photo by Rick Myers.

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 2019 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 Miss Virginia 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 is Girls Rock Roanoke, a music camp for girls.”

As Miss Roanoke Valley 2019, Caroline’s community service platform is Music Empowerment, which is a movement to create civic change through music education and performance. Caroline has volunteered with Girls Rock Roanoke, Fredericksburg All Ages, Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, and other non-profits. She works with the Arlington Art Truck, an Arlington County initiative to bring professional art experiences to schools and communities.

Caroline Weinroth, Miss Roanoke Valley 2019. Photo by Rick Myers.

When Caroline competed for the Miss Virginia 2018 pageant competition last year, she played her own Fender electric guitar for the talent portion of the contest.  Miss Northern Virginia selected the Beatles’ song, “Come Together” for her performance.  You can view a video of Caroline singing and playing her electric guitar on stage at the Miss Virginia 2018 contest below.

By viewing the video above,  you can tell that Caroline does an excellent job performing her cover of the John Lennon/Paul McCartney classic song on the Miss Virginia stage. And during the upcoming Miss Virginia 2019 pageant competition, she is planning to perform another song, utilizing her singing and electric guitar skills.

For those interested, 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.   These albums are also available for purchase whenever Cinema Hearts performs in concert.

Does Caroline’s story resonates with you?  Would you like to see Miss Roanoke Valley be crowned Miss Virginia 2019?  If so, please view the video below and then vote Caroline Weinroth for the People’s Choice Award.

Since I first published Caroline’s story one year ago, I have been impressed with her mission of music empowerment and the dedication in which she promotes her platform. Each and every week, she is active with volunteer activities throughout the state of Virginia, helping to encourage and elevate music awareness through education. Caroline continues to be actively involved teaching, instructing and motivating young children, girls and women with musical guidance.

Caroline Weinroth, Miss Roanoke Valley 2019. Photo by Rick Myers.

Caroline’s enthusiasm and passion to foster music empowerment throughout positive change is admirable. Her unselfish dedication to help, guide and develop young children/girls with music education is an outstanding achievement for Miss Roanoke Valley 2019.

No matter the outcome of the Miss Virginia pageant 2019 next month, I am confident that Caroline Weinroth will continue to be a positive role model for music empowerment throughout the commonwealth of Virginia.

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