Georgia’s five-man Velvet Caravan rolled into RVA back in the April of 2016 with a wagon load of low country gypsy swing and nearly more showmanship than our little 80-seat recording studio could hold. They’ve been a band for only five years but their musicianship obviously goes back much further than that. They obviously owe a great directional debt to pathfinder Django Reinhart. But like all musicians worth their salt, these five engaging vagabonds take the ball and run with it, with great joy.
In Your Ear
Sarah and Savannah Church were born twenty minutes apart, almost twenty years ago in Norton in far southwest Virginia. They grew up singing around the house and later, naturally, in church and for community events until it became clear that they had something truly special…that undeniable blood harmony. They’ve spent the last few years perfecting their singular gift and touring with one of the most tasteful bunch of young instrumentalists on the circuit today, including Spencer Strickland on mandolin, Josh Pickett on guitar, Jacob Eller on bass and Rusty Grubbs on percussion.
JT Nero is a product of the Windy City. His wife Allison Russell is a native of Montreal. His rough-as-a-cob soulful snarl is perfectly complemented by her soaring, like-butter vocals. In 2012, JT and Allison forged their music and their lives together forming the band Birds of Chicago, that strives to take a thoughtful and poetic look at love and life. They hit the road with their baby daughter Ida and a fine band including Michelle McGrath on guitar and vocals and Chris Merrill on bass, and never looked back. Much to the critics delight, and ours.
This edition of In Your Ear is a double dose of authenticity starting with a captivating brother duet who not only look but sound like they could be contemporaries of honky tonk heroes like Ernest Tubb, Faron Young and Webb Pierce. Their retro persona is way more than just an act…it’s an earnest and loving effort to preserve an era of country music that for many people defines it. Down to earth authenticity not part of today’s mainstream commercial country.