Performers

Honky-Tonk Dance Party on Friday Night with
J.P. Harris and The Tough Choices

J.P. Harris

J.P. Harris and The Tough Choices play Country Music. Period. No "pop-," "alt-," "rock-," "folk-," etc. prefixes. Sick and tired of the modern Pop-Country filth broadcast shamelessly and persistently across our beautiful countrysides, The Tough Choices set out to right the wrongs done to a music so classically and quintessentially American. As we speak, Hank Williams, Buck Owens, Carl Smith, and countless other champions of Honky Tonk are rolling in their graves, groaning with disgust over the watered-down contemporary excuse that the "Country" music industry presents us for music. Save a few Randy Travis gems and Alan Jackson hits, this flim-flam is pathetic, at best.

When The Tough Choices began, there were only two rules: keep it country, and keep it simple. They have done both, yet still weave burning pedal steel leads and painfully genuine guitar solos with the cool calm of a Spaghetti-Western Clint Eastwood. The Tough Choices have been described as such: " …imagine that somehow, defying the laws of nature, Hank Williams and Lemmy Kilmister hatched an egg…this egg was incubated under a neon light for twelve years (which is approximately the time Wild Turkey ages in the bottle), and were hatched in a juke joint…" These ruffians draw on influences ranging from early Western Swing to rough-edged Truck Driving ballads; Bob Wills all the way to Merle Haggard 15 or so years after that funny album cover with the Chihuahua in his arms. Think of them as the perfect gentlemen to bring home for Christmas, if only you could get the stains off their Wranglers and the cheap whiskey off their breath.

Meagan Jean & KFB

Meagan Jean & KFB

Megan Jean and the KFB, or Klay Family Band, arrange a demented blend of americana, punk, dance, and the avant-garde that they've taken to describing as, "a metal band, if it was 1927."

Inventive percussion, electrified banjo, and a voice like the Devil Herself have earned Megan Jean and the KFB a dedicated following all over the East Coast. Calling the road home on a "never-ending tour," this transient married duo has taken their nomadic musical lifestyle and transformed it into a kind of Voodoo that unites scenes, fans, and musical styles. This is a band that lives to perform, and is fueled by sheer guts and know how.

In April of 2012, the band was featured on PBS performing their original composition "These Bones" as part of a music documentary series Music Voyager, which broadcast internationally.  In July of 2012 they were named the winners of the "Under The Radar Competition" at FloydFest in Floyd VA, which earned them a spot on the main stage in 2013. They have shared the stage with Shovels and Rope, Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band, Hurray for the Riff Raff, and Rising Appalachia. http://www.meganjean.net

Gabe Morales Trio

Gabe Morales is a young composer, performer, and blues-guitar giant whose talent matches that of professionals twice his age. Born in Roanoke, VA in 1998 Morales started to appreciate a wide range of music genres at a very young age. At the age of ten he started to play the guitar and showed a special affinity for Rock and Blues guitar playing- which he did with great maturity and expression -"like a grown man" (Michael League of Snarky Puppy).

His first experiences on stage was at the yearly talent shows at the elementary school he attended where he also he performed his first original song. Right at the turn of twelve years old Gabe met the now grammy-winning band Snarky Puppy, while in residency inside Jefferson Center’s Music Lab, who heard him performing Led Zeppelin's Over The Hills and Far Away on the acoustic guitar; Michael League invited Gabe to sit in with Snarky Puppy that same night at Martin’s Downtown. For the first time, he played the lead guitar on Jimi Hendrix’s Red House.

Thanks to his involvement with Jefferson Center's Music Lab, he has had the opportunity to meet, perform and record with numerous local, national, and international musicians and bands, among them: Dr. Lonnie Smith, Rodney Jones (2011 Jazz Institute), Little John Roberts, Snarky Puppy, Michael League, Robert Searight, Lucy Woodward, The Jamie McLean Band, Banda Magda, Darrel Scott, Matt Schofield Band, James Pace, Chad Eby (Jazz Institute 2011, 2012), Ocie Davis, Calvin Edwards, Bobby Thompson, the late Michael Burks (1957-2012)- who referred to Gabe as "Guitar Gabe", Wayne Sharpe, The Fat Daddy Band, Hoppie Vaughan, Carlos Aranguren, Cameron McLaughlin, The Floorboards, Jonathan Scales Fourchestra, The Jordan Harman Band, Jeff Hoffman, Greg Ayers, Chris Blankenship. http://www.gabemoralesmusic.com/

Nora Jane Struthers & The Party Line

Nora Jane Struthers & The Party Lines

Nora Jane Struthers & The Party Line are a traveling Carnival of acoustic Americana. The high energy, Nashville-based quintet perform Struthers' original story-songs with tight, three-part harmonies, claw-hammer banjo, guitar, bass, and drums.

Struthers was catapulted into the spotlight when she led her band to a blue ribbon at the prestigious 2010 Telluride Bluegrass Festival band competition (previous winners include Nickel Creek and The Dixie Chicks) and now her group is touring heavily in support of their latest release, Carnival. Struthers' songs are as steeped in American history, and as well crafted, as the beautiful vintage dresses she wears on stage. http://www.norajanestruthers.com

"Remember the name Nora Jane Struthers, because you'll probably be hearing it in the near future in conjunction with bluegrass awards for best emerging artist and top female vocalist...She can sing a mournful murder ballad in the first person on "Willie," belt out a bluegrass wailer on "Greenbrier County," warble a dazzling western tune on "Cowgirl Yodel #3," and murmur a gentle lullaby on the traditional "Say Darlin' Say"—all with equal ease and aplomb." — DJM, Bluegrass Unlimited

No BS Brass Band

No BS Brass Band

No BS! Brass takes the New Orleans brass band into uncharted territory, fearlessly combining elements of James Brown, John Coltrane, Michael Jackson, and Led Zeppelin into their fiercely original sound. Trained in the conservatory and hardened in the garage, No BS! Brass has performed at the Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, the Festival of New Trumpet Music, and on National Public Radio’s Tiny Desk Concert.

Equally at home in the club or on the parade route, in the concert hall or on a festival stage, No BS! Brass creates new believers wherever it goes. No BS! Brass Band is a powerful brass band that embraces the spirit of New Orleans into its original East Coast modern funk. Their danceable arrangements are outstandingly well thought-out and organized, drawing inspiration from funk, jazz, klezmer, calypso, and Led Zeppelin. Nearly every member has had conservatory training, holding various degrees in music.

Based in Richmond, Virginia, this band has quickly earned a reputation as a premiere band to see for heart-pounding energy and uncontrollable dancing. Getting their start in early 2006, founders Reggie Pace and Lance Koehler knew that they had something special. In casting the members of the group, each member needed to have high skills and a definable unique persona. The result is a 11-piece band made up of Richmond's heaviest sounds.  The members of the band and knew that the sound and music of No BS Brass! had to live up to the name.  In putting together the compositions and arrangements, the "b.s." has been stripped to give the audience something solid, unique, organic, real, and powerful. The resulting music is a true definition of the "Richmond sound."  This instrumental funk music has strong influences of jazz and rock, like Led Zeppelin played by a brass band.  Being a 11-piece brass band, they have the look of New Orleans with the raw sound all their own. The music is extremely dance-able and high-energy.  Since their incarnation, No BS! Brass has earned a reputation as one of Richmond's most loved bands.  Peter McElhinney of Style Weekly writes that "the best advice for their CD is to play it loud!" www.nobsbrass.com

The Get Right Band

The Get Right Band

One of Relix Magazine's "On The Verge" picks, THE GET RIGHT BAND is "hip-shaking, earthquaking pure funk fun" (The Alternate Root). Combining catchy, clever songwriting with musical expertise and fearless improvisation, the live show promises to make you shake everything you’ve got.

From funk to rock n' roll to reggae, this is a dance party. This is an ass shaking good time. "The Get Right Band is a three-piece with the musical energy and power of The Police," says Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and legendary Lynyrd Skynyrd drummer Artimus Pyle. The Transylvania Times writes that the band "takes the stage with a palpable sense of energy."

The band is built on the musical brotherhood that guitarist/vocalist Silas Durocher and bassist Jesse Gentry have formed playing music together since middle school. With the addition of Jian-Claude Mears, a powerful and dynamic drummer, the group's sound has become an unstoppable force. The Get Right Band has been touring the East Coast and the Caribbean heavily since their inception in April, 2011. The band has rocked hard and jammed relentlessly every step of the way.

 

Laureen Blakemore

Tel: 540-951-0454

events@downtownblacksburg.com