The Richmond Music Trail Is Hitting The Right Notes

by | Jun 9, 2023 | MUSIC

Listen up! HearRVA and Shockoe Records have harmonized their efforts to unveil The Richmond Music Trail, a beginner’s guide into the rich tapestry of Richmond’s music scene. With a sonic landscape as diverse and pulsating as ours, embarking on a voyage through the local rhythm might seem daunting. But fear not, this project is a step in the right direction in helping you figuring it out.

Simply put, The Richmond Music Trail is about discovery. It invites the casual fan and those just dipping their toes into the Richmond soundscape to links of all the local live music venues, record stores, music shops, radio stations, and recording studios. You want to know where the local music is, this is the list.

While The Richmond Music Trail offers an overview of necessary information, what stands out as the centerpiece of the project is The Richmond Music Trail playlist on Spotify. Thoughtfully curated by HearRVA and Shockoe Records, this playlist showcases the exceptional talents of Richmond’s musicians. It’s been a staple on repeat in our office, as we can’t get enough of these local gems.

We sent a few questions to Reese Williams of Shockoe Records.

Where did this idea come from?

Reese Williams: When I visit other cities we always check out the tourism sites for tours to get to know the area, and after visiting the Richmond and Virginia tourism sites I saw there were other trails highlighting cool things in Richmond like beer, wine, ghosts, and sports but not music, so I decided to create one. We kept it simple to start and we can expand and revise as we get feedback.

What do you hope to accomplish with The Richmond Music Trail?

By spreading the word that even in our modest footprint we are positively saturated with points that are music related, some impressively historic and some vitally relevant and contemporary.

Love the Spotify playlist. Why are so many Richmond artists slept on?

I’m just as baffled as you are. Music that comes out of Richmond is of such high quality, from the writing, to the performance, to the production. Hopefully, with all the initiatives that so many music professionals are working on, this won’t be the case much longer.

Do you believe the view of Richmond’s music scene is undergoing a change or transition?

I’ve only been in the Richmond music scene myself for a handful of years, but from what I’ve learned from chatting with about 150 local musicians who’ve been on Shockoe Sessions Live, many took advantage of the pandemic. If they couldn’t work their regular job they knocked out an album, or if they reflected on their priorities in life they picked music back up, so there’s a surge of incredible new content on the scene right now. I’ve heard too that Richmond has a uniquely collaborative and supportive community amongst the different genres. I know from shows here that many musicians are in more than one band and they get to express themselves creatively in different ways and each band is supportive of everyone’s endeavors.

As people working within music in the city, what things need to happen in the city to help the local scene?

Paying musicians what they’re worth is incredibly important. I’ve been shocked at how many people responsible for booking bands just think about compensating for the length of the set and don’t think about rehearsal time, travel time, equipment, equipment maintenance, education etc. Much of the time it’s just an honest oversight, so they need to be informed. Music venues need to do a good job protecting the integrity of the craft, it’s what brings people through their doors.

ed. note: From experience on the booking side, the talents need to bring in the monies to justify their pay also, but that is a conversation for another article.

Is there a next step for this project?

There IS! We are working with RVATukTuk to create a music tour based off of The Richmond Music Trail, should be about 3 hours with incredible guides who can speak to the stops. Some points of interest will be ‘stop in front of and learn’, others they’ll be able to go in and explore.

Visit The Richmond Music Trail HERE and give them some feedback.

The Richmond music trail playlist

Stand out tracks for me from the playlist include:

Macorina by Angélica Garcia
Electric by Matthew E. White
Frontline by Butcher Brown
Souffle by Chance Fischer
Miles & Coltrane by Illa Styles, Michael Millions
Machete Gang by Mel Machete
Devil Tracks by Cassidy Snider & The Wranglers
Expansions by Lonnie Liston Smith, Cosmic Echoes
My Momma by Mark Ferg
Uncle Phil by Noah-O, Big No
Athleisure Wear by DJ Williams, Karl Denson
The Gator by Justin Golden
Bury Me in Delight by Annieliese
Breakfast In America by Charles Owens Quartet
My Tongue by Pebbles Palace

R. Anthony Harris

R. Anthony Harris

I created Richmond, Virginia’s culture publication RVA Magazine and brought the first Richmond Mural Project to town. Designed the first brand for the Richmond’s First Fridays Artwalk and promoted the citywide “RVA” brand before the city adopted it as the official moniker. I threw a bunch of parties. Printed a lot of magazines. Met so many fantastic people in the process. Professional work:

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