We’re joined for the first time this week by my pal Doug Nunnally, who you may know from his weekly WDCE radio show, Sound Gaze; his prolific writings for RVA Magazine, New Noise Magazine, and other outlets; his work as founder and editor of the Off Your Radar weekly email newsletter; or even his hosting of a weekly music trivia night at Rare Olde Times. I liked working with Doug at RVA Mag so much, I invited him to contribute to my new venture. He came through with a much-appreciated show pick of his own, which will be appearing weekly in this space from here on in! Don’t worry, I won’t butt in on any of the future columns for a long-winded intro like this. In fact, let me shut up and get out of Doug’s way… –Drew
Man, the talent on the bill for this month’s songwriting night at The Camel is just crazy. Hopefully, the success of Lucy Dacus has made you all less reluctant to roll your eyes at the term “singer-songwriter” here in town; this is a great night to see a different side of the Richmond scene that people rarely talk about. It won’t all be off-duty barista & acoustic guitar music — there will be plenty of solid rock music on display here so don’t go in expecting a quiet, introspective night of music.
Heading up the bill is Jeremy White & The Blue Hearts, which is undoubtedly the best act you haven’t seen in town with the best music you (probably) haven’t heard yet. Seriously, go listen to Classic American Sins now on their Bandcamp and hear their enthralling take on Americana, specifically with “Burn Somebody” and “Carolina.” Then scratch your head when you realize this came out in October and you’re only now discovering it. White’s one of the most unique musicians Richmond has seen in a while, with his gruff vocals and pointed lyrics drawing you in instantly to each song. The rest of the band — including Kelian Creech of local folk-duo The Tide Rose, who you should also check out if you haven’t yet — does a remarkable job backing up White too on each song, making what would normally be humble compositions actually suitable for any stage in town. It’s only a matter of time before the rest of the town discovers the talent these boys have so why not check them out in a modest setting this Sunday night?
Recent RVA transplant Cam Girard is also on the bill and will probably be the most intriguing act to hit the stage on Sunday. His new album Where The Moon Meets The Lake quietly dropped last month on his Bandcamp and has quickly become one of my favorite records to listen to while driving. The songs are all over the place, and I do mean all over the place, but Girard’s lyrics do wonders in grounding some of his more ostentatious musical ideas. They also give the music instant credibility with their sprawling stories and messages. At its core, there’s a musical flair in Girard’s music that’s surely going to be a great fit in the Richmond scene moving forward. I for one am extremely curious to hear how these songs sound live.
For those looking for a more traditional take on “singer-songwriter,” the closest you’ll get Sunday is with David Haught from Lynchburg. I have no idea what the scene is like up there, but he sounds very much like a musician molded by an open mic environment, and I’m positive The Camel will be a great fit for him. Let’s give him a warm reception too, so he can go back west spreading some RVA love, okay? There’ll be some blues rock on display too courtesy of local band MyWay. They don’t seem to fit the bill, but regardless, I’m pretty stoked simply for the fact that their style of music offers the biggest chance for something crazy to happen. Rounding it up is Michelle Dodd, a local musician I’m not familiar with, but who I have heard is extremely fiery and powerful on stage from multiple people, something that leaves me very interested to see what she’ll bring. All in all, this is one of the best songwriting line-ups The Camel has put on in a long time and your chance to really discover and support some bands ready to make their mark in the town.