COVER- Under the radar and dreaming: Who's next to break out of the Charlottesville scene?


The Hill and Wood

It's been more than 14 years since Charlottesville began its upward trajectory in the music world from sleepy college town to music industry hot spot. That's when Dave Matthews Band became Charlottesville's most famous musical export since Thomas Jefferson's violin with the release of the band's major label debut Under the Table and Dreaming on September 27, 1994. 


Since then, DMB's manager Coran Capshaw has built a music business empire with Red Light Management, MusicToday (now destined for Ticketmaster ownership), and ATO Records. Meanwhile, his Charlottesville Pavilion and UVA's John Paul Jones Arena have attracted the biggest names in rock 'n roll to town, and even the Rolling Stones and soon U2 will become the first and second acts to play Scott Stadium since DMB's big homecoming in 2001. 

And yet, we're still trying to find the next big homegrown act to follow in Dave and company's path up into the musical stratosphere. For the last three years, the Hook has tried to identify that next big thing, and we've picked up on some promising leads. Both Parachute and Sons Of Bill have graced our annual music issue's pages, and now both will have their new albums in record stores across the country this summer.

So who's next? We asked six local experts with their ear to the ground to tell us what rumblings they're hearing on the horizon. Keep your ears and eyes open, folks. Otherwise, you just might miss them on their rise to the top.



Will Anderson


Will Anderson is the lead singer of Parachute.


...on the Hill and Wood: So good. I've only heard a few songs, but they had me from the first few seconds. They've been on repeat on my iPod.
I Can Say What You Want

...on Straight Punch to the Crotch: Flat out awesome. No need to say more.
Robot Baby
When Animals Attack
Summer Sun and Firecrackers

...on Trees on Fire: We've been spinning Organica Volume 1 obscene amounts in our van. The musicianship, the harmonies, the songs, it all adds up to some great, great tunes.
In The Middle

...on Alex Mejias: I can't stress this enough– he's charismatic, he's got great songs, and he can go the distance!

...on Once Was: Full disclosure, I'm the guitarist's brother. That said, I think they've got a great sound. Like a younger version of us.


Brad Savage


Brad Savage is a DJ and programming director for 106.1 the Corner.


Chick Tragic and the Roosters


...on Chick Tragic and the Roosters: Their lead singer Carleigh Nesbit is going to be a superstar. Her original songs are so well-written they sound like covers that everyone should know. For the All-American girl who upon first glance seems like she'd be more poised for the popular crowd than an Americana-loving, Dylan-and-Richard-Thompson loving songwriter, I believe that in five to 10 years we will look back on Carleigh Nesbit and say, "I remember when..."
Three Steps Out The Door
River Run Dry
Turn On The Heat
Your City Skies

...on the Sometime Favorites: I'm a sucker for a great pop song, and the Sometime Favorites have many. Thier original material is solid, and their live shows feature enough good covers to bring in new converts every time they play.
All Along
What You Wanted
We Are
Can't Stop Fighting It

...on the Hill and Wood: This Paul Simon-inspired, Rusted Root-esque jammy folkie band has built up quite a UVA following, and recently won the 2009 UVA Battle of The Bands. A very Charlottesville-appropriate band with their jam style. Plus any band that takes their name from a funeral home is A-OK with me!
I Can Say What You Want

...on Red Satellites: This up-and-coming act is highly influenced by Bowie, T. Rex, and glam/space-rock of the mid '70s. They seem to be well on their way.

...on Genna Matthew: One of the brightest up-coming stars from the Music Resource Center, 18-year-old Genna Matthew recently played a solo gig at the Pavilion, her biggest show to date. Well-crafted female folk/indie/pop songs with great vocals.


Anne Williams



Anne Williams is programming director for 91.9 WNRN and the host of the station's "Acoustic Sunrise."

Byron Massie


...on Byron Massie: This young man from Nelson County writes country songs. He's either won Rapunzel's songwriting contest or placed over and over again.

...on the Hill and Wood: I saw them the night after they won the UVA Battle of the Bands. Well-crafted songs, good melodies, and an adoring crowd makes for an excellent concert experience.
I Can Say What You Want

..on Chick Tragic and the Roosters: Individually, Carleigh Nesbit and Carl Anderson are great songwriters, but together supporting each others work, singing harmony, with Carleigh on rhythm guitar and Carl on lead, brings out the best in each others work. Carl won the songwriting contest that I judged at Rapunzel's.
Three Steps Out The Door
Passing Through
Train Song

...on Nathan Moore: With a new online release, You Yeah Smokin' Hot, Nathan seems to be continually writing good songs.
Gotta Make It
Understand Under
Gotta Be
When A Woman

...on Trent Wrangler and Steelwheels: They're a bluegrass-flavored outfit from Harrisonburg. They have so much energy when they perform, and Trent is an outstanding songwriter. I am hoping that Charlottesville will open its heart to this group so they will regularly get to play on this side of the Blue Ridge.


Terry Martin


Terry Martin is the owner and manager of the Outback Lodge.


The Honey Dewdrops


...on the Honey Dewdrops: They're the hottest thing I've heard in Charlottesville right now. They're a bluegrass duo, and they're just pure raw talent.
Nowhere To Stand
Fly Away Free

...on the Ex Porn Stars: They're a sort of funk, jam band who always draw a good crowd when they play.

..on 6 Day Bender: Their set recently at Fridays After 5 was pretty good; they're probably second only to the Honey Dewdrops for entertainment value.
Kick Out The Fire
Devil Lets You Dance

...on Trees on Fire: Promising. They're also trying to do the whole poppy, jam band thing, and they do that pretty well.
In The Middle

...on Sin City Revival: To tell the truth, nobody in Charlottesville really packs my club the way these guys from Richmond do. They're a sort of Southern rock, à la Black Crowes. They're working harder than just about anyone in Charlottesville.


Jamie Sisley


Jamie Sisley is an executive with Red Light Management and ATO Records


In Technicolor


...on In Technicolor: If I can't say Parachute or Sons Of Bill because they're both managed by Red Light, I think I'm seeing the same thing with these guys in that they're starting to cultivate a high school and college following. They're a mix between the songwriting style of the Beatles and the showmanship of Of Montreal. I always leave their shows feeling happy.

...on Q*Black: I'm consistently blown away by this amazing hip-hop artist. I'm shocked he isn't bigger than what he is right now. I'd compare his lyrics to Digable Planets, or even Mos Def. I hesitate to classify him as a regional artist, because he's got a sound that's ready to go national. 

...on the Cinnamon Band: They're a great two-piece that's starting to get some attention. Their lyrics are some of the best I've heard in a while from anyone. They write catchy songs, but they also do more subdued and serious stuff.

...on the Sam Wilson Band: He's the lead guitarist from Sons Of Bill, and his solo project is a little more alt-country like Ryan Adams or Wilco. His lyrics are always deep and thoughtful, and he's such a great guitarist live.
A Melody Instead
In The Morning
Once In Your Life
Green Gates

...on Joia Wood: I caught her at the Twisted Branch Tea Bazaar recently. She immediately caught my attention. She sounds a little like Jeff Buckley.
To Do


James Wilson


James Wilson is the lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist for Sons of Bill.


...on Rob Martin: Not too far back, I was substitute teaching at my alma mater Western Albemarle High School, and this student gives me his first CD From Where We Began when he saw me in the hallway. The musicality and subtlety of the whole record, from the songs to the playing, is really mature beyond his years. If he sticks with it, and is willing to throw his life away, I could really see him going far in many different aspects of music. 

...on the Hill and Wood: Their frontman Sam Bush is a great songwriter and a great singer, and as their live show gets more polished I really think that people are gonna take notice of it in this town. His voice reminds me a lot of Ben Bridwell from Band of Horses, but it's much more approachable, and you can just tell he's a great guy even from the stage.
I Can Say What You Want

...on Birdlips: I'm not much of scenester– when the little keyboards come out, I'm usually the first one out the door– but Birdlips seems to be up to something different. They certainly don't let their aesthetic stand in for the work of songwriting.
Tire Chains
Some Kind Of Death

...on Carl Anderson: Carl just reminds me of me. Is that shameless? Both of us are aping Steve Earle as much as we can while hoping to sidestep his divorces and addictions. But he's a natural songwriter and singer. I really hope he keeps playing and sticks with it.

...on Peyton Tochterman: Peyton is just a great songwriter, a great frontman, and a great player. If he can't make it in this industry, then there is something wrong with the industry.
Mamma's genes