The masters: Six local bands
George Turner Trio
Members: George Turner (guitar), accompanied by upright bass and drums, or Hammond Organ and drums.
Type of music: jazz, Latin, funk, originals
Favorite local bands: Robert Jospé and Inner Rhythm, John D'earth
Musical beginnings: Played in Virginia Tech Jazz Orchestra in the late '80s, studied with jazz guitar master Paul Bollenback
Where do you play locally?: Zocalo, Orbit, Bashir's
Biggest show: Opened for guitarist Bill Frissell at Old Cabell Hall.
Most recent albums: Slip, Don't Fall (2000), The Way You Look Tonight with vocalist Lori Derr (2003)
Plans: To release a new CD of recordings of my trio with Greg Nossaman (organ) and Phil Riddl (drums), featuring new original compositions.
Small Town Workers
Members: Mike Meadows (vox/guitar), Devin Malone (guitar/vox), Geoff Sprung (bass/vox), Whit Sellers (drums)
Type of music: Rock
Favorite local band: Years
Musical beginnings: AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, then moved on to a bunch of folk-rock bands. Mash it all together, and you have the ideal STW mix-tape.
Where do you play locally?: Outback Lodge & Starr Hill
Biggest show: Umm, probably 2,000 people at JMU
Most recent album: The Right of Way (Upstart Records, 2003)
Plans: Keeping our parents off our backs about going back to school. Oh– and rocking. Intensely.
Members: Stephen Barling (vox/guitar) and Brandon Collins (cello)
Type of music: Original acoustic schlock. (The Hook: cello heavy intelli-pop)
Favorite local band: Plutonium
Musical beginnings: Grade school-trained guitarist meets devolving CHS cello prodigy. Good times ensue.
Where do you play locally?: Miller's every Sunday, "Acoustigeddon" downstairs at Tokyo Rose once a month.
Biggest show: We headlined, er... were featured prominently, er... opened for the Hogwaller Ramblers at Fridays After Five once or twice. That counts, right?
Most recent album: Puberty and Justice for All
Plans: Wake up almost every day. Subvert the wacko post-9/11 mind-control grid, and bend it to our sinister wills. Receive sensual massages from Rush Limbaugh live on Fox news– preferably with Sean Hannity working the hot oils. Lather, rinse, repeat.
Members: Reid Burgess (vox/mandolin), Ted Pitney (guitar), John McDonald (vox/guitar), Abe Spear (banjo), Nick Reeb (fiddle), and Drew Breaky (bass).
Type of music: Bluegrass
Favorite local band: "The Chapman stick guy" (Greg Howard)
Musical beginnings: First show at Miller's
Where do you play locally?: Starr Hill
Biggest show: The Ryman Auditorium in Nashville with Jerry Lee Lewis
Most recent album: Broke on Rebel Records
Plans: To keep touring incessantly
Members: Sumthing: Darrell Rose (Afrikan percussion), Houston Ross (bass), Charles Cowen (drums), Matthew Willner (guitar, synths, and devices). Snug: Nate Schnieder (guitar), Charles Cowen (drums), Stuart Holme- (bass), W.O. "Budd" Bryant (bass), Matthew Willner (guitar, bass, percussion, and vocals). Solo gigs using loopers, synths, bass, and nylon string guitar.
Type of music: Sumthing: Heavy psychedelic multicultural jazz-funk fusion. (The Hook: Funky, jam-heavy instrumentals) Snug: Raw Party funk.
Formed: Snug has been playing for about four months. While officially Sumthing is only a couple of months old, I [Matthew Willner] have played with Houston and Charles for over 10 years and Darrell for about four years.
Favorite local band: B.C. Barling & Collins
Musical beginnings: I started playing guitar in the summer of 1989. I started the two funk bands Full Flavor and Plutonium in winter 1994. Plutonium with Houston Ross (bass/vox) and John Gilmore (drums) still occasionally plays its brand of exploratory funk.
Where do you play, locally: Orbit, West Main, & Miller's.
Biggest show: Full Flavor and Plutonium double bill at Trax in 1996. But my favorite was Kite Day this year with Sumthing on Brown's Mountain.
Most recent album: He'll flip you and underground self produced thang.
Plans: Work on both bands, get Sumthing on the festival circuit and record a new solo album this summer.
Name: All of Fifteen
Members of group: 3
Type of music: Rock
When formed: 1998
Favorite local bands not your own: Small Town Workers, Bella Morte
Musical beginnings: In 1998 three guys got together to play music and write songs on a cold winter evening. We played some good shows and some bad shows those first few years and traveled to the Midwest a few times, Pennsylvania a few times, and DC and Richmond a lot. We started moving towards more concrete songwriting in the vein of Jawbox and Shudder to Think. Not being afraid to push the songs to be a little longer, and allow more freedom for improvisation has been a big revelation musically.
Where do you play locally?: Tokyo Rose, Outback Lodge
Biggest show: In terms of numbers, our biggest show was probably opening for Earth to Andy a few years ago at Starr Hill. We've played a lot of basements, so I think our favorite show was during late August 2003. We played in Baltimore as part of our northeast tour. There were probably only 100 people, but everyone was connected so well. We kicked out the jams hard– leaning into the amplifiers and sweat dripping into the microphones. That show is pretty much the benchmark for any show we play now. It was utterly transcendental.
Most recent albums: Bang! EP (2002), Away Game LP (2001)
Plans for the future: Recording a new record this summer, drinking beer, playing more shows out of state, rehearsing, rehearsing, rehearsing.
PHOTOS BY JEN FARIELLO