New Years Eve with Russell Lacy, Matt Jones and The Bobs and Jackass Flats | The Camel, RVA| Music Photography

Russell Lacy.  Russell Lacy.  What can I say about Russell Lacy.  Well, he is my favorite male vocalist as well as one of my favorite humans.  Whenever I create images of gals, I usually throw on Russell’s cd and it quickly became the most requested cd in my studio.  “Start that cd over again” is what I would always hear after the last note played.  And there is a good reason for it.  Russell sings with his soul, he puts it all right out there and he engages every single person in the room.  His voice and his songs pull the listener in and you can’t help but get caught up in his stories.

It was my first time seeing Matt Jones and the Bobs and they did not disappoint.  Great lyrics, terrific vocals and superb playing.  They are a high energy good time based in the sounds of folk and good ole americana.  Hard slot to be sandwiched between two of my favorite musical acts and they more than held their own.  Great music and great times!

Jackass Flats!!!!!!!  YES!!!  I could not miss the chance to see Jackass Flats tackle and CONQUER the music of The Beatles, so I scheduled a flight back to RVA to make it in time for the New Years Eve celebration at The Camel.  Jackass Flats has been one of my favorite bands for over a decade now.  Wow.  I’ve seen so many of their lineups and I think they have evolved into the perfect mix of bluegrass, rock, excitement and all around awesome.  For New Years they were going to take it up to the top of all musical notches by rocking an entire night of The Beatles.  And when I say a rocking night, I mean a ROCKING night!  They made the incredibly hard music of The Beatles seem effortless and entirely their own.  They spruced it with the sounds of Jackass Flats and had a little help from their RVA music friends. The incredible saxaphonist, Gordon Saxman Jones, Andrew Trongone of The Trongone Band and Tim Beavers & Matt Volkes of Peoples Blues of Richmond switched in and out for a few songs.  The perfect end to 2014.


RVA came out in abundance for the night of music and seeing so many loved ones in The Camel kept me smiling all night.  I love you all  🙂


Want to see all the pics from the night?  Go here and scroll for the band you want to see.

Music at Baja Bean / Covington Rock

Well, this is a bittersweet blog entry.  A few weeks ago The RVA was rocked by the Von Shakes.  It was one of my favorite weekends with them!  (close 2nd is the middle of new york state college weekend….  The lap dance room at that backwoods bar!!!  Wow!)  At any rate, the RVA weekend was tops. They had a blast. RVA had a blast.  & then I saw them a week later and they told me they broke up.  I’m so bummed writing this because I missed their last show, which happened this past weekend in NYC.  I had 10 events/people to create images of this past weekend and just could not get up there.  Sad.  I remember their very first show in NYC and how quickly they just grabbed my attention and kept it.  A damn good band and its just a damn shame that the music industry makes it easy for autotuned assholes who spend their time creating tabloid headlines while real musicians and talented performers have to scrape by and struggle to hopefully get a few pennies from itunes. I hate this side of the music biz..the side that forces the exceptional to grow weary and over it.  There are too many bands that should be where some of this radio bullshit it.

Ok, rant over.  I <3 these guys.  The von shakes showed me mad respect as a photographer and friend and I hope that maybe…one day…there will be a reunion show.  If BooB can get back together for a show after 5 years (sold that out, duh!) then I have faith that I may get to see VS rock again.

Till then…  The Baja Bean show!

The Von Shakes had been included on the eves bill by the vendors!  Thanks!!  I had never seen them before and was psyched because the badass Stephen Kuester was going to be sitting in on the slide guitar.  Oh yeah, I like it when SK plays that slide.  It nice.  The good ole boys took the stage and introduced the Von Shakes to some nice honkytonkin’ rocknroll!  Dug their sound and their songs.  Again – THIS is what is needed in music.  Good storytelling with a good show and damn fine music.  (ok, not going to let myself starting ranting again!) So go see them when they play next, you’ll love it.

& then some of the guys from one of my 2014 fave bands, Tarrant, took the stage.  Jordan Tarrant always brings great stories to life with his rich voice and he was joined by  Jared Pool on mandolin & Russell Lacy on guitar.  These guys know how to weave some magic together.


Groovinyasa at The Camel with Russell Lacy | Covington Events

After quite a raucous weekend introducing Von Shakes to Richmond, VA, I headed over to The Camel on a Sunday morning (in my jammies) to create images of Ali Bullano’s 2nd Groovinyasa class.  The class featured musical guest Russell Lacy and he brought a bluesy/funky twist to the practice.
Everyone just fit in the space – this class is an instant hit and she is going to need a larger space soon for all the awesome.  Ali lead everyone through the series of poses with her calm and steady presence, the best thing about her voice is you know she is just about to smile at you, there is that warmth, I think that is part of why she is such a trusted teacher. She makes me feel that even my uncoordinated self might be able to maintain a pose without falling down.  😛





For all the pics CLICK HERE

Another Round of RVA Musical Things | Covington Portraits

2/8/14  was an epic night of music in the RVA.  The adventure started with The Big Payback at The Bull & Bear Club for the third annual Bootleggers Ball, which is  a fantastic celebration of the Prohibition Era.  Everyone in RVA came dressed in their vintage and feathers to  The Bull & Bear Club to dance the night away.  
The Big Payback a Tribute to James Brown
, well, what can I say about TBP !!??!! other than – they are finely tuned perfection.  I mean, this is about as real as you can get, until you invent a time machine to go back to an actual funkified James Brown heyday throw down.  Seriously, they are everything in a perfectly executed tribute MACHINE.  I can’t get enough and I’ve never seen a crowd that could either.  The sounds, the moves, all just makin’ ya git down to the Get Down.

To see all the pics from the night CLICK HERE

I left the crowd tearing up the dance floor and headed to The Camel for The People’s Blues of Richmond, another of my fave RVA bands.  This night had all the bases covered, music to dance and do nothing but have a great time too.  & all the people that go to those shows are kickass.  Fun people who just want to get down and enjoy.  These bands will have every crowd dancing every time, without fail.

So I made it to PBR in time for the last sweaty, high energy, funky, rocking set.  Everyone in attendance was ripe for every dang thing they were delivering.  The crowd might get a little mosh mayhem sometimes but a guitar surfing above them brought back the focus from the edge of utter chaos at just the right moment.    

For all the pics CLICK HERE

It is hard to stop a night of music when that many musicians end up at shows together at the end of the night.  I love that in RVA, the musicians go out and support other bands shows.  It makes for a great community and a base for collaboration.  That night Jordan Tarrant created a spot for the music to continue.
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A few nights later I met Nate of Porter Street Productions up at Balliceaux for the RVA Big Band to snap some pics while he filmed.  We got their early and I’ve got to take a moment to say…wow….   If you dropped me blindfolded in the middle of there, never in a million years, would I guess it for the old Bogarts.  The old comfortable backroom, that dark woodend room that embraced you and held you in the music was gone.  Not that Balliceaux isn’t fantastic.  It is beautiful and big and very classy.  I just will always be wistful for the old Bogarts or perhaps the memories of the nights of the old Bogarts.
This was my first time seeing The RVA Big Band, a 17 piece music ensemble of awesome that features a long list of the A Team players of RVA, including some that carry over from the long ago Monday nights of The Devil’s Workshop at Bogarts.  The RVA Big Band plays every Monday night and I highly recommend going and checking them out.

For all the pics CLICK HERE

Working for a spell at The Virginia Moonwalker is grand on many levels, one of the tops being that I never know who I will find when I show up to prep gear for a night.  This particular afternoon, I found Russell Lacy laying down a track for Ben Butterworth with Corey Wells, Matt KuesterRaphael Katchinoff.  I love the honest sound that comes out of The Virginia Moonwalker.  There is just something some raw and pure about the way it is being done out in this country studio.

YEAH!  Finally a Chelsea Temple show!!  Chelsea started the evening at Cary St Cafe with her soulful originals mixed with covers.  This girl can sing.  Seriously, the RVA songbird.  She’s got emotion and power and one of those purely beautiful voices.

For all the pics CLICK HERE

The end of the latest Round of RVA Musical Things kept me at Cary Street Cafe for Mekong Xpress & The Get Fresh Horns.  The place was packed and VDAY love intoxicated all with their all encompassing funky fresh sounds.  😛


For all the pics CLICK HERE

speaking of Things…. if you still haven’t sampled Todd Herrington’s Things you are missing out.  Just get the whole album, you will be silly happy you did.

<3 what you do

Russell Lacy at Ashland Coffee and Tea | Covington Portraits

Ashland Coffee & Tea has a beautiful listening room for songwriters and Russell Lacy commanded the stage with his soulful ballads and strong guitar work.  It was nice to slow down the pace after the raucous weeks of RVA late nights and musical happenings.  I seized the chance to pull out the tilt/shift lens again and found I was able to slow down enough to really start to understand the controls of my new lens.  It is an interesting piece of equipment and I’m starting to really like the results it gives.
It was great to see Russell lay out some standard blues and a bunch of his own music.  His cd is the most requested cd by the ladies during my portrait sessions.


<3 what you do.

2 weeks in the RVA | Covington Portraits

There are a lot of places in the world that have a bit of my heart but my happy place is in Richmond, VA.  The past two weeks of getting to *mostly* be in the RVA have been beautiful.   It is the city that is always home.  If you have been here, you know this.  If you visit here, you will feel this.  The people, the history, the art, the music, the food, the river and again, I’ll say, the people.  It isn’t hard to find happy here.

I found myself grateful that the childhood memories of snow days still ring true as an adult, getting nicely snowed in at Danny & Jaime’s house of fun for a few days and braving the winter nights to see loads of my favorite people and music, music, music, oh so much music.   There is a glow about the RVA music/art scene.  Things are happening here, people are working together to make things happen, the talent is contagious.   I love it, have always loved it.  Love NYC & LA for different reasons, they both have bits of my heart…but my happy place, my happy place is in RVA.

The two weeks of awesome started out with Mekong Xpress & The Get Fresh Horns at the #1 beer place in the usofa, Mekong.  You like beer?  This place is your place.  You like music?  Monday nights are the place to be at Mekong.  Every Monday night Mekong Xpress & The Get Fresh Horns take over the rooms to let loose their funky fresh sound.

Danny P. at Cary St.  I love that Cary St. still feels exactly the same as it did 10 years ago.  I love everything about Cary St. Café except that the “Pee for Slicky, Pee” graffiti seems to be gone, or perhaps I was just in the wrong bathroom stall.  Cary St. Café is warm and comfortable, great food and staff.  It was the regular spot for Wed nights back in the days of Gray-V and it still embodies the same feel, just better.  Danny P. always brings a lotta good tunes and even more smiles when he takes the stage.  His original works are ridiculously awesome and he covers the two greatest bands in the world – Ween & BooB.



After Danny was done making the crowd (cuz dang, another thing about RVA – the people come out to shows!  Place was packed even though the city was semi shut down due to the weather) howl with laughter and get their boogie started, Fear of Music took the stage.  This was my 2nd time seeing FOM and I can’t wait till I say 100th time, cuz their shine will never dull.  The talent in this band is ridiculous and they rock out exactly what I want to hear with all heart wrenching, ironical, make you dance – make you groove, scorching intensity that unifies this Talking Heads tribute band.

The next night took me to The Camel to see Big Daddy Love.  I wasn’t a huge fan The Camel when it first started to be the place to see music.  The layout felt awkward and I was always nervous I was going to knock something off of the walls.  It was very much a coffee house, daytime type of place.  In the time that Rand Burgess has owned and operated The Camel he has turned the spot into one of the best bars and places to see live music!  He created a scene in an area of town where, really, nothing was going on and has created a safe environment for people to have fun in a damn cool space.  Seeing local artists on the walls in a place that allows for people to both dance to live music and hang in the bar area comfortably plays a huge part in making the Richmond music and arts scene so incredible.  Kudos to Rand for turning that space into pure awesome.

 Big Daddy Love welcomed me to The Camel, along with a ready to dance packed house.  The guys in Big Daddy Love – love playing and their huge grins, rocking sound and endless energy are contagious.  Watching people love what they do is the best thing in the world, made only better when they are that damn good at doing what they love.  Big Daddy Love brings their raucous sound of Appalachian Rock wherever they go and everyone has a seriously good time whenever they play.

The weekend started off with a recording session with The Milkstains out at Russell Lacy’s place, Virginia Moonwalker.  Virginia Moonwalker is tucked away in the middle of the woods, a hidden resort for creativity.  The energy of the space can’t help but be a catalyst for great music.  The Milkstains took a break from overdubs and rocked out a few of their high energy tunes for me.  Hell yeah.  I want to see them live.

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 That night it was back to The Camel for the Jackass Flats show.  The room was at capacity and everyone was sweaty from dancing by the time I got there.  I walked in for the last few notes of The Northerners set, looking forward to hearing a full set soon.
I know that I have a ridiculous grin on my face the entire time Jackass Flats plays a show.  I love them.  I love how happy they make everyone.  I love how happy the happy crowd makes them.  & I love the way their sound has evolved through the years.  I’ve been seeing them for over a decade and their jam has evolved into a rocking out bluegrass/honkeytonk/country tunes with an energy that you just have to experience live.

The music doesn’t stop in RVA and after the JAF set we made it to Emilios to hear the end of the very last song, which turned out to not be even close to being the very last song.  The band and bar were easily persuaded for one more by The Super 45’s and then just as we thought the night of music was truly over, Melissa and Chelsea brought two of the peeps from Snarky Puppy in and everyone had to get down to some funk with Kelli Strawbridge leading with  his royal James Brown.

Sunday brought me a little respite from the crowded Camel to the bluegrass brunch Camel.  Every Sunday, The Camel hosts a Bluegrass brunch with a hella lot of talented folks rotating in.  That brunch brought the lovely Elizabeth Wise and The Shoo Flies.  Liz has a voice that makes me want to be able to sing.  That girl can sing the blues and belt the joys.  dayum.   She also plays one hell of a mean slide guitar.

Nate Griffith invited me to join him at the new Sound of Music space to check out the session with Jordan Tarrant.  Sound of Music just moved to a new space over on Broad Street and boyah it is awesome.  Huge, eclectic rooms filled with music making machines.  I love it.  It feels like a place where amazing things can happen and amazing things were happening.  I love studio sessions.   Watching people create and make magic moments together is really special.  I had the treat of listening to 3 of the tracks later and hell yes, it is awesome.  I pulled out the t/s lens to play a bit more and am in love with how you can truly pinpoint the focus.   SOM was a pretty fantastic environment to play a little with this lens, the levels and wall papers, and lights and drum room create a wonderful space.  Oh! & the bathroom!  So awesome.  I didn’t get a shot of the bathroom but will the next time I visit.  Kudo’s to the creating team on that space.  Looking forward to seeing how it grows.

Being that it was Monday again,  I headed to Mekong after the studio for some more Mekong Xpress & the Get Fresh Horns.  You seriously can’t go wrong with this Monday night.  An Mekong also picked another winner.  I’ve liked the taste of two beers in my life and both have been picked by An Mekong.  He is the only man who can get me to drink beer and enjoy it.  Like I said, if you like beer & music, Monday nights at Mekong are the only place to be.

As I write and get ready to post this blog, I sit in Virginia Moonwalkers listening to Russell Lacy run through old tunes that he hasn’t picked out in a while as he is getting ready to go play a show at Ashland Coffee & Tea.  Two weeks of RVA music is a very good thing.  Looking forward to testing more with the tilt & shift tonight.

<3 what you do.

Grease Trigger | 11/21/12 | Cary St. Cafe

I love the good old fashion sounds of great rock & roll.   I say “old fashioned” cuz it seems like all the kids want the bubble gum pop or synthy electronic sounds nowadays.  Screw that, I want to rock.  Grease Trigger is a band that lets the crowd do just that, they take the stage and the drums pound and the guitars sing.  Russell Lacy’s beautifully scratchy voice vibrates through the room with emotion.  Just some darn good rocking whenever these boys take the stage.

Check them out on Facebook HERE 

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Wanna see more photos from the show  CLICK HERE