The best song about the end of the world you’ll hear today

Y’all remember Harold Camping?

He’s the radio preacher who convinced a bunch of people that the world would end on May 21, 2011…a prediction that, nearly three years later, obviously didn’t come true.

Camping did, however, inspire a very good song from recently reunited newgrass group Nickel Creek. That song, “21st of May,” is on Nickel Creek’s fourth studio album “Dotted Line,” which will be released tomorrow.

No need to wait, though. Here’s a YouTube video!

Chuck E’s in love

The Sea The SeaIn today’s Arts and Culture section we featured The Sea The Sea, an up-and-coming folk duo with big ties to the Mountain State.

Mira Stanley is a Charleston native, and the daughter of longtime “Mountain Stage” bandleader Ron Sowell.

Although she started out with dance and musical theater, Stanley says she woke up one morning and decided to be a singer-songwriter. She contacted Chuck E. Costa — a solo artist she’d met years before at Mountain Stage’s New Song Festival in Shepherdstown — and asked if he’d like to make music.

Somewhere along the way, they became a couple too…although neither of them know exactly when that happened.

“The music happened first, chrnologically, but we had this instant connection,” he said. “It feels like it happened at the same time.”

Sowell will share the stage with The Sea The Sea this Sunday at Unity of Kanawha Valley. The concert starts at 7 p.m., and tickets are $10.

In the meantime, click below to listen to the title track from Stanley and Costa’s debut album, “Love We Are Love.”

And here’s one more. This is The Sea The Sea performing “Restless Heart” (a Costa original) mixed with Townes van Zandt’s “If I Needed You.” Enjoy.

The Weekender (March 21, 2014)

The Kanawha Players' production of "Extremities" opens this weekend. Photo by Tom Hindman

The Kanawha Players’ production of “Extremities” opens this weekend. Photo by Tom Hindman

The Kanawha Players production of “Extremities,” a controversial play about sexual assault and the justice system, opens tonight.

It’s a notoriously difficult play to watch but it’s also difficult to produce, especially if you have a history of domestic abuse like co-director Sheila Kerr.

Yet, Kerr said her experience with these often taboo subject has helped her make the production as true-to-life as possible. Click here to read more from my interview with Kerr.

“Extremities” will play the Kanawha Players Theater March 21, 22, 28 and 29 at 8 p.m., as well as March 23 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for senior citizens, students and children under 18. The show contains strong language and situations that might not be suitable for children.

For more information, visit

  • Sasha Colette is playing Taylor Books tonight at 7:30 p.m. John Lilly will perform there Saturday night..
  • Then, on Saturday, Colette will play The Bluegrass Kitchen. On Tuesday, March 25, classic country band Blue Yonder will perform.
  • Over at the Empty Glass, Matt Woods with Josh Morningstar, Smith and Company and Jeremy “Wood” Roberts are playing tonight. Tomorrow it will be The Cut Throat Freakshow with Smith and Company and Project Biscotti.
  • Tribe of the Elk and EOP are playing tonight at the Boulevard Tavern. Speaker of the Band and The Needful Things are playing tomorrow night.
  • Chris Thile’s newgrass super group The Punch Brothers will perform at 7:30 p.m. Sunday at the Clay Center. Tickets are $15 to $35 and are available at or by calling 304-561-3570.
  • The Appalachian Children’s Chorus will hold its ninth annual gala, “A Night to Remember,” beginning at 5:30 p.m. Saturday at the Embassy Suites Hotel.  Tickets are $150 for an individual and $1,500 for a corporate table of 10. The evening includes a full meal with wine. For more information, call 304-343-1111 or visit
  • The GWHS Theatre of the Nevertheless will present Tony award-winning play “The Drowsy Chaperone” tonight, Saturday and Sunday at the George Washington High School Auditorium. Shows begin at 7 p.m. tonight and tomorrow, and at 2 p.m. on Sunday.  Tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for students.
  • The Montclaire String Quartet presents “Lucky Seven” at 3 p.m. Sunday at the Erma Byrd Gallery at the University of Charleston. Guest artists include Robert Turizziani, clarinet; Marsha Palmer, horn; Michael Bevers, bassoon and Hannah Pressley, cello. Tickets are $15.50 for adults and $9.50 for students and seniors. For more information, visit or call 304-561-3570.

New “Mountain Stage” shows, Billy Cox honored

Mountain Stage has some pretty cool shows lined up over the next few months, so you’d better go ahead and get tickets now:

  • Sunday, May 18 – Singer-songwriter Rodney Crowell featuring guitarist Steuart Smith (formerly of the Eagles), newgrass band The Infamous Stringdusters and alt-folk rockers Elephant Revival.
  • Sunday, June 1 — Another famous country singer-songwriter, Patty Griffin, along with 90s-pop icons Toad the Wet Sprocket and Parker Milsap.
  • Sunday, June 8 — Twin Forks (which features former Dashboard Confessional front man Chris Carrabba) and The Autumn Defense (featuring Pat Sansone and John Stirratt of Wilco).
  • Sunday, June 29 — As part of Charleston’s 2014 FestivALL celebration, “Mountain Stage” will host new soul group St. Paul and the Broken Bones. Click here to read my blog post about the band.

Visit to buy tickets, or call 1-800-594-8499. You can also purchase tickets at Taylor Books on Capitol St.

Photo by Larry Hailey

Michael Lipton, right, presents bassist Billy Cox, left, with a certificate honoring him as a “Distinguished West Virginian” while Janie Hendrix (sister of legendary guitarist Jimi Hendrix) looks on. Photo by Larry Hailey

Also, West Virginia Music Hall of Fame inductee Billy Cox was named a “Distinguished West Virginian” during last night’s “Experience Hendrix” show at the Clay Center.

Hall of Fame director Michael Lipton presented the award. Cox was the bass player for Jimi Hendrix in both the Jimi Hendrix Experience and Band of Gypsies. The men met while serving in the Air Force, and remained friends until Hendrix’s death.

Festivall 2014 lineup announced

I now have more reasons to look forward to summer. Organizer’s announced this year’s FestivALL lineup this morning, and it looks like it’ll be a doozy.

  • Aaron Neville will play the Mayor’s Concert at the Clay Center on June 26
  • The Drive-By Truckers will headline FestivALT, a new event aimed at younger audiences. That’s June 21 at Appalachian Power Park
  • Blues, Brews and BBQ returns to the University of Charleston on June 27 with Rick Estrin and the Nightcats, The Nighthawks and Samantha Fish.
  • Wine and All That Jazz comes to the University of Charleston on June 28. Red Baraat and the Dirty Dozen Brass Band will perform.
  • St. Paul and the Broken Bones will play “Mountain Stage” on June 29. Click here to read my blog post about the band’s new album.
  • The Charleston Light Opera Guild will present “Catch Me If You Can,” a musical stage adaptation of the 2002 Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks movie.
  • The Dance Gala will feature ballet performers from the New York City Ballet, the Charleston Ballet and teh River City Youth Ballet Ensemble on June 25.

And ther’s more. St. George Orthodox Cathedral will host a religious icon festival, there will be a West Virginia Writer’s Roundtable on June 22 with “Crappalachia” author Scott McClanahan and Pittsburgh’s Attack Theatre will present “Some Assembly Required,” a performance that interacts with public art pieces and the audience.

We’ll also see a return of favorites like the Smoke on the Water Chili Cookoff, the West Side Main Street wiener dog races and ice cream social, street fairs and street performers, and more.

For more information, an updated schedule will soon be posted on

Twin Cousins Records releases new compilation

A few weeks back I wrote about local record label Twin Cousins Records, and mentioned they would soon be releasing a second compilation. Well, co-founder Dan Mistich dropped a line this week to let me know that “Nothing Criminal” is now available (just in time for his trip to SXSW in Austin).

You can listen to the album here. You could (and should) also head over to and buy the thing.

The Weekender (March 14, 2014)

The Company Stores (photo by Tom Hindman

The Company Stores (photo by Tom Hindman

In less than a year, Charleston band The Company Stores have gone from a three-piece gigging around town to a five-piece playing out-of-state concerts and building a following.

They’ll soon start recording an album. Click here to read more about the band, or click here to hear some of their music.

  • The annual East End Pub Crawl starts this Saturday at 7 p.m., featuring 11 bands at 9 different venues (including The Company Stores). Click here for more information.
  • KR-3 and the Beggars Clan are playing the Empty Glass on Friday.
  • Byzantine is playing The Boulevard Tavern on Friday night. On Saturday, Natural Flavor takes the stage.
  • The Blue Parrot is hosting Hairitage, Dead Serious and Aries Ablaze for a charity show this Saturday at 10 p.m. All proceeds go to the “Playing It Forward” music charity and the Brian Blevins Memorial Scholarship Fund.
  • The West Virginia Symphony Orchestra will present “The John Williams Experience,”  with familiar movie classics from “Star Wars”, “Jurassic Park”, “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” and others. The concerts will take place at 8 p.m. tonight and Saturday at the Clay Center. Tickets start at $24 for adults and $12 for students and children and are available through the Clay Center Box Office, 304-561-3570.  Tickets may also be ordered online at
  • The West Virginia Youth Symphony will hold its annual Chamber Concert at 3 p.m. Sunday at Kanawha United Presbyterian Church.  Tickets are $5 for adults and $2 for students and seniors and may be purchased at the door.
  • The Dixie Ensemble of the USAF Heritage of America Band will give a concert at 7 p.m. tonight at Riverside High School. The concert is free and open to the public. Members of the band will give a master class from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. that is aimed at student musicians. The master class also is free and open to the public, but student musicians are encouraged to attend.
  • Grammy-nominated national gospel music band Triumphant Quartet will perform at 6 p.m. Saturday at the Milton Performing Arts Center. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door. Seats are reserved. Artist Circle reservations are $20. Tickets can be purchased at the Milton Performing Arts Center office at the West Virginia Pumpkin Park in Milton, W.Va. or online at or by calling 304-654-1339.
  • Manna Meal Soup Kitchen will present the 7th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Male Chorus & Bare Bones a capella concert at 7 p.m. on Saturday at St. John’s Episcopal Church. Donations are welcomed. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. A reception will follow in Hunter Hall. For more information, call 304-345-7121.
  • “Biggest Loser” trainer Jillian Michaels comes to the Clay Center on Sunday at 7 p.m.
  • Ron Sowell of the “Mountain Stage” band  is hosting his monthly open mic night this evening at 7:30 at Unity of Kanawha Valley Church.