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Charlottesville: Where Musicians Find Their Groove

Charlottesville: Where Musicians Find their Tune

Charlottesville’s distinctive culture inspires and fosters creative minds in every medium and genre, and area residents appreciate the importance of the arts and sciences on society’s development. Over the years, the area dedication to the support and patronization of creative locals has produced a plethora of notable artists, recognized across the globe.

From “Live and Local” to Live and International

  • William Walter: William Walter is a blues-rock/rock-and-roll singer-songwriter and founder of the band William Walter and Co.
  • Dave Matthews: Over 20 years ago, Dave Matthews was a bartender in local Downtown bar, Miller’s. Though he had been playing guitar since age nine, he had never played publicly until he was welcomed into the local music scene in Charlottesville. Local star Tim Reynolds, who Dave Matthews would often collaborate with in the future, occasionally had Matthews join him on stage until he was persuaded by Ross Hoffman to record some of his own songs. Dave Matthew’s first professional music gig was at a modern dance performance based out of the local McGuffey Art Center; this experience inspired him to create his own band, the Dave Matthews Band. Matthews planned to only write the songs the band would perform, but in the end he decided to use his own vocals as well. Today, the Dave Matthews Band is known for its distinctive rhythmic acoustic guitar sound.
  • Greg Howard: As a Chapman Stick player, Howard has performed at shows around the world, and collaborated with Dave Matthews on two albums and at multiple shows.
  • Maxine Jones: Jones was an original member of the R&B singing group En Vogue, and as of 2008, she is once again using her 5-octave spanning voice with the band.
  • Boyd Tinsley: Tinsley is a local violinist and mandolinist, and a member of the Dave Matthews Band. In the band, Tinsley writes songs, sings backup vocals, and harmonizes with his violin.
  • Carter Beauford: Ranked as the tenth best drummer of all time by Rolling Stone magazine, Carter Beauford was a founding member of the Dave Matthews Band.
  • LeRoi Moore: Before his death in 2008, Moore was the saxophonist and founding member of the Dave Matthews Band.
  • F: Harris is an internationally known blues and reggae musician; he was awarded the MacArthur Fellowship in 2007.
  • Don Barnes: Barnes is a member of 38 special, a southern country rock band that opened for such names as REO Speedwagon and Styx.
  • Hush Arbors: Hush Arbors (born Keith Wood) is a singer-songwriter and guitar player who combines folk, country, and psychedelic experimental music.
  • Bella Morte: Bella Morte is a gothic band with a large underground following that got its roots in Charlottesville, Virginia.
  • David Berman: Berman is a poet, cartoonist, and singer-songwriter internationally known for his indie-rock band, the Silver Jews.
  • Paul Curreri: Curreri is a folk/blues musician and songwriter known for his performing duets such as Valentine’s Day.
  • John D’earth: D’earth is a trumpeter known for his collaborations with Dave Matthews, Bruce Hornsby, Miles Davis, Buddy Rich, and Emily Remler.
  • Parachute: Parachute, previously known as Sparky’s Flaw, is a pop rock band that formed when the members were attending high school in Charlottesville. A local favorite, the group has toured with O.A.R., Switchfoot, Duffy, Matt Nathanson, and Jon McLaughlin, Secondhand Serenade, Kelly Clarkson, The Script, and 3 Doors Down.
  • Schuyler Fisk: Daughter of actress Sissy Spacek, Fisk is an actress and folk singer-songwriter.
  • The Hackensaw Boys: An interesting amalgamation of bluegrass and “punk rock energy”, The Hackensaw Boys was founded by Tom Peloso of Modest Mouse. The band has toured with Modest Mouse and Cake.
  • Happy Flowers: The Happy Flowers, formed by two members of the Landlords, combine punk guitar and drums with humorous lyrics about childhood accidents and grievances.
  • The Landlords: Four UVA students founded this hardcore punk band, which later splintered off into a number of other groups, most notably the Happy Flowers.
  • Stephen Malkmus: Malkmus is an indie rock musician and founding member of Pavement, an alternative rock band with a significant cult following.
  • James McNew: McNew plays bass in the rock band Yo La Tengo, and has released solo recordings under the name Dump.
  • Tom Peloso: Peloso was a founding member of the Charlottesville group The Hackensaw Boys, and is currently a member of indie rock band Modest Mouse.
  • Devon Sproule: Sproule is a folk, country, and jazz musician who was awarded the ASCAP Foundation Sammy Cahn Award in 2009.
  • Sarah White: White is a folk/alternative-country singer-songwriter based out of Charlottesville.
  • Mary Chapin Carpenter: Carpenter is a folk and country music singer who has won five Grammy Awards and is the only artist to have ever been awarded four consecutive Grammy Award for Best Female Country Vocal performance.
  • Chris Daughtry: Daughtry first took guitar lessons at 16 in Charlottesville, Virginia, and began to perform with local rock bands during his time in high school. Chris Daughtry is the lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist for his rock band, Daughtry. He is recognized as the fourth-place finalist on the fifth season of American Idol, and was nominated for Best Rock Song at the 50th Grammy Awards.
  • Stefan Lessard: Lessard is currently the bassist for the Dave Matthews Band.