SSS

Music lives! That declaration could not have been more apparent to me than last Saturday evening when I happened to make my way down to the Saturday Soul Social @The Speakeasy Lounge. The event hosted by Jarrard & DJ R.Simms has been happening for the past three years and has continued to grow and just recently found a new home base at The Speakeasy Lounge. As always I’m late to the party, but quite literally because the event is monthly it seemed like every Saturday over the last few years I’ve been out playing myself or out of town or blah, blah, blah. This time I was undeterred and I was glad that I was able to make it out.

Quite simply, what Jarrad and his business partner Will Robinson have put together is a format that was at the cornerstone of Black Culture for years: Music, Comedy, Great Food, and Atmosphere. In a venue that was part of the association of theaters colloquially known as “The Chitlin’ Circuit” no less. Ladies and gents I was truly entertained in a manner that I felt lined up well with the particular place I’m in my life: I truly felt grown. I literally was able to chill the entire evening and just take in the great entertainment.

This is how entertainment should be presented: live. I do as much bedroom recording as the next person, but until you can get on that stage and have people connect with your performance in a real way, all the youtube views in the world don’t mean a hill of beans. As was stated throughout the evening this is the music that you’re not going to hear on mainstream radio and it’s truly a shame because there’s a whole generation out there that’s missing the connection to the root of all music created in this country.

Fortunately, we have events like the Saturday Soul Social to counterbalance the commercial assault on culture. Make sure to checkout the clip of this month’s headliner Kenny Wesley below backed by the LA Moore Trio. Kenny’s entire set was incredible and anyone who can open with a Burt Bacharach tune and close with a Stevie tune scores major points in my book. Be on the lookout for his debut project The Real Thing dropping May 15th.

P.S. Kudos to the entire Hippodrome staff, the food and hard cider was most excellent. GFM Fam if you are ever in Richmond on the first Saturday of the month you have to come on down and check out this fantastic establishment that developer Ron Stallings has put together.

P.P.S. Next month will feature friend to GFM Collette! I’ll be there, how about you?

Ivan Orr is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, performer, and writer. A native of Charlottesville, Virginia Ivan was involved with the forming and nascent days of The Music Resource Center as its first Program Director. A graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University’s Department of Music, Ivan currently resides in Richmond, VA where he maintains an active performance and production schedule while serving as the Music Editor for Grown Folks Music, a position he has held since 2010.