Saturday, December 15, 2007

Barksdale Earns Raves from Richmond's Music Boosters

Posted by Bruce Miller

Tim Timberlake, former newscaster and current mover and shaper of Richmond’s authentic music scene, posted a rave review this week of Barksdale’s recent Stretchin’ concert with Justin Townes Earle. Tim is passionate about music the way I’m passionate about theatre—may God bless us both. Tim’s photo of Justin, taken in Barksdale’s lobby, and his thoughts on the Stretchin’ concert appear here with his permission. To read his entire post, check out his rousing and informative blog, My Music Journal, at Tim’s the right guy to go to when you want to know the skinny on what’s what with music in Richmond and beyond. That's him, to the right and below.

“Sunday night we were among a sadly undersized crowd to witness a young man on the front edge of what should be a stellar career,” Tim writes. “His pedigree is enough to suffocate a lesser talent given that he’s Steve Earle’s son and the late Texas legend Townes Van Zandt was his godfather. So this wiry, way over six-foot-tall, twenty-something cowboy has something to prove and his 90-minute set at Barksdale’s Stretchin’ series offered all the proof any skeptic could want that Justin Townes Earle is the real deal!”

Tim continues to offer praise with evocative phrases like:
“Justin ran through a rich and varied set list of mostly original tunes that made me feel like I could’ve been in a time machine watching Hank Williams when he first started out of the gate,”
“Accompanying himself on guitar, occasional harmonica and a good helping of boot heel percussion, Earle the younger displayed a confidence and charisma that can’t be faked and made believers of this appreciative audience, most of us hearing him for the first time.”

A discerning commenter named Catherine added, “If you guys aren’t comin’ out to Stretchin’ every month you’re missing out,” prompting fellow annotator Ellen to add that Jason performed “one of the best shows I’ve seen in a while. All the shows in this series of Stretchin' are sure to be great ones.”

I don’t know about you, but praise like this from Richmond’s music insiders sure made me wish I’d been there. Terrie and I intended to go that night, but we’d just opened three mainstage shows in 15 days and so we decided to stay at home and crash. We’ve marked our calendars with the upcoming Stretchin’ dates, and we’re planning and hoping to join in the fun.

Barksdale is blessed to have great pal BJ Kocen, pictured to the right, creating and championing our Stretchin’ series. We provide the space and a little bit of extra stuff, BJ provides the heart, soul, blood, sweat and tears. And sadly, when the crowds are low, BJ and co-producer Glave Kocen Galleries take the financial hit.

In many ways, it’s likely that Richmond’s theatre and music scenes will thrive or fade together. I vote for “thrive.” That’s why we’re in the Stretchin’ business. I hope you’ll join me in checking out the upcoming events. You can learn more at

Quite simply, thanks to BJ Kocen and the terrific talent he assembles, Barksdale is now one of the best and most exciting music venues in town. Thanks to Tim Timberlake and fans like Catherine and Ellen, hopefully more Richmonders will soon start to know.

--Bruce Miller

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