NO LONGER THE OUTSIDERS: OUT ON THE WEEKEND STAY GOLDEN

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INTERVIEW BY JOE FITZPATRICK

PHOTOS BY EVE ROGERS

What do you get when you combine four llamas and some soulful rock and roll? OUT ON THE WEEKEND of course! Nearly a year ago, the band was a humble three piece. Since then, they have added a fourth member and really started to hit their stride. You could even say they’re golden.

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THE SCIENTIFIC METHODS OF CLASSIFIED FREQUENCY

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INTERVIEW BY JOE FITZPATRICK

PHOTOS BY ROXPLOSION

What’s better than the #FUSIONCOCKROCK of CLASSIFIED FREQUENCY? We’re still working that one out, but what’s for sure is the band has concocted a brilliant science experiment of sound from pop rock bands across the decades into something uniquely their own.

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DIGGING INTO THE DIRT OF BURNING DIRTY

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INTERVIEW BY JOE FITZPATRICK

PHOTOS BY KAYTEE SIERRA PHOTOGRAPHY

Few bands these days are truly hungry for consuming new influences. They settle to fit inside a carefully curated mold. From psychedelic to punk, to the college rock and grunge era, BURNING DIRTY are as intricate and simultaneously simple as a potato dug up from the soil with your bare hands. And they consume all the potatoes they can get their hands on.

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HOLLY WOULD… BREAKS THE SILENCE WITH “AN ALMOST SILENT NIGHT”

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INTERVIEW BY JOE FITZPATRICK

PHOTOS AND VIDEO PROVIDED BY DAVID ELLIOTT

The story isn’t quite over yet for HOLLY WOULD… Formed six years ago by guitarist and vocalist David Elliott, along with drummer Cory Ward and Kevin Criner, the group released two LPs with multiple guitarists before securing Logan Shermeyer to complete the group. Since launching the band, the group established an annual holiday party to bring friends and others from the community together for a night of partying and good times. Following their fourth annual holiday party the band’s racket settled down to a mere whisper, until now…

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THE STARLESS DEBUT SONGS WITH NEW DRUMMER

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INTERVIEW BY JOE FITZPATRICK

PHOTOS BY JOE FITZ MEDIA, AGNES OWUSU, AND SHVWN COOPER

Though they aren’t as superstars just yet, the Gainesville, Va. trio known as THE STARLESS formed by lead vocalist/guitarist Briana Strobele, bassist Donny Sauer, and guitarist Shane Lewis, released their debut EP Impulses Drive earlier this year, but not before they picked up drummer Josh Duncan. With Duncan on the skins, the band are finally bringing their anthems about the human condition to the masses.

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RICHMOND’S RED STATES TO RECORD A NEW FULL-LENGTH ALBUM IN SEPTEMBER

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INTERVIEW BY BETH AUSTIN

PHOTOS BY NISHA MEHTA AND BETH AUSTIN

With grinding, driving guitar, heavy drums, and personal lyrics, Richmond, Va.’s RED STATES have mastered the ability to rock your face, while hitting you square in the heart at the same time. Their current release, High Bison,  on Richmond’s EggHunt Records is a collection of six songs with plenty of hooks wrapped up in an grungy, indie-pop blanket.

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ARCHERS HOPE RELEASE DEBUT ALBUM, BROKEN ANCHOR

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INTERVIEW BY JOE FITZPATRICK

PHOTOS PROVIDED BY COREY PAVLOSKY

On May 8, 2015, ARCHERS HOPE from Williamsburg, Va. released their debut album Broken Anchor, which features 12 tracks packed with emotion and angst both on the surface, as well as in more subtle ways through the lyrics. Led by guitarists/vocalists Drew Mcelroy and Corey Pavlosky , the band is filled out by drummer Ben Wahls and bassist John Schuzler. Since forming in 2012, the band has developed a substantial fan base and are looking forward to what the future holds for their band.

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WHETHER YOU PREFER TO ROCK OUT OR DANCE THE NIGHT AWAY, THE “RHYTHM AND BLUES ROCK” OF ASIDE OCEANS IS EXACTLY WHAT YOU NEED TO HEAR

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INTERVIEW BY SHELBY BAKER

PHOTOS PROVIDED BY ASIDE OCEANS

Self-identified as “rhythm and blues rock,” the Pulaski, Va. four-piece ASIDE OCEANS perfectly exemplify this distinctive sound. Each member has different influences and musical tastes, which contribute to their overall sound. As a result, each song they create is a collection of contributions and influences from all members. In addition, they don’t just want you to rock out to their music, but dance along or do whatever you please. We had a chance to talk to guitarist Billy Steele, drummer Steve Brooks, and bassist Tyler Davis about their music and what’s in store for their future releases.

What inspired the band name?

Billy: We’ve always been into different kinds of music. We’ve never been a stickler on genre or anything like that. So, we just wanted to come up with something that represented that. We kind of came up with a sentence that said, “Set aside oceans of differences, ” and that applies to people, or just music in general. And, you know, music has so much power in people’s lives, and it can bring masses of different type of people together. That’s basically what the band name means.

aside ocean 2On your Facebook, you guys call your genre “rhythm and blues rock.” What does that mean exactly?

Billy: I’d say that with our form of rock and roll, you can hear lots of different elements from other different types of music. There’s a lot of rock music nowadays that’s just [pure] rock. We’re trying to have a little groove to our music. Like, our stuff you can either rock out to or dance to.

What inspired you guys to make music in that genre?

Tyler: Growing up, we all came from [performing in] metal bands. After we started aging a little bit, we progressed from there, and we branched out more to blues. Then the blues turned into almost progressive-like music. We were trying to write any kind of song that we could come up with, and that’s how ended up where we are now.

aside oceans 3You guys have opened for SAVING ABEL. How did that opportunity present itself?

Steve: What had happened was, there was a band that played there as well, and they’re called MADRONE. They’re out of Roanoke, Va., and we’ve had a working relationship with those guys for a while. Their singer works with another guy named Kelly Scott who’s worked with 96.3 [FM]. He’s always come out and … has really helped us out in the past. Then, basically, we just got lucky enough to be asked to open the show.

Could you describe the music-making process?

Billy: It usually starts with the guitar parts. I’ll come up with a riff or something like that, and I’ll present it to the band. From there, it will progress, and everybody will put their own touches on it. We don’t want the songs to sound like one person wrote it. We want the feel that everyone in the band had a part in it, because of everyone’s different musical tastes. Sometimes the other guys bring songs that are really awesome, too. It really just starts with one person’s idea, then we all capitalize on that.

Are you guys working on new material?

Steve: Yes, we are. We actually just did a new EP, and we plan to master two songs off of that. Then, we’re going to go back into the studio in the next month and a half to do five more songs. Then, a full length will be in the future for sure.

For more updates on ASIDE OCEANS, be sure to “like” their Facebook page, follow them on Twitter, and check out their music on Reverbnation.

DECIDE BY FRIDAY PROMOTE DIY COMMUNITY IN VIRGINIA, DISCUSS THEIR FAVORITE HOUSE SHOWS, AND PREPARE TO PLAY POUZZA FEST IN MONTREAL

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INTERVIEW BY JOE FITZPATRICK

PHOTOS BY JAKE CUNNINGHAM AND TINA MYATT

Forged through a love and passion for “do it yourself” ethics, as well as musical influences such as punk, emo, post-hardcore, progressive rock, blues and hip hop, guitarist Robert “Bobby” Ball, drummer/vocalist Dave Gilmore, and bassist Jacob W.A. Lawrence formed DECIDE BY FRIDAY based in the capital of the Commonwealth, Richmond, Va. Though they cannot be pigeonholed into one particular genre, their stage performance brings heaps of rock ‘n’ roll to the forefront with the aforementioned variations. Though they have not yet released their debut album, they have been selected from thousands of bands to play this year’s Pouzza Fest in Montreal, Canada, which will feature bands from all over the world, including a couple others from Virginia.

Recently, your band performed at the Wonderland Ballroom in Washington, D.C. for Capital City Showcase’s “The Wonderland Circus.” Can you tell me about that show and how it went?

Dave: That show was actually a lot of fun. Even though it was in D.C., Richmond has a lot of burlesque activity going on, so it was nice to be in a familiar environment, even though it was out of town. So that was pretty great, and the crowd was there having fun. It made for a fun time.

Jacob: Christian Hunt, who runs Capital City Comedy, does a great job putting on the shows. He does The Wonderland Circus, as well as a various other comedy and art [shows] around D.C. It was awesome working with [him].

Bobby: He likes to put on variety shows with burlesque, comedy, bands, and different sorts of art [mediums].

Has your band played any burlesque shows before?

Dave: No we haven’t. I’ve gone to burlesque shows for fun, but it’s fun to be a part of a show that has a burlesque act. Like I said, it was just a good time to be had.

Jacob: I also run a promotion company called William Albert Promotions, and I was going to work with Daniel Hill from Alchemical Records in Richmond, Va. to put on a variety show similar to Capital City, and DECIDE BY FRIDAY was going to perform [at] it. But there are liquor laws with the [Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control] where you can’t have stripping at a venue with certain kind of liquors, so it is tougher to get burlesque shows around similar venues with bands, but there are burlesque shows at bars and various other venues with the right license and whatnot.

This year, your band will be playing the fifth annual Pouzza Fest in Montreal, Canada along with MUNICIPAL WASTE, who are also from Richmond, BAD KOREA, who are from Virginia Beach, as well as more than 200 other bands from around the world.  How was your band selected?

Dave: We are super excited about that. … BAD KOREA is great, and MUNICIPAL WASTE is headlining the festival. But the rest of the bill is kind of like a “who’s who” [of the music scene]. I’m astonished that we are even going to be there. They have an application process, but it just so happens that we also helped out bands from Quebec last August. So I guess they heard of us when our application came in, and they actually listened to it and invited us back. We are working at trying to put on [better] shows and being better musicians.

DBF 3Bobby: Part of what we have always tried to do is work with local bands, but also help out with shows for bands from out of town and doing favors for people. It’s an independent music scene, so a lot depends on favors. A lot of it is about networking and meeting people, trying to help each other out to find shows, and sometimes you meet people with connections or meet people who will remember you if you play well or if you help them out.

I saw on the festival’s website that there will be some secret shows during the festival. Do you know if you will be playing one of them?

Dave: We’re not really sure of how that festival lineup is going to look yet. It’s such a big festival, it takes planning ’til the last second. But that’s also kind of the fun of the festival. When they have a mystery show and you find out that it is a band that you really like and it’s a band that people want to hear, it’s usually pretty exciting because you never know who is going to show up at the last second.

What are you most looking forward to about playing this festival?

Jacob: I think we are most looking forward to the experience of not just going to Pouzza Fest but being a part of the musical lineup for Pouzza Fest. What Pouzza Fest has done for the last five years is just phenomenal, and to be in such a culturally rich city like Montreal, there are just no words we can use to express how excited we are to have this opportunity to go up to Canada and even more excited to perform at Pouzza Fest.

Dave: I started trying to play music again a few years ago, and it didn’t go great at first. But I kept at it, and this is one of those moments where I get to travel the world doing something that I love with friends everywhere that I’ll go. So it’s one of those moments I can check off a life goal, and that is pretty great.

Bobby: Going to Montreal will be my first time out of the country, and I get to do it by being a performer, being something that people are there to see, which is exciting, especially since we’re old.

How old are you guys?DBF 5

Dave: I’ll be 32 in April.

Bobby: I turned 30 this [February].

Jacob: I just turned 22 in December.

So this will be your first time playing in a foreign country?

Jacob: I’m with Bobby. I’ve never been out of the country either, so to just physically be out of the country is amazing and even more exciting to be performing outside of the [U.S.].

Which do you enjoy playing more, house shows or venue shows?

Jacob: I personally have a [more fun] experience playing house shows. I think the atmosphere is phenomenal. Obviously venue shows are cool, and the venues in Richmond are awesome. We love playing at Strange Matter, and we love playing at The Camel. There are bigger venues that we haven’t performed at yet, but we plan to in the near future. But the atmosphere that house shows bring, very few things get better than that.

Do you have any memorable stories — good or bad — from a past house show that your band played?

Bobby: Pretty much every house show we have played has been overwhelmingly positive. We’ve had a good time and met a lot of different people. Since it is a party, basically, each one has its own “thing.” Sometimes things get crazy; sometimes things are more sedate and intimate. For a bad one, which was my fault (Jacob and Dave laugh in the background), we discovered we were going to play last, and I was there from before the house show started. I got too tired and had too much to drink before we started playing. The equipment fell apart and all this stuff. The show overall was actually really great.

Dave: It didn’t even matter (laughs). We played this house show in Chester, and it was in a backyard. By 4 p.m., the host was so drunk that he was naked. It turns out he just does this at every house show. He throws these great house parties, and he’ll have all kinds of bands — punk bands, metal bands, and a bunch of people will show up and drink. There was backyard wrestling; it had all the things. … He also works with some hip hop acts.

Jacob: I’m pretty sure that show that we played was the [most fun] time at a house show that the three of us have had as DECIDE BY FRIDAY. Basically we loaded in at 1 p.m., and it was raining, so the show delayed a little bit. But since it rained, there was mud, and it just added to the fun. I think we finished our set by 3:30 p.m., and the whole thing felt like a one-stage festival, except for it was is somebody’s backyard in a neighborhood in Chester. It went one from everybody drinking from 1 p.m. to 2 a.m., and it was phenomenal.

What are your thoughts on DIY in the Richmond music scene specifically, and the Virginia scene in general?

Jacob: The Richmond DIY scene is rich and thriving, and the way that we do that is coming together as a community and showing our artistic talents. Virginia Commonwealth University is the fourth ranked public arts school in the world by USA Today, and that draws artists from all [across] the Commonwealth into one particular area, which is VCU’s campus. Not only do they bring in arts students, but they bring students that are trying to get into the arts programs and that want to hang out with the artists and enjoy VCU because of the art reputation that it has. Not just that, but the locals around [the campus] are really into art. A lot of people around the Commonwealth migrate to Richmond for the scene that has been put together. So as far as the quality of bands and shows, there are a bunch of tiny moving parts moving all at the same time that are always moving in the right direction, which makes it always a good time.

Dave: As far as Richmond DIY, there is so much going on and so many people working on things. I think a lot of people have a lot of frustration in DIY because they think “do it yourself” means “do it alone,” and  the more people in DIY start to work collectively, people are seeing the power that comes from putting work together and how much you can raise up a creative community that you call home and have friends. But also keep working hard and moving forward so you have that life experience as a community, and [throughout] time, you start to realize how much it can grow.

Jacob: We have traveled outside of Richmond a few times, including in Winchester , Va. to play at a Coffee Roasters there, and we traveled to Virginia Beach once. There are little spots in Northern Virginia and Virginia Beach where the DIY scene is similar to Richmond as far as everyone working together as a community to make the most enjoyable event. I think the next move for the people in and outside of Richmond is to build more community within the Commonwealth and the District of Columbia, and the southern part of Maryland, so we can expand our ideas and have a bigger, better community so everyone can enjoy our particular art, whether it be with music, visual arts, booking shows, or journalism. We just know that the more people that are involved, the more musicians are working together to create better ideas and a better community.

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I know that you guys are currently working on your debut album. How much progress has been made on it?

Dave: That depends on the day (laughs). A lot of this DIY for us has been learning from scratch. Until recently, we were under the impression that we would record and produce it ourselves, which we still may do. Now that there are more people involved, we are looking at some other options. We put a lot of hours into having the chance to even have anyone care. It’s a work in progress, but at some point we will give it to everyone.

Jacob: I think the most important thing about this record is we were able to come together and really show our true colors as far as what our potential is right now with the help of our community in the City of Richmond and outside it. Fans that have been following DECIDE BY FRIDAY deserve the best quality of recording and content that they can have access to. So I think ultimately that is the goal at the end of the day — to give them what they deserve.

For more updates on DECIDE BY FRIDAY, be sure to “like” their Facebook page, and listen to The Warehouse Demos on Bandcamp.

BASING THEIR SONGS ON RIFFS, THE IVINS CREATE A “GUMBO” OF CLASSIC ROCK INFLUENCES WITH A MODERN TWIST ON THEIR UPCOMING ALBUM, THE CODE DUELLO

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INTERVIEW BY CHRIS SUAREZ

PHOTOS BY M. KROPF PHOTOGRAPHY AND BRANDON HAMBRIGHT

Formerly known as TOMORROWS, brothers Jim and Jack Ivins, or THE IVINS, are making noise under a brand new moniker with a new slew of songs that will be released on their debut album The Code Duello later this year. THE IVINS play anthemic alternative rock and roll meant to invade your radio and brainwaves. According to the brothers, the sky is the limit. As TOMORROWS, they had their music featured on the radio, television and elsewhere. Now writing new music with a renewed sense of wisdom and experience, they hope to make it big.

Who are THE IVINS?

Jim: My brother Jack and I have been playing together in various bands for about six or seven years now. For a while, we were just THE JIM IVINS BAND. That was a kind of acoustic pop-rock band. We were that for a while, then briefly changed the name to TOMORROWS in 2012. Then we became THE IVINS last year when we started recording our upcoming album. We figured that, while we liked the name TOMORROWS, it was pretty generic; so it was difficult to find us. If you Googled our name, we wouldn’t show up ‘til about page six. We hadn’t made a big dent yet as TOMORROWS, so we thought it was safe to change the name again.

Did you play in any other bands before any of these incarnations of THE IVINS? ivins 2

Jim: In high school, I played in a pop punk band called BUSTED WIRE. At one point, it was very known in the pop punk and pop-rock scene. I did that for four years then started getting more into singer-songwriter music, so that’s where JIM IVINS BAND came from. Our band, THE IVINS, now is kind of reactionary to a lack of rock music in mainstream culture. You turn on rock radio, and it’s a lot of dance music and lo-fi acoustic stuff. That’s kind of baffles me. We’ve been listening to rock and roll since we were born, so we’re all about riffs. We wanted to find a way to use our love, [as well as] rock and roll and riffs and try to modernize that into something that’s progressive and successful in today’s music world.

Jack: Jim and I have been playing together our whole lives, always jamming and whatever. I had a band in high school that was sort of like a funk band. I played with various groups. The Dominion Collective actually just did a feature with another band I play in called BURN THE BALLROOM.

Tell me about your influences. What are some of the new bands that you draw influence from? Are there any old acts you used to love that still influence you?

Jim: I listen to a lot of rock music that comes out of England. In my opinion, England and the U.K. still get rock music that’s really great. I’m really inspired by bands like OASIS and STEREOPHONICS. There’s also bands from the U.S. like GARBAGE and 30 SECONDS TO MARS. There’s definitely vibes and parts of their sounds that I really want to incorporate into our sound, sort of like a gumbo. We want to really base our songs on riffs. Going over the whole spectrum, we also look at hair metal bands like MOTLEY CRÜE and FIREHOUSE. You could also talk about LED ZEPPELIN. We also idolized them; who hasn’t?

As TOMORROWS, you had your music featured on television channels like MTV and Fox Sports. What was it like to be a burgeoning band to have your music featured on such a large platform with so much exposure?

Jim: It was crazy and such a trip. Some of those songs were tracks that even haven’t come out yet, but it got used to underscore a montage of racing scenes for some NASCAR brand of sports racing. It was pretty surreal to be featured on that. We’ve [also] gotten some songs on MTV’s The Real World. As a band on any level, it’s always crazy to hear your music on TV or the radio. Recently, we gave a song to be used on this really popular app [called Soundtracking] and got featured as song of the week. We got something like 3 million impressions. We’re just trying to make the most of any opportunity possible. The market is really over saturated right now, so opportunities that put the spotlight on you is important in the development of a band. We do it any way possible.

You said there seems to be a void for good rock and roll in the mainstream. Are there any bands out there that are actually holding it down for the genre and getting big attention?

ivins 4Jack: There’s barely any rock bands featured in top 40. There’s not a ton of stuff that I’d call “rock” that gets mainstream play that’s American.

Jim: ARCTIC MONKEYS released a bunch of songs from their new album that’s really good. A song like “Do You Want to Know” is so weird for a mainstream single to get really big, so that was pretty cool. There’s [also] that BLEACHERS record that I thought was really great. What’s interesting to see in what’s going on in the culture is that country music has kind of filled the void for rock music right now. It’s going more in a rock direction, so people seem to be getting their fill for rock music by listening to country on the radio.

Jack: I don’t think any of those bands are filling the rock void. While country music is getting a bit away from what it used to be, I don’t know if I’d say that. I’d say that maybe it’s taking more of its airspace.

Jim: I guess Jack and I have different opinions on this issue, but I’d say bands like FLORIDA GEORGIA LINE is doing it. That record by ERIC CHURCH is pretty rocking. Jack told me he saw MIRANDA LAMBERT not long ago — we know their bass player — and Jack said it was a pretty big rock show.

Jack: Yeah, while she is a really twangy country singer, they did a cover of “Rock ‘n’ Roll Hoochie Koo;” that was so awesome. That was really incredibly rocking. I can’t believe I forgot about that. This might be indicative of old stuff we listened to, but BRING ME THE HORIZON has really changed.

Jim: Yeah, they’re on the top 20 for Billboard right now. It rocks, and it’s really cool to see that.

Jack: Yeah, I know about how their singer was really messed up on drugs and got into rehab. He got out and decided he didn’t want to scream anymore because he’s not pissed off and mad anymore. Their new single is pretty much all singing. It’s mainstream accessible, but I know it’s polarizing for a lot of their fans.

Jim: I think it’s great that a band like them can break out of the underground and finally get their due after putting in for so many years, even if they have to change their style. I think it’s great.

If rock is to ever have a resurgence in mainstream radio, what will it take? What will rock sound like if it becomes popular again?

Jack: In the states, pop reigns, but if you go to Europe, rock is everywhere. They love rock in Europe.

Jim: What I think it will take, and this might sound corny, but it just comes down to songs. A really good song will always win out. An artist like ADELE is the proof in the pudding. It was only three years ago, but you had this overweight, white British singer who sounds absolutely nothing like anything on the radio and goes off to sell 25 million albums. It’s because she has really good songs. I think it’s entirely possible for rock to make a comeback, but it’s going to come down to great songs and tapping into a feeling that listeners are feeling deprived of listening to the radio. What that is? I don’t know. NIRVANA tapped into that when they got big. It just happens, but no one knows how it will happen. I think a good riff, chorus, and/or lyrics make it possible for rock to come back. I think it will come back. Hopefully we can contribute to that.

What are you guys hoping to achieve with your band?

Jim: We want to be the biggest band in the world. It’s weird and maybe it’s my own paranoia at play, but it’s become unfashionable lately to want to be successful. You hear a lot of artist say, “I just want to make music that I like; I don’t care if anyone listens or likes it,” but we’re about getting our music out to as many people as humanely possible. When U2 did that huge tour with the big claw thing in stadiums with MUSE, I saw that and thought it’d be really fun to do something like that. We want as much exposure as possible and start a movement with our music. I think that’s what every artist should want.

Jack: That was well said. If you want to be a musician that makes a career out of it and you love the music you’re playing, you’ll have people who like it. There’s some people who might not like it, but I’d certainly love to be on the same level of the FOO FIGHTERS who make great music and get to travel the world where they want and when they want. I can’t think of a better arrangement than that.

For more updates on THE IVINS, be sure to visit their website, “like” their Facebook page, follow them on Twitter and Instagram, subscribe to their YouTube channel, and catch them at the Canal Club on February 21, 2015 for The Baes of RVA Fest.