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The Music Issue 2009

What our musicians can teach us in these troubled times.



There's a lot of talky talk about the recession and rising unemployment and a nation and a culture that surely has its work cut out for it. But look at our musicians: For many of them, struggling to find a job — two nights a week and standing Saturday gigs — is the nature of the game. Recession is a way of life. (That could be a song title.)

So there are at least two things to learn from our 2009 Music Issue: how to be more like our musicians; and, with the help of our second Richmond music compilation, how to like our musicians more.

Theirs is a strange world in which a tune on the streets can make money if the decibels aren't too loud; a venue succeeds when it's not actually a venue; a band becomes a franchise. A world in which even Quaker Oats deserves a song.

And because we're pointing fingers, we offer our first annual Style Weekly Music Awards, in which the completely random is rewarded, from tightest pants to weirdest place for stage diving. Hell, if stocks can be worthless, why not awards? It's a way of finding liberation from all those things that occupy our minds, day and night. Our musicians have figured out ways to lose themselves for minutes at a time — let's take a recess from recession and follow them to the far end of their songs. — Brandon Reynolds

A Recessionary Tale Part 1: The Musicians

A Recessionary Tale Part 2: The Studios

A Recessionary Tale Part 3: The Venues

Electric Avenue: Busking brings public music and a skull mask to Richmond's streets.

Style Weekly's First Annual Music Awards

See the lineup on our free music compilation, "Sounds of Richmond No. 2," and download a copy.

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