The year’s end is an opportunity to reflect, to look back on what’s worth cherishing about this last trip around the Sun. Maybe even make a list of the albums or movies you most enjoyed. Then again, it’s hard to focus retrospectively given how much there is to look forward to with the Richmond music scene.
Several of the city’s artists are carrying tremendous momentum into January, and the moves they’re making started to show before 2021 kindly accepted our invitation to see itself out. Here are four artists expected to release albums in 2022, each a reason to face the possibilities of a new year with open ears.
Erin & the Wildfire
Their final in-town show of 2021 may have taken place back in October at Brambly Park Winery, but the new compositions from that set have continued to echo as if they played them yesterday. Instantly gripping pop hooks foretold a memorable next chapter for the tight and dynamic band with a namesake whose voice can go anywhere and do anything. The 2017 LP, “Thirst,” established the group’s firm grasp of genre and mood, and if the single they released late in 2021, “Ray of Sunshine,” is any indication, the future is wildly bright for Erin Lunsford and company.
To tide you over: Erin & the Wildfire – “Ray of Sunshine”
Timothy Bailey & The Humans
If you’d been a fly on the wall at Spacebomb Studios in December, you’d have witnessed tracking for a new album of lush rock songs from Timothy Bailey & The Humans. You would have looked on as Chad Clark of Beauty Pill and Creative Capital grantee Bob Massey lent their production ears and expertise. And you’d have listened in as a dream team of session players – trumpeter Bob Miller, vocalist Erin Lunsford and flautist Lauren Serpa among them – lent their considerable skills. It will be interesting to see how the buzz for this album builds early next year.
To tide you over: Timothy Bailey – “Length of String”
Ali Thibodeau’s debut full-length under the Deau Eyes banner, “Let It Leave,” stood out among 2020 albums from Richmond-based artists, radiating brightness and directness in both her songwriting and singing. Songs like “Some Do” and “Paper Stickers” sent a positive energy out into the world when it was desperately needed. The next Deau Eyes LP is reportedly due out in 2022 and “When,” the single she shared in November of 2021, picks up right where “Let It Leave” left off, with lyrics that promise to bring out the brightness in listeners: “Hey, I see you/You matter more than you think you do.”
To tide you over: Deau Eyes – “When”
No BS! Brass Band
Bands that thrive onstage can sometimes struggle to capture that magic in the studio. Not so with No BS! Brass Band. Richmond’s signature live act has been successfully bottling its power and precision for more than a decade, from “No BS!” (2010) and “RVA All Day” (2013) to “Brass Knuckles” (2015). It certainly helps when you have a studio-owning drummer whose ear for engineering is as finely tuned as Lance Kohler’s, and No BS! Instagram posts from November 2021 show trombone and trumpet tracking at Kohler’s Minimum Wage Studios. While we await the sounds from those sessions, be sure to check out the high-energy, one-take Hourglass Sessions performance video of new song, “Vibrate Higher.”
To tide you over: No BS! Brass Band – “Vibrate Higher”