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Starting a Revival

Richmond Roots Revival celebrates two years of showcasing local music.



Dickie and Jamie Wood want to turn you on to something.

The husband and wife who front local country-rock/Americana outfit The Atkinsons are so passionate about local music that when they're not working their full-time jobs or raising their two young daughters, they're promoting shows.

Two years ago they started Richmond Roots Revival, or RRR, a monthly concert series staged at different venues, each show featuring several local bands that share one thing in common: They make original music.

"It kind of started out of frustration, really," says 41-year-old Dickie Wood, a lifelong musician originally from Northern Virginia. "A lot of people don't go out to see local shows. You can rely on friends and small fan bases only so much. … The idea behind RRR is to network, get your music heard by someone who might never hear it, and bring more people in so the bars have a good night and will want the bands back."

The format is usually one acoustic band followed by two bands with complementary styles. Using their own money and time, the Woods have already put together a compilation CD of local bands that is being sold at local music outlets and shows.

"There are so many talented bands out there that people don't know about," says Jamie Wood, no stranger to promotion from her day job as a marketing specialist for Shenandoah Shutters. "We do this mainly out of love for music — it's definitely not a big moneymaker for us."

The process to join goes like this: Local bands can visit the RRR Web site ( to network, fill out an online form to receive updates and send in press kits or samples of their music. When chosen to be featured in a monthly show, all the band has to do is show up and plug in — RRR provides the sound guy, friend and fellow Atkinsons founder/mandolin player Jeff Williams. All admission proceeds go to the bands.

Most of the shows are held at local-friendly clubs such as Poe's Pub, Cary Street Café, Shenanigans and Bogart's. But the upcoming second anniversary concert, featuring Ominotago (boyfriend/girlfriend acoustic duo), 59H2O (a rock band with a female lead singer), Pennyshaker (a funk band with a female lead singer) and The Atkinsons, is being held at the larger Alley Katz venue on Oct. 21.

Jamie Wood says already she has about 50 bands on the waiting list for 2007.

One of the upshots of putting on the shows, Wood says, is that she's become involved in booking bands for larger local festivals such as the Shockoe Craft Beer Festival, the Richmond Vegetarian Festival, Strawberry Jam, and Animal Adoption and Rescue Foundation's Puttin' on the Dog festival.

"After two years of doing this, [the event coordinators] are starting to ask us to put together bills, so we're starting to make a little money," Wood says. Most of any profit goes back into putting out CDs, she says. One idea that Dickie has been tossing around lately is having a local "tragic" song contest, then recording the show and releasing it as a themed compilation.

Wood says she's especially appreciated getting to know friendly members of the local music scene, noting that she is sometimes called the "frog lady," thanks to RRR's logo, a cartoon frog playing a banjo.

So how has the couple been able to keep it going thus far?

"One word: granddad," Dickie Wood says. "Jamie's dad comes down from King George every Thursday night and hangs out with the kids. If it wasn't for him, RRR probably wouldn't exist." S

Richmond Roots Revival celebrates its second anniversary at Alley Katz Friday, Oct. 21. Cover charge is $7. Doors open at 8 p.m. Scheduled to perform are Ominotago at 8:30; 59H2O at 9:30; Pennyshaker at 10:45; and The Atkinsons at midnight.

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