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VMFA announces Richmond Sessions ’22–’23 Recording Artists

The series spotlighting revered guitarists will kick off on October 12th on YouTube.

Trevor Dickerson

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The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA) announced today that its Richmond Sessions ’22–’23 series, featuring recorded studio sessions by more than a dozen recognized guitarists, will launch online October 12, 2022. In conjunction with the museum’s highly anticipated exhibition Storied Strings: The Guitar in American Art, a new recording will be released every other week through March 2023. Richmond Sessions ’22–’23 videos will be hosted on VMFA’s YouTube channel and linked on the museum’s website.

On view at VMFA from October 8, 2022, to March 19, 2023, Storied Strings: The Guitar in American Art will explore the guitar as a visual subject, enduring symbol and storyteller’s companion. Strummed everywhere from parlors and front porches to protest rallies and rock arenas, the guitar also appears far and wide in American art. Its depictions enable artists and their human subjects to address topics that otherwise go untold or under-told.

“Inspired by the famous Bristol Sessions of 1927, which are regarded as the origins of commercial country music, Richmond Sessions ’22–’23 will be a unique extension of the museum’s exhibition,” said Dr. Leo G. Mazow, VMFA’s Louise B. and J. Harwood Cochrane Curator of American Art and exhibition organizer. “With such multifaceted and expressive possibilities, a guitar is as meaningful to see and hear as it is fun to play.”

Taped in an impressive, fully functioning recording studio constructed within VMFA’s Storied Strings exhibition, Richmond Sessions ’22–’23 will feature an eclectic roster of musicians, some with Virginia ties, representing a variety of genres including folk, jazz, blues, country and rock, played on acoustic and electric guitars.

The first Richmond Sessions ’22–’23 recording, featuring folk musician Lucy Kaplansky, will drop on October 12. Musicians slated to appear in future sessions include Wilco guitarist Nels Cline; guitarist, singer and songwriter Cat Dail and guitarist Felicia Collins (Late Show with David Letterman); internationally renowned guitarist Tommy Emmanuel; blues and roots guitarist Corey Harris; jazz guitarist Joel Harrison and multi-genre guitarist Anthony Pirog; The Long Ryders’ Stephen McCarthy (who has also toured and recorded with The Jayhawks) and The Bitter Liberals’ Charles Arthur; Retrosphere’s Seamus McDaniel; folk and blues guitarist Elizabeth Wise; and acoustic guitarist Yasmin Williams.

The recording studio will be fitted with quality equipment loaned by Digital Video Group and Ear Trumpet Labs, and premium microphones and monitors loaned by Sennheiser and Neumann. In partnership with VMFA, the award-winning Richmond-based recording studios In Your Ear will produce Richmond Sessions ’22–’23.

“In Your Ear is proud to partner with VMFA on this innovative and thoughtful project, and we’re excited to work with such accomplished musicians in the recording studio,” said Paul Bruski, Chief Engineer/Sound Designer at In Your Ear Studios. “We look forward to sharing Richmond Sessions ’22–’23 with museum visitors and listeners near and far.”

Special guitars by Virginia makers on display in the recording studio include a “Virginia Guitar” crafted from wood gathered throughout the Commonwealth by Wayne Henderson and two guitars from Huss & Dalton and Rockbridge Guitar Company.

To learn more about the Richmond Sessions ’22–’23 roster of musicians and upcoming recording release dates, visit www.VMFA.museum.

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Trevor Dickerson is the Editor and Co-Founder of RVAHub.