As the decade turned a page, the stage was set for strands of Charlottesville’s scene to come together in an explosive combination. The songs of a certain Dave Matthews appealed to Mark Roebuck of The Deal, and Roebuck helped Matthews land a steady gig at Eastern Standard on the Downtown Mall (their run at the club Trax began in 1992). Boyd Tinsley, a former U.Va. student, had already established a solid musical rep in a variety of bands, and his gritty violin solos combined with Matthews’ unique singing to propel Dave Matthews Band to new strata. Guided by manager Coran Capshaw (Col ’83), DMB rode the success of 1994’s Under the Table and Dreaming to become an A-list band filling arenas and stadiums around the world.
Other bands with U.Va. links have found fertile ground beyond the region. The Sons of Bill toured Asia in 2007, after which their roots-rock sound returned to Charlottesville and the Satellite Ballroom for a show packed with U.Va. students. “We played our first show in Charlottesville, and every time we come back we get that same feeling as the first one,” said multi-instrumentalist Abe Wilson (Col ’04).
Clayton Avent (Col ’07) and his 6 Day Bender bandmates also show their roots in what they call “mountain rock.” The band, born in 2006 on Charlottesville’s Downtown Mall, throws everything from banjo plunking to cello bowing (as well as some twangy Fender Telecaster plucking) into its high-octane material, which now draws fans to shows up and down the East Coast.