CH-CH-CHANGES (video 2:00)

CH-CH-CHANGES (video 2:00)
CH-CH-CHANGES (video 2:00)
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 Julius “Ray” Pittman is the kind of musician other musicians want to play with. A lot has to do with his philosophy of letting the players play – expressing their individual musical personalities. No doubt, Julius has played with some of RVA’s best. A sold-out showcase at the Brookside Grill last Sunday afternoon was the latest case in point.



Julius began his music career fresh out of the Navy, playing guitar and singing in several rock bands, including “Bull,” which had a 5-year run on the road and recorded an album at Cleveland Recording Company studios (Grand Funk, The James Gang). He then moved on to a blues band, “All I got out of that 2 years was the blues!”



He formed his own soul group, the Kingpins, and spent the next 15 years playing predominately around Pittsburg, Philly and the Jersey Shore. He eventually got “fed up” with keeping the band together and dealing with booking agents, so he moved back towards Virginia and joined a couple of rock cover bands, including the Janitors and the Fat Ammons Band.



Along the way Julius made a career decision – give up the guitar and move to keyboards. Calling himself a “frustrated guitar player”, he realized there might just be a better way to stay employed as a musician.



Velpo, Kelli 1Howard, John 1Forming the Ray Pittman Project with brothers Will McIntyre (guitar) and Chris (drums), Julius did double duty on guitar and keys. A couple of years down the road he gave up the guitar to fully embrace keyboards and vocals with Julius Pittman and the Revival. This 8-piece musical alchemy combined some of this town’s best players into a rock, R&B and soul experience. They really cooked doing covers and originals (penned by Julius) and featured standout solos from the horns, guitars and rhythm section – and always Julius’ soulful voice. The Revival found a home playing Shenanigans’ “Tuesday Night Dance Party”, always to a packed house and dance floor.


Sunday’s band was billed as the “MoRevival,” since it featured elements of the old band along with members of MoDeBree. Julius had hoped to debut his latest “true” version of the band, but they just weren’t ready. “When you’re in trouble you call your friends and they show up. They are all such great players, it makes it so easy.” Those talented friends were Kelli Moss (vocalsl) and her husband Kevin (bass) from MoDebree. MoDeBree guitarist Velpo Robertson bridged the old with the new, having played in the original Revival.


The crowd and Julius agreed, the subs worked out just fine, “If the chemistry is there it’s going to work. Velpo and Kevin and Kelli…they came in, listened to the songs and just knocked it out. They did a great job!” Chris McIntyre on drums, Howard Smith and John Stanley on sax (all from the original Revival) rounded out Sunday’s all-star lineup.


Julius hopes the Revival, in whatever configuration, can play every couple of months so it’s more like an event – and doesn’t saturate his following. In the meantime, you can look for a new CD from the Revival soon (finishing production at Montrose Studio). There’s also a great live CD from the Shenanigan’s days (produced by Velpo) that’s available from Ellersoul Records.


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 Looking ahead: While not music per se, a new art exhibit opening 2/6 at Glave Kocen Gallery will certainly celebrate music of the 60’s and the 70’s. “Rock & Roll: A perspective of Baron Wolman and Bob Masse” will feature black and white photographs of rock icons by Wolman and psychedelic concert posters by Masse.


The River City Blues Society has announced their 5 band lineup for this year’s Bluesfest In Pocahontas State Park, Saturday May 6. Tickets are $10 per person.

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