Molly Ringwald Visiting WV for The Breakfast Club Screening!

Actress Molly Ringwald will visit Huntington, WV at 3pm Sun, Feb. 21st for a 30th anniversary screening of The Breakfast Club at the Keith Albee Theater. Tickets are $40-45 and can be purchased via the Marshall Artists Series Box Office at 304-696-6656 or Ticketmaster. Molly will share stories and answer questions after the film.

Molly Ringwald Official Site

Support Independent Bookstores Saturday!

Saturday is apparently “Small Business Saturday” as well as “Indies First Day,” in which authors and book lovers are being encouraged to support their local independent bookshops. Therefore, I encourage all local bookworms to visit Charleston, WV’s only independent bookstore, Taylor Books, on that day or any day. You can also order books and ebooks/epubs from Taylors online, but it’s worth the trip for the bookshop’s atmosphere.

Now that Trans Allegheny closed, Taylor Books is my favorite bookstore on this side of the Atlantic and has thankfully survived the invasion and demise of chain bookstores in the area. Oh and if you don’t like books (how strange and sad), Taylors also has the best coffee in Charleston – I especially like the Nicaraguan Vienna dark roast blend. If you don’t like books or coffee, I really don’t know how you live.

If you do like books and are looking for recommendations for Indies First Day, my personal favorite books of all time are: Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy (I recently bought this lovely edition from Taylor Books myself to add to my somewhat obsessive Return of the Native collection), The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut and pretty much everything else written by Kurt Vonnegut or Edith Wharton. More modern favorites have been Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand, The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, The Book Thief and anything by Kate Morton, Maggie O’Farrell and Victoria Hislop.

I also highly recommend the more modern classic The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows, which is now being adapted for a movie. You can read my rave review of it here. I first heard about the Guernsey book from a former manager of Taylors and it was a longtime staff pick on the shelves there. I’ve since given copies of the book to several friends, all of whom loved it as much as I did.

Other favorite bookstores of mine on both sides of the Atlantic: Empire Books in Huntington, WV; Two Sisters bookery, Old Books on Front Street and Pomegranate Books in Wilmington, NC; and The Winding Stair, Hodges Figgis and Chapters in Dublin, Ireland.

It would be very nice if independent bookstores get the kind of support from Indies First Saturday that Record Store Day brings to indie music shops.

Jeff Ellis: CD Giveaway & New Tour Dates

Contest Closed

West Virginian singer-songwriter Jeff Ellis has returned home from his second US Army tour of duty in Iraq. I’m happy to have the opportunity to give away 1 copy of his magnificent CD The Forgetting Place (click the album title to read my rave review). Jeff will also be performing live at several local venues. Tour dates and giveaway details are below…

The Prize:

1 copy of Jeff Ellis’ new CD The Forgetting Place

The Rules:

Comment to this entry with your email address and the name of your favorite local artist (or just your favorite artist if you don’t like anyone in your locality). All new comments are moderated to avoid spam (which is why you must include the required text in your comment), so it may take a day for your comment to appear if you haven’t commented on Muruch before.

Note: This contest is open to everyone, but all contestants must enter with a valid email address and the name of an artist in order to qualify. The winner of the contest will also be required to provide me with their full name, phone number and postal address for shipping purposes.

The Deadline:

The contest will end on Friday, August 27th. The winner will be chosen at random and contacted via email.

Go now go! And tell others.

Jeff Ellis Tour Dates:

Aug 6 – Harley Davidson Store – Huntington, WV
Aug 13 – Live On The Levee – Charleston, WV
Aug 14 – V Club – Huntington, WV
Aug 26 – Pullman Sq. Summer Series – Huntington, WV
Sept 4 – Chief Logan State Park Amphitheater – Logan, WV
Sept 15 – Borders Bookstore (850 Grand Central Mall) – Vienna, WV
Sept 16 – Jackie O’s – Athens, OH
Sept 17 – Borders Bookstore (120 Huntington Mall) – Barboursville, WV
Sept 18 – Fairplain Yacht Club – Ripley, WV
Sept 19 – Borders Bookstore (9459 Colerian Ave) – Cincinnati, OH
Sept 20 – Borders Bookstore (4530 Eastgate Blvd) – Cincinnati, OH
Sept 21 – Borders Bookstore (2700 Miamisburg Centerville Rd) – Dayton, OH
Sept 23 – Borders Bookstore (6670 Sawmill Rd) – Columbus, OH
Sept 24 – The Boulevard Tavern – Charleston, WV
Sept 25 – 123 Pleasant – Morgantown, WV
Oct 2 – Huntington Music & Arts Fest – Huntington, WV
Oct 14 – The Purple Fiddle – Thomas, WV
Oct 15 – Jabberwock – Elkins, WV
Oct 16 – Court Street Grill – Pomeroy, OH
Oct 29 – Empty Glass – Charleston, WV
Oct 30 – Shamrocks – Huntington, WV

Buy @ Amazon

Jeff Ellis

Jeff Ellis MySpace

Jeff Ellis: The Forgetting Place

The Forgetting Place is the upcoming fourth album by Jeff Ellis, an incredibly talented local singer-songwriter from Huntington, West Virginia. I didn’t doubt that any album released by NewSong Recordings would be good, but I was still surprised at the high quality of these songs. Ellis was the winner of Mountain Stage‘s 2008 NewSong Contest. He is currently serving a thirteen-month deployment in Iraq, but his true calling is obviously music. The Forgetting Place will be released by NewSong Recordings on March 23rd.

it’s a solemn retreat from things that won’t let you be
when all you want is to be left alone
or a drunkard’s delight, a safe place in the night
for those who don’t want to go home, no,
for those who don’t want to go home

The album’s title The Forgetting Place and the lyrical content of the songs were inspired by Ellis’ own breakup (judging from these songs, it didn’t end well) and feature characters he created that were trying to forget their own painful situations.

Tracks like the opener “If He’s So Good To You” and “Still Ain’t Over You Yet” are catchy, guitar heavy Americana songs slightly reminiscent of Tom Petty.

Though the acoustics are soft and dusky on the harmonica accented “Russell and Honeybee” and piano driven “Is Something The Matter,” Jeff’s soulful vocals and poetic lyrics make the two songs stand out more than the harder tracks.

“Fooled” has a great blend of light blues, country, and rock. As Jeff can be heard saying at the end, “Well, the four of us played that pretty damn near perfect.”

“Jealousy” throws some beautiful bluegrass instrumentation into the mix, and the lovely title track seems to have a Medieval folk twist to it.

I hesitate to bestow such a weighty compliment on any one album, but there are moments in The Forgetting Place that almost remind me of the late, great Vic Chesnutt. But there are also songs that remind me of everyone from Springsteen to Live to Chris Thile. You have to love a record that can’t really be pinned down to one comparison. It’s just really great music.

Ellis will spend his two weeks of leave from the Army in West Virgina this month performing at several local venues to support the album release. He’ll do a solo acoustic performance at Empire Books in Huntington, WV on Saturday, March 20th and a set with a full band at The Empty Glass in Charleston, WV on Thursday, March 25th.

I really hope Jeff makes it home again to fully devote his life to music, because this guy needs to be more than just a local musician.

Jeff Ellis – The Forgetting Place (mp3 expired) *

*mp3 provided by & posted w/ permission of record label

Buy @ Amazon

Jeff Ellis

Jeff Ellis MySpace