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Saturday, January 15
6pm
9:30 Club
Washington, DC

Virginia Coalition is a band that has made its reputation with the blazing energy of its live shows and ability to play almost any style of music. Home This Year sees the band moving in a new direction. They’ve blended their diverse influences into a sound all their own with a maturity and attention to detail that shines on every track. The band’s core members – Andy Poliakoff, lead vocals, guitar; Paul Ottinger, keyboards, percussion, guitar, vocals and Jarrett Nicolay, bass, guitar, banjo, vocals – have always delighted fans with their ability to confound expectations. On previous albums, their songs often featured arrangements that veered off in unanticipated directions moving from funk to rock, from go go to soul. “It’s good being eclectic,” says Poliakoff. “It keeps you on your toes musically, and it’s fun, but we wanted to get back to some serious songwriting. In the past few years, we were writing for the live shows, endless groove things that are far from what we wrote when we were starting out. We wanted to get back to that original creative impulse and focus on our songwriting.” The band ventured cross country to California and got to work, challenging themselves to find a more emotionally intense means of expression. “There’s a value to the time you put into a project,” Poliakoff explains. “We didn’t allow ourselves to be satisfied with the first, or even third version of a song. We’re getting older, and we wanted more than bombast. We wanted to look outside ourselves and find something more reflective, more truthful, more universal, to open a new chapter in the band’s songwriting history.” For the first time, they collaborated with other songwriters, including Brooklyn folk-rocker Ari Hest, New Orleans-based bluesman Anders Osborne, Maia Sharp who wrote “A Home” for the Dixie Chicks, and the album’s Producer, Marshall Altman (Marc Broussard, Matt Nathanson). “Marshall is a phenomenal musician,” Poliakoff says. “His ability to tweak the arrangements and get us deeper into the music and our emotions was outstanding. He was there the whole time, pushing us to do better.” Ottinger adds his praise: “He’s a strong songwriter and arranger. Every time you’d pick up a guitar and sing, he’d get down to every hook, every chord, every lyric. ‘Is that a strong emotion?’ ‘Is that what you really want to say?’ He helped us blend all our influences into a voice that‟s new, but still reflects our past.”

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