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Sunday, July 27, 2008

CD Review: Virigina Coalition - Home This Year

Virginia Coalition - Home This Year
2008, Bluhammock music

Virginia Coalition started out in Alexandria, VA in the early 1990's. Three high school friends (Andy Poliakoff, lead vocals/guitar; Paul Ottinger, keyboards/percussion/guitar/vocals; Jarrett Nicolay, bass, guitar, banjo, vocals) who are still making music together 15 years, Virginia Coalition has undergone a lot of changes. Home This Year sees a departure from the bombast and jam-band gimmicks of the past for a more mature, introspective songwriting style. The change has been coming as a matter of the band's growth, but was a conscious choice as well.

Home This Year is an incredibly accessible and thoughtful album. There are echoes of bands like the Counting Crows here, but Virgina Coalition has very much its own sound. The title track, Home This Year is an ode to the loneliness and desire to get back to loved ones a band feels while on the road, and comes across as the most highly personal song on the album. Santa Fe is a wonderful story song with classic Americana elements. Stars Align is a mellow rocker with intricate guitar trim around the edges and a bridge/chorus that are instantly familiar.

Make sure to check out Not Scared, which was co-written with Ari Hest. Period instrumentation from the 1960's was used to capture a time-capsule feel to this song about the difficulties society sometimes places in the path of interracial relationships. Sing Along is this writer's favorite song on the album, and Same Page is a very, very close second. The rest of the album is in the same vein, closing out with a double of Look My Way and I Got This One.

Home This Year
is a watershed album for Virginia Coalition. Here is where they crossed the line from being a good band to a great one, as they've raised the level of their songwriting and performance another notch with Home This Year. It would be hard not to find something here to connect with, and I strongly recommend Virginia Coalition's Home This Year to my readers!

Rating: 4.5 Stars (Out of 5)

To learn more about Virginia Coalition, check out You can order a copy of Home This Year at

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