Monticello Road
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Monticello Road

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The best kept secret in music


"Unexpectedly Good night of Music, July 2004"

July 2004
"It was one of the most unexpectedly good evenings of music I have witnessed in awhile."

"Finally, it was time for the band that had originally been booked to hit the stage. Monticello Road hopped onstage and immediately all but cleared the room.

It wasn't that the band was bad; quite the contrary. But after two fierce sets of adrenaline-laced rock music, it didn't help that Monticello Road kicked off with a cover of Widespread Panic's "Ain't Life Grand." I'm personally a fan of that particular WSP album, so I stuck around and watched. During the second song of the set, I was honestly feeling sorry for the guys in Monticello Road. The band features Jason Marshall (bass), Kyle Rannigan (vocals, guitar), Josh Manzano (drums), Adam Silvers (vocals, keys), and Vaden Cox (vocals, lead guitar). The audience had dwindled to about 10 people. The rest of the patrons had retired to Johnny Ola's adjoining bar. I was ready to chalk it up to a bad case of mismatched bands, when something pretty cool happened. The band kicked into a bluegrass number that got the 10 of us left tapping our feet unconsciously. At that point Littlejohn, Hudak and Tucker returned from the bar and began to dance around in front of the stage. The three Ex-Lovers in turn acted as pied pipers, leading their fans back into the performance space, where a serious dance floor began to form. For the rest of Monticello Road's set (which turned out to be quite good) a crowd of about 50 folks danced the night away. Tucker got so into the groove that he had to pour a cup of ice water over himself in front of the stage, a move that Littlejohn found hilarious.

The evening reached a crescendo when Monticello Road busted out a spirited version of the Who's "Baba O'Riley," which really seemed to impress the Ex-Lovers' members. Eventually, management had to flip on the lights and ask folks to leave before the 2 a.m. curfew.

It was one of the most unexpectedly good evenings of music I have witnessed in awhile, especially considering that I was originally headed home to pizza and a movie. Kudos to the Specs, the Ex-Lovers, Monticello Road and the folks at Johnny Ola's for a fun night of rock." - Post and Courier: Charleston, SC

""High Places" Monticello Road's Busy Summer, July 2004"

"I think they write honest songs," says Honeycutt in an enthusiastic endorsement of the band's studio work. And Honeycutt doesn't hesitate to draw attention to the live shows. "I've been in a live band long enough," he says,"to know where the diamond in the rough is." (Craig Honeycutt of e:verything, "Scripted Show" producer)

Published July 22, 2004 in issue 0329 of the Hook


Copies of their debut album This Scripted Show may still be warm from the presses after last year's release, but the boys of Charlottesville-based rock outfit Monticello Road are already back in the studio recording more demo tracks. Like plenty of wide-eyed hopefuls before them, they're about to make a serious bid for mainstream label attention. The catch is that they have no earthly idea what sort of record company they're looking for.

"The whole goal from the beginning was not to have one sound," says manager Jane Murphy. Three years later, that mission is still intact. Melding influences as diverse as Phish and Ryan Adams and then polishing the result with the same pop sensibility as Train and Matchbox Twenty, Monticello Road tries to cover as many stylistic bases as possible.

"We've got so many styles. It all sounds like Monticello Road, but we can play a bluegrass folk song, a singer/songwriter song, a reggae song, a funk song, a melodic song, a pop song..." explains bassist Jason Marshall, trailing off into a litany of genre names.

In fact, the band is recording two entirely separate demo compilations so that they can more effectively target different types of labels. Nashville is just as important to them as the rock and roll scene, and the unreleased track "Hallelujah" even delves into gospel. At times it can be a far cry from their southern rock roots, but they're confident that old fans will be as happy with the change as the new fans have been.

"We could probably play W&L every weekend, three shows," says Marshall of their regional success on the college circuit. They now hope to transfer that grassroots momentum to the promotional opportunities afforded by major label backing. Those goals may begin to materialize when they play a couple of high-profile shows in August, first opening for Dave Matthews in Tennessee and later headlining at Fridays after 5 here at home.

Charlottesville's favorite son is not the only industry giant watching out for them. The band counts among their mentors no less than three members of Everything, the group behind the 1998 modern rock smash "Hooch." Craig Honeycutt and Stephen Van Dam produced This Scripted Show, and Nate Brown has guided and influenced Monticello drummer Josh Manzano.

"I think they write honest songs," says Honeycutt in an enthusiastic endorsement of the band's studio work. And Honeycutt doesn't hesitate to draw attention to the live shows. "I've been in a live band long enough," he says, "to know where the diamond in the rough is."

Author: Vijith Assar - The Hook: Charlottesville, VA

""Monticello Road, No DMB Clone" October 2003"

"it might not have a brand name affixed to it, but the vehicle that this quintet has chosen handles well on the highway they've built for it."

By Grant Britt Ever

Since Dave Matthews made a name for himself with his eclectic mix of world beat and pop, his adopted hometown of Charlottesville, Virginia, has become known for spawning bands that blur the lines between musical genres. In the late '90s a group of friends who were [finishing school] in Charlottesville started getting together to play music. The outfit began as the Rockfish band, but by 1999 had developed a following and was calling itself Monticello Road.

The band is bassist Jason Marshall; Kyle Rannigan on guitar and vocals; Josh Manzano, drums; Adam Silvers on vocals, keys, and sax; Vaden Cox on lead guitar and vocals; and ex-Majahkamo sax and washboard player Jake Covington.

The band describes their sound as Southern rock with a college twist, but it is not exactly what most who were around at its genesis remember Southern rock sounding like---it's not dangerous enough, nor loud enough to be Skynyrd. It's more like Marshall Tucker goes to college up north. It's an interesting mix of earnest anthemic tone that Blowfish boys graced so many frat parties with, but now and then you get a whiff of some jackleg whiskey and stale reefer that lets you know these boys ain't no strangers to getting down. "Belmont Song Pt I" confirms that theory, managing to cram all their get-down creds into one sentence, declaring that the band is keeping Bud in business this year while kickin' it all night with that funky bluegrass sound and rolling with their homies--a Hootie in the 'hood feel. If there's any high and lonesome here, it's well hidden. That reference may be included so that the band can still fit in the jam band category. Outside the washboard, there's doesn't seem to be anything in the band's trailer for these boys to strum, pluck or rattle that might provide anything remotely Monroe-ish.

The band warmed up in Charlottesville Starr Music Hall, which as well as hosting national acts including Norah Jones, Sam Bush and Patty Griffin gives opportunities to obscure bands who it believes are capable of making it big.

Bolstered by their local success, the band has been touring the East Coast with bands including Virginia Coalition and Fighting Gravity.

Success has changed the band's outward appearance, if not their attitude. for the cover of their latest release, The Scripted Show, the band chose more traditional attire, dressing like businessmen complete with ties rather than naked rock and roll hooligans, but that look is apparently a fleeting affair. For conduction their day-to-day business, the band is clad in more traditional rock garb of T-shirts, but not just any shirts--the band sports tees from the same firm that designs the clothes that adorn the backs of Dave Matthews Band and their zillions of fans who want to look like them.

Whether wearing clothes or not, Monticello Road's business is still a pretty lively affair. "The Edge," from The Scripted Show has a U2 feel to it. "Lowdown" has a rough and ready Springsteen quality. Then there's the gritty, lowlife braggadocio of "Belmont Song Pt. II"--"we're just some gangstas who roll from the East Side."

It might not have a brand name affixed to it, but the vehicle that this quartet has chosen handles well on the highway they've built for it.

Author: ESP Magazine - Greensboro, NC - ESP Magazine: Greensboro, NC, October 2003

"The C-ville Culture Bin: Sept 23, 2003"

“Monticello Road is one local act worth watching. For three years they’ve been honing their music, putting together the regional influences of Southern roots/rock, bluegrass, jazz, and pop. With the release of their second CD, This Scripted Show, the boys from Belmont can add “inheritors of ‘The Hooch’” to their list of achievements.” - The C-ville, Charlottesville, VA Sept 23, 2003

"Review of Scripted Show CD release, Sept 26th, 2003"

Source: 10/7/03 Monticello Road Sept. 26th Starr Hill Music Hall

Everything except the keg of Natty Light was in place at Monticello Road's Starr Hill CD release for This Scripted Show. The band, now in its fourth year, seems to have built a decent fan base in the lucrative market of local high school and college students, which gave their performance a frat party flavor. They were in their element among this audience of friends, drawing off the energy of the dancing crowd, with front man Kyle Rannigan encouraging folks to sing along if they knew the words to some of the familiar tunes.

The Road's sound gravitates toward the easy-to-digest pop music you might expect to hear on Clear Channel Radio. With This Scripted Show, their sophomore album, they branch out into other areas, including blues and country-one of my favorites was the cover of a John Hiatt song, “Dust Down A Country Road," that had guitarist Vaden Cox taking over on vocals. The band even does a little rap on the new CD."

Ben Sellers - The C-ville, October 7, 2003

""Into the Big time" Roanoke Times Nov. 2004"

Source: Roanoke Times, November 17th, 2004

The past 12 months have been very kind to Monticello Road. Since the release of its first full-length album — 2003's "This Scripted Show" — the Charlottesville five-piece has toured most of the East Coast, been voted best local rock band by readers of the C-Ville weekly magazine and performed on the second stage at a Dave Matthews Band concert in Nashville, Tenn. Not to mention increasingly frequent airplay on radio stations from South Carolina to Washington, D.C.

With their mix of traditional rock, country and Southern boogie-woogie, they may be next in a line of regional acts such as Bruce Hornsby, Dave Matthews and Agents of Good Roots to break out of Virginia and into the big time.


Q: Although you guys are a Southern rock band, to call you one would be selling you short. How do you explain your sound?

A: Kyle Rannigan (vocals, guitar): It's a mix of everything, really. I guess you could say we're part of the "Piedmont sound."

Q: Musically, who influenced you?

A: Josh Manzano (drums): Jon Fishman of Phish is a big one for me.

Jason Marshall (bass): Dave Matthews and Ryan Adams.

Vaden Cox (guitar, vocals): James Taylor and my mom, Brenda. She has a big influence over me. As far as guitar? Eric Clapton and Duane Allman.

Adam Silvers (vocals, keyboards): Ryan Adams and nothing else ... except for the voices in my head.

Kyle: Bruce Springsteen, the Rolling Stones and Ryan Adams. Discovering him has had a tremendous effect on my songwriting.

Q: Now that you're back in Charlottesville and the tour is pretty much over, do you have any good war stories?

A: Kyle: Man, we got pulled over, like, five times.

Adam: Once, our manager - who was sober - was driving and they stopped us.

Vaden: And we practically had a whole ABC store in the van. He walks up and asks, 'Has anyone been drinking?' and Kyle yells out from the back ...

Kyle: 'Man, we all have!' It was so bad. We got away though.
- Roanoke Times, Nov. 2004

""Friday's Free again, Fun Always": Sept. 2004"

"One of the younger local bands, Monticello Road has come a long way from its standard frat-rock cover band beginnings. The musicians blend pop rock acoustic fun with the confidence and coordination of a group seasoned by touring."

At the east end of the Mall on Friday, the boys commanded the audience's attention without being overbearing or annoying. (The spectacular weather didn't hurt!)"

Full article"

Source: 9/02/04 The Hook PHOTOPHILE - Fridays!: Free again, fun always.
Fridays!: Free again, fun always

Fridays after 5 is a staple of Charlottesville life. It's grown from year to year and many charities that benefit from its proceeds hope it will continue forever. While it stumbled a little last year, with the $3-$5 admission charge and many rained-out nights, this looks like a year of redemption.

Two early-season rain-outs raised fears about the event's viability, but by the end of June, organizers announced that they felt confident that the new amphitheater on this site run by developer/band manager Coran Capshaw would welcome it back.

Meanwhile, the sun has shone on much of this year's schedule including popular local groups such as King Wilkie, Corey Harris & The 5x5, Terri Allard, Big Ray & The Kool Kats, and Monticello Road-- who played Friday, August 27.

One of the younger local bands, Monticello Road has come a long way from its standard frat-rock cover band beginnings. The musicians blend pop rock acoustic fun with the confidence and coordination of a group seasoned by touring.

At the east end of the Mall on Friday, the boys commanded the audience's attention without being overbearing or annoying. (The spectacular weather didn't hurt!)

Despite bigger crowds, heavier traffic, and scarcer and scarcer parking, Fridays gives every indication of continuing to be a cornerstone of the downtown scene for the foreseeable future. There are still a few Fridays left to get in on the action.

See you there!
for photos included visit link below:

Author: Lincoln Ross Barbour

- The Hook, Sept. 2004

""Foreigner's Postponed, but music fun isn't drying up" : Sept. 2003"

By Kate Andrews
Daily Progress staff writer

Provided the Charlottesville is left standing after the national tour of Hurricane Isabel, there is some frolicsome music in store. Fridays After Five, which has been cursed with rainy weather this year, is postponing the Foreigner show---scheduled for this evening---until Sept. 28. We'll let you know if the locusts descend.

Monticello Road's indoor engagement on Sept. 26 may be a more reliable event to pencil in your calendar. The local group, which is working to shed it "Southern rock" label, will release its second album,” This Scripted Show." "There's this natural hint of country," said Jason Marshall, the band's bassist. "I think it's a Piedmont kind of sound." Monticello Road also includes Kyle Rannigan (singer, guitarist), Josh Manzano (drummer), Adam Silvers (singer, keyboard player, and saxophonist) and Vaden Cox (singer, lead guitarist). Saxophone player and washboard musician Jake Covington and violinist Jason Scully are frequent guests.

The band is expanding its sound and has acquired a poppier edge. One track, "Lowdown," has gained airplay recently on WWW-FM, the local rock station. There's a touch of Train and John Mayer in the song--and not a taste of Lynyrd Skynyrd. Perhaps some of the group's new pop leanings can be attributed to producers Craig Honeycutt and Steve VanDam, former members of Everything. Producing the album took a month or two, Marshall said, including a couple of weeks of preproduction rehearsing, a weeklong recording session in Falls Church, fine tuning the album in Honeycutt's and Van Dam's Sperryville studio and , finally mixing the CD.

"We're starting to make a lot of connections," Marshall said. The group hopes to open for some big names in coming months and score gigs in larger venues, including in the Carolinas. Still, "we're just excited to play," Marshall noted. "I just think it's going to be a party. Monticello Road, with opener Wrinkle Neck Mules, will perform at 10 p.m. Sept 26 at Starr Hill Music Hall,
709 W. Main St. Tickets are $8. Call 977-0047.

Author: DP Extra - Charlottesville, Va
- The Daily Progress, Charlottesville, VA

""Monticello Road takes a new direction with CD style" July 2003"

Source: 7/25/03
By: Kate Andrews, Staff Writer

"Monticello Road takes a new direction with CD style"
By Kate Andrews Daily Progress staff writer

"Talk about hot of the press, the members of Monticello Road just picked up the master copy of their new album this past week. "This Scripted Show," a title pulled from the lyrics of the first track, "Memphis," will arrive on the Charlottesville scene in September. But for now, it's in the hands of a select few.

Singer and guitarist Kyle Rannigan said the album marks a departure from the group’s old sound. "We've been labeled as Southern rockers,” he said. "We've moved away from that, (but) we are piano driven. It's kind of like Bruce Hornsby meets the Allman Brothers. Or, like the far-flung style of the Grateful Dead, Rannigan said, "minus the psychedelic drug thing."

The band which will play tonight in Charlottesville has been lying low this summer, focusing on the album after extensive East Coast touring at the start of the year. In the spring the group recorded in Falls Church for eight days and finished the album in Sperryville, where producers Craig Honeycutt and Steve VanDam, also members of the group Everything, have a studio.

"We were in there morning, noon and night and kind of went a little stir crazy," said singer Adam Silvers, who also plays saxophone and keyboards. "I was a little nervous, and I was surprised at how well everything turned out." The album, he said, is more representative of Monticello Road than an earlier demo, which was full of songs the band no longer plays. Silvers' only regret is that a few songs written since June, when they had finished recording and mixing the album, couldn't be included.

Next on the band's plate is a heavy tour schedule, picking up where it left off at the beginning of the year. This time they're focusing on the South, despite dipping their toes into the New York scene during their first touring stint. Also, Monticello Road will perform more often in Charlottesville, a scene Silvers said he felt the band neglected during the recording process. "We've done a lot better in the South than we've done in the North," Silvers said.

Cox, Marshall and Silvers, though may do well to stay away from a certain hotel in Wilmington, N.C. The trio got hollered at and thrown out of the pool during a 3:30a.m. dip, Rannigan revealed.

The members include bassist Jason Marshall, drummer Josh Manzano, lead guitarist and singer Vaden Cox and saxophone and washboard player Jake Covington, singer guitarist Kyle Rannigan. Violinist Jason Scully also may make a guest appearance, Rannigan said. Covington, who left the new West Coast-based Majahkamo because of a difference of opinion, may be moving to Chicago soon, Rannigan said. "We love him playing with us."

Still, the group will carry on, and things are looking up because Rannigan, the last member with a full-time job, is going to part-time in two weeks. "We're much more proud of this CD than anything we've done before," Silvers said. Monticello Road will intersect with opener Georgia Avenue(a young group that Rannigan says leans toward a Coldplay sound) tonight at Starr Hill Music Hall, 709 W. Main St. Tickets are $8, $7 in advance, and the show starts at 10 p.m. Call 977-0017.

Author: DP Extra - Charlottesville, Va
- The Daily Progress, Charlottesville, VA

""Following the Frat Kegger Road to Success": May 2005"

Friday's After Five Preview
"Following the Frat Kegger to Success"
May 10th, 2005

"Monticello Road leads a double life. Onstage, the band captures the fun-seeking, frat-boy irreverence needed to appeal to high school and college-aged concertgoers. Their busines strategy, however, tells a different story: The Band has its own manager, is testing out a booking agency and has even formed into a limited liability corporation.

Professional keg-tapping music? Perhaps. But "The Road" is serious about shaping itself into on of the region's major successes. In addition to its rigourous touring through the Mid-Atlantic college circuit, the band, now in its sixth year, has continued to polish and reinvent its sound, exploring diverse genres like country, gospel, and rap from within a base of catch pop-rock tunes.

And if the Simon Cowell's of the critic world have sometimes scoffed at the band's mainstream bent, Monticello Road is crying all the way to the top. Local radio and media favorably received their 2003 EP, "This Scripted Show." In 2004, C-VILLE voters named them Charlottesville's best local rock band.

"The guys in the band realize that they don't have to be the cutting edge to enjoy what they're doing," says bassist Teswar Wood, who joined the group in February following the departure of longtime member Jason Marshall. "Our goal a lot of times is to be good at what we do."

Wood, previously a member of neo-soul trio The Digs, Says he hopes to add "a fresh perspective" to Monticello Road's long-term vision. "I do my best to throw out ideas of what I think would push the envelope a little bit more"

Meanwhile, says manager Jane Murphy, the boys are keeping close to the studio to record their newest material and "are more committed than ever to keep going and to keep refining their craft 'til something big happens."

Monticello Road's current lineup features Wood on bass, vocalist and guitarist Kyle Rannigan, lead guitarist Vaden Cox, drummer Josh Manzano, keyboard player Adam Silvers and frequent guest fiddle player Jason Scully."

Ben Sellers - The C-ville, May 10th, 2005


"All 1,000 Lbs" 2000
"This Scripted Show" 2003
4-song Demo 2004

Several Songs off "This Scripted Show" have received regular airplay on Charlottesville's 97.5/3WV, and 91.9/WNRN, and Harrisonburg's 98 Rock and college station WXJM, along with adventure radio stations in South Carolina, among others.
Songs of the 4 song demo have received airplay on Charlottesvilles 3WV and WNRN.


Feeling a bit camera shy


Monticello Road was unofficially formed in the summer of 1999 by five natives of Charlottesville, VA. In September 2003, the band released it's first major studio effort, "This Scripted Show." The album was produced by Craig Honeycutt and Steve Van Dam, formerly of e:verything, and recorded at Cue studios in Northern Virginia.Several Songs off "This Scripted Show" have received regular airplay on Charlottesville's 97.5/3WV, and 91.9/WNRN, and Harrisonburg's 98 Rock and college station WXJM, along with adventure radio stations in South Carolina, among others. The band then proceeded to tour the East coast to promote the album. Known for their high energy shows, memorable choruses, distinctive harmonies, and dance-inducing bass-lines, the band has become a favorite in the college market and an emerging talent on the southeast music scene.

In the summer of 2004, Monticello Road was named "the best rock band in Charlottesville" by the readers of the C-ville, and picked to perform side-stage for the Dave Matthews Band. That summer the band returned to the studio to record a four-song demo of new material. Songs from that demo received radioplay on Charlottesville's 3WV and WNRN during regular rotation.

In early June, Monticello Road wrapped up work on a 3 song demo of their newest material. The demo has already received local radioplay. The band plans to use the demo to market themselves to record labels and garner industry attention.

Monticello Road has been managed by Jane Murphy since February 2003 and in February 2005 they took on Jay Silverman at Degy International as their full-time booking agent.

By all indications, Monticello Road seems poised for a major break. The band is more committed than ever to do what it takes to "make it" in the business. Some would say they already have.