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Old Home Week

Virginia Coalition makes album release a Titans’ night

Playing at one of DC's biggest venues is great, Paul Ottinger said, and it's also really nice to be celebrating the release of his band's third CD.

But the best part is filling the evening with friends.

"The singlemost cool thing in addition to the CD release party at the 9:30 Club is the T. C. connection,” said Ottinger, the keyboard player with Virginia Coalition.

When Virginia Coalition holds their CD release party at the 9:30 Club on Jan. 10, it will be an All Alexandria event. Jack Bryant, drummer for the opening, is a T.C. Williams alumnus. Next up are the Worrystones, whose drummer and bassist are both also former Titans.

“Then of course, all of us went to T.C.,” Ottinger said. “It’s going to be really cool.”

THE IMPROMPTU T.C. REUNION comes as a celebration for the release of VaCo’s third CD, “Rock & Roll Party,” available in stores Jan. 21. There is something of a theme to the record, Ottinger said, a “joke theme.”

One song references more than 20 pop songs from the 1980s - “As many as we could cram into it,” Ottinger said. “We tried to be a little more relaxed about what we let go on this third record. It has kind of a joke theme. We took a lot of musical passages and made a joke of them.”

As usual, songwriting efforts for “Rock & Roll Party” were a group effort. “The singers brought in some of the music and it was pretty defined,” Ottinger said. “But, like all of our music, it was really a collaborative process.”

The album’s songs show a distinct influence from the past, but also marks a logical progression in the group’s recordings.

“We thought there was something really charming about our first record even though it wasn’t as professional as the second,” Ottinger said. “There was just something we liked about it. Our second CD was a step up, technically, but some of us just think that the first one was more endearing than the second.”

“Rock & Roll Party” also means a step up in terms of distribution. Where previous albums were released independently and distributed mostly through band members’ efforts, Rock & Roll Party will be distributed by DCN. “They’re not really a label but specialize in web casts,” Ottinger said. “For the first time, though, we will have national distribution and we’re pretty excited about that.”

VACO has CD release parties planned for New York, Chicago and Nashville in addition to the one in DC at the 9:30 Club.

JACK’S HOUSE AND THE WORRY Stones, the bands sharing the bill with VaCo at the 9:30 Club, bring their own share of local fans to the show.

The Worrystones play regularly at Whitlow’s in Arlington, Gecko’s in Woodbridge, Zigs in Alexandria and Fat Tuesday’s in Fairfax.

“We have a formula that works, and that’s basically good songwriting and musicianship,” said Adam Dawson, Worrystones’ drummer. “The only specific thing that I can tell you is that we do not have a DJ, we do not do rap, we are not particularly upset with our parents, there are no midgets running around on stage and there are no tiny cymbals that go ‘phish.’”

The Worrystones have released one CD, “Nova Custom,” in 1999. “We chose ‘Nova Custom’ because of a car,” Dawson said. “But people think it’s because of Northern Virginia and that works, too.”

Jack’s House, the opening band, is a younger group. VaCo members have mentored Jack’s House since the members were in high school - last year. Bryant and most of the other members are now at George Mason University, except a couple of the kids who are still at West Potomac High School

“They are light years ahead of where we were at that age,” Ottinger said. “One of the kids is only 16 and he is an amazing song writer. We’ve been helping them to make a better demo while we have been taking some time off from touring.”

Sidebar:

Where & When

The Album Release Gala for “Rock & Roll Party,” Virginia Coalition’s third album, comes to the 9:30 Club, 815V St. NW, Washington, D.C., starting at 8:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 10, with opening bands Jack's House and The Worrystones. Tickets are $15. More information is available online at www.vacosongs.com or www.930.com, or by calling (202) 393-0930. Pre release copies of Rock & Roll Party are available on awarestore.com.