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Virginia Coalition- OK to Go 
By Gary Schwind

On their website, the DC-area quartet Virginia Coalition (VACO) claim influences from hippie to hip-hop and R&B to bluegrass.  That may sound like a lot of varied interests and you may wonder how any one band could be so diverse.  Well, I’m not sure how, but VACO incorporates all of that into their CD and they make it work.  This is a great example of “blender music.”  They have appeared with bands like Train, Dave Matthews Band, Cracker, and Bela Fleck and the Flecktones among others.

VACO’s hip-hop influences can be seen in the lyrics of “Walk to Work,” “Bumpin’ Fresh,” and in the hidden track, a cover of “No Diggity.”  Yes, that’s right, a cover of “No Diggity.”  And I have to say it’s pretty good.  It reminds me a lot of a southern California band called The Soul of John Black.  The rest of their influences can be heard throughout the album.

OK to Go is a bit like Forrest Gump’s box of chocolates.  You never really know what you’re going to get.  Maybe not completely because there are no throw-aways in this box of chocolates.  At times, they remind me of Spin Doctors (“Walk to Work”), Clarence Bucaro, Bruce Hornsby (“Places People”) and Counting Crows without the whining (“Voyager 2”).  While the style varies from one song to the next, every song has a melody that might get stuck in your head.  Don’t be surprised if you hum, whistle or sing some of these songs after you hear them.

In my review of Viv, I mentioned that they are the kind of band you might see every week if they had a regular gig in your town.  That sentiment goes even more so for VACO.  But VACO isn’t just the kind of band you could see every week.  They seem like the kind of guys you could hang out with before and after their shows.

OK to Go is an album stuffed with songs that make you feel good.  I know that might be a dangerous thing to say about a band because when some people hear the words “feel good music,” they think “Cheesy.”  This is not cheesy at all.  It’s just good, diverse feel-good music.  There, I said it.

CD Info 

Virginia Coalition - OK to Go
Label: Blu Hammock
Pick Your Poison
Last Goodbye
Walk To Work
Voyager 2
Mason Dixon
Off The Air
Abby You Are Endless
Come And Go
Bumpin' Fresh
Places People
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