This year, Charlottesville will celebrate the 20th anniversary of a unique after-school program – a place where poor kids can master a musical instrument and the workings of a recording studio, learn to distribute their work and launch a career.  The Music Resource Center’s latest success story is a kid who arrived with too little luck but plenty of drive. 

Bernard Talburtt is a tall, skinny guy with a sweet disposition.  He lived with his mother and brother in Charlottesville’s public housing, and despite frequent exposure to violence, he has remarkable manners.

Music festivals, art shows and cooking competitions are commonplace in this country, but a Charlottesville man may have the ticket to something bigger – a week-long event that celebrates all of those things and the quality that connects them.

There’s a sound some musicians have that comes from deep inside, but falls outside formal artistic boundaries.  They do their own thing, their own way. They do their own thing, their own way. They’re known as “Outsider Artists,” and their work can be challenging, disturbing and fascinating.   

Virginia’s House is set to vote on a new state song, with committee members approving one option over another - predictably, along party lines. 

The Commonwealth has been without an official song since Governor Wilder raised objections to Carry Me Back to Old Virginia, a tune with lyrics that fondly recalled a time of slavery.  Two replacements were in contention when the House Rules Committee met last week.  One is a folk classic - Oh Shenandoah, with a new set of lyrics and a new title - Our Great Virginia.

Virginia could soon have a new state song nearly 20 years after the first one was banished...and a fence slated to be built underneath a new bridge in Richmond is raising some questions. 

Those stories have been among the most read over the past week at the Virginia Public Access Project's VaNews link.