Friday, October 2, 2009

Vicki Blankenship: Dancing With The Blueflame

I like to think that life is sometimes like the toy surprise in a big box of Cracker Jacks. It’s always a surprise as to what you are going to get, some are good and some happen to be bad. You just never know what to expect.

My latest box of musical Cracker Jacks contained a surprise in the bottom by the name of Vicki Blankenship. I met Vicki for the first time at The Binding Time Café in Martinsville, VA during a performance by Indiegrrl artist Broda. I wasn’t familiar with Vicki, but I was told that she was a musician who performed at the Café from time to time. I got to her perform a short time later at an Indiegrrl festival in Spencer, VA that she put together. For those who do not know, Vicki took over the reigns of Indiegrrl from creator Holly O’Reilly in October of 2005.

Vicki invited me to The Binding Time Café on August 14 for the release party of her newest CD entitled “Blue Flame Trance”. She did perform a few of the songs solo that night and gave us a small taste of what was included on the CD. She had a strong turnout to support her that night.

I took home Vicki’s CD and it did lay around for a few days before I got the chance to pop it open and give it a good listen. Vicki is a very talented musician, without a doubt. You immediately get that when you see her perform live. The part that I didn’t realize was how good of a lyricist that she is.

The title track to her CD is an ode to that good old tradition through these parts of Virginia known as bootleg. One test of the equality of bootleg occurs when it is lit. Now, the really good stuff burns a blue flame. Henceforth, the title of the song. It’s a great toe tapper of a song that really gets cranked into overdrive as Vicki screams out “Yeehaw” midway through.

If you are a native of this area and if the song “Southwest Virginia” doesn’t do something for you, then you need to pack your bags and move. There are so many references to landmarks such as Mabry Mill, the Blue Ridge Mountains and even Martinsville is mentioned.

The biggest surprise for me is how emotionally charged a number of these songs are. My two standout cuts would be “Moonbeam” and “Coming My Way”, both equally as moving as the other. Vicki manages to put more emotion and feeling into these two songs than most artists put into an entire CD. “Moonbeam” is a reflective song about looking back on a love and the regrets that you may have. Now, not every track is all about happy love. “Love Went Six Feet Under” is a great song about love just doesn’t work out.

Another outstanding and emotional track would be “I’ve Waited For You” which has touring buddy Sonya Heller on background vocals. It tells an emotional journey of love coming and going, but never giving up on that love without putting up a fight to keep it.

Vicki has a bunch of extremely talented musicians backing her on her CD. She also played acoustic and electric guitar on all songs, wrote all the tracks and produced the CD. This woman can do it all!!

I think it’s very hard to pigeonhole Vicki’s music to just one label. She mixes country, folk, bluegrass and other elements into a blend that is like musical sugar to your ears. You can purchase her CDs at . You can also learn more about her at

Are you in the mood for some toe tapping music that actually tells a good story? Unlike a great deal of today’s standards, these songs actually tell the listener a story. I guarantee you that if you take the time to check out Vicki, then you too will find out that the prize in the bottom of these Cracker Jacks is one of life’s greatest surprises.

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