The Roanoker - May/June 2018 - 97

ARON

OBERG

SUMMED

UP THE

EXERCISE
ABOUT AS

WELL AS

POSSIBLE:
"I don't really
like [Best Of
lists]. There's
a lot of criteria to consider;
comparing apples to spaghetti. Egos do soar. But
I know that all of those bands work hard at their craft and
I would consider them all to be professional musicians. I couldn't
vote for any band I hadn't actually heard. My own poll [of 20 fellow
musicians] yielded slightly different results from my own opinion, but
it was still helpful."
Oberg is one of six people deeply rooted in the Roanoke music landscape
who selected their personal favorites among the many groups and individuals
playing professionally on a regular basis. The result was arguable (as lists like
this tend to be), but it includes a range of genres, ages, styles and even local
recognition. Some, it seems, are better known than others.
There seemed to be one constant: Hoppie Vaughan is at the top of
the curve. His group is Ministers of Soul, but he plays solo frequently
and Oberg, himself a superb
picker, says playing with
Vaughan "is a rite of
passage. He is two tiers
above everybody else in
town and he stays in his
own wheel house."
Prominent music
performers like Jane Powell
and Trucker's Delight are
not listed because they play
seldom these days, a fact of age,
though when they do play (mostly
reunions and special occasions), they remain superb. The Kings, a group that has been
around since the late 1960s and whose members are mostly eligible for Social Security, are
still busy, still appreciated, still outstanding and still on the list of "Best."
Roanoke has been home base for a region almost cluttered with fine musicians. It is the largest
locality on (actually near) the Crooked Road, a nationally prominent bluegrass and old-time music
phenom and it has produced bands in every genre from hip-hop, to jazz, to swank, to heavy metal,
to country and rock, to gypsy guitar, to easy listening (yep, that, too). The music industry in Roanoke
fell on bad times a few years ago-mostly because of an economy that wouldn't support it-but it has
rebounded almost spectacularly. The list of solid musicians-many of whom play in several bands just
to keep busy-is long and the bench is deep. "You see a lot of the same guys in different formations,"
says Jason Martin, owner of Martin's Downtown, one of the busiest music venues in the region.
However, there is a cloud, says Martin. "We are in a good spot," he says, "but I don't see
a lot of younger musicians and I worry about the future. There just doesn't seem to
be any garage band experimentation. It's hard to make a living playing
music. At best, you have to teach because most

TheRoanoker.com

MAY/JUNE 2018

97


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Roanoker - May/June 2018

The Roanoker - May/June 2018 - Intro
The Roanoker - May/June 2018 - Cover1
The Roanoker - May/June 2018 - Cover2
The Roanoker - May/June 2018 - 3
The Roanoker - May/June 2018 - 4
The Roanoker - May/June 2018 - 5
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The Roanoker - May/June 2018 - 97
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The Roanoker - May/June 2018 - 130
The Roanoker - May/June 2018 - Cover3
The Roanoker - May/June 2018 - Cover4
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