Blackburn Inn gives new life to a site with a dark past

A weekend stay last month at the Blackburn Inn in Staunton, Va., gave my wife Juli and me an appreciation for a freedom we usually take for granted — the ability to come and go as we please.

After checking in, we were free to leave the premises to stroll around Staunton’s bustling downtown and enjoy an hour of virtuoso performances at a Bach festival. Later, after dinner in the hotel’s bistro, we returned downtown to enjoy some local brews.

This freedom to leave the grounds was something that thousands of people who had once inhabited the historic hotel and neighboring buildings did not enjoy.

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Car Seat Headrest in the news – March 2019

Car Seat Headrest in the news – March 2019

“Lead singer Will Toledo’s voice echoed through the air and captivated the crowd in a blissful stupor. And the crowd was absolutely loving it, jumping up and down giving the band the high energy they were delivering back to them.”

–Amanda Hefner on, March 15, 2019

“…Toledo has established Car Seat Headrest as one of the definitive acts in modern indie rock, crafting dynamic and expansive songs while remaining rooted in a meat-and-potatoes guitar sound. His discography is massive and accomplished, and now he has a live show to match.”

–Chris DeVille on Stereogum, March 15, 2019

“Thankfully, from a very early age, Will Toledo has possessed the type of brain that knows how to wring beauty from that sea of confusion and bring it out into the world through song.”

innovacancy, March 11, 2019

“Every indie-rock lover walked out of the venue that night feeling on top of the world after a killer show, and I would definitely recommend seeing Car Seat Headrest next time they stop in your hometown.”

–Sanna Polskis on tuesdayzine, March 9, 2019

Midnight was produced by Car Seat Headrest’s Will Toledo.”

–Braudie Blais-Billie on Pitchfork, March 6, 2019

“One of 2018’s most talked-about rock bands, Will Toledo and co. have covered the Monkees’ 1967 track in a high-spirited dedication to bassist and vocalist Peter Tork, who died last week.” 

–“The Playlist” in i newspaper, March 1, 2019

“If you enjoy experimental and soulful music, I’m sure you’d love these guys.”

–Angela Mastrogiacomo in Infectious Magazine, March 1, 2019

Car Seat Headrest in the news – Feb. 2019

“Almost no one in indie rock right now shoots the horizon with as much horsepower and ragged exuberance as Car Seat Headrest.”

–Bao Le-Huu in Orlando Weekly, Feb. 25, 2019

“Car Seat Headrest’s Will Toledo is ready to meet Tampa Bay”

–Ray Roa on Creative Loafing, Feb. 22, 2019

“Toledo connects the fragility of young love to the delicacy of the human body, the vessels that allow us to experience life fully.”

–Ellen Johnson in The Village Voice, Feb. 13, 2019

“Car Seat Headrest have announced a few new headlining U.S. tour dates for this year.”

–Jackson Pacheco on Paste, Feb. 11, 2019

“The band will play concerts in Buffalo, Nashville, Cincinnati, Los Angeles, and elsewhere, in addition to their previously announced shows kicking off on Valentine’s Day in Boston.”

–Madison Bloom on Pitchfork, Feb. 11, 2019

“The band are on a break right now, but are set to kick off the next leg of the tour in Boston on Valentine’s Day.”

–Will Gottsegen on Spin, Feb. 11, 2019

“Toledo’s refurbished blast from the past joined a host of records last year that promised hope while granting space to the sinking feeling around this country’s uncertain future.”

–Sasha Geffen in The Village Voice, Feb. 8, 2019

“Pazz & Jop: The Top 100 Albums of 2018”

The Village Voice, Feb. 6, 2019

Car Seat Headrest in the news – Dec. 2018

“Will Toledo, the 26-year-old who leads Car Seat Headrest, studied the 1990s scene that birthed Wilco and Low, and his knotty record “Twin Fantasy” (Matador) suggests he learned his lessons well. It’s a concept album about teenage alienation and desire, channeling fear and frustration in songs that simmer and then explode.”

–Mark Richardson in the Wall Street Journal, Dec. 18, 2018

“…the wit and passion of Toledo’s existential angst sound as fresh as ever.”

–Marc Hogan on Pitchfork, Dec. 17, 2018

“Through Toledo’s signature wry wit and an almost stream-of-consciousness vulnerability at times, “Twin Fantasy” 2.0 rides the emotional roller coaster and occasional awkwardness of young love — unrequited or otherwise — armed with a refined vision and cacophony of guitars.”

–Michael Rietmulder in the Seattle Times, Dec. 15, 2018

Twin Fantasy is the kind of album that teaches you how to listen to it while you’re listening to it, a dense, dizzying rock record that’s two parts Baudrillard, two parts Badfinger.”

–J. Edward Keyes on Bandcamp, Dec. 13, 2018

“It’s deeply personal music — music unconcerned about the scene around it or the acclaim it could earn — and that’s why it’s worth listening to.”

–Pryor Stroud on Pop Matters, Dec. 12, 2018

“The lyrics are first-class, clever and distinctive, and as you progress through the album the things to which Toledo speaks of begin to accumulate within you, opening up a new level of appreciation, or maybe understanding, of Twin Fantasy.”

Across the Margin, Dec. 12, 2018

“Twin Fantasy is an absolute best-case scenario for Car Seat Headrest fans, whether they’ve heard the original or not.”

–Corey Van den Hoogenband in Exclaim!, Dec. 4, 2018

“If every rock song was this immaculate, we’d call it ‘gold’ instead of ‘rock.'”

Paste Magazine, Dec. 3, 2018

Car Seat Headrest in the news, Nov. 2018

“The production quality of Car Seat Headrest’s rerecorded version of 2011’s Twin Fantasy adds to the clarity of the overall music, while its concerns and revelations are as complex and timeless as ever.”

–Lewis Wade on The Skinny, Nov. 26, 2018

“[Drunk Drivers/Killer Whales] is one of the most existentially satisfying songs of recent memory, a simmering pot into which to pour your resentments, internal and external, before letting the band rip that pressure valve right off and to let all of your troubles run free.”

–Max Pilley on musicOMH, Nov. 13, 2018

“As the walls dripped with sweat and the steam rose from an exhausted crowd, an old quote from an unlikely source (Ozzy Osbourne!) sprang to mind: ‘When people go to see a rock band they want to have their heart ripped out and handed back to them in a better condition’ – I’m sure most will agree that Car Seat Headrest had done just that.”

–Chris Hatch on Secret Meeting, Nov. 10, 2018

“It has been thoroughly exciting to see Car  Seat Headrest grow, not just in members, but from cult Internet darlings to one of the larger festival-crowd gatherings in recent years – and as they plough on through a tour supporting a remake of  Twin Fantasy, arguably their best record, we thought it only right to celebrate Toledo’s discography with a classic top 10 songs list!”

–Josh Adams on Transistor, Nov. 1, 2018

Car Seat Headrest in the news – Oct. 2018

“Twin Fantasy is Our Favorite ‘Re-Issue’ of 2018”

Closed Captioned, Oct. 31, 2018

“Car Seat Headrest’s 2018 reworking of his 2011 Bandcamp album, Twin Fantasy is an exuberant record and an ode to the anxieties, confusion and heartache of young adulthood.”

–Lizzie Manno in Paste Magazine, Oct. 31, 2018

“Watch Car Seat Headrest Cover ‘Hey Ya!’ and ‘Sandstorm'”

–Matthew Strauss on Pitchfork, Oct. 15, 2018

“Car Seat Headrest brought their reworked Twin Fantasy to Seattle’s Showbox this past weekend, closing out their high-energy show with an unexpected (and absolutely delightful) cover of OutKast’s immortal ‘Hey Ya.'”

–Randall Colburn on Consequence of Sound, Oct. 15, 2018

“Watch Car Seat Headrest Cover Outkast’s ‘Hey Ya!'”

–Justin Kamp on Paste Magazine, Oct. 15, 2018

“Car Seat Headrest Turned OutKast’s ‘Hey Ya’ Into An Indie Rock Anthem During A Gig In Seattle”

–Corbin Reiff on Uproxx, Oct. 15, 2018

“Hear Car Seat Headrest Cover “Hey Ya,” Smashing Pumpkins, & Darude In Seattle”

–James Rettig on Stereogum, Oct. 15, 2018

“Car Seat Headrest put out a very good album this year. It’s called Twin Fantasy…”

–Jerry Klein on Tiny Mix Tapes, Oct. 11, 2018

“Car Seat Headrest, one of the hardest working bands in rock, will hit the road again early next year for a string of North American tour dates.”

–Randall Colburn in Consequence of Sound, Oct. 9, 2018

“Toledo’s perfectionism and sheer talent is what has fueled Car Seat Headrest into making it one of the best indie rock bands out there. ”

–Brit Abrams in the Eagle, Oct. 2, 2018

Car Seat Headrest in the news – Sept. 2018

“Car Seat Headrest charms sold-out Cat’s Cradle”

–Ashley Acker on CLTure, Sept. 25, 2018

“By releasing vulnerability, fear, confusion and teenage angst through the tension of pure sound, Car Seat Headrest left the audience emotionally exhausted and musically astounded.”

–Sarah Cammarota on The Hoya, Sept. 24, 2018

“Highlights included the brilliant ‘Drunk Drivers/Killer Whales’ from Teens of Denial and a medley the band has been playing recently on tour which includes ‘Sober to Death’ from Twin Fantasy and the Neil Young and Crazy Horse tune ‘Powderfinger.'”

–David LaMason on Parklife DC, Sept. 24, 2018

Car Seat Headrest Twin Fantasy Tour Highlights, Sept. 21, 2018

“Car Seat Headrest takes Brooklyn for a spin”

Magnet, Sept. 20, 2018

” I’ve been to 42 shows this year, and I think seeing a sold out Union Transfer crowd belt out the chorus to ‘Drunk Drivers/Killer Whales’ was my favorite concert moment of the year so far. ”

–Tom Beck on The Key (Philadelphia), Sept. 19, 2018

“A sold out crowd at Union Transfer on Tuesday night was thrilled by a trio of bands capped off by a magnificent set by headliner Car Seat Headrest.”

–Pete Troshak on Rockin’ the ‘Burbs, Sept. 18, 2018

“Toledo somehow conveys his songs of teenage angst and young love with the demeanour of a man wise beyond his years.”

–Lee Ferguson on Bucket List, Sept. 12, 2018

“Will Toledo of Car Seat Headrest is also one of these artists, and he ranks among them in greatness. ”

–Colin Aldridge on In the Record Store, Sept. 12, 2018

Photos: Car Seat Headrest at Newport Music Hall

–Matt Ellis on Columbus Underground, Sept. 11, 2018

Photo album of Car Seat Headrest at Majestic Theatre

–Megan Simpson on How Was It Detroit, Sept. 11, 2018

Photo Gallery: Car Seat Headrest at Newport Music Hall in Columbus, Ohio

–Ethan Clewell in The Lantern, Sept. 10, 2018

“Check out photos of Car Seat Headrest‘s show in Chicago with Naked Giants on Friday ”

–Cat Floria on Anchr Magazine, Sept. 10, 2018

“Will Toledo and the boys give the Windy City an epic, sweaty Friday night to remember”

–Heather Kaplan on Consequence of Sound, Sept. 8, 2018

“Car Seat Headrest Performs Show of the Year at First Avenue”

–Cameron Campbell on, Sept. 7, 2018

“Will Toledo has quickly become one of indie rock’s most-talked-about young artists, following up last year’s Matador breakthrough album with one of 2016’s most critically acclaimed releases, ‘Teens of Denial.'”

–Brian McCollum in the Detroit Free Press, Sept. 7, 2018

“The songs were greeted by an entire floor of pogoing fans, whose response transformed them into unifying rallying cries for anyone who needs to feel a part of something special.”

–Erik Thompson on CityPages (Minneapolis), Sept. 6, 2018

“…a prime example of Toledo’s evolution arrived earlier this year in a re-recorded version of 2011’s Twin Fantasy, which takes Toledo’s crude source material from the original release and pushes it into focus with tasteful production.”

–Joel Shanahan on Tone, Sept. 4, 2018

“Best of the Week”

–Chris Riemenschneider in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Sept. 1, 2018

Car Seat Headrest in the news – August 2018

“Kicking off their set with fan-favorite ‘Vincent,’ I was reminded of just how epic and huge Car Seat Headrest sound live, channeling an era when indie rock thoughtfulness could co-exist with commercial viability.”

–Philip Obenshain on No Country for New Nashville, August 20, 2018

“Seattle-based Car Seat Headrest…laid out several raw songs documenting young desire and heartbreak.”

–Morgan Yingling on Now Playing Nashville, August 17, 2018

“We saw more than one group of kids conga-lining through the audience during CSR’s undeniable ’16 breakthrough single ‘Fill in the Blank,’ shouting along to its rallying cry ‘You have no right to be depressed!'”

–The Spin on Nashville Scene, August 17, 2018


Car Seat Headrest in the news – July 2018

“…it’s yet another marker that his transformation from bedroom whisperer to bonafide rockstar is nearly complete.”

–Zack Ruskin in SF Weekly, July 20, 2018

“Spanning over an hour with these eight songs, Toledo and Co. have mastered the art of transporting their audience.”

–Joshua Huver on The Bay Bridged, July 20, 2018

“Cat Seat Headrest at the Crystal Ballroom July 15, 2018”

–Joe Duquette in Vortex Music Magazine (Portland), July 18, 2018

“QRO Concert Photo Gallery”

QRO Magazine (Des Moines), July 13, 2018

“Watch Car Seat Headrest Cover Death Grips’ ‘Black Paint'”

–Samantha Maine in NME Magazine, July 11, 2018

“For his latest undertaking, Toledo has hit us with an out-of-nowhere uppercut in the form of ‘Black Paint.'”

–Lake Schatz on Consequence of Sound, July 10, 2018

“Monday night at Quebec’s Impérial Bell, they wasted no time and opened their show with a Death Grips cover: ‘Black Paint,’ from this year’s Year of the Snitch.”

–Ellen Johnson on Paste Magazine, July 10, 2018

“Car Seat Headrest kicked off their gig last night at Impérial Bell in Quebec City with a surprising set opener: ‘Black Paint,’ a single from the new Death Grips album Year Of The Snitch.”

–Chris DeVille on Stereogum, July 10, 2018


Washington’s boyhood homes share little common ground

Replica House at the Ferry Farm

Many Americans are aware that George Washington lived at Mount Vernon, near Alexandria, Va., a historic site where they can walk in the footsteps of our nation’s foremost founding father, Revolutionary War hero and first president.

What’s less well-known is that Washington grew up 40 miles south of there, at what is now called Ferry Farm, near Fredericksburg, and the site — the setting for such mythical events as chopping down his father’s cherry tree and throwing a coin across a river — can be visited as well. Both locations provide a fascinating window into Washington’s life. And this year, both have something new to offer visitors.

Mount Vernon

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The Washington Post, June 21, 2018