Sun, Dec 13: Bob Thompson’s Joy to Lewisburg

Bob Thompson 2015

I’m not much of a Christmas person. People who know me know that Christmas is hard for me. I awaken to snowy fields where I take on the weight of the world. I look through the lacy frosted windows and I miss everyone I’ve lost. I awaken from fitful dreams of travel and lost shoes, and I mourn over the sadness in a cruel world. I hear the heavy drum of turmoil and try to persevere through the skewed judgment in a world gone mad. I can’t watch the news because I’m too fragile. I sigh a sympathetic breath and say a prayer for children who have to learn early on that life is not fair. I question the commercialism of a gaudy season often so far from spirituality that it has become unrecognizable to me. So I take needle and thread and I make things. I take paper and scissors and create otherworldly realms. And so I look for those who are helping; the kindhearted and compassionate, the benevolent and sensitive, and I seek out my refuge, the refuge of music, and I let it carry me far beyond these earthly worries. I seek simple pleasures and count my blessings every moment of my life, no matter what hardships may befall me or those I love. From two winters ago, during the Polar Vortex, these were my thoughts: “The wind is howling like a banshee outside the lacy frosted windows, the dogs are huddled like leeches around me while I listen carefully to see if the water is still dripping. “Don’t make me leave these covers, and please let the power stay on…” are my bleak, desolate, yet uncomplicated, mantras. My needs are few, and the luxuriously hot bath the water gods allowed me to enjoy seemed to be all I needed to renew my weary spirit.” And so, bring the music…

Greenbrier Real Estate 2015
Find a Home!

The person to carry me to the heights of joyful elation, melodic rapture and an exultation of goodwill is the archangel Bob Thompson and his incredible band, appearing at the Asylum on Dec. 13th at 6pm. Sponsored by Casasanta, this holiday concert is an extension of the Joy to the World series mini-tour of Charleston (12/10), Wheeling (12/11), and Parkersburg (12/12). The aforementioned dates will include special guest vocalistLena Seikaly. Bob has been presenting this extraordinary holiday concert for nearly 25 years, and it is always moving, exceptional in its proficiency, selections, and loving inspiration in presentation.

Tickets are $25 in advance, and are $35 at the door. And it will sell out, so you better jump on it, children, jump on. I looked back at what I’d written about the concert of two years ago, and here’s what I had penned: “So back I ventured to hear the incredible Bob Thompson Unit in his Christmas Joy to the World concert. Can I tell you how loveable this man is? Can I mention that always, every single time I hear him perform, I get a little teary from the very beauty of his playing? This concert was sponsored by CASASANTA, and its fearless leader/music-lover Bill DePaulo, and it was a really remarkable evening. Joined by his usual entourage of gifted musical cohorts, they made their way through a dozen plus tunes, going off in their magical meanderings to bring the recognizable and familiar “Silver Bells” through “Joy to the World” (jazzing them out to pure perfection), but the in-betweens were where the enchantment was to be found. A song called “Still, Still, Still” was breathtaking, and the rendition of “Let It Snow” had seamless-running changes, groove-moves executed with humor and inventiveness, then moving on to a more non-Christmas-y selection, “Angel Eyes” (unless you mean a Christmas angel), which was dedicated to our darling Amy McIntire, whose presence at any musical occurance only adds to the joy. But the one, this time, that brought forth my tears was Bob’s divine interpretation of Joni Mitchell’s “River”, a song I’ve played and sung many times, but never in such a touching way as this. Prominently featuring the excellent saxophonist Doug Payne, and with the tight complexities and highly communicative interaction between bassist John Inghram and drummer Tim Courts, this was the one to bring the tears. And guitarist Ryan Kennedy is a gift to all of us, by the way, his playing encompassing a certain serenity, all the while absolutely mesmerizing us with his playful proficiency. Calm dexterity. What a band, what a night..”

The Asylum Lewisburg, WV
Eat Local!

This year, Bob Thompson was deservedly inducted into the WV MUSIC HALL OF FAME, along with fellow inductees Harry Van “Piano Man” Walls , Oby Edgar “Buddy” Starcher, James Edward Haley, Russ Hicks , Willie John Ellison. For more information, inspiration, educational ideas for teachers, former inductees and their bios, and on the WVMHOF in general, you can check out

Bob Thompson is known world-wide and is a class act all the way, in every sense of the word. This is part of the press release regarding his induction, and there is major truth in these words. “Pianist Bob Thompson is West Virginia’s ambassador of jazz and perhaps the state’s best-loved musician. He has touched many people’s lives as an entertainer and, as a teacher, has inspired dozens of young people to pursue careers in music.” He grew up in New York, but he’s been here plenty long enough for us to claim him as our own. He sang in street-corner doo-wop bands in the city, but came to us in the mid-60’s to study the trumpet and music education. He got the jazz fever, like so many of us, highly contagious, as you know, and switched to piano. He played with many bands on the local scene, including the Modern Jazz Interpreters. He collaborated with such guitarists as Larry Coryell and Kevin Eubanks, with violinist John Blake, drummer Omar Hakim, and bassist Gerald Veasley, and he blended many influential styles to reach the sound he is known for today, a delightful mix of classic jazz, bebop, blues, the sweet sentimentality of poignant ballads, but with a groovin’ thread of funk weaving through it all. I recall a birthday many years ago, and a friend had taken me to see Bob in Charleston. He played “You Don’t Know What Love Is” for me, and I wept inconsolably, so beautiful was his playing. My eyes were closed to the boisterous bar patrons all around, oblivious of the smoke and the bottles, and the debauchery, and in my mind, you could hear a pin drop. It went deep into my soul, and years later, I reminisce and ponder truly one of the most meaningful musical moments I can recall. Ahhh…oh, wait, I was swept away for a moment…So two of his albums were in Billboard’s top 25 in the contemporary jazz chart, and four of his recordings were in the Top 10 on the Radio and Records jazz chart. He’s performed all over the world, and is one of the most respected musicians you will ever encounter. He’s been the pianist on Mt. Stage since 1991, and, as I’ve mentioned, is famous for his Joy to the World performances, which are broadcast every year on Public Radio. So there’s the cred. But he’s so much more than that.

salt cave nov 2015
Enjoy Local!!!

He has a new recording, “Look Beyond the Rain”, has an official release date of January 8th, but I believe he will have a few advance copies with him at the Asylum, and you don’t want to miss getting your copy. How can I tell you how deep my love is for this gentle, amazing man? Go, go hear him, come out of there in love with the season after all. For a little while, you will find peace and solace, and shelter from the world’s storm.

– Susanna Robinson-Kenga. LBSPY #72, December 2015. Featured photo by Christina Entenmann, managing editor of LBSPY.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Submit a Comment


What Would the Quarantined Bunny Drink? w/ Hashtag Lewisburg City Paper this April!

What Would the Quarantined Bunny Drink w/ Hashtag Lewisburg City Paper - This April, what would the quarantined Easter bunny drink? Vodka, rum, tequila, brews? Find out with Robert Aquilino here. The impact of COVID-19 continues to affect us all in unprecedented ways. Along with fun/engaging content this month, we have included helpful information about the Paycheck Protection Loan Program for small businesses. In this issue, Grandpa […]


Stay Updated w/ HashtagWV!

Want to stay updated with the paper or thinking about advertising? Sign up today for the latest HASHTAGWV monthly newsletter!

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Best Things to Do in Lewisburg, WV

Best Things to Do in Lewisburg WV! - Spending a day in Lewisburg? Here are a few of the best things to do while you’re visiting. Start your day at the Wild Bean coffee shop.  Located downtown, this cafe offers premium coffee, tea, veggie cuisine, wi-fi, entertainment, and more! The breakfast menu consisting of breakfast burritos, egg scrambles, breakfast sandwiches and granola w/ […]

"Over the last 10 years, we have tried several avenues for advertising. Beyond a doubt, our greatest return has been through HASHTAGWV. Whether it be in the HASHTAGWV print edition, or online, our customers, both locals and tourists, really do look for this media form to be in tune with what’s going on in the area and for destination shopping. Advertising with LBSPY (now HASHTAG) has unequivocally been a great asset for our business!" - Craig Miller w/ Serenity Now Outfitters. Ad rates start at just $20! Click here for MEDIA KIT  

Patrick4CMPLTshrp "LBSPY is the best thing that has happened in Greenbrier County since I have been here for seven years. Maybe the whole state.... a first class operation and a lot of hard work," Patrick O'Flaherty (pictured above), The Irish Pub, Lewisburg, WV

Donating = Loving

HashtagWV remains D.I.Y. in nature and it takes hundreds of hours a month to research and write, and thousands of dollars to sustain. If you find any joy and value in it, please consider making a one time or recurring monthly donation of your choosing, between a cup of coffee at The Wild Bean and a good dinner at Food & Friends
Adam DeGraff "LB Spy always has their finger on the pulse of this community!" - Adam Degraff (pictured above), (The Weight/ The Dueling Fiddlers / Pianafiddle)


Instagram has returned invalid data.

Follow Us!


Wonder How HashtagWV Remains Free?

WONDER HOW HASHTAG LEWISBURG CITY PAPER REMAINS FREE? - Wondering how Hashtag Lewisburg City Paper gets published and distributed FREE every month in-print and online? Do we have wealthy parents or did one of us seduce a millionaire? No. Are we financed by bank loans or grant money? Nope, not that either. Until we hit it BIG in the lotto, every issue of HASHTAGWV comes […]


P.O. Box 744
Lewisburg, West Virginia 24901


"Here at WHEN PIGS FLY BBQ, we get the most return advertising with LBSPY. New customers tell us all the time how they see our ad. They then come see us!" - Mike and Kellen, owners of When Pigs Fly BBQ, Lewisburg, WV.
"Christina, Thank you so much for the cover and the ARTICLE. Your LBSPY is fantastic! We hope to grow this ride and other sports events in our area. Your magazine will do this. Again thank you from everyone in the GVBike club. Come ride with us sometime." - Janice Centa


LBSPY is a free, full color arts and entertainment tabloid dedicated to providing useful information in the areas of Greenbrier County, Pocahontas County, parts of Alleghany County, and more. We distribute 7,000, full color issues every month.


We are engaged in promoting local music, arts, events, dining, and shopping. We reach our audience where they live, eat, shop, drink, play, and fill up their gas tank. BEHIND THE SPY


"LBSPY is the best thing that has happened in Greenbrier County since I have been here for seven years. Maybe the whole state.... a first class operation and a lot of hard work," Patrick O'Flaherty, owner @ The Irish Pub