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You may have read the name “Betsy in the Verse” recently, on venue posters or social media. I feel like I see it everywhere, so I just HAD to find out more about her!

I met with Betsy Kelderhouse for the first time at a coffeehouse. Sitting down with someone you don’t know can be awkward to say the least, but with Betsy, there was a warmth and ease, and a casual, very sweet humbleness. She was immediately likeable, in a way that artists sometimes aren’t, but as spoke, I could feel her passion for the craft she practices.

While Betsy in the Verse is relatively new to the Roanoke music scene, she gotten a pretty good start, hosting multiple open mic nights, playing at a variety of breweries, and showing off her skills at The Spot on Kirk, opening for the incredible Thorp Jenson. But the road to performing wasn’t without its share of bumps and potholes; Kelderhouse has struggled with performance anxiety all her life, but her desire, will, and pure love of music is too strong to hold her back any longer.

Raised in a family of musicians in the farmlands of South Carolina, Betsy in the Verse exudes lifelong passion into every note she sings. “I’ve been playing music since I was very young,” says Kelderhouse. “My parents traveled and played, and [they] passed on that love of music” to their children. And that family talent pool runs deep; both of Kelderhouse’s brothers pursue music in Nashville, and she was in a band with her musically gifted sister while attending college.

Through the years, Kelderhouse has developed strong guitar skills to accompany her show-stopping vocals. Influenced by the likes of Pink and Fall Out Boy, it’s easy to understand both the soul and smiles that Kelderhouse brings to her performances. She’s also heavily influenced by alt-rock and has put together an impressive set of well-known favorites of the (often male-driven) alternative industry. Her setlist also includes a few of recently written originals. Kelderhouse, who is trying her hand at songwriting, cites “Cowboy Take Me Away” as the song she wishes she had wrote commenting, “I appreciate the art of storytelling and construction of clever lyrics.”

When asked about her musical goals and she humbly responded, “I don't really have a goal. I'm already kind of doing what I set out to do, and that's play music. I'm not in it for money, or a big stage (which would freak me out anyway). If it's ever not about the love of music, I don't want to do it.” Her advice to others struggling with stage fright: “Do it anyway! It does get easier with time and frequency, and it's worth it. You can't live life wishing you had.”

Sounds like: Pink and Chris Cornell’s love child

See her live: Majestic Mic at Parkway: 6/4, 6/25, Soaring Sounds: 6/15, WA Fest: 9/15-16; Big Lick Brewery: 9/21

Photo by Molly Snell

“Alison, please take good care; spread your wings and slip the air. California’s everywhere. Hold your head up to the sky; kiss the angels as they cry. California is somewhere.”

That’s a verse from the song “Alison California,”off of local pop-rock band My Radio’s most recent album release, “Tada IV.” It’s an evocatively written and beautifully recorded album that effectively captures the band’s vintage rock sound which features a heavy dose of classic rock and guitars.

The five-piece, which consists of local restauranteurs JP Powell (songwriter, vocals, keyboards) and Hunter Johnson (drums), along with Brett Lemon and Jake Zuckerman (guitar), and Jeff Hofmann (bass), originally formed in 2008 after Powell first met Johnson in 2006. Powell, a graduate of Salem High School, had spent a number of years in Boston where he attended the Berklee College of Music and was the front man for Chauncey, a popular indie-rock band whose first album was named “Best-Rock Album of 2002” by Boston Magazine.

Powell admits he was a bit jaded with music when he decided to leave Boston after Chauncey fell apart. He and wife Shaleen decided it was time for something new and found their way back to Powell’s hometown.

“I met Hunter at Mill Mountain Coffee in Salem,” Powell shared in a recent interview. “We hit it off and decided to start playing music together. I have a rule that if I don’t like hanging out with a person, I don’t want to be in a band with them. In My Radio, my best friends are people I play music with.”

In addition to their band, Powell’s and Hunter’s friendship also led to a collaboration of a different nature. In 2010, the duo opened Lucky, a farm-to-table restau