The Healing Sounds of Option 22


Princeton band Option 22 may have four core members, but up to five more musicians may join them onstage at any given gig. A banjo player or a fiddler who wants to improv is part of Option 22’s vision to encourage listeners to explore their own artistic talents and build a musical community. “We are a very free-flowing, improvisational band. People say our music inspires them to express their creativity. Every voice is important, and we really believe in the power of music and helping people find their voice,” says Lori McKinney, lead vocalist and drummer of Option 22.

Since 2004, Robert Blankenship (guitar, banjo), Albert Perrone (guitar), and Lori have been writing and playing Americana/World beat music together across the Mountain State. They recently added Brandon Dunn on bass. The band’s newest release, Choose The Music, is available on their website, and it was nominated by HomeGrown Music Network for 2010 Album of The Year. The songs are about inspiring positive change in your community, Lori says. “Option 22 is very focused on healing through music. Our music focuses a lot on changing the world around you. People say it inspires them, and the themes of our music have a feel-good quality.”

Option 22 is literally changing their community with music through the RiffRaff Arts Collective, which the band started in Princeton in 2006. Local artists and musicians share inspiration and work on their craft at the RiffRaff, which includes a live performance venue, recording studio, artist studios, music school, and fine art gallery.

Lori says the downtown was lacking something before the RiffRaff. “We’ve put all this color and positivity into the downtown with the RiffRaff, and people are kind of looking at it differently since 2006. A lot of people are behind us now,” she says.

Option 22 will record its next album, The Change, at the RiffRaff this winter.

Upcoming gigs

Friday, Oct. 7 – Bruno's in Charleston with The Ions at 9 p.m.

Saturday, Oct. 8 – ACLU annual dinner at the Charleston Woman's Club at 7 p.m.

Sunday, Oct. 9 – Tamarack in Beckley at 2 p.m.

Saturday, Oct. 15 – Mountain Music Festival at Pipestem at 7 p.m.

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