Local Music Check-in: Erin and the Wildfire

Posted on July 30, 2014 by


If you haven’t been graced by the sound of Erin Lunsford‘s soulful voice, you’re missing out. She and her band, The Wildfire, featuring guitarist Ryan Lipps, drummer Nick Quillen, and bassist Matt Wood, encompass all that is rock, folk, blues, and soul. At any show, from start to finish, you’ll be covered in goosebumps as Erin’s voice permeates the room. If Grace Potter, Adele, Bonnie Raitt, and Eva Cassidy had a baby, it would be Erin Lunsford’s voice.

That being said, everyone should check out their show at the Jefferson Theater on August 9th, and vote for these talented folks as they compete for a spot at the Lockn’ Music Festival!

Photo by Off The Cuff Photography

Nick, Erin, Matt, and Ryan of Erin and the Wildfire | Photo Credit: Off the Cuff Photography

Erin and The Wildfire

Tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from? If not Cville, what brought you here?

We all met in Cville, although we all come from different kingdoms in Virginia – Ryan and Matt are from Virginia Beach, Nick is from Waynesboro, and Erin is from Fincastle. We all came to Charlottesville separately to attend UVa, but stuck around to make music.

Tell us about Rock’n to Lock’n music festival and your show at The Jefferson Theater on August 9th. Who participated in the first round? Who else will be playing in the final round?  

Rockn’ to Lockn’ is a battle of the bands competition to win a coveted spot at Lockn Festival this September. It’s an audience vote, so we’re trying to drum up as much support as possible to win! We had the honor of competing against three other great local bands in the first round: We Are The Design, Steal the Prize, and Kings of Belmont. After winning the first round, we now have to go toe-to-toe against three of Richmond’s finest groups in the finale: The Northerners, People’s Blues of Richmond, and the Trongone Band.

Photo by Shannon Gillen

Erin & the Wildfire at Byers Street Bistro in Staunton | Photo Credit: Shannon Gillen

What are some of your favorite local spots: to be creative? to catch live music? to grab a drink? to eat?

Nick: Taking a shower/while driving my car; The Southern for music; The Livery Stable for libations; Bodo’s for food.

Ryan: I am creative everywhere; Miller’s for music; Milli Joe for drinks; Splendora’s for food.

Matt: I am most creative in my room; The Southern for music; C&O for drinks; Fellini’s for food.

Erin: Interstate 81 for creativity; The Jefferson Theater for music; Mono Loco for drinks; Miller’s for food.

What local musician(s) you are most excited about?

The wealth of jazz musicians that play at Miller’s (shout-out to Charles Owens!), the Sally Rose Band, Gina Sobel and the Mighty Fine,  Post Sixty Five, and Genna Matthew are some of the local artists that we love.

What local music projects are you/have you been involved in?

We were all involved with O Records, a student-run musicians’ collective at UVa. This was where we all met and first started to collaborate.

Who are some artists that have influenced you?

Dolly Parton, Eva Cassidy, No Doubt, mewithoutYou, The Beatles.

When did you write your first song? What was it about?

Erin wrote her first song during her first year of college (2008). It was called “East of Me,” and is about a guy that she liked who lived in a building located to (you guessed it) the east of her building.

What influences your songwriting?

Moving life experiences, heartmake/heartbreak, and infectious grooves.

What aspects of life excite you and stir your affections, fuel your passions?

Bass jumping, get-downs, and B-horror movies.

Photo by Shannon Gillen

Erin & the Wildfire at Byers Street Bistro in Staunton | Photo Credit: Shannon Gillen

When did you play your first gig? What emotions and thoughts ran through your head after finishing?

Our first gig was funny, it was Sigma Pi’s Annual Surf ‘n Turf party. Typically held in early April, this event draws the frattiest of bros and the shortest of dresses and we rocked it out. We played some really cheesy 90’s covers and some originals. It was a beautiful sunny day and we got paid in T-shirts. Thoughts that ran through our heads after the show were: Should I go on the slip-n-slide?, Did they run out of watery beer?, Remember to actually practice harmonies before the next show, and Let’s never take our shirts off during a show again.

Do you get pumped or nervous pre-show?

We get pumped up together before shows. Mostly this involves a lot of chest bumping, fist pounding, and team-oriented chanting.

What does a day in the life of a modern-day songwriter look like from your perspective?

Normally we wake up, fall out of bed, and drag a comb across our heads. From that point on, we work day jobs and get together in the evening to create music.

What do you want people to take from hearing your music? As a fan, what do you also want people to take from experiencing your live show?

We want people to feel like they’ve got something stuck in their teeth, but in a good way. The aim of the live show is to give them a musical toothpick.

Lastly… Describe yourself in 10 words or less.

Rock’n to Lock’n, Jefferson Theater, August 9th, Vote for us!!!