‘Brunch By the River,’ a radio show with soul, Part 1

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A feast for the ears


It’s 9 a.m. on a Sunday. Your household of kids or pets or whoever is starting to stir. You fix yourself a strong cup of coffee and start to think about the day: eat breakfast, read the paper and then a move toward something fun or productive … maybe by noon. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a soundtrack to your morning, something that wakes you up nice and slow and then gets you on your feet and moving?

Lisa Garvey is there for you.

Garvey is the DJ of the radio show “Brunch By the River,” which plays a unique and expertly coordinated medley of jazz, soul, blues and rock – what she calls a “groove show” – perfect for your weekend wake-up call. ?The show airs in the Boston area and beyond Sundays from 9 a.m. to noon on WXRV-FM 92.5 The River and live on the Web at www.wxrv.com. [Ed. note: the logo above does not reflect the new hours.]

On any given Sunday, Miles Davis’ cool trumpet might segue into horn powerhouse Tower of Power then to B.B. King, Al Green or maybe Steely Dan.

It’s a mix of music no other commercial station in Boston – perhaps in the country – is playing. Jazz alone is pretty much a four-letter word meaning unmarketable in radio. Even the majority of college stations have abandoned it.

So how is it received by listeners on ’XRV?

“It’s been great,” says Garvey, truly ecstatic to talk about her show. “People really seem to like it. The Facebook page has become a chat room, not only to make requests, but to talk about the songs and to each other. One couple even ‘met’ there!” (More on this later.) Listeners from as far away as Brazil, St. Lucia, and Florida check in to let Garvey know they are listening. “Good Morning from rain laden Pensacola FL,’’ says one recent post. “I am sharing BBTR with my neighbors.”

The fact that the show exists at all is a testament to Garvey’s love for soul and jazz music. Her regular gig, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. during the week, is the standard adult contemporary WXRV format: Coldplay, Jack Johnson, Death Cab for Cutie, Bruce Springsteen, etc. Though the station gets a few bonus points for ranging a little wider and deeper than most, Garvey sticks to the computer-generated playlist during the week.

But “Brunch By the River” is all her.

The show existed before she took it over five years ago, but, she says, it lacked soul, literally: It played a lot less soul music, was heavy on world beat, and the jazz selections were what she calls “condo jazz” – no Miles, no Coltrane, no Charlie Parker.

But now “everything has a soulful groove,” she says proudly. “Jazz and soul go well together.” She might even mix in a well-placed pop song, maybe an Amos Lee tune, now and then.

To read the rest of the story, click HERE

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  1. Rose Coveney says:

    Awesome article. Lisa Garvey is a breath of fresh air making radio worth turning on again. Thanks to wxrv for having the good sense to air the show and let her play these tunes.

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