Jim Waive makes more than ripples with authentic country vibes

The Blue Moon’s regular performer offers Wednesday night patrons a unique dining experience


Every Wednesday, the Blue Moon Diner, a cozy breakfast eatery-and-bar combination on West Main Street, hosts one of the best-kept secrets in Charlottesville. At 8 p.m., the white ceiling lights dim, the chatter from the bar and booths lining the walls grows softer and Portsmouth, Virginia native Jim Waive walks through the entrance.

Waive’s appearance is as indicative as his sound: his blue jeans, button-up flannel and cowboy hat suggest simplicity and modesty; indeed, he introduces neither himself nor his set. He allows the focus of his performance to rest not on him, but on his music.

The first song begins quietly, soulfully. Waive strums his guitar, using his fingers in place of a pick, and his rumble of a voice fills the room. It starts low and slow, then, with each song, rises with gusto as Waive croons his own raw country originals, as well as more well-known songs like Hank Williams’ “I Saw the Light.”

The effect Waive has on the diner is immediately noticeable: though Blue Moon is only about half-full, the patrons are unanimous in their appreciation for the country artist. A man at the bar sways to the music; a woman smiles and watches with quiet admiration; a mother lets her young daughter hop down off her lap. Waive is charming, and he makes patrons feel at home.

Waive’s solo performances at the Blue Moon Diner are a departure from his role in his band, Jim Waive & the Young Divorcees, which combine a country violin, pedal steel guitar — a type of electric guitar fitted with foot pedals used to control the instrument’s sound — and the bull fiddle, also known as the double bass, to produce an authentic Southern sound.

“They carry on the American tradition of honky tonkin', beer drinkin', heart breakin' music with a down-home authenticity,” said Critter Fuqua, founding member of the Nashville string band Old Crow Medicine Show.

This down-home country sound is complemented by Waive’s friendly and humble attitude. Between songs at the Blue Moon, he joked with patrons and talked with waitresses. Waive had a naturally positive air about him, and this allowing him to connect with customers and contributing to the diner's positive, homey atmosphere.

In addition to his weekly solo appearances at the Blue Moon Diner and performances with his band, Waive also recently starred in “My Fool Heart,” a 2011 film directed by Jeffrey Martin and shot in Charlottesville at local spots like Crozet Pizza. Though the film is not a documentary, Waive plays himself.

As a talented band leader, singer-songwriter and performer, Waive is sure to make a name for himself in the Charlottesville music scene. A trip to the Blue Moon for a night of his original music is definitely worth the mid-week study break.

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