Thursday, December 29, 2011


We're gearing up for a new season and its going to be epic!"

  VISION/VOICE/VARION......"always on, always connected!"

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

"Weekend Wine Down" in This Month's Radar Magazine

  HERE'S TO 2012!!


Check out Page 19--"Weekend Wine Down"
Varion Walton has some tips on when "GOOD wine goes BAD!

THE ULTIMATE THROWBACK: Timothy L. Jones Photography: "A Day With Varion" 07/07/07


Varion Walton and Tim Jones July 7, 2007

Timothy L. Jones Photography: "A Day With Varion" 07/07/07:

That day was truly a special day. Varion Walton is a dear friend of mine. She invited my wife and I to her birthday party at the historical ...

I just had to go back and save this one from my dear friend and gifted photographer Timothy L. Jones.
It makes me think of the spiritual, "my soul sits back and wonder how I got over!"
2007 was a very challenging year.
Thank God Tim was there to help me capture the memories of some happier times!

"Thank you Tim"


                 K-ROB's "Golden Opportunity" for BayFest 2011

(MOBILE, AL.)  What do you get when you stir up soulful ingredients like a "choir boy" in the church, a direct link to a legendary R&B family along with the incredible influences of iconic crooners like Stevie Wonder and Donny Hathaway?  K-Rob, of course!  This rising star appeared Live on "VISION/VOICE/VARION" following his performance with BayFest 2011.  Check him out as he talks about mixing the nuances of today's R&B/Hip Hop with the "old school" flava.

(PREVIOUSLY RECORDED-- K-Rob Live on Vision/Voice/Varion during BayFest 2011)

Photo Courtesy: "E" of Elpwe's Photography

Monday, December 26, 2011

2011 YEAR IN REVIEW: The Mid-South's Hottest Concert! The Bar-Kays, Ron Isley, Anthony Hamilton, Maze Featuring Frankie Beverly


Ron Isley and The Isley Brothers in Concert In November 2011 
(MEMPHIS, TN.) --VISION/VOICE/VARION is your only "all access" internet magazine featuring some of the Mid-South's hottest concerts. In November Desoto Civic Center near Memphis put on one of the best concerts ever. There was just too much talent on one stage!  The Bar-Kays featuring Larry Dobson, Anthony Hamilton, Ron Isley featuring the Isley Brothers, Maze featuring Frankie Beverly. We wrapped up our tour of the Memphis area in December with the smooth sounds and cool vocals from Stax Recording Artist Lalah Hathaway and her featured opening artist Jonathan Winstead.  Jonathan is definitely a "rising star" in his own right.  He opened for Lalah the night of his birthday, but everyone in the audience walked away with a gift, the pleasure of enjoying the outstanding performance of this Tennessee based newcomer.

Check out the images captured by celebrity photographer "E" of Elpwe's Photography of Memphis.


THE SOUL LOUNGE TOUR-Featuring Lalah Hathaway

(December 22, 2011)--I got a chance to see Lalah Hathaway live in Memphis this week and let's just say it was the best early Christmas present ever! Lalah has a new CD "Where It All Begins".  Not only is this new project with STAX Records hot, but this sistah sets the room on "fire" with her rendition of "Summer Time." She would do the cast of "Borgie and Bess"proud.

Her live performances are truly a treat because everything you thought you knew about her vocally from her previous CDs pales in comparison to having her standing three feet in front of you.

If she's playing anywhere near you take advantage of hearing this incredible performer.  In an age of "auto tunes"you won't be disappointed.

(Click Here To See Lalah's Schedule and Website along with The Soul Lounge Webpage)
All Photos: Courtesy of "E" of Elpwe's Photography

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Up Close With Lalah Hathaway

(Memphis, TN.)--Some say her "sultry alto" vocals are as smooth as "Godiva Chocolate".  Lalah Hathaway, known as the "First Daughter of Soul" chats with Varion Walton about her years in the industry, her push to get music back in the classroom, plus her connection to one of the most legendary singers in R&B.  Check your local listings, this show is "on fire".  Lalah is an incredible talent. Let's help her "go platinum."

 (Digital Video Provided by "E" of El-pwe's Photography)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


(MOBILE, Alabama) - 2011 is definitely the year I racked up a lot of miles covering a number of major entertainment events all around the country.  I have to say one of my favorites was right in my own backyard!  BayFest Music Festival continues to be one of the most premiere events of the year.  After checking out the line-up and the impressive images captured by famed celebrity Elpwe Ray, I think you see why!  Here's to a rocking 2012!  Check out one of my favorite things for 2011!


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

WHAT'S HOT! NPR "Loving" Anthony Hamilton's New CD-"Back To Love"

(December 13th)--Anthony Hamilton's "BACK TO LOVE" is available NOW on I-Tunes and area music stores.  The CD was released today, December 13th and already is winning critical acclaim.  The enclosed NPR-Music review is definitely "required reading."  

I'm especially excited to see Anthony Hamilton teaming up again with Huntsville's own Kelvin Wooten on the beast of a track #9 "Sucka for You".   The two really make beautiful music together and earned Grammy nominations for their work with "So In Love" with Anthony Hamilton and Jill Scott.  
(See Kelvin Wooten: The Man Behind The Music" on this blog.)   I'm no music critic, but I like what I like and I like a lot of it.  "Back To Love" truly becomes addictive with every play!  

(Article as it appeared in NPR Music)

Anthony Hamilton's new album, Back to Love, comes out Dec. 13.
EnlargeAdrian Sidney
Anthony Hamilton's new album, Back to Love, comes out Dec. 13.

December 4, 2011

A few months ago, I was lucky enough to see Anthony Hamilton perform before a 
few thousand fervent fans at an outdoor concert in the Deep South. The 40-year-old 
singer and songwriter was opening for his recent duet partner, Jill Scott. But for the 
hour in which he led his funky band through a set that was as funky as beautiful gets, 
this was his revival meeting.

As Hamilton went deep in the pocket with his band, sexy slow jams segued into gospel testifying. The singer shouted the crowd to its feet and then took us down to a simmer with the deep amber falsetto he's known to break out. He cracked jokes, prayed and humped the floor. As my husband remarked, the performance made the whole idea of 
retro-soul irrelevant. Hamilton's songs about surviving hard times and keeping the flame
of steady love were soul, that's all — as connected to present realities as music gets.
Hamilton has made a steady career in R&B by mindfully responding to the genre's legacy. His baritone, one of the few on the charts today that has real grit, touches on the magnificence ofTeddy Pendergrass and the tenderness of Donny Hathaway. A North Carolina native, Hamilton also sometimes reminds me of my favorite Southern gentleman: Bobby "Blue" Bland.
His ownership of soul's legacy is one thing, but Hamilton also has serious hip-hop bona fides. In the 1990s, he toured with D'Angelo's legendary Soultronics, and he's sung on tracks by the likes ofTupac and Eve. Working with great rhymers has helped the singer shape an exquisite sense of timing. Even when he's clearly looking back to Stax or early-'70s funk, Hamilton stays free of the straitjacket of nostalgia by connecting with hip-hop's incessant inventiveness.
Back to Love is Hamilton's sixth album, and also his most consistently hooky and inviting. On previous efforts, he's developed strong grooves and showcased his killer pipes, but only sometimes hit on great hooks. Here, working with an array of producers who understand that "classic" and "contemporary" aren't contradictory terms, Hamilton has created a set that becomes more addictive with every play.
Variety is the spice of Back to Love — out Dec. 13 — as Hamilton applies his commanding vocals to rock-tinged funk, cool quiet storm and bare-bones balladry. The legendary Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds produced three cuts, including the bumping "Woo" and the hymnlike "Pray for Me," and his coolly open-minded approach infuses the whole album. That's Hamilton's approach, too, and he never gets lost working with a wide range of collaborators.
Salaam Remi takes Hamilton into the Curtis Mayfield zone for the creamy title track. "Sucka for You," co-authored by Hamilton and longtime collaborator Kelvin Wooten, is a climb-on-the-chairs stomper. A Keri Hilson vocal and a squeaky synth beat make "Never Let Go" totally now, while listeners craving Southern funk ought to be satisfied by the bluesy "Life Has a Way."
"Life humbles you down," Hamilton moans in that song, a mournful acknowledgment of how hard the journey can be. He's always been the paragon of modesty, a great talent without much interest in bragging or high rolling. More than ever before, this music makes the case for his importance. Let him lift you up.

WHAT'S HOT-- It's a Boy! Fantasia Welcomes Her Baby 2 Weeks Early!

(Charlotte, N.C)--Congratulations are in order for the American Idol winner Fantasia Barrino, sources close to the singer tell "VISION, VOICE, VARION" she has given bright to a "bouncing baby boy".

File Photo: Fantasia Barrino
Dallas Xavier Barrino was born Monday, December 12th in a Charlotte, North Carolina hospital.  Sources close to Fantasia's latest movie on the life and legacy of gospel singer Mahalia Jackson confirm the baby was born 2 weeks early.  Fantasia was expecting her little bundle of joy just after the holiday, December 29th.  Apparently little Dallas was "ready for his close-up."

No word yet from producers on if or when they will resume shooting the Mahalia Jackson movie now that Fantasia who was cast in the starring role has given birth.



Event Televised Over Much Of The Country

MOBILE, Ala., December 13, 2011 – The corner of St. Joseph and St. Francis Streets in downtown Mobile will be the hot spot for New Year’s fun this year. Prepare for a “Fantastic Voyage,” as Lakeside warms up the crowd before legendary rockers Three Dog Night ring in 2012, along with the MoonPie Drop, a laser show and fireworks from atop the RSA BankTrust Building and in Mobile Bay.

The events will kick off with a Mardi Gras-style parade at 7:30 that will parade through downtown. From the funky “Fantastic Voyage” to rock anthem “Joy to the World” the music will be both diverse and family-friendly taking revelers on a musical flashback. Whether you prefer RC Cola or a glass of champagne, ring in the New Year in downtown Mobile. 

“We looked at several locations and wanted to bring the MoonPie Drop and stage location closer together to build more enthusiasm,” said Mayor Sam Jones of Mobile. “The combination of the great entertainment, the uniqueness of the MoonPie Drop and an anticipated large crowd have the makings of one amazing evening,” said Jones. “Our sponsors are making this possible and we are delighted that nearly 20 media markets will be counting down the new year live from Mobile, Alabama.”  
File Photo: Downtown Mobile
The new stage location, adjacent to Bienville Square, will allow for larger crowds, better protection from the weather and great views of the MoonPie and the fireworks shows. A new VIP area on the sixth floor of the RSA BankTrust Building parking deck will enable sponsors to get a bird’s eye view of the entertainment and the falling cookie. The 12-foot-tall electronic MoonPie will descend from the 34-story RSA BankTrust skyrise as the city welcomes 2012 and the beginning of Mardi Gras season.

This year’s MoonPie Over Mobile celebration will start with a Mardi Gras-style parade double the size of the 2010 parade and will feature floats, bands and a few surprises. Afterwards, a street party of live entertainment will help draw thousands of people downtown. Downtown Mobile will be one giant street party that will last into the early hours of the New Year.  

“Mobile’s New Year’s Eve Celebration featuring the MoonPie Over Mobile has become a cultural phenomenon in the entire USA,” said Mobile City Councilman Fred Richardson.  “Last year we had more than 40,000 people attend MoonPie Over Mobile and we hope to make it even larger this year,” said Richardson. “I look forward to this New Year’s Eve being the best that has ever been in our city.” First started in 2008, MoonPie Over Mobile gives locals and tourists a chance to experience New Year’s Eve with a bit of Mardi Gras flavor. “It is time to ‘Celebrate,’ just like the Three Dog Night song.” Richardson is credited for creating the MoonPie Over Mobile concept.

“All eyes will be on Mobile this New Year’s Eve,” said Kent Blackinton, general manager of Renaissance Riverview Plaza and president of the Mobile Hotel Association. “We are going to make a great party even better this year, and we are looking to fill the streets of Mobile and the hotel rooms in the city. Television views throughout the Central Time Zone can watch MoonPie Over Mobile live in a 35-minute telecast on Raycom stations, but we would rather have you being part of the excitement.” 
Why a MoonPie?

Mobile is the home of America’s first Mardi Gras celebration, and the MoonPie is the favored “throw” of the hundreds of Mardi Gras maskers riding the floats during the extensive Mardi Gras parade season.  MoonPies were first thrown from Mardi Gras floats in 1952. Today, Mobile consumes more than four million MoonPies annually, and has adopted the delicious treat as an informal emblem. For the MoonPie Over Mobile celebration, this southern city has teamed up with Chattanooga Bakery, the maker of the iconic MoonPie marshmallow sandwich, to create the largest electronic MoonPie as the featured attraction for its New Year’s Eve celebration. This is the fourth year an electronic version of the delicious treat will light up downtown Mobile.

Mardi Gras was first discovered in the New World in 1703 at Twenty-Seven Mile Bluff, the first settlement in Mobile. The first masked parading society, the Cowbellion de Rakin society, was formed in 1830. Mobile currently has more than 50 parading and non-parading organizations. An estimated 850,000 people attend parades, parties and other organizations associated with the carnival festivities. This number will likely increase in 2012.

About Lakeside
“The Lakeside journey began when a group of high school students from Ohio formed a band made up of talented musicians and has sustained them for more than 27-years. Recording moguls Motown, ABC and Solars have felt the Lakeside vibe producing many of the "Fantastic Voyage" mega hits that took the music industry by storm. The sound of funk hits such as "All The Way Live", "Raid" and "Outrageous", are known to draw people to the dance floor like a magnet to metal. And of course, there is the Lakeside anthem that sets the band apart from all the rest. Brought back by Coolio, "Fantastic Voyage" boasts to be the only song to knock Michael Jackson's "Heartbreak Hotel" from the number one position on the Billboard Charts in 1980. The hit single "Fantastic Voyage", continues to entertain new and seasoned fans.

About Three Dog Night

Legendary music icons, Three Dog Night, celebrate their 4th decade, performing to sell-out crowds and bringing along some of the most astonishing chart statistics in popular music including 21 consecutive Top 40 hits, including three #1 singles, 11 Top 10's, and 12 straight RIAA Certified Gold LPs.

Perfectly re-creating their larger than life songs, Three Dog Night will perform their hits including “Mama Told Me (Not To Come)”,  “Joy to The World”, “Black and White”,  “Shambala”, “One”, “Liar”, “Celebrate” and many more songs that drive their success. Three Dog Night, which is made up of founding members Cory Wells and Danny Hutton on lead vocals, original band mates Jimmy Greenspoon (keyboards) and Michael Allsup (guitar) and completed by Paul Kingery (bass and vocals) and Pat Bautz (drums), now perform for audiences spanning several generations. After nearly 40 years together, Three Dog Night continues to grow its fan base and develop new ways of doing business.   Since 1986, they have performed over 2,000 shows including two Super Bowls.

Where Will MoonPie Over Mobile Be Televised?

Raycom Media will be doing a live 45-minute telecast from MoonPie Over Mobile. It will be telecast on the following stations:  WAFF - Huntsville, AL; WBRC - Birmingham, AL;
WSFA - Montgomery, AL; WDFX - Dothan, AL; WTVM - Columbus, GA; WPGX - Panama City, FL; WLOX - Biloxi, MS; WDAM - Hattiesburg, MS; WLBT - Jackson, MS; KAIT -  Jonesboro, AR; KTRE - Lufkin, TX; KLTV - Tyler, TX; KCBD - Lubbock, TX; WAFB - Baton Rouge, LA; KPLC - Lake Charles, LA; KSLA - Shreveport, LA; WMC - Memphis, TN; KFVS - Cape Giradeau, MO and KYOU - Ottumwa, IA. Locally, WKRG in Mobile will air the telecast. Other stations are certainly welcome to create their own live telecast. 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

RESTAURANT SCORECARD: Mail-Order Madness and Holiday Food Safety

(Washington, D.C.) --There's nothing worse than food poisoning during the holidays. Don't let your family time turn into a case of dietary distress!  Keep these food safety and mail order tips in mind as you order goodies for you and your family during this festive season.

3-thousand people die every year from a food related illness and the holiday season is no exception.  Food experts say the Christmas holidays are when we change our routines and that could be a recipe for trouble.  You get distracted and in a hurry and that could lead to a critical mistake.  Remember to check your steps during the holiday season.  Keep your hot foods hot and your cold foods cold.  Remember to wash your hands, utensils and surfaces with the holiday treats often.  More more information on food safety, "visit the food police"

Don't forget the thing you learned in pre-school, wash your hands and often!

Mail-Order Madness |

Thursday, December 1, 2011

WHAT'S HOT!! Charlie Wilson Gets 2 Grammy Nods

(Los Angeles, CA.)  It was a big night for Kanye West and Adele, but I'm especially excited for "Uncle Charlie Wilson"on his two Grammy nods for R&B Performance as well as Best R&B Song for "You Are".  Charlie you're definitely stepping into your season, again!  No doubt you, photographer El-pwe Ray and the entire writing, producing and management staff at P. MUSIC, INC. are on cloud 9.  Way to Go!!!!

R&B Sensation Charlie Wilson and Varion Walton-Essence 2011

(Photo Courtesy: Photographer El-pwe Ray aka "E", Elpwe's Photography)