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Co-author of Virginia state song to perform Saturday at Carysbrook

Steve Bassett, the singer and songwriter who co-wrote the Virginia state song “Sweet Virginia Breeze,” will perform at 7 p.m. on Saturday at Carysbrook Performing Arts Center.

The event is presented by Fluvanna County Arts Council.

Bassett’s musical style unites all kinds of American roots music, including blues, rhythm and blues, gospel and rock. He and fellow Richmond musician Robbin Thompson wrote “Sweet Virginia Breeze” during a rehearsal for a concert at Virginia Commonwealth University in 1978.

In 2015, “Sweet Virginia Breeze” was designated the official popular state song of Virginia, while “Our Great Virginia,” based on the folk song “Oh Shenandoah,” was designated the official traditional state song. Both songs replaced “Carry Me Back to Old Virginia,” a song by Black minstrel performer James A. Bland that became the state song in 1940 and was named state song emeritus in 1997 after several attempts to make lyrics sentimentalizing depictions of slavery less offensive.

Tickets to the Saturday event are $5 and can be purchased at or at the door.

Wearing masks is recommended.

For information about events at Carysbrook Performing Arts Center, go to


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