About Us

About Our Music:

Option 22 is an ecelctic Americana ensemble with a revolutionary vibe. Dubbed by one listener a “new age jam band,” their broad style spans from newgrass to space-folk to roots-rock world funk and points in between. They are channels for the music, allowing it to flow through them and deliver it to whomever is present along with messages of hope, love and healing.  On the fly collaborative dynamics, rhythmic muscle and thematic inventions shower you with sound that is sure to lift your vibration and unlock the doors of your heart, allowing you to groove freely and transcend.

Based in Princeton, West Virginia, Lori McKinney (vocals, drums, djembe, spoken word) and Robert Blankenship (guitar, banjo, shamisen, hand-drums, didgeridoo) have been writing and playing music together since early 2004, of Brandon Dunn (bass), the rock-solid, seasoned rhythms of Ary'an's Graham and the soulful guitar stylings of Jacob Brooks (lead guitar).

These artists understand the power of music to heal and transform, and they use their creative gifts to make a positive impact on the world around them. They live and work within a multi-purpose creative zone which they created in downtown Princeton, WV called The RiffRaff Arts Collective, which is revitalizing a one dark and depressed area with color and life. They write, perform, teach and record there as well as host music nights, drum circles, art parades and more. They founded and run Culturefest World Music & Arts Festival, now in its 19th year, a weekend long creative oasis on a magical mountaintop which promotes unity and respect for diversity. Understanding the power of music and the arts, they use these gifts to inspire and uplift.

Their work as healing artists and arts organizers (2 of them founded and run Culturefest World Music & Arts Festival and The RiffRaff Arts Collective) is fueled by a strong desire to build and contribute to community. Their music reflects that passion. With backgrounds in theatre, performance, yoga/meditation, and visual arts, the group comes together with an artistic mind-set and a vision for a better world. 

With 4 albums of new music set to release in 2022, they are ready to take on this year. Their last albums, "The Change," and "Choose The Music," are available. Choose the Music was nominated by HomeGrown Music Network for 2010 Album of The Year. One of its tracks was featured on a CD Sampler in Relix Magazine.

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Option 22 has been featured by the following venues:

Floydfest - Blue Plum Festival - Tamarack- The Best of West Virginia  /  Carnegie Hall, Lewisburg  /  The Purple Fiddle  /  FestivALL Charleston 
Taylor Books, Charleston  /  Acoustic Coffeehouse, Johnson City, TN  /  Studio One on WETS-FM, Johnson City
WV Arts Assembly  /  Radio Free Charleston  /  Neighborhood Watch, 103 CIR  /  LiveMix Studio, Charleston
Create WV Conference, Snowshoe Resort  /  Culturefest World Music & Arts Festival  /  Festival of the Rivers
Soldier’s Memorial Theatre  /  Gary Bowling’s House of Art  /  Summit Stage II, Bluefield Area Arts Center
Appalachian South Folklife Center  /  State of Franklin Radio, Johnson City, TN  /  Unitarian Universalist Church
Fine Arts Center @ Concord University  /  Sisters Coffee House  /  Vandalia Lounge  /  The Pub on Gatewood
Cantrell's Ultimate Rafting  /  Unkl Ray's  /  Fort Savannah  /  The Wild Bean  /  Attitude's Bar & Cafe - Blacksburg, VA
Donkey Coffee - Athens, OH  /  Buffalo Gap Jam Fest  /  Pink Moon Festival  / N.P.R.'s "State of the Re:Union" /
Blue Plate Special on WDVX- Knoxville / Boulevard Tavern- Charleston, WV / Radio Free Charleston / Bruno's
The Down Home, Johnson City / Preservation Pub, Knoxville / 3DL / Club Metrosphere, Asheville /
The Rudyard Kipling, Louisville / WV State Fair / Avalon Resort, Paw Paw, WV

and many more!

 

 

Culturefest World Music & Arts Festival, which we created and organize, is the Energetic Pinnacle of the Year 
for Option 22. It is an amazingly heartfelt and unforgettable event.  
Make plans to attend the 19th Annual Culturefest will be held September 8-11, 2022!

If you want to catch up with O22, this is how to do it. When we're not on the road, you can find us at our homebase, The RiffRaff Arts Collective in downtown Princeton, West Virginia playing, writing, recording and spending time with the other amazing artists who work there.