Live Review: Rachael & Vilray @ Sixth & I — 12/12/19

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Rachael & Vilray perform at Sixth & I Historic Synagogue, Dec. 12, 2019 (Photo by Ari Strauss)

As soon as jazz-vocal duo Rachael & Vilray took the stage recently, the audience at DC’s Sixth & I Historic Synagogue made known its love for Lake Street Dive frontwoman Rachael Price. While singer/guitarists and principal composer Vilray took a moment before the first song to tune his guitar, a few fans broke the silence with complimentary greetings.

“I love your dress, Rachael!” shouted one fan.

“How’s your leg?” asked another. (Rachael broke her left leg in a solo dancing mishap earlier in the year and spent most of the fall months in an orthopedic boot.)

“Congratulations, Rachael!” shouted a third audience member, a reference to Rachael’s recent marriage.

At the conclusion of the first song, “Without a Thought for My Heart,” Vilray poked a little fun at himself and the audience for being less well-known than Rachael, “My name is Vilray; I’m not married and my leg is just fine.”

Rachael and Vilray first met in 2003 as students at the New England Conservatory of Music but didn’t collaborate until more than a decade later when they realized their shared love for 1930s and ’40s-era jazz. The duo has been performing together since 2015 and recently released their debut, self-titled album via Nonesuch Records.

Rachael & Vilray features 10 originals by Vilray, along with two covers from the era that inspired him: Cuban composer Pedro Junco Jr.’s 1943 “Nosotros” and Milton Drake/Louis Atler’s “I Love the Way You’re Breaking My Heart,” first popularized by Peggy Lee.

Listen to Rachael & Vilray by Rachael & Vilray on Spotify:

The Dec. 12 appearance at Sixth & I came at the tail-end of a 15-city tour to promote the duo’s new album which kicked off with an appearance on NPR’s Live from Here with Chris Thile.

Watch Rachael & Vilray perform “Do Friends Fall in Love” during an Oct. 26, 2019 appearance of Live From Here with Chris Thile:

Setlist:
Without a Thought for My Heart
Fairy Tales
Do Friends Fall in Love
Let’s Make Love on This Plane
I Can’t Go To Sleep
The Laundromat Swing
I’ve Drawn Your Face
Why Do I
Alone at Last
Complications of a Broken Heart
Treat Me Better
At Your Mother’s House
Just Two
Is a Good Man Real
Go on Shining
Nosotros
I’m Not Ready

Encore:
Oh Johnny
Try a Little Tenderness
Goodnight My Love

Enjoy some photos of Rachael & Vilray performing at Sixth & I on Dec. 12, 2019. All images courtesy of and copyrighted by Ari Strauss.

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