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:
Without a Thought for My Heart
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
Is a Good Man Real
Go on Shining
I’m Not Ready
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.