Live Review: Goose @ The Chrysalis in Merriweather Park — 8/12/22

Goose performs on the first of two nights at The Chrysalis in Merriweather Park the evening of Aug. 12, 2022. (Photo by Casey Vock)

It’s difficult to keep tabs on the progress and achievements of some of the busiest and most prolific bands out there.

But you’d have to be intentionally ignoring live music news to have missed any recent updates on Goose, a group that began in earnest in 2014 and has experienced a recent rapid rise in popularity, including through the pandemic years.

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Live Review: Newport Folk Festival 2022 @ Fort Adams State Park, RI — 7/22-7/24/22

Brandi Carlile welcomes Joni Mitchell to the stage at the Newport Folk Festival on July 24, 2022, her first time back at Fort Adams since 1969. (Photo by Casey Vock)

When musicians themselves hold a place and event so close to their hearts that it becomes sacred, the experience for fans is that much more lasting and remarkable.

The Newport Folk Festival, long considered one of the country’s most influential gatherings of songwriters, artists, and performers, proved to be that and so much more this year — three full days of celebrating music as a communal power and a change agent at a time when the nation feels fragmented by political turmoil and the lingering struggles of the pandemic.

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Live Review: The Deslondes @ Metro Gallery — 7/19/22

Sam Doores performs with The Deslondes at Metro Gallery in Baltimore on July 19, 2022. (Photo by Casey Vock)

A five-piece band from New Orleans: That’s about as far as one might get in solving the formula yielding The Deslondes, a group that got its start under a different identity in 2010 and in 2013 changed its name to one paying tribute to a street in the Lower Ninth Ward where the group originated.

And by blending their collective vision with allure and character, there’s no question that this group of pals and extraordinary songwriters is honing its own Big Easy neighborhood sound into some of the most intoxicating and mystifying music you might hear today.

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Live Review: Dead & Company @ Jiffy Lube Live — 7/8/22

Dead & Company perform at Jiffy Lube Live in Bristow, Virginia, on July 8, 2022. (Photo by Casey Vock)

When illegitimate rumors circulated in the spring that Dead & Company would be hanging it up, Bobby Weir himself took to social media to dispel the fictitious storyline.

“News to me …,” he Tweeted in response to Rolling Stone’s incorrect April report on the modernized, legacy edition of the Grateful Dead, the band the now-grey but steadfast Weir helped steer for 30 years before it disbanded in 1995 following the death of Jerry Garcia.

In the wake of the cancellation of Dead & Company’s scheduled show in Saratoga Springs recently, buzz about a possible no-go in Northern Virginia seemed valid, as the father of star band member John Mayer had been hospitalized late in the week in an apparent medical emergency.

But, alas, Mayer’s father’s condition improved and the show would go on, as they say. And, upon announcing lot and show times on social media in the afternoon on July 8, Jiffy Lube Live was transformed a short while later into the larger-than-life celebration that follows this band wherever it goes in the same trademark fashion as the Grateful Dead.

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Live Review: Midnight North @ The 8×10 — 7/6/22

Grahame Lesh leads Midnight North in a performance at The 8X10 in Baltimore on July 6, 2022. (Photo by Casey Vock)

When you’re born the son of one of the most respected musicians of all time, it takes courage and perseverance to carve your own original path and still honor your heritage.

Grahame Lesh is navigating such an extraordinary scenario with fortitude and class as one of two leading voices and guitars driving Midnight North, a band that got its start about 10 years ago in San Francisco and honed its sound through many a night at Marin County’s late, great Terrapin Crossroads and by way of ambitious touring all across the country.

Their energetic road trips brought Midnight North to spots throughout the DMV in recent years, and at a recent stop at The 8X10 in Baltimore, Grahame showed that his band’s diligence and consideration is indeed paying off in the form of one of the most endearing and dynamic outfits on tour today.

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Live Review: Billy Strings @ Pier Six Pavilion — 7/3/22

Billy Strings leads his band during a sold-out performance at Pier Six Pavilion in Baltimore on July 3, 2022. (Photo by Casey Vock)

It takes an exceptional and fearless musician to emerge as a sensation at a time when entertainment is consumed rapidly and tastes can evolve by the moment.

But at just 29 years old, William Apostol — who’s widely known by his stage name Billy Strings — is blending bluegrass music with other genres and improvising it in the ways of only the most pioneering artists before him.

In doing so, this thrilling guitar player is helping create new fans of bluegrass music and expanding its boundaries, and he’s achieving that by both taking risks and paying respects to the influences that have helped shape and color his sound and that have inspired his undertakings.

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Live Review: Aldous Harding @ The Miracle Theater — 6/11/22

Aldous Harding performs at The Miracle Theater on June 11, 2022. (Photo by Casey Vock)

The rare presentation of unparalleled conviction and determined peculiarity can almost certainly enlighten an audience to the motive and thrust of compelling songwriting.

Honing a wholly original and mystifying stage demeanor, New Zealand’s innovative folk pioneer Hannah Sian Topp, who’s commonly known to music listeners as Aldous Harding, delivered a riveting and alluring performance recently at The Miracle Theater in the nation’s capital, solidifying herself — if she hadn’t already — as one of today’s most stunning and extraordinary performers.

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Live Review: DelFest 2022 @ Allegany County Fairgrounds — 5/27-5/30/22

Bluegrass legend Del McCoury performs with his band during DelFest 2022 held over Memorial Day weekend at the Allegany County Fairgrounds in Cumberland, Maryland. (Photo by Casey Vock)

How much vibrancy can one artist bring to their music? And how big of a community can one individual cultivate around that music?

If DelFest 2022 was any indication, bluegrass legend Del McCoury — at the ripe age of 83 years old — has done as much if not more for his craft than any of the fine musicians who came before him and made this particular breed of roots music their life’s work.

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Live Review: Built To Spill @ 9:30 Club — 5/12/22

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Doug Martsch leads Built To Spill in a performance at 9:30 Club on May 12, 2022. (Photo by Casey Vock)

The terms “vehicle” or “project” are used occasionally in discussions about bands with a focal instrumentalist or songwriter, and in many cases, these would seem like appropriate descriptions for some of today’s most adored groups with morphing identities.

But the question of how much exploration has been done or how much ground has been covered might be best reserved for the more veteran outfit still striving to outdo itself with each studio album.

In a recent anticipated stop at 9:30 Club, Built To Spill demonstrated that it is indeed actualizing the goal its founder — vocalist and electric guitarist Doug Martsch — set for it 30 years ago: to become an inventive, absorbing indie rock outfit with a rotating cast of members that could help perpetuate evolving substance and sound.

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Live Review: Interpol @ The Anthem — 5/10/22

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Interpol performs at The Anthem on May 10, 2022. (Photos by Casey Vock; Words by Mickey McCarter)

Interpol came to The Anthem in DC recently to turn on the bright lights!

The trio have a new album, The Other Side of Make-Believe, due in July, but you wouldn’t have known it for all of the love lavished on the band’s 2002 debut record. But that made sense when you consider it’s given us 20 years of frontman Paul Banks and company!

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