Sam Bush performs at Stages Music Arts on July 18, 2021. (Photo by Casey Vock)
Though many musicians are admittedly brushing off rust as live performances return to order, you’d be hard-pressed to find any flaws in the skillset of the world’s most talented bluegrass musicians, a group as passionate about their craft as you’ll encounter.
One of the most critically acclaimed and seasoned bluegrass trendsetters, Sam Bush made his way to Cockeysville this past weekend for an early Sunday evening performance at Stages Music Arts, a venue that has hosted an impressive list of highly regarded musicians in just a short time.
Jay Blakesberg displays his latest book, “Eyes of the World – Grateful Dead Photography – 1965-1995,” at The Birchmere on June 9, 2021. (Photo by Casey Vock)
How would our memories serve us in life without the assistance of photography? What would the realm of live music look like without the historical record provided by the photographs that serve as hard evidence of what has and who have come before us?
Jay Blakesberg knows from more than 40 years of experience that the duty of a live music photographer is, as he refers to it, “visual anthropology.” A native of New Jersey born in 1961, Jay is a guiding force in the world of both live music photography and musician portraiture, having worked with a staggering list of some of the most well-known musicians on the planet and seen his photos published across a universe of media.
Hackensaw Boys perform at Stages Music Arts in Cockeysville on May 21, 2021. (Photo by Casey Vock.)
As live performances mount a comeback, venues in the Charm City and Baltimore County are quickly helping music lovers jump back into the swing of things as more and more dates fill the calendar.
This past Friday night gave acoustic roots fans a special opportunity to celebrate the craft at the Charm City Bluegrass Festival, hosted at Stages Music Arts, a cozy outdoor venue and recording hub tucked away up on Stenerson Lane in Cockeysville, Maryland.
Bill Frisell performs at Keystone Korner Baltimore on April 24, 2021. (Photo by Casey Vock.)
Sometimes it’s simply the spontaneity of live music that makes it such a special experience, not only for the fans — some of whom might loosely feel the weight of what they’re witnessing — but just as much for the musicians themselves. With lingering rules and protocols in place, any in-the-flesh performance down the backstretch of the pandemic should be cherished for the solace and bliss it might provide everyone involved.
Bill Frisell, the legendary guitar player of otherworldly talents and an unthinkably accomplished recording artist and composer, recently announced a handful of shows on fairly short notice. But it really wasn’t by chance that several of those shows were in Baltimore this past Saturday and Sunday at Keystone Korner, a Harbor East venue powering through the weirdest of times to approach its second anniversary.
moe. performs at the Frederick County Fairgrounds on Nov. 7, 2020. (Photo by Casey Vock)
American flags were hoisted high in the air Saturday night at drive-in out at Frederick County Fairgrounds and music lovers from the DMV seemed to be, for the most part, celebrating a day that marked a shift to a new presidential administration — at least tentatively.
And who better to host such an ordeal than moe.? One of the country’s most seasoned touring jam bands of the last several decades, moe. scheduled the show just a few weeks back as their last of the year and arrived as the perfect candidate to celebrate what felt like an All-American kind of night at another “Showtime at the Drive In” presentation hosted by All Good Presents and Baltimore Soundstage.
Cris Jacobs performs at the Frederick County Fairgrounds on Oct. 21, 2020. (Photo by Casey Vock)
Cris Jacobs, a Baltimore native and arguably one of the Charm City’s top songwriters and performers, took the stage recently in support of Grace Potter way out at the Frederick County Fairgrounds.
His appearance was announced just a few weeks back as part of what has become the unexpected gift of the fall season — the Showtime at the Drive In series of performances hosted by All Good Presents and Baltimore Soundstage. It was Cris’ first time performing at a drive-in style concert and his first live gig since February.
Grace Potter performs at the Frederick County Fairgrounds on Oct. 21, 2020. (Photo by Casey Vock)
While performing musicians painfully prepare for what could be a long winter with limited options for reaching their fans in the flesh, some have made the trip to Maryland as of late to take advantage of the opportunity provided by the newly dubbed Showtime at the Drive In series of concerts being held at the Frederick County Fairgrounds.
Last week, Grace Potter made the trip down from her current home in the mountains of Vermont to take the stage for a solo performance organized by All Good Presents and Baltimore Soundstage.
Pigeons Playing Ping Pong performs at Showtime at the Drive-In in Frederick on Oct. 15, 2020. (Photo by Casey Vock.)
While the memories of live music as we once knew it slip more distant into our collective memories, it’s likely that no one will forget their first experience watching a drive-in style pandemic performance.
Originating in Europe and cropping up shortly thereafter throughout the United States, drive-in concerts have already become, for some, a norm in times of required or suggested social distancing. And thanks to the work of All Good Presents and Baltimore Soundstage, music fans in the DMV this fall are being offered a somewhat unexpected harvest of live music by way of the Showtime at the Drive-In series being held at the Frederick County Fairgrounds.
Bill Frisell Trio (Photo by Monica Jane Frisell)
Few musicians have demonstrated an eternal devotion to the exploration and discovery of sound like Bill Frisell. The 69-year-old made a name for himself as a studio guitarist for ECM Records in the 1980s and went on to become a tremendously influential presence on the New York City jazz scene working with John Zorn, Paul Motian, John Scofield, and many others on a long list of projects.
Guided by his life-long pursuit of melody, Bill left the City in 1988, intentionally breaking out of the walls of jazz he’d constructed around himself, and moved to the West Coast, but his desire to create new music would take him all over the globe.