Living in Washington, we can become numb to the myriad of entertainment and cultural opportunities available to us. It is easy to forget that we live in a word-class city with possibilities unmatched for its size. Without the institutions in our amazing city, without the Library of Congress’s musical archives, without Smithsonian Folkways, it wouldn’t be possible for Anna & Elizabeth to enthrall a hushed, rapt crowd with their music.
Bandanas were back in style as Steve Earle and his backing band, The Dukes, made their way to The Birchmere Tuesday on the 30th Anniversary of Copperhead Road Tour.
The Bottle Rockets, one of the bands, along with Wilco and Son Volt, that formed out of the wake of legendary alt-country group Uncle Tupelo, performed at The Birchmere on Friday. They played a set of their own songs, then, after an intermission, returned to the stage as the backing band for singer-songwriter Marshall Crenshaw.
When you go to a lot of concerts, you pick up on details. At James McMurtry’s recent concert, one detail I picked up on was the quality of the sound mixing. James’s sound was pristine. I’ve never heard clearer vocals at The Birchmere as I did on Monday. At times, James himself adjusted his amp to get it just right.
Lee Ann Womack has two identities as an artist. To casual listeners, Lee Ann is the pop country singer who had a smash mainstream hit with “I Hope You Dance.” More serious fans know Lee Ann for her more traditional country and roots music work — as the face of Spotify’s Americana Icons playlist. Playing to a packed crowd at the Birchmere on Friday, Lee Ann displayed both sides of her identity.
An Americana supergroup? Surely, the term “supergroup” is reserved for the likes of classic jam bands and motley metalheads? But yes, Americana trio I’m With Her certainly took its place among the pantheon of supergroups in a sold-out show at 9:30 Club recently.