Interview: Lauren Calve, DC’s Formidable Americana Artist

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Lauren Calve (Photo by Shane Gardner)

DC Americana and blues artist Lauren Calve releases Wildfire, her new EP, on June 23. She recently released the first single from the album — a song called “Better Angels.” As Lauren has said, she took inspiration for the song from Abraham Lincoln’s inaugural address, which prompted her to reflect on the courage of people today dealing with modern challenges like COVID-19.

And, of course, as everyone has been in a pandemic lockdown, Lauren has been a regular performer in livestream concerts, spreading the word about her new music and finding creative outlets where she can. Parklife DC’s Mickey McCarter recently caught up with Lauren to ask her about getting music out during the lockdown, her approach to unique arrangements in her music, and her spiritual connections to the places that gave birth to roots and Americana.

Visit Lauren Calve’s website to grab her new single!

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Livestream Preview: Stone Love Bass Odyssey with John Taylor of Duran Duran @ Instagram, 6/10/20

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John Taylor performs with Duran Duran at MGM National Harbor on Dec. 31, 2016. (Photo by Mickey McCarter)

Pandemic lockdowns globally generated a surge of creativity from music artists seeking ways to connect with their fans in a time when people are urged to stay at home.

Of all the virtual concerts, listening parties, and chats, my favorite lockdown series by far has been a tutorial and interview combo by John Taylor of Duran Duran. On nearly a weekly cadence, John regales the viewer with tales of a favorite song and how it came together, with a focus on his bass playing, and then he interviews a friend and fellow artist in a program dubbed Stone Love Bass Odyssey.

On Wednesday, June 10, John walks us through “Some Like It Hot” by his side project Power Station, and then he chats with none other than fellow English rocker Billy Idol, on Duran Duran’s Instagram!

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Interview: Limahl

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Limahl (Photo courtesy ReyBee Inc.)

In 1983, singer Limahl released an album with the band Kajagoogoo. It was titled White Feathers, and I probably don’t need to tell you much about it because the lead single “Too Shy” never went away. You can hear the smash hit everywhere! Soon after, Limahl cemented his place in our collective pop consciousness as a solo performer with the majestic “NeverEnding Story,” the title theme to the movie of the same name.

“NeverEnding Story” and “Too Shy” have withstood the test of time and even went through a rejuvenation in 2019 after being featured on hit television series Black Mirror (Episode: “Bandersnatch”), American Horror Story (Season Nine: “1984”), and Stranger Things (Season Three). Now, Limahl enters a pop culture renaissance with the release of “Still in Love,” his first new solo release in eight years, on June 5, 2020.

Parklife DC’s Mickey McCarter was very pleased to chat with Limahl, born Chris Hamill, about the new single and his landmark ’80s tunes in a recent phone call.

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Livestream Preview: Stone Love Bass Odyssey with John Taylor of Duran Duran @ Instagram, 5/27/20

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John Taylor performs with Duran Duran at MGM National Harbor on Dec. 31, 2016. (Photo by Mickey McCarter)

The great Nile Rodgers famously remixed “The Reflex” by Duran Duran — a song that sent the boys from Birmingham UK to No. 1 on the US Billboard Hot 100 in 1984.

Nile went on to work quite a bit with Duran Duran over the past several decades, of course, and bassist John Taylor is likely to explore that relationship in a chat for his Stone Love Bass Odyssey via Duran Duran’s Instagram on Wednesday, May 27.

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Livestream Preview: Stone Love Bass Odyssey with John Taylor of Duran Duran @ Instagram, 5/20/20

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John Taylor (left) performs with Simon LeBon in Duran Duran at The Fillmore New Orleans on Feb. 19, 2019. (Photo by Mickey McCarter)

During the national COVID-19 crisis, many musicians have found ways to connect with their audiences virtually, using platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube to present concerts or interactive experiences.

In my opinion, bassist John Taylor of Duran Duran has developed one of the most joyful, uplifting, and thoroughly entertaining of these virtual performances with his Stone Love Bass Odyssey series, which he broadcasts via Duran Duran’s Instagram on Wednesdays. In the two-part program, John first shares an iconic baseline from a classic Duran Duran song and then he chats with a fellow musician about their careers and shared interests.

The result is must-see Instagram TV!

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Interview: Jesper Anderberg of The Sounds

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The Sounds (Photo courtesy Reybee Inc.)

The Sounds burst out of Sweden in 2002 with Living in America, blowing us away with fantastic new wave. The five-member band, fronted by Maja Ivarsson, then became the toast of the town with their hip second record, Dying to Say This to You.

Over the past 20 years, The Sounds have remained very busy while maintaining a consistent lineup. Key to that lineup is Jesper Anderberg, keyboardist, pianist, and guitar player — a versatile contributor and a thoughtful presence during The Sounds’ kinetic performances.

Mickey McCarter of Parklife DC caught up with Jesper to chat about Things We Do For Love, the upcoming sixth full-length album by The Sounds, scheduled for release on June 12, and about what he’s been up to the past few years.

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Interview: Seán Ó Corcoráin of Outsider

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Outsider (Photo by Paudie Bourke)

Inspired by musicians such as Joy Division and The Jesus & Mary Chain, Ireland’s Outsider makes music that strikes you with its depth. Certainly, Outsider writes poetic lyrics and sings them with passion, but he also crafts melodies that dance and soar through you.

Outsider took his name from Colin Wilson’s 1956 book, The Outsider, “which examines the psyche of great artists and their place in society,” reads his bio. His real name is Seán Ó Corcoráin. Seán is a terrific talent and a wonderful person, and Parklife DC’s Mickey McCarter had the absolute pleasure of chatting with him recently about his debut full-length album, Karma of Youth, released April 17 by OK! Good Records.

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Around Town: DC9 Open for Takeout

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DC9 (Photo by Mickey McCarter)

Hey folks, DC9 asked the mayor if it could resume business with takeout and delivery of food and alcohol. And the mayor approved!

DC9 had been closed since the DC mayor’s March 13 order to close nightclubs. Other establishments that hold liquor licenses, such as taverns, were able to pivot to takeout food, but DC9 initially was not.

The mayor allowed DC9 to reopen beginning April 22, and now the club’s burgers and Southern-leaning plates are available for online and in-person ordering!

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Stars and Bars: Welcome to The Anthem

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The Anthem (Photo by Mickey McCarter)

On Oct. 12, 2017, the Foo Fighters headlined the first night at The Anthem at the shiny new Wharf development, and nothing in DC concert was ever the same again.

Promotions company IMP, the owners of 9:30 Club, had an ambitious goal. The principals would build a tremendous theatre to hold 6,000 seats in the newly recapitalized southwest neighborhood, providing ample space for bands that appreciate a general admission experience but might be too big for one night at 9:30 Club.

It was a smashing success.

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Preview: Vinyl Nation @ Brown Paper Tickets, 4/18 + 4/19/20

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Songbyrd Music House (Photo by Ben Eisendrath/ Instagram+Twitter: Insomnigraphic/ GrillworksBen)

To help record stores during these challenging times and closures due to COVID-19, the documentary Vinyl Nation presents a one-time special online screening of the film in association with Record Store Day on Saturday, April 18, and Sunday, April 19.

All ticket proceeds go to local record stores, including Songbyrd Music House in DC, participating in this special screening.

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