We grow up with the music we love. Maybe that’s the funniest, the best, and/or maybe the very most tragic thing about music and getting older, and maybe that’s why we sometimes stop loving the things we used to love.
We’ve seen Brandi Carlile before, we’ve walked the very same steps at Merriweather Post Pavilion, sat under the same stars, even heard some of the same songs. But no part of us could prepare for the joy-letting, the rampant release of emotion, the impossible catharsis, and the absolute connectedness of this recent show.
The summer air dances before the solstice at Wolf Trap, thrumming with music, thick with humidity, a gentler crowd settling onto its lawns. In early June, as the sun sets and the scent of flowers still percolates on humid breezes, Wolf Trap finds its easiest sense of beauty.
Jim James and his band perform at the 9:30 Club on May 17, 2019. (Photo by Matt Ruppert)
Jim James has a totemic hold over the indie-rock scene — My Morning Jacket very much a universe unto itself (I bristle at the idea of calling them a jam band). Jim dropped by 9:30 Club for a pair of solo shows recently, and I caught the first of the two.
Druid Hill Park in the wind after a storm during Charm City Bluegrass Festival. (Photo by Matt Ruppert)
Waking on Friday, the forecast indicated thunderstorms and heavy winds in the neighborhood of 3 to 7 o’clock. The hours passed slowly, work keeping me busy; periodic texts from my wife, little checks of the app, and nervous glances outside the windows of classrooms marked the passage of the clouds, the speed of the winds.
Last summer, Natalie Prass released The Future and the Past, a record replete with grooves that somehow fuses all of the old sounds on which my mother raised me — R&B, soul, a touch of funk — and makes it feel modern, current. She took those grooves to a show at the Rock and Roll Hotel recently.
Phosphorescent performs at Baltimore Soundstage on April 18, 2019. (Photo by Matt Ruppert)
As I stood outside the door of Baltimore Soundstage recently, Matthew Houck and Jo Schornikow strolled past us and their touring bus, children and a nanny beside them. Simple smiles sparked, little laughs swelled; they meandered away, or maybe to a different entrance, barely a glance behind them.
Theirs is an easy grace now, and like all graces, tenuous but suffused with contentment. It looked like happiness.
A little more than two months after Drive-By Truckers blew down the walls of the Anthem with Lucinda Williams, Mike Cooley and Patterson Hood recently rolled into the Rams Head in Annapolis with nothing more than a few guitars, stories, songs, and their humorous nom de guerre as a duo. The Dimmer Twins, a play on The Glimmer Twins of Rolling Stones fame (Mick Jagger and Keith Richards), without an opener or a setlist.
Sometimes, it’s easy to become disenchanted with the industry of music, its lab-grown, polished and cut stones. Have you ever taken a melon-sized rock and thrown it to the ground, its hidden crystals shining on the pavement? Like a little cave of beauty, for a moment, a second in time.
Casey Cavanagh (Photo by Daniel Crane)
Wide-brimmed hat and beard, smooth voice and introspection, it’d be easy to mistake Casey Cavanagh for just another folk rocker hoping to catch the Americana wave. It’d be just that, though — a mistake. I chatted with Casey to learn more about the man in advance of his recent show at Hill Country in DC.