Gary Clark Jr. (Photo courtesy Warner Bros. Records)
Genres are BS! The need to categorize was how blues became rhythm & blues and R&B was rebranded into rock ‘n’ roll — clever window dressing for marketers! Gary Clark Jr. would have none of it during a recent show at Merriweather Post Pavilion. The “guitar man” defied categorization as he traveled a continuum of American music that included blues, rock, and soul.
Carlos Santana performs at Jiffy Lube Live on Aug. 14, 2019. (Photo by Will Colbert)
Music can often mark a moment in time, but great music is eternal. The ageless guitarist and songwriter Carlos Santana proved this during a recent performance at Jiffy Lube Live.
Nas performs at Les Ardentes Festival in Belgium on July 11, 2013. (Photo by Kmeron)
It has been 25 years since the release of Nas’s debut, Illmatic. The New York emcee recently reminded fans at Wolf Trap why many consider it the best hip hop album ever. Nas brought Illmatic’s vivid street tales to the Filene Center and created a truly cinematic experience with the help of the National Symphony Orchestra.
Damian Marley performs at The Anthem on July 13, 2019. (Photo by Will Colbert)
The idea of a “family business” may be an antiquated notion for some but not if you’re a Marley. Bob Marley’s progeny have been making hits for decades and there’s no sign of that tradition ending. Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley recently took the spotlight at The Anthem in DC. The three-time Grammy winner performed his signature dancehall reggae, father’s timeless classics, and possibly introduced us to the next Marley hitmaker.
Helado Negro (Photo courtesy of RVNG Intl.)
What does black ice cream taste like? If you’re Roberto Carlos Lange, you may say it’s a combination of flavors that inexplicably vary with every lick. The producer and singer-songwriter, better known as Helado Negro (“black ice cream” in Spanish), served up an eclectic mix of synth-pop, electro-folk, and Latin music during a recent performance at DC’s U Street Music Hall.
Ibeyi performs at 9:30 Club on June 9, 2019. (Photo by Will Colbert)
In a modern world, it may be easy to overlook our ancestry, but often these influences cannot be denied — they beat louder than a drum. French-Cuban duo Ibeyi weaved their Afro-Caribbean heritage with hip-hop, electronic music, and soul during a recent show at DC’s 9:30 Club.
Jamila Woods performs at Union Stage on June 4, 2019. (Photo by Will Colbert)
“What will your legacy be,” poet Margaret Burroughs asked in her poem of the same name. It’s a lofty question, but one not lost on Chicago singer, songwriter, activist, and award-winning poet Jamila Woods during a recent sold-out show at DC’s Union Stage.