Sarah Borges performs at Pearl Street Warehouse on June 28, 2022. (Photo by Mark Caicedo)
This one’s “about going home to your house you share with a loved you never want to see again,” Sarah Borges said about “House on a Hill” in her thick, unmistakable Boston accent. Sarah is very real, she writes great songs, she knows how to engage an audience — and that has won her a small but devoted following who gathered recently at the Pearl Street Warehouse in DC.
New Jersey-bred singer-songwriter Nicole Atkins performs at The Hamilton Live in DC on Sunday, July 10, with support from Levi. On her latest album Italian Ice, Atkins conjures the romance and danger and wild magic of a place especially close to her heart: the Jersey Shore in all its scrappy beauty.
Willie Nile is a New York City-based singer-songwriter whose recording career span reaches back to 1980. He’s hard to place in an a precise genre, as his influences range from Bob Dylan to Lou Reed, and he’s also covered The Clash. He’s a rock ‘n’ roller who, even into his 70s, is still the same guy who wasn’t afraid to fight the record companies in a legal case that set a precedent.
But he’s also a trained pianist who can just as easily do a ballad as he might just rock out. His work finds a great balance between raw musculature and cerebral refinement, managing to thread in literary and cultural references without pretension. It’s rock with brains — it sounds great, and there’s steak to go with the sizzle.
Willie released a new album, The Day the Earth Stood Still, last year, and now he’s on tour. Willie and his band perform at DC’s The Hamilton Live on Friday, July 8, and Parklife DC’s Mark Engleson talked to him in advance of that show.
Lazy July and August afternoons are traditionally called the dog days of summer. The fresh buds and flowers of spring have faded as the relentless heat causes trees, people, and dogs to wilt under an unforgiving sun. Thankfully, the only withering from the last Sunday in June came from Duane Betts and his two musical pals, Berry Duane Oakley (bass) and Johnny Stachela (guitars), blazing musicianship when they played City Winery DC on the 3rd stop of their Dog Daze Tour.
Guitarist Duane Betts, son of the famed Dickey Betts of The Allman Brothers, has been making his own name in recent years, and he’s appeared quite a few times in the DC area with the Allman Betts Band in recent years.
Jason Isbell performs at Wolf Trap on June 16, 2022. (Photos by Jason Nicholson; Words by Mark Engelson)
In the new documentary about Sheryl Crow, Jason Isbell credits the singer-songwriter as an inspiration, not only as a musician, but as a person. The two shared a bill in twin nights at Wolf Trap recently in a celebration of generations of rock and roots music.
American Aquarium (Photo courtesy Shore Fire Media)
A few weeks ago, American Aquarium released their new studio album Chicamacomico via Thirty Tigers — a heart-wrenching reflection on loss that finds frontman BJ Barham scaling new expressive heights, resulting in the band’s most elemental and emotionally resonant work to date.
Punk was a reaction to the increasingly sophisticated nature of rock music, especially the rise of progressive rock in the early ’70s. Punk stripped rock music backed down to its bare essentials, to a fast, hard-charging, guitar-based attack.
It’s not surprising then, that Jesse Malin, who grew up in the NYC hardcore band Heart Attack and later fronted D Generation, later turned to roots rock, becoming widely respected figure and working with luminaries like Lucinda Williams and Bruce Springsteen. Even though Jesse is in his early 50s, he’s still full of fire, and he put a ton of energy into his performance at The Hamilton Live recently, even climbing on tables and chairs to work up the crowd.