Live Review: Robert Earl Keen @ Lincoln Theatre — 12/6/19

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Robert Earl Keen performs at the Lincoln Theatre on Dec. 6, 2019. (Photo by Ari Strauss)

“If you want Christmas music,” Robert Earl Keen told the Lincoln Theater recently, “go to the mall.” REK’s Countdown to Christmas Tour steered clear of holiday music until the encore, when he played the fan-favorite “Merry Christmas from the Family,” an ode to the dysfunction and craziness of the holidays.

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Live Review: Tanya Tucker @ The Birchmere — 12/1/19

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Tanya Tucker (Photo courtesy Adkins Publicity)

When Tanya Tucker got to “Bring My Flowers Now” at The Birchmere recently, her band left the stage, leaving just Tanya and her keyboard player. In her deep, rich voice, Tanya sang of her desire to receive flowers — and whatever else — “while I’m livin,” rather than at her funeral.

Tanya told the audience that the gorgeous song had been gestating for decades. When she finished singing it, she received a standing ovation.

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Live Review: Christopher Paul Stelling @ Rock and Roll Hotel — 11/30/19

CPS2 Christopher Paul Stelling shakes the Rock and Roll Hotel on Nov. 30, 2019. (Photo by David LaMason)

As someone who has called Florida, Colorado, New York, and most recently North Carolina “home,” it’s fitting that the music of Christopher Paul Stelling has a rambling, seat-of-the-pants feel that’s at once untethered and feels like coming home.

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Live Review: Willie Nile @ Jammin’ Java — 11/24/19

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Willie Nile (Photo by Christina Arrigoni)

Some musicians find their desire to make art stifled. Following a contract dispute with his original record label, Willie Nile spent a couple decades working, as he said, “a day job.” But Willie, who comes from a family of musicians — his uncles worked in vaudeville — never gave up on his dreams. He kept writing songs, and would occasionally perform on the East Coast and in Europe.

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Live Review: Chris Knight @ City Winery — 11/22/19

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Chris Knight (Photo courtesy Thirty Tigers)

Slaughters, Kentucky native Chris Knight makes gritty, powerful country music. Eschewing the country pop of the Nashville machine, he records sparsely produced albums that draw the listener’s attention to his compelling lyrics. Live, he performs solo and acoustic, delivering the lyrics with fittingly gruff vocals, as he did at City Winery DC recently.

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Live Review: The Low Anthem @ Jammin’ Java — 11/21/19

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The Low Anthem (Photo courtesy Blind Ambition Management)

Haunting. Spectral. These are a few words that describe the folk-Americana of The Low Anthem, who appeared at Jammin’ Java recently. Following a switch to the Joyful Noise label, TLA has released a limited-edition vinyl pressing of their 2008 album, Oh My God, Charlie Darwin. They played the entire record, described as a “very sciencey gospel” album, along with some newer material.

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