Lauren Calve (Photo courtesy Ticketfly)
Local roots music artist Lauren Calve opened for Old 97’s frontman Rhett Miller recently at City Winery DC. Accompanied by John Figueroa on the electric guitar, Lauren strummed out tunes inspired by her life and historical sources on her acoustic guitar, beginning with “Polly.” Inspired by the negative portrayal of a woman in a traditional folk recording, Lauren wanted to present Polly’s side of the story.
James McMurtry performs on June 24, 2012. (Photo by Eric)
Critically acclaimed Americana singer-songwriter James McMurty played a solo acoustic set to a passionate audience at The Birchmere recently.
Rosanne Cash (Photo by Michael Levine)
Rosanne Cash released She Remembers Everything, her 15th album, on Blue Note Records last year. The daughter of Johnny Cash will perform at Strathmore Music Center on Friday, March 1.
The Dead Tongues perform at Jammin Java on Feb. 17, 2019. (Photo by Matt Ruppert)
I walked around Jammin Java on Sunday, its brick walls reflecting the stagelights, crowd slowly filling in. My wife asked if I wanted a beer; we went to the bar, where a gaggle of musicians ordered drinks, special opener Molly Sarlé holding a bouquet of white and yellow flowers. Ryan Gustafson, also known by his stage name The Dead Tongues, walked away last, but not before I could say, “I’m really looking forward to the show.” He stopped, turned, looked me in the eyes, telling me “Thanks so much,” with a hand on my shoulder.
Steve Earle performs at City Winery in DC on Feb. 13, 2019. (Photo by Ari Strauss)
Steve Earle is the godfather of Americana music. With his black vest, jeans, and long gray beard, he’s often said to look like an aging biker. But when I saw him at City Winery on Wednesday, I saw a bit of one of the main characters of one of his favorite novels, a sort of Texas Gandalf the Grey.
Lucinda Williams performs at The Anthem on Feb. 8, 2019. (Photo by Matt Ruppert)
By nearly all accounts, Lucinda Williams is the undisputed queen of Americana. Car Wheels On a Gravel Road, recently passing its 20th anniversary, is a desert island record for nearly anyone who’s had the privilege of settling down with its songs. Full of nearly interminable heartbreak, its characters somehow keep picking up the pieces to start again.
And so, Lucinda rolled into DC with the Drive-By Truckers and Erika Wennerstrom to play The Anthem on an unseasonably warm night recently.
Drive-By Truckers perform at The Anthem on Feb. 8, 2019. (Photo by Matt Ruppert)
Full disclosure: The songs of Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley have guided me through some of the best and hardest years of my adulthood. From the first discovery of Southern Rock Opera during my college years to the most recent American Band, I can write with confidence that their songs hold persistent meaning to me.
So, I will not be objective about the recent performance of Drive-By Truckers at The Anthem. Consider this your warning.