Live Review: Taj Mahal @ The Birchmere — 7/25/19

TajMahal
Taj Mahal performs at The Birchmere on July 25, 2019. (Photo by Ari Strauss)

There is a moment in The Empire Strikes Back when Yoda transforms into a being of incredible, transcendent power. Something very similar happened when the Taj Mahal Quartet picked up their instruments and started to play at The Birchmere recently.

Continue Reading

Live Review: Shovels & Rope @ Wolf Trap — 7/17/19

Shovels&Rope
Shovels & Rope perform at Wolf Trap on July 17, 2019. (Photo by Ari Strauss)

Charleston, South Carolina folk-and-country-rock duo Shovels & Rope opened the annual Wheels of Soul tour recently. Married couple Carrie Ann Hearst and Michael Trent were the first of three heads of the beast that invades Wolf Trap every July. Curated by Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks (of the Tedeschi Trucks Band, who headline), the concert put a spotlight on the best of instrumental excellence and progressive, forward-thinking songwriting in Southern rock. It was a night of righteous jams and long-haired country boys.

Continue Reading

Live Review: Blackberry Smoke @ Wolf Trap — 7/17/19

BlackberrySmoke
Blackberry Smoke performs at Wolf Trap on July 17, 2019. (Photo by Ari Strauss)

Georgia rockers Blackberry Smoke filled the second slot on the recent Wheels of Soul Tour at Wolf Trap. With the dual guitar attack of Charlie Starr and Paul Jackson (on lead and backing vocals, respectively), these five long-haired throwbacks evoked the halcyon days of Southern rock — and groups like Lynyrd Skynyrd.

Continue Reading

Live Review: Tedeschi Trucks Band @ Wolf Trap — 7/17/19

TedeschiTrucksBand
The Tedeschi Trucks band performs at Wolf Trap on July 17, 2019. (Photo by Ari Strauss)

The Tedeschi Trucks Band had a stroke of good luck in the form of an early evening thunderstorm recently. The pouring rain cooled down what was a sweltering hot day, making the atmosphere at Wolf Trap for their performance decidedly comfortable.

Continue Reading

Live Review: Jackson Browne @ Wolf Trap — 7/3/19

JacksonBrowne
Jackson Browne performs at Wolf Trap on July 3, 2019. (Photo by Ari Strauss)

On the eve preceding July 4, legendary singer-songwriter and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Jackson Browne played two dynamite sets of his hits and well-chosen covers to an electric, celebratory, sold-out audience.

Continue Reading

Live Review: Kenny Wayne Shepherd @ Wolf Trap — 6/23/19

KennyWayneShepherd
Kenny Wayne Shepherd performs at Wolf Trap on June 23, 2019. (Photo by Ari Strauss)

Bluesman Kenny Wayne Shepherd emerged from Wolf Trap recently every bit the Southern guitar hero. The fan sitting next to me saw Kenny several years ago at the much smaller Ram’s Head in Annapolis. He said that Kenny Wayne really brought his performance up to the scale of the stage. He absolutely shredded.

Continue Reading

Live Review: The Mastersons @ The Birchmere — 5/20/19

SteveEarle
The Mastersons perform at The Birchmere on May 20, 2019. (Photo by Ari Strauss)

Married couple Chris Masterson and Eleanor Whitmore have performed, respectively, as the guitarist and the fiddler in Steve Earle’s band, The Dukes since 2010. They also record and perform as an acoustic duo, The Mastersons. They played new material at The Birchmere recently as openers for Steve.

Continue Reading