John Moreland, right, performs at The Birchmere on Oct. 1, 2019. (Photo by Ari Strauss)
With talented sideman and fellow Tulsa resident John Calvin Abney accompanying him, Oklahoma singer-songwriter John Moreland delivered his trademark Americana ballads at The Birchmere recently. Opener Darrin Bradbury remarked that the previous night in Baltimore, he’d seen a grown man on the edge of tears during John’s set. “I’ve got to write me some of those,” he joked.
Amanda Shires performs at The Hamilton Live in DC on Aug. 17, 2019. (Photo by Ari Strauss)
A strong crowd turned out for Amanda Shires’s “music show,” as she put it, at The Hamilton recently. At the beginning of her set, the lights dimmed and Leonard Cohen’s “You Want It Darker” played as Amanda and her band took the stage. Amanda began with material from the critically acclaimed album she released last year, To the Sunset, slinging her electric guitar, appropriately enough, on “Break Out the Champagne.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.