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: Bela Fleck and the Flecktones @ Strathmore Music Center — 12/2/19

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Bela Fleck performs at MerleFest on April 27, 2018. (Photo by cp_thornton)

We all have ideas and preconceptions about different kinds of music. We can’t help it; we’re exposed to something, and it fixes our notion of what it is. For years, whenever I thought of jazz, I pictured a saxophone in my mind’s eye, and I heard a particular sound. While that sound is representative of some jazz, it’s certainly not representative of all it.

Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, an all-star lineup of progressive jazz musicians, demolished and rebuilt my ideas of what jazz is and can be at the Strathmore Music Center recently.

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Preview: Béla Fleck and The Flecktones @ Strathmore Music Center, 12/2/19

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Béla Fleck and The Flecktones (Photo courtesy the artist)

In 1988, groundbreaking banjoist Béla Fleck was asked to put together his “dream band” for the Lonesome Pine Specials television series. The resulting band was The Flecktones, and they launched their first official tour a year later. Now, Bela Fleck and The Flecktones mark their 30th anniversary at the Strathmore Music Center on Monday, Dec. 2.

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Snapshots: Billy Strings @ 9:30 Club — 11/9/19

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Billy Strings plays to a sold-out crowd at DC’s 9:30 Club, Nov. 9, 2019. (Photo by Ari Strauss)

Billy Strings is hailed by many as the future of bluegrass music. And the future of bluegrass is strong — if the fervent reaction of a sold-out crowd packing 9:30 Club recently when Billy’s tour stopped in DC is any indication.

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Live Review: The Wailin’ Jennys @ The Birchmere — 11/6/19

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The Wailin’ Jennys (Photo by Morten Fog)

The Wailin’ Jennys opted to start Wednesday’s show — the second of three sold-out performances at The Birchmere — singing the traditional “Long Time Traveller” a capella. Over two sets, the trio, made up of Ruth Moody, Nicky Mehta, and Heather Masse, cycled through a number of instruments and styles: folk, gospel, a little country.

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Live Review: The Travelin’ McCourys and Sam Bush Band @ The Birchmere — 10/23/19

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The Travelin’ McCourys perform at The Birchmere on Oct. 23, 2019. (Photo by Ari Strauss)

Multiple award-winners The Travelin’ McCourys and Sam Bush played a double bill of bluegrass at the Birchmere Wednesday evening. The Travelin McCourys, formed from current and former members of the Del McCoury Band, took the stage first.

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