Live Review: Samantha Fish @ The Birchmere — 10/19/20

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Samantha Fish performs at The Birchmere on Oct. 19, 2020. (Photo by Ari Strauss)

I wasn’t sure what the experience of a concert would be like when I attended my first show since early March at The Birchmere on Monday evening. I knew that the concert hall would be a half-capacity, sold out for blues guitarist extraordinaire and singer-songwriter Samantha Fish. But I wasn’t sure what kind of energy such a crowd would generate.

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Preview: David Goodrich @ Gray Ghost Vineyards – 10/17/20

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David Goodrich performs at Gray Ghost Vineyards on Sept. 6, 2020. (Photo by Mark Caicedo)

Live performances are returning to the DC metro area. The return to “normalcy,” though, has been achingly slow and many argue we are still nowhere near normal. But despite the continued shutdown of many of the region’s larger indoor music venues, the past few weeks have seen many local artists performing outdoor gigs at Jammin’ Java and the State Theatre. In addition, ever resourceful musicians have been performing sidewalk and porch shows, at drive-in concerts and even outdoor shopping malls. Of course, live streaming continues unabated, but as I’ve written before, watching a performance on the screen just doesn’t compare to being in the same room, in front of the players, enveloped by the music.

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Live Review: Bobby Thompson and Friends @ Jammin’ Java – 9/20/20

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Bobby Thompson performs at Jammin’ Java on Sept. 20, 2020. (Photo by Mark Caicedo)

Famed American multi-instrumentalist, singer, and songwriter David Bromberg wrote, “you gotta suffer if you wanna sing the blues.” The irony, of course, is that when the bluesman (or woman) sings, everybody else feels good. So it was when local blues musician Bobby Thompson performed recently on a brilliant late afternoon show at Jammin’ Java.

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Preview: Brandon “Taz” Niederauer @ Jammin’ Java, 8/28/20

TazBrandon “Taz” Niederauer (Photo courtesy the artist)

(Editor’s note: We have confirmed this event is free! — updated!)

Seventeen-year-old Brandon Niederauer, nicknamed “Taz” for his ferocious guitar playing, is living proof that dreams really do come true.

You can see so for yourself in a free outdoor show at Jammin’ Java on Friday, Aug. 28.

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Around Town: Congrats to the 2020 Wammie Award Winners

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Elizabeth II won the 2020 Wammie Award for Best Rock Song with “Lonely.” (Photo by Mark Caicedo)

The MusicianShip recognized winners of the 2020 Washington Area Music Awards, or Wammies, in a series of virtual announcements with Events DC last week.

Parklife DC salutes the 2020 Wammie Award winners!

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Live Review: Daryl Davis @ The Birchmere — 7/11/20

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Daryl Davis and his band entertain music fans with a high-energy blues and rock & roll performance at The Birchmere in Alexandria, VA, July 11, 2020. (Photo by Ari Strauss)

A sight for sore eyes appeared on Mount Vernon Avenue in Alexandria, Virginia, this past weekend as the iconic Birchmere sign light up with news that it is once again open for business.

After a four-month hiatus since early March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the legendary Northern Virginia music venue reopened recently at a limited capacity using enhanced health and safety measures set forth by the CDC and the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Parklife DC’s Ari Strauss went to see the Daryl Davis Band perform on July 11 and reviews his experience with photos of the performance.

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Preview: Daryl Davis @ The Birchmere, 7/11/20

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Daryl Davis (Photo courtesy of The Birchmere)

You may have heard tales of an eloquent Black man who surprisingly engages with the Ku Klux Klan, occasionally convincing its members to abandon the group by expanding their awareness of brotherhood and human rights for all men.

That man is musician Daryl Davis, a Bluesman and scholar ever there were one, and he’s heading to The Birchmere to boogie down for a show on Saturday, July 11.

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Interview: Joe Louis Walker (New Album: Blues Comin’ On)

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Blues Comin’ On, the latest offering from blues guitar legend Joe Louis Walker, was released on June 5, 2020, from Cleopatra Records.)

Blues artist Joe Louis Walker has been making music with his voice and guitar for over a half century. A 2013 Blues Hall of Fame inductee and a four-time Blues Music Award winner, Joe has learned from, been a mentor to, or simply played alongside just about everyone in the business.

His new album, Blues Comin’ On, which was released on June 5 by Cleopatra Records, features guest performances by fellow blues icons Keb’ Mo’, Eric Gales, and Albert Lee, Detroit soul singer Mitch Ryder, harmonica virtuoso Lee Oskar, Hot Tuna’s Jorma Kaukonen, punk rock vocalist Charlie Harper, and legendary session player Waddy Wachtel among others.

Parklife DC’s Ari Strauss had the opportunity recently to speak with Joe by phone to discuss the new album, his career, and the many wonderful artists he’s played with over the years.

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