Sonny Landreth (Photo by Robley Dupleix)
Americana is often looked at as a singer-songwriters’ genre, but any number of fantastic instrumentalists have contributed to the field. Two of the best guitarists in Americana, Sonny Landreth and Cyndi Cashdollar, brought the audience at City Winery to a hushed reverie recently with a set of electric/acoustic duets. Sonny paired his electric guitar, as well as his vocals, with Cyndi’s dobro (a form of resonator) and lap steel guitars, for a performance that was, as Cyndi said, “just like in your living room.”
The Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio performs at DC’s legendary Blues Alley, Nov. 6, 2019. (Photo by Ari Strauss)
A friend from college told me, “If you get the chance to see Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio play live, do it! You’ll thank me later.”
Bettye Lavette (Photo courtesy APA)
Five-time Grammy nominee Bettye LaVette got off to a rocky start when she opened for David Bromberg recently at the Historic Sixth & I Synagogue. After her first number, she pleaded for the tech to turn down the echo and reverb. With it its high ceilings — Bettye called the room a cavern — Sixth & I’s sanctuary provides its own echo. As Bettye remarked, with echo on her mic, it sounded a bit too much like “heaven,” and not in a good way.
Joe Bonamassa (Photo courtesy Big Hassle)
Blues guitarist Joe Bonamassa released Joe Bonamassa Live at The Sydney Opera House on Oct. 25, and he’s heading to MGM National Harbor for a show on Saturday, Nov. 9.
David Bromberg (Photo by Joe del Tufo)
Noted roots artist David Bromberg appeared in a big band format at the Sixth & I Historic Synagogue recently. His band included a horn section—trumpet, trombone, and sax — and strings — fiddle and banjo. But David honored his roots in the blues — he’s a protégé of the Rev. Gary Davis — growling and howling through numbers like his opener, which I think, was Robert Johnson’s “Walkin’ Blues.”
ZZ Top performs at MGM National Harbor on Oct. 25, 2019. (Photo by Jules McNamara)
ZZ top is one of the world’s most iconic rock bands. With their Texas-style goatees, sunglasses, hats, and black attire, the 2004 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductees are instantly recognizable. But they’re also iconic in the sense that this is a truly great band. They may call themselves “Beer Drinkers and Hellraisers,” but, beneath the image, this a tight group of incredibly talented musicians.
And ZZ Top’s appearance on their 50th Anniversary Tour at MGM National Harbor recently showcased that, after all these years, they’re still the best at the dirty Texas blues-rock.
Ray LaMontagne (Photo by Brian Stowell)
After a terrific opening set by the Canadian duo Kacy & Clayton, Ray LaMontagne took the stage at the Music Center at Strathmore recently. Accompanying him was Carl Broemel, the guitarist in My Morning Jacket. They began with “Be Here Now,” both playing acoustic guitar. The New Hampshire-born singer-songwriter followed with “Hold You in Arms,” from his first album, 2004’s Trouble.