The Felice Brothers (Photo courtesy Yep Roc Records)
Hailing from upstate New York’s Hudson River Valley, The Felice Brothers began in the mid-2000s as the musical project of brothers Ian, James, and Simone Felice. They began their career as buskers, and have referred to themselves (who knows how jokingly) as “scumbags.”
Their career got a boost from another area resident, legendary Band drummer and vocalist Levon Helm, who invited them to perform at one of his Midnight Rambles in Woodstock. It’s fitting that the Brothers got a break from him, as their music owes obvious debts to The Band and Bob Dylan, in its mix of humor, surrealistic imagery, and ironic gloss on classic Americana. Their early recordings were rough — one was made in a chicken coop — but have grown more refined over the course of their career. As they toured with acts ranging from Justin Townes Earle to Old Crow Medicine Show to the Dave Matthews Band, the Brothers became more sophisticated artists.
That sophistication was on display in their unique brand of folk country-rock/ Americana in a packed house at DC9 recently.
Morgan Geer of Drunken Prayer performs at Mum’s in Baltimore on May 17, 2019. (Photo by Marc Shea)
Drunken Prayer is the one-man band creation of Handsome Family and Freakwater guitarist Morgan Geer. Morgan has released a new single by Drunken Prayer called “Crazy Alone (Quarantine).”
Wussy performs at the Black Cat on July 14, 2018. (Photo by Mark Caicedo)
Lisa Walker and Chuck Cleaver of Cincinnati’s Wussy stumblebum (their word, not mine) through their first ever livestream internet show on Friday, April 10, via Facebook Live.
Joe Ely of The Flatlanders (Photo by Barbara FG)
I could start by talking about the importance and influence of The Flatlanders. But I’d rather begin on a personal note. In 2004, I attended the Austin City Limits Festival. The third day of the festival, I think it was late afternoon, I was walking between stages when a performer grabbed my attention. That was Joe Ely, who makes up The Flatlanders with Jimmie Dale Gilmore and Butch Hancock.
Abby Anderson (Photo by John Shearer)
Abby Anderson was so anxious to get to Nashville and start her music career, she asked to be homeschooled through her senior year of high school so she could graduate early and get a head start. At just 17, Abby arrived in Nashville with a suitcase and a dream. That was 2015.
Today, she’s got a recording contract and is spending her summer touring the country in support of Rob Thomas’ Chipped Tooth Tour. The tour comes to DC with a performance on Friday, July 12, at The Anthem.
Parklife DC’s Ari Strauss recently chatted with Abby about the upcoming show at The Anthem and her experience getting her career underway in Nashville.
Needtobreathe (Photo by Nolan Feldpausch)
Carolina natives NEEDTOBREATHE have a solid 10+ years creating and performing music, and their great songwriting and musical ability was on full display Friday. The band set off on a tour that stopped at The Anthem, and their six studio albums and years of performing were evident in the polished performance they delivered.
Needtobreathe (Photo courtesy Ticketfly)
Needtobreathe, often stylized NEEDTOBREATHE, have been busy lately! In July, they released an EP, Forever on Your Side (Niles City Sound Sessions), and on Nov. 16, the band will release Acoustic Live Vol. 1, a live album, via Atlantic Records. In the meantime, they will soon tour with a show at The Anthem on Friday, Aug. 17.
Blackberry Smoke performs at The Fillmore Silver Spring on July 22, 2018. (Photo by Chris Smyth.)
Bringing a taste of Southern rock ‘n’ roll to The Fillmore Silver Spring recently, the guys of Blackberry Smoke performed a long set for their fans. Touring in promotion of their new album, Find a Light, released in April, Blackberry Smoke mixed numerous new songs into their set — “Medicate My Mind,” “Run Away from It All,” “Lord Strike Me Dead,” and “I’ll Keep Ramblin'” were all played as part of their 19-song performance.
Ray Wylie Hubbard performs at Willie Nelson’s 4th of July Picnic on July 4, 2017. (Photo by Maggie Boyd)
Outlaw country musician Ray Wylie Hubbard delivered an evening of great music and stories to a full house at DC’s City Winery on Saturday. “I was not expecting this,” the Oklahoma-born, Texas-based singer-songwriter told the crowd, seeming genuinely pleased at the turnout. Playing mostly crowd-pleasing favorites spiced up with delightful stories and anecdotes from a life on the road, Ray had the crowd at rapt attention.
Wussy performs at Black Cat on July 14, 2018. (Photo by Mark Caicedo)
On a limited US tour to support its new album, What Heaven Is Like, Wussy stopped at DC’s Black Cat for a show that delighted long-time area fans and surely made a few more. Running through an energetic 15-song set tilted toward the new album but also included a few early gems on Saturday, Wussy surely lived up to the high bar rock critic Robert Christgau set when, back in 2005, he called Wussy “the best band in America.”