Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy with Emmett Kelly perform at the Lincoln Theatre on March 7, 2020. (Photo by David LaMason)
When I think of Will Oldham, whether it’s by his stage name, Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, or the number of other names he’s recorded under (Palace Brothers, Palace Music), I think of a musical force that I’ve known for years but always seems to be around. What’s distinct about Will’s music is in the poetry of his words; the pastoral tones of his music; and that distinctive voice that sounds much older than its owner.
Hayes Carll (Photo by David McClister)
Just under a year into their marriage, singer-songwriters Hayes Carll and Allison Moorer brought their Alone Together Tour to a sold-out Birchmere recently. Allison performed a solo set first, followed by Hayes, who invited her back out for a duet.
Hannah Jaye fronts her band, Hannah Jaye and the Hideaways, during an album release performance at DC9, Feb. 28, 2020. (Photo by Ari Strauss)
DMV folk-Americana quartet Hannah Jaye and the Hideaways hosted an album release party at DC9 recently to mark the release of their debut self-titled album.
Marty Stuart performs at The Birchmere on Feb. 27, 2020. (Photo by Rashad Polk)
If you have even the slightest interest in country music, you owe it to yourself to see Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives. The Fabulous Superlatives — “Cousin” Kenny Vaughan on guitar, “Professor” Chris Scruggs laying down the bass, and “Handsome” Harry Stinson keeping the beat on the drums — are an all-star team of Americana players. Marty is a former child prodigy who was already playing professionally with bluegrass legend Lester Flatt as a teenager.
Danny Barnes (Photo by Sarah Cass)
Ace banjo picker Danny Barnes has worn a lot of hats in his career, and his music draws wildly from disparate sources. He’s been a band leader and a sideman, and he’s played everything from bluegrass to (acoustic) punk. As one of his fellow players noted, he may be the only person to have released both a traditional banjo record and an ambient guitar record.
Yola sings at Americanafest on Aug. 10, 2019. (Photo by Steven Pisano)
Several years ago, country-soul songwriter Yola was testing a Christmas gift that involved a live flame. Unbeknownst to her, the accelerant she used leaked onto her dress, and, when she went to light it, she caught fire.
To her surprise, Yola responded by breaking into laughter, as she realized she was bizarrely happy at this turn of events. That says a lot about where she was at the time, Yola told a sold-out 9:30 Club audience recently.
Eric Brace, Thomm Jutz, and Peter Cooper (Photo by John Partipilo)
Last Train Home came together in DC in the late ‘90s, led by Eric Brace, who was then a reporter at the Washington Post. When the band took off, Eric left the Post to become a full-time musician.
After a hiatus, Last Train Home came home to The Birchmere recently.
Yola (Photo courtesy 9:30 Club)
Yola, the queen of country soul, has been blazing a path around the world, and she alights on 9:30 Club on Friday, Jan. 10, during her Walk Through Fire World Tour.
Hank Williams’ star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (Photo by allison_dc)
The end of the year brings the annual Hank Williams tribute show to The Birchmere. In the 23rd annual occurrence of the show recently, many performers returned from last year: Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer, Pete and Maura Kennedy, bassist Mark Schatz, and fiddler Patrick McAvinue.
Sunny Sweeney (Photo courtesy True Grit Management)
Sunny Sweeney brought her Dysfunctional Family Christmas show to DC recently, with frequent partner Brennen Leigh joining her at City Winery. Accompanied by Sunny’s guitarist Harley, the pair traded off songs and stories, making for a highly entertaining evening.