Live Review: Oh He Dead @ Jammin’ Java — 7/3/2020

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Oh He Dead performs at Jammin’ Java on July 3, 2020. (Photo by Mark Caicedo)

More than once it’s been said that, despite our differences, music’s greatest gift is its ability to break down barriers, bring people together, and unite us in common cause. In this age of pandemic lockdowns, economic uncertainty, and just plain fear of the future, that those in need, particularly struggling local musicians, would work to support causes larger than themselves, is a beautiful testament to the power of song.

Oh He Dead recently performed for a packed, but socially distanced, crowd as part of Jammin’ Java’s “A Song & A Slice: A Socially Distanced Outdoor Concert Series.”

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Song of the Day: “Dandelions/ Liminal” by Emmy the Great

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Emmy the Great (Photo by Nononino)

Emmy the Great announces news of her new solo album April / 月音, to be released on Oct. 9 via Bella Union.

She also shares first single “Dandelions/ Liminal,” a song about being OK with uncertainty and learning to co-exist with your own sorrow and the sorrows of the world.

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Preview: Oh He Dead @ Jammin’ Java, 7/3/20

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Oh He Dead performs in Bethesda, Maryland, on Jan. 25, 2020 (Photo by Mark Caicedo)

Jammin’ Java’s Summerfest continues this Friday, July 3, with Oh He Dead. Originally founded as a duo in 2014 by Andy Valenti and CJ Johnson, the band now consists of five players: CJ on vocals and Andy on rhythm guitar with Alex Salser (lead guitar), John Daise (bass), and Adam Ashforth (drums). A healthy mix of classic R&B, funk, and folk, the Washington Post calls Oh He Dead’s music an “infectious and soulful sound.”

The show is currently sold out, but read on to see what you can expect if you’re going!

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Preview: Rachel Levitin @ Jammin’ Java, 6/25/20

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Rachel Levitin (Photo courtesy the artist)

Jammin’ Java recently launched its outdoor summer series of concerts, presenting A Song & A Slice: A Socially Distanced Outdoor Concert Series. Each donations-based concerts contributes funds to a cause of the artist’s choice.

The outdoor series continues with DC folk singer Rachel Levitin at Jammin’ Java on Thursday, June 25, in a show benefiting the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.

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Song of the Day: “We Shall Overcome” by Bill Frisell

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Bill Frisell Trio (Photo by Monica Jane Frisell)

Acclaimed guitarist Bill Frisell has announced his newest project Valentine — the debut recording of his trio with bassist Thomas Morgan and drummer Rudy Royston — for release Aug. 14 on Blue Note Records.

Bill has also released the album’s closing track “We Shall Overcome,” the Civil Rights anthem that he holds dear as a message of hope in all dark times. “I’ve been playing the song for years, and I’m going to keep playing it till there is no need anymore,” he said. “I can’t help but hope that day will come.”

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Stars and Bars: Welcome to the Creative Alliance

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The Creative Alliance (Photo by David LaMason)

There is such a rich variety of music throughout both Baltimore and DC, but it’s a rare thing to find places that are so in love with the arts that the place itself becomes part of that artistic experience. 

Baltimore’s Creative Alliance, which formed back in 1995, has become a vital force in East Baltimore, expanding into the old Patterson Theater (itself over 100 years old) back in 2003 right when I, myself, moved into the neighborhood.

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