Live Review: Bahamas @ 9:30 Club — 10/12/21

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Bahamas perform at 9:30 Club on Oct. 12, 2021. (Photo by Casey Vock)

Some recording artists deserve to be admired for their commitment to enhancing their songbook, continually challenging themselves to dive deeper into a creative process that the average person can’t even begin to imagine.

A gentleman out of Ontario named Afie Jurvanen has proven himself to be exceptionally dedicated to his craft, and he recently brought his musical vehicle, Bahamas, to the 9:30 Club for what was an impressive, charming weeknight reminder that he’s one of the best individual performers hailing from north of the border — some might argue on the whole darn continent, and his collection of Juno awards and nominations supports that notion.

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Live Review: Patty Griffin and Gregory Alan Isakov @ The Birchmere — 10/11/21

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Patty Griffin (Photo by Michael Wilson)

Alexandria’s Birchmere has long been known as a hub in this area for roots music. It recently welcomed back a frequent visitor in Patty Griffin, as well as a musician new to the venue, Gregory Alan Isakov. The two celebrated folk artists, each accompanied by a sideman, played a split set, then joined each other onstage for an encore.

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Live Review: Lori McKenna w/ Mark Erelli @ The Birchmere — 10/7/21

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Lori McKenna (Photo by Becky Fluke)

Lori McKenna is one of country music’s hit making songwriters, with songs covered by artists like Tim McGraw and Little Big Town. But she’s also an accomplished performer and recording artist in her own right, as she demonstrated recently at The Birchmere.

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Live Review: John Craigie @ Union Stage — 10/6/21

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John Craigie performs at DC’s Union Stage on Oct. 6, 2021. (Photo by Casey Vock)

Standing on stage as a performing musician is likely daunting enough for anyone who is brave enough to put themselves out there. Imagine also tasking yourself with trying to earnestly engage and entertain an audience in between each and every song?

It’s a lesser-embraced style these days, but there’s one gentleman who has built his reputation and his career on the same kind of performances as those that defined the careers of the most famous proponents of the talking blues, men like Woodie Guthrie decades ago, and maybe someone like a Todd Snyder these days. That man is John Craigie, and he brought that style to Union Stage recently.

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Live Review: Liz Cooper @ Black Cat — 10/4/21

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Liz Cooper leads her band during a performance at Black Cat in Washington DC on Oct. 4, 2021. (Photo by Casey Vock)

Who’s the most badass person in music these days? It’s certainly hard to gauge, but a recent show at the Black Cat in DC might have strengthened the case that there’s no one sassier than Liz Cooper, a recording/touring artist who in just a few years’ time earned a great deal of respect in both rock and folk circles.

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Live Review: The Lone Bellow @ Rams Head On Stage — 10/3/21

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The Lone Bellow performs a matinee show at Rams Head On Stage in Annapolis on Oct. 3, 2021. (Photo by Casey Vock)

When a group of musicians bond to write and share songs born out of struggle and the battle to overcome those challenges, the result can clearly be a special one.

Remarkably demonstrating this exact kind of provenance with a recent matinee show at Rams Head On Stage, The Lone Bellow out of Brooklyn is now in its 10th year after forming in 2011 during the wake of what was essentially a tragedy impacting its founding member.

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Live Review: The Bones of JR Jones @ Songbyrd Music House — 9/22/21

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The Bones of JR Jones performs at Songbyrd Music House on Sept. 22, 2021. (Photo by Casey Vock)

From an outsider’s perspective, it appears that musicians are best served not so much by pivoting but by adapting and blending their influences, old and new, together as they move along in their career and accumulate critical life experiences on that path.

Though his pursuits in his younger days angled toward punk, Jonathan Linaberry has unabashedly and enthusiastically embraced the direction of musicians whom he happened to hear while finding his way as a self-taught, college-age guitar and banjo player.

When his ears discovered the likes of Blind Lemon Jefferson, Son House, and other blues-belting guitarists from places like Texas and the Mississippi Delta, Linaberry — who hails from Central New York, near Syracuse — began to genuinely mold those sounds from the first half of the century, as well as the spirit and character of the music, into his own song writing style.

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Live Review: Ratboys and Wild Pink @ Songbyrd Music House — 9/14/21

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Ratboys perform at the new location of Songbyrd Music House  on Sept. 14, 2021. (Photo by Casey Vock)

Not often does a double bill work to evenly showcase the best of two bands, but on occasion, there can be a symbiotic relationship between two touring musical acts that is so wholesome that each can get the most out of valuable, even if in some ways taxing, time on the road.

It does appear as though the current tour co-headlined by Ratboys and Wild Pink is so far a success, the local evidence being a highly enjoyable show put on Sept. 14 by this pair of bands at the newly launched Songbyrd Music House on Penn Street NE, near Union Market.

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