Live Review: Kurt Vile @ Ottobar — 7/23/19

KurtVile10 Kurt Vile and The Violators rock a sold-out Ottobar on July 23, 2019. (Photo by David LaMason)

There’s something about Kurt Vile that’s hard to pin down, but maybe that’s the point. Listen to any of his solo work that’s been released over the past 10 years and you might see what I mean. Although he has put out several albums over the past decade under both his own name and with various other artists, including Courtney Barnett, Dinosaur Jr’s J Mascis — and he is a frequent collaborator with the band The War on Drugs — Kurt creates the kind of rambling but layered music that’s hard to pull yourself away from (if you ever wanted to in the first place).

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My Favorite Artist: Neil Young

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Neil Young and Crazy Horse perform at the James L. Knight Center, Miami, Florida, on Oct. 29, 1986. (Photo by Mark Caicedo)

Editor’s Note: Parklife DC asked its contributors to write essays about their favorite bands. These essays appear in an occasional series, My Favorite Artist, and provide our readers with insights into our bloggers, their motivations, and their approach to covering concerts.  

“It sucks! It’s just a fucking racket. I get totally lost when I’m playing guitar. I’ll just play a melody over and over again and change the tone, bend a string, do all that. But I’m totally engrossed in what I’m doing. At one with it. But I suck! I have melodies, and I have a sense of rhythm and drive. But it’s not about me, anyway — it’s about the whole band. It’s about everybody being there at once. When I play I’m listening for everything, trying to drive it all with my guitar. My guitar is the whole fucking band.” — Neil Young, Guitar World, October 2009

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Live Review: Shovels & Rope @ Wolf Trap — 7/17/19

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Shovels & Rope perform at Wolf Trap on July 17, 2019. (Photo by Ari Strauss)

Charleston, South Carolina folk-and-country-rock duo Shovels & Rope opened the annual Wheels of Soul tour recently. Married couple Carrie Ann Hearst and Michael Trent were the first of three heads of the beast that invades Wolf Trap every July. Curated by Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks (of the Tedeschi Trucks Band, who headline), the concert put a spotlight on the best of instrumental excellence and progressive, forward-thinking songwriting in Southern rock. It was a night of righteous jams and long-haired country boys.

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Live Review: The Bacon Brothers @ The Birchmere — 7/19/19

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The Bacon Brothers perform at The Birchmere in Alexandria, Virginia, July 19, 2019. (Photo by Ari Strauss/ aristrauss.com)

While preparing to cover the first night of a three-night Bacon Brothers residency at The Birchmere, I joked with my friends via a Facebook post that they would all become two degrees of separation from Kevin Bacon, a reference to the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon parlor game which became popular in the 1990s.

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Snapshots: Red Wing VII Roots Music Festival @ Natural Chimneys Park (Mt. Solon, VA) — 7/12-7/14/19

Red Wing Roots Festival VIIRed Wing Roots Festival VIIThe Steel Wheels pose for a picture at the seventh annual Red Wing Roots Music Festival. (Photo by Chester Simpson)

The Steel Wheels presented the 7th annual Red Wing Roots Music Festival at Natural Chimneys Park and campground in Mt. Solon, Virginia, last weekend. It was three days across five stages with 40 bands performing along the North River, under the Natural Chimneys, known as the Cyclopean Towers.

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Preview: The Bacon Brothers @ The Birchmere, 7/19-7/21

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The Bacon Brothers (Photo by Jeff Fasano)

The Bacon Brothers — Michael and Kevin — launched their Shaky Ground Tour 2019 earlier this year, and the famous Footloose actor and his brother perform at The Birchmere for three nights *this weekend*! You can catch them on the first night — Friday, July 19 — and the final night — Sunday, July 21 — but Saturday is sold out.

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