Preview: Tab Benoit @ The Birchmere, 4/6/22

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Tab Benoit performs live at the Ryman Auditorium in 2020. (Photo by Jean Frank.)

Tab Benoit, respected Louisiana-based blues guitarist, vocalist, and storyteller extraordinaire, has launched an ambitious 2022 Spring-Summer National Tour with the Whiskey Bayou Revue.

Locally, Tab Benoit performs in concert at The Birchmere, America’s Legendary Music Hall, on Wednesday, April 6.

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Live Review: Charlie Parr @ DC9 — 12/11/21

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Charlie Parr performs at DC9 on Dec. 11, 2021. (Photo by Casey Vock)

Redefining a career through a nationwide lockdown and its confusing wake hasn’t necessarily been a breeze for most musicians. But if any had experienced what one particular virtuoso guitarist from Minnesota went through in the years leading up to the pandemic, it would have likely given them strength to persevere the tougher-than-usual environs of 2020 and 2021.

An acclaimed Piedmont blues and folk blues master who grew up in a small city called Austin and never moved out of the Land of 10,000 Lakes, Charlie Parr took the stage at DC9 recently as a remarkable story of perseverance and unwavering commitment to one’s craft.

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Preview: Leo Kottke and Mike Gordon @ Sixth & I, 12/9/21

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Leo Kottke and Mike Gordon (Photo courtesy of Big Hassle Media)

Acoustic guitar pioneer Leo Kottke and Phish bassist Mike Gordon have announced plans for an eagerly awaited series of live dates. The brief tour, which marks the duo’s first live run together in more than 16 years, brings them to Sixth & I Historic Synagogue in DC on Thursday, Dec. 9.

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Live Review: Yasmin Williams @ Union Stage — 11/22/21

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Yasmin Williams performs at Union Stage in Washington DC on Nov. 22, 2021. (Photo by Casey Vock)

The hero the DMV might need is hanging out just across the Potomac, and she’s got a guitar in her hands.

And at just 25 years old, Yasmin Williams is on a trajectory to capture the attention of listeners far and wide as a multi-dimensional guitarist with an otherworldly skillset far beyond her years.

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Live Review: Rodrigo y Gabriela @ The Anthem — 10/6/21

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Rodrigo y Gabriela perform at The Anthem on Oct. 6, 2021. (Photo by Rashad Polk)

Some of the best art is created at the intersection of different cultures and traditions. Rodrigo y Gabriela, the Grammy-winning guitar duo who played The Anthem recently, represent just such an intersection. Natives of Mexico City, Mexico, Rodrigo Sanchez and Gabriela Quinto grew up under the dual influence of heavy metal (especially Metallica, but also Slayer, Overkill, Testament and Megadeth) and Latin music (including flamenco, as well as the traditions of their home country). 

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Preview: David Goodrich @ Gray Ghost Vineyards – 10/17/20

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David Goodrich performs at Gray Ghost Vineyards on Sept. 6, 2020. (Photo by Mark Caicedo)

Live performances are returning to the DC metro area. The return to “normalcy,” though, has been achingly slow and many argue we are still nowhere near normal. But despite the continued shutdown of many of the region’s larger indoor music venues, the past few weeks have seen many local artists performing outdoor gigs at Jammin’ Java and the State Theatre. In addition, ever resourceful musicians have been performing sidewalk and porch shows, at drive-in concerts and even outdoor shopping malls. Of course, live streaming continues unabated, but as I’ve written before, watching a performance on the screen just doesn’t compare to being in the same room, in front of the players, enveloped by the music.

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Livestream Preview: Tommy Emmanuel @ The Birchmere (Benefit), 8/15/20

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Tommy Emmanuel (Photo by Alysse Gafkjen)

Tommy Emmanuel, the acclaimed and Grammy-nominated acoustic guitarist, singer, and songwriter, hosts two livestream events with a portion of the proceeds benefiting two prominent independent venues in America. The first event on Saturday, Aug. 15, benefits The Birchmere in Alexandria, Virginia.

“Without some support, we are in danger of losing some of the independent venues that are a part of our culture and our local communities,” Tommy said.

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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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Live Review: Masters of the Telecaster @ Rams Head on Stage — 7/26/19

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L-R: G.E. Smith, Tom Principato, and Jim Weider; The Masters of the Telecaster perform at Rams Head on Stage, July 26, 2019. (Photos by Ari Strauss/ aristrauss.com)

Jim Weider and G.E. Smith, the Masters of the Telecaster, came to town recently to join with local guitar legend Tom Principato for a pair of back-to-back weekend gigs at Rams Head on Stage in Annapolis and City Winery in Ivy City DC. The performances were billed as a tribute to Roy Buchanan, another DC guitar legend and pioneer of the Telecaster sound.

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Preview: Masters of the Telecaster @ Rams Head on Stage, 7/26/19, @ City Winery, 7/27/19

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The Masters of the Telecaster perform at City Winery DC on June 30, 2018. (Photo by Ari Strauss)

Known collectively as the Masters of the Telecaster, Jim Weider, Tom Principato, and GE Smith celebrate the Fender Telecaster in two shows in the greater DC area this weekend — at Rams Head on Stage on Friday, July 26, and City Winery DC on Saturday, July 27. Each of the two shows will pay special tribute to a DC-area musician who owed their musical legacy to the Telecaster guitar.

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