Live Review: Charm City Bluegrass Festival @ Druid Hill Park — 4/29 + 4/30/22

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Allie Kral of Yonder Mountain String Band plays the fiddle at the Charm City Bluegrass Festival in Baltimore on April 29, 2022. (Photo by Casey Vock)

For all of the challenges Baltimore might face as a city, a deficiency of live music is not one of them.

A thoroughfare for musicians making their way up and down the East Coast, and one rich with its own dynamic scene and culture, Baltimore has quietly maintained if not improved its reputation as one of the country’s leading music cities since being propped up by media in 2000s.

The Charm City Bluegrass Festival, held April 29 and 30 at Druid Hill Park, provided two days and nights of delightful live performances, sun-baked revelry and choice local food and beverage options for more than 1,000 attendees Friday and 3,000-plus on Saturday, only reaffirming Baltimore as an important and potentially underappreciated hub for influential and busy musicians.

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Live Review: Hiss Golden Messenger @ 9:30 Club — 12/8/21

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Hiss Golden Messenger performs at 9:30 Club on Dec. 8, 2021. (Photos by David LaMason)

MC Taylor, the singer/songwriter at the helm of roots music outfit Hiss Golden Messenger, isn’t afraid to let his California influences show. Though he now lives in Durham, North Carolina, he began his musical career on the Pacific Coast with alt-country band The Court and Spark, and his music is deeply indebted to Laurel Canyon folk-rock and the psychedelic country-rock of the Grateful Dead.

The Grateful Dead never played DC’s 9:30 Club, but HGM’s recent performance there was perhaps a glimpse into what that might’ve been like. After an opening set by Philadelphia singer-songwriter Rosali, HGM took the stage for a set that ran far more than two hours, with plenty of long instrumental jams. They even closed the evening with a cover of the Dead’s “Bird Song.”

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Preview: Hiss Golden Messenger @ 9:30 Club, 12/8/21

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Hiss Golden Messenger (Photo by Chris Frisina)

2021 Grammy nominee Hiss Golden Messenger are having a busy year! In June, the band released Quietly Blowing It via Merge Records, and they announced a tour that brings them to 9:30 Club on Wednesday, Dec. 8.

Then, Hiss Golden Messenger released a Christmas album, titled O Come All Ye Faithful, last month also via Merge.

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Live Review: Hiss Golden Messenger @ 9:30 Club — 1/15/20

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MC Taylor fronts Hiss Golden Messenger at 9:30 Club on Jan. 15, 2020. (Photo by Casey Vock)

Anyone entering the 9:30 Club would have known immediately they weren’t attending any ordinary show. After all, you weren’t really passing into the familiar concrete space of the popular club at the end of the U Street Corridor. Rather, you were stepping foot into some sort of old-time fortune-teller’s boutique, a sacred space for sorcerers or sorceresses, or maybe some secret place of worship.

But, for what, those unfamiliar with Hiss Golden Messenger were probably unsure.

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Live Review: Hiss Golden Messenger @ 9:30 Club — 12/20/18

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Hiss Golden Messenger performs at Pickathon 2014 on Aug. 1, 2014. (Photo by Eli Duke)

“Who knows, maybe James Mattis is here tonight. He’s looking for something to do,” said MC Taylor, frontman and founder of Hiss Golden Messenger, referring to the Secretary of Defense’s resignation earlier that day. at 9:30 Club recently, MC fit a friend’s description as “an introvert” and “kind of engaging,” contrasting with guitarist Phil Cook, “the most extroverted human being I’ve ever met, and it’s not even close.”

But then leaving the stage after their encore, Phil looked right up at us on the balcony, making eye contact.

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Ticket Giveaway: Hiss Golden Messenger @ 9:30 Club, 12/11/17

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Hiss Golden Messenger (Photo by Elise Tyler)

Hiss Golden Messenger released Hallelujah Anyhow, the band’s latest studio album, via Merge Records on Sept. 22. Vocalist MC Taylor is bringing the show to 9:30 Club on Monday, Dec. 11, and you can win tickets to go with Parklife DC.

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