Best of the Year: Top 10 Musical Moments of 2020 by Mark C.

Graham Nash

The year started out typically enough. But the way it began and how it’s ending are startlingly different. By the end of March, so many plans and hopes were dashed that now, as we race toward 2020’s conclusion, many of us feel they may never be realized.

Like so many others in this Year of Covid, I’ve had a chance to reflect, reassess, and reset for the coming year, sorting out what is, and isn’t, important. I enjoy photographing people, whether it be portraiture, cultural documentation, or musical performance. As a photographer, I strive to become invisible and capture moments as they are, not as I or the subject, would like them to be. Although photographing live music has been challenging as of late, I’ve been afforded the luxury of time to go through my archives and, as a result, have made a belated but important discovery: the final image must also render the photographer invisible.

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Poll: 2020 Thrushie Awards — Results!

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Pie Shop DC (Photo by Aiden Korotkin)

Parklife DC today announces the best in DC concerts with our annual awards program, named for our mascot, DC’s own state bird — the Wood Thrush. Our Thrushie Awards salute bands and venues in line with our mission to review live music concerts.

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Poll: Who Is the Best Local Band in DC?

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Guitar! (Photo by Duane Storey)

Welcome to the 2020 Thrushie Awards!

Parklife DC will name the DC best local band — or performer — of the year with your input. Local bands include those who live in the National Capital Region and issuing new material this year (livestreaming during the coronavirus epidemic is a plus!). Learn more about each nominee by clicking on their name in keywords. Or name your own candidate!

Vote for the best music local band in the DC metro area now through Dec. 11.

Live Review: Karen Jonas @ Jammin’ Java — 9/10/20

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Karen Jonas performs at Jammin’ Java on Sept. 10, 2020. (Photo by Mark Caicedo)

Playing a parking lot is not exactly the dream of every working musician but in the age of Covid it may be the best gig in the world. The cool evening, the sweet scent of recent rain, and the soft city lights helped make Karen Jonas’ album release show on a recent night at Jammin’ Java if not a dream, a lovely end of summer outdoor show.

If one’s imagination was allowed to wander, even the fading daylight on the western horizon transported us to fiery desert sunsets as Karen and her band performed songs from her new album, The Southwest Sky and Other Dreams (Yellow Brick Road).

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Interview: Karen Jonas (New Album: The Southwest Sky and Other Dreams)

KarenJonas1Karen Jonas (Photo courtesy Big Hassle)

The voice of country music in the DMV is a big, bright voice that belongs to Virginia native Karen Jonas. A regular sight on DC concert stages, Karen releases her fifth album, The Southwest Sky and Other Dreams, on Friday, Aug. 28 via Yellow Brick Records.

On past tours, Karen has visited Texas, New Mexico, California, and their neighbors, scribbling notes while on the road. She drew upon those memories to animate the characters of The Southwest Sky and Other Dreams. The results are a little bit peppy and a little bit sad but always full of life.

Prior to the new album’s release, Parklife DC’s Mickey McCarter chatted with Karen about the record, her band, and her desire to get back on the road. And Karen plays a free outdoor album release show with her full band at Jammin’ Java on Thursday, Sept. 10.

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Livestream Preview: Karen Jonas @ Pearl Street Warehouse, 4/2/20

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Karen Jonas performs at Pearl Street Warehouse on Jan. 23, 2020. (Photo by Mark Caicedo)

“Physical distancing” is the new phrase to replace “social distancing.” In the music world that certainly makes sense because although artists and their fans may be physically separated from one another, live streaming has, in some ways, decreased the social distance between us.

Karen Jonas and Tim Bray (along with two Seths) will perform via livestream on Thursday, April 2, as part of Pearl Street Warehouse’s response to keeping live music “live” in this era of physical distancing.

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Live Review: Sweethearts of Americana @ Pearl Street Warehouse – 1/23/20

SoA26 Three area musicians united as Sweethearts of Americana at Pearl Street Warehouse on Jan. 23, 2020. (Photo by Mark Caicedo)

The term “Americana” conjures an earthy, roots type of music. Unfortunately, many find that label too uniform, limiting, and quite frankly, meaningless. That’s how overused the term has become.

If anything, this first show of the “Sweethearts of Americana” three-stop tour, demonstrated the diversity of the genre. Mink’s Miracle Medicine, Lauren Calve, and Karen Jonas recently each brought a distinctive flair and unique musical approach to Pearl Street Warehouse that defied Americana’s catch-all meaning.

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Preview: Sweethearts of Americana @ Pearl Street Warehouse, 1/23/20

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Karen Jonas (Photo by Amber Renee)

Three rockin’ lady songwriters — Karen Jonas, Lauren Calve, and Melissa E. Wright (of Mink’s Miracle Medicine) — take over Pearl Street Warehouse on Thursday, Jan. 23, in an show appropriately titled Sweethearts of Americana.

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Live Review: DC Music Rocks Festival @ 9:30 Club — 8/17/19

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Eli Lev performs at the DC Music Rocks Festival on Aug. 17, 2019. (Photo by Mark Caicedo)

I’ve been following the District of Columbia’s live music scene for several years yet I’ve just barely begun to scratch the surface of the diversity, variety and joy that so many musical artists bring to this region. The same could be said about the third annual DC Rocks Music Festival recently — despite the line-up of a wonderful array of 12 bands and singer-songwriters, there is so much more to discover in our own backyard.

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Ticket Giveaway: DC Music Rocks Festival @ 9:30 Club, 8/17/19

DC Music Rocks
DC Music Rocks!

DC Music Rocks, a DMV syndicated FM radio show/podcast, will present its third annual DC Music Rocks Festival at 9:30 Club on Saturday, Aug. 17, with an assortment of bands including local bands The Eli Lev Collective, More AM Than FM, Sub-Radio, Iza Flo, and Los Empresarios. You can win tickets to go with Parklife DC!

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