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).
Karen 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Karen Jonas performs at Pearl Street Warehouse on March 31, 2019. (Photo by Mark Caicedo)
The first time I saw Karen Jonas and her musical partner, Tim Bray, perform was at Gypsy Sally’s in 2015. I had the pleasure of seeing the duo with Karen’s band again recently at Pearl Street Warehouse on the night she won the 2019 Wammy Award for Best Country/Americana Artist.
Jeffrey Tribble Jr., Executive Director of The MusicianShip, addresses the Butterfly Bash in 2017. (Photo by Mickey McCarter)
The MusicianShip, a nonprofit dedicated to providing music education to DC youth, sponsored its first Wammie Awards, recently choosing “the best of the best” among DC musicians for recognition to continue the mission of the dissolved Washington Area Music Association.
As editor of Parklife DC, I was a judge and a presenter for the 2019 Wammie Awards at the Lincoln Theatre on March 31, and I’m pleased to provide the full list of winners.
Karen Jonas and band perform “Butter” live. (Photo by Jim Williams)
Karen Jonas, a resident of Fredericksburg, Virginia, and a native of Damascus, Maryland, headlined Saturday evening at Pearl Street Warehouse with a release party for her new album, Butter.