Sarah Borges performs at Pearl Street Warehouse on June 28, 2022. (Photo by Mark Caicedo)
This one’s “about going home to your house you share with a loved you never want to see again,” Sarah Borges said about “House on a Hill” in her thick, unmistakable Boston accent. Sarah is very real, she writes great songs, she knows how to engage an audience — and that has won her a small but devoted following who gathered recently at the Pearl Street Warehouse in DC.
Rodney Crowell performs at The Birchmere, Alexandria, Virginia, May 20, 2022. (Photo by Mark Caicedo)
Rodney Crowell came to Nashville from his native Houston 50 years ago, apprenticing himself himself to master songwriter Guy Clark. In the five decades since, he’s written songs for Emmylou Harris, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Van Morrison, Bob Seger, and Rosanne Cash, to just rattle off a few very partial list of the folks who’ve covered his songs.
In addition to his solo records, he worked as a rhythm guitarist and backed vocalist in Emmylou’s band in the late ’70s, and the duo reunited in the middle of last decade for a pair of albums that each won the Grammy Award for Best American Roots Album. In 2004, he reunited for a well-received collaborative project with old friend Vince Gill, The Notorious Cherry Bombs. All this is to say, Rodney and his band played for more than 2 hours at The Birchmere recently, and there wasn’t a weak song in the set. As long and wide-ranging as the evening’s setlist was, Rodney could easily have added even more of his songs without diluting the quality of the material.
The Allman Betts Band performs at The Birchmere on June 13. (Photo by Mark Caiedo)
When Devon Allman invited guitarist Linwood Taylor to the stage, he joked that three guitars were not enough; they needed four onstage at The Birchmere on Sunday night.
And so, The Allman Betts Band carried on the multi-guitar Southern rock jam tradition pioneered by their fathers in The Allman Brothers Band. Devon Allman, the son of the late Gregg Allman, sings lead vocals, plays guitar, and leads the band. Duane Betts, the son of legendary guitarist Dickey Betts, also sings and plays guitar. Berry Duane Oakley plays his father’s instrument, the bass. Johnny Stachela is on the third guitar, John Ginty is on keys, and R. Scott Bryan and John Lum comprise the group’s dual percussion attack.
Nora Jane Struthers performs at Jammin’ Java on Feb. 21, 2020. (Photo by Mark Caicedo)
A fair number of people who came out to Jammin’ Java on Friday night were already familiar with Nora Jane Struthers. She introduced herself as “hailing from the great country and bluegrass state of…” and the audience chimed in “New Jersey.”
Sarah Borges and the Broken Singles perform at Jammin’ Java on Feb. 21, 2020. (Photo by Mark Caicedo)
“Without further ado,” Sarah Borges declared in her clipped Massachusetts accent, “we’re gonna play the rock’n’roll.” With that, Sarah and her band, the Broken Singles, exploded into a fast-paced, crunchy, punk-inspired number at Jammin’ Java on Friday.