Joe Pug (Photo by Vivian Wang)
Midway through his set, Joe Pug stepped out from behind the mic and perform a cover of Tex Thomas’s “Deep Dark Wells.” When he finished, he commented, “there does not need to be any intermediary” between the performer and the audience.
When the pandemic put a halt to touring, the singer-songwriter pivoted to performing online once a week on Sunday evenings. While it’s helped him get through the past couple years, the virtual experience leaves something to be desired on both ends.
Cris Jacobs performs at The 8×10 in Baltimore on Dec. 20, 2021, the first of A Very Jerry Christmas, his annual series of holiday shows paying tribute to Jerry Garcia. (Photo by Casey Vock)
Admirable and arguably underappreciated is the local musician who’s become known across the country but is so multi-talented, enthusiastic and flexible as to wear a variety of hats to connect with hometown concertgoers in so many different ways.
Cris Jacobs emerged on the Baltimore circuit 20 years ago in the bluegrass group Smooth Kentucky — a squad that still performs locally — and he cut his teeth at a time the city was earning its reputation for having one of the nation’s very best music scenes. The leader of The Bridge, a beloved jam band blending a world of different sounds, Jacobs was right in the thick of it for a decade at the front of this colorful outfit, forging relationships near and far and all the while expanding his own influences.
Bill Frisell performs at Keystone Korner Baltimore on April 24, 2021. (Photo by Casey Vock.)
Sometimes it’s simply the spontaneity of live music that makes it such a special experience, not only for the fans — some of whom might loosely feel the weight of what they’re witnessing — but just as much for the musicians themselves. With lingering rules and protocols in place, any in-the-flesh performance down the backstretch of the pandemic should be cherished for the solace and bliss it might provide everyone involved.
Bill Frisell, the legendary guitar player of otherworldly talents and an unthinkably accomplished recording artist and composer, recently announced a handful of shows on fairly short notice. But it really wasn’t by chance that several of those shows were in Baltimore this past Saturday and Sunday at Keystone Korner, a Harbor East venue powering through the weirdest of times to approach its second anniversary.
Bill Frisell Trio (Photo by Monica Jane Frisell)
Not too long before the pandemic struck, 2-star Michelin Chef Robert Wiedmaier and National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master Todd Barkan opened Keystone Korner in Baltimore, taking inspiration from the original venue of the same name in San Francisco.
Keystone Korner is getting back into the swing of things by hosting live music, and it has an extraordinary weekend planned with four shows by the Bill Frisell Trio over two days on Saturday, April 24, and Sunday, April 25.
The Adrien Moignard Trio and Christophe Cravero (Photo courtesy Charm City Django Jazz Fest)
The 6th Annual Charm City Django Jazz Fest returns this Friday, Feb. 26, and Saturday, Feb. 27, with a tuned-in lineup from around the globe celebrating the music and legacy Django Reinhardt. Although the Creative Alliance is hosting this year’s Djangofest virtually, the talent, energy, and music promise to be just as powerful as previous years.
Logan Smith (Photo courtesy the artist)
With a soulful maturity and melodic expertise, Logan Smith presents himself with musicality beyond his years and a voice you’ll never forget. Drawing from a wide variety of influences such as The 1975, Phil Collins, Billy Joel, and Harry Styles, his music puts forth a powerful and noticeable presence.
Catch Logan in a livestream direct from the stage of DC9 on Tuesday, Dec. 8!
Cris Jacobs performs at the Frederick County Fairgrounds on Oct. 21, 2020. (Photo by Casey Vock)
Cris Jacobs, a Baltimore native and arguably one of the Charm City’s top songwriters and performers, took the stage recently in support of Grace Potter way out at the Frederick County Fairgrounds.
His appearance was announced just a few weeks back as part of what has become the unexpected gift of the fall season — the Showtime at the Drive In series of performances hosted by All Good Presents and Baltimore Soundstage. It was Cris’ first time performing at a drive-in style concert and his first live gig since February.
Pigeons Playing Ping Pong performs at Showtime at the Drive-In in Frederick on Oct. 15, 2020. (Photo by Casey Vock.)
While the memories of live music as we once knew it slip more distant into our collective memories, it’s likely that no one will forget their first experience watching a drive-in style pandemic performance.
Originating in Europe and cropping up shortly thereafter throughout the United States, drive-in concerts have already become, for some, a norm in times of required or suggested social distancing. And thanks to the work of All Good Presents and Baltimore Soundstage, music fans in the DMV this fall are being offered a somewhat unexpected harvest of live music by way of the Showtime at the Drive-In series being held at the Frederick County Fairgrounds.
Future Islands (Photo by Justin Flythe)
Baltimore new wavers Future Islands release As Long As You Are, the band’s sixth studio album, this week via 4AD. That same day, Future Islands livestreams a special concert performance, titled “A Stream of You and Me” via Noon Chorus on Friday, Oct. 9.
OAR (Photo courtesy the artist)
LAW Records, in conjunction with The Nowell Family Foundation, are due to release a very special compilation, The House That Bradley Built, on Sept. 4. The new compilation features never-before-released acoustic covers from the catalogue of Bradley Nowell’s band Sublime performed by 20+ bands.
From that compilation, today’s Song of the Day is Rockville roots rockers OAR’s cover of “Badfish,” which hails from Sublime’s first album, 40oz. to Freedom (1992).