Live Review: The Felice Brothers w/ Al Olender @ DC9 — 10/14/21

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The Felice Brothers (Photo courtesy Yep Roc Records)

Hailing from upstate New York’s Hudson River Valley, The Felice Brothers began in the mid-2000s as the musical project of brothers Ian, James, and Simone Felice. They began their career as buskers, and have referred to themselves (who knows how jokingly)  as “scumbags.”

Their career got a boost from another area resident, legendary Band drummer and vocalist Levon Helm, who invited them to perform at one of his Midnight Rambles in Woodstock. It’s fitting that the Brothers got a break from him, as their music owes obvious debts to The Band and Bob Dylan, in its mix of humor, surrealistic imagery, and ironic gloss on classic Americana. Their early recordings were rough — one was made in a chicken coop — but have grown more refined over the course of their career. As they toured with acts ranging from Justin Townes Earle to Old Crow Medicine Show to the Dave Matthews Band, the Brothers became more sophisticated artists.

That sophistication was on display in their unique brand of folk country-rock/ Americana in a packed house at DC9 recently.

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Live Review: The Bones of JR Jones @ Songbyrd Music House — 9/22/21

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The Bones of JR Jones performs at Songbyrd Music House on Sept. 22, 2021. (Photo by Casey Vock)

From an outsider’s perspective, it appears that musicians are best served not so much by pivoting but by adapting and blending their influences, old and new, together as they move along in their career and accumulate critical life experiences on that path.

Though his pursuits in his younger days angled toward punk, Jonathan Linaberry has unabashedly and enthusiastically embraced the direction of musicians whom he happened to hear while finding his way as a self-taught, college-age guitar and banjo player.

When his ears discovered the likes of Blind Lemon Jefferson, Son House, and other blues-belting guitarists from places like Texas and the Mississippi Delta, Linaberry — who hails from Central New York, near Syracuse — began to genuinely mold those sounds from the first half of the century, as well as the spirit and character of the music, into his own song writing style.

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Live Review: Dar Williams @ Strathmore — 7/3/21

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Dar Williams (Photo courtesy Bulletproof Artists)

While other parts of the country deal with record-breaking heat and wildfires, the DMV has actually had a relatively moderate summer. As I sit here on Independence Day writing this review, my AC is off and my windows are open. This made for a perfect night for outdoor music yesterday evening at Bethesda’s Strathmore Music Center, where folk artist Dar Williams appeared. 

Like many venues, the Strathmore is working through putting on shows in the (post-)pandemic world. They’ve moved the performances outdoors, under an awning, and artists are playing two shows — an early and a late set. Dar complimented the venue’s efforts, saying that concerts are a work in progress, and that she felt the Strathmore was doing as good a job with it as she’s seen.

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Live Review: Amy Helm @ The Hamilton Live — 6/11/21

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Amy Helm performs at The Hamilton on June 11, 2021. (Photo by Casey Vock)

On Friday, pandemic capacity restrictions were lifted in the District of Columbia. When Amy Helm performed at The Hamilton Live, it was the first time in 16 months that venue had been fully open to present live music to eager audiences. It was a special night; the enthusiasm and love from the crowd was palpable, as most of the attendees were at their first show since early March 2020.

For Helm and her band, it was their first time back on the road and being outside of her native New York state. She acknowledged the significance of live music reopening, saying it was an honor to be playing. She joked, “Just to full capacity?” to which her bandmate Connor Kennedy quipped, “You can’t really go further than that.

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Song of the Day: “Nobody’s Stopping You Now” by Lake Street Dive

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Lake Street Dive (Photo by Shervin Lainez)

Obviously, the new album from beloved band Lake Street Dive, is set for release on March 12 via Nonesuch Records. In celebration of the forthcoming record, the group premieres its new single “Nobody’s Stopping You Now,” a letter of encouragement from lead vocalist Rachael Price to her teenaged self, co-written with bassist Bridget Kearney.

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Livestream Preview: Parquet Courts @ Noon Chorus, 12/10/20

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Parquet Courts (Photo by Vince McClellan)

“Ten years ago, our adventure began by playing our first show to virtually no one, and to celebrate we’ve decided to play a show to everyone, virtually,” said Parquet Courts.

Catch the New York City punk quartet in a livestream from Brooklyn’s Pioneer Works via Noon Chorus on Thursday, Dec. 10, to celebrate with the band!

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