Live Review: Oliver Wood & Friends @ Rams Head On Stage — 4/20/22

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Oliver Wood leads his trio in a performance at Rams Head On Stage in Annapolis on April 20, 2022. (Photo by Casey Vock)

Solo endeavors for some musicians might almost seem predestined, and in some cases the effort can elucidate just how much a certain individual has meant to the success of the outfits they’ve represented.

And while no one would ever want him to stop making music with his brother, Chris, it comes as no surprise to see Oliver Wood — one half of the siblings comprising The Wood Brothers — embarking on his own this spring in support of his debut album, Always Smilin’.

Performing with his trio as Oliver Wood & Friends at Rams Head On Stage in Annapolis recently, Wood proved himself to be every bit the diverting, charismatic lead vocalist and the spirited, organically talented guitar player who’s helped make The Wood Brothers a pillar of alternative folk and roots music for almost 18 years.

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Snapshots: Rickie Lee Jones @ Rams Head on Stage — 3/1/22

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Rickie Lee Jones performs at Rams Head on Stage on March 1, 2022. (Photo by Jason Nicholson)

Rickie Lee Jones flew into Maryland a few days prior to her gig at Rams Head on Stage in Annapolis, and she first made an apparent stop in Bethesda.

A dance instructor here reported Rickie Lee dropped by the city’s famed Hank Dietle’s Tavern and lent a hand to teaching a two-step dance lesson. Could you imagine turning up at Hank Dietle’s one random night and taking a dance lesson with none other than the Duchess of Coolsville?

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Live Review: Hollis Brown @ Rams Head On Stage — 2/6/22

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Hollis Brown performs at Rams Head On Stage in Annapolis on Feb. 6, 2022. (Photo by Casey Vock)

Few musical acts can pull off a cover album, let alone two — but when your group makeup is so dynamic and its skills so refined, bringing a tribute recording to life can yield fresh and forward-thinking interpretations of long appreciated music.

Hollis Brown, a seasoned indie rock band proud to be from Queens, is so distinct in its composition and so genuine in approach as to make that kind of effort happen with stylish nonchalance. Make no mistake, though — this group is anything but a “cover band.” Hollis Brown has recorded a venerated catalogue of its own music to position itself as one of the most authentic and astonishing acts to call New York home these days.

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Live Review: Shovels & Rope @ Rams Head on Stage — 11/3/21

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Cary Ann Hearst and Michael Trent perform as Shovels & Rope at Rams Head On Stage in Annapolis on Nov. 3, 2021. (Photo by Casey Vock)

So much of the best music has been the result of human relationships gone wrong, gone right or our infinite quest to understand our own needs and desires.

Still, it’s rare to actually behold a successfully intimate relationship through music, one put on display for the sake of the songs and emotions that it can yield.

But at a recent stop in Annapolis at Rams Head on Stage, Shovels & Rope showed that it is indeed that kind of outfit, the result of a man — Michael Trent — and a woman — Cary Ann Hearst — who met almost 20 years ago and ignited a flame for one another and for making music together.

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Preview: Shovels & Rope @ Rams Head on Stage — 11/3/21

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Shovels & Rope (Photo by Leslie Ryan McKellar)

Americana duo Shovels & Rope have a new album, titled Manticore, coming our way next year. Meanwhile, they perform at Rams Head on Stage in Annapolis, Maryland, on Wednesday, Nov. 3, on their Bare Bones Tour. Snap up one of the few remaining tickets!

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Live Review: The Lone Bellow @ Rams Head On Stage — 10/3/21

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The Lone Bellow performs a matinee show at Rams Head On Stage in Annapolis on Oct. 3, 2021. (Photo by Casey Vock)

When a group of musicians bond to write and share songs born out of struggle and the battle to overcome those challenges, the result can clearly be a special one.

Remarkably demonstrating this exact kind of provenance with a recent matinee show at Rams Head On Stage, The Lone Bellow out of Brooklyn is now in its 10th year after forming in 2011 during the wake of what was essentially a tragedy impacting its founding member.

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Live Review: Hawktail @ Rams Head on Stage — 7/26/21

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Hawktail performs at Rams Head on Stage on July 26, 2021. (Photo by Casey Vock)

While the pandemic might have been a blockade to the life and career of many musicians, it could very well have provided opportunity and inspiration for others to dig in with their colleagues to create special music that might provide an appropriate backdrop to these weirdest of times.

An instrumental outfit featuring Brittany Haas on violin, Paul Kowert on bass, Jordan Tice on guitar, and Dominick Leslie on mandolin, Hawktail visited Rams Head on Stage in Annapolis the evening of July 26 to deliver two captivating sets of powerful, intricately composed music that speaks to the group’s increasingly strong connection despite the challenges of the past year and half.

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Live Review: Todd Snider @ Rams Head on Stage — 3/1/20

Todd Snider - Ram’s Head On Stage - 03.01.20 1Todd Snider performs at Rams Head On Stage on March 1, 2020. (Photos by Casey Vock)

Cautiously emerging from the dressing room, stepping wide-eyed onto the stage at the Rams Head on Stage recently, he seemed unsure if he was even supposed to be there. Or maybe he was given pause by the full venue, either way, the audience might have wondered for a second what was going on.

But as he settled into a couple notes on the guitar and began to blow the harmonica, if tears hadn’t already started to well in their eyes, attentive onlookers were already able to decipher the genius that is Todd Snider.

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Preview: Todd Snider @ Rams Head on Stage, 3/1/20

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Todd Snider (Photo courtesy Absolute Publicity)

Folk singer Todd Snider had a busy year in 2019! Early in the year, he released Cash Cabin Sessions, Vol. 3, a new album, and later in the year, he published East Nashville Skyline (the “wittiest and feistiest album of his career,” Pitchfork says) on vinyl.

What’s to do no except the touring? And tour Todd does with a show at Rams Head on Stage on Sunday, March 1.

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