Live Review: Counting Crows w/ Frank Turner @ MGM National Harbor — 10/1/21

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Counting Crows perform at MGM National Harbor on Oct. 1, 2021. (Photo by Kyle Gustafson)

A few months ago, I found myself in a discussion with singer-songwriter Kasey Anderson and music critic Craig Jenkins. The point was raised that many of the alternative acts in the late ’80s and early ’90s were, if not in the Americana genre, at least adjacent to it. The Counting Crows certainly fit this description, with influences that include that include the Byrds, The Band, and Van Morrison, in addition to REM. Their brand of alternative meets folk-rock created a sound that, by appealing not only to young audiences, who favored the grunge of the early ’90s, but also to fans of classic rock.

The Counting Crows certainly attracted legions of devoted fans, many of whom packed into the theater at MGM Harbor on Friday night to see them on their tour behind the new Butter Miracle Suite EP.

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Live Review: Todd Snider w/ Aaron Lee Tasjan @ The Birchmere — 8/31/21

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Todd Snider performs at The Birchmere on Aug. 31, 2021. (Photo by Casey Vock)

Two of the most unique singer-songwriters working today graced the stage of The Birchmere recently — Todd Snider and Aaron Lee Tasjan. Both, in some sense, are part of the alt-country/Americana scene, though putting them into this genre box is far too reductive.

While both draw on classic songwriting traditions, they put a modern — perhaps even a postmodern — twist on them. They share a delightfully warped, witty sense of humor, perhaps connected to their fondness for psychedelics.

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Live Review: Appaloosa Festival @ Skyline Ranch Resort — 8/13-8/15/21

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Flex Matthews joined Justin Trawick at the last minute to fill an emergency opening in the 2021 Appaloosa Festival. (Photo by Chester Simpson.) 

Alex and Dan Fedoryka, founding members of the band Scythian, wanted to bring their friends and fans back to their family’s hometown of Front Royal, Virginia, on the scenic Skyline Ranch Resort, nestled in the Shenandoah Valley. It’s just a few minutes from the northern entrance to Shenandoah National Park and Skyline Drive, and less than a mile from the Shenandoah River. There is camping available on site, plus opportunities in the immediate vicinity to hike, canoe, fish, and bike.

Welcome to the perfect setting and the perfect weekend for the annual Appaloosa Music Festival, the result of the Fedoryka brothers’ dream to celebrate life and music with their friends and family, which includes you and me!

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Preview: Appaloosa Festival @ Skyline Ranch Resort, 8/13-8/15/21

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Scythian (Photo by Jason Eib)

Appaloosa Festival is back! And Appaloosa 2021 is bringing in rising stars in bluegrass, Americana and Celtic music on Aug. 13-15 at Skyline Ranch Resort in Front Royal, Va.

Headliners at this year’s festival include Scythian, Young Dubliners, Dustbowl Revival, Yarn, and Aztec Sun!

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Snapshots: Red Wing VIII Roots Music Festival @ Natural Chimneys Park (Mt. Solon, VA) — 7/9-7/11/21

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Sierra Ferrell performs at the Red Wing Roots Music Festival VIII last weekend. (Photo by Chester Simpson)

The Red Wing Roots Music Festival was held over three days, on July 9, 10, and 11, beneath the towering 500-million-year-old rock formations of Natural Chimneys Park and Campground located in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.

It was a breath of fresh air, to voyage out of our confined space for the first time to a music festival that’s near and dear to our hearts. COVID canceled all gatherings of this type last year, but gave us a new appreacation for what everyone had missed … sweet love of music.

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Live Review: The Nighthawks @Jammin’ Java — 6/11/21

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The Nighthawks perform at Jammin’ Java on June 11, 2021. (Photo by Mark Caicedo)

Institution. If there’s any word to describe The Nighthawks, it’s one that connotes longevity, durability, strength, maturity, and endurance. And of all Washington DC’s institutions, none has the grace, consistency and joy that The Nighthawks delivered on a recent Friday night at Jammin’ Java in Vienna, Virginia.

Originally planned as a free outdoor show, the threat of rain moved the performance indoors. With the easing of pandemic-related restrictions, for many of us the concert became an impromptu, and welcome, return to indoor live music.

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Live Review: The Wood Brothers @ Frederick Fairgrounds — 6/6/21

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The Wood Brothers heat things up at the Frederick Fairgrounds on June 6, 2021. (Photo by David LaMason)

One thing you can say about The Wood Brothers, they sure know how to put on a show. And it was a celebration that seemed to signal good things to come.

It goes, really, without saying, but it’s been a tough year. For many in attendance at the Frederick Fairgrounds Sunday evening, this was the first time seeing a live performance since the winter of 2020 — a long thaw indeed! But as Oliver (guitar/vocals) and Chris Wood (bass/harmonica/vocals) and multi-instrumentalist Jano Rix hit the stage things started heating up. That’s both figurative and literal as the summer heat kept drive-in attendees going back for some much needed refreshments from their cars.

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Song of the Day: “Badfish” by OAR

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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).

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Interview: Lauren Calve, DC’s Formidable Americana Artist

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Lauren Calve (Photo by Shane Gardner)

DC Americana and blues artist Lauren Calve releases Wildfire, her new EP, on June 23. She recently released the first single from the album — a song called “Better Angels.” As Lauren has said, she took inspiration for the song from Abraham Lincoln’s inaugural address, which prompted her to reflect on the courage of people today dealing with modern challenges like COVID-19.

And, of course, as everyone has been in a pandemic lockdown, Lauren has been a regular performer in livestream concerts, spreading the word about her new music and finding creative outlets where she can. Parklife DC’s Mickey McCarter recently caught up with Lauren to ask her about getting music out during the lockdown, her approach to unique arrangements in her music, and her spiritual connections to the places that gave birth to roots and Americana.

Visit Lauren Calve’s website to grab her new single!

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