Arlo Parks performs at 9:30 Club on Sept. 12, 2022. (Photo by Katie Child)
Arlo Parks is an idol to many. Her tendency to inspire, in combination with her often painfully relatable lyricism, Parks is the spitting image of what many of us aim to “grow up” to become.
A ray of sunshine through and through, Parks’ tour was not one to pass up. Coupled with the lovable crowd of DMV natives that she brought out for her show, Arlo lit up the 9:30 Club for two nights last week with a sense of warmth and comfort that we already miss.
Chris Isaak performs at Wolf Trap on Aug. 6, 2022. (Photos by Marc Shea)
I didn’t have any any idea of the Easter egg that Chris Isaak was going to include in his recent 90-minute set at the Wolf Trap, when he and Lyle Lovett appeared as co-headliners.
Playing bass for Chris was Rowland Salley, who wrote “Killing The Blues,” a song that has been covered by John Prine and Allison Krauss and Robert Plant, to name just a few. The audience got to watch Salley perform his song, after which Chris said some lovely words about seeing a song performed by the writer.
Lazy July and August afternoons are traditionally called the dog days of summer. The fresh buds and flowers of spring have faded as the relentless heat causes trees, people, and dogs to wilt under an unforgiving sun. Thankfully, the only withering from the last Sunday in June came from Duane Betts and his two musical pals, Berry Duane Oakley (bass) and Johnny Stachela (guitars), blazing musicianship when they played City Winery DC on the 3rd stop of their Dog Daze Tour.
Carsie Blanton grew up in the Shenandoah Valley, and she came to The Birchmere many times as a teenager. Since becoming a professional musician, she’s played the venue several times in an opening slot, beginning with a performance with the late Leon Redbone. Carise recently headlined the historic Northern Virginia venue for the first time.
James McMurtry performs at The Birchmere on April 16, 2022. (Photo by Rashad Polk)
Popularity and respect are two entirely different things. Some artists — and I won’t name names here — are well known but may not be highly esteemed. Other artists command less name recognition, but, amongst those who are aware of them they are held in the highest regard.
James McMurtry is an artist who falls in the latter category: He’s far from a household name, but people who know James McMurtry think the world of him. Those people include his peers in the singer-songwriter community, like Jason Isbell, as well as literary figures like the bestselling author Stephen King and rock critics like Robert Christgau.
James has been making records since the ’80s, and his recent set at The Birchmere covered four decades of material.
Bedouine performs with Gus Seyffert at The Miracle Theatre in DC on April 3, 2022. (Photo by Casey Vock)
When I seriously got into music criticism about five years ago, I went about it in a predictably autistic way: I went to Metacritic, pulled up their list of all-time high scores, and started working my down. That was around the time the folk artist Bedouine released her self-titled debut album, and man, did she ever knock it out of the park on her first try. It’s one of the best debut albums released last decade, and it’s one of my favorites. As impressive as it was, the follow-up effort, 2019’s Birds of a Killjoy, is an even better album. Last year’s Waysides, a collection of older material, is pretty damn impressive too.
Bedouine was every bit as impressive in a recent appearance at The Miracle Theatre, the small Barracks Row venue booked by Union Stage, in DC.
English singer-songwriter Tom Odell overcame some personal darkness to publish his fourth studio album, Monsters, last year via Columbia Records. He hits the road again and performs in DC at the Lincoln Theatre on Wednesday, April 20.
Parklife DC is giving away a pair of tickets for you to see the show!
Joshua Radin is a singer-songwriter, originally from Shaker Heights, Ohio, who has been writing songs, performing, and recording music for the last 17 years. He’s appearing at The Birchmere on Friday, March 18. Josh and talked to Parklife DC’s Mark Engleson about their shared Ohio roots, finding your creative heart, and life on the road.
Trapper Schoepp explores themes of ghosts and rebirth, springtime and renewal on his latest album, May Day. You can explore those themes with Trapper yourself in a show at Jammin’ Java on Sunday, March 13.
Parklife DC is giving away up to 10 tickets to the show! To get on the list, leave a comment on this blog post below!
Last year, Indigo De Souza released Any Shape You Take, her sophomore album, via Saddle Creek receiving acclaim from outlets such as Pitchfork, New York Times, NPR, Stereogum, The FADER, Consequence, Paste and more.