Live Review: Sarah Harmer @ The Birchmere — 2/26/20

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Sarah Harmer (Photo by Vanessa Heins)

Sarah Harmer thanked The Birchmere “for having faith after 10 years that I can still sing.” The critically acclaimed Canadian singer-songwriter recently released her first album in as long, Are You Gone. Over the last decade, she stepped away from music and was engaged in environmental activism. In 2005, Sarah found PERL, Protecting Escarpment Rural Land, to campaign to protect the Niagara Escarpment against a gravel development.

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Live Review: Nora Jane Struthers @ Jammin’ Java — 2/21/20

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Nora Jane Struthers performs at Jammin’ Java on Feb. 21, 2020. (Photo by Mark Caicedo)

A fair number of people who came out to Jammin’ Java on Friday night were already familiar with Nora Jane Struthers. She introduced herself as “hailing from the great country and bluegrass state of…” and the audience chimed in “New Jersey.”

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Live Review: Sierra Hull @ Strathmore Music Center — 2/13/20

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Sierra Hull (Photo by Gina Binkley)

In her second appearance at the Strathmore Music Center, mandolin virtuoso Sierra Hull and her ultra-talented band recently opened for ukulele master Jake Shimabukuro. The former child prodigy, who recorded her first album at the age of 11, packed a lot of variety into her set, with vocal and instrumental numbers, as well as solo pieces where she accompanied herself on the acoustic guitar.

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Live Review: Chris Knight @ City Winery — 11/22/19

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Chris Knight (Photo courtesy Thirty Tigers)

Slaughters, Kentucky native Chris Knight makes gritty, powerful country music. Eschewing the country pop of the Nashville machine, he records sparsely produced albums that draw the listener’s attention to his compelling lyrics. Live, he performs solo and acoustic, delivering the lyrics with fittingly gruff vocals, as he did at City Winery DC recently.

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Preview: Chris Knight @ City Winery, 11/22/19

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Chris Knight (Photo by Ray Kennedy)

Esteemed singer-songwriter Chris Knight performs at City Winery on Friday, Nov. 22, in support of his most recent record Almost Daylight, which was released in October via Thirty Tigers. His ninth album to date, and his first new music in seven years, Almost Daylight delivers some of the most powerful and unexpected songs of his career.

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Live Review: Julia Jacklin @ Black Cat — 11/10/19

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Julia Jacklin (Photo by Nick McKinlay)

Australian indie folk-rocker Julia Jacklin has a rising profile. Her show in April was originally scheduled for DC9, but it was moved to the Rock and Roll Hotel to accommodate the demand for tickets. Julia sold out the larger venue, and when she returned to DC recently, she played the even larger Black Cat.

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Preview: November Morning @ Bear Chase Brewing, 11/9/19

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Montree and Lisa J of November Morning at The Wharf on Sept. 28, 2019. (Photos by Mark Caicedo)

I’m regularly reminded of the perseverance, determination, and drive that musicians possess — the hours on the road, the uncertainty of audience acceptance, and even when it may all seem pointless, the energy to keep going. It’s not just new, young artists hungry for success who may harbor doubts; that insecurity can afflict anyone at any time. And although talent is indispensable, hard work, a creative spark, and the urge to share are key to overcoming those doubts.

But it sure doesn’t show if local DC duo Lisa J and Montree, together known as November Morning, possess any hesitancy.

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Live Review: Noah Gundersen @ Black Cat — 10/16/19

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Noah Gundersen performs at the Black Cat on Oct. 16, 2019. (Photo by Brenda Reyes)

Noah Gundersen and an intimate venue like the Black Cat was an ideal match. It was a perfect opportunity for Noah to get closer to his fans recently — and for the fans to enjoy his latest work. This DC show marked exactly the halfway point for Noah’s tour.

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