Live Review: Eze Jackson @ Creative Alliance Sidewalk Serenades — 7/4/20

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Eze Jackson performs as part of the Creative Alliance’s Sidewalk Serenades on July 4, 2020. (Photo by David LaMason)

On a hot afternoon recently, right outside of my house in East Baltimore, the amazing Eze Jackson gave a spirited Sidewalk Serenade.

Sidewalk Serenades is a program through the Creative Alliance in Baltimore that helps local musicians provide socially distanced performances as a way to provide a vital line from artists to audience in the age of COVID-19. But it has the added benefit of highlighting the best musical artistry in and around Baltimore. And Eze Jackson is certainly one of the best.

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Live Review: Oh He Dead @ Jammin’ Java — 7/3/2020

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Oh He Dead performs at Jammin’ Java on July 3, 2020. (Photo by Mark Caicedo)

More than once it’s been said that, despite our differences, music’s greatest gift is its ability to break down barriers, bring people together, and unite us in common cause. In this age of pandemic lockdowns, economic uncertainty, and just plain fear of the future, that those in need, particularly struggling local musicians, would work to support causes larger than themselves, is a beautiful testament to the power of song.

Oh He Dead recently performed for a packed, but socially distanced, crowd as part of Jammin’ Java’s “A Song & A Slice: A Socially Distanced Outdoor Concert Series.”

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Interview: Joe Louis Walker (New Album: Blues Comin’ On)

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Blues Comin’ On, the latest offering from blues guitar legend Joe Louis Walker, was released on June 5, 2020, from Cleopatra Records.)

Blues artist Joe Louis Walker has been making music with his voice and guitar for over a half century. A 2013 Blues Hall of Fame inductee and a four-time Blues Music Award winner, Joe has learned from, been a mentor to, or simply played alongside just about everyone in the business.

His new album, Blues Comin’ On, which was released on June 5 by Cleopatra Records, features guest performances by fellow blues icons Keb’ Mo’, Eric Gales, and Albert Lee, Detroit soul singer Mitch Ryder, harmonica virtuoso Lee Oskar, Hot Tuna’s Jorma Kaukonen, punk rock vocalist Charlie Harper, and legendary session player Waddy Wachtel among others.

Parklife DC’s Ari Strauss had the opportunity recently to speak with Joe by phone to discuss the new album, his career, and the many wonderful artists he’s played with over the years.

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Preview: Oh He Dead @ Jammin’ Java, 7/3/20

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Oh He Dead performs in Bethesda, Maryland, on Jan. 25, 2020 (Photo by Mark Caicedo)

Jammin’ Java’s Summerfest continues this Friday, July 3, with Oh He Dead. Originally founded as a duo in 2014 by Andy Valenti and CJ Johnson, the band now consists of five players: CJ on vocals and Andy on rhythm guitar with Alex Salser (lead guitar), John Daise (bass), and Adam Ashforth (drums). A healthy mix of classic R&B, funk, and folk, the Washington Post calls Oh He Dead’s music an “infectious and soulful sound.”

The show is currently sold out, but read on to see what you can expect if you’re going!

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Preview: Gordon Sterling @ Jammin’ Java, 6/26/20

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The empty indoor stage at Jammin’ Java! (Photo by Steve Petrucelli)

Jammin’ Java recently launched its outdoor summer series of concerts, presenting A Song & A Slice: A Socially Distanced Outdoor Concert Series. Each donations-based concerts contributes funds to a cause of the artist’s choice.

The outdoor series continues with Gordon Sterling at Jammin’ Java on Friday, June 26, in a show benefiting Black Lives Matter DMV and SURJNOVA.

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Interview: Shirley King (New Album: Blues for a King)

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Shirley King’s latest album, Blues for a King, releases June 19, 2020, via Cleopatra Records.

Just in time for Father’s Day, Shirley King, the daughter of iconic Blues legend B.B. King, releases a new album, Blues for a King, today via Cleopatra Blues, a division of Los Angeles-based Cleopatra Records.

In this latest offering, Shirley steps out of her musical comfort zone to cover diverse range of musical genre including soul, R&B, rock, and her native Blues. The album also features a roster of legendary guitarists including Steve Cropper (Booker T & the MGs), Duke Robillard (Roomful of Blues/Fabulous Thunderbirds), Elvin Bishop (Paul Butterfield Blues Band), Martin Barre (Jethro Tull), and Junior Wells to name a few.

Parklife DC’s Ari Strauss had an opportunity to speak with Shirley by phone recently to discuss the new album, her career, and what it’s like to be the daughter of Blues royalty.

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Song of the Day: “To Live” by Norah Jones

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Norah Jones (Photo by Dianne Russo)

Norah Jones has released her seventh solo studio album Pick Me Up Off The Floor, which is out on Blue Note Records. The album features collaborators including Jeff Tweedy and Brian Blade on a set of 11 new songs written or co-written by Norah that speak deeply to the moment.

Tune in to ABC Good Morning America on Tuesday, June 16, to hear Norah perform the uplifting “To Live,” and watch the song’s official video featuring drummer Nate Smith, bassist Jesse Murphy, trumpeter Dave Guy, and tenor saxophonist Leon Michels.

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