Jeff Goldblum addresses the audience at the Strathmore Music Center on May 6, 2022. (Photo by Mickey McCarter)
Wonderfully affable actor Jeff Goldblum could do just about anything and people would undoubtedly find it compelling. As it so happens, Jeff is a lifelong lover of playing piano, and so some years ago, he got together with a very good jazz collective and started performing around Hollywood as Jeff Goldblum & The Mildred Snitzer Orchestra.
Said orchestra has now released two studio albums, The Capitol Studios Sessions and I Shouldn’t Be Telling You This, consisting of jazz standards often given fresh arrangements by the band. The act has become a bit more ambitious, as warrants its tremendous talent, and it has hit the road recently with a stop at the Strathmore Music Center.
Singer-songwriter Anais Mitchell is best known for her award-winning musical Hadestown, a retelling of the ancient Greek myth of Orpheus’s journey into the underworld to rescue his lover, Eurydice. In researching this blog, I was shocked to learn that Neil Gaiman did not, in fact, invent this myth for his Sandman comics; next, we’ll learn that he didn’t invent the word “carnifex,” either!
Bringing Hadestown to the stage has been the focus of Anais’s professional life for the better of the last decade. Just before the pandemic shut things down, however, she released a joint project, Bonny Light Horseman, with Eric D. Johnson (of the Fruit Bats) and multi-instrumentalist/producer Josh Kaufman, which they briefly toured behind. The record consists of interpretations and reworkings of old folk ballads; this is familiar territory for Mitchell, who has also released an album of Child Ballads.
Anaïs Mitchell, the esteemed singer-songwriter whose Broadway smash Hadestown won eight Tony Awards, including Best Musical, is joined by Bonny Light Horseman, a folk supergroup trio comprised of Anaïs, Eric D. Johnson, and Josh Kaufman for a show at Strathmore Music Center on Friday, Feb. 11!
I first saw Amythyst Kiah perform when she opened for Valerie June at The Birchmere in 2017. Since then, I’ve also seen her open for Yola, just before the pandemic hit, and for Brandi Carlile at Wolf Trap last month.
Her performance Thursday evening at Strathmore Music Center’s patio stage series was my first opportunity to see her headline a show, and it was also the first time I’ve gotten to see her play with a band. Here, she was backed up by a bassist and a drummer in a spare but effective format.
Sibling duo Watkins Family Hour performs two outdoors shows at Strathmore Music Center on Saturday, Aug. 7 — an early evening performance followed by a later show — touring in support of their new album, brother sister.
While other parts of the country deal with record-breaking heat and wildfires, the DMV has actually had a relatively moderate summer. As I sit here on Independence Day writing this review, my AC is off and my windows are open. This made for a perfect night for outdoor music yesterday evening at Bethesda’s Strathmore Music Center, where folk artist Dar Williams appeared.
Like many venues, the Strathmore is working through putting on shows in the (post-)pandemic world. They’ve moved the performances outdoors, under an awning, and artists are playing two shows — an early and a late set. Dar complimented the venue’s efforts, saying that concerts are a work in progress, and that she felt the Strathmore was doing as good a job with it as she’s seen.
Folk trio The Lone Bellow made their first appearance before a live crowd following the pandemic at Bethesda’s Strathmore recently. The venue is transitioning toward a past-pandemic world and, for now, they are holding socially-distanced shows on their outdoor patio.
The Lone Bellow played two shows that night. At the early show, the sun was still bright and clear, and it was an unusually temperate day for mid-June, making for a perfect night for live music. After the opening number, frontman Zach Williams said, “I love that the cicadas are out this evening;” later, guitarist Brian Elmquist commented on how perfect it was: “the cicadas, the birds, and a folk guitar melody.”
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.
With a hearty “Aloha!” ukulele virtuoso Jake Shimabukuro greeted the crowd at Strathmore Music Center last night. “This hall sounds amazing,” he said. “It’s such an honor playing in this hall. You can’t play a bad note in this hall or, if you do, you hear it for a long time.”