Live Review: Amythst Kiah @ Strathmore Music Center — 9/30/21

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Amythyst Kiah (Photo by Sandlin Gaither)

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.

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Preview: Watkins Family Hour @ Strathmore Music Center, 8/7/21

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Watkins Family Hour (Photo by Jacob Boll)

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.

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Live Review: Dar Williams @ Strathmore — 7/3/21

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Dar Williams (Photo courtesy Bulletproof Artists)

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.

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Live Review: The Lone Bellow @ Strathmore Music Center — 6/17/21

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The Lone Bellow (Photo by Shervin Lainez)

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.”

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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: Jake Shimabukuro @ Strathmore Music Center — 2/13/20

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Jake Shimabukuro (Photo coutesy Jensen Communications)

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.”

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Live Review: DRUM TAO @ Strathmore Music Center — 2/7/20

Drum Tao DRUM TAO performs at Strathmore Music Center on Feb. 7, 2020. (Photo by Shedrick Pelt)

The drum, a percussion tool sounded by being struck with sticks or the hands, is one of the most recognizable and established instruments in any tribal community. You might say the drum is the heartbeat of the tribe. Those who wield it and those hypnotized by its depth are led to reach into their souls and find peace and harmony in the lowest of its tones.

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Best of the Year: Top 10 Concerts of 2019 by Mark E.

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Rosanne Cash placed as one of Mark Engleson’s top shows of the year. Read on to see who else made the cut. (Photo by David LaMason)

Editor’s Note: This year, we asked our bloggers to name their Top 10 shows of 2019 or choose their Top 10 photos of the year. We will run them over the course of mid-December as our Best of the Year posts.

Editor (again): After much consideration, the prolific Mark Engleson chose his top 10 shows for 2019.

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Live Review: Bela Fleck and the Flecktones @ Strathmore Music Center — 12/2/19

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Bela Fleck performs at MerleFest on April 27, 2018. (Photo by cp_thornton)

We all have ideas and preconceptions about different kinds of music. We can’t help it; we’re exposed to something, and it fixes our notion of what it is. For years, whenever I thought of jazz, I pictured a saxophone in my mind’s eye, and I heard a particular sound. While that sound is representative of some jazz, it’s certainly not representative of all it.

Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, an all-star lineup of progressive jazz musicians, demolished and rebuilt my ideas of what jazz is and can be at the Strathmore Music Center recently.

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Preview: Béla Fleck and The Flecktones @ Strathmore Music Center, 12/2/19

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Béla Fleck and The Flecktones (Photo courtesy the artist)

In 1988, groundbreaking banjoist Béla Fleck was asked to put together his “dream band” for the Lonesome Pine Specials television series. The resulting band was The Flecktones, and they launched their first official tour a year later. Now, Bela Fleck and The Flecktones mark their 30th anniversary at the Strathmore Music Center on Monday, Dec. 2.

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