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.
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.”
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
Ray LaMontagne (Photo by Brian Stowell)
After a terrific opening set by the Canadian duo Kacy & Clayton, Ray LaMontagne took the stage at the Music Center at Strathmore recently. Accompanying him was Carl Broemel, the guitarist in My Morning Jacket. They began with “Be Here Now,” both playing acoustic guitar. The New Hampshire-born singer-songwriter followed with “Hold You in Arms,” from his first album, 2004’s Trouble.
Kacy & Clayton (Photo by Mat Dunlap)
Earlier this month, New West released the fourth album by Clayton Linthicum and Kacy Anderson — Carrying On. Better known as Kacy & Clayton, the duo brought their folk stylings to the Music Center at Strathmore recently, opening for Ray LaMontagne.