Livestream Preview: Tommy Emmanuel @ The Birchmere (Benefit), 8/15/20

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Tommy Emmanuel (Photo by Alysse Gafkjen)

Tommy Emmanuel, the acclaimed and Grammy-nominated acoustic guitarist, singer, and songwriter, hosts two livestream events with a portion of the proceeds benefiting two prominent independent venues in America. The first event on Saturday, Aug. 15, benefits The Birchmere in Alexandria, Virginia.

“Without some support, we are in danger of losing some of the independent venues that are a part of our culture and our local communities,” Tommy said.

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Live Review: Daryl Davis @ The Birchmere — 7/11/20

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Daryl Davis and his band entertain music fans with a high-energy blues and rock & roll performance at The Birchmere in Alexandria, VA, July 11, 2020. (Photo by Ari Strauss)

A sight for sore eyes appeared on Mount Vernon Avenue in Alexandria, Virginia, this past weekend as the iconic Birchmere sign light up with news that it is once again open for business.

After a four-month hiatus since early March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the legendary Northern Virginia music venue reopened recently at a limited capacity using enhanced health and safety measures set forth by the CDC and the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Parklife DC’s Ari Strauss went to see the Daryl Davis Band perform on July 11 and reviews his experience with photos of the performance.

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Preview: Jumpin’ Jupiter @ The Birchmere, 7/18/20

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Jumpin’ Jupiter (Photo courtesy the band)

Virginia rockabilly band Jumpin’ Jupiter has been entertaining the DC region for decades! They are always a welcome sight — and sound! — and never more so as area clubs begin to carefully welcome the return of bands to their stages.

Jumpin’ Jupiter next rocks down The Birchmere on Saturday, July 18.

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Preview: Daryl Davis @ The Birchmere, 7/11/20

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Daryl Davis (Photo courtesy of The Birchmere)

You may have heard tales of an eloquent Black man who surprisingly engages with the Ku Klux Klan, occasionally convincing its members to abandon the group by expanding their awareness of brotherhood and human rights for all men.

That man is musician Daryl Davis, a Bluesman and scholar ever there were one, and he’s heading to The Birchmere to boogie down for a show on Saturday, July 11.

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Required Reading: In Praise of Live Music

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Tim Bray and Karen Jonas (Photo by Mark Caicedo)

Required Reading is Parklife DC’s essay series on music appreciation.

“Don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone?” — Joni Mitchell, Big Yellow Taxi

The COVID-19 pandemic has transformed our worlds, collectively and individually, in ways that we are struggling to grasp. For those of us who cherish live music — artists, fans, writers, and photographers — the pandemic has made concerts impossible for the time being and the heartache at what has been lost is becoming a fear (irrational perhaps, but…) that they could be gone forever.

The abrupt, and traumatic, end to live music performances for the foreseeable future has left a sadness in me that I did not anticipate, nor with which I’m prepared to cope. I’m a diehard enthusiast of live music — from the traditional large venue concert experience to the small bars and clubs where local musicians perform for anyone who’ll listen.

But what they all have in common is talent, desire, and an otherworldly drive to share, as Los Angeles Times music critic David Ackert says, “that crystal moment when they poured out their creative spirit and touched another’s heart.”

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Live Review: Graham Nash @ The Birchmere — 3/10/20

GNash18 Graham Nash performs at The Birchmere on March 10, 2020. (Photo by Mark Caicedo)

With a voice as powerful and pure as ever, Graham Nash gifted a full house at The Birchmere recently with a stunning two-and-a-half-hour performance. Though many of us had seen him perform with CSN (and sometimes Y), to experience a Nash solo performance was a rare privilege.

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Interview: Raul Malo (of The Mavericks @ The Birchmere, 7/13/20)

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Raul Malo (foreground) fronts The Mavericks (Photo by David McClister)

(Editor’s note: This show was rescheduled from March 25 due to the coronavirus threat.)

Raul Malo is best known as the frontman of critically acclaimed band The Mavericks, who uniquely fuse classic honky tonk, rockabilly, Tejano, and pop, as well as his own Cuban background. He also released a number of well-received solo albums, mainly during a period of hiatus for the band.

Parklife DC’s Mark Engleson interviewed Raul in advance of his solo date at The Birchmere on Monday, July 13. They talked about his projects, his approach to production and songwriting, his musical background and influences, and the upcoming concert.

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Live Review: Squirrel Nut Zippers @ The Birchmere — 3/5/20

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Jimbo Mathus fronts the Squirrel Nut Zippers at The Birchmere on March 5, 2020. (Photo by Rashad Polk)

Laaaaadies and geeeentleemen, if you missed it, you missed the most carnivalistic display of vaudeville performance on The Birchmere stage in recent memory. Those undeterrable rascals, those curious geeks, barkers, and showgirls, the Squirrel Nut Zippers put on an antiquarian revival show of towering proportions.

SNZ’s tour is celebrating the 25th anniversary of their debut album, The Inevitable Squirrel Nut Zippers, and they played it through on a recent evening. Playing in order, they began with “Lovers’ Lane.” For “Danny Diamond,” female vocalist Cella Blue came out wearing a feather boa and waving a fan.

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