Laura Veirs (Photo by Shelby Brakken)
When Laura Veirs played at Union State recently, it was the second to last date on a tour of the northeast with supporting act Andy Jenkins. Before that, she’d spent four weeks in the UK. Despite receiving critical acclaim on both sides of the Atlantic, she has developed a larger following overseas. That’s a shame, because she makes fantastic music, and she deserves a larger audience here at home.
VINCINT performs at Union Stage on May 12, 2022. (Photo by Katherine Gaines)
Singer-songwriter VINCINT, born Vincint Cannady, headlined Union Stage in DC recently on The Getaway Tour, and Katherine Gaines was there to photograph the show!
VINCINT’s tour followed the 2021 release of his debut full-length album, There Will Be Tears, which spawned five singles including “Getaway.”
Tim Fogarty and Kristian Dunn of El Ten Eleven perform at Union Stage on April 15, 2022. (Photo by Marc Shea)
“We love it when you guys sing along” was the quote of the night from Kristian Dunn, the bassist and one half of the duo El Ten Eleven. That’s typical of the humor the instrumental band displays, not just in their occasional between song banter with the audience, but also within the songs titles like “Adam And Nathan Totally Kick Ass.” And every bit of it was on display at Union Stage recently.
River Whyless perform at Union Stage on April 11, 2022. (Photo by Mark Caicedo)
For those of us who’ve seen our favorite bands multiple times (followers of the Grateful Dead and Phish come to mind), we’ve learned how to spot patterns and/or variations in the live performances of the songs, onstage banter, and the unspoken conversation between artist and audience. Although I have yet to follow River Whyless on tour, I have diligently observed their career for close to a decade and have seen the band perform nearly twenty times. This past Monday, River Whyless appeared at Union Stage showcasing songs from their new album, Monoflora, and I was just as captivated as the first time I saw them perform in 2013.
Leif Vollebekk performs at Union Stage on April 1, 2022. (Photo by Casey Vock)
A voice that sounds like it’s lived a lifetime’s worth of heartache — if that’s not a solid foundation for an indie folk singer-songwriter, then possessing the skills of a world-class multi-instrumentalist would most certainly assist those efforts.
Leif Vollebekk began playing instruments as a little kid in Ottawa, and it would appear that the countless hours the 36-year-old spent training served as a worthwhile and illuminating runway for the music he’s offering the world today. Leif offered that music to a receptive audience at Union Stage in DC recently.
Maxo Kream accepts a birthday cake from Union Stage on April 2, 2022. (Photo by AJ Waugh)
I think I heard the name Maxo Kream around for at least a year before I ever heard his music, but from the first time I heard “Grannies” in 2017, it connected instantly. I downloaded his Punken project and the Houston storyteller has stayed a constant in my rotation ever since; so I had to be there when I saw Maxo’s Big Persona Tour was making its DC stop recently at Union Stage.
Leif Vollebekk (Photo by Vanessa Heins)
Leif Vollebekk is a Montreal adopted singer-songwriter, who last released New Ways in 2019. He’s preparing to release a live EP, New Waves (Live Recordings ’19-’21), and he appears at Union Stage on Friday, April 1.
Maxim Rainer leads Wilderado in a performance at Union Stage on March 10, 2022. (Photo by Casey Vock)
Remarkable is the manner in which a particular song or songs can springboard successful endeavors for today’s independent musicians.
Unquestionably, more music is being made than ever before in the history of the world, making it all that much more difficult for bands to draw devout listeners and build a following that offers promise and a good reason to keep writing songs.
Wilderado, a spirited folk rock band originally hailing from Tulsa, Oklahoma, is a fascinating outfit that is consistently creating memorable, widely appealing tracks that have essentially exploded on streaming platforms. Industrious and with a moniker inspired by the tiniest of Texas communities, Wilderado has used its popular releases like strategic stepping stones and achieved a great deal for a group that is just now out on tour to promote its first full-length album.
John Moreland performs at Union Stage on Feb. 20, 2022. (Photo by David LaMason)
“Play a sad one!” someone called out to John Moreland during his recent set at Union Stage. The irony here is that they are almost all “sad ones.” The Oklahoma resident’s songbook is filled with electric guitar-driven, minor choir-filled melodies and tales of hardscrabble, working class folks in America’s heartland. Moreland’s voice is gruff but tender, and he’s not afraid to bare his heart. Through his narrators, he reveals scars and vulnerability.
Though he plays a mixture of roots rock and Americana, Moreland didn’t follow the most straightforward path to this point. The foundation was there, in that his father introduced to the music of Neil Young and Creedence Clearwater Revival. But as he learned to play guitar and entered his teens, he followed a different route, playing in punk and metalcore bands. It was only when he was in his 20s that he began to gravitate toward the musical style he now favors.
The Weather Station (Photo by Jeff Bierk)
It’s been a remarkable year for The Weather Station. Ignorance is one of 2021’s most beloved albums, earning Tamara Lindeman a Polaris Music Prize nomination, a gorgeous Tiny Desk (At Home) Concert, and her US television debut on CBS This Morning: Saturday. On Nov. 19, The Weather Station released a two-disc deluxe edition of Ignorance.
The Weather Station now visits Union Stage for a performance of the new material on Sunday, Jan. 30.