We’re into fall here in the Washington region and that means that the acoustic music scene is busy pointing toward those holiday concerts. But before December arrives, there are a few highlights for lovers of bluegrass, Americana, and roots music in the District of Columbia.
This Monday, the Blue Moon Cowgirls and flatpicking champion Orrin Star are featured at the Institute of Musical Traditions concert in Rockville. I’ve heard Star before, and he’s a treat for those who like the old flat top.
Country singer extraordinaire Patty Loveless will be at the Birchmere on November 1st. She’ll no doubt be featuring tunes from her new album, Mountain Soul II. The original Mountain Soul was a terrific album, and the follow-up begins with a great version of that old country classic, Busted. (Well the bills are all due and the babies need shoes, we’re busted…) Sure to be a great show.
For those who don’t mind a bit of a drive, folksinger John Gorka is playing on November 20th at the historic Avalon Theatre in beautiful Easton Maryland. Gorka has one of the most distinctive voices in folk music and I believe I could listen to him sing the phone book. (There’s also a nice Historic Hotel of America – the Tidewater Inn – in Easton for those who would like to make a weekend of it.)
The next evening, Saturday November 21st, the Del McCoury Band – just about the best traditional bluegrass band on the circuit today – will be at the Birchmere. They also have a new album, entitled Family Circle, out later this month. Del and the boys never disappoint.
As I wrote earlier, Irish harper Grainne Hambly will be at the National Geographic Society on Friday, December 4th, with the Irish band Teada. They will be performing as part of their Irish Christmas in America tour.
Finally, Monday, December 7th, will pose a real dilemma, as both IMT and the Birchmere have top-notch Christmas shows. I’ve attended the IMT Celtic Christmas show featuring guitarist Robin Bullock and husband/wife duo Al Petteway and Amy White for a number of years. With Bullock and Petteway, you have two terrific guitarists and this show is always a treat. But the same night, the Birchmere has booked my long-time favorite Jerry Douglas along with Irish singer and song interpreter Maura O’Connell for their own “Very Jerry Christmas.” Few people can interpret a song the way O’Connell can and her newest CD is a collection of acappella duets entitled Naked With Friends. (Click on the link and read the great review at Fiddlefreak.) The friends include Dolly Parton, Alison Krauss, Mary Black, Kate Rusby and more. I love hearing O’Connell live, so I expect I’ll be at the Birchmere on the 7th for that show.
To give you a hint of what you might hear on the 7th, I’ve included a video of Maura O’Connell in a duet with Nanci Griffith and with Jerry Douglas on Dobro playing the Griffith tune Trouble in the Field. Simply sublime.
More to come…