Music, The Features, We Love Music

We Love Music: Dates (a.k.a. DeenaOH & Co. @ DC9 – 1/16/14)

cabmicrophoneLet me quickly point out that DeenaOH’s experimental cabaret seems to be settling into a band to be called Dates, so be sure to be on the lookout for the new name.

DeenaOH herself is Deena Odelle Hyatt, a bluesy chanteuse who makes a living curating and supporting art around DC. She was opening as DeenaOH & Co. for folk singer Marian McLaughlin’s debut album release last week to a crowded room at DC9. The experimental nature of DeenaOH’s collective became clear when I counted nine musicians, including Ms. McLaughlin, contributing various vocals or instruments to the short set of songs, leaping on and off stage as required.

The songs hung together well in the amber of Ms. Hyatt’s bluesy, forlorn voice. The romantic “Moon Song” called for unconditional love over a calypso beat. Hyatt has a pleasing range, and she rolls through “Moon Song” with the cute trick of echoing herself in words extended like with “together, …together, …together.” Like all unrequited love affairs, the song ends abruptly! But the room fell into a hushed silence simply at the sound of her voice.

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Music, The Features, We Love Music

The Winning Ticket: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds @ DAR Constitution Hall, 7/23/14

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds (Photo by Cat Stevens)

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds (Photo by Cat Stevens)

As a way to say thanks to our loyal readers, We Love DC will be giving away a pair of tickets to a 9:30 Club concert to one lucky reader periodically. Keep your eyes open for opportunities to find out what tickets we’re giving away, and leave a comment for your chance to be the lucky winner!

Today, the 9:30 Club has announced that it is presenting Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds at DAR Constitution Hall on Wednesday, July 23, 2014–and we are giving away a pair of tickets before you can buy them!

Wow! Lots of my friends sure adore Nick Cave and his often bluesy take on Americana-flavored post-punk. He’s certainly blazed his own trail throughout his career, beginning in the 70s with The Birthday Party and for much longer with the Bad Seeds. For many, his iconoclastic, bad boy image is part of his appeal, but the man and the band certainly are prolific so there is no shortage of music to explore.

The latest album by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Push the Sky Away, is a mostly compact race through nine songs dealing with seemingly unconnected sources of inspiration that Cave and his writing partner Warren Ellis picked up through some spare reading. On the whole, it may be a good jumping on point for those new to the works of Nick Cave, as it’s not terribly fussy or complicated outside some ornate arrangements.

For your chance to win these tickets, simply leave a comment on this post using a valid email address between 10am and 5pm today. Feel free to leave any comment, but perhaps share your favorite song by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds! (Grinderman doesn’t count…. although I’ll tally your entry either way.) One entry per email address, please. Tickets for this show are available to the public through Ticketmaster beginning Friday, Nov. 22, at 10am.

For the rules of this giveaway…

Comments will be closed at 5pm and a winner will be randomly selected. The winner will be notified by email. The winner must respond to our email within 24 hours or they will forfeit their tickets and we will pick another winner.

Tickets will be available to the winner at the box office of DAR Constitution Hall one hour before doors open on the night of the concert. The tickets must be claimed with a valid ID. The winner must be old enough to attend the specific concert or must have a parent’s permission to enter if he/she is under 18 years old.

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
DAR Constitution Hall
Wednesday, July 23
show @8pm
All ages

Entertainment, Interviews, Music, People, She/He Loves DC, The Features

He Loves DC: Jonny Grave

Photo by Rachel Levitin

She/He Loves DC is a series highlighting the people who love this city just as much as we do.

It’s no easy feat pulling off a performance in honor of late Blues guitar legend Stevie Ray Vaughn but that’s exactly what Jonny Grave and his band The Tombstones did this past Saturday night at Iota Club in Arlington, VA. The performance was part of the 1983 Classic Albums Concert featuring three other DC area acts and Jonny’s job was to close out the night.

Despite being a bundle of nerves, Jonny executed the performance with precision and passion. He went into the project knowing what musical challenges lied ahead and came out victorious on the other side by the night’s end.

Jonny was first introduced to American folk music at an early age by his very musical family while growing up in the DC area. By fifteen, he started learning slide guitar techniques by listening to old Blues records. By seventeen he was performing them live. Since then, he’s become a staple of the DC Blues scene.

What is it about DC that makes it home to you?

Well, for starters, I’ve lived in the area my whole life. I was born in Silver Spring, very close to Sligo Creek. I spent a lot of time going downtown, seeing museums and galleries. When I was a teenager, I started venturing on my own into DC, away from the large attractions, and into the neighborhoods. Adams Morgan fascinated me. Eastern Market was like a dream. Michael Jantz got me to start playing at Wonderland, and the folks at Nanny O’Briens finally got me on their stage. When I was 21, I moved to 10th and S st., and that’s when I really fell in love with the city. I made friends with a lot of musicians, artists, bohemians, Hill staffers, and bartenders. I started playing more. The city kind of opened up for me. They say that home is where the heart is, and mine is right here.

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Entertainment, Music, The Features, We Love Music

We Love Music: Big Sam’s Funky Nation

Photo courtesy of
courtesy of ‘gas_station_sushi’

It’s rare in Jazz music to see a trombone player in the role of band leader. Some of the greatest and most remembered names in Jazz among the vast majority of Americans include: Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Benny Goodman, Billie Holiday, Sonny Rollins, Herbie Hancock, Miles Davis, and Thelonious Monk. None of those players ever once led a band with trombone in hand.

While there are notable Jazz greats who played the slide trombone while commanding a room and conducting a band, it still remains common place to have a trumpet be the focal point. Big Sam leads on trombone.

Big Sam was always a big boy. In the 6th grade, he was 6 foot tall and 200 pounds while playing little league basketball. When the time came that he grew out of playing the sport – literally – Sam approached his school’s band leader and asked him what instrument they needed someone to play.

Sam’s band leader replied, “The trombone.”

“What’s that?” Sam said. That’s all it took to hook him.

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