Entertainment, Music, The Features, We Love Music

We Love Music: Norman Rockwell

Photo Courtesy of Norman Rockwell

It was a rainy Saturday night in September and I almost stayed home but I couldn’t. It was the night of Derek Evry‘s CD release show and I knew I’d regret missing it if I didn’t go. So instead of a boring night home alone, I braved the eerily dark storm and headed on over to Iota in Arlington. Long story short – it was the best live show featuring local music that I’ve seen in 2012.

I got to the venue early and caught the other acts’ soundchecks. This included brief bursts of tunage from local folk-rockers The WeatherVanes and Americana folk-rockers Norman Rockwell. My interest was piqued since I’d never heard Norman Rockwell live before. They were a new blip on my local music radar at the time. I had listened to The WeatherVanes before but I’d only heard of Norman Rockwell recently after they shared the stage with some of my favorite local musicians, including the incomparable Ben Tufts.

Needless to say, it was love at first strum. Norman Rockwell is a Northern Virginia-based band and a name to know if you’re keeping an eye out for up-and-coming talent in the DC area.  Not only can Joshua Johnston (Guitar/Harmonica/Vocals), Ben Hirsch (Guitar/Banjo/Mandolin/Violin/Vocals), Sean Meyers (Bass/Guitar/Vocals), and Nathan Read (Drums/Percussion/Vocals) all sing in beautiful four-part harmony with each other but they’re sound is refreshing in an almost nostalgic way. Norman Rockwell sounds as if Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, and The Band all got together and said, “Let’s combine our powers for the greater musical good!”

The guys of Norman Rockwell took some time to do a Q&A with We Love DC in anticipation of their CD release show this Saturday at Jammin’ Java. Tickets are available online for $15 and the show starts at 8:00 p.m. Here’s what they had to say:

Rachel: How did you all meet and decide to form the band now known as Norman Rockwell?

Norman Rockwell: Josh and Ben met at various open mics in the greater Washington, DC area. Sean and Nathan have previously played in other bands together. We all met at The Soundry, an arts space/music venue where Sean ran his first open mic. The atmosphere was incredibly open and catered to any and all types of music. We then decided to join together to form Norman Rockwell.

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Entertainment, Special Events, We Love Arts

Norman Rockwell & the Movies

---And Daniel Boone Comes to Life on the Underwood Portable

Norman Rockwell, "---And Daniel Boone Comes to Life on the Underwood Portable"; 1923, oil on canvas; Collection of Steven Spielberg; courtesy Smithsonian American Art Museum

Last week, the latest special exhibit opened up at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. “Telling Stories: Norman Rockwell from the Collections of George Lucas and Steven Spielberg” showcases 57 major Rockwell paintings and drawings from the private collections of two of Hollywood’s most influential modern moviemakers. The exhibition runs through January 2, 2011.

The exhibition – only being shown here in DC – is the first to plumb the depths of the connections between Rockwell’s images of American life and the movies. Between Rockwell’s work and the movies of Lucas and Spielberg, the themes of patriotism, small-town values, children growing up, unlikely heroes, imaginations, and life’s ironies are portrayed between canvas and film. “Ultimately, looking at Rockwell in terms of the movies opens a whole new way of understanding his work for the public,” said senior curator and exhibition organizer Virginia Mecklenburg, “but also for scholars interested in American popular and visual culture in the middle of the 20th century.”

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