Upon our return to Maryland we were happy to get right back into the vibrant local music scene in the DC area. On May 1 I caught the Tedeschi/Trucks Band at the 9:30 club. The 9:30 club is one of the best venues in the country for live music and it had been a while since I was last there. The Tedeschi/Trucks Band put together such a wonderful mix of soul and blues that equally highlights the wonderful slide guitar work of Derek Trucks and the beautiful vocal stylings of Susan Tedeschi. The sold out crowd was totally into it from the start and there were a few moments when Derek seemed to transport Duane Allman's spirit into the show. Greg Allman writes in his excellent autobiography ("My Cross to Bear") of how he sometimes sees Duane in Derek during performances. Gregg doesn't make a big deal about it, but he cites these moments as evidence that Derek is the actual reincarnation of Duane. Anyway it was a great show and Susan Tedeschi's excellent guitar playing should not be overlooked either. They finished with John Prine's "Angel from Montgomery" which segued in and out of the Grateful Dead's "Sugaree".
|Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi 930 club|
They arrived on a Thursday and that evening we went to the open mic night at the Outta the Way Cafe in Gaithersburg. Kevin played a few songs with the house band which was well received and one of the other musicians invited him to sit in with his band the following night. So we went to the Two Nineteen in Old Town Alexandria and Kevin played some tunes with the Capital Blues Ensemble. I was very impressed with this local band, they had horns and a great setlist of rockin' blues tunes. They don't seem to get to play very often but I would definitely like to see them again sometime. Kevin sat in for two songs and the crowd liked it so much they decided to do a third song together. Saturday night was the performance on our porch with good friends in attendance. Kevin played acoustic and electric guitar as well as his homemade box guitar. Neal, from the Capital Blues Ensemble, sat in on harp. Here's a video from the event.
Kevin Van Dort
The following week we went to see the Mickey Hart Band play at the Howard Theatre. This is another great venue for live music in DC, there was a big crowd there to see Mickey and his band. We saw them play earlier this year in Tucson although this time Adam Theis was playing bass instead of Dave Schools. But the African Showboyz were still with him, adding their high energy percussion to the mix. They did a nice mix of Dead tunes and Mickey Hart tunes.
My favorite Grateful Dead cover band these days is On the Bus, but I've been wanting to check out another group called the Black Muddy River Band, which is a Maryland based acoustic trio that frequently plays in the area. I finally got a chance a few Saturday's ago when they played at Branded 72, a barbecue joint in Rockville. It took a little mental adjustment to get into the thinner sound of just three acoustic instruments, but in the close confines of the bar it felt right. They played plenty of tunes from all sections of the Dead catalog and I will definitely check them out again soon.
Once again we spent the four day Memorial Day weekend at DelFest in Cumberland Maryland. This was the sixth Delfest and it has risen to the top of my favorite festivals list. It has the "Goldilocks" attributes of "not too small, not too big, it's just right". It also has a great "festival vibe" something that a few other festivals have lost over the years. This vibe is based on a common love and appreciation of the host Del McCoury.
|Pinnacle Base Camp at Delfest|
|Larry Keel at DelFest|
All in all a full month of great live music, can't wait to see what June brings!