NYC-based duo Gracie and Rachel have opened in the past for other artists like Lucy Dacus in DC, but their co-headlining gig with Henry Jamison is their first big billing, as well as the first in town since releasing their self-titled debut album. Their music is best described as epic orchestral pop reminiscent of Florence and the Machine, but distilled down to three essential elements: keys (Gracie's wheelhouse), violin (Rachel's), and a LOT of tom drums. Rachel's use of looping and effects pedals to create intricately layered soundscapes was captivating. Those that have seen the Patrick Swayze movie Ghost might have appreciated the pottery scene-mimicking moment where the two played on the same keyboard for an acoustic performance, sans the thundering toms but with just as much emotion.
Closing out the co-headlining show was Vermont indie-folk artist Henry Jamison, whose unassuming demeanor hides a great storyteller (in the vein of Bruce Springsteen and Josh Ritter) finger-picking his way through each song. His songs created worlds and scenes so descriptive and vivid that you could easily close your eyes and envision yourself as an onlooker in the song, like at a sports bar with the phone-obsessed protagonist in “The Jacket.”. It’s no surprise then that his debut track “Real Peach” (which we wrote about in August 2016) has 17 million plays on Spotify and counting. Many of the songs were given an extra live punch with the addition of synths and drums, but adding a unique flair to Jamison’s songs was Rachel Ruggles (of co-headliners Gracie and Rachel) on violin duties. Her musical contributions to Henry Jamison’s band added an ethereal, dreamlike quality to the songs, making it even easier for the audience to get lost in the songs. His debut album The Wilds will be out on October 27 through Akira Records, and Gracie and Rachel’s independently-released and self-titled debut album is out now.