The Stampede’s rhythm section has an unobtrusive groove that allows Cooper to shine—whether it’s her quieter, finger-picked guitar work, overdriven vocal style, or the fuzzy and psychedelic fringes of her sound that have roots back to The Doors and Jefferson Airplane.
The Wood Brothers are native to the foothills of the Rockies, and their sound was perfectly nestled among the mountains at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival last summer. But even at sea level, their show at 9:30 Club on a snowy Thursday night lifted an attentive audience’s spirits to 8,000 feet.
Hearing Colter Wall’s voice--described as “Johnny Cash’s [voice] in the morning” — coming out of his wirey, 23-year old frame is surprising and exhilarating the first time you hear it. The road-weary tone and rustic storytelling on his most recent album Songs of the Plains are also remarkable given the current state of popular country music. Colter Wall’s sound is a throwback that has launched him into a constellation of contemporary country artists (Jason Isbell, Sturgill Simpson, and Chris Stapleton) linked by the producer of Wall’s first two full-length records, Dave Cobb. Cobb has said that his work is driven by unique voices that can carry a story. At Colter’s 9:30 Club his voice was clearly the main attraction.
“So much work and thought went into every turn of phrase and every tiny shimmer of sound.” That is undoubtedly true listening to Laura Gibson’s fifth studio album Goners. It also added to the punchline when Gibson told the audience at her DC9 show that European press on her recent tour struggled to find a translation of the slang term she used as a title and pronounced in a more, well, juvenile fashion. It’s a funny reminder that you can control a lot of things in life, but you can’t control the world’s response—even when you’re careful.