Author Archives: Morgan Swank

TVD Ticket Giveaway: Loretta Lynn at the 9:30 Club, 7/26

It’s no secret that country music isn’t what it used to be. With the changing times, we’ve gone from country-folk, to rap-country-rock combinations, to indie rock with banjos, to country-pop Top 40 hits. In the midst of Taylor Swift’s tear-stained guitars, there seems to be no hope in saving the sounds of classic country. Fortunately for us, there is one legend still around to be our saving grace. Her name is Loretta Lynn.

It’s been over 50 years since Loretta’s song “I’m a Honky Tonk Girl” was released, yet Loretta’s music sounds as fresh today as it did half a century ago. Born a humble coal miner’s daughter in Butcher Hollow, Kentucky, Loretta Lynn’s successful career has transcended many generations and still continues to reign supreme.

She was named Entertainer of the Year by the Country Music Association in 1972, was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1988, and in 2010, she was honored with the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. She has been inducted into more music halls of fame than any other female recording artist in the world.

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Posted in TVD Washington, DC | 29 Comments

TVD Ticket Giveaway: The Monkees at the Warner Theatre, 7/21

I have extremely fond memories of being a toddler sitting in complete silence in my grandmother’s lap as she played the 1966 self-titled debut album by The Monkees. When I was 20, I ended up finding that exact same album in a hole-in-the-wall thrift store and took it over to her house for Christmas. She was just as giddy as she was when I was a kid.

It’s been 47 years since The Monkees graced us with their presence on television screens and record players, and they’ve been collecting different generations of daydream believers ever since.

Although The Monkees haven’t come out with a new album since JustUs in 1996, they’ve been making the rounds with reunion tours for the past few years with positive reinforcement. “I’d love to make a new [record]. We haven’t had any discussions about that beyond, ‘Wouldn’t it be cool to have a new one?’ We’re just taking this whole thing one step at a time,” says drummer and vocalist Micky Dolenz. We’d love that too, Micky!

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Posted in TVD Washington, DC | 17 Comments

von Grey:
The TVD Q and A

It isn’t every day that you see a group of four teenagers making their way through the music stratosphere as successfully as the sisters of Atlanta’s von Grey. Hell, when I was a teenager I don’t even think I watched Conan or Letterman, yet the folk quartet has successfully graced both stages, on top of performing a set at Bonnaroo and having embarked on a nationwide tour, all before the age of 20.

With a vibe similar to other folk-based artists like The Civil Wars and The Lumineers, von Grey enlists their classical background to create a sound decades older than the ladies of band themselves, and they have already released a self-titled EP recorded at Third Day’s studio in Kennesaw, Georgia with the help of producer Nick DiDia (of Bruce Springsteen, Train, and Pearl Jam fame).

After catching the band at Bonnaroo this summer, I was able to chat with Annika von Grey to get a fix on exactly what these girls are doing so right.

As teenagers I find it amazing that you’ve been able to break into the music scene so successfully. How early did you start to make music?

Well, growing up we started with classical music. We did weddings and events like that. I guess about four or five years ago, we decided to break out and explore more representative styles to our tastes. It was a slow evolution, but eventually we got there.

Did playing classical music first help you figure out your sound?

Yes, definitely. Playing so many instruments is most helpful with folk music because it allowed us to understand the components of the instrumentals better. We love older country like Dolly Parton and the new folk sound like Nickle Creek and Mumford & Sons, so those were also influences for us in realizing how to get the sound we wanted both organic and synthetic.

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TVD Ticket Giveaway: Lynyrd Skynyrd with Bad Company at Jiffy Lube Live, 7/14

“After three or four albums, Lynyrd Skynyrd transcended the Southern-rock tag. They became one of the greatest rock & roll bands in history. They feared no one. On their very first national tour, they opened for the Who. And got encores!” says Al Kooper for Rolling Stone‘s 2013 “100 Greatest Artists of All Time” countdown.

After the devastating plane crash of 1977 that killed three of Lynryd Skynryd’s members, the world wasn’t sure if the band could continue on. Thirty-six years later, and they are as rowdy as ever, drawing crowds young and old alike.

Also, they’ve apparently been buddying up with the Pawn Stars, because we all couldn’t escape that promo commercial playing on repeat on History Channel, right?

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Posted in TVD Washington, DC | 5 Comments

TVD’s 9:30 Club July Concert Preview

It’s July, which means if you’re like me, you’re still coming off of a 4th of July weekend-long hangover. I’ve got the cure for your “independence daze” with the sweet sound of you attending the best shows at 9:30 Club all month long. With that being said, here is your July preview and an extra chance to win tickets to the show of your choice from the list below.

Belle & Sebastian, Fri 7/12 at Merriweather Post Pavilion

Although it’s been three years since Belle and Sebastian gave us an album that spoke to our folky jangle-pop soul, the band has managed to give more material to keep the masses happy.

In February, Pitchfork released an oral history of Belle and Sebastian’s seminal record If You’re Feeling Sinister. After touring festivals all summer, the band intend to get straight back into the studio and hope to produce new songs by 2014.

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Posted in TVD Washington, DC | 2 Comments

TVD Ticket Giveaway: Kid Rock at Jiffy Lube Live, 6/28


Well, it’s officially summer and that means it’s time to break out the summer jams. Being from the South, nothing really screams summer more than a Kid Rock song. Even those who aren’t into the classic Southern rock revival admit to placing “All Summer Long” on every mixtape last summer. I have so many memories of tubing down Georgia’s rivers as a kid with the smell of burgers on the grill and hearing “Picture” so many times I could sing it in my sleep. Don’t pretend like you haven’t been there.

Kid Rock’s career is astonishing in itself. From rap to classic rock revival and country he’s been crossing all over the genres since his debut album Grits Sandwiches for Breakfast released back in December of 1990. It’s hard to believe that 23 years ago, Kid Rock was being called one of the greatest rappers of all time by Insane Clown Posse’s own Violent J, and only 15 years ago in 1998, he was performing MTV’s Fashionably Loud in Miami, upstaging Jay-Z in the process.

On November 19, 2012 Kid Rock released his ninth studio album Rebel Soul on Atlantic Records. (Shout out to the Beatles reference to those who didn’t catch it the first time.) The album was well-received by the public for his track-by-track genre crossover with some country, hip-hop, rock, and a bit of groovy Motown blues in the way only Kid Rock can do. “I like to make records… kind of the way you tailor a live show,” Rock explains. “You take people on this musical journey, taking them up, taking them down…”

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Posted in The TVD Storefront | 5 Comments

TVD Ticket Giveaway: Heart with Jason Bonham at Jiffy Lube Live, 6/25

Is it just me, or is 2013 the year of the ‘80s revival? Not that I’m complaining because all my favorite acts from the decade have been making the rounds this year (and bringing back all big hair with them).

The female rock duo Heart, alongside Jason Bonham’s “Led Zeppelin Experience” have joined forces onstage and are taking their show on the road. The aptly named, “Heartbreaker Tour 2013” is coming to Jiffy Lube Live this Tuesday, June 25, and we’ve got two pairs of Pavilion tickets to give away.

Back in December 2012, Heart’s Ann and Nancy Wilson, performed the Led Zeppelin classic “Stairway to Heaven” at the Kennedy Center Honors as part of a tribute to surviving members Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, and John Paul Jones. On stage they were joined by Jason Bonham, son of Led Zeppelin drummer, the late John Bonham, and a kinship was fostered.

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Posted in The TVD Storefront | 1 Comment

TVD Ticket Giveaway: AM & Shawn Lee at U Street Music Hall, 6/18

There are some great musical collaborations out there. John Legend and The Roots (and now The Roots and Costello), Jay-Z and Kanye, and who could forget Bob Dylan and the Grateful Dead? I know I can’t. Well, another great collaboration you should have picked up on is AM & Shawn Lee—and luckily for you, we’ve got a pair of tickets to their show at U Street Music Hall, presented by 9:30 Club on Tuesday, June 18, to give away.

Lee has collaborated with indie artist AM since 2011. Their debut as a touring duo was at a showcase at SXSW in Austin, Texas in the same year. After AM heard Lee’s Music and Rhythm album on the radio in Los Angeles, he decided to reach out to Lee through the Internet. The two became quick friends, sharing a common love for ’60s psychedelia and ’70s Italian soundtracks.

In September 2011, AM & Shawn Lee released their debut album Celestial Electric. When Rob Garza from Thievery Corporation heard the collaboration, he signed the debut album to his record label on ESL Music.

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Posted in TVD Washington, DC | 3 Comments

TVD’s 9:30 Club June Concert Preview

Happy summer, music lovers alike! The month of June is upon us, which means we’re in the midst of sweltering heat and kick-ass music festivals. (Bonnaroo, Firefly, and Glastonbury, to name a few…) With the turn of the new month, that also means there are new shows at the 9:30 Club to get you excited. With that being said, here is your June preview and an extra chance to win tickets to the show of your choice from the list below. 

The xx and Grizzly Bear, Sun 6/16 at Merriweather Post Pavilion

Fresh off the release of brand new album Coexist and producing a track on the widely acclaimed The Great Gatsby soundtrack, The xx are hitting the road with the soundtrack to summer.

Catch them with co-headliners Grizzly Bear at the Merriweather Post Pavilion next Sunday. It’s going to be an amazing show, “so I’ll ask you kindly to make your way” and join us there!

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Posted in TVD Washington, DC | 5 Comments

TVD Recommends: Tom McBride Record Release at the Black Cat, 5/31

If you’ve got the summer blues, I’ve got just the cure. The sultry country meets indie folk meets Americana singer-songwriter Tom McBride is out with a brand new record and will showcase the work at the Black Cat next Friday, 5/31.

McBride’s new record Morning in Glen Burnie is a modern album steeped in an old-school throwback collection of music that blends country, Americana, rhythm and blues, soul and classic rock. McBride recorded Morning in Glen Burnie just outside of Boston close to his hometown, though he said the songs were inspired by the city of Nashville, where his music career began. Boston native, Kimon Kirk (Grant-Lee Phillips, Aimee Mann), signed on as producer.

The stand-out track from the record for me is “Julia.” It’s got a throwback ’50s blues appeal that makes you feel like the girl you’ve been in love with all your life broke up with you in the middle of a Buddy Holly song at the sock hop, so you hurried to the closest diner to buy a chocolate malt to cry into.

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Posted in TVD Washington, DC | Leave a comment

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