As a Washington, DC native, growing up immersed in a city synonymous with politics, it seemed like an obvious choice to pursue a career in public service. But at the age of 21, Cecily walked out of her International Relations classroom knowing that following a life of politics would leave her feeling hollow. She called her mother and told her that after 10 years of voice lessons and singing as a hobby, she wanted to dedicate her life to music. From that moment her journey began as an independent musician.
Cecily released her first full album, entitled Songs of Love and Freedom on May 4th. On this project, she has collaborated with several DC-based producers and musicians, including Aaron “Ab” Abernathy, Diggs Duke, Drew Kid, and Columbia Nights members Jason “Brother Spanky” Edwards and John Daise.
Len Jaffe knows DC music. A native of the DC Area Len came of age at a time in which DC was the creative center for singer song writers. Georgetown was the heart of that scene and Len played and performed in many of the clubs and coffee houses there. A Co founder of the Songwriters Association of Washington Len stopped by The Yarden on a hot day this Summer, played a few tunes and told a few stories.
If you have seen music around DC or around the country for that matter you have probably seen Dante Pope. A drummer/Percussionist, Dante has toured locally and nationally with such acts as Wes Felton, Raheem DeVaughn and Dom Flemons. Dante can play a mean bones.
Recently Dante has been selected to be an Artist in Residence at Strathmore where he will explore and expand his repertoire to include singing and songwriting. Dante stopped by The Yarden to show us some of that.
Dante released his single One Summers Eve coming this past Summer.
Download “One Summer’s Eve” on all streaming platforms. Visit dantepope.com for more.
Hailing from Bethesda Col Josh has been playing in bands in the DC area for over thirty years. A few years ago Josh put together this ensemble known as Col Josh and The HonkyTonk Heros who play DC’s Bars and Beer joints regularly.
Colonel Josh and The HonkyTonk Heros stopped by The Yarden one fine day to warn us ofa mysterious danger on The C&O Canal and to help shake off the blues from the loss of Montgomery County’s oldest drinking establishments.
Playing music on the streets or “Busking” is a cultural tradition in Washington DC. When you’re downtown near 7th and F Street most days of the week you will run into Travisty Gardender and his Experience Band and Show. The Force of their funk is fierce. A high energy funk band, The Experience Band and Show will grab a hold of you and suck into their groove. There will be no turning back. From the Streets to The Stage The Experience Band and Show also plays several clubs around town in the evenings including The Big Chief in Ivy City and The Mix Bar and Grill here in Silver Spring. I encourage you to listed to this at full volume and I challenge you to stand still.
Musical Scholar, Historian, Multi-Instrumentalist and Two Time Grammy Award Winner Dom Flemons stopped by The Yarden for our Season Four opener and spoke with myself and Cultural Historian Dr. Jocelyn Imani about his past work with The Carolina Chocolate Drops and his new project “Black Cowboys” which tells the true story about the origination of many famous cowboy songs setting the historical record strait about what life was really like out on the range.
To learn more about Dom Flemons and get your copy of Black Cowboys you can visit his website
Crys Matthews blends Americana, folk, jazz, blues, bluegrass and funk into a bold, complex performance steeped in traditional melodies and punctuated by honest, original lyrics. Having been compared to everyone from Toshi Reagon to Tracy Chapman to Ruthie Foster, Matthews’ eclectic infusion of genres has won her honorable mentions at the 2013 and 2014 Mid-Atlantic Song Contest and extensive radio play from Woman of Substance radio to WTJU-Charlottesville and WMRA-Harrisonburg to KBOO-Portland.
Equally at home in an acoustic listening room as she is on stage at large music festivals, Matthews has quickly gathered a loyal following on the east coast playing such prestigious venues as The Birchmere, Jammin’ Java, The Hamilton, and Busboys and Poets. Matthews’ festival and showcase roster has included SXSW, the 40th Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival, Folk Alliance International, 30A Songwriters Festival, Island Hopper Music Festival, Northeast Regional Folk Alliance and many more.
When her song The Imagineers was referred to as “the unofficial anthem of the Tiny Desk Contest” in 2016, Crys Matthews said it was a distinction that made her almost as proud as she would have been had she won. “Who better to relate to a song about walking the thin line between your daydreams and your day jobs than indie artists,” Matthews asked. “The ones who still believe in magic, the ones who rise above our fears” — that’s not just a lyric from the title track of Crys Matthews’ new release, it’s the common thread woven through most of the songs on The Imagineers. From breakups and makeups to mental illness and addiction, Matthews offers up perspective on some of the most universal elements of the human experience. “We’ve all been there in one way or another,” said Matthews. “We get so bogged down in adulting and everything that it entails that sometimes we don’t do it very well, but then other times we totally nail it.” The Imagineers ushers in Matthews’ tenth year as a singer-songwriter, her first full-length release since 2014, and her first time working with producer Mark Williams (Sucker Punch Recording Co.). Matthew is simultaneously releasing an EP of social justice songs called Battle Hymn for an Army of Lovers, which was also produced by Williams.
Nelson Mandela said, “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” That sentiment is at the heart of Crys Matthews’ EP of social justice songs called Battle Hymn for an Army of Lovers. From the title track to We Must Be Free (an adaptation of Roberta Slavit’s Freedom is a Constant Struggle) Matthews offers an insightful soundtrack to the modern-day resistance. “The songs on this EP are intended to be a small offering of hope and encouragement during these unsettling times,” Matthews said. “I hope that they will remind us of our collective resilience and inspire all of us the way my mom, Nelson Mandela, Michelle Obama, Rita Mae Brown, Julia Ward Howe, and Eva Cassidy (via Curtis Mayfield) inspired the title track.”
A prolific lyricist and composer, thoughtful, realistic and emotional, Matthews’ songs speak to the voice of our generation and remind us why music indeed soothes the soul.