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.
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.
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.
Brian is a multi-instrumentalist who studied at Howard University under jazz bassist Steve Novosel, Howard University Jazz band leader Fred Irby, and saxophonist Charlie Young. He has played in the DMV area with such groups/acts/artist as The Delafield String Band, yU of Diamond District, Prince George’s Philharmonic, Sitali, Nila Kay, Justin Trawick, Tara Trinity, Rana Mansour, Wanees Zarour, Huda Asfour and has had the opportunity to perform before President Barrack Obama. He has toured with Jonny Grave, Paperhaus, The Hackensaw Boys, Letitia Van Sant, and currently Grammy award winning artist Dom Flemons the American Songster.
Brian’s musical journey has taken him to the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage, The Hamilton in DC, the Rococo Theater in Lincoln, the Red Butte Garden Ampitheater in Salt Lake City, the Chatauqua Amphitheater in Boulder, the George Eastman Museum in Rochester, the Gillioz in Springfield, the Bijou Theater in Knoxville, City Winery in Nashville and Chicago, Joe’s Pub in Manhattan, Thalia Mara Hall in Jackson, the Paradiso in Amsterdam, before President Barack Obama, The Ryman Theater in Nashville, and on the Grand Ole Opry.
You can hear Brian as a member of the Clara Barton Sessions, a recording of DC folk tradition musicians that released an album commemorating the revitalization of the Clara Barton Museum, Elena y Los Fulanos forthcoming album, or on Dom Flemon’s forthcoming black cowboy album under Smithsonian’s Folkways label.
Farrow is currently working on program to provide therapeutic musical aid to refugees currently stuck in Greece’s refugees camps. You can learn more and support the cause here:
Emma G hails from New Zealand and is currently based in Washington DC. She can been seen busking around DC on busy street corners and farmer’s markets as well as playing many of DC’s clubs and venues.
Working full time as a singer, songwriter, musician, street performer, vocal teacher, and actor; she plays in various clubs, bars and community events throughout the city – and often far beyond. 2015 included The Whitehouse, The Kennedy Center, The National Cherry Blossom-, and Smithsonian Folklife festivals, and The Atlas Performing Arts Theater. 2016 has included two California tours, the release of her studio singles “SOLD (take a shot)” featuring DMV rapper Tony B, which now has airplay on the West Coast and is available on iTunes, Amazon and Google Music, Spotify and SoundCloud; and “King for a Day”: official video is HERE!!
Prior to heading to the States in late 2014, Emma G, 28, had established a profile back in New Zealand as vocalist for the hard rock band Static Era. She was also a New Zealander of the Year Local Hero award recipient, honoured in 2012 for inspiring others through her music.
She has fast become an established and much-loved personality on DC’s busking circuit, where she is known as the Kiwi girl who plays great songs and gives great hugs.
“It’s great, because the spirit of the city is incredible,” she said in a 2016 interview. “The DC community are super nice, and really supportive of what I do.”
But with her career blossoming and fame surely beckoning, who knows what is around the corner.
“Life is an adventure. The best adventures have unknown outcomes.”