- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 10, 2016

The District is rife with concerts this spring. Here are a few to keep your eyes and ears open for:


Rita Wilson

“Rita Wilson”

Sing It Loud! Records

Most people know her as Mrs. Tom Hanks, but Rita Wilson is not only a fine actress, but proves she has singing chops to spare on her self-titled debut for Sing It Loud! Records. “Along for the Ride” is a country-tastic groover, with “Talking to Me” a love song of a different sort. “Forgiving Me Forgiving You” and “Strong Tonight” show how complicated love can be. The disc is full of pep and optimism from front to back, with “Girls Night In” an especially female-power romp. “Grateful” sends the disc off with a smile and a warm feeling.

Miss Wilson will come to the District to promote her album this spring, with a stop at Rams Head On Stage in Annapolis April 23 and at The Barns at Wolf Trap April 24. Tickets can be purchased at RamsHeadOnStage.com and at WolfTrap.org.


Jim Lauderdale

“Soul Searching: Volume 1: Memphis; Volume 2: Nashville”

Jim Lauderdale will come to the District with more of his bluesy rock featured on his latest album, “Soul Searching: Volume 1: Memphis; Volume 2: Nashville.” As expected, volume 1 is heavy on the blues, with standouts like “There’s No End to the Sky” and “There’s a Storm Out There (But It’s Calm in Here).” “Soul Searching” is bluesiness of the first order, as is “Don’t Be So Gone.”

He switches to country blends on Volume 2, kicking off with “You Were Here.” “Black Widow Spider” has an outlaw country sound to it that is somewhat reminiscent of Frank Black, with many many quality cuts awaiting.

Mr. Lauderdale will share a bill with Bill Payne of of Little Feat at The Hamilton March 22 at 7:30 p.m. For tickets visit TheHamitonDC.com.


Sean Watkins

“What to Fear” (rel. March 18)

Family Hour Records

The Nickel Creek member boldly goes solo on this haunting disc for Family Hour. “What to Fear,” the titular track gets the album going in a contemplative timbre, while “Last Time for Everything” is a boldly scorching meditation on lost love, lost friendship, lost everything and anything. “Where You Were Living” is a joyful romp about misery (trust me), while “Too Little Too Late” is a reminder to take life by the horns. “Back on My Feet” exhorts the listener to never, ever give up despite the difficulties of life.

Mr. Watkins with play at The Barns at Wolf Trap April 2 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 to $25 by visiting WolfTrap.org.


Laura Gibson

“Empire Builder” (rel. April 1)


Back with her first album in four years, Oregonian Laura Gibson offers up quietly meditative tunes on “Empire Builder,” named for the Amtrak route she took when moving to New York. “Damn Sure” is a lovely, strumming tune, with the titular track all but lulling the listener into gentle reverie. “Five and Thirty” mulls over the necessary transitions of age, while “Two Kids” takes a look at childlike exuberance through the eyes of adulthood. “The Last One” closes out the album in fine style.

Miss Gibson will celebrate her album by performing at the District’s Iota Club & Cafe April 2. Tickets are available at Songkick.com


Phil Cook

“Southland Mission”

Thirty Tigers

Megafaun and Hiss Golden Messenger member Phil Cook releases his first solo album for Thirty Tigers. It’s an eclectic affair, with “Ain’t It Sweet” reminiscent of some of the Grateful Dead, and “1922” a bluegrass-inflected ode to good times. “Belong” will make you long for the good ‘ol South.

Mr. Cook will perform at the District’s Rock & Roll Hotel April 8. Tickets at RockandRollHotelDC.com.

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