Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley closed out a year filled with speculation about his political future by channeling his past on Thursday.
As part of his day job, O’Malley (D) summoned reporters to his reception room in Annapolis for an end-of-the-year review of his administration’s accomplishments. The presentation was packed with statistics of the sort that became the hallmark of O’Malley’s days as mayor of Baltimore.
And the session ended with an impassioned defense by O’Malley of Baltimore’s progress toward meeting a homicide-reduction goal that proved elusive during his tenure there.
Hours later, the governor reunited his Celtic rock band, O’Malley’s March, for a pair of sold-out concerts at the Rams Head Tavern in Annapolis, a cozy venue just around the corner from the governor’s mansion that routinely features both nostalgia acts and critically acclaimed up-and-comers.
The seven-piece band, which had its heyday during O’Malley’s days as a Baltimore councilman and mayor, opened the late show with Bob Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the Wind.”
The rest of the set list was heavy on other covers, including “Green and Red of Mayo,” by The Saw Doctors (an Irish band that played at both of O’Malley’s gubernatorial inaugural celebrations), and a particularly inspired rendition of Bruce Springsteen’s “Reason to Believe.”
O’Malley also worked in a couple of songs he penned years ago, including “Battle of Baltimore” and”Wait for Me.” The latter, which the governor still self-mockingly refers to as his “smash hit,” began with a harp intro by Jared Denhard, the band’s talented multi-instrumentalist and a poem by O’Malley, just like on his live album, recorded at the Rams Head in 2003.
While O’Malley still clearly enjoys his music, the band doesn’t play as often as it used to. Ticket sales for Thursday night’s shows picked up after an e-mail solicitation to O’Malley campaign supporters and promotion by the Maryland Democratic Party.
Those in attendance at the late show included House Majority Leader Kumar P. Barve (D-Montgomery), as well as O’Malley’s wife and two daughters.