Stars will shine brightly in December

By David Malitz
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, November 26, 2010

The holiday season is time for the comforts of home and family. The same can be said for what's happening at local music clubs. The final month of the year is usually filled with the same shows at the same venues as the year before, and the year before that. But there's a reason these concerts keep happening: The audience keeps coming back. So this month we offer five December standbys - the annual favorites - in addition to five shows we just think are worth checking out.

Hank Williams Tribute

Just in case we forget that Hank Williams is one of the greatest songwriters, country or otherwise, in the history of music, the Birchmere hosts a yearly reminder. He stuffed dozens upon dozens of memorable hits into his short, storied career, and you'll hear plenty of those classics played by Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer, Robin and Linda Williams, and the King of Dieselbilly, Bill Kirchen.

Dec. 27 at 7:30 p.m. The Birchmere, 3701 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria. 703-549-7500. $29.50.

The Roots

If you haven't seen the Roots in the past year, you simply haven't been trying. Since last year's late-December shows at the 9:30 Club, the hip-hop greats have performed at Shamrock Fest at RFK Stadium, the Earth Day rally on the Mall, the Kennedy Center, Merriweather Post Pavilion and most recently again on the Mall, for the Jon Stewart/Stephen Colbert rally. So what's the incentive to see them at the 9:30 Club? Because they're still most at home in a club setting, when they can find their groove and stay there for a few hours. Consider those shows on the Mall as an appetizer; a full set at the 9:30 Club is the entree and dessert.

Dec. 27 and 28 at 7 p.m. 9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW. 202-265-0930. $45.

Last Train Home

Even though this rollicking alt-country band has been based in Nashville for a few years, it remains one of the area's most beloved. Eric Brace (a former Post writer) brings LTH back to its original home base, Iota, for weekend-long stands each year, including a Sunday all-ages matinee.

Dec. 16 and 18 at 9 p.m., Dec. 19 at 4 p.m. Iota, 2832 Wilson Blvd., Arlington. 703-522-8340. $12 (Dec. 16 and 19), $13 (Dec. 18). Also Dec. 20 at 6 p.m. Kennedy Center, Millennium Stage, 2700 F St. NW. 202-467-4600. Free.

Eric Felten Jazz Orchestra

Expect things to be light, loose and fun as the local bandleader-trombonist offers his take on Duke Ellington's "Nutcracker Suite." Felten has been performing the local jazz legend's interpretation of Tchaikovsky's classic ballet for more than a decade, making it an annual highlight on Blues Alley's December calendar.

CONTINUED     1        >

© 2010 The Washington Post Company