The Rhodes Tavern Troubadours, four veterans of the Washington area roots rock scene, have played, alone or in various groupings, with just about every act in the region.
Since the Troubadours' inception in 2001, the group has won four Washington Area Music Association awards, called Wammies, including one for its debut CD, "On the Red Line," and has been named best pop-rock band each of the past two years. The band's members have won more than 20 Wammies for their musicianship, songwriting and recordings with other bands.
Mark Noone plays bass and sings. For two decades, Noone fronted the Slickee Boys, heroes in the rock-punk-psychedelic surf band mode and one of the first D.C. area bands to appear on MTV.
To say that Dave Chappell sings and plays lead guitar is an understatement. Considered by many to be the finest Fender Telecaster player in the D.C. area, Chappell has sat in with numerous area bands and has drawn comparisons to the legendary guitarist Danny Gatton, whom he backed for years.
Jack O'Dell, who sings and plays drums, spent the past 12 years traveling the world with Bill Kirchen's red-hot guitar band, Two Much Fun. (Kirchen makes a guest appearance on a Troubadours song, the aptly named "DC's the Telecaster Town.")
Jake Flack also sings and plays guitar. His previous band, the Neptunes, moved from Washington to Austin in the late 1980s.
Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top produced the band's debut album, and its sophomore release had another Texas legend, singer-player Joe Ely, at the controls.
The Troubadours combine roots rock, country, rockabilly, punk, pop and swing for a cheerful, energetic sound that delights in regional references. "Earl Weaver," about the colorful former baseball manager, is played at Baltimore Orioles games. "Red Line Train" quotes from an "I Saw You" personal ad in which the narrator misses his Cleveland Park stop and lands in Silver Spring. In "Gal for Me," love is declared on the front page of The Post. The band has even recorded a tune praising "Route 11 Chips," an area snack favorite.
Not content to simply make local classic rockers happy, the Troubadours are reaching out to toddlers as well. "Turn It Up Mommy," a 10-track collection for the playground set, was released last year under the band's alter-ego moniker, the RTTs.
Whatever the name, however old the audience, these guys know how to show people a good time.
-- MARIANNE MEYER
The Sunset Grille is at 7250 Columbia Pike. 703-658-0928. More information -- and a cheesy synth version of Cream's "White Room" -- can be found at www.thesunsetgrille.com. There is a $4 cover charge and no drink minimum. The grill has an extensive menu, including kabobs, pizza, burgers, sandwiches and pizza.
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