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Photos from Farm Aid 31

According to the official website, Farm Aid’s annual concert is an all-day music and food festival, featuring a unique lineup of artists and genres and family farm-identified, local and organic foods with its own homegrown concessions.

Although Farm Aid has been around since 1985, I had never actually attended one before this year, which is ridiculous because I love live music and am always impressed by the festival’s lineup year after year.

This year’s show was at Jiffy Lube Live in Bristow, Virginia, which is way more convenient than Chicago, North Carolina or New York (where it’s been held the last three years). So honestly, there was no excuse for me to miss the festivities.

Here’s what stood out to me when it was all said and done — sure, everyone knows and loves artists like Willie Nelson, Neil Young, John Mellencamp and Dave Matthews, but what was really impressive with Farm Aid 31 was just how solid the rest of the lineup was. I’m a big fan of Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats and Alabama Shakes (there will be posts on both bands later), but I walked away from the show with newfound respect for the rest of the artists (many of whom I wasn’t familiar with).

With those artists in mind, here are my favorite images of Ian Mellencamp, Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real, Margo Price, Jamey Johnson with special guest Alison Krauss and Sturgill Simpson.


Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band

Covering Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band for their performance at Rock and Roll Hotel in Washington, D.C., April 24, was definitely a memorable experience.

Because the Rev., Breezy and the rest of the band are such gracious people, they agreed to let me work their entire show, as opposed to just the first two or three songs. As if that wasn’t awesome enough, shortly after I arrived at the venue, their band manager came up to me, shook my hand and then invited me to join the band in their green room.

Before he had a chance to change his mind, I said, “That sounds great,” and the next thing I know, I’m hanging out backstage with some of the coolest and most down-to-earth musicians alive today. For the next 90 minutes, I sat there with a handful of other people — all of us in awe of the situation we somehow found ourselves in — as Rev. and Breezy shot the proverbial shit and shared stories from the road.

Had their manager not walked in and said, “You guys are on in 10 minutes,” everyone was content to sit there quietly for as long as the band would have us. And then, when they finally decided they were ready to go make the magic happen, Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band took to the stage and put on a fantastic show. They’re a rare breed: wonderfully talented musicians who are even better human beings.

After the show was over and everyone in the sellout crowd was thrilled at what they’d just experienced, the Rev. once again invited me and a handful of others backstage again to continue the storytelling. Once again we were all in our happy place listening to hilarious stories involving everything from near death experiences abroad to the best fishing holes in Florida.

Regardless of whether the camera comes with me or not, I will absolutely make it a point to see Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band whenever possible. I cannot thank them enough for a wonderful evening involving a perfect mix of fun and play.


Wrinkle Neck Mules

My good buddies from Big O and Dukes might not be in a band, but that doesn’t mean they don’t know good music. Every once in a while, Big O and Dukes decides to use their powers of persuasion for good and convince a musical act to come to town and play a show for the horde. That’s exactly what happened on this night, when the Wrinkle Neck Mules, along with If Birds Could Fly, played in front of a sellout crowd at Jammin’ Java in Vienna, Virginia, Sept. 19.


The Pietasters

The Pietasters have played with everyone from The Mighty Mighty Bosstones to the legendary James Brown, and if that doesn’t tell you all you need to know about this D.C. institution, I don’t know what to tell you.

On this day, The Pietasters, along with Black Masala and Askultura, kicked off the new year in style with their annual show at the historic 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C., Jan. 10. While I had been fortunate enough to attend a Pietasters show or two previously, this was the first time I ever worked a show as a credentialed photographer.

What I quickly learned is just how spoiled a photographer is because there are so many people on stage, all playing their asses off, it’s almost an embarrassment of riches as you’re deciding which musician to focus the camera on.

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