Alum Eli Waltz’s ‘Americana Hour’ highlights local talent
Hosted by Right Proper and Indivisible Art Collective, the event gave DC listeners a live music fix
The series, in collaboration with Indivisible Art Collective, took place from noon to 3 p.m. every Saturday in March. For each performance, Waltz shared some of his own music while also giving space to another artist from the D.C., Maryland and Virginia area.
Waltz had ambitions for a showcase with Indivisible Art Collective for many years but the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020 temporarily stalled these plans. The pause, however, gave him an opportunity to reconsider what this collaboration might look like. Rather than the event being solely about his own music, he decided he wanted it to be more community-driven and centered around the history of country, blues and folk.
Waltz was successful in this endeavor as Right Proper Brewery filled with patrons on March 26. As the rain drizzled and the wind blew ferociously outside, the diners inside were cozy with local brews and comfort foods like fries and warm pretzel bread. They were able to enjoy good food and drinks as they listened to the stories of Waltz and Danah Denice.
The storytelling aspect is what drew Waltz to folk music.
“There is a lot of space to work with lyrically and the style is entangled with storytelling and truth-telling,” Waltz said.
Another goal of Waltz was to highlight the rich tradition of folk music present in D.C. Between songs, Waltz shared facts about important locations of folk music within the area. One of these such locations was Takoma Records, started by John Fahey, another AU alum. He also talked about the Town & Country Radio show where Patsy Cline got her start.
“Country music today is attached to Southern pride but the farther back you go in history, the line between country, blues and folk gets very blurry,” Waltz said.
An aim of “Americana Hour” is meant to highlight the blurriness and lesser-known musical traditions that are still alive in D.C.
Waltz has ambitions for this to turn into a long-term series, something which was just recently confirmed. Turnout has been increasing each week and people in the area have gotten more and more into the event as time has progressed, culminating into a full house last Saturday. Some people listened attentively to the music while others chatted with friends, enjoying their day off and appreciating the company of others.
Waltz has shared that there’s been an increased interest from other songwriters in the area and is excited to see how the series grows and welcomes other artists. It’s a low-stakes casual creative atmosphere that allows performers to choose what they want to share — perfect for newcomers.
“The event allows musicians and audience members to connect and to all partake in a state of flow” states Waltz.