The Annapolis music scene, with something happening every night of the week, is much more than alive and well – it’s thriving. With the weather still a little too chilly to be outdoors, March is a great time to catch a live show in town. Here’s our take on shows you don’t want to miss.
March 1: Mardi Gras on Tour at Ram’s Head Tavern
New Orleans’ own Jon Cleary and the Absolute Monster Gentlemen bring some Mardi Gras energy to town on Friday, March 1st, giving you a few days to recover before Fat Tuesday. Cleary is the real deal, winning a Grammy for Best Regional Roots Album in 2016.
March 10 and 17: Dublin 5 Does St. Patrick’s Day Two Ways
No St. Patty’s Day would be complete with Annapolis’ own Dublin 5, whose high-energy take on Irish rock have built a die-hard following around the region. On the 10th, they’ll play at City Dock at 3 pm, following the city’s official city parade. St. Patrick’s Day itself, March 17, brings an afternoon-long party at Union Jack’s.
March 15: The High & Wides at 49 West
This four-piece bluegrass combo from the Eastern Shore has won raves from No Depression and Baltimore Magazine for their take on Americana, blending traditional bluegrass with influences from honky tonk to rock and roll.
March 18, In the Vane of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young at Ram’s Head Tavern
A who’s who of local talent combine talents to raise money for AM/FM: Annapolis Musicians Fund for Musicians. Artists including Dean Rosenthal, Jimmy Haha and Roy Weaver will do one CSNY cover and one original inspired by the band, ending the night with an all-star jam. (P.S. The spelling of “vane” is intentional; it refers to weather vanes, signifying “in the general direction of.”)
Mar 29, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy at Ram’s Head Tavern
End the month with retro swing band Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. This nine-piece combo has sold over 2 million albums and performed to packed houses from Lincoln Center to the Hollywood Bowl. This is what the Annapolis music scene is all about, and just might blow the roof off the Ram’s Head.
March 22: Speakers of the House at Annapolis Smokehouse
This friendly bbq joint near Bay Ridge features local art on the walls, and live music every Friday night, with a great slate of local bands. March 22 brings Speakers of the House, a Maryland take on retro soul featuring past members of All Mighty Senators and The Junkyard Saints.
Spotlight on Annapolis Musicians Fund for Musicians
The March 18th show at Ram’s Head is a fundraiser for AM-FM, a nonprofit that supports the Annapolis music scene and professional area musicians – the people who make a living by entertaining us, no matter what may be going on in their personal lives. AM-FM’s primary fundraising tool are their four annual concerts per year; three themed “In the Vane Of” shows where musicians take inspiration from well-known performers (this month, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young), and two sell-out Christmas shows, the charity’s first fund-raiser which has been running since 1998.
The money raised is put to good use in various ways. The Lost Gig fund reimburses strapped musicians for lost gigs not due to the musician’s fault. “It happens so often,” says AM-FM founder and president Matt McConnville. “Someone will show up for a gig only to find the club has cancelled it! It’s a real problem.”
The Catastrophic fund is for health emergencies, “the kind of things that blow you out of the water, like a heart attack,” says Matt. “We want to help them get back to work, so we take care of bills and give them a chance to breathe while they deal with it.” They pay out a lump sum so the musician has time to heal before they go back to work
Another arm focuses on music education, in the memory of two beloved local musicians. The David Glazer Educational Fund pays for music education for low-income students, in conjunction with Bates Middle School. The Tim King Music Performance Scholarship helps a student who is pursuing higher education in music performance; their first one was awarded to Elisabeth Engelmeyer, a Chesapeake High School senior who will be studying vocal performance at Belmont University. They also partner with local non-profits, widening their commitment to community.
“I’ve never run into anyone who does quite what we do,” says Matt. “Another unique thing about us is we don’t have to go into fundraising mode; the concerts support our mission,” he adds. “There’s such great diversity of music in this town, and everyone wants to play. We’re never scrambling for performers!”
A great night of local music for a great cause—that’s a win-win. If you want to learn more, or donate, check out am-fm.org.
Images courtesy of Susan Moynihan, Rams Head, and AM.FM.org