Pretty Gritty at The Greene Turtle in Mount Airy

Pretty Gritty is a Portland- based band that used to have its roots in the Rockville area.

The group moved to its new location a number of years ago, but back in 2012 I saw them for the first time at Crumland Farms’ Jam with Funny Money (past side project of Kix) headlining. The group labels itself as soulful Americana which covers their wide range as they tend to follow a more Nashville-esque country direction these days.

Their song “Cliche” was what had me intrigued. The sonic combination of Blaine Heinoen playing spoons/providing husky backing vocals mixed with Sarah Anne Wolff’s thoughtful guitar strumming and passionate singing made for an intriguing and catchy indie folk tune.

Pretty Gritty made a rare return to the Frederick area this month to play some shows, including Cafe Nola and their 10-year anniversary show at the music cafe in Damascus. The Greene Turtle performance featured a duo that’s beyond experienced and one that’s consistently pushing forward through their musical ambitions. A packed crowd of tables that had arrived long before the set showed the connection Pretty Gritty still has here. Be on the lookout for a new music video in the future that Wolff mentioned the group would be recording in Front Royal during their time back.

Michelle Hannan & One Blue Night at The Blue Side Tavern

Soulful classic country that’s insanely well executed with tid bits of bluesy sections.

Michelle Hannan’s pitch perfect singing emulates tones full of heartbreak and perseverance as she strums along on acoustic guitar. A solid rhythm section drives the songs forward and pedal steel propels that vintage twang/swing. Jason Hannan (rolling bass and broad backing vocals) joked before one particularly sad song to “hide your ropes, belts and toilet seats.”

Some entertaining heckling from musician Chris Smaha had the crowd and band engaged in some true honky tonk dialogue. Michelle Hannan & One Blue Night had one of their songs named in the top 25 independent country songs by a Nashville publication last year and they are most certainly a Frederick group you should see.

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