Nightlife & Music

2011 Sounded Good: The Best DC Bands Of The Past Year

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D.C. is home to many things, including magnificent museums, beautiful works of art, a multitude of different cultures and a music scene that suits a plethora of musical tastes. Whether you’re into hard rock, blues, house or something entirely different—homegrown D.C. bands are music to the locals’ ears.

Bad Influence Band

Known as D.C.’s premier blues band and winner of the Washington Area Music Association’s (WAMA) Best Blues Recording Award, the Bad Influence Band blends the sounds of Chicago-style blues, American swing and good old rock and roll into music that rocks energy and soothes the soul. The Washington Post describes the band’s 2001 album, Tastes Like Chicken, as a “solid collection of original material spiced with humor and soul.” The band’s most recent album release, Under the Influence, features special guests like White Loafer Mark Stevens, John Ware and Tom Ruggieri.

Afro Bop Alliance

Hailing from Annapolis, Maryland, the Afro Bop Alliance combines the spicy sounds of Latin style and tradition with the smooth sounds of jazz that is sure to please the musical palate. The band’s 2008 CD, Caribbean Jazz Project, received rave reviews from a multitude of sources, including the Washington Post and Keyboard Magazine, and won the 2008 Latin Grammy Best Latin Jazz Recording Award. The band has also received multiple WAMA awards for Best Latin Recording and Best Latin Duo/Group. You can find the band performing at various locations in and around D.C., as well as throughout the Mid-Atlantic region.

Honky Tonk Confidential

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Photo Credit: Jemal Countess/Getty Images

When you think of Bob Schieffer, CBS News anchor and host of “Face the Nation,” images of stuffy politicians and sharp political debates may come to mind. What may not come to mind is the vision of Schieffer bursting into song at the head of a country western band. Honky Tonk Confidential out of D.C. is the official backup band for Schieffer. Their latest CD features four songs written and produced by Schieffer, including “TV Anchorman” and “Hard Choices.” Honky Tonk Confidential most recently performed at the Grand Ole Opry and has won numerous awards, including multiple WAMA awards.

Rocknoceros

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Photo Credit: Leigh Vogel/Getty Images

Children, parents and educational and parenting organizations such as the Smithsonian, all agree that Rocknoceros provides “infectious and catchy educational tunes” that the entire family will love. Hailing from Northern Virginia, Rocknoceros has dominated the children’s music scene both locally and nationally, winning multiple awards including the National Parenting Publications Awards (NAPPA), Scholastic Magazine “Fun Finds” award and multiple WAMA awards. The group has released six award-winning albums, including The Colonel Purple Turtle, which teaches children about science and life’s lessons. You can catch a Rocknoceros performance at various locations throughout the D.C. area.

Patrick Lundy and the Ministers of Music

Patrick Lundy and the Ministers of Music have spread their love of gospel through many performances at D.C. venues and prestigious events. In the span of 17 years, the group has performed before the U.S. Senate and Supreme Court, participated in BET’s Bobby Jones Gospel with Tramaine and Edwin Hawkins, and shared their musical talents at the World’s Fair in Portugal. The group has released five albums and received multiple awards, including En Sound’s Artist and Album of the Year Awards. Patrick Lundy and the Ministers of Music devote their time and concert proceeds to benefit charitable organizations, including those that assist domestic violence victims.

Susan Diranian is a freelance writer and relationships expert living in Ashburn, VA. When she’s not dishing out awesome tips and advice on love and relationships, she’s working hard to achieve her dreams as a published author. Her work can be found at http://www.examiner.com/dating-in-washington-dc/susan-diranian

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