Steve Poltz with Owen Danoff + Crys Matthews at Jammin’ Java
Steve Poltz is obsessed with the challenge of knowing and understanding the thoughts of each and every person in his audience. He is a lover of life; fascinated by all things large and small. As a road-tested troubadour armed with whimsy, curiosity and a healthy respect for the absurdities of existence, he is unafraid of saying yes, unafraid of letting his relentless, giddy energy fill a room and he is unafraid of letting his streams-of-consciousness take him where he needs to go. His songs are guileless snapshots filtered through the windshield of his brain. He opens his mouth and lets it fall out – a SONG – and it’s as shameless and intriguing and profound and wondrous as he is. A mix of high octane performance, singular wit and endlessly entertaining storytelling, Steve is legendary for his improvisational songwriting and timeless, original classics. Oh, and he’s a pretty good guitarist too.
Owen Danoff. One day when Owen was fifteen years old, his father (Bill Danoff, Grammy award winning songwriter of “Take Me Home, Country Roads” and “Afternoon Delight”) gave him an 8-track recording device, and by that night he had written and recorded his first song. Since that day, music has been Owen’s life. He moved from his hometown of Washington, D.C. to Boston to study at Berklee College of Music and with refined skills in songwriting, composition, and bass playing, he returned to D.C. to make his mark on the local music scene.
Owen’s music blends the catchiness of pop, the lyrical emphasis of folk, and the energy of rock n’ roll. His influences include John Mayer, Paul Simon, and the Wallflowers, though the resulting style is all his own.
Owen’s first full-length album Twelve Stories is a testament to both his songwriting and instrumental abilities. Funded through a 2013 Kickstarter campaign that exceeded expectations, the album features Owen switching between bass and guitar alongside his longtime band and esteemed guest musicians including Rami Jaffee of the Wallflowers and Foo Fighters. Two of the songs, “I Wish I Knew Better” and “Amsterdam”, won honorable mentions in the 2013 Mid-Atlantic Song Contest, with the latter winning an additional honorable mention in a 2013 American Songwriter Lyric.
Crys Matthews. NC native and VA resident Crys Matthews has been performing professionally since 2008. She has shared the stage with artists like the Indigo Girls, Dar Williams, Melissa Ferrick, Chris Pureka, etc. Crys was an official showcase artist at Folk Alliance International in 2012. She has also performed at: Out/Loud, FolkFest St. Pete, Charlotte Pride, Savannah Pride, Charleston Pride, Capital Pride, Shakori Hills Festival, Tacoma Park Folk Festival, Virginia Women’s Music Festival, SisterSpace, and many more.
A prolific lyricist and composer, Crys Matthews has penned three full-length albums and has already began working on a fourth. Backroads and Driveways is her debut album and first studio release. Having found her voice in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina and her inspiration for most of the album in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, Backroads and Driveways is about a journey. From “Traveling”—which was literally written on an airplane—to the title track, these songs play like journal entries along the road to love and happiness.
The album was engineered and produced by recording legend, Karen Kane (who engineered Tracy Chapman’s first demo), and it is available on iTunes, Amazon, CDBaby, and at various retailers. It is in rotation on Pandora; and it is being played on various broadcasts from Harrisonburg, VA (WMRA’s Acoustic Cafe) to Portland, OR (KBOO Radio).
Crys Matthews just released her sophomore album, A Lesson Learned, as well as an EP called The Izzle Ballads. In the September issue of Curve magazine, Rachel Shatto wrote: “A Lesson Learned sounds like how a glass of iced tea tastes: familiar, comfortable and refreshing…Fans of Tracy Chapman and Ani DiFranco will find plenty to love with this album, as Matthews shares their gifts of telling simultaneously intimate and relatable stories, all while continuing to refine her own unique brand of R&B folk.”