Thursday, September 5, 2013

Bands in the Neighborhood: 19th Street Band

This latest installment of Bands in the Neighborhood, our series on local musical acts, is on the 19th Street Band, a local Americana/country band who answered a few questions. Check them out tonight, Sept.5 at the Hamilton downtown!

And are you a band or musician in the neighborhood interested in being featured in our Bands in the Neighborhood series? Let me know!

Tell us a bit about the band.
If the 19th Street Band could be summed up in a phrase, it would be “old school.” From their folk instruments (upright bass, fiddle, banjo and acoustic guitars), to their approach to music and performance, The 19th Street Band has followed the traditions of The Carter Family and The Kingston Trio while also integrating modern elements of Americana, Country, and Rock ‘n Roll. The 19th Street Band has built its fan base the old school way, one fan at a time. They play hundreds of shows a year, from backyard BBQ’s to honky-tonks to amphitheaters. Every time they play, their music and energy connects with a new person in the crowd.

When Caolaidhe came from Northern Ireland to the United States to make music, he met the love of his life and musical partner, Meghan, in the process. Caolaidhe and Meghan started out singing old Hank Williams and John Prine songs for friends, and were soon asked to perform locally. They invited Mike, an eccentric preacher’s son, to perform with them, and a connection was made. The three of them knew that they wanted to share joyful music with the world. Joined by Tom Verratti on banjo and Richard Vega on drums, the band has an eclectic folk sound that pleases listeners of all ages. 

Since then The 19th Street Band has had the honor of sharing the stage with country music stars such as Craig Morgan, Chuck Mead and Rodney Atkins. They have opened for The Wheeler Brothers and Spirit Family Reunion at The Hamilton as well as Grammy Award-winning Western Swing icons Asleep at the Wheel at The Birchmere. They have also packed the house at such venues as the Strathmore, Jammin’ Java, Rock & Roll Hotel, The Washington Folk Festival, Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge in Nashville, Hill Country BBQ and Pianos in NYC.

The 19th Street Band was recently interviewed by WMZQ’s Jenni Chase on her show, “Homegrown Country”, and their song, “Don’t Give A Damn About The Money” is getting radio airplay in the DC area.

How'd you get your name?
We used to live, play, and party in a house on 19th Street N in Arlington, VA when the band formed.

Do you practice in CH? How about play any gigs in the neighborhood?
We play regularly at Acre 121. We actually had the opportunity to play for their soft opening and have been gigging there ever since. We practice near Brookland where Mike and his wife live. Their new baby loves our music!

What are your band's influences?
Caolaidhe: "Jesus"
Mike: "Satan"
Meghan: "Rainbows"

Also...Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, Elvis Presley, Pete Seeger, Merle Haggard, George Jones, Bob Dylan, Alison Krauss, Patsy Cline and the Punch Brothers.

I know you've had played some big venues, what was that like?
The big venues go by in the blink of an eye. There's so many people and it's an adrenaline rush. It goes by so fast you barely remember what you did on stage.

Gone on any tours? Any crazy and terrible tour stories?
Last winter, we had to fly out of a tiny airport in Sioux City, Iowa - literally the airport code is SUX - and we had the first flight out. We arrived at 4am after playing a gig all day and night with no sleep to find the airport closed. We had to wait outside in -10 degree weather and in the dark until they unlocked the doors. And yes, it did SUX.

What’s your take on the local music scene in Columbia Heights and DC?
The DC music scene is very eclectic. You can find anything from jazz, hip hop, rockabilly, bluegrass, punk, country and folk. People just want to come out to hear good music and have fun with their friends. Every time we play at Acre 121 the crowd grows and grows, and they make it so much fun for us.

And if you had to rename your band for something in Columbia Heights, what would it be?
We originally named the band after a place we lived and the bass player once lived off Girard St, so we'll name it "The Girard Street Jumpers"

Check out the band’s website,, Facebook page at ( and YouTube channel

I like this video especially, and the crowd likes it too:

1 comment:

  1. awesome band. I've seen them at acre a bunch of times.


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