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Maryjo Mattea

1/15/19 - Special Guest: Maryjo Mattea

This week on DC Music Rocks, Maryjo Mattea, an artist who captivates audiences with her uniquely melodic songwriting and hauntingly beautiful voice, stops by for a chat.  The episode also features great tracks by Raheem DeVaughn, Color Palette, Serenity Karima, and Two Dragon and a Cheetah.

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Maryjo Mattea Bio/Links:

Interview Video Link:

Fun Fact: Maryjo was one of the first guests we had back in the early days of DC Music Rocks. She won, by popular vote, a performance spot at our 9:30 Club Festival and one of the prizes with that win was to come back! You can find her 2016 episode here:

Washington, DC-based songstress Maryjo Mattea captivates audiences with her uniquely melodic songwriting and hauntingly beautiful voice. Mattea’s music, which has garnered comparisons to Neko Case, Alanis Morissette, and Liz Phair, is the perfect hybrid of polished pop and raw rock. In addition to performing original music and more as a solo artist and with a band, she is also a member of the grunge-garage rock duo, Two Dragons and a Cheetah, electro-rock group, Color Palette, post-rock ensemble, Endless Winter, and occasional bassist for synth-pop band, Loi Loi.

Bringing the songs to life on the records and the stage are Scott Manley, Joshua Hunter, and Eamonn Donnelly. Scott Manley (drums) moved to Washington, DC within months of Mattea in 2011. Prior to arriving in DC, Manley received a degree from Temple University in Philadelphia in orchestral percussion, attended Berklee College of Music in Boston, and held down the beat for LA-based band, Moving Picture Show. Joshua Hunter (guitar), plays with Mattea in not one, not two, but three bands: Maryjo Mattea, Color Palette, and Endless Winter. He previously played guitar with dance-rock ensemble, Dance for the Dying (DC) and hard rock band, The Elegy Machine (Phoenix). Before re-locating to DC in 2015, Eamonn Donnelly (bass) was bassist for Chicago-based group, The Kickback. Donnelly's creative talents extend beyond the musical realm; he is also a gifted graphic designer and photographer.









Maryjo Mattea
Maryjo Mattea



  1. ***Don’t Come Easy, by Raheem DeVaughn (R&B)

  2. The Other Side, by Maryjo Mattea (Pop, Pop Funk)

  3. Chelsea, by Color Palette (Pop, Electro)

  4. ***Party, by Serenity Karima (R&B, Funk)

  5. Wind Me Up, by Two Dragons and a Cheetah (Rock)

***The first time we've played this artist for you on the show, & a new artist profile added to our DC Artist Database!  There's new artists every week!

->’This Week’s Dose Of DC Music’ Spotify Playlist<-

->’DC Music Rocks Show’ MEGA Spotify Playlist<-


We’ve started our 2019 New Releases Playlist.  Follow it to always get free deliveries of the absolute newest music.  We add to it every week!

Our 2018 Playlist is now complete with 244 Songs and more than 15 hours of music!  A great resource for songs you haven’t heard too much and to find ideas on who to nominate for the Wammies!

The Wammies are back!  What’s different? How does this work?

The Process To Decide Wammie Winners:
-In January, nominations are accepted online from the general public.  
-In February, the Top most nominated releases/artists in each award category will become finalists and will move on to be scored by a select panel of judges comprised of regional music industry professionals.  
-The finalist in each award category with the highest combined score from the judges will win the Wammie Award!

Wammie Award Eligibility:
-Must have been a release in 2018, from January 1st, 2018 till December 31st, 2018.
-Artists must be from the Washington, DC region.  This map can be found on our Wammie Awards FAQs page.
-Artists must have a release, that’s widely available, on at least 2 of the main commercial music platforms outlined in the FAQs.

How can I participate?
The public nomination process is the important piece our region is involved in. It is your voice that nominates, recognizes, and celebrates these musicians and artists!  Visit our nomination forms online and nominate as many artists and releases as you’d like for each of the categories. Share on your social media pages which artists you nominated and tag them!  Spread the word! Remember, those with the most nominations from the public in each award category will become a finalist in that category, so the more people and artists involved, the more inclusive the awards show will be!

The FAQs page for The 2019 Wammie Awards contains all official details. This short overview is simply a supplemental resource.
To Nominate, click here:



  • Make Up Girl - In Time
    6 Song Rock EP - RIYL Tame Impala, The Strokes, Frank Ocean

  • Lionize - Cyber Attackers
    2 Song Hard Rock Release - RIYL Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin

  • Raheem DeVaughn - Belongs 2 You
    R&B Single - RIYL Dwele or Floetry

  • Color Palette - Dear Prudence
    Pop Rock Single, cover of a Beatles song

  • Melodime - Roll-2
    4 Song Rock EP - RIYL Zac Brown Band, NEEDTOBREATHE, Tom Petty

  • CoralBenders - Jellyfish Yell
    Rock Single - RIYL The Growlers, Thee Oh Sees, Pixies, Brian Jonestown Massacre

  • Bobby Thompson - On The Ground
    Hard Rock Single - RIYL Ben Harper, Gov't Mule, Eric Clapton

  • Nelly’s Echo - Holly Would
    Pop Single - RIYL Jason Mraz, Sting, Aloe Blacc



Go see a show! Research shows that it reduces stress and makes you happy!

Jan 18 - Fri
Robbie Schaefer @ The Birchmere in Alexandria, VA (Folk)
Wanted Man @ Hill Country DC in Washington, DC
Elizabeth II @ Union Stage in Washington, DC

Jan 19 - Sat
The Fuss @ The Soundry in Columbia, MD
Human Country Jukebox @ Haydee's Restaurant in Washington, DC
Jonny Grave @ Hill Country DC in Washington, DC
The 5:55 @ Whitlow's On Wilson in Arlington, VA

***Our calendar is the only place to find exclusively DC’s local music scene! Check out all your show options!

Jan 20 - Sun
Rare Essence @ The Hamilton in Washington, DC
Two Ton Twig @ Whitlow's On Wilson in Arlington, VA

Jan 24 - Thu
Queue @ Pie Shop in Washington, DC





Specific playlists we update weekly:

EMAIL SIGNUP LINK - For those who don't already conveniently get all this via email!


Do you like what we're doing?  Would you support us?  We'd love to grow and do more!  There’s little give aways, but for us to evolve this online platform to cover even more we really need funds and support. We're giving away shirts, and more too!  We can do so much more with your support!

HUGE shoutout to our current Patrons! 
**Daniel Warren Hill**    **David Mohl**    **Eli Lev**
**Sarah Byrne**   **Chad Lesch** **M4TR**


Interested in spreading the word to our more than 12,000 DC region followers?

8/14/18 - Special Guest: Pebble To Pearl

This week on DC Music Rocks, Pebble To Pearl, a band with a unique blend of funk, rock, fierce and powerful blues, stops by for a chat with host Brian Nelson-Palmer.  The episode also features great tracks by Justin Shapiro, Feedel Band, Maryjo Mattea, and StereoRiots.

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Pebble To Pearl

Pebble To Pearl Bio/Links:

Pebble to Pearl (P2P) creates a unique blend of funk, rock, fierce and powerful blues fused and delivered with soulful grooves and incomparable vocals. They display a tapestry of sound that will truly captivate, mesmerize, and send chills down your spine, while undeniably keeping you entertained and dancing. P2P is road bound, touring up and down the East Coast to venues like the House of Blues in Orlando to the Canal Room in NYC.

They have no boundaries with visible influences from legends like Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Tina Turner, and Chaka Khan, to the new generation powerhouses ranging from Beyonce and Rihanna, to Joss Stone and Lenny Kravitz. Their self-entitled EP, debuted in March 2018, holds no bounds in blending a combination of funky blues rock with hard hitting and flawless vocals. If you haven't seen them in action, you are missing a key note in the chromatic scale. They throw in everything but the kitchen sink into their show and leave a lasting impression and the need for wanting more.

p2p episode.jpg
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Email Signup Link
For those who don't already conveniently get all this via email!



  1. ***Lost In Time, by Justin Shapiro (Rock, Folk Rock)

  2. Better Than Nuthin', by Pebble To Pearl (R&B, Funk)

  3. ***Meskerem, by Feedel (Jazz, Ethio-Jazz)

  4. Meaning of Life, by Maryjo Mattea (Pop, Pop Funk)

  5. Ghost Machines, by StereoRiots (Indie, Hard Rock)

***The first time we've played this artist for you on the show, & a new artist profile added to our DC Artist Database!  There's new artists every week!

->Follow The Show's Spotify Playlist<-



1)  Thanks to the amazing sponsors who have helps in so many ways to make the DC Music Rocks Festival grow to become the epic event it is!  Big thank you to:

2) Thanks to the below which had Brian on to talk about the festival.  The interviews were fun and some were quite extensive, going WAY beyond just the Festival!  



  • Odetta Hartman - Old Rockhounds Never Die
     (15 Song Folk/Indie Full Album - RIYL Beck, Patti Smith, Bjork)

  • HyeTension - Talk In Tongues
     (6 song Hard Rock EP - RIYL (Queens of the Stone Age, The Strokes)

  • Jae Alexander - I’m Gone
     (Hip Hop Single - RIYL T-Pain, Usher)



Our 2018 New Releases by DC Artists’ Spotify Playlist:

Our ‘DC Artists Official Music Videos’ Youtube Playlist:


Here’s just a few highlights for the coming week, be sure to check out the calendar for the full list of all the upcoming shows!

Aug 17 - Fri
Lauren Calve & Stranger In The Alps @ Songbyrd Music House in Washington, DC (Folk/Indie)
Pressing Strings & The Duskwhales @ The Fillmore in Silver Spring, MD (Folk and Classic Rock)
Dr Robinson's Fiasco & FuzzQueen @ Jammin Java in Vienna, VA (Indie Rock)
The Internal Frontier @ Union Stage in Washington, DC (Pop Rock)

Aug 18 - Sat
THE DC MUSIC ROCKS FESTIVAL @ 9:30 Club in Washington DC (Indie, Folks, Rock, Blues, Funk, Hip Hop, Hard Rock, something for everyone from 7 different acts!)

Aug 19 - Sun
Crys MatthewsJonny Grave & Shamans of Sound @ Pearl Street Warehouse in Washington, DC
  (Folk, Blues, Funk, Indie)

Aug 22 - Wed
Hungry on Monday @ The Hamilton in Washington, DC  (Rock)

Aug 23 - Thu
Elizabeth II @ Black Cat in Washington, DC (Rock)


Do you like what we're doing?  Would you support us?  We'd love to grow and do more!  We're giving away shirts, access to our private facebook group, and more!  We also intend to set aside 10% to contribute directly in the DC Local Music Scene through charities, sponsorships, events, etc.  We want to continue to pay it forward!

HUGE shoutout to our current Patrons! 
**Daniel Warren Hill**    **David Mohl**    **Eli Lev**
**Sarah Byrne**   **M4TR**

We're Looking For Advertisers/Sponsors

We're looking for local businesses to spread the word about with our more than 12,000 followers.  Know One?  Would you introduce us to them?

January 3, 2017 - Special Guest: Jonny Grave, Blues Guitarist

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National Podcast:  iTunesGoogle PlayStitcherPocket CastsPodBeanPlayerFM, or THIS URL in your app of choice





  1. Age of Trains - The U-Liners (Rock/Americana)
  2. Cry to Yourself - Two Ton Twig (Bluegrass)
  3. Circles - Timberbrooke (Rock/Alt-Rock)
  4. Wade - Jonny Grave (Blues)
  5. Rocket Science - Maryjo Mattea (Rock/Pop)
  6. Real Steel - See-I (Reggae/Funk)
  7. Big Sur - Janel and Anthony (Indie/Avant Jazz)
  8. Intro/Outro music by Fellowcraft (Hard Rock/Blues)

->Follow The Show's Spotify Playlist<-




Jonny Grave is a guitarist, songwriter, singer, bandleader, teacher, musical historian, journalist, photographer, and Bluesman from Washington DC. Growing up in a very musical family, Gravewas introduced to the sounds of American traditional folk music early on. At age fifteen he found himself learning slide guitar techniques from old Blues records, and by seventeen he was performing them live.





Brian:     Jonny Grave is a guitarist, songwriter, singer, band leader, teacher, musical historian, journalist, photographer, and a bluesman, from Washington DC. He's grown up in a very musical family and he was introduced to the sounds of American traditional folk music early on in his life. At age 15 he found himself learning slide guitar techniques from old blues records, that the musical family that he was in had around the house and by 17, he was performing them live. The first time I ever saw Jonny he was on stage with The Tombstones and I had seen him perform three or four times before I actually got to meet the man, and good gracious, between the slide guitar and the energy, and the jumping around. If you haven't been to a Jonny Grave show, you are in for a treat when you see this man. Check him out on YouTube if you're not in the area to see it. I should stop talking so that I can introduce you to the guest of the day and my special guest. I'm excited. It's great. It is with great pleasure that I introduce you to Jonny Grave. Say hi Jonny.

Jonny Grave:       Hi. How are you?

Brian:     One more time, you've said hi three times now. Thanks for that. Now tell us more than hi. Tell us about you. Tell us about Jonny Grave the artist, the quick background.

Jonny Grave:       I'm a hack.

Brian:     Oh come on.

Jonny Grave:       No, I play blues and because that's a remarkably old style of music. It goes back several decades in this country, there's a lot of source material to draw from. Even those tunes that are only 75, 80 years old, those go back to older, and older, and older tunes so there's a lot to draw from. I've kind of got my work cut out for me, really. It's less a matter of working hard. It's a matter of collecting songs.

Brian:     Got it. Now, tell us about you outside of the music. Well first of all, before we do that. I ran through this whole list of all the things that you do. Run me through some of that stuff here. Share with the listeners some of the stuff that you're doing.

Jonny Grave:       First and foremost, I'm a musician. I'm a guitar player. I'm a singer, a song writer. I tour for that as well. I'm on the road a lot performing, but in addition to that, I'm also a photographer and a writer for a DC based online magazine and blog called Brightest Young Things. They tend to write a lot about new, current events, bars that are opening up, new restaurants, new things that are happening around town, and I write the history columns. I write about the old stuff, about the stuff that's not so contemporary, not so new.

Brian:     Got it. That's that music historian stuff you were talking about.

Jonny Grave:       Now, that's another side of the coin too. Because of the kind of stuff that I play, a lot of it comes from, called traditionals. They're not necessarily cover songs. I'm not playing a song the same way that let's say Robert Johnson or Muddy Waters would have recorded. I'm playing it in a new way, sort of carrying the song forward. A lot of that requires research. A lot of that requires digging into old recordings from the 1920s and 1930s, which is a lot of fun, but also takes a lot of work too. That's the musical historian side. I did some of that work with, I did a little bit of work with the Clara Barton sessions last year, a Civil War music project we did over at the Clara Barton Missing Soldiers office in Chinatown.

Brian:     Wow. I heard about the Clara Barton thing. Folks, if you're looking for that, if they want to find out about the Clara Barton thing specifically, is there somewhere online they can find that?

Jonny Grave:       They can go to

Brian: Check that one out. That was a really cool project that Jonny did here. Now, what about, so outside of the music thing now. Johnny on the personal side, where do we find Jonny? What does Jonny do?

Jonny Grave:       Probably find me at home with my dog. I had a really busy year in 2016. I traveled more in 2016 than I ever had in my whole life combined.

Brian:     Wow.

Jonny Grave:       It was a great year. I traveled a lot and had a lot of fun. Now I've got a very slow winter. I'm going to be home until March. I've got a couple projects to work on while I'm home. You can find me at The Coupe on my laptop, working away, booking-

Brian:     Got it. The Coupe in Columbia Heights and if you're looking for a good coffee shop, check out The Coupe.

Jonny Grave:       Yes.

Brian:     That's right near Jonny. Working on different projects and the dog.

Jonny Grave:       Yes.

Brian:     Which the dog's name is?

Jonny Grave:       Stella.

Brian:     Stella.

Jonny Grave:       Stella is a dog.

Brian:     Got it and Stella, #stellaisadog? I think?

Jonny Grave:       My girlfriend made a hashtag. Yeah. The day we got her she said, "Are we going to create an Instagram account for the dog?" I said, "That's not an option. That is not, we're not going to do that."

Brian:     No social media profiles for the dog. Okay.

Jonny Grave:       No sorry. She is a dog. We compromised as intelligent partners are one to do in committed relationships. We compromised on a hashtag for the dog, so the hashtag is Stella is a dog, all one word. If you go look for that on Instagram, or on Twitter, you can find pictures of my mutt.

Brian:     Check out Stella online. I love it. Now, tell us about funniest moment that comes to mind.

Jonny Grave:       Funniest moment, on stage or with the dog?

Brian:     Let's go onstage. I'm sure Stella's got a lot of funny moments but talk about the performer side.

Jonny Grave:       Funniest moment onstage, looking back, I could have easily hurt myself, but-

Brian:     This is how every good story starts Jonny.

Jonny Grave:       Yeah. Not to get sidetracked here but I don't believe that I'm getting old. I do think that I am getting older and think one of the joys of getting older is looking back fondly on the times at which you could have died and didn't. That's near brushes with death.

Brian:     They don't talk about that in the AARP material they send out but okay. Now, tell us one of these then?

Jonny Grave:       We're playing at the, this was May of 2011 and my band and I were playing at the Silver Spring Blues Festival, which was a big, outdoor concert. We were one of 10 or 12 bands that played throughout the day. We were somewhere in the middle of the day. It was a big crowd. It was a lot of fun. We're having a great time. We're on a stage that was elevated about maybe five feet off the ground. Not like a big, European festival kind of stage, but this is a reasonably sized regional concert. We're having a ball and somebody made the mistake of giving me a wireless guitar unit, so I'm flying around the stage.

Brian:     All over the place.

Jonny Grave:       I'm having a ball. It's great. I jump off the stage. I'm dancing in the audience. We're all having a great time. Then I get back on the stage and we're finishing up our last number. We got the two minute warning from one of the sound guys at the festival there. We're wrapping things up. We're trying to go for a big finish. I already jumped off the stage, so I figured I can't do that again. How do you top that? I figure, the best way to top that is to climb on top of the speaker stacks and do a Pete Townshend style split kick in mid air, which I did. I landed.

                  It was great, but while I'm on this speaker stack, my heel slipped. I caught myself. It was fine, but then I suddenly realize I'm about maybe, the speaker stacks were about five feet off the ground. I'm already five feet off the ground with the stage. That's about 10 feet in the air, maybe 12 feet. I'm tottering back and forth. I can see my father in the crowd. It's 2011, so it was flip camcorder, and he's holding one of these things. He's holding it trained on me, but he's looking away for the entire time that I'm on the speakers as if to say, I can't watch this. This is terrible, but I really hope I'm getting it.

Brian:     Okay.

Jonny Grave:       I couldn't stop laughing. I found it just uncontrollably hilarious. Looking back on it, I easily could have slipped and cracked my skull.

Brian:     Oh Jonny you had me going there. There was no slipping.

Jonny Grave:       No. 

Brian:     There was no falling.

Jonny Grave:       No.

Brian:     After that whole story? Oh my god you are such a tease. I love it. Holy smokes. All right. I was ready for the big climax, man. I love it. At the same time, 12 feet off the ground, no ripping pants. That's amazing. All right.

Jonny Grave:       Totally fine.

Brian:     Next time you see Jonny, make sure you ask him about pants ripping and some of the other fun stories as well, because he's got a lot from all of his time. That's for sure. What about biggest success moments? You've been at this for a while now. What comes to mind? Biggest success moment?

Jonny Grave:       There's too many to count. No I'm kidding. I think, one of my proudest moments was when my buddy Chris Naoum from Listen Local First, shoehorned me somehow into the Kennedy Center. This was after playing months and months at Madams Organ and Adams Morgan, which is a bar in sort of one of our big going out neighborhoods. If any listeners in Nashville, Tennessee, it's just like our Broadway. Any listeners in New Orleans, it's just like Bourbon Street. It's kind of touristy, but it's a happening neighborhood. We're playing there every week and this is after years of playing at rickety dives and awful bars and just walking out smelling terrible and just a lot of physically sticky situations. You walk out of that bar and you feel sticky. Not just Madams, there's a bunch of bars we played, but we got a call to play over at the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage and we played there in the afternoon. It was a spectacular show, and there was a show that we had to almost cancel at Glen Echo Park in Maryland. We were able to do a double header that day.

                  We went from Kennedy Center to Glen Echo in about half an hour flat. We hauled it. It was fantastic. It was for a blues dance on this big bumper car pavilion. There's about 120 folks that were dancing. The thing at the Kennedy Center, they're all seated. They're sitting down. They're appreciative. They clap, but they're not really moving around a whole lot. We got to Glen Echo park, and it's like they're performing for us. That whole day was so much fun and I felt really proud. I felt proud that I was able to pull off a double header, to pull it off with a band that I worked hard with, to pull it off with songs and music that I wrote or that I care about very much. It was a really solid, good experience. I've played the Kennedy Center six times since then.

Brian:     Wow. Kennedy Center is one of those. I feel like people talk about some of the venues around DC like the 9:30 Club, as a status thing, if you've played 9:30. I also feel like Kennedy Center is up there for musicians. If you've played the Kennedy Center, it's a different caliber and a different feeling.

Jonny Grave:       It really is. That hallway there, here's your fun DC architecture, history fact. The grand hall of the Kennedy Center is so long that if you took the Washington Monument and laid it on it's side, you would still have room to spare inside the grand hall of the Kennedy Center. It's that deep. Hearing the snare on sound check was just, that was fun. Hearing the ricochet take five seconds to come back to you.

Brian:     Absolutely.

Jonny Grave:       One of the great things about that, not just the venue but particularly the Millennium Stage, which that opened in 2000, the staff at Millennium Stage has been putting on a free concert every night, 365 nights a year, putting on free music not just for locals but for out of towners. If you're in town, and you want to go see a show at the Kennedy Center for free, you can. They're hour long performances and they happen every night. It's a great mix of DC based national, international and a wide swath of genres. They're good folks. I really enjoy what they do.

Brian:     Now, one of the last things I love to ask in the interviews is, what's one piece of advice that you'd love to offer.

Jonny Grave:       Oh, don't give up. That's easy. If you've got an idea, polish the idea. Make sure that you've got a clear image of your idea, something that you can explain in about 30 seconds. Then, do it and don't stop doing it. Don't quit. Do not give up.

Brian:     What's that been for Jonny Grave?

Jonny Grave:       Just playing gigs. I record a lot. I don't sell that many. I don't sell a whole bunch. I sell some at shows and I sell some online, but for me, I play. I play gigs. I perform and I perform about maybe three to four times a week. I did a final count for 2016, I played 185 shows in 2016.

Brian:     Good gracious.

Jonny Grave:       That's more than every other night. I was very happy about that, but that's a lot of that was my own stubborn perseverance.

Brian:     Got it. To bring it to a close here, I know you said you had mentioned before the show, that there was something exciting you had coming up and then also, folks if they want to find out more about Jonny Grave, where do they go?

Jonny Grave:       Well, if you want to find out more about me, just go to That's Jonny J-O-N-N-Y G-R-A-V-E .com. Johnny with an H, Johnny Grave is a guy in the Netherlands who sometimes answers my mistyped emails. There's a couple cool things that are coming up. I've got a winter off. I'm going to be in town until March. I'm going to hit the road again, head south in mid to late March, back through North Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi, but the fun gig in town, in Washington DC proper or sorry in Clarendon just up the road from the studio where we're sitting right now, has a great club called IOTA.

                  They're doing another classic albums night. Jason Mendelson, a buddy of mine who's a multi-instrumentalists and a composer, great guy. He's putting together another classic albums show where he pics a year, and then he picks some DC based musicians and they play classic albums from that year live. There's going to be a great DC based band called Oh He Dead playing Abbey Road from the Beatles, Alex Vance and his band are playing Hot Rats from Frank Zappa, and my band Jonny Grave and the Tombstones are playing Led Zeppelin II from 1969.

Brian:     Wow. That sounds like a phenomenal night.

November 1, 2016 - Special Guest: Jason Mendelson

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  1. Debbie Does Dancing - Jackie and The Treehorns (Rock/Alt Rock)
  2. Favour - French Admirals (Indie/Indie Rock)
  3. All Over the Map - Dumi Right (Hip Hop/Rap)
  4. We Were Here - Maryjo Mattea (Rock/Indie Rock)
  5. Raining Down - Alex The Red Parez (Rock/Acoustic Rock)
  6. Velocirapture - Alex Vans (Hard Rock/Stoner Rock)
  7. Intro/Outro music by Fellowcraft (Hard Rock/Blues)

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Jason Mendelson DC Music Rocks

Jason Mendelson is an Alexandria composer and multi-instrumentalist whose MetroSongs project has captured hearts and feet across the D.C. Metro region, infusing the history of each location with a musical flavor all its own. When he's not playing electric 12-string guitar and singing, he can usually be found on various instruments supporting local acts like Selling Fairfax by the Pound, Alex Parez and the Hell Rojos, Jonny Grave and the TombsTones, or Maryjo Mattea and a Pile of Dudes, and has performed on stages all over the area, like the Electric Maid, Black Cat, 9:30 Club, and Kennedy Center Millenium Stage. Jason's studio, An Undisclosed Location, is responsible for involvement in several local projects from bands like The Lucky So & So's, The Iris Bell, the Clara Barton Sessions, Two Dragons & a Cheetah, and more. 


Official Website URL:

Facebook URL:

Metrosongs Album

iTunes Link:

Spotify Link:

jason mendelson dc music rocks


Brian:   Jason is an Alexandria composer and multi-instrumentalist, whose MetroSongs project has captured hearts and feet across the D.C. Metro region, by infusing the history of each location, which metro songs it's the metro stops, each metro station with a musical flavor all of its own. They're different genres; it's incredible.

 When he's not playing the electric 12-string guitar and singing, he can usually be found on various instruments supporting local acts like Selling Fairfax by the Pound, Alex Parez and the Hell Rojos, Jonny Grave and the Tombstones, or Maryjo and a Pile of Dudes. He's performed on stages all over the area, like Electric Maid, Black Cat, 9:30 Club, The Kennedy Center Millennium Stage. His studio called An Undisclosed Location and as well as performing there, that location is responsible for involvement in several recording projects from bands like The Lucky So and So's, The Iris Bell, The Clara Barton Sessions, Two Dragons and a Cheetah and more.

 Basically this man's musical resume is absolutely incredible because he seems to do everything. You heard him directing the Redskins marching band in a composition that he wrote, as well as performing around town with all different genres of bands. You can hear it on his MetroSongs, all different genres of music for each of the tracks. Basically I've seen this man on stage and I've heard about him and it is such an honor to have him sitting here with me in the studio today. So listen it is with great pleasure that I introduce Jason Mendelson. Please say hi to everybody.

Jason:   Hi everybody and thanks for having me here, Brian.

Brian:   Thanks so much for being here. So now break us down, I want to hear about you but first I want to hear about those tracks-

Jason:   Break you down?

Brian:   Did I say break me down? Break it down.

Jason:   Drill Sergeant.

Brian:   Yeah, yeah, let's not get that serious maybe but let's have some fun. Because Tyson's Corner and Landover - tell me about those tracks we just played.

Jason:   Okay. First was Tyson's Corner. That's off of the new forthcoming MetroSongs album. It's going to be Volume 7: Connections.

Brian:   So we had a sneak preview.

Jason:   Sneak preview. It's not out yet.

Brian:   Volume 6 came out, oh boy, I think earlier this week or last week. It's relatively fresh or it's been out a while?

Jason:   No, no, no, no. It came out like a year ago but it just got on iTunes.

Brian:   Got it. I see.

Jason:   Spotify and other computer-y things.

Brian:   Got it. Okay so we've got Volume 6 and there's still two more volumes to go?

Jason:   Yeah, seven and eight. I'm working on both of them right now.

Brian:   And Tyson's Corner... So when you're writing about the metro stops, do you actually go visit the stops or where do the songs come from?

Jason:   Well, when I first moved here six years ago, there was a lot of field trips involved. 

Brian:   (laughs) Really?

Jason:   The novelty hadn't worn off; I was still playing tourist. So my wife and I would go to different things around town and we'd take the metro a lot and so it was just natural that we'd end up taking trips that involved passing through all these metro stations. I have to admit I have not been to every single one that I've written about, but I do a lot of online research. I'll usually start with Wikipedia and then find actual credible resources that are linked there. So there's a lot of homework involved.

Brian:   The song Tyson's Corner seems to talk about a story. Is that one that you actually had or where do you draw from for that?

Jason:   That's a fictional story. I just had the idea of a guy who had maybe been shot down in a marriage proposal and then some time goes by and they happen to reconnect and maybe there's a second chance there.

Brian:   Wow, okay. So it's a story and it's set in Tyson's Corner. I'm following you now. Do you develop the song and the composition? How does it come together? Because you've got all these different genres ... I encourage you to listen to his tracks because all of them are different. There's some hip hop, there's some blues, there's some swing. It seems like every genre ... That one was almost reminded me of a high school - no I can't say high school musical - but a musical, like a Broadway musical. The way that it felt it was kind of, when I'm listening to it, that was what it reminded me of. Where do you get the idea for all the compositions?

Jason:   Well that one I wanted to do ... So part of the challenge that I've baked in the MetroSongs for myself is to do some of the songs as a pastiche of another artist. So that one I was going for Ben Folds Five.

Brian:   Aha, okay.

Jason:   And it features a few friends of mine who are part of the ... we're kind of a ... I hate to say band, it's more like a loose conglomerate of vocal musicians here in D.C. who we performed under the name Skin Folds Five.

Brian:   Oh man! Awesome, okay.

Jason:   That was Derek Evry on backup vocals, Pat Frank on drums and Kevin de Souza on bass and then I played piano and sang lead vocals.

Brian:   Well you guys seem to put some incredible things together. And are they featured on various other tracks throughout the albums?

Jason:   No just that one. But the theme of this next album is ... It's called Connections and so almost all the songs on this next albums they will be ... they're collaborations with other artists.

Brian:   Oh fantastic.

Jason:   Like Tyson's with those guys. So yeah all but a few of them ... that's why it's taken so long, I've been working on this album for like a year.

Brian:   Got it. Finding time for everybody.

Jason:   Coordinating schedules, it’s like herding cats, whatever you want to call it.

Brian:   (laughs) We won't tell the other musicians that it's like herding cats but yes probably like that. Yep, I would imagine.

Jason:   I think musicians understand that's how it is.

Brian:   (laughs) Do we?

Jason:   I don't think I'm hurting any feelings there.

Brian:   (laughs) Very good. I like it. Now what about Landover then? That was the track that you ... Tell me more. You directed the Redskins marching band? How did that happen? How did that come about?

Jason:   Oh okay. So a friend of mine at work plays sousaphone for the Washington Redskins marching band and so for years he and I have talked and mostly things like "Oh, I'd love to write a song for you guys," thinking in the back of my mind like that's awesome but is that going to happen? But it finally did. My friend Micah talked to the director and I guess they were keen to the idea so I got out my very best pencil and wrote a tune for Landover which is pretty close to the FedEx Field there. I think they normally direct people to Morning Boulevard Station but I didn't have a song for that station.

Brian:   Right, okay. So they got Landover.

Jason:   Yeah so they got Landover. And I just wrote a little tune, just went for that marching band college fight song feel and they were the nicest people. I can't thank them enough for allowing me to come and hang out at rehearsal and for playing my song. And I got to conduct the band which was really exciting, and we recorded it there at FedEx Field and you heard it.

Brian:   So let's transition into you now, because so now you're directing a marching band, and yet you also compose and do these other things. What's your background? Have you been a band director before or was that new? How does the music start or where does that story come from with you?

Jason:   Okay, well I first started playing on a little toy keyboard that my grandparents got me when I was three or four years old. And then fifth grade I started playing trombone with the school band. I played that all the way through college. But in high school I started playing piano and guitar. There was a piano in the band room so I would get to school early and just fool around on the piano and since I already knew sheet music I had a good basis to start running with. So I knew music. It's not like I was taking lessons. So many people say, "Oh I took piano lessons when I was a kid" and then they never play again. It's because they're forced to play things like Mary Had a Little Lamb and stuff they're just not interested in.

 So since I was totally self-directing the learning process I was able to just play the rock and roll that I was actually interested in so that's how I started playing piano and guitar and sadly I don't play much trombone anymore because it's the kind of instrument that you have to play every day or your muscles in your face just go to mush. I don't have that problem with piano and guitar and bass and accordion and mandolin and all that foolishness. So that's kind of what I do now.

Brian:   Wow. Okay and it came together. Tell all the musical things you're doing now. You're recording, you're performing ... What are they? 

Jason:   Yeah, I play with a few different bands in the D.C. area here which is pretty standard for D.C. musicians. I play bass and keyboard for Jonny Grave and I play bass for Alex Parez. I play lead guitar for Maryjo Mattea. And there's other various projects, one-off things I get involved with here and there.

Brian:   Got it. Okay. Now what about so now you not the musician, in your personal time are you a hardcore marathon trainer, are you a yoga fanatic?

Jason:   No

Brian:   Do you play chess? What is outside of music consistent for you, or is there?

Jason:   Well I'm pretty busy with music, so my free time is divided between the music we've been talking about and hanging out with my wife. We like to go and do things like nature-y kind of things like parks or nerdy stuff like museums.

Brian:   Got it.

Jason:   We've been doing a little bit of road trip stuff ... like day trip stuff lately.

Brian:   Wow, cool.

Jason:   We recently went up to Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania which seems like the most random thing, but it's a cool little town so we had a lot of fun there.

Brian:   Wow, all right. Well now what's one thing you love about the D.C. music scene?

Jason:   Well it's a great community. Artists really look out for each other and it's just a really friendly kind of thing, which is nice for someone like me who is not doing music for a living. This is my hobby, so I appreciate that. But yeah it's especially great for those musicians here from D.C. who do make a living as artists. I think it would be very discouraging if it were any different.

Brian:   Yeah, okay. Tell us a story about your best show. What comes to mind?

Jason:   I had a really cool opportunity to host a show at the Millennium Stage at the Kennedy Center.

Jason:   Jonny Grave had a project called the Clara Barton Sessions that was involved the Clara Barton Missing Soldiers Office Museum in Chinatown in D.C. There was an acoustic recording that was made there and the musicians got to perform the songs at the Kennedy Center and I was the audio engineer for that so me and the video producer got to be the hosts.

Jason:   So that was a lot of fun and I really liked that I didn't have to haul any gear around. Just show up.

Brian:   (laughs) Anybody who's done any kind of sound or musicians, oh my goodness, sometimes there ... I'm a drummer ... there is a lot of gear sometimes.

Jason:   Yeah. You chose poorly.

Brian:   (laughs) When it comes to gear, definitely. But that's why you also get really good at the gear share. How can we share these things so not everybody has to bring everything?  Tell a story about the time you tried and failed?

Jason:   Well MetroSongs Volume 4. I tried to do a Kickstarter to raise just a few bucks to cover costs of that and it went horribly just because I was spread too thin, I couldn't really focus on it and I think because I play in so many different bands and stuff I don't really devote the time I should to promoting my own stuff. So I can't really say I have a huge drawing yet. But I've got a live group that's great and we've been doing some shows and we've been working on building that up.

Brian:   My god, you've certainly got ... in terms of if your resume is the songs you've got, you've got six volumes now, two more coming and the product's amazing. I love the diverse product that you come across with, it's incredible when I see you.

Jason:   Thank you

Brian:   Now, do you have any rules? Like with the band or as an artist? What kind of rules do you have and are there any you always break?

Jason:   Oh, well since I do so much recording there's always little things that I'm trying to remember to do, and then a lot of times I forget them. And a lot of it just involves going through the stuff and making sure it's really 100% perfect. There's one thing as a rule that I've tried to remember to do and I'm horrible, it seems like I never remember is when I'm recording a bass part I always try to remember to use an old Motown trick where they would double the bass with another rhythm guitar.  And somehow I always randomly think to myself, oh yeah next song I've got to remember to double the guitar. And I always forget to do it. It's out there, too late.

Brian:   (laughs) Old Motown trick; I love it. And the last thing I'd like to ask is so the one piece of advice if you were to offer, what would that be?

Jason:   Well for musicians I would say just learn as much stuff as you can and build up your skill set. A lot of musicians start out by just learning the guitar or whatever and then that's all they can do. Just take a little time and learn some other instruments or what's really helpful is learning recording techniques and the gear is so cheap now. I think even any MacBook computer comes with GarageBand or something for free. So the home recording is so much more accessible than it used to be. It's really worth the time to learn some techniques there.

Brian:   Wow, very cool. Well thank you for your thoughts and your insights.

August 16, 2016 - Special Guest: Maryjo Mattea

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Video - Bio - Photos

Maryjo Mattea DC Music Rocks

Washington, DC-based folk-pop-punk-rock songstress Maryjo Mattea captivates audiences with her uniquely melodic songwriting and hauntingly beautiful voice. She is often joined by a Pile of Dudes, and also plays in the acoustic Beatles tribute act, Doctor Robert and Penny Lane, (, electro-rock group, Color Palette (, and the grunge-garage rock duo, Two Dragons and a Cheetah (





Color Palette DC Music Rocks
Two Dragons and a Cheetah DC Music Rocks

The Premier Episode!

July 5th 2016

The world premier episode, and it was a blast!  There isn't an audio recording of this first show, it was only a live radio broadcast and will be fondly remembered by those that were there listening live!  Here's the songs and links to the bands that were featured, definitely a delight to highlight the huge talents featured in that very first show!