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Paige Powell

2/13/18 - Special Guests: Alex, Paige, & Dan of DC's Open Mic Scene

Many thanks to Alex, Paige, and Dan from DC's thriving open mic show scene for being with us in the studio this week!  SCROLL DOWN to see the video, info, and transcript

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Podcast:  iTunesGoogle PlayStitcher, TuneInPocket CastsPodBeanPlayerFM, or THIS URL in your app of choice




  1. Long Way Back to Shonot, by Eli Lev ( Indie, Indie Rock)

  2. Chemistry, by Paige Powell (Indie, Jazz)

  3. January Silver, by Alex The Red Parez and The Hell Rojos (Rock, Acoustic Rock)

  4. Too Many Times, by Colourtheory (Punk, Pop Rock)

  5. Listen, by One Way Out (Hard Rock, Rock)

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Our 2018 New Releases by DC Artists’ Spotify Playlist:


Higher Education - Gift Called Life

The making of Prinze George’s new track, Dividends

Rare Essence ft Kacey Williams of Black Alley - How I Wish You Could Love Me

Our ‘DC Artists Official Music Videos’ Youtube Playlist:


So many shows everyday!  Click this calendar link to see them all!

Fri Feb 16
Handsome Hound @ Union Stage at The Wharf by Waterfront
Vim & Vigor, Justin Trawick, & Oh He Dead @ Rock N Roll Hotel on H St NE
Two Ton Twig @ Songbyrd Music House in Adams Morgan

Sat Feb 17
Surprise Attack EP Release Party @ Pearl Street Warehouse by Waterfront
Wylder @ U Street Music Hall on U St

Sun Feb 18
Eli Lev @ Milkboy Arthouse in College Park, MD

Wed Feb 21
Bottled Up @ Black Cat on 14th St


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**   **Music 4 The Revolution (Abu Jibran)**

Alex, Paige, and Dan 


Paige Powell's Bio:

Paige Powell serves on the Board of Directors of the Songwriters Association of Washington (SAW) and hosts 2 open mics each month in the D.C. area for the organization. Paige has a real passion for songwriting, having written more than 150 songs, recording more than 60 of them, generating 2 CDs and 20+ singles released on iTunes and

Two of her songs, "Blackeyed Peas" and “Give Me A Beach” won honorable mentions from the Mid-Atlantic Song Contest. She continues to study songwriting, participating in many of SAW's workshops and seminars, which has included a 2-day workshop with Pat Pattison, lyric-writing teacher from the Berkley School of Music.

Open Mic Episode.jpg

Dan's Bio: 

Dan Magnolia: Singer / Songwriter / Storyteller / Speaker / Soundguy / Photographer

DAN MAGNOLIA is a contemporary troubadour who draws on his love of folk, outlaw country, Americana, and pop music to create unique and unforgettable songs that touch the heart, stimulate the mind, and move the soul.

Heavily influenced by singer-songwriters such as Steve Earle, Guy Clark, Bob Dylan, John Prine, and Josh Ritter, Dan’s music explores an array of timeless themes including life, love, family, history, nature, and the human condition. Dan has been an artist, a teacher, a guitar repair tech, a writer, and an entrepreneur and from these diverse experiences he has found that his passion in life lies in creating something from nothing. Whether he is using his hands and his toolbox or his imagination and his guitar, Dan has a unique gift for creating one-of-a kind works for the whole world to enjoy.

Among his career highlights, Dan has sung The Star Spangled Banner for The First Lady of Maryland, performed at the Jefferson Memorial, contributed a song to The Acoustic Guitar Project, told a story at The Moth, and appeared on the NPR game show, Ask Me Another with Ophira Eisenberg and Jonathan Coulton. Currently he hosts the open mic at The Black Squirrel Dunn Loring Va (1st+3rd Tuesdays) and the popular Marble & Rye Open Mic in Arlington Va until the bar shut down at the end of December 2017.

Web Online Links in order of most-to-least used:

Alex's Bio: 

Alex The Red Parez aka El Rojo has been bringing acoustic rock and old-time country to the Washington DC Metro Area since 2006. Whether performing original music or classic material, Alex’s voice is “reminiscent of Johnny Cash, though often sung with Jello Biafra’s inflection” (Matthew Stabley, and “sounds like Nick Cave reinterpreting the early songbook of Bill Callahan” (The Big Easy - “El Rojo” to his friends, Parez takes inspiration from epic troubadours Johnny Cash, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty and local balladeer John Bustine amongst various other artists. In trio mode, Alex is flanked by accomplished harmonica sideman Terry Boes and prolific bassist Jason Mendelson of MetroSongs notoriety. Alex has also performed with several other local musicians for various tribute shows.


Brian:     On DC Music Rocks, we're shining a spotlight on the greatest songs, artists and incredible people behind the DC region's local music scene. Paige, Dan, and Alex all host open mics in the DC region. These type of events are happening all over the city every week, almost every day of the week, and mostly are pretty much unknown except for those who happen to have stumbled across them at some point. So today on the show, we're shining a spotlight on it, and I want to talk more about this largely unrecognized and intriguing open mic community that's here in our city. So guys, thanks for being here.

Dan Magnolia:     Thank you.

Alex Parez:     Yeah, thanks.

Paige Powell:     You're welcome.

Brian:     This is such a treat. Now, for those folks who share a little bit about what, describe, once again, share with them where the location and time of your open mic, and then share what makes your open mic special and or different in your opinion. So Alex, we'll start with you.

Alex Parez:     Well, I host the open mic at Roadside Grill every Wednesday night at 7:00 PM. We do two sign-ups at 7:30 and 10:00. We have a featured artist, usually as well. I guess, to me what really makes all the open mics special because I go to a lot of different open mics, including Dan's open mics. I haven't been to Paige's yet. I'm sorry, Paige.

Paige Powell:     That's okay. It's okay.

Alex Parez:     Is the people there and how much love they have for the open mic and coming and supporting it. I think that's special to every open mic. They all have that certain group of people that just love being there and the camaraderie, I think, is what really does it. And that's with every open mic you go to really.

Brian:     Absolutely. It's such a great community. It really is. Paige, talk about yours.

Paige Powell:     Well, the one coming up this Friday on February the 16th is sponsored by the Songwriter's Association of Washington. And one thing that makes these open mics that I host a little different is that we really encourage people who are writing original songs. They can come and they can kind of test their song that they wrote maybe this week or last week, and see how the audience reacts to it, and see if there's a line that really rings with one of the audience members. So you can also go to the Songwriter's Association of Washington website and SAW sponsors a lot of open mics in the area, more than I host. That would be a good thing for local songwriters.

     Then also, sponsored by the Songwriter's Association of Washington is the one that's in Greenbelt at the New Deal Café. And that's on the fourth Thursday of every month. And the next one is gonna be February the 22nd. Now that starts at 7:00 PM. We encourage original songwriters, but you can play a cover song.

Brian:     Sure.

Paige Powell:     That's allowed. Yeah. And I encourage people who've never done it. It's okay to come and just do one song. You don't have to do three just because three are allowed. You know, you just maybe want to take a baby step and do one song, and maybe your first time out, just come and attend. Just see what the scene is like.

Brian:     Awesome. And Dan, talk about yours and what you've got going on.

Dan Magnolia:     I host the open mic at the Black Squirrel. Like I mentioned earlier, there's one at Adams Morgan and there's a new one in Vienna Dunn Loring right by the metro, so it's super convenient. There's parking there, but you can easily take the metro. It's on the first and third Tuesdays of the month so far, but we're gonna increase that to every week soon. Not yet, since today is Tuesday. This is airing on Tuesday, so not tonight. February 20th.

Brian:     Well whenever you hear this, starting around February 20th.

Dan Magnolia:     There you go.

Brian:     Check with Dan Magnolia.

Dan Magnolia:     Exactly. We also do advanced sign-ups for that, which is nice for something that goes on during the week. So, if you're going to make the trek that you know that you have an exact spot with an exact time that you know that you have set down. So, that's something that we do online. You can sign up. One of the best things that I love about open mics, like Alex was saying, is that I think I wouldn't go so far as to say that they're unknown so much. They do have a niche market. You know, there's the rock market, and then there's the singer-songwriter folky market. And the thing that I love to do most of all is try to embrace everybody in the music scene. I used to host something called The Musician's Workshop, which would help get people out of their living rooms and into the public space. So my open mics are very similar the same. We love being able to welcome everybody, even newcomers and even young people. We have a lot of young kids that come in, too. So we always try to make it as open and accessible to everybody.

Brian:     That's awesome. And now, for those folks listening who might not, what are the differences between different open mics? You talked about how you have advanced sign-ups versus only when you're there. You mentioned something about three songs versus just one. So if they haven't really done much open mics, what are the differences between them generally? Dan, start with you.

Dan Magnolia:     So, Ginny Hill, who is the singer in The Perfectionists, she has a new open mic. She relaunched the South House one in DC. So she came out to check out mine and asked me some questions and sort of get the idea. And what I told her was that every open mic reflects the host and the neighborhood. So you can have the same host in a different neighborhood, like I did. I used to do the Marble and Rye one in Arlington. And now I have one in Vienna. It does reflect my personality, but it also reflects the neighborhood. So, it's kind of an organic thing that develops over time.

Brian:     Got it. Now, is it always music? On all three of your open mics, is it welcome to any kind of art? I mean, poetry and rapping and all of that, or is it just music?

Paige Powell:     I've had a couple of poets come in. Although they're rare. The last open mic at the Church of Clarendon, we had someone who wanted to come and do a couple rap songs, and actually it was ideal to fit him in. I asked him if he could do a rap song while we were setting up for the next person who had a keyboard, and it was gonna take a few minutes, and he had it. He had a rap song that would fill that space. And another thing that's different between the two open mics that I host, one's real quiet. People listen to the music. There's candlelight and tablecloths and all that. And then over in Greenbelt at the New Deal Café, I mean everybody's talking. It's a noisy place. You just have to do your best to get people's attention.

Brian:     Got it. So it's that vibe can change, but really it sounds like at all three of yours, any kind of talent that you want to showcase, it really is an open mic. It's not just the music, it's an open mic for whatever you want to do.

Dan Magnolia:     Yeah, absolutely.

Alex Parez:     Yes, sir. For sure. Anything you want to do, come do it. That's legal.

Brian:     Now how far ... You said advanced sign-ups. How far in advance do people sign up?

Dan Magnolia:     So, the way that I do it, especially because it's unique in that it's not every week, so I will do it on the Wednesday before the next open mic, so that people don't have any confusion about when it's supposed to be, because if you give people too much time, then they forget or they might just freak out and not come, so you want to give them enough time that they can sign-up comfortably, but you don't want to give them too much time that they just end up forgetting about it.

Paige Powell:     Dan's right. About a week.

Brian:     And this isn't like an online sign-up thing.

Dan Magnolia:     Mine is, yeah.

Brian:     This is like in person, or it's online as well?

Dan Magnolia:     Mine is, yeah. I use a service called Calendly. I forget how you spell it. And I can specifically put the day and the time slots, and people will go in and they will pick a specific time that they want, and it actually reminds them twice, so it will remind them a couple of days in advance and then like eight hours in advance.

Brian:     Wow. That's very sophisticated, Dan. I love it. Do you guys, I take it, it's the sign-up in advance, but probably in person, or do you guys have an online thing, too?

Paige Powell:     Old fashioned email with me.

Brian:     Excellent. All right. Send an email. Alex, I'm taking it, show up and sign up, right?

Alex Parez:     Yeah, just in person. I've kept the same format as we had at Iota open mic. Just show up and I promise I'll get you up on stage.

Brian:     We'll figure it out.

Dan Magnolia:     It's true, because I've come very late on his and he's always gotten me on. Alex, you also do something else that's unique at yours. You do the lottery.

Alex Parez:     Yeah, yeah. With numbered guitar picks, so that it's kind of even Steven and it's not, "Oh you've got to hurry up and get here and sign up, so you can pick your spot." This way it's fair and square.

Brian:     So everybody puts-

Alex Parez:     You get what you get.

Brian:     Everybody puts their name on the list and then you draw for your order.

Alex Parez:     They're numbered guitar picks and we put them in a sack. You pull out a guitar pick. That's the number you go.

Brian:     Oh, cool.

Alex Parez:     I write your name on the chalkboard.

Brian:     That's awesome. And see, I love all the different personalities because everybody has one. I mean, I've heard great things about Ginny Hill's thing at South House, too. Now if somebody's looking for where do I find open mics, I'm gonna share these links on the page because I know Dan sent me there's a couple Facebook groups that talk about this stuff, but if somebody has never been to an open mic or they want to find these, where would you guys say is the best place to find them if you're looking for them?

Dan Magnolia:     I publish my open mics on two places, two websites specifically, which is I think, and then there's Open Mikes, like M-I-K-E, like the person's name, You know, it's up to each host to make sure that they're up to date. So, there's always that, but I try to keep mine up to date. There's a ton of others out there that you can actually sort by city. So even if you're looking for something outside of DC in other areas, they have those as well.

Brian:     Wow. Paige, what about you?

Paige Powell:     I would say especially if you're a songwriter, go to

Brian:     Yep, got it. And that is the Songwriter's Association of Washington.

Paige Powell:     That's right.

Brian:     And that's where you can find ... That'll be where you'll find yours and some other ones. I'm assuming they sponsor several.

Paige Powell:     Oh, many.

Brian:     Many in the area.

Paige Powell:     They've got like nine or 10 every week.

Dan Magnolia:     Actually all of mine, too.

Brian:     There you go. And Alex, any other ideas for where to find open mics, aside from those places?

Alex Parez:     No. I think you got it covered.

Brian:     We got a good place. Obviously social media would be another place to find out about them, too.

Alex Parez:     Social media, Facebook. There's the open mic listings on Facebook. The old Iota Facebook open mic page is still there. I update it regularly and put all kinds of stuff on there.

Brian:     Got it. All right. Now, what's ... We don't have too much more time on the interview, but my favorite question to ask and I don't want to miss it because I love asking this question, and that's for each of you. Let's start with down with you, Dan. If you could offer one piece of advice, what would it be?

Dan Magnolia:     Well, since we're talking about open mics in general, I think one thing that I would give people who are hesitant about open mics. Let's say that you're new to performing and you're not quite sure that you're ready or something is keeping you from doing it. My big advice to those people is always no one to date, as far as I know, has ever died of embarrassment. So no matter how bad you bomb, it's not gonna be the end of the world and you just go out and you try again the next day and the day after that, and the day after that. And you're just gonna get better and nobody's gonna remember how badly you bombed maybe that first time.

Brian:     I love it. You've never died from embarrassment. I love it. So, go try it. Dan says just go for it. Paige, what about you?

Paige Powell:     Yes, I would definitely say it's okay to just come and do one song. If you're not sure, just come and just attend. Just check it out. And sometimes you'll come and you'll say, "Gosh, I think I'm a little bit better than that guy over there that really bombed."

Brian:     Yeah, okay. I don't want you to compare each other to the worst.

Paige Powell:     We shouldn't. We shouldn't. And another piece of advice that I'd like to give everybody is that people are more important than things. And people are more important than your song. You've got to remember that you're singing to people.

Brian:     Yeah, so make sure you entertain. Include them. Talk to them.

Paige Powell:     Yeah.

Brian:     I love it. Alex, what about you, man?

Alex Parez:     I would definitely reiterate what Paige said earlier. Just into the open mic and checking it out first. I did that when I was first starting to play out. Went and checked out the Iota open mic, and the next week I went and played it, and then it turned out to be one of the owners' birthdays, Steven, and he was there. And all the other big hot shot local bands and musicians were all there. You want to talk about nerveracking experience? Having to play in front of those people for the very first time, that was my wonderful experience, but then I wound up hosting that open mic and working at Iota for over three years, and it turned into something really cool.

Brian:     So, go check it out first. You can always go observe first and then come back and do the performance. Now, really quickly, just share with folks where do they find, because we've got to jump back into the music, but where do we find, if they want to follow your open mic specifically, is there a Facebook group or where do they find about you specifically? Dan?

Dan Magnolia:     You can find me on Facebook at Dan Magnolia Music, but I also have a specific page for the Black Squirrel, which is Black Squirrel Music, and Black Squirrel VA is the restaurant slash bar's page, as well.

Brian:     Got it.

Dan Magnolia:     But I just want to point out one last quick note, and that I think a lot of people might gloss over for open mics is I think open mics are equally three parts, which is entertainment, practice, and networking. And I think a lot of people who are new to open mics or don't quite get them always neglect the networking aspect of it, and that is super important to be part of the music scene.

Brian:     Nice. I love it. And Paige, where do they find your open mic if they want to follow you specifically?

Paige Powell:

Brian:     There it is. And Alex?

Alex Parez: or the old Iota Facebook page.

Brian:     And we should note that it's Alex, Parez is P-A-R-E-Z, right?

Alex Parez:     For sure.

Brian:     Alex Parez.