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Valerie June has one of the most surprising voices contemporary listeners can hear. While opening for Sturgill Simpson at DAR Constitution Hall last fall, the crowd grew quieter and more attentive with every note sung in her unmistakable, powerful twang. At times, you think she’s Dolly Parton; then, no, maybe Eartha Kitt. But then it’s clear she has her own voice. Like her former tour mate Simpson, and contemporaries such as the Carolina Chocolate Drops and Adia Victoria, June uses southern tradition as a foundation for her music, but she doesn’t let it become a weight. Read more >>> Valerie June performs with Anthony D’Amato at 8 p.m. at Sixth & I Historic Synagogue, 600 I St. NW. $25. (202) 408-3100. sixthandi.org. (Justin Weber)
Sospeso is now open on H Street NE with all-day Mediterranean dining. Try dinner dishes like salty fritters featuring fried dough stuffed with anchovies and potato ($8), grilled octopus with warm potato salad and sumac onions ($13), and a porchetta sandwich with salsa verde and pickled veggies ($16). Sospeso is also a great place to visit for breakfast, when they serve bagel-impersonating simits smeared with hummus or tapenade for less than $4. Sospeso, 1344 H St. NE. (202) 827-3123. sospesodc.com. (Laura Hayes)
OH AND ALSO
It’s easy to make cynical music these days. But the real challenge is to fuel anger and frustration into something optimistic. That’s the ethos of Brighton, the latest album from Brooklyn’s The Shondes. From the first notes of the album’s anthemic opener “Everything Good,” it’s clear that the band—Louisa Rachel Solomon, Elijah Oberman, Courtney Robbins, and Alex Smith—made a concerted effort to make something that people can cling on to and use as fuel for the darkest times. “If there’s one consistent theme throughout the many years this band has been writing songs, it’s affirmation of life,” singer/bassist Solomon said in a recent interview with Bitch Media. “Whether we are writing about heartbreak, betrayal, abuse, abandonment, depression, suicide, or yeah, being completely in love, we are writing about the struggle to be as fully alive as we can. And it is always our hope that we are helping other people do the same.” In these times, it may be hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel—but that’s OK. Just let The Shondes’ powerful, sweet tunes guide you to it. 7:30 p.m. at 1811 14th St. NW. $15. (Matt Cohen)
Irish arts group Solas Nua begins performances of the American premiere of Coolatully, Fiona Doyle‘s play set in the aftermath of the global economic recession, at Flashpoint. 8 p.m. at 916 G St. NW. $38.
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