There’s still time to nominate local icons for Best of D.C.
I first heard Anson Funderburgh and Sam Myers play in tiny Helena, Ark., in a converted JCPenney that now serves as the smoky concert hall for the Sonny Boy Blues Society. Funderburgh so esteems the society—named for the famed Helena-born bluesman Sonny Boy Williamson—that he happily volunteered his band for a rollicking three-hour Sunday-night show there instead of a fancier gig in the big city. (“You feel like you’re playing in your living room,” Funderburgh told me. “It’s like coming home.”) The crowd was a mirror of today’s blues audience: predominantly though not exclusively white, knowledgeable, and highly appreciative. Myers and Funderburgh are themselves emblematic of today’s blues artists. Myers is a throwback, a black, blind, chain-smoking bluesman who walks painstakingly to the stage but belts out lyrics and harmonica riffs with a remarkably stirring voice. Funderburgh, on the other hand, is a white Texan whose musical talent has earned him national respect regardless of his race. In Helena, Funderburgh noted that “overseas, people are much more knowledgeable about roots music. They come and they want to know everything about the music. Americans don’t ask those questions.” Come prove Funderburgh wrong when he, Myers, and the Rockets play at 10 p.m. at Twist & Shout, 4800 Auburn Ave., Bethesda. $10. (301) 652-3383. (Louis Jacobson)