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Writing songs about rivers is nothing new—there are countless cultural and metaphorical implications attached to the aquatic highway, and it’s a really handy pastoral picture that most everyone can understand. When a familiar songwriter who has been in the D.C. area for ages decides to name his folksy band with the watery image, it’s not all that surprising. However, when two long-time locals seperately launch new folk-flavored outfits around the same time and both jump on the same titular boat, so to speak, it can get a little confusing. I’m talking about Luke Brindley‘s (The Brindley Brothers) new group Deep River and Vince Scheuerman‘s (Army of Me) freshly created River James. Fear not, dear reader, we’re about to dispel any potential confusion.

River James

Deep River

History: As Army of Me’s activity slowly trailed off, D.C. songwriter Vince Scheuerman put out a solo E.P. and later got together with Jacob Marshall and Tyler Strickland (of Mae) and their friend Scoops to form an organic, rootsy new four-piece. History: After touring with his brother and later going solo, longtime local Luke Brindley, co-owner of Jammin’ Java, hooked up with actress Rachel Beauregard and bassist Bryan Dawley to play “front porch music” as a new trio.
Sound: The band so far offers a folky tale in mellow, three-quarter time; the track is centered around a strummy acoustic guitar, with just a touch of electric ambiance for atmosphere. Sound: The trio’s tunes revolve around boy-girl harmonies atop mostly acoustic guitars. Their folk songs don’t lack polish, but they retain a down-home vibe.
Website: RiverJamesMusic.com is a slick site heavy on the intrigue and light on content. Website: DeepRiverMusic.com provides regular updates within a smooth, impressive design.
Live Shows: The band’s first show isn’t scheduled until next month—-they play Black Cat on Dec. 16. Live Shows: Their debut performance hit Jammin’ Java this past September.
Virginia Love: Their only material so far is a somber song called “Arlington” about Arlington National Cemetery that’s clearly indebted to the Old Dominion’s history. Virginia Love: The second track of their debut, “Virginia,” talks of travel and home and the sweetness of our oh-so-pleasant neighbor to the south.

Footage from Deep River’s debut:

LISTEN: River James – “Arlington”