Credit: Taylor Rigg

Eli Lev at Jammin Java

Once an eighth grade English teacher on the Navajo Nation in northern Arizona, singer-songwriter Eli Lev found that holding a captive audience, whether teaching or performing, is quite similar. “You’d be surprised,” laughs Lev. “There are certain tricks that work on both. There’s that first one minute, or two minutes has to be something that’s like ‘Ok … we’re in.’ There’s also some storytelling that goes on with both.” The Silver Spring native will have a chance to share those stories during his album release party for his latest EP True North at Jammin Java on Sept. 29. Created during the pandemic, Lev found himself virtually collaborating with other musicians from his home base in Western Maryland and putting together the album piecemeal. “Most of the instrumentalists sent in their tracks,” explains Lev. “It was just me and the producer mostly working out of the farmhouse up here.” Lev is not only looking forward to showcasing the new material, but sees the show as a chance for his fans to connect with one another. “It will be the first time that my online community can meet itself,” says Lev. “This is essentially the first live show that we celebrate the album and connect with each other, which is pretty awesome.” Eli Lev performs Sept. 29 at 7:30 p.m. at Jammin Java, 227 Maple Ave. E, Vienna. $20.

More from WCP