FolkWorld #58 11/2015
© David Hintz

So Classy and Smart

Janel Leppin

Artist Video Janel Leppin @ FolkWorld:

Janel Leppin @ Martin Luther King Library, Washington DC - August 14, 2015.

This was fun, a free noontime concert in the spacious King Library, a few blocks from home with world class performers. There are several more shows planned for the King Library even through December, so if you live or work downtown, keep your eyes wide open.

I have seen Janel Leppin many times with guitarist Anthony Pirog who was on hand here for much of the set with a drummer as well. Leppin had a couple of cellos, guitar, and even a mellotron for her use in addition to her vocals. Even through I see Janel and Anthony pretty regularly in various combinations, I am always left with the feeling that I should be seeing them every time they play. The music is just so classy and smart without sacrificing warmth and accessibility.

She begins with a droning cello number full of Eastern moves, which sets a great tone for the remaining set. And that set is filled with double guitars, guitar and cello, and some mellotron sounds working their way into the music. The songs are all heavily atmospheric with lovely vocal work that would be perfect on any of my psychedelic folk albums, but here is a more ambient sound with teeth. The band even rocks out at times, although the mood is never altered due to the skill of the players.

The looping is subtle and highly effective and a mixed crowd of fans and newcomers (a few of which had eyebrows raised in appreciation) welcomed each and every song. So you have two assignments... follow free library events as there are going to be some very good ones and keep an eye on the club scene as well, as you really should be following Janel & Anthony, two of the classiest and creative musicians in town.

First published @

Photo Credits: (1) Janel Leppin (unknown/website).

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