The Arlington music venue welcomes The Billy Price Charm City Rhythm Band
After months closed due to COVID-19 restrictions, The Birchmere will reopen on July 10, with club favorite The Billy Price Charm City Rhythm Band taking the stage.
“It’s going to be a 75- to 90-minute set; the same concert set we’ve been doing since the new album came out about a year ago,” Price said. “We’ll do a number of songs from that album and some songs from an album I did the year before. And of course, we’ll be doing the old favorites that people have been listening to me sing for years.”
Over his storied career, the popular bluesman has released 17 albums and served as vocalist on two of guitarist Roy Buchanan’s records— “That’s What I’m Here For” and “Live Stock” back in the ’70s.
Price was the winner of the 2016 Blues Music Award, awarded by the Blues Foundation, and was up for two others at the 41st annual BMAs in 2020—one for Best Blues Male Artist, and one for Best Soul Blues Album for his recent release, “Dog Eat Dog.”
The 70-year-old musician has been playing blues for more than five decades and has enjoyed the music for most of his life.
“I was just a fan of blues when I was a kid, R&B and soul music especially, and I went deeper on it than most of my friends did,” Price said. “I figured out I could sing a little, so I got a garage band together and did the songs I loved, imitating the original artists. My music grew from there.”
It’s been a while since Price has played a live gig—March 14 in fact at the City Winery—and he’s been itching to get back on stage.
“That last one, there were seven of us in the band and six people in the audience,” he said. “The week before, gigs were full houses. But COVID has really stopped everyone from performing. I really miss the music business.”
Because so much of his time has been dedicated to his music and touring, it’s been a challenging time for Price. It’s also left him a lot of time on his hands.
“I am trying to write more and I have some projects that are consuming some of my time,” he said. “Whenever I am writing, I am doing so from the place I am at the moment, so this is opening up some other parts of myself that typically aren’t there, and that’s being reflected in the songs I’m coming up with.”
Price noted he really misses the camaraderie with his band and he’s organized a number of Zoom sessions just so they could all “be together” and talk music and all the things they normally talk about on a gig night.
“That’s one of the things I’m looking forward to the most about getting back—just seeing everyone,” Price said. “But of course, I love to sing and love to play with the great musicians in my band. We enjoy playing together so much and to be able to do that again is going to be so great.”
Price often writes with French guitarist Fred Chapellier and the two are collaborating again on new music.
The Birchmere will also welcome bluesman Daryl Davis on July 11.
The venue has taken enhanced health and safety measures for all audience members and staff, and are following all procedures set forth by the CDC and Commonwealth of Virginia. That means that doors will open at 6 p.m., and ticket holders will be escorted to seats on a first-come, first-serve basis, with social distancing guidelines being met. Masks are required for all patrons when not seated.
The Billy Price Charm City Rhythm Band will take some safety precautions as well, spacing out a bit more and not singing in each other’s microphones.
“Birchmere has a nice big stage and they are taking really good precautions and being responsible about all this,” Price said. “I think they are making a really good, safe effort to keep things going and we need that, because I think we are going to lose a lot of venues. We need this. People will see and feel the exuberance we have in doing what we love. I am confident this will be a high-spirited performance.”