50 Local Bands and Musicians You Should Know

Love live music? Here’s a sampling of bands and musicians who got their start in our hometown or live and work in our midst.

You’ll find many of them playing at Northern Virginia festivals, clubs and restaurants. Got more artists to add to the list? Email editorial@arlingtonmagazine.com.

 

40 Miles Home

Indie rock, bluegrass and alt-country covers and originals.

 

Alpha Dog Blues Band

Blues band featuring Roger Hart, Tom Muck, Steve Reiter and Mr. X.

 

Amy Domingues

The artist plays indie/post-punk viola da gamba (a bowed instrument similar to the cello) and baroque cello.

 

Amy Wilcox

Yorktown High School graduate and rising country music star Wilcox gained national fame when she landed a starring role on A&E’s 2014 reality series Crazy Hearts: Nashville, which followed musicians seeking fame and fortune in Music City.


Courtesy photo

Andrew Acosta and the New Old-Time String Band

The traditional/roots band includes Acosta along with Rosser Clark, John Kaparakis, Harold Richmond and Dave Elliott.

 

The Arlingtones

Arlington’s favorite barbershop chorus.

 

Beauty Pill

The punk/alternative/electronic band fronted by singer-guitarist Chad Clark, held a residency at Artisphere in 2011.


Photo via beautypill.com

 

Blame it on Jane

The blues-rock band, whose members include Jane Adams, Brad Dietz, Scott Galupo, Rich Krentz, Buzz Lerch and Steve Northrup, has shared the stage with Lyle Lovett, Better Than Ezra and Blues Traveler.

 

Blues Condition

The NoVa trio plays hot blues and jumpin’ roots rock music.

 

The Bobby Thompson Project

Blues and rock guitarist-vocalist Thompson was nominated for “2015 Musician of the Year” by the Washington Area Music Association.

          

The Buzz Hounds

Cover band playing everything from Grateful Dead to Johnny Cash, plus original songs.

 

Calista Garcia

The 14-year-old singer-songwriter is a student at H-B Woodlawn, where she wrote the musical score for the school’s 2015 production of Lizzystrata.

 

Diamond Dolls Band

Arlington’s all-girl teen rock band is fronted by H-B Woodlawn student Calista Garcia.

 

Difficult Run String Band

Acoustic bluegrass and old-time music.

 

Don Zientara

The owner and sound engineer behind Arlington’s Inner Ear Studio has recorded several albums of his own with the punk label Dischord Records.

 

Down Wilson

The hometown cover band plays rock and pop hits.


Photo via DownWilson.com

 

Eddie from Ohio

“Too energetic to be labeled folk and not angry enough to be pegged alternative,” the eclectic group includes Mike Clem, Robbie Schaefer, Eddie Hartness and Julie Murphy Wells.


Photo via Eddiefromohio.com

 

Foul Swoops

Songs by the punk/alternative group made up of Devin Connell, Sean Connell and Michelle Peña include “Four Mile Run.”


Photo via Facebook

 

Girl X

Members of the local rock cover band include Cate Cooper, Tim Hermes, Michael O’Malley, Rob Kennedy and Michael Sauri.

 

Gonzo’s Nose

The party band plays covers ranging from Lady Gaga to Kings of Leon, plus plenty of ’80s and ’90s throwback tunes.


Photo via Facebook

 

Ivan Navas

The acclaimed conga player has performed with salsa greats Tito Puente, Celia Cruz and Luis Enrique.


Photo by Alejandro Navas

J.P. Reali

The Falls Church musician is steeped in traditional and Piedmont blues.


Photo via jpreali.com

 

Jumpin’ Jupiter

The Americana rock band, fronted by Westover Beer Garden chef Jay Jenc, serves up “americanarockandrollsurftwangcountrywesternbluegrassabillybluepunkjazz.”

 

Junior Marvin’s Wailers

The former lead guitarist for Bob Marley and the Wailers, NoVa resident Marvin now performs worldwide with his own reggae band.


Photo via juniormarvin.com

 

Justin Trawick and the Common Good

The Arlington folk-rocker has opened for Brett Dennen, Edwin McCain and Sara Bareilles.


Photo via JustinTrawick.com

 

Kate Moran Band

Hailing from Del Ray, Moran’s sound blends pop, rock and a little funk with a dash of soul.

 

The Legwarmers

The ’80s throwback band regularly plays to sold-out audiences at the State Theatre and other local venues.


Photo via TheLegWarmers.com

 

Left on Lincoln

Members of the Arlington-based rock cover band include Alison Galie Broadbent, Charlie Kramer, Chris Gabriel, Martin Secrest and Steve Goodwin.

 

Malarky

The all-female Celtic fiddle band is based in Arlington.

 

Manther

The Arlington-based cover band includes Jeff Joseph, Rich Taylor, Marc Wallace, Thad Bingel, Sean Hosty and Mark Whittington.

 

Melodime

Members of the alt-rock/pop-country band include Brad Rhodes, Sammy Duis, Tyler Duis and Jon Wiley.


Photo via Melodime.Bandcamp.com

Memphis Gold

Blues man Chester Chandler (aka Memphis Gold) plays on the last Sunday of every month at JV’s Restaurant in Falls Church.

 

No Second Troy

Members of the indie rock band include Tom McCarthy, Mike Beach, Jeff Wharen, Mike Ounallah, Patrick Thornton and Mike Rudolph.


Photo via Facebook

 

O.A.R.

The laid-back roots-rock band, known for hits such as “Shattered [Turn the Car Around],” is originally from Rockville, Maryland, but guitarist Richard On reportedly lives in Arlington. Catch their “Back to Rockville” tour at Merriweather Post Pavilion on Aug. 21.

 

Paul Carlson

The violinist (who performs classical, Celtic and Nordic tunes) plays with the Nordic group Skandal.

 

The Plums

The noise/improv/experimental band has performed with Foul Swoops at CD Cellar in Arlington.

 

Tom Principato

The Falls Church native has a sound that blends blues, rock, jazz and Latin influences.

 

The Reserves

The Northern Virginia rock band includes David Gacey, Mike Durham, Brian Fu and Dave Greksouk.

 

Samantha Rios

In May, the Arlington teen made it as far as the semifinals on La Voz Kids, the Spanish-language version of NBC’s The Voice.


Photo via La Voz Kids

 

Sandbox Kings

The rock/alternative band behind the Washington Capitals’ goal song, “Rock the Red” includes Branko Hodzic, Patrick Holliday, Brian Mulroney, Larry Ward and special guest vocalist Jennifer Hodzic.


Photo via TheKingsCollective.com

 

Screen Vinyl Image

“Electronic shoegaze psychedelic.”


Photo via screenvinylimage.com

 

 

Memphis Gold

Blues man Chester Chandler (aka Memphis Gold) plays on the last Sunday of every month at JV’s Restaurant in Falls Church.

 

No Second Troy

Members of the indie rock band include Tom McCarthy, Mike Beach, Jeff Wharen, Mike Ounallah, Patrick Thornton and Mike Rudolph.


Photo via Facebook

 

O.A.R.

The laid-back roots-rock band, known for hits such as “Shattered [Turn the Car Around],” is originally from Rockville, Maryland, but guitarist Richard On reportedly lives in Arlington. Catch their “Back to Rockville” tour at Merriweather Post Pavilion on Aug. 21.

 

Paul Carlson

The violinist (who performs classical, Celtic and Nordic tunes) plays with the Nordic group Skandal.

 

The Plums

The noise/improv/experimental band has performed with Foul Swoops at CD Cellar in Arlington.

 

Tom Principato

The Falls Church native has a sound that blends blues, rock, jazz and Latin influences.

 

The Reserves

The Northern Virginia rock band includes David Gacey, Mike Durham, Brian Fu and Dave Greksouk.

 

Samantha Rios

In May, the Arlington teen made it as far as the semifinals on La Voz Kids, the Spanish-language version of NBC’s The Voice.


Photo via La Voz Kids

 

Sandbox Kings

The rock/alternative band behind the Washington Capitals’ goal song, “Rock the Red” includes Branko Hodzic, Patrick Holliday, Brian Mulroney, Larry Ward and special guest vocalist Jennifer Hodzic.


Photo via TheKingsCollective.com

 

Screen Vinyl Image

“Electronic shoegaze psychedelic.”


Photo via screenvinylimage.com

Sean Tracy

Watch for the Arlington-based acoustic singer-songwriter and guitarist at Westover Beer Garden this summer.

 

Sharp Cloud

“Four dimensional atmospheric rock and roll” band from Arlington.

 

SOJA

The reggae band founded by Yorktown High School grads Jacob Hemphill, Bobby Lee and Ryan Berty was nominated for a Grammy in 2015.


Photo via sojamusic.com

 

Speedy Tolliver

Now 97, bluegrass legend Tolliver has called Arlington home for more than 60 years.

 

The Stewart Sisters

The band founded by sisters-in-law Sherry and Valeria Stewart specializes in Americana roots music.

 

The Style Masters

The Falls Church band, made up of Hollywood Willison, Big D Snider and Frenchy LeBlanc, plays swingin’ blues, rockabilly and honky tonk tunes.

 

The Walkaways

The alt-country band from Arlington includes Todd Daniel, Mark Bower, John Cunningham, Ed Jackson and Bobby Birdsong.

 

The WeatherVanes

A four-piece folk-rock band has a sound that’s been compared to Ryan Adams, Tom Petty and Gov’t Mule.

 

Wilbur’s Redemption

Members of the Arlington string band include Jerry Foster, Gary Ewart, Dave Barrans, Ted Snavely and Vince Forcier.

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