BY LIZ PIGOTT// On Saturday, March 7th, Jonathan Richman will be returning to Washington and headlining a show at the Lincoln Theatre alongside Bonnie “Prince” Billy. Richman, a native-born Bostonian grew up in Natick, Massachusetts and is best known for his new-wave, proto punk-rock band, The Modern Lovers, who formed in 1970 following Richman’s nineteenth birthday. Although the Modern Lovers broke up before their first studio album was ever released in 1976, the life and death of the Modern Lovers originates through Richman’s early musical aspirations as a teenager. His infatuation with underground music began – as with most teens of the late 60s – with the Velvet Underground. In 1969, Richman even moved to New York City and lived on the couch of the Velvet Underground’s manager, Steve Sesnick, before failing and returning to Boston. But, Richman’s most celebrated sound and Bostonian roots would not have been as popular without this failure. The Modern Lovers formed and fractured, but the 1980s allowed a novel sound and image for Richman as his solo career began to take hold. His fourth solo release and most defining album to date is I, Jonathan (1992), which includes the songs “That Summer Feeling” and “Twilight in Boston” heralded for its soft, acoustic-folk sound which now epitomizes Richman’s image and performance style. This record was created and produced with more than a dozen of his closest friends and collaborators, and its unapologetic sound, feelings of warmth, and unabashed joy underscores Richman’s desire for a present connection when consuming his music. Since the late 90s, he has arguably been under the radar of mainstream music but has still continued to release records late into the 2000s. His most recent solo album, SA! (2018), was just recently released on Blue Arrow Records. This coming tour, his set will be entirely acoustic with the supporting act, Bonnie “Prince” Billy, whose last release of original songs culminated in Wolfroy Goes to Town (2011). This Saturday, both folk-acoustic artists will take stage eagerly sharing their music with an audience – a community of strangers willing to listen and willing to reciprocate their own sincerity and energy in return.
Photo Credits: Amy Hope Dermont, https://www.flickr.com/photos/napkinshoe/4373764871