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all photos: Julia Benton and Ben Droz

After a mini October break, Family Hemerlein made its way back to the Gibson Guitar showroom and it was quite the comeback. We had:

  • Sean Patton being delightfully off-color and covering everything from feelings to your labia during his set
  • Terrence Cunningham, doing his first DC show since returning from South Africa, played a flawless three-song set that brought to mind a young, seeing Stevie Wonder, and had everyone snapping their fingers and singing along
  • and Laura Burhenn (of The Mynabirds) played, for the first time ever, the songs from her holiday EP (which will be out, on lovely white vinyl next week on Saddle Creek), and Susan Hsu of Exit Clov and J.Tom Hnatow of These United States were kind enough to join in on violin and steel pedal respectively
  • and of course, Seaton Smith and Matthew Hemerlein lived up to their host duties remarkably: whether retelling stories about feelings, doing a fantastically beautiful yet tongue-in-cheek cover of “You’re the One That I Want” or you know, just being there for you, they were at the top of their game

Family Hemerlein is almost impossible to describe (you really do have to see it for yourself) but to quote Susan Hsu, in an email to me the next morning:

It was great to see you last night and so nice to be able to join Laura for some warm holiday music. The showroom’s a beautiful space. I like it, and the Hemerlein show spans such a wide spectrum of emotions. you could find yourself crying for two completely different reasons at any given point, which … is pretty amazing if you ask me 🙂


(as always, many thanks to our sponsors who make this event possible and affordable: The Gibson Guitar showroom, vitaminwater, flying dog ales and tito’s vodka)


technicolor by Ben:

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and some b&w memories by Julia

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