Justin Trawick
Gig Seeker Pro

Justin Trawick

Arlington, Virginia, United States

Arlington, Virginia, United States
Band Folk Acoustic


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Justin Trawick Live at Vermilion"


Singer-songwriter Justin Trawick performed at Vermilion last Wednesday night, playing to a small crowd at this cozy King Street restaurant. Accompanied by Jean Finstad on the upright bass, Justin started out with a couple of originals, slow and somber songs that kept his voice low and drew in the audience with his fervent intensity. He covered a Bob Schneider song, “Austin, Texas,” then moved into a more upbeat mode, playing “Sunshine” off of his CD “How to Build a Life with a Lemonade Stand.” This song, and some that followed, showed off Justin’s tongue-tripping, word-flowing abilities, a la Dave Matthews, and the vocals were well pronounced inside the rhythm and music.

Justin continued his first set, announcing “my obligatory ex-girlfriend song….I’ve got a lot of them,” not telling the audience if he meant he has a lot of ex-girlfriend songs, or a lot of ex-girlfriends. Maybe both. If writing songs is one way to work through a painful life episode, then Justin’s prolific songwriting serves him well. He and Jean playfully rocked out on the next few numbers, musically proving that the wounds have healed and he’s alright. “Why Don’t You Stay” sounded a little less healed (‘I’m wearing my heart on my sleeve. It’s not the way I’ve been—it’s the way you made me.’) but Justin’s mid-tenor voice was strong and the guitar and bass music soared.

The duo ended the first set with an original, bluegrass-style number (“2nd Stop to Loneliness”). During the break, Justin talked about how he started playing guitar in 8th grade when he found his dad’s old guitar case stashed under the stairs in their house. He writes a lot, calling his style ‘Urban Folk-Rock’, and prefers to play in venues where patrons enjoy hearing originals over covers. As Justin says, “I don’t like to play where someone yells out ‘Play Freebird!’.” Justin has opened for groups including Jimmy’s Chicken Shack, Brad Dennon, and the Pat McGee Band (Justin went to the same college in Farmville, VA, that Pat McGee did—Longwood University.) Locally, Justin has played at Iota Club in Arlington, several Austin Grilles, and at the Millennium Stage at the Kennedy Center.

Set two started with a slow-burning cover of “All Along the Watchtower,” with Justin and Jean moving it into tempo halfway through, and Justin’s voice owning those Dylan lyrics with power and emotion. His voice creaks at all the right spots, and comes through clear and loud where it matters, delivering vocals inside music that moves the audience with the emotion, both upbeat and slowed-down. At one point, a bar customer yelled out “Dave Matthews!” and her girlfriend echoed “or Beach Boys!” and the two complied, sort of, by doing a cover of Tom Petty’s song, “Last Dance with Mary Jane.”

Throughout the performance, watching Jean play bass was a constant delight—his fingers danced up and down the neck of the instrument, and he frequently turned his head toward Justin and smiled or laughed, eyes sparkling and mouth open, totally enjoying the moment. The music was altogether well-played and the two of them brought a big spark of life into each song, giving the audience their energy beyond just notes. From Justin’s bio: “Fans of G. Love, John Prine, David Gray, Jack Johnson, and Bob Schneider will enjoy Justin’s unique sharpness and clarity.” I agree, and add that listening to Justin’s music was well worth staying up for, and definitely worth hearing again and again.

Justin Trawick will be performing at Jammin’ Java (Vienna) on May 14th, Whitlow’s on Wilson (Arlington) on May 16th, and at the Evening Star (Del Ray) on May 24th.

- Del Ray Sun

"Justin Trawick at IOTA"


Tuesday night, after a long dinner outside at the Boulevard Woodgrill, I headed across the street into Iota Club & Cafe for Justin Trawick and the release show for his new CD "How to Build a Life with a Lemonade Stand." I walked in just as he was setting into the first songs of the night, some hard-played acoustic guitar backed up by an upright bass, a piano, some drums and the occasional cello. What makes Justin shine is the aural texture of his band, they provide the velvet texture necessary for his sandpapery voice. The deep bass and low melodic sound of the cello and piano provide the perfect counterpoint for Trawick's Jason Mraz-esque patter lyrics, something that Mraz's songs often lacked, and make it a real experience. Better still, hope that Trawick is performing with Malik from one of DC's finest hip-hop outfits, as together they provide lightning fast lyrical mastery in front of one of the best instrumental combos I've seen around lately.

Check out Trawick tonight at 10:30 at The Tombs, or tomorrow night at the Loft in Frederickburg, VA. Make sure to pick up his CD and support a local artist, besides, it's absolutely gorgeous cover art.
- Tom Bridge at DC MetBlogs

"Justin Trawick Rocks The 930 Club"


(see videos on website)

Accompanied by 7 additional musicians, Justin Trawick rocked DC’s 9:30 Club Friday (6/29) night peforming as The Justin Trawick Group. Donning worn Saucony shoes, ripped jeans, tattered tee and a engineer’s cap that’s probably got a story of its own to tell, Trawick led a bouyant band of musicians including such varied instruments as bongos, sax, upright bass and cello through an all too short set. Along with Future, the Justin Trawick Group was opening for Baltimore’s Basshound, but it was Trawick’s Arlington-based eight that stole the show. Trawick, who already has a following as a solo act in the DC area as evidenced by the jubilant fans singing along, showed true promise as he led the band through songs traversing folk rock, alt rock and hip hop. To get a sampling of the fun had this night, here’s a few video clips that capture moments in time for these rising stars.

Band members this night included Justin Trawick (Guitar, lead vocals), Junior Bryce (Tenor Sax), Kevin Espinosa (percussion), Will Reinhardt (Drums), Josh Himmelsbach (Electric Guitar), Jean Finstad (Upright Bass), Malik Starx (Rapper), Aurélie Shapiro (Cello).

Set List
“Two Days”
“Brick by Brick”
“Blind Man”
“To New Hampshire”
“Kool Kids”
“Just A Friend (Biz Markie)”
For more on Justin Trawick, visit http://www.justintrawick.com.
- Twangville

"DCist: Three Stars: Justin Trawick"


Three Stars: Justin Trawick
Justin Trawick isn't just another guy with a guitar. This local singer/songwriter has a knack for incorporating a variety of styles including R&B and folk into his music. His lyrics are well thought out and no matter what direction his songs take, there are solid and powerful vocals anchoring them down. Trawick has been performing in and around D.C. for the past few years, including a recurring songwriter showcase at Solly's Tavern on U Street.

We stopped by Vermillion in Old Town Alexandria last week to check out him out. He was accompanied by an electric mandolin and a stand up bass. There was a sizable late-night crowd, and the trio energized the laid back atmosphere with a mixed set of both original songs and covers, including Radiohead's "High and Dry". We spoke with Justin to find out what it takes for a local artist to rise up into the national scene, the importance of good lyrics, and his upcoming live album.

Buy his album at: CD Baby

See him next at: 8:30 p.m. @ Ned Divines in Sterling, Va.

Visit him at: JustinTrawick.com

Questions for Justin:

Describe your musical style.

My musical style is all over the place, to say the least. About a year ago I started calling it "urban folk rock" because I thought that mostly encompassed what I was doing, which is pretty much everything from bluegrass to hip hop. Last night I played a show with my upright bassist at the Galaxy Hut in Arlington where it was just a duo acoustic show and all the songs were soft, slow, and thoughtful…think Ryan Adams. The night before we were at the 930 Club in D.C. with my full six piece band which, in addition to Jean and I, included electric guitar, congas, drums, and even my friend rapping on a few songs. I guess my goal is to play a little bit of everything, to incorporate as many styles as possible, and to make each show different.

How much of your day is devoted to your music? How do you spend the rest of your time?

Oh man, well during the day I work in the music industry for a company that collects royalties for musicians and bands that get their music played on satellite and Internet radio. Then I go home at night and write, book shows, do band business, go play gigs, or go see concerts. So…other than eating and sleeping, pretty much 100 percent of what I do is music related. Maybe I need a hobby…I'm trying to get back in photography…

What do you think is the best way for a musician to get his or her name out beyond the D.C. area?

Well, it's hard on a local band's budget to do marketing and promotion out of town so it's all very "grassroots". Of course there are some great tools online: MySpace, Facebook, Pandora, etc. I always talk to my friends and find out if they know anyone in the cities that I'm touring to. Calling or emailing local press in the area that you're touring always helps, especially the smaller towns that you're playing where "touring musicians" aren't as common as say, New York City.

Do you think there is enough focus on lyrics in the industry today?

I guess it depends on what type of music you're listening to or what kind of crowd you're trying to appease. Your standard top 40 pop music on the radio doesn't seem very lyric based anymore…just basic combinations of hooks and melodies that appeal to the masses. The people who aren't on mainstream radio are usually the ones who have the most to say. One of my favorite artists is Ani Difranco…she's got incredible lyrics. So does Joe Purdy and Brett Dennen.

What do you prefer more, playing solo or with the band?

I love doing both for different reasons. It's great to play with the full band when we're in an upbeat environment where people wanna move around and dance. One thing I'm always proud of is the fact that even when people don't know my music, they still dance…which means a lot. However, when the mood is more downbeat…like a listening room where people wanna actually hear what you have to say, then it's great to play solo. When you play solo there are so much different types of dynamics you can use in your playing and voice that you can't when you're rocking out with the full band.

You had a mini contest to come up with a longer name: Justin Trawick and the _____. Did you come up with anything that will stick?

This whole endeavor is being unofficially spearheaded by my friend John, who keeps coming up with more and more ideas about every two or three days. I had originally thought it would be cool to come up with a "Justin Trawick and the ????????" after becoming a fan of Grace Potter and the Nocturnals. I'm conflicted though because my band as it's named now, the Justin Trawick Group, really is a group. I have over ten or fifteen people that play with me and it changes every night so I feel that "group" is kinda what it actually is. So for now until I come up with something better, it's just "Justin Trawick" or "The Justin Trawick Group". But it's still fun to hear all of John's suggestions. Haha.

How was your showcase at Solly's Tavern?

The Solly's Songwriter Showcase was my attempt at helping D.C. have an actual listening room for local and touring singer/songwriters. D.C. has a lot of rock clubs but not many "listening rooms" like other cities like Austin, Nashville, or New York. Solly's has a beautiful upstairs venue and the owners were more than willing to work with me and my partner Elli to help have a monthly showcase where we could help show off D.C.'s talented performers. We've had some of the biggest area and touring musicians come through including Luke Brindley, Chris Patterson, Eric Brace, Jimi Haha, and Doug Derryberry. Unfortunately, my own music has caught up with me and we've had to put the showcase on hold for a bit but we're looking to have it going again soon.

When is the live album from your Jan. 4 Iota show being released? Any other projects in the works?

That was a really great show. I think the venue was sold out by 10 p.m., which was right before "the group" took the stage. The recording turned out awesome and I'm hoping for an April release date. I'm also starting a new recording project this week which will be an acoustic EP containing stripped down versions of previously released material and a few unreleased ones as well. My idea in my head is a very "mello" and "rootsy" sound…of course this could all change tomorrow…haha.

What are some of your favorite local bands?

I think the D.C. area is very lucky to have some amazing bands. Last Train Home is one of my favorite area bands, even though they have now relocated to Nashville. Eric Brace, the leader of LTH, is possibly the nicest guy on the planet. Vandaveer is another amazing one…with lyrics and musicianship that is just plain haunting sometimes. These United States is an indie-folk-rock-thing that is super infectious and I try to see them as much as possible. Then of course there is Georgie James which just got signed to Saddle Creek. I'm friends with Laura and very happy for their success.

What is your opinion of the D.C. music scene?

The D.C. area has a good, growing scene. It's different from other scenes…venues aren't right around the corner from each other like in other cities. D.C. is also a political city first and then everything else comes second, but more and more every day there seems to be a rising amount of music listeners who want to go out and actually hear original music. With the increase of venues like the Red and the Black and the Rock and Roll Hotel there seems to be an increase in bands as well which has really made for some good local music. I consider myself lucky to be living in the area and call D.C. my home base.

Photo from Myspace.com/JustinTrawick courtesy Brian Finstad, ShellShock Studios
- Chris Snyder, DCist

"Justin Trawick Reaches a Milestone"


Justin Trawick reaches a milestone
By Matt Van Tassel
Source: Loudoun Times-Mirror

For musicians growing up in the D.C. metropolitan area, the 9:30 Club is a coveted milestone. Last month Leesburg native Justin Trawick reached that landmark in his music career when he rocked the club in Northwest D.C.
"It was one of my New Year's resolutions to play at the 9:30 Club," said Malik Starx, who rapped on some songs with The Justin Trawick Group, an eight-piece band, with Trawick as the nucleus.

Trawick (tray-wick) is a musician whose many collaborators fill out the stage, and The Justin Trawick Group may include different musicians on any given night. For the 9:30 Club he said he really wanted to involve everyone who had been a large part of his music so far. The Group that night comprised Trawick, guitar and vocals; Aurelie Shapiro, cello; Josh Himmelsbach, electric guitar; Malik Starx, vocals; Jeff "Junior" Bryce, saxophone; Jean Finstad, upright bass; Will Reinhardt, drums; and Kevin Espinosa on conga drums and percussion.

Much of Trawick's music flows from spontaneity and collaboration.

"I enjoy having [different] people come out and play with me because that way, no show ever sounds the same and it encourages people to come out and listen more," Trawick said. "Everything that we know to do is learned through playing live and a kind of osmosis."

Trawick wrote track 13, “You & Me,” on his debut album, “How to Build a Life with a Lemonade Stand,” just minutes before they recorded to produce a spontaneous, energy-driven song.

The album was released earlier this year.

The songs on the album reflect the range of instruments and styles that you would hear at a Trawick show. While the spirit of the group's live performance cannot be captured on a circle of plastic – what band's live music can be? – the CD, recorded live in Cue Studios, Falls Church, offers a concentrated cross-section of what a live performance might sound like.

Trawick describes his music as "acoustic folk rock with an urban feel." It's in the same vein as G. Love & Special Sauce and many of the other folk rock/rap amalgamations that have been gaining popularity ever since Run-D.M.C. and Aerosmith collaborated on "Walk This Way" in 1986. On the CD, though, the piano, played by Brian Lotter, and upright bass, played by Rick Netherton, add an element of jazz and Shapiro's cello gives some of the songs a classical feel. At the 9:30 Club the tenor saxophone played by Bryce added yet another dimension of jazz.

The musicians' diverse backgrounds helped to create the musical salmagundi – or mix – that took stage in front of the modest-size D.C. crowd.

Shapiro, the cellist, had years of classical training, including a couple years with the Pan-American City Orchestra.

"It's fun to play rock," Shapiro said. "My parents roll their eyes every time I cart my cello off to a bar."

Bryce, the saxophonist, received a degree in music education in clarinet at University of Maryland. He was a band director at a Maryland middle school while playing in another band.

"I'd play a show in Morgantown, [W.Va.], be done at 2 a.m., and drive all night to be in school by 8 a.m. in Waldorf, Md.," he said.

Espinosa travels to New York City every so often to play salsa, merengue and Afrobeat in clubs like Copacabana and SOBs. He also lays beats on some hip-hop tracks, he said. It seemed like all the members of the group play with other bands as well.

Trawick said he usually plays with a two-, three-, four- or five-piece band, but he brought out the big guns for the 9:30 Club.

The band started as a five-piece and inflated to a full eight-piece for the last few songs, with members entering and exiting the stage intermittently throughout the show.

During a bluesy song called "Blind Man," cellist Shapiro, bathed in blue lights and wearing sunglasses, entered the stage. She played a slow, sweeping melody as if she was feeling her way along the strings and then quietly exited stage right.

The array of styles and musical backgrounds kept the crowd – which grew denser and moved closer to the stage as the night wore on – busy.

Trawick said the title of the CD is about how to make something out of nothing, how to start from scratch.

Judging by his busy lineup and clean sound, Trawick will soon be looking back on his first professionally made CD like it was a childhood enterprise and be looking forward to a bright musical career.

Check out Trawick's music on www.justintrawick.com . His new CD can be purchased on iTunes and www.cdbaby.com

Contact the reporter at mvantassel@timespapers.com

- Loudoun Times

"Yea's & Nay's - Justin Trawick in Washington Examiner's Media Mix"


Media Mix
June 28, 11:52 PM

D.C.-based musician Justin Trawick, who blends folk, bluegrass and hip-hop, released his debut CD, “How to Build a Life with a Lemonade Stand,” last year. Tonight, he play his first gig at the 9:30 Club. He gave us his Media Mix on Thursday.

Q: What are you listening to right now?

I bought the new Wilco and Fiest records recently at the Starbucks down the street from my office.

Q: What’s the last movie you saw?

In the theater I watched the new “Pirates” movie ... it was OK. At home, I watched “Pay It Forward,” that movie with the “I see dead people” boy.

Q: What are the first Web sites you check in the morning?

Not considering my severe MySpace addiction? I usually check out the IOTA and 9:30 Club websites to see who’s playing. Recently I discovered a new blog, Twangville (Twangville.com ) that I think is really interesting.

Q: What’s your favorite TV show?

New shows: “24,” “Lost” and “Heroes.”

Q: What book are you reading?

Recently I read a book called “I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell” by a guy named Tucker Max, which was given to me when I inadvertently stayed in his apartment in New York after a gig a few months ago. - Washington Examiner

"A Different Beat At Every Show"


A Different Beat at Every Show
By Jackie Allder
Observer Staff Writer

Many musicians claim that no show of theirs is the same. But for Justin Trawick, a former Loudoun resident, each performance he and his band play really does vary from the next because each show features different band members.

Trawick, who graduated from Loudoun County High School in 2000, said there are about 10 to 15 members of his band, who rotate through shows depending on their schedules. At Trawick's performance at the 9:30 Club a few weeks ago, a musical symphony featuring the acoustic, bass and electric guitars, cello, drums, saxophone and hand percussion instruments entertained the crowds.

"This is really kind of a collective," he said. "It's me, and whoever can play with me at the time."

Trawick's musical career began more than 10 years ago when he found his father's old guitar under the stairs of his house. "He hadn't touched it in like 20 years," Trawick said. "I just started playing ever since."

Trawick studied piano in elementary school and also played alto saxophone in the jazz band from middle school through college. But the guitar always held a certain appeal to him, he said.

"I was always writing songs in class when I should have been learning," he said. He played with a few bands in high school and his devotion to the guitar and songwriting continued through his college career at Longwood University. He said that while in college he did not sing with any of his bands, but once he graduated school he started playing open mic nights.

Trawick said Washington, D.C., is "a hard place to bring people out if you're just an acoustic player, so I started building a band." Two of his band members work with him at Sound Exchange, a company that collects royalties for bands whose songs are played on satellite radio, and a few band mates he met through friends and at shows.

Trawick described his music as "urban folk rock" with modern beats and lyrics. He said the sound is "all encompassing of everything from bluegrass to hip-hop," and his songs are like vignettes of life. New material from Trawick includes a currently untitled song that is a "post-relationship song from a guy's viewpoint" and "Life," which Trawick said is a "real upbeat funky" song that shows influences from Jason Mraz. Trawick will open for Love Seed Mama Jump at Ned Devine's in Herndon on July 20. Visit www.myspace.com/justintrawick.

Copyright © 2003 The Herndon Publishing Company

- Observer News

"Justin Trawick - Starting Over EP"


Justin Trawick – Starting Over EP
July 17, 2009 by Adam Costa
Category: Albums (and EPs)

Justin Trawick - Starting Over EP
Thanks in large part to the breakthrough successes of folk rockers like Jack Johnson and Kris Allen, the Internet now seems overrun with six-string strumming hacks who think their ticket to stardom is just a few coffeehouse stops away. With a jones for classic headwear – fedoras haven’t seen this much action since the 1950’s – and a knack for penning three minute pop songs of the witty and playful variety, these songwriting hopefuls also tend to indulge their whims for gritty roots rock and freewheeling funkiness.
It would be all too easy then to dismiss Justin Trawick, the latest addition to this saturated subgenre, on these same offenses. An admitted fan of everything from the summery pop of Jason Mraz to the somber alt-country of Ryan Adams, Trawick is even known to sport the occasional flat cap in performance. Though he possesses Mraz’s knack for lyrical spitfire and Jack Johnson’s penchant for irreverent summertime jams, Trawick is quickly emerging from the shadows of those chart topping giants.
The Washington, DC-based musician began turning heads a few years back when his growing fan base took notice of the unique musical fluency he possessed with diverging genres like pop, bluebrass, and hip hop. A core trio (upright bass and drums in addition to Trawick’s vocals and guitar) supplemented with a rotating cast of ensemble musicians, Trawick has been showcasing his self-described “urban folk rock” around the Mid-Atlantic region since his debut album dropped back in 2007. Now equipped with the limitless power of social networking sites like Myspace and Facebook, Trawick is looking to capitalize on the momentum he’s built up to this point with a 5-song EP that was inspired by a recent job loss and the subsequent decision to pursue music as a full-time career. Thankfully (and perhaps miraculously), Starting Over doesn’t fall victim to the same machinations and bland whimsies of so many other acoustic guitar-wielding dudes who came before him.
The leadoff track from the EP may be a tad off putting though, particularly if a tune like Mraz’s “Remedy” still causes you to cringe. With super choppy rhythm guitar and anxious drumming, “Snow Angels” finds Trawick singing in a ragged tone about the good times spent with a former lover. The song may be attempting to convey emotional distress, but with a shout along chorus (”Whoooaaaaaah!”) and some sprightly organ playing, it sounds better suited to hazy summer afternoons spent catching waves.
After the familiar territory of the opener, the next four tracks are a far more accurate depiction of the versatile songwriting that will hopefully garner Trawick some recognition on the national stage. Delivered in a weary drawl, “French Fries And Gravy” is Trawick’s push to move on with a new life while still holding onto pieces of the past. Over softly played drums and delicately plucked guitar, the song paints a humorous picture as it saunters along with lyrics like, “Sit back and talk about / startin’ all over / two cups of coffee / and kung fu Sudoku.” With just a pinch more twang (and glossier production), the song could probably find airplay on modern country radio. Love again takes center stage in “Untitled,” those this time the downtempo groove is tinged with melancholy notions instead of nostalgia. When the bass and drums comes crashing in after the first minute, Trawick goes into Michael Stipe mode, echoing the R.E.M singer’s stream of consciousness delivery on “E-Bow The Letter.”
The album’s final two tracks work well as a couplet, as they address similar sentiments and while also paying homage to older styles. “Moving On” (by far, the EP’s best tune) is a swampy blues stomper with tambourine and a walking bass line. There’s even a killer instrumental breakdown that features some harmonica and hand claps. Starting Over closes out with its subdued title track, a bluegrass-influenced affair that puts Trawick’s soul searching vocals and earthy guitar playing in the spotlight. “It’s not that easy / when you throw out the rule book,” he muses. How very right he is. But throwing out the rule book is also a lot more interesting. - Adam Costa, Adequacy.net

"Local Listens: Justin Trawick of the Justin Trawick Group"


The folk-rock group the Justin Trawick Group is led by mastermind Trawick, who rocks out on acoustic guitar and lead vocals. He’s been playing in Washington for about five years, and during that time, the other musicians have rotated in and out. The current lineup is composed of Jean Finstad (upright bass), Ben Tufts (drums), Josh Himmelsbach (electric guitar/mandolin), Ken Wenzel (saxophone), and Malik Starx (rhymes). The band has an extended family of musicians who help out on fiddle, cello, and the like on occasion.

Early inspiration for Trawick’s music came from playing at a retirement home on Tuesday nights with the Loudon Bluegrass Association—a group of people who Trawick says were four times his age. With influences such as G. Love and Special Sauce and Joe Purdy, Trawick combines blues, funk, and rock to create a sound that can be sustained through solo shows or with a full band.

He says he plays a variety of shows with usually one other member. “Most of the time it’s at least Jean and I,” he says of his upright bassist. “We have a good rapport onstage. But if we want to get the blood pumping and the crowd dancing, we add the rest of the guys: drums, sax, electric guitar, mandolin, rappers, and backup vocals.”

In the past, Trawick juggled a day job and an evening music career, but he finally quit the job to focus on music. Since then, he’s had time to record with some of his band members in South Carolina, and today he’ll present the final product—Starting Over—at the group’s CD release show at Iota.

If you can’t make it there, don’t fret: The group has shows lined up in Washington through March.

Learn more about Trawick in our Q&A below.

Name: Justin Trawick.

Age: 27.

Hometown: “Leesburg, Virginia . . . yes, where the outlet malls are.”

First song that made you want to play music:
“ ‘You Can’t Always Get What You Want’ by the Rolling Stones—by the way, the best driving song ever.”

First instruments:
“Piano and saxophone. Well, actually, the recorder was between those two.”

Local spot to seek inspiration or write music:
“A coffee shop somewhere or 3 AM on my bed at home in Arlington.”

Best local venue:
“Iota Club and Café in Arlington.”

Best bar to hear music:
“Iota has a bar.”

Favorite local band other than your own:
“These United States. They’re amazing. Oh, and Vandaveer and Last Train Home.”

Best thing about Washington’s music scene:
“There are lots of places to play.”

Worst thing about Washington’s music scene:
“They’re just not all on one street like in Austin.”

Craziest tour memory:
“We drove out to a show in West Virginia once to find out that the venue had gone out of business that morning. There was also the time that we were late to the show at the Purple Fiddle in Thomas, West Virginia. Being late to a show in the mountains and driving on roads with hairpin turns at night in the winter is really a bad idea and something we don’t try to do on a regular basis due to the fact that it’s very detrimental to your health. Wow, two stories from West Virginia.”

Finish this sentence: “When not making music, you can find me . . .”
“. . . drinking coffee, watching 24, Lost, and Heroes, and going to concerts . . . and drinking more coffee.”

Rolling Stones or Beatles?
“Rolling Stones, of course!”

Digital download or hard copy?
“Both. Buy the hard copy and put it on my iPod.”

Rolling Stone or Spin?
“Rolling Stone, of course!”

Club show or festival?

If you could listen to only one album for the rest of your life, which one would it be and why?
“Only one album? Well, it would have to be Jim Gaffigan’s Beyond the Pale. (You didn’t say it couldn’t be a comedy album!) Whenever we’re on tour, we listen to hours and hours of standup comedy. It helps pass the time and keeps us from killing each other.”

What’s the best thing about being in a band?
“Free food. Oh, and yes, we get to make music for a living . . . but really, the free food.”

When introducing your music to someone for the first time, what song do you play?
“My music spans a lot of different moods and styles, so when I play a song to someone for the first time it’s usually based on whomever I’m playing to and their background. You always have to judge your audience and play to them, or at least that’s what I do. Two years ago, we opened for the Ying Yang Twins (a hard-core Southern rap band) and so we played a bunch of upbeat, funky, hip-hop-type songs to a crowd who had never heard us before. Last summer, we opened for the Hackensaw Boys (a hard-core bluegrass band) and did an entire bluegrass set.”

What goals do you have for the group in 2009?
“Find a booking agent and a manager.”

Share | Print | Posted at 02:47 PM/ET, 01/23/2009 in Music, Interviews | Permalink | Comments (10) | TrackBacks(0) | Washingtonian.com Blogs

- Washingtonian.com 1/23/2009

"Job Close, Mic Open: Justin Trawick"


Job Closed, Mic Open: Justin Trawick

Justin Trawick band photo by Joseph Allen www.jallenimages.com
SINGER-SONGWRITER JUSTIN TRAWICK longed to leave his 9-to-5 gig behind and focus exclusively on his art. The sour economy has enabled Trawick and countless other dreamers to reach this goal even sooner than they had dared hope.

"As a musician, I always wanted to be able to quit my job, but I didn't think I had gotten to a level where I could comfortably do that," he said. "But I don't know when I would have had the guts to quit a job and try and do this full-time. Ultimately, losing my job was a good thing. It made me buckle-down and try to do what I really want to do in life. I don't want to be 50 years old and wish that I'd tried. I'd rather try and fail. About five days after losing my job, I sat down at about 3 a.m. and wrote ['Starting Over'] from beginning to end."

The naked, emotional, lyrically compelling "Starting Over" is a highlight of Trawick's new EP of the same name. The EP is full of pleasant, persistent hooks and invites comparisons to Jason Mraz, G. Love, Ani DiFranco and Dave Matthews. The common thread among all its songs is, Trawick believes, "The desire to throw away old things and start anew and make something of yourself before there's no time left."

Trawick has an edge on the average guitar-toting lad or lass trying to make it in this cold, cruel world: He enjoys the business of show business. Heck, he's so busy curating and promoting so many gigs, residencies and open-mics that one might view him as a budding curator.

Trawick told On Tap magazine that "I also love the business aspect of it all ... making contacts, networking, booking shows, and promoting." When asked about this quote, the guitarist told Express, "When I was in college, my dream was always to apply to work for the William Morris Agency — one of the biggest talent agencies in the world. I want to be a musician and I feel very strongly about what I do and my struggle to pay rent is the archetypal musician lifestyle — but if I ever get to a point where I felt like, 'Well, I tried' — then I would consider becoming an agent or a band manager. And that's why I do the open-mic nights and produce shows around town — because I like the business aspect of it and I like putting together bills. I like getting exposure that's not even for being a musician, but for putting together cohesive, successful shows."

He has very busy gig schedule, playing both solo and with his band up and down the East Coast. "We are just hitting the bricks as hard as we possibly can. My band has monthly residences in D.C., Richmond and Alexandria. We're playing avidly in Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York and West Virginia." Trawick also books a local showcase at The Red and the Black and also runs the open-mic series at the Vienna venue Coffihouse.

The local open-mic scene has been instrumental to Trawick's success, offering him a stage and a community when he was starting out. "The best open mic in town is Iota's," he said, "because it has the highest amount of active musicians that play there on a regular basis. It's a great outlet. I would say that playing there on a weekly basis over the last three or four years really, really helped my career. I owe them a lot.

"What's cool about an open-mic is: If you go there a couple of weeks in a row, you begin to see relationships between people build," Trawick continued. "They start out as strangers, not really knowing anyone and they start talking to each other — finding out if they're in a band, find out if they're playing around town. I've made a lot of my best friends and even a lot of my bandmates at open-mics."

The man may struggle to pay his rent, but this still seems like it beats working.

» Kennedy Center, Millennium Stage, 2700 F St. NW; Wed., Jan, 28 p.m., free; 202-467-4600. (Foggy Bottom-GWU)

Written by Express contributor Tim Follos - Washington Post Express 1/27/2009


Justin Trawick's debut album entitled "How to Build a Life With a Lemonade Stand" can be purchased on iTunes and Amazon.com.

"Live at IOTA" (May 2008) can be purchased at CDBaby, iTunes, Amazon.com and any live show.

"Starting Over" EP (Jan 2009) can be purchased at CDBaby, iTunes, Amazon.com and any live show.

Streaming music can be found at www.justintrawick.com.

"Kool Kids" and "Sunshine" currently have radio airplay on DC101

Also check him out on www.pandora.com and www.youtube.com/justintrawick



Somewhere in-between John Prine and Jason Mraz lies Justin Trawick, a Washington, DC based singer-songwriter working hard to etch his name in musical history. Winner of the 2006 Emerging Artist Contest at the Takoma Park Folk Festival, he has played repeated performances at DC area venues such as the 9:30 Club, IOTA, Jammin Java, the Kennedy Center�s Millennium Stage, and more. Justin has toured the east coast, performing at prominent out-of-town venues like World Caf� Live, the Knitting Factory and even Antones in Austin, Texas. He has shared the stage with nationally renowned artists and bands like Brett Dennen, Pat Green, Bob Schneider, Blues Traveler, Sara Bareilles, Pat McGee, Ingram Hill, Edwin McCain, Corey Harris, Tyrone Wells, The Hackensaw Boys, The Gourds, Cowboy Mouth, Emmet Swimming,and even KC and the Sunshine Band!

Describing his music as �urban folk rock�, Justin has a sound ranging from folk to bluegrass, and even acoustic funk-infused hip-hop. He performs both solo and with varying members of his eight-piece band, which consists of acoustic guitar, upright bass, drums, violin, mandolin, saxophone, cello, and hand percussion. His lyrics are gritty yet sweet, often referencing lessons learned or hopes for a better future. His debut album, "How to Build a Life With a Lemonade Stand," is a drums-on-the-steering-wheel ride through thirteen songs captured live just as if he were playing in your living room. Justin released the record entitled "How To Build a Life With a Lemonade Stand" in February 2007. He has followed that up with his latest full-length album "Live at IOTA" which is a great demonstration of how Justin and his band have grown in a year. "Live at IOTA" was released May 2008 and he has worked extremely hard to continue to grow his already sizeable fan base.

Press Quotes and Accolades
"Our very own John Mayer"
- Washington Post

�Finally, someone with real talent!�
- Bob Boilen, Host of All Songs Considered on NPR

�A familiar blend of acoustic guitar, jaunty attitude, and rapid-fire lyrics...�
- On Tap Magazine

�Rootsy and upbeat with an urban feel... a little bit funky and definitely soulful..."
- NBC4

�Justin Trawick and his band provided the perfect soundtrack to more than 1600 attendees at our event on the National Mall.�
- Tara deNicolas, Director of Marketing & Communications, Washington Humane Society

Venues Performed:
930 Club, Kennedy Center Millennium Stage, The Birchmere, State Theatre, IOTA, Jammin Java, The 8x10, Starr Hill, Knitting Factory, Arlenes Grocery, Sullivan Hall, Grape Street, The Tin Angel, The Purple Fiddle, Antones (TX), and many more...

Colleges Performed:
Virginia Commonwealth University, University of Virginia, Shippensburg University, Hampden Sydney College, Longwood University, William and Mary, George Mason University.