Watch Night ringing in 2014 with Justin Trawick.

By on December 28, 2013

Watch Night revelers will be ringing in 2014 with singer-songwriter Justin Trawick.

A frequent performer at local venues like Iota Club and Café and the 9:30 club, the Leesburg native has been likened to John Mayer and Jason Mraz for his solo shows on guitar. But performing as a one-man act is only a part of Trawick’s varied musical life.

Variety is important for a musician, Trawick explained: sometimes, you just have to spice things up.

In 2008, he founded The 9 Songwriter Series, a collective of musicians based in the Washington, D.C. area that has played shows all along the East Coast. That was the same year he gave up working nine-to-five jobs to pursue music full-time – leaving behind the burden of clocking out, driving to gigs, and returning in the wee hours of the morning so he could do it all over again.

This past summer, Trawick launched a podcast called “The Circus Life” with sound engineer Sean Russell of Falls Church’s Cue Recording Studios. Recorded at Cue and released every Tuesday, the podcast features guest interviews, live musical performances, and some storytelling and banter from all involved.

Trawick plays solo shows regularly, but also performs with a band – two bands, to be precise, one that does rock and roll and another with a roots music sound.

The latter, Justin Trawick and The Common Good, will be headlining Falls Church’s New Year’s Eve celebration. With frontman Trawick on acoustic guitar, the band includes Josh Himmelsbach on mandolin and banjo, Jean Finstad on upright bass, and Peter Daniels on fiddle.

The recent endeavor has been a return to early musical experiences for Trawick. After discovering his father’s plywood guitar as an eighth-grader and developing an immediate interest in the instrument, he learned how to play with a group of bluegrass musicians that met at a Leesburg retirement home. It was there that he developed an appreciation for old-time sounds.

The songs they play as The Common Good, the songs audiences will hear on New Year’s Eve, could work in other formats – rock or even hip hop, Trawick explained. But the Americana lineup offers some variety, and not just for listeners.

“Being able to reinvent yourself or do songs in different formats makes it fun for everybody, including the musicians that are playing,” Trawick said.

The roots music isn’t the only thing that has Trawick thinking of his younger days. Watch Night is a reminder of the kind of New Year’s Eve celebrations he grew up attending in Leesburg, which is one reason he’s particularly excited to help Falls Church celebrate. And listeners can expect upbeat tunes to help them say goodbye to 2013 and hello to 2014.

“For that moment, they can just have a good time, dance to a good beat, and think back on the good year they had and an upcoming better year,” Trawick said. “People want to be entertained. If the band’s having fun, people will be having fun, and we’re going to be having a good time.”

• For more information about Justin Trawick, visit

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