File photo

Eight musical acts took the stage in front of a (social-distanced) crowd at the Charleston Music Hall on Friday — the group’s first show together since they cut a record back in October.

Friday’s Music Hall Stage Sessions concert celebrated the release of a showcase album recorded last year as the venue remained closed due to COVID-19. The record includes offerings from Native Son, Invisible Low End Power, Babe Club, Marcus Amaker’s tape loop and others.

Singer-songwriters Grace Joyner and Mel Washington were among those who played Friday.

Joyner said she got tired of virtual shows pretty quickly | Photo by Jess Spence

“It was great to see everyone again and be around some of the people that we used to see on a regular basis, in the music community, but haven’t really in the last year,” Joyner told the City Paper. “That was kind of cool to just be able to reconnect to your music again.”

“It kind of reminded me of part of why I love music,” she said, saying Friday’s show was her first in front of an audience since last March. “When COVID first happened, I did a few of those virtual shows, but I quickly got pretty sick of that.”

Washington has been playing smaller shows, but said being back on stage with a band was “an incredible and humbling experience.”

Washington has gigged around, but said it was good to be back on stage at CMH | Provided

“My experience over the last few months has been mostly playing cover songs in bars in a corner,” he said. “It was also incredible to share the stage with some amazing friends and musicians.”

“One thing that stood out the most was the joy you could see on the faces of the folks in the crowd,” Washington told the City Paper, noting “the sheer pleasure of safely enjoying live music again with other people rather than behind a computer screen.”

Charleston Music Hall Stage Sessions vol. 1 is available on vinyl on the charlestonmusichall.com merch shop or at Record Stop (43 John St.). The digital album is available for purchase on Bandcamp.