In the City of Falls Church, live music remains a popular entertainment escape for locals. One of the longest, featured acts in the city has been the Shartel and Hume Duo, formed by Steve Shartel and Bob Hume.
Since 1998, the Shartel and Hume Duo — formerly The Bob and Jerry Show until 2011 — have been covering songs from The Beatles, the Grateful Dead, Elton John and more, as well as performing a few original songs written by Shartel.
“We like to take a different approach to songs you know,” Shartel said.
Rhythm guitar player and vocalist Shartel said he started playing guitar at the age of 13 and singing by 16. Influenced by listening to the artists and bands his older siblings would listen to, Shartel played in various college bands before settling in Northern Virginia and meeting Hume.
Hume, who is the lead guitarist of the duo, was raised in Falls Church and taught to play guitar at the age of 11 by a teacher at Foxes Music Company — a local, independent business that offers lessons and instruments. Following this “fortunate experience,” Hume went on to play in jazz and pep bands in high school, later playing with “Elvis impersonators,” folk groups and more as he got older.
As fate would have it, Shartel and Hume would meet at the Courtyard Cafe — a business off of Route 50 that has since been closed. Hume was performing at the cafe with another person, when Shartel said he noticed “how good he was.” Shartel was in need of a partner for his acoustic duo, so Hume gave him his card. The rest is history.
Some of the duo’s first gigs were at various places in Northern Virginia, but they have become a popular act at JV’s Restaurant in the Little City, due to owner Lorraine Campbell.
“[Lorraine] gave us an opportunity [at JV’s] to kind of blossom and have consistent gigs,” Shartel said. “It’s sort of our special place to play.”
Hume said one of his favorite parts of performing with Shartel is the large amount of guitar interplay the two get to do together.
“The great thing about Steve is that he really does listen,” Hume said. “Our songs are different because he’s listening to what I’m doing and he reacts to it.”
As for Shartel, the music played between him and Hume is “very organic,” due to it being just vocals and guitars being performed on stage.
“We’re able to adjust and kind of improvise much more quickly and creatively without worrying about a bunch of other musicians on stage that are not going to get the cue,” Shartel said.
The future of the duo is simple: Shartel and Hume both stated that they enjoy playing with each other and hope to still perform together as the years go on, with the chance of playing at bigger venues at some point.
“We’re sort of realistic about the fact that we just want to keep playing as much as we can and be healthy and enjoy it,” Shartel said.