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Celebrating Pennsylvania Music, Present and Past

Archive for the category “Live Events”

KIX is Coming Back to Central PA

February 25, 2014
by Travis Fisher

Kix-CoolKids Thirty plus years ago, in 1981, the Maryland based band, KIX came to Sunbury, PA for the first time. At that time “The Dirty Boys of the Underground” played at the legendary Market Street movie theater, The Strand. Although the band has played in this area for the past few years, this show promises to be more of a flash back to the “The Strand” days. Fisher Promotions is putting together several things that will help the crowd relive those times. A movie and a live recording of the last KIX show at The Strand from 1986 will be shown. A special nostalgic t-shirt will be sold at the event for all to purchase. Along with that two guitars will be autographed by the entire KIX band and raffled off.

Get your tickets as soon as possible as this event has been sold out each year. The show takes places at The Wharf, in Hummel’s Wharf, PA Saturday, March 22nd. Doors open at 6:00pm and show time is set for 7:00pm. Openers include up and coming promisors The Small Town Titans and Gun Metal Gray. Tickets are $35.00 and can be purchased at The Wharf, any Surplus Outlet (Northumberland, Berwick or Montgomery), K&S Music (Paxinos), PayPal (twpf71@yahoo.com) or by calling Fisher Promotions at (570) 847-1946.

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Rooftop Concert

October 4, 2013
By Karyn Albano

Badlees on the rooftop, 10/03/13

The Badlees performed a unique show last night on the rooftop of the brand new 1500 building in downtown Harrisburg. This was a sort of pre-release party complete with food, drinks, and a fantastic birds-eye of downtown Harrisburg and points beyond. The official release of their new double CD, Epiphones and Empty Rooms, will be tonight at the Whitaker Center in Harrisburg.

The 1500 building in Harrisburg, PaThe rooftop event was hosted by Howard Hanna Realtors who got to showcase the panoramic views from high atop this new building filled with chic, modern industrial condos. The sound system was kind of low key – but the sound carried for blocks despite being eight stories up. Opening the night was singer / songwriter Jett Prescott, who performed a mix of covers and originals on guitar and piano.

The Badlees show consisted of a mix of songs past along with select new songs. They played a handful of the 21 tracks on Epiphones and Empty Rooms, including “World in the Way”, “Falling Behind”, “Wanderlust”, “Vigilante for the Golden Rule”, and the infectious funk of “Nothing Like the Real Thing”. However, the true show-stopper of the evening was a mainly acoustic performance of “Two States”. This song from their last album Love Is Rain (and which we used as the title of our review of that album) has been rarely performed live and the slightly different arrangement last night was emotionally stirring. Other highlights from the show included “Silly Little Man” with dueling guitar leads, a reciprocal dueling harmonica/violin lead on “Spending My Inheritance”, and an acoustic/dulcimer rendition of “Last Great Act of Defiance” from the groups very first EP, nearly a quarter century ago.

In all, the event was a laid back and intimate experience with band members mingling through the crowd (and standing in line for drinks along with everyone else) and a pleasant evening to enjoy the show under October skies. Best of all, we got our copy of Epiphones and Empty Rooms to enjoy on the ride home and will be providing a review of that album next week.

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Slaughter Playing Central Pa.

September 20, 2013
by Travis Fisher

SlaughterRock group Slaughter will be visiting the Susquehanna Valley on Saturday, October 5th when they perform at the Hummels Wharf Fire Company in Selinsgrove, Pa. Formed in Las Vegas in 1988, the group consists of guitarist/vocalist Mark Slaughter, bassist Dana Strum, drummer Blas Elias and lead guitarist Jeff “Blando” Bland.

The group reached national prominence in 1990 with the release of their debut album Stick It to Ya, which spawned three Top 40 singles along with heavy radio rotation and an appearance in a major motion picture. Since then, the group has remained in tact as touring and recording artists.

 
Opening the show for Slaughter will be two Pennsylvania hard rock groups, Kill Scheme and Gun Metal Gray. Ticket and other information on the event can be found through Fisher Promotions (570.847.1946).

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Philly Walk of Fame Inductees

September 13, 2013
By Randy Alexander

Philadelphia Music AllianceThe Philadelphia Music Alliance Walk of Fame, a living tribute to Philadelphia’s rich music history along the Avenue of the Arts, will welcome nine new inductees next month. Led by “soul monsters” MFSB Orchestra, the Salsoul Orchestra, and John Davis & the Monster Orchestra, the musicians, string, horn, rhythm players and voices who performed the music were men and women, young and old and from all backgrounds who collectively captured a moment with their talents to make that sound world-famous in the 1970s. “Dean of American Folk DJs” Gene Shay; producer and label executive Joel Dorn; songwriting team Madara & White; producer-songwriter-publisher Jerry Ross; producer-arranger-conductor Vince Montana Jr., and Macy’s Grand Court organist Peter Richard Conte also will be honored as recipients of the 114th through 122nd commemorative bronze plaques along the Avenue of the Arts. Ceremonies, free and open to the public, are scheduled for Thursday, October 24th at Noon in front of the Doubletree Hotel along the Avenue of the Arts.

The induction of this diverse group of legends furthers the renewed commitment by the Philadelphia Music Alliance (PMA) to shed new light on the City’s cultural legacy and incredible contribution to the world of music past, present and future as a major tourist attraction. This agenda to recognize more local music greats in all genres is part of the community based, non-profit organization’s overall mission to encourage the creation, celebration and historical preservation of Philadelphia music, and the foundation of a renewed commitment to schedule multiple induction ceremonies each year.

Karen Lewis, executive director of the Avenue of the Arts (AAI), said,

We’re excited about the ongoing resurgence of the Walk of Fame as it represents a unique opportunity to recognize Philadelphia legends. And as the premier destination for performing arts, the Avenue of the Arts is the perfect location for this tribute…”

MFSB Orchestra – Motown had the Funk Brothers, but Philadelphia International Records had MFSB (Mother Father Sister Brother), the pool of more than 30 studio musicians based at Philly’s famed Sigma Sound Studios. The orchestra was created by Kenny Gamble, Leon Huff and Thom Bell, and backed up such artists as Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes, the O’Jays, the Stylistics, the Spinners, Wilson Pickett, and Billy Paul. The Philadelphia Music Alliance sends its condolences to the family of Bobby Martin, a top arranger, conductor and composer for MFSB, often referred to as “The Granddaddy of R&B and Soul,” whose passing was announced earlier this week.

Salsoul Orchestra – Consisting of most of the original members of MFSB, they became the backing band for acts on Salsoul Records, and recorded several hit singles and albums between 1975 and 1982. Their music featured elements of Philadelphia soul, funk, Latin and disco. The Salsoul Orchestra included up to 50 members with instrumental sections, arrangers and conductors. The Salsoul Orchestra was conducted by Vincent Montana, Jr., who passed away earlier this year amid plans for his Walk of Fame induction. Their song, “Love Break (Ooh I Love It)” has been sampled in several rap songs and most notably, in Madonna’s “Vogue.”

John Davis & the Monster Orchestra – A disco band noted for their lead member (John “the Monster” Davis), who lent his name and produced all of their output. The title track from their 1976 debut album, a cover of Cole Porter’s “Night and Day,” is now a classic Disco hit and on almost every DJ’s playlist. Original disco hits followed, including “Up Jumped the Devil,” “The Magic is You,” “Ain’t That Enough for You” and “Love Magic.”

Vince Montana Jr. – The producer, arranger, conductor and legendary vibraharpist was a key MFSB rhythm section member and developer of “The Philly Sound,” creator of the Salsoul Orchestra, Montana Orchestra and Goody Goody. As the creative and driving force behind the Salsoul Orchestra, Montana was a dance pioneer of the Disco Era, and created signature club classics on his own Philly Sound Works label, with countless gold and platinum albums to his name.

Gene ShayWXPN‘s Grandfather of Philadelphia Folk Music and Dean of American Folk DJs has produced weekly folk radio shows in Philadelphia for 51 years, and is a founder of the Philadelphia Folk Festival and the Philadelphia Folksong Society. He was the first promoter to bring Bob Dylan to Philadelphia and as an advertising writer and producer, wrote the original radio commercials for Woodstock. Shay came up with the name “World Café” for David Dye’s nationally syndicated radio show, produced at WXPN, where he continues to produce his live weekly “Folk Show” every Sunday.

Joel Dorn – One of the most prominent producers in pop and jazz, Dorn helmed records from some of the biggest names in music, among them Charles Mingus, and the Allman Brothers Band. He began his career in 1961 as a disc jockey with Philadelphia jazz station WHAT-FM; and gained fame as a producer and A&R executive at Atlantic Records, producing Roberta Flack hits “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” and “Killing Me Softly”; the Keith Jarrett & Gary Burton album; and Bette Midler’s debut album, The Divine Miss M. Other performers Dorn worked with included the Neville Brothers, Leon Redbone, Lou Rawls, and Asleep at the Wheel.

Madara & White – Best known for transforming a song called “Do the Bop” for the Juvenaires into “At the Hop” for Danny and the Juniors, and the rest is history. Johnny Madara and Dave White went on to contribute to more than 200 million in sales with hits like “Rock and Roll Is Here To Stay” (Danny and The Juniors), “The Fly” (Chubby Checker), “1-2-3″ (Len Barry) and “You Don’t Own Me” (Lesley Gore).

Jerry Ross – Record producer, songwriter, publisher and record company executive, Ross is credited with discovering Kenny Gamble as a teen and later collaborating with Gamble & Huff on the Motown smash, “I’m Gonna Make You Love Me”, recorded most famously by Diana Ross & the Supremes together with The Temptations. Ross also discovered, wrote or produced such million-sellers as “Sunday Will Never Be the Same” (Spanky & Our Gang), “Apples, Peaches, Pumpkin Pie” (Jay & the Techniques), “Sunny” (Bobby Hebb), “Venus” (Shocking Blue) and many more. Next to Cameo/Parkway and Gamble & Huff, Jerry Ross has written, developed and produced more hit records than any other Philadelphia producer.

Peter Richard Conte – The longtime Macy’s Grand Court Organist was appointed in 1989, and is only the fourth person to hold that title since the organ was first played in 1911. Mr. Conte is highly regarded as a skillful performer and arranger of organ transcriptions. His monthly radio show, The Wanamaker Organ Hour, airs on the first Sunday of each month and can be heard worldwide via the Internet at WRTI.org.

The Philadelphia Music Alliance was founded in June 1986 as a community based, not-for-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of Philadelphia as a vital contributor to the international music landscape. The Alliance also serves as a resource to students, educators, musicians, city agencies, and other cultural institutions. In 2008, the Philadelphia International Airport unveiled an exhibition spotlighting the Walk of Fame and the City’s contribution to American music to visitors from all over the world. The Walk of Fame is a stunning demonstration of the great talent that Philadelphia has produced. This talent spans many musical genres and time periods, and includes Leopold Stokowski, Frankie Avalon, the Dixie Hummingbirds, Patti LaBelle, Hall & Oates, Solomon Burke, Marian Anderson, Mario Lanza, John Coltrane, Todd Rundgren, McCoy Tyner, Kenny Gamble, Leon Huff, Teddy Pendergrass and Dick Clark.

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The Badlees at Briggs

 
Briggs Farm Blues Festival 2013

July 15, 2013
By Ric Albano and Gary Neiswender

The Badlees on the Back Porch at BriggsOn Saturday evening, The Badlees performed on the “back porch” stage during the Briggs Farm Blues Festival. While many wondered prior to the show how the long time Pennsylvania pop/rock group would go over at this Blues festival, the band left little doubt that they belonged (and should have been on the main stage). Playing as a four-piece fronted by guitarist and chief songwriter Bret Alexander, the Badlees crafted some totally new arrangements of a balanced mixture of originals and covers.

They opened their set with the new song “Vigilante for the Golden Rule”, which will be included on their upcoming double album due to be released in October. This song struck a chord immediately due to its sharp descending riff rock in between the upbeat and catchy, blues verses. The group followed this up with a totally new arrangement of “Memphis Restroom” from Bret Alexander’s 2004 solo album Gentleman East. Especially impressive during this segment was bassist Paul Smith who employed a boogie-blues technique similar to John Paul Jones on early Zeppelin Material.

An extended version of the band’s “Silly Little Man” was performed and featured a long, dueling guitar section with Alexander and the group’s second guitarist Dustin Drevitch. While just about every song featured new or alternate versions, some songs did not work as well as others. These include some extra-twangy versions of “Angeline Is Coming Home” and “Drive Back Home”, which seemed a bit out of place among the rest of the material. But these were the exceptions to an otherwise brilliant set.

Drummer Ron Simasek, who before the show claimed he was not even aware if the band was performing an acoustic or electric set on the back porch, left no doubt about his ability to improvise with an incredible performance that brought down the house (..eh, tent). In fact, the rhythm section of Smith and Simasek were particularly brilliant on this humid summer day of mostly standard blues rhythms.

Some other highlights of the Badlees’ set included updated arrangements of blues and Americana standards, such as Tom Waits’ “Way Down In a Hole” and the long-time band live staple “The Battle of New Orleans”. On two songs, the band was also joined by a other Briggs performing musicians. Vocalist Ed Randazzo came onstage to sing his soulful version of “Didn’t It Rain”, while blues harp specialist James Owens joined the group for a powerful cover of Steppenwolf’s “The Pusher”. The crowd, which swelled well beyond the boundaries of the large tent, were ever more enthusiastic with each performance.

We have seen the Badlees perform scores of times over their career, which is now nearly a quarter of a century old. On Saturday, we expected to find little surprises during their 75-minute set, but were pleasantly surprised by this unique and powerful performance on the back porch at Briggs Farm.

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Brigg’s Farm Blues Festival

Briggs BannerLocated in Nescopeck Township, PA, Briggs Farm holds its annual Blues Festival each July. This ever-growing, two-day festival is open to all ages, priced relatively cheap, has free parking, camping, and let’s you set up your own picnic area on their large, amphitheater-like lawn. There are two stages with simultaneous music and plenty of food and craft vendors on site, including Briggs world-famous, farm fresh roasted sweet corn and plenty of “soul food” to compliment the blues music. They even offer a free hayride through the farm to take in the rural scenery of the beautiful Luzerne County valley.

Like previous years, the 16th annual festival of 2013 featured a mixture of National, Regional, and International Blues Bands.

  • Mac Arnold has played with Muddy Waters as well as a long list of major rock, R&B and blues artists, He accepted a Blues Music Award for his participation on the 1966 recording Muddy Waters – Authorized Bootleg: Live at the Fillmore Auditorium.
  • The Badlees from Northeast Pa. and have come back to Briggs 15 years after they were part of the inaugural festival in 1998. More on the Badlees performance.
  • Terry “Harmonica” Bean was taught how to play the blues by his sharecropper father in Pontotoc, MS. He is engaging as both a one man band playing harmonica, guitar and foot percussion as well as the leader of a full blues band.
  • Lurrie Bell is recognized as an exceptionally talented guitarist and musician known for his mastery of different blues styles, his soulfulness and his musical maturity. He is the son of famed blues harmonica player Carey Bell and grew up with Chicago Blues legends all around him.
  • Georgie Bonds is from Philadelphia, where his training as a blacksmith inspired him to develop his hobby of making up songs for his own entertainment. His voice is at once smooth and warm but also has the power to shake the walls.
  • Cedric Burnside is the grandson of legendary R.L. Burside and is renowned as one of the best drummers in the world. He is also known for his mastery of open tuned guitar.
  • Eli Cook has been called a “young gun with an old soul”. He is known for his elegant guitar work and ability to fuse the blues with his rock influences.
  • The Kinsey Report hails from Gary, IN and plays a funk infused blues rock with a heavy reggae influences.
  • Jesse Loewy is a young Pennsylvania artist who taught himself to play by watching DVDs of Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughn. He has appeared with Ron E Kayfield and Lonnie Shields and gives a surprisingly mature performance despite his limited years.
  • Nate Myers and the Aces are a Central PA band led by vocalist Nate Myers and his harmonica. They play a unique mix of American music that weaves blues, funk and rock into their own unique thing.
  • James Owens and Dustin Drevitch – James learned to play harmonica from legends like Terry Harmonica Bean, Harper and Mikey Junior and has appeared in 15 of the 16 Briggs Farm Blues festivals. Dustin is formally of Lemongelli and also performs with the Badlees as their second guitarist.
  • Ed Randazzo delivers original blues and puts his own mark on some classics with his deep, emotive voice that commands your attention from the very first note.
  • Shakura S’Aida is a truly international artist – a Canadian, born in Brooklyn, and raised in Switzerland. She has a soulful voice and a vibrant personality which really connects with her audience.
  • Lonnie Shields is a Delta born guitarist, singer and songwriter. He delivers a soulful mix of blues, soul, funk and gospel in his powerful, emotional performances. He feeds the crowd both musically and literally, as he also makes barbecue at the festival.
  • Clarence Spady is from Scranton, Pa. where he learned the blues from his father and began performing B.B. King and James Brown tunes for his classmates in kindergarten.
  • Symphonic Haze is a progressive rock band hailing from nearby Berwick, Pa.

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The Hooters Appreciation Day

The Hooters perform at the state capitol

A couple of weeks ago, the Pennsylvania State Senate voted on a resolution to declare April 30th “Hooters Music Appreciation Day” in the state. The resolution, sponsored by Senator Daylin Leach, passed unanimously and The Hooters have cemented their place in the PA history books. The band accepted the award today and celebrated the occasion by treating some fans to a lunchtime concert in the Capitol Rotunda in Harrisburg.

Senator Leach introduced the band and presented the framed resolution and explained that despite the many other important matters the senate has to discuss and vote upon, it is important to recognize the arts as well. The senator praised the band’s contributions to the state of Pennsylvania. April 30th marks the band’s “33 1/3rd anniversary” together, with “33 1/3″ also being the title of their upcoming European tour this summer.

The band was set up on the lower level of the rotunda so the crowd was gathered on both levels, when the band stage, the audience greeted them with warm applause. They kicked off with the energetic and uplifting “I’m Alive” from their 2007 album, Time Stand Still. A group of school children were dancing and enjoying the show right alongside the folks in business attire and the fans in Hooters t-shirts. It was almost a bit surreal seeing a rock band getting a crowd going like that in the middle of a work day.

The fun continued with a parade of hits from the late 1980s including “Day by Day”, “All You Zombies”, “Satellite”, “Karla With a K”, “And We Danced”, and “Beat Up Guitar”. This is music with heart and soul and it was inspiring to see such a diverse group enjoying the show.

The Hooters may have made their biggest national splash in the 1980′s, but they are still going strong 33 1/3 years later.

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Little Buffalo Festival 2012

October 8, 2012
By Karyn Albano

Jeffery GainesThis past Saturday (October 6th) was the annual Little Buffalo Arts Festival, at the Little Buffalo State Park in a remote area of Perry County, Pennsylvania. Along with art, poetry, kids activities and food, was some great free music on two stages. On the main stage was entertainment by five different acts of diverse music which ranged from a high school marching band to a national recording artist and many degrees in-between. This is the second year we’re covering the music from this festival and the second year it was headlined by Jeffrey Gaines. Last year we did an article at DAMES of PA called Gaines and the Rain at Little Buffalo. Unlike last year, however, the rain held off and the crisp fall day ended with lots of sunshine.

Following the Trinity High School Percussion Ensemble whih started off the entertainment on the main stage, the acoustic quartet Koretzky, Neidig, Gehret & Campbell took the stage. These seasoned musicians with decades of combined experieince, played a pleasant set with a haunting quality in the mixture of acoustic bass, guitar, mandolin, banjo, and various other instruments. Guitarist Kevin Neidig performed lead vocals on the original songs, which had a mild “outlaw country” vibe.

Next came another 4-piece group, The Reese Project, who focused primarily on instrumental jazz with piano, flute, bass, and drums. While all members here were excellent performers, particularly interesting was Laurie Haines Reese on electric cello, who alternated between using her instrument as an acoustic bass and cello.

Central-PA’s princes of power pop/rock, The JellyBricks followed with a high energy performance of original music, drawing from material that spanned their 15 year career. The band has a creative knack for songwriting with straightforward, witty lyrics, lots of guitar hooks and a tight musical performance. The song hooks draw you in and hold onto you until the final notes of their energetic and entertaining live performance.

As a transition to his headlining set, Gaines joined the Jellybricks on stage for an inspired rendition of Elvis Costello’s “Peace Love and Understanding”. Unlike last year, when Gaines played a solo acoustic set, he was backed up by a rhythm section made up of bassist Mike Giblin of Parallax Project and Jellybricks’ drummer Tom Kristich, who stayed on for both sets. Gaines professed his positive outlook on love, happy for every opportunity, happy for every day and that comes across in his music and  live performance. He was very interactive, telling the crowd to “get up, dance and be spontaneous”. Gaines, a Harrisburg native who now lives in Philadelphia, went through a whole bunch of originals, spanning his entire career, which is now into its third decade.

The Little Buffalo Festival had an audience that seemed to appreciate diversity in their music, which was alluded to when Larry Kennedy of the Jellybricks thanked the crowd for accepting their all-original performance and not calling for “Freebird”. A little bit of everything was packed into this autumn afternoon at this normally quiet and remote state park.

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The Reese Project
The Jellybricks
Jeffrey Gaines

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The King Street Coffee House
Kicks Off Their 17th Season

September 27, 2012
By Brenda Brosius

King Street Coffeehouse logoCreated back in January of 1996, a small group of members of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Susquehanna Valley gathered at the Priestley Chapel in Northumberland, Pa. They had found that the Central Susquehanna Valley, local musicians and music lovers in the area had a need. This small group comprised of music lovers, musicians and UUCSV members had a possible solution to this need.

They wanted to create a new venue for local musicians and music lovers to gather. Hence…….The birth of The King Street Coffeehouse.

It began with three acts, twice a month for four months. They built a lineup of local performers. In the beginning they found local groups and businesses to host the shows. Now seventeen years later, there are shows every second and fourth Friday of the month. The season runs from September until April and in January there are shows every Friday night. What an achievement to have grown from eight shows a year to eighteen!

Hosting the venue for the past several years has been Townside Garden at 253 Front Street in Northumberland, PA. Cost for each show? $7 at the door. The money collected at the door goes to the performer and the venue for use of the space. The King Street Coffeehouse itself gets no money. It has been manned by a devoted group of volunteers over the years.

The season begins this Friday September 28th at 7pm.


Here is the schedule for the 2012-2012 Season. Doors open at 6pm and there are beverages, deserts and light snacks available to purchase.

September 28, 2012 Alf Bashore, Don Shappelle, & Chicken Tractor
October 12, 2012 Lester Hirsh, Kevin Neidig, & Jim Dandy
October 26, 2012 Phil Brosius and Shirl Harris, Earl Pickens, & Buc Hill Aces
November 9, 2012 Tom Patten, Kimbo and Bryan, & Mid Life Cowboys
November 23, 2012 Tom Fladmark, Degrees of Syncopation, & Michi Eggar
December 14, 2012 Chris Whitmer, Susquehanna String Theory, & Gift Troutman and Gift
January 4, 2013 Dawson, Leo Armbruster, & Lux Bridge
January 11, 2013 * Nate Myers Trio, Ann Kerstetter, & Frank Wicher
January 18, 2013 John Sweeney, Steve Quelet, & Don and ED
January 25, 2013 Garry Gyekis, Bill Eck, & DePortorLand
February 8, 2013 Eric Sundberg, Antonio Andrade, & Lawson and Disorder
February 22, 2013 Gypsy Lizards, Doug and Hannah, & Bruce Barr
March 8, 2013 Juice, Don Mease — Full Circle, & Stained Grass Window
March 22, 2013 Tom Rosencrans, Jack Brunner, & Jeremy DePrisco
April 5, 2013 ** Chris Carithers, KJ, & Van Wagner
April 19, 2013 Quentin Feitner, Mandolin Ensemble, & Rich Ahern

* Anniversary Show
** Change to First Friday
 

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Darcie Miner Sounds Like Summer

June 15, 2012
By J.D. Cook


Darcie MinerThe sun has been bright and the skies have been blue, but for me it didn’t feel quite like summer until Thursday, June 14th. You see, at the beginning of almost every summer in recent memory I have seen Pennsylvania’s best kept secret, Darcie Miner, perform. So it was not until I saw her on Thursday with guitarist Jimmy Patton on the lawn in front of the Cocoa Beanery coffee shop in Hershey, PA that it really felt like summer had arrived.

This is my first summer in three years in which I am not romantically linked to anyone, and Miner’s songs about heartbreak and broken relationships spoke to me with a fresh voice. Two summers ago when I was on a ‘break’ with my past girlfriend, I thought I completely understood the meanings behind Miner and Patton’s work on their fantastic 2009 album Loneliness Anonymous (read my review of that here). This is a mistake many people make with good music. We’ve all heard a song so much we believe we’ve mastered it, and then we hear it somewhere down the line and new layers of understanding reveal themselves. It is a testament to Miner’s talent that her songs sound better every time I hear them. It also points to the problems with a lot of today’s modern pop music; much of it has little to no depth, while bands such as Rush, Led Zeppelin, and Pink Floyd continue to be revisited, talked about, and discussed. OK, I’ll hop off of my soap box and return to the review at hand.
This was the first time in nearly a year since Darcie Miner performed live and it did show at times, with some hesitations, false starts, and Darcie’s own admittance to using lyric sheets to guide her along. There were also a few technical difficulties during the two-set performance, but none of this really affected my enjoyment of the show and Miner played off the problems with humorous comments and witty banter. She has a naturally good stage presence, which can easily cover up mistakes or instrument malfunctions.

Jimmy Patton and Darcie MinerSince this performance did not include a full band one would naturally think some of the songs from Loneliness Anonymous would not sound quite as textured. On the contrary, one of my favorite songs from that album, “Rollerskating Song” sounded great despite the lack of synthesizers and other instruments that make up its bulk. All of the songs sounded pretty good bare bones with her on acoustic and Patton on electric or steel guitar. There were also a few fun covers such as “Breakdown” by Tom Petty in which Miner’s soulful voice added a new layer to the classic. Before that, “Found Out About You” by the Gin Blossoms was a happy surprise that brought the audience back to the nineties with a steel guitar twist. A “Life Lion” helicopter disrupted the wonderful song “24”, but it was still a great listen and just a minor bump in the overall great ride. Another of these bumps was quickly fixed thanks to Mr. Patton who saved the fantastic tune “Somerset” when he jumped from behind his steel guitar to fix some wires. The true gem of the evening was a song that I believe was called “Westward Bound”, a track that did not make it onto Loneliness Anonymous but after one listen it was clear that the song could have fit perfectly well on the album.

Besides being a great multi-instrumentalist and performer, Jimmy Patton (“JP”) is a top notch producer. This is immediately evident upon listening to Loneliness Anonymous, which has a sound as good as (or better than) any major label release. Since that album in 2009, Patton has built a brand new studio of his own design in Mount Joy, PA and new material by Patton and Miner is greatly anticipated.

Farmers Market In HersheyThe show itself was put on by The Hershey Center for Applied Research, who have scheduled talented musical acts in conjunction with the weekly Farmer’s Market in Hershey every Thursday night during the summer. These performances will raise awareness for the H.C.A.R. which is working to further study in the fields of life sciences, cancer, medical devices, green technology, and nanotechnology. As always seeing Miner and Patton play was a complete joy and put me in the mood for the upcoming summer.

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J.D. Cook
 
Darcie Miner website


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