It’s been a long, tough winter for area residents and if ya’ haven’t had a touch of the blues during these frigid months you’re one of the lucky ones. But a few things happen every March, the daylight gets a little longer, the air gets a little warmer and one of the year’s premiere music events occurs. And this Friday night and Saturday there’s no better place to shake those winter blues than at the Hotel Lafayette in Marietta, OH.
The Blues, Jazz and Folk Music Society (www.bjfm.org) will once again present one of the year’s most anticipated music events … the 23rd Annual River City Blues Festival. This year’s festival will have a special significance by honoring the late, longtime BJFM President “Cobbler John” Bolen. Bolen was a driving force for several decades, dedicated to bringing unique, authentic and wonderful roots music to the Mid-Ohio Valley. He will be greatly missed but he’ll also be expecting an all out house-rocking celebration of music from the fans!
This year’s festival will certainly follow that great music tradition! Throw away your misconceptions of blues music being a solemn presentation, it is far from it. In fact, it is often the most ass shakin’, party startin’ music to be found. A perfect soundtrack for a spring thaw! The festival is actually so filled with great music it is divided into three events … a Friday night show, a Saturday matinee and a Saturday night finale.
The fun kicks off Friday evening as 2014 BJFM River City Blues Competition winners, The Tee Dee Young Band (www.teedeeyoung.com), take the stage. Young fronts a super tight five piece band from Louisville featuring drums, bass, keyboards, saxophone and guitar, a band more than capable of powerfully presenting a wide range of feel good blues tunes. Young will be representing the BJFM at the 2015 International Blues Competition in Memphis, TN next January … come out and see why! “Young’s playing and singing are authentic to the genre but oblivious to current industry trends. His guitar is a weapon, wielded with total authority, assailing the listener with his sheer virtuosity!” – Tee Dee Young bio page.
Most blues musicians have a family tree that touches back through some very famous blues families and players, but every now and then that lineage runs into some roots rock and roll. Chris O’ Leary (www.thechrisolearyband.com) is one of those unique individuals who has bridged several genres. O’ Leary spent six years touring the world as the leader of the late Levon Helm’s band, The Barnburners, laying down harp and vocals. But now O’ Leary is busy fronting his namesake band and will be headlining on Friday night. The band brings together six talented musicians who have experience excelling in several different musical genres but on Friday night get ready for some harp fueled Chicago-style power blues! “O’Leary … is a more than capable singer and Chicago-style harmonica stylist; the proof comes in the shuffles and jump numbers he handles with suave assurance on his debut recording. It’s really the slow tempo of Blues is a Woman that draws out his best singing, reminiscent of Jimmy Witherspoon. His Hudson Valley-based cohorts stir up the all-original material without faltering. Young guitarist Chris Vitarello merits notice for his technical powers and imagination, his reach extending to rockabilly and swinging jazz.“
– Frank-John Hadley, Downbeat Magazine
Day two of the festival kicks off Saturday morning at 11:30 a.m. BJFM volunteer and local musician Mark Doebrich leads area music students in the “Schools That Rock” performance. Elementary, middle and high school age students comprise the group which gives the young, aspiring musicians a chance to not only learn the history of blues and rock and roll, but also chance to perform it live onstage! This performance is free for all to enjoy.
At 1:30 p.m. the Saturday matinee revs up for an afternoon of impromptu blues history. The Hoodoo Men open the show with their Deep South raw and gritty blues sound. Heavy on the Mississippi juke joint sound, the duo of Bill Steber and Sammy Baker rely on a variety of instruments to create a retro mid-1900’s blues vibe … the early howlin’ days of pickups and amplifiers and the new sounds that came with the electricity … but even still, the electric jug is a truly one of a kind party starter! “Cheap-ass vintage Teisco guitars, p90 pickups, over-driven tube amps, groovin’ drum shuffles, dirty concrete floors, butt-shakin’ hoarse-hollerin’ flask-drinkin’ 3am still bumpin’ yes ma’am blues music.” – The Hoodoo Men.
At 3:00 p.m., Jerron “Blind Boy” Paxton takes the stage and the blues history lesson continues. Paxton takes elements of ragtime, old time mountain music, early blues and more, melding them together in a glorious presentation which will make the audience forget they’re listening to a young man in his mid-20′s. Paxton uses guitar, banjo, fiddle, vocals and a contagious joy to present what has been called “the next generation of the acoustic blues” by Living Blues magazine. “He’s witty, fast rhyming, poetic, fun, exciting, wonderfully skilled as a musician and a fine singer, he is the continuation of a proud tradition, literally and figuratively. It’s hard to tell at times when Jerron Paxton, a consummate entertainer, is putting on an act, when he takes his act to real life and when life starts and the act ends.” – www.thecountryblues.com
Rounding out the afternoon show at 4:30 p.m. will be Detroit-born blues empress Thornetta Davis (www.thornettadavis.com). Davis rose to acclaim playing in rhythm and blues bands in the Detroit area. But she has also provided backing vocals for some of Detroit’s biggest rock performers like Bob Seger and Kid Rock. But Davis has been infusing the blues into her soulful sounds since the 80’s and has had her songs featured in commercials, movies and even the HBO hit groundbreaking series The Sopranos! Heavy on the soul, her rhythm and blues background with a touch of rock and roll … Davis always provides a great spirited performance! “Thornetta Davis can sing R&B, soul, rock & alternative, but it is the blues Thornetta deals with in this her first live CD. Covered Live is a musical snapshot of the usual high-energy show at the Music Menu Cafe in downtown Detroit. This is lady T’s gift to her many fans, a slice of a live performance with all the favorites like Black Drawers, Muddy Water, & Damn Your Eyes. After over twenty Motor City Music Awards, there is no doubt Thornetta stands today as Detroit’s most loved and respected female vocalist. No one can match the smooth power of her voice or her over all soul.” – RJ Spangler for Big City Blues Magazine.
After a break for dinner from around 6 p.m. until 8 p.m., the Saturday night finale begins. Long Tall Deb (www.longtalldeb.com) takes the stage at 8 p.m. with her band The Werewolves of Alabama. Long Tall Deb is a BJFM favorite, helping with blues competition judging, rocking last years Red, White & Blues festival and forming a strong musical friendship with the MOV! Deb is joined by Colin John on guitar; once described by Guitar Player magazine as “what Jimi Hendrix might have sounded like if he abandoned the rat race, moved to Hawaii, taken up surfing and let the sun and waves bestow their laid-back high.” John Popovich brings his experience on the keys while Melvin Powe and Jan Roll hold down the solid rhythm section on bass and drums. The Werewolves bring the groove to the dance floor while Deb’s powerful yet smooth vocals share the passion to one’s heart! When I heard Long Tall Deb’s recordings, it was easy to know we hoped she’d choose the VizzTone Label Group for her CD. “When I shared the bandstand with her, and watched her perform, I was very impressed with her as a singer and entertainer as well. Her power is friendly and soulful and I recommend her to you enthusiastically!” - Bob Margolin
Closing out the festival will be The Victor Wainwright Band (www.victorwainwright.com). Wainwright is a high energy keyboardist that slams out some mean honky-tonk while moving booties with some hard core boogie. Wainwright’s live performances have been called “beautiful madness.” Wainwright is joined by a true young gun of the Memphis blues scene, Nick Black who provides the incendiary guitar work. And with drummer Billy Dean and bassist Will Hanlon holding down the beat and thump, Wainwright is free to focus 100% on ensuring the crowd gets down to the sound! One of the greatest qualities a band can have is road experience and the Victor Wainwright Band regularly plays over 300 shows a year. It’s no wonder they’ve received high acclaim from industry stalwarts like Billboard, Blues Beat, BMA, Living Blues, House of Blues Radio, Sirius/XM and others. But this band doesn’t just collect awards, they electrify fans with their frolicking, good time sounds! “Wainwright serves as an electrifying guide to a good time-spinning tales, telling his listeners how to beat the blues, and meticulously conjuring raw soul and energy out of his acoustic piano.He displays a sharp sense of humor and a knack for storytelling…. Every track is brilliant.” - Living Blues Magazine
If one is not a member of the BJFM, it is highly recommended to join and support this wonderful, non-profit musical organization. The yearly dues are only $15 and are easily recouped by the reduced ticket prices that members receive at events throughout the year. For example, a weekend pass for the blues festival is only $50 for members, $70 for non-members. Also if a member can only attend one or two shows of the festival, the costs still works out the same $15 for Friday night, $15 for the Saturday matinee and $20 for Saturday night! Non-member individual show pricing is $25 Friday night, $25 Saturday matinee and $30 Saturday night … yes it pays to be a member. And memberships are available the night of the show, so one can start saving instantly!
Steve Tuck is a music lover and a lover of good times in general. Some of you know Tuck from his son’s band, The Greens. Others know him from his day job and his tireless efforts for the Children’s Home Society of West Virginia. Luckily sometimes business and pleasure can be mixed as Tuck has illustrated by the numerous music fundraisers he has held for the Society.
This Thursday evening will mark another such event. On November 7th, Tuck will be welcoming Irene Kelley to a fundraiser at the Worthington Ballroom (3414 Roseland Ave.) in Parkersburg. The music will start early at 7 p.m. and feature Kelley’s mix of country, bluegrass and Americana music used to accentuate her heartfelt and homey lyrics.
Like many aspiring songwriters, Kelley left her hometown of Latrobe, PA and headed south to Nashville. Actually first she had to get the country music bug, and that was provided by a chance viewing of a Dolly Parton television performance. Kelley was inspired to learn guitar and begin writing her own songs. She had written a song, “Pennsylvania Is My Home”, which was used in a 1982 PBS documentary … and also mounted a personal grass roots campaign to have it adopted as a “state song.” The leaders of Pennsylvania ultimately opted not to select an official “state song” at that time, but Kelley had sent several copies of her music to some Nashville music publishers. It was now time to make that trip down south.
Kelley made some recordings for CBS Records and then MCA Records. But she also found herself with two daughters to raise, and found herself moving from a troubadour to a stay at home mom/songwriter. Loretta Lynn, Trisha Yearwood, Brother Phelps, Rhonda Vincent, Claire Lynch, the Osborne Brothers, The Whites, Ricky Skaggs, Carl Jackson and others are just a few of the iconic Nashville singers to feature songs written by Irene Kelley on their albums.
But as her children grew, Kelley retained her performers desire and once again was writing songs for Irene Kelley to sing. In 1999, Kelley found herself with a new album Simple Path and that led to a performance at the Grand Ole Opry … and a call from Alan Jackson who had heard her perform her song “I’m A Little Bluer Than That.” Jackson ended up including the song on his 5-time platinum selling & Billboard #1 album Drive.
In 2004, Kelley released her follow-up album Thunderbird. It was a personal and spiritual extension of her previous release Simple Path, more songs from a genuinely private person existing in the soul bearing world of songwriting. And early next year Kelley will be releasing a new album, Pennsylvania Coal, a bluegrass flavored release produced by longtime collaborator Mark Fain.
Albums and recordings are great but if one wants to capture the full character of a performer they must see them live. Often there are some very interesting insights into the meaning or origins of some songs. To look a person in the eye as they deliver their musical creation is a connection which cannot be downloaded or YouTubed.
Kelley is slated to be joined by longtime Nashville session artist Gary Talley. Talley has played with a veritable who’s who of country music legends. And was also a founder of the Box Tops … who just happened to have a #1 hit in 1967 with “The Letter”! After his Box Top days, Talley found himself appearing on recordings with Willie Nelson, Tammy Wynette, Waylon Jennings … you get the picture, legendary!
This will be a night of great music for a great cause! A $10 donation is recommended and food and beverages will be available. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. with music beginning at 7 p.m. … an early evening of great entertainment!
“A Little Bluer Than That” by Irene Kelley
Music, bright lights and big cities across America have long been associated with one another. Chicago and the blues, Seattle and grunge rock, the arena rock band spawning ground of L.A.’s Sunset Strip, the show tunes and glam rock pioneers of N.Y.C. … and of course there’s country music and Nashville, arguably the strongest of all these metro-music relationships.
But Nashville is much more than the heavily orchestrated slick country rock sounds of platinum award winning albums. More precisely, East Nashville is the anti-thesis of the glamor, gloss and often superficiality of its huge neighbor. The area is characterized by quaint neighborhoods and an outdoorsy, artsy, working class style. And East Nashville also is home to some of the hottest alternative/folk/country/rockers creating music these days.
Kevin Gordon just so happens to be one of those alt folk rockers who has long been receiving critical acclaim from music industry insiders, while at the same time trying to pay the bills and raise a family in his little slice of East Nashville. Gordon routinely tours the Midwest and Southeast with an occasional foray into the Northeast; mostly as a solo performer driving many a mile in his trusty minivan.
Maybe the best barometer of Gordon’s down to earth journeyman musician story is the fact that he’s already played in Parkersburg, WV two times and on Sunday October 6th he’ll chalk up number three. Gordon, bassist Ron Eoff and a drummer TBA will be appearing the Worthington Ballroom located at 3414 Roseland Ave ., Parkersburg, WV 26104. Even though his solo shows are certainly lively, it’s a bit of a rare treat to catch Gordon in “small combo” mode. It’s gonna rock!
From a great review in Rolling Stone magazine of his recent release Gloryland to an early Sunday evening show in Wood County working to make a living is a solid testament to Gordon’s love of music and performing it live! (Check out the Gloryland review here! Gordon’s 3 ½ star rating was second only to The Boss’s 5 star rating for Wrecking Ball which was reviewed in the same print issue. http://www.rollingstone.com/music/albumreviews/gloryland-20120314)
The doors will open at 6 p.m. and Andy Tuck, from one of WV’s hardest working and most beloved bands The Greens, will kick the music off at 7 pm. Tuck will be acoustically performing tunes from his huge library of original songs, but if one knows Andy they understand that there will be no lack of the energy and inspiration which drives his live shows.
Tickets are only $10 and will be available at the door the night of the show. To learn more about Kevin Gordon and his music visit http://kg.kevingordon.net/ . For more on Andy Tuck and The Greens visit http://www.reverbnation.com/thegreens.
For more information on this show, or on hosting a live music event at your home or venue, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Parkersburg, WV – Acclaimed songwriter Tommy Womack will be returning to Parkersburg as part of the PM Beat Music 2013 Concert Series. The show will be held Thursday, May 9, 2013 on the Worthington Golf Course patio at 7pm, weather permitting. In the case of inclement weather the performance will be held in the historic Worthington Ballroom. Tickets are only $10 and will be available the evening of the show.
Womack, a resident of Nashville, TN, via his Kentucky upbringing has received much praise for his latest album release 2012’s “Now What!” The album was reviewed in of The New Yorker magazine. “The singer, songwriter, and author Tommy Womack, a fixture on the Nashville music scene, mixes country, blues, and rock like a fast-fingered bartender on his new album, “Now What!,” said reviewer John Donohue. “The heart of “Now What!” is its subject matter: instead of typical roadhouse hell-raising fare, it addresses middle age. But the album’s not a downer – Womack never takes himself, or anything else, too seriously, and he’s is not above rapping on one track and quoting Cheap Trick on another.”
“Now What!” has also received high praise from American songwriter magazine who simply defines Womack’s unique style as “…This is rock ‘n’ roll, or Americana, or whatever you want to call it, that’s AS PURE AND HONEST AS IT GET.”
Womack is no stranger to the Parkersburg area and has invested himself in the community by participating in two charitable concerts for the Children’s Home Society of West Virginia over the past few years. Folk singer, humorist, entertainer … Tommy Womack is one great time.
Parkersburg’s own Nick Barry will also be performing his original brand of Americana folk rock. Barry brings a classic 60’s style protest singers delivery but with a twist. His songs tell the stories or misadventures of young adult decision making revolving around employment, love, politics and the right to party.
Area fans have become forever connected to the witty lyrics and the “can’t help to sing along” choruses of Barry’s original tunes. Whether you’re going to Columbus or just going to let your dog out, a set of music with Nick Barry is always an adventurous and fun time!
Between songs Kevin Gordon is a man of few words, one might even say shy as he thumbs through his small booklet of songs. But once the music starts, one can drop that description as Gordon poetically weaves his lyrics into a gripping story of the good, the bad and the sometimes ugly. Absent of fluff and glam, his songs are a musical snapshot of both good and bad memories, but also a brighter future. One can enjoy Gordon’s musical portrait painting along with Angela Perley & Chris Connor and Michael Iafrate on Friday February 15th at the historic Worthington Ballroom. (See Paypal link below to pre-order tickets.)
In 2012, Gordon released the album Gloryland to wide critical acclaim. Rolling Stone magazine writer Wil Hermes anointed Gordon a “juke-joint professor emeritus” and handed a 3.5 star rating to his latest release. The praise didn’t stop there as both the USA Today and American Songwriter magazine each awarded Gloryland 4 out of 4 stars, otherwise known as an excellent rating.
“Four stars… The sheer brilliance of the lyrics to Colfax/Step in Time alone justifies a top rating for the first album in seven years from this Southern-raised poet/rocker. Gordon sketches a not-so-simple portrait of a junior-high marching band on a bus trip, and every single image feels, tastes, smells and sounds absolutely true” said USA Today reviewer Jerry Shriver.
And it’s that realism which makes Gordon’s music so refreshing in this day of samples, overdubs and a sometimes more glitter than substance recording world. His finely crafted compositions have been recorded by Rolling Stone Keith Richards, the late Levon Helm and others but the real treat is hearing Gordon’s earnest voice paint the picture and put the listener right in the middle of the action.
Sure all these words of adulation are meant to convince, but for the the handful of music lovers that were lucky enough to catch Gordon’s April 2012 Children’s Home Society of WV show, they understand praise. And others can as well. On Friday, February 15th PM Beat Music is proud to welcome Kevin Gordon back to Parkersburg. Gordon will headline an evening of Americana themed songwriters at the historic Worthington Ballroom located at 3414 Roseland Avenue in North Parkersburg, WV. This show will also kick off the 2013 PM Beat Music Series at the Ballroom.
The show will be opened by some very special guests. Angela Perley has been seen singing and playing multiple instruments within several performance configurations. Sometimes solo, at times with The Salty Caramels, but more notably with Angela Perley & The Howlin’ Moons. Their music blends elements of folk, country, pure Americana, bluegrass, rock & roll and a trip to the county fair thrown in for good measure.
In her younger years, Perley was intrigued by the legendary female voices of other generations. Patsy’s and Loretta’s soft to powerful range infused with a sprinkling of Billie Holiday’s soul can be heard as Perley delivers a song. The Ohio University alumnus (Go Cats!) also dove ear’s first into the extensive OU music library, as well as, the Library of Congress’s online archives as she researched the roots of much of the music we listen to today … without evening giving two thoughts about it’s origins.
Well known throughout the central Ohio region, Perley and the Howlin’ Moons are quickly gaining recognition not only throughout the Midwest but in Europe as well. ”Tune into (Pure 107.8FM’s stream) today around 5 pm Eastern Time to hear the Howlin’ Moons on Roots & Fusion program in Stockport, England (22:00 the show starts)” posted Perley on social media. Enthusiastically adding, “They just played Brooklyn Girls and made a shout out because the program director knew we’d be listening! Really special!”
On this special night Perley will be joined by the Howlin’ Moon’s lead picker, Chris Connor. Sporting his trusty G&L ASAT Classic Bluesboy Semi-Hollow guitar, Connor delivers rhythms riffs and leads with the class, timing and finesse of a fine watchmaker. And yes he can bust out the lowdown twang when the need arises. Folks may also be lucky enough to see Connor strap on his trusty Gibson acoustic for a song or two as well.
Opening this great evening of music will be singer/songwriter Michael Iafrate. Like most musicians, Iafrate has enjoyed time playing in duo’s and with his most recent band Michael Iafrate & The Priesthood but be onstage solo for this show. Here’s truth that one must watch what they post on social media … well maybe just what they wear. An absolutely wonderful, impromptu version of the Louvin Brother’s If I Could Only Win Her Love by Michael and his brother Andrew Iafrate, complete with pajamas!
The Parkersburg area native, currently residing in Wheeling, proved to be the consummate performer at a PM Beat show late last year, as he worked through a singers nightmare, aka head-cold and sore throat. But out of that adversity came a wonderful set of music that literally had the audience silently awaiting the next lyric.
Doors will open at 7 pm for this extraordinary show with music beginning around 8 pm. As usual the Ballroom will be serving a lite fair and of course micro brew from the North End Tavern, as well as, domestic flavors in aluminum cans.
Tickets can be purchased in advance through the Paypal link below and also at the Worthington Golf Course snack bar/pro shop. Due to the travel involved for the artists all tickets will be $10, a small price for a full evening of excellent music. Tickets will be available at the door the night of the show, while they last! Don’t be fooled at all by a preconceived notion of an “acoustic show” … this show will be as powerful, poignant and entertaining as any “electric” show one has seen in awhile!