Every once and awhile a true guitar virtuoso travels through the Mid-Ohio Valley. Over the past few years lucky area music fans have watched Junior Brown rock the old Front Row, Reverend Horton Heat create a mosh pit at the Adelphia and Joe Bonamassa display his outstanding skills at the Court Street Grill.
Well folks one of those times is upon us once again. This Friday evening, May 24th, the Court Street Grill (112 Court Street, Pomeroy, OH) will welcome the Simo Band which features rising guitar phenom JD Simo. Simo was born and raised just down the street from Wrigley Field and cites Chicago’s musical diversity as a large influence on his playing. Interestingly Simo was not only influenced by many Chicago blues legends such as Howlin’ Wolf and Sonny Boy Williamson, but Elvis Presley as well.
Simo would find himself living in San Francisco and Phoenix, and left home at the age of 15 chasing the desires only a guitar prodigy can envision at that young age. He would essentially be schooled in the music business by Don Kelley as he traveled with his Nashville based band. Simo would hone his skills and refine his technique under Kelley, whom Simo sometimes refers to as “a good high school football coach” pushing him to work harder than anyone could imagine.
As Simo grew in musical stature he became in demand for session gigs throughout Nashville music circles, all the while beginning to put the pieces together for the Simo Band. With the help of bassist Frank Swart and drummer Adam Abrashoff, Simo has laid the foundation for an opportunity to truly be expressive and creative with his musical gifts.
But don’t expect your traditional and predictable blues from Simo. From 70’s rock power chords, to intricate flowing solo’s, to licks so catchy you’ll be infected with a boogie groove, the Simo Band brings a unique, energetic sound … and when Joe Bonamassa refers to Simo as “the greatest out there right now” … it’s simply not to be missed!
For more info contact the Court Street Grill at 740-992-6524 or go to www.courtstreetgrill.com.
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!
Blues Hippy and the Soul Underground featuring Willie Phoenix, The Jimmy Clinton Band, The Remnants and a special solo appearance by Michael Lutz are scheduled for the second show of the PM Beat Music 2013 Concert Series. The concert will be held Saturday, March 23, 2013 at the historic Worthington Ballroom in Parkersburg.
Starting back in Camden, Alabama as a youth brought up around the famous blues musicians his father performed with, Willie Phoenix was immersed in great music but it still played second fiddle to his dreams of playing second base in the big leagues. His love of classic British Invasion rock and roll, a solid reggae groove and a touch of soul all add flavor the Blues Hippy groove.
While others may more clearly recollect his more recent Parkersburg shows at The Front Row throughout the 2000′s. Those performances reintroduced area music fans to Phoenix after to long of a hiatus. The Front Row shows were still just has energetic with Phoenix often bringing varied lineups of the band under the Willie Phoenix band name. There was always Phoenix on guitar, a bass player and a drummer but sometimes there was a percussionist playing an array of Latin flavored instrument to keyboards with that big sound.
However one of the more memorable performances by Phoenix took place on a wintry December just before Christmas back in the 2000′s. Due to the holiday grind some of Phoenix’s band mates were unable to commit to the Friday night show due to expanded work obligations. “Willie called me and explained some of his band members were tied up at work and with the bad winter weather being forecast for the area weren’t going to be comfortable with making the trip to Parkersburg either,” Front Row owner Bill Poole said. “But Willie offered me the option of just coming down and playing solo for a reduced price and I said sure,” Poole said. Phoenix took the stage and what happened next was pure magic. The prolific songwriter took the nice sized crowd on a musical history lesson of Willie Phoenix original songs as well as many of the songs that influenced him to become a musician. All told Willie Phoenix played a non-stop three and a half hour set of music … on an acoustic guitar! Guitar players will understand the sheer brutality that something like that can entail.
Moments like this were exactly why the music business had taken note so many years before. Phoenix’s great songwriting and energetic performances helped garner a major record label deal with A&M Records in 1982. It was a wonderful collection of straight ahead rock and roll songs in an era when rude showmanship and illegal off stage activities where often the keys to success for major rock bands. Even though A&M Records are long gone, Phoenix is still busy writing great music as evidenced by his thirteen+ albums, but more importantly his love and respect of music and his fans. No gimmicks, no drama, just a musician giving his all.
Another wonderful facet of Phoenix has always been his readiness to try new musical projects featuring interesting lineups and instrumentation. His current band, Blues Hippy and the Soul Underground, features longtime collaborator from the Shadowlord days Jim Johnson on drums, Myke Rock on bass and backing vocals and Dan-Ro James on guitar and backing vocals. Together they create an eclectic mix of danceable rock and roll which combines musical elements of Phoenix’s journey. There’s nothing like a reggae groove to get folks on the dance floor.
The Jimmy Clinton Band will also be performing their original brand of Americana flavored, danceable rock and roll sound. Clinton brings some great original songs from days gone past, a love of blues and roots music and mixes it with some classic 80’s cool which area music fans have been enjoying since his days in The Larries and later with Jimmy Clinton and the Mean Red Spiders.
Clinton is backed by the super solid and often funky rhythm section of Vincenzo Mele on the electric bass guitar and Jeremy Harman on drums. The trio of accomplished area musicians share their excitement of live performance with the crowd as well as a joke or two along the way!
The Remnants are straight ahead rock and roll at its finest. The four piece group features Bob Hall on vocals and guitar, Kevin McGinnis on lead guitar, Jeff Kidwiler on bass and Randy McClung on drums.
The trio of Hall, McGinnis and Kidwiler has been playing together for over thirty years and McClung has been contributing for the past five years. This allows The Remnants to craft great pop rock songs with clockwork perfection. Touches of 60’s classic rock, 70’s punk, 80’s power blues and 90’s alternative all blend together for a great sound.
Parkersburg native Michael Lutz will bring his energetic roots blues acoustic performance to the show. Lutz’s love of all types of music is evident as he mixes powerful acoustic guitar playing and lyrics for some foot stomping musical bliss. Lutz has been entertaining throughout the Mid-Ohio Valley both as a solo artist and as a member of his latest band Nemean Lion.
Doors will open at 7pm with music beginning around 8pm with The Remnants taking the stage. Tickets are available at the door and are only $10 for this great night full of energetic original rock and roll. There will be over three and a half hours of truly wonderful music. Plus this lineup of musicians is sure to span a extra wide swath of musical influences from blues to reggae, folk to punk, soul to British invasion, all part of the melting pot of styles called rock and roll! This show is 21 and Up with domestic canned beer and some great local microbrews from the North End Tavern being on tap.
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!
You know the night … the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. November 21st this year to be exact. Friends from out-of-town visiting, or maybe just some local friends with a rare Thursday holiday and a day off from work. Sure you could hang out at home or you could go to a crowded bar and fight your way through the boredom … or you could come out and get rocked by Jesse Smith and the Holy Ghost at the historic Worthington Ballroom in North Parkersburg!
For those of you who don’t know, the former Zao rocker and founder, has assembled a new project that needs to be seen and heard! Sure one could look back at Smith’s many past successes, but as they say the future is now. And now means new songs and a new band!
“Over the years I have struggled to find my niche as a songwriter,” Smith said. “I’m a huge fan of heavy music, but I’ve always been into all types of stuff. When I began writing these songs, I just wrote from the heart, with no preconceived notions of what they would turn out to be.” And yes it rocks!
The show will also feature the power duo Farnsworth from Charleston, WV. Farnsworth is composed of drummer Jason Reese and guitarist/vocalist Chris Vance. Influenced by listening to many classic rock albums from the 70′s, the duo packs a ton of punch into their retro flavored power groove. If you dig a good riff, and like to feel it too, Farnsworth will not disappoint!
Returning to the Worthington Ballroom for this show will also be Parkersburg rockers, The Remnants. The four piece group relies on influences from a wide range of rock and roll from the 60′s to present. But don’t think for a moment that this is “classic rock” … it is original rock! The Remnants are masterful in putting together 4 minute long blasts of power pop, a trademark signature sound and just simply great songs!
As if three bands weren’t enough for one evening the show will kick off with a special performance by area songwriters Michael J. Iafrate and Mike Lutz. The two songwriters will open the show by trading off one song at a time, certain to keep the first slot very interesting. Deep, dark, joyous, failure, love, hate, promise, kindness and the weight of the world will likely be debated.
Doors will open at 7pm and it is advised to get there on time. The Worthington Ballroom is a great venue, but it does have occupancy regulations and we are expecting a huge show! Tickets are $7 in advance by using the PayPal link below. You will receive a confirmation email from email@example.com a little while after you have completed the checkout. Your name will be added to the will call list as well. Tickets at the door will be $10.
The show is 21 and up. Also featured will be microbrew from the North End Tavern.
The Worthington Ballroom is located at 3414 Roseland Avenue in Parkersburg, WV. It is located at the corner of Roseland and Fairview avenues and across the street from Parkersburg Catholic High School.
(On this rainy Wednesday, I decided to reprint a story I had posted about a couple years ago on Facebook. Myself and several Willie Phoenix fans who were there at the start attended the show and had a great time. It’s also a little bit of an original Parkersburg rock and roll history lesson over the past 30 years. Enjoy!)
It was almost 28 years ago when I first saw Willie Phoenix perform live…way back in the “Shadowlords” days. The venue was the old Sly Fox…and I mean…OLD…Sly Fox. The year was 1983 and the late Fred Starkey was having a few small music shows in the bar, with performers tucked in the corner of the room. I recall Mike Morningstar, Liz Pennock and some other long forgotten performers (sorry…we had too much fun sometimes), playing some great solo gigs. The small shows were pretty well recieved and Fred decided to open a music room in a vacant building next door to the bar (up Market St).( Unfortunately the venue burned down in fall of 1984, and the bar moved into the building on the corner of 13th and Market Street until another untimely fire occured in spring of 2009.)
But when the music room opened, that’s when things really started rocking! At the time, there weren’t a lot of venues committed to having live music (yes…just like today!), but Fred was committed to havin a good time, and the Sly Fox shows were definitely a good time! A few blocks up the street, Dan Kucera and Brad Upchurch were running Current Records and Tapes, plus Brad was singing in a band called The Waves. The Waves were comprised of Brad on vocals, Kevin McGinnis and Bob Hall on guitar, Jeff Kidwiler on bass, and Stew Shaw on drums. They played 3 to 4 minute little blasts of refreshing, original rock n’ roll, dare I say with a lil’ prog punk influence. Current Records became the impromtu stomping ground for live music info in the area, and many area musicians could be found buying a LP(they were made out of vinyl, and played on a turn….table…) ”on sale” for $4.99, and bullshitting about local shows and concerts.
Parkersburg was beginning to grow a nice little “underground” music scene. Several area bands were beginning to spring up and make a statement. The aforementioned Waves, The Planetonics, The Larries, Smut…and last but not least, Ethiopia. They were tired of being subjected to the worn out musical ideals that plagued the few, available Parkersburg area music venues…”play 4 sets with a 15 minute break”…”play a lot of country music”…”play songs that people know”…”don’t play any of that weird shit”, were some of the favorite phrases used by area bar owners back in those days. Well the bands of Underground Parkersburg, said what the hell, and started doing things their way! The old Sly fox was instrumental in providing a venue for these bands to perform. Thank you Fred!
Willie Phoenix and the Shadowlords were instrumental in helping to bring out huge crowds to those early shows. Just how Willie ended up in Parkersburg is a little hazy, but I believe it was through a former Parkersburg resident, who was active in the Columbus area music scene, and told Brad about this performer he had to see…Willie Phoenix! Next thing you know Willie is in town, fresh off his 1982 national release on A&M Records, but now out backing the independently released Willie Phoenix and the Shadowlords LP “We Love Noise”. (The Waves competently held down opening act duties.) Willie brought the hard blues to Parkerburg…(sure we all knew that Led Zeppelin were some English dudes cranking up old blues riff’s through Marshall stacks, and we loved it)…but here was Willie, with a long family history in the blues music scene, playing it loud and proud, directly from the heart! The energy level was off the charts, and Willie was off the stage and onto the tables…the chairs…the floor…all over the house!(Think of Prince in Purple Rain, but Willie was doin’ it before the movie was ever made…)
Well folks I know it all sounds like ancient history…but you’re in luck…Willie is still jammin! And Saturday night you can see this man lay down the gospel about love, peace, and rock and roll blues at the Marietta Brewing Company! The show starts at 10pm (dinners over it’s time to rock) and there is NO COVER. If you’re feelin’ cold and got the winter blues…this show is exactly the remedy you need!
PM Beat Music is excited to announce an upcoming concert which spans a 30 year history of original Parkersburg rock and roll. While many fine original area bands have come and gone, several are still actively making music in our region. And often like fine wine, the artist only get better or should one say more focused with age!
The histroic Worthington Ballroom (3414 Roseland Avenue, Parkersburg WV – the corner of Fairview Ave. & Roseland Ave. across from Parkersburg Catholic High School) will be the site for the Saturday October 13th show. The doors will open at 6pm and music will start shortly thereafter. All the food and libations of a rocking Octoberfest celebration will be available (ages 21 and up), including refreshments from Parkersburg’s only brewpub, the North End Tavern.
Now the fun stuff! The show will feature The Greens, The Jimmy Clinton Band, The Remnants and Nick Barry, all of which have had an interesting impact on the Parkersburg area live music scene over the past 30 years.
What can one say about Nick Barry that hasn’t already been said? Barry rose to prominence as a Mean Red Spider in the early Nineties, but went on to write many of his own songs. Mixing modern social dialog with classic protest flair, Barry offers an interesting and satirical viewpoint on the many aspects of common day to day events in Mid Ohio Valley life!
The Remnants may be the most steadily rehearsing band in Parkersburg history. All based on the joy of playing music and writing songs. If one has not have heard of The Remnants, it’s ok, they play only a handful of live shows each year, but therein lies the beauty. Four guys making music because they love to play and then delivering it on their own terms. Guitarist/vocalist Bob Hall, guitarist Kevin McGinnis and bassist Jeff Kidwiler have been playing together since their early Eighties days in The Waves. Drummer Randy McClung joined the band a litle over five years ago and provides the punchy backbeat to Hall’s 45rpm length blasts of pure guitar pop!
The Jimmy Clinton Band is rapidly approaching its one year anniversary, but Jimmy Clinton has been making music since the early Eighties. The Larries, Jimmy Clinton & The Mean Red Spiders, Clinton & Burge and Jimmy Clinton Solo have been a few of the guitatist/songwriters musical forays. Clinton is now joined by bassist Vincenzo Mele and drummer Jeremy Harmon and together the power trio revisit some old Clinton songs and some new ones, all befitting the category of kick ass Americana rock!
Last but not least we welcome The Greens! Guitarist/vocalist Andy Tuck, drummer/vocalist Nathan Yoke and bassist/vocalist Ben Sweeney have been working hard at entertaining folks throughout the Appalachian hills and beyond. Playing over a hundred shows a year has allowed the trio to form a powerful bond and energy which it transfers directly to the fans. Rock and soul, folk and funk are all brewed together for a tasty musical elixir for the mind and the feet!
Entry can be purchased in advance at the Worthington Golf Course Snack Bar (lower level facing the golf course) for $7 until 4pm Saturday. Your “name and shipping info” from Paypal will be on the “will call” list at the door and used for your admittance into the show. Entry will be $10 a person the night of the show. This show is for a 21 and up audience.
Egos are interesting things. They exist within all humans but are displayed outwardly in varying degrees. Possibly the easiest examples to find are from those who work in the entertainment business, the music business specifically.
But one should not confuse big dreams or taking a risk with an ego. Musicians should dream big, set goals and stay true to their ideals. Following those dreams incurs taking risks, moving to different environments and often times placing trust in strangers. It is a leap of faith.
Sadly in today’s music world, the theme is often one of entitlement. An almost “don’t you know who I am arrogance” that is exuded from the deepest, darkest regions of ego. Sure accomplishments are a wonderful thing, but just imagine how much more entertaining artists would be if every time they released a new song it was done with the same fervor as their first. Frankly, does it really matter how many awards a person may have garnered when you sit down to watch them perform?
Granted, individual journeys take many turns and often include a series of events, or learning experiences, which can systematically change an artist’s approach to their business, music and to their fans. But within the realm of youth lie the energy, naivety and fearlessness that cultivates creativity.
When Marietta’s The Damn Radicals take the stage this Saturday evening at the Worthington Golf Course Ballroom (3414 Roseland Ave., Parkersburg), it will be a shining example of that youthful realm. The duo of drummer Anthony Azzi and guitarist/vocalist Luke Schindler might sum it up best on their Facebook page where they describe interests as simply “taking a shot at what we love and stand behind.” And yes they did forget the worn out music star egos.
The two soon to be Marietta College graduates exhibit a humbleness not often found in the music business, be it nationally or locally. Obviously they don’t have a long list of self-gratifying awards or achievements to tout to the public, but they have something better, their attitudes and their songs.
Employing a less is more, high energy strategy built upon Azzi’s reckless abandon on the drums and Schindler’s edgy yet melodic guitar work, the Damn Radicals simply present their music in a grateful manner for what it is and not as some flag of past glory days. Sure great music lives on, but the key to a song’s longevity is not founded upon the artist reciting their resume every time someone will listen.
And that’s the beauty in the Damn Radical’s music; it stands on its own merit, today, ready for you to disseminate its value, but always received by the listener with a true thank you.
For fans of Jack White or the Black Keys, Saturday evening presents a wonderful chance to catch a band on the way up as the Damn Radicals open for the Jimmy Clinton Band. It’s there for Parkersburg to enjoy as the doors open at 8pm to a truly inviting and unpretentious music venue, the Worthington GC Ballroom.
No ego’s or attitudes, no playoff games, no boorish happy hour crowds, just great music from two fine bands, a dance floor and some fine brew from the North End Tavern & Brewery. And yes, just a little leap of faith is required for a highly entertaining return. See you there!
When one sets out to walk nine holes of golf on Worthington’s back nine, the quiet fairways stand ready to discuss any news of the day or ideas that may be floating in one’s head. Sure there’s a gathering of wildlife along the way … deer, squirrel, red-tail hawk and groundhog but there’s always room for a little human peace of mind.
Hmmmm … as one ponders a story lead between “Groundhog Day” and possibly “saving the best for last” why not blend the two together? We all know the weekend really begins on Thursday anyhow.
Now as if the brilliant spring weather won’t provide enough inspiration, what can one do? Well there’s always the “Groundhog Day” style of entertainment in the area … you know, the same people, singing the same songs in the same delivery, loveable yet predictable. But folks there is always much more.
One must also consider the possibility of a chance to view a true artist of impeccable talent … playing in our little ‘Burg this weekend? Ahhh … now the “saving the best for last” storyline is unveiled. And that is exactly what will be happening on Sunday evening April 1st. Folks it is no fool’s joke, unless you allow yourself to become the punch line by missing this exclusive show.
If you’re like many area resident’s you may not recognize the name, Kevin Gordon. Now it is certainly true that many great songwriters have toiled behind the scenes creating for others, and Gordon is no exception. However Gordon is certainly not locked away behind the scenes, he’s truly crossing into the exceptional realm as he takes time out of his busy schedule for a special Sunday evening show at the Children’s Home Society of West Virginia located at 1739 St. Mary’s Avenue in Parkersburg.
For those of you who have not yet attended a coffeeshop style event at the CHSWV offices, you owe it to yourselves to experience the relaxed and friendly setting. Fans are “up front and personal” with the performing artists, which allows for the true nuances and emotion of their music to shine through. Steve Tuck and his dedicated staff set the tone with a welcome atmosphere, akin to getting to watch a top notch performer in a friends family room.
Again, you may not know Kevin Gordon, but Rolling Stone magazine does. In fact, Gordon’s latest release was reviewed in the March 15th issue. Even though the cover featured a late pop icon, inside the music lives and Gordon’s latest release received 3 ½ stars … only the Boss received higher accolades within the issue.
Reviewer Will Hermes starts out his column by proclaiming “great songwriters are a dime a dozen in Nashville, but Kevin Gordon is an anomaly.” One could even expound on Gordon’s influences of blues, twang, rockabilly, punk, rock and even the seminal L.A. band “X”. A masters degree in poetry certainly doesn’t hurt the creativity of a songwriter either. What’s our phrase now? How about a “come see with your own eyes”? Is there more that needs said?
If so, Gordon will set you straight as he weaves songs of his southern upbringing, the good, the bad and the ugly. His music, as is most, is a musical melting pot, of things we both revere and things we wish to explain. And sometimes distance ourselves from.
Aptly titled “Gloryland”, Gordon’s latest release spans the religious and political ideologies that many northerner’s can merely hope to understand to some elementary degree. But Gordon also understands that music lovers respond to a prompt kick in the ass from time to time, so don’t let the smooth deep southern drawl that penetrates like the midday sun fool ya’.
So there’s really no excuse for not supporting a great cause while watching a superb songwriter on Sunday evening. It truly boils down to tens bucks for the area kids and an authentic songwriting genius addressing the day head on. And the best part … its only 10 well spent dollars for a 7 p.m. show in one of the finest and truest venues around. Just across the street from Hertz Rental … call 304-485-0650 for more info and be sure to visit http://kg.kevingordon.net/.
Party! It’s the only word needed to summarize Friday night’s activity at the 21st Annual Blues, Jazz & Folk Music Society’s (www.bjfm.org) Blues Festival. And if you don’t believe me, just ask one of the other several hundred music fans in attendance at Marietta’s Hotel Lafayette ballroom.
For the uninitiated, the word “blues” often conjures up the misconception of down trodden woe-is-me roots music. Sure there is a family tree which encompasses a wide spectrum of feelings and attitudes within the “blues music” family, but when it comes to the BJFM Blues Festival it’s all about the boogie!
Friday night was no exception to this rule as New Jersey’s Mikey Jr. & the Stone Cold Band kicked off the weekend long festivities. Originally billed as a four piece band, Mikey Jr. had a little trick up his sleeve with the addition of guitarist Dean Shot. This set up a powerful three way dynamic between Mikey Jr.’s harmonica, Matt Daniels lead guitar and Shot’s fiery guitar interplay as the three tossed the energy around like the old comical ticking bomb ready to explode.
Well folks something did explode, and it was the wall of sound from the stage. Not only does Mikey Jr. blow a mean harp but he also understands the important fundamental that it’s not his party, it’s everybody’s party! As Mikey Jr. wandered into the crowd to weave a steamy story or two, drummer Adam Strasberg and bassist Jimmy Pritchard provided the groove that made it clear that everyone was going to have fun together and Mikey Jr. let it be well known that he was right there with them.
But the party was just getting started, and next up was the Lionel Young Band. Now many of the fans might have been commenting, “I’ve never seen a blues band with an electric violin”, they soon found out just how Young could make it wail. With Andre Mali providing punctuation marks and riffs on trumpet, Young played his violin in every conceivable way. Fiddle, mandolin, electric guitar leads were all emanating from the four strings of the sleek black instrument. The boogie was indeed on!
At the end of Young’s set the crowd was still up and ready to boogie. After a sheepish grin towards Mali, Young began strumming the familiar high notes of Prince’s hit song “Kiss” and the dance floor erupted again. As the band grooved through the extended dance version of the song, everyone grinned from ear to ear after being ordained “sexxxxxy motherfuckers” by the man with the funky violin in his hand!
If you’re kicking yourself for missing what is the best guaranteed party of the year in the Mid-Ohio Valley, don’t despair. You have all day Saturday to enjoy the festival. At 12:15 p.m., Mark Doebrich leads area high school music students through traditional & contemporary blues selections as part of the Blues in the Schools “High Schools That Rock” project.
At 2:15 veteran solo/acoustic performer Doug MacLeod brings his songwriting expertise, guitar mastery and soulful vocals to the stage. Appearing on 18 albums as well as writing a column for Blues Review magazine, MacLeod has not only lived the life from a musical viewpoint but also documented the history of this prolific genre.
Gospel inspired blues singer CeCe Teneal will take the stage at 3:45 p.m. Teneal’s silky smooth vocals provide an appealing mask for the true power and passion within her heart. With interesting originals and adaptations of some time-tested standards, Teneal’s songs are bound to please the vocal enthusiast as well as the fan of pure gospel based blues.
“If blues, soul, and rock can be said to form a triangle, you’ll find Hamilton Loomis right in the center of it”, says Guitar Player Magazine. At 8 p.m. Loomis and his five piece band get ready to tear the roof off the sucker. The Texas native and his band recently were labeled “a blues-rock-funk-groove-soul band,” by the Houston Chronicle.
What this means for the festival goer? A second night of high energy music which touches the total spectrum of American music in general, or otherwise, something for everybody to dig! But Loomis is more than just industry magazine or newspaper quotes, as a youngster at age 16 he was able to jam with his idol turned mentor Bo Diddley. But don’t just take it from me, the late great Diddley summed up Loomis’ talents as follows, ““You got to put some seasonin’ in what you’re doin’, and this boy’s got the whole salt shaker!”
As if the place won’t be already rocking enough, the finishing roundhouse blow to this undisputed heavyweight blues rockin’ festival will be the unique collaboration of musicians known as Southern Hospitality, which take the stage at 10 p.m. This six piece band from Florida features three versatile and dynamic modern blues performers … all in one band!
Members include Blind Pig recording artist Damon Fowler, fellow guitarist/vocalist JP Soars and piano player extraordinaire/vocalist Victor Wainwright, who came together for an impromptu finale jam one evening after a festival performance, which featured each of their individual bands in the lineup, and the rest is history.
Interestingly Southern Hospitality’s first official show was opening for Buddy Guy at the Heritage Music Blues Fest in Wheeling, WV. From there the group has entertained crowds with rockin’ boogie-woogie blues; with each of the three bluesmen getting to showcase their skillset in the blues genre while a top notch rhythm section holds down the groove. Folks here’s your chance to remove “Damn I wish I would’ve gone” from your next week’s vocabulary!