Are you a worker? Have you been a worker? If so, then today is your holiday, Labor Day. Historians generally cite that the Labor Day holiday was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882, in New York City. In 1884 the first Monday in September was selected as the holiday, as originally proposed, and the Central Labor Union urged similar organizations in other cities to follow the example of New York and celebrate a “workingmen’s holiday” on that date. The idea of a holiday for labor spread with the growth of labor organizations, and in 1885 Labor Day was celebrated in many industrial centers across America.
Throughout the years Labor Day celebrations began to grow and several municipal ordinances were passed during 1885 and 1886 to recognize the holiday. Not surprisingly the first state to introduce Labor Day legislation was New York, but the first state to pass a Labor Day law was Oregon on February 21, 1887. As the year progressed, Colorado, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York all created a Labor Day holiday by legislative means. Soon Connecticut, Nebraska, and Pennsylvania would enact Labor Day legislation. By 1894, 30 states had adopted the holiday in honor of workers, and on June 28 of that year, Congress passed an act making the first Monday in September of each year a legal holiday in the District of Columbia and then all the states.
But just exactly what is Labor Day? The Department of Labor describes Labor Day as follows, “Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.” As one can see, Labor Day is one of our few all inclusive holiday’s which sets no boundaries based upon a person’s religion or country of origin or involvement in any specific organization.
Some are fortunate enough to grow up in a home where their mother and father were part of our countries workforce in the 1940’s. While many of our men and women served around the world as World War II raged, many other men and women labored tirelessly at home to help guarantee us victory in this horrific conflict. Not only did the war force domestic workers into improbable careers for that era, often symbolized by the well-known depiction of “Rosie the Riveter,” but our domestic workforce also met the demands of wartime rationing and all the stresses placed upon the traditional family. Not only did workers help build our country, but they also helped our country to survive. Certainly many brave men and women have died valiantly defending our great nation, but also remember that many hardworking men and women perished while building a nation worth defending.
The great unified workforces of the 1900’s also stood together and addressed a long list of issues important to all the workers in our great country. They negotiated with employers and spoke with local, state and federal elected officials about the importance of weekends for rest and family time, overtime pay, an 8-hour workday, a guarantee of a minimum wage for their work, paid vacation days, sick days, health benefits, retirement benefits and compensation when a worker loses their job through no fault of their own.
But workers also made great strides in a couple other areas, strides that are often forgotten and taken for granted or worse yet, scoffed at today by some ungrateful citizens. Workers demanded safer working conditions. Employers often forced workers to work in overcrowded and outdated structures which faced huge risks from fire. These conditions also forced workers to endure extreme conditions such has heat, cold, improper ventilation, biological hazards and more. As America began to further industrialize, workers were faced with even greater risks from all the things listed earlier plus, dangerous machinery, toxic fumes and gases, chemicals and carcinogens, highly flammable and explosive work environments and other factors created during the boom in manufacturing after World War II. Look around the Mid-Ohio Valley and you can see many of the facilities, or their successors, in operation today. Chemical plants, steel mills, power plants, coal mines and many other workplaces where workers rallied together to not only create a safer work environment but a safer community as well.
One other important area of labor’s influence is in the creation of child labor laws. As America industrialized, many families moved from rural to urban communities. The rapid expansion of American industry, not unlike that seen in many Asian countries today, led to an extreme demand of workers. Children were often employed because they could fit into and access areas which were difficult for adults, but probably the two main reasons were children were easy to control and they could be paid less than an adult worker. At one time nearly 25% of the American workforce was under the age of sixteen, often working in very dangerous conditions. Eventually the Fair Labor Standards Act and other state and federal laws began to address the problem child labor. These conditions are often difficult for Americans to visualize today, but one must imagine that parents today would not want their children to be excluded from an education, the sports team, music lessons, dance class or any family activity because they were working in a factory as an 11 year old.
Many battles have been fought by the men and women of labor since the beginning of our country. There have been wins and losses along the way, but also an ongoing desire to raise everyone’s standard of living, not just a few. Does anyone truly believe that the raises given by an employer 100 years ago or today are given out of the goodness of the employer’s heart? The answer is a resounding no for the majority of employers. As you listen to the many political speeches to be delivered this election season, pay attention to those who lean towards the working class of America and keep both a wary eye and mind focused on those who believe that unions and worker groups have outlived their usefulness and that corporate well-being is the key to our countries future. Every day unions are fighting so that all workers, both organized and unorganized, can raise their standard of living, build a strong, community engaged middle class and provide a little nicer opportunity for our next generation.
It is your Labor Day. Relax, remember and enjoy!
When one thinks of Chicago several thoughts immediately come to mind … Cubs, Bears and Bulls … “the Windy City” … Sears Tower … and the epicenter of much of America’s great blues music history. And on Friday evening a true living blues legend will visit the Court Street Grill in Pomeroy, OH.
Possibly no other scene has quite a historic family tree like the blues and John Primer occupies several branches. Primer was born in Camden, MS in 1945 and the aspiring guitarist made his way to Chicago in the early 1960’s, answering to the call of the great bluesmen of the day. Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Jimmy Reed, B.B. King, Albert King and Elmore James would all be major influences to the young Primer.
At the age of 18, Primer began seriously paying his dues in the Chicago blues scene. He found a gig in the house band at the legendary Southside blues venue, Theresa’s Lounge, and his nine-year run allowed him to meet and play with many blues greats.
In 1979, Primer joined the Willie Dixon All-Stars but soon left to join Muddy Water’s band. Primer was with Water’s until his death in 1983. Primer’s talents were no longer a secret and he was soon hired by Magic Slim to become one of the Teardrops. Primer and Slim formed a daunting guitar partnership which lasted until the early 1990’s when Primer began to move from sideman to main event.
Primer would return to the roots of the classic ’50s Chicago blues sound. Primer’s precise guitar work and husky vocals would soon be backed by The Real Deal, an all-star backing band featuring harpist Billy Branch, pianist David Maxwell, and bassist Johnny B. Gayden. When not fronting the Real Deal, Primer also keeps himself busy performing with the critically acclaimed Chicago Blues: A Living History Band with many of his contemporaries.
So know that one knows some blues history, the next step is to see Primer live, and frankly there is no better venue that I know of (literally speaking) than the Court Street Grill to witness a true blues legend at work. The show starts at 8pm and promises to be one of the hottest tickets of the year! For more info visit www.courtstreetgrill.com or call 740-992-6524 … or else you’ll be dealing with your own blues.
David Olney’s official occupation may read as “singer/songwriter” but maybe better fitting is the byline title at www.davidolney.com. It explains in no uncertain terms that Olney is the “Pioneer of the Americana music scene.” Intrigued yet?
Born in the late 1940’s in Providence, Rhode Island, Olney found his way to Nashville in the early 1970’s following a stint studying at the University of North Carolina. It was there that Olney would blend various musical genres and themes while honing his skills in a city famous for songs and songwriters.
Olney crafted folk influenced songs, which would be covered by some of Nashville’s biggest stars including Emmylou Harris, Steve Earle, Linda Ronstadt and the legendary Johnny Cash just to name a few. So one can see where the tag “singer/songwriter” could be generically applied to Olney’s career.
But those days reside quite a while ago and in this “what have you done for me lately” era in which we live, quite possibly Olney’s most interesting material is yet to come. And this Saturday the musical world of David Olney will stop in Parkersburg for part of the Coffeehouse Series presented by the Children’s Home Society of WV.
Olney will be appearing with his talented guitarist/collaborator Sergio Webb at 8pm on Saturday May 5that 1739 St. Mary’s Avenue. One must be advised however merely stating that the two Nashville icons are “appearing” easily qualifies as an understatement.
The Nashville Scene recently heaped high praise on Olney’s skills as the following quote illustrates, “If FILM NOIR established Olney’s affinities with, say, Tom Waits, his new EP The STONE ought to put Olney up there with Bob Frank or Dylan: When Olney essays the anti-sedition Jesus-blues-rock of the new record’s ‘Brains,’ he’s talking about the modern world. This is how a literate, blues-loving Nashville songwriter with a philosophical bent interprets the last couple of millennia.”
As if this testament wasn’t enough to Olney’s talents, once one adds to this Olney’s intense and imaginative live performances with Webb by his side, Saturday evening becomes a can’t miss show. Of course the night is also supporting a great cause if one needs any further prompting. Fellow entertainer Tommy Womack recently chronicled his chat with Olney in which he relayed to Womack, ““To me, it’s bogus that art can only be in museums. The real art is what goes on when people don’t expect it. My idea of a good time is getting in front of an audience and giving them more than they expected. That makes it a worthwhile, fulfilling thing to me.”
So here’s a perfect chance for Parkersburg to break out of its musical cocoon and begin truly supporting great causes and musicians. This show is an excellent opportunity for music lovers or all ages to truly experience a one of a kind performance. For more details contact email@example.com or call 304-541-7463.
And don’t worry; they’ll be time for your faux Cinco de Mayo celebration after your ears have enjoyed a musical fiesta!
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!
But there have been a few musical events stand the test of time in our region in recent years. Tonight area music fans will have the opportunity to enjoy one such event. The 21st Annual Blues, Jazz & Folk Music Society’s Blues Festival kicks off this evening at the historic Hotel Lafayette in downtown Marietta. Tonight’s 8 p.m. show will feature two high energy bands guaranteed to get your feet moving.
Mikey Jr. & the Stone Cold Blues will get the party started Friday evening with their brand of high energy blues. Hailing from the greater Philadelphia region, Mikey Jr. has built a reputation has one of the hottest harp players around. Mikey Jr. has been drawing comparisons to some legendary harp masters such a Little Walter and Sonny Boy and when teamed with guitar, bass and drums is sure to provide a rollicking even of contemporary blues fun.
Headlining the Friday evening show will be the Lionel Young Band, winners of the 2011 International Blues Competition Band category. Like most great blues bands, the Lionel Young Band has roots which extend throughout the legendary blues family tree. Young, winner of the 2008 International Blues Challenge Solo/Duo competition has jammed with the likes of Clarence Gatemouth Brown, Elvin Bishop, Ronnie Baker Brooks, Tab Benoit, Chris Cain and Bob Margolin just to name a few.
Young is backed by Andre Mali on trumpet, Dexter Payne on sax, clarinet and harp, Ricardo Pena on piano, organ and vocals, Kim Stone on bass and Jay Forrest on drums. Collectively this band is ready for any style of blues anytime anyplace. The bands resume would fill up another page of music who’s who’s!
But ones ears and eyes are the best judges of all and the Lionel young Band has been winning people over whether it’s crisscrossing the U.S. or hitting the high seas as part of a Blues Cruise. With smooth vocals and a powerful sound the Lionel Young Band will impress and still have room to through in a few tricks for the party!
Its Friday night ya’ll know you deserve a good time and there’s no better place to start than the BJFMs Blues Festival baby!
The nice thing about the Adelphia Music Hall’s “Three Band Thursday” (3BT) is that one is never quite sure what they are going to discover. The three dollar cover charge for the end of month event is nice as well. Plus the early start time allows for music aficionados to enjoy a few hours of music on a work night, and maybe just discover a new favorite band along the way.
As expected, most of the time, conscious effort must be given in preparing a weekend show for the performer’s proper musical genre fit, but on the last Thursday of each month that formula can be intriguingly tossed out the window. February’s 3BT was certainly no exception as the Adelphia stage transformed from acoustic songwriter cleverness to modern energy.
The evening opened with three solo acoustic songwriters performing “in the round.” For those unfamiliar with “in the round,” the concept involves the performers seated in a semi-circle onstage and each of them singing one song at a time, taking turns through the lineup. It allows for a fresher presentation of a musical genre which could otherwise run the risk of becoming repetitious.
Former Parkersburg native and current Wheeling resident Michael Iafrate was first in line. Iafrate also performs in Michael Iafrate and the Priesthood, which is currently working on a new album. But on 3BT Iafrate hit the stage in solo form to perform six original songs and one cover.
“Three of the originals will be on the upcoming Michael Iafrate & the Priesthood album which is tentatively called “Christian Burial”: (the songs were) Horse Birth, No Home, and Come and Die. An acoustic version of Horse Birth appears on my most recent digital EP release “No Matter How Deep the Darkness He Descends Deeper Still,” Iafrate said. Another one from the set, Song of Songs, appears on their first release, 2005’s “O Happy Marriage.”
Of course every original artist has a topic to their songs, some based on fiction and others which are a little more familiar with reality. Maybe the end result is the joy from presenting an original work of music. “I have been kind of excited about “Horse Birth” because it’s the first murder ballad I’ve written and I’m pretty pleased with some of the lines in that song,” Iafrate said. Iafrate also enjoys performing many of his other compositions, which visits the twists and turns of his theological background.
But most every artist explores the work of other artists, both to learn and admire. “I played one cover, Be Here to Love Me by Townes Van Zandt who I’m obsessed with lately,” Iafrate admits.
As for upcoming live shows, Iafrate says that he is spending more time focusing on finishing the recording of their new album. But there are also tunes to be enjoyed while you wait by visiting http://miafrate.catholicanarchy.org.
Parkersburg’s Mike Equality Lutz occupied the number two spot of the “in the round” rotation. Lutz entertained the crowd with six original songs which included Emotional Warfare, How Long, Distance, Preacher Blues, Gods Existence and Ladybug/River of Alcohol.
“Some of it was written with a full band in mind,” Lutz said, but as with most songwriters some of his songs were just plainly written to be performed solo. Some may recognize Lutz from his former band Mike Lutz and the Assistance, which was essentially his songs but with a band. Most recently Lutz has been performing with a new group, Nemean Lion. The band named from a creature of Greek mythology rocked the Adelphia Music Hall in February, and provides Lutz with a more collaborative songwriting environment.
What has been the topical focus for Lutz’s songwriting thus far? “My message has always been one of love and heartbreak…but this has changed with the songs I’m yet to debut. I’m moving into more of a social cause/political field of thought,” Lutz said.
Rounding out the trio for the acoustic presentation was John Radcliff of Parkersburg. Music fans will probably recognize the Charleston, WV native from some his previous area musical endeavors both solo and in bands, plus his dashing hair style is also a dead giveaway that John is in the house. Radcliff used the opportunity to debut some new material as well as play a couple songs from his latest CD “Naked Souls.”
“I played two songs from the CD, Naked Souls and My Plastic Lover. The rest of the songs were all written in the last month,” Radcliff said. The brand spankin’ new numbers included Myths and Marbles, Give It Away, Just Right, Book of Blessings andMuse.
Interestingly, Radcliff has made his news songs a bit of a songwriting experiment by videotaping his performances to not only use as a reference for future recording sessions, but also as a means to gauge the evolution of his songs throughout the creative/songwriting process. But as for final destination of the songs, “The new songs are definitely written for a band sound,” Radcliff said. Hence one can expect even further evolution.
“These songs are more about a hopefulness for the future,” Radcliff said. But he adds that he is also finding it hard to not be myself. But one must remember that sometimes the things which we feel are in need of attention may be the same things which make one interesting … whether it is sharing one’s personal achievement or an unguarded fall to the ground.
Of course, Three Band Thursday wouldn’t be complete without a band itself, even if it is in the interesting form of a power duo.
From a scientific viewpoint, radicals have been known to play an important role in combustion, atmospheric chemistry, polymerization, biochemistry, plasma chemistry and other chemical processes. The Damn Radicals have followed a “less is more” formula and the resulting reaction is near art, while retaining a by-product of un-abandoned energetic mystery. In recent years the “less is more” concept has broken new ground in the live music arena and for good reason in this age of droning loops, samples and computer overdubs.
Consisting of singer/guitarist Luke Schindler and drummer/percussionist Anthony Azzi, The Damn Radicals deconstruct modern music to its purest form. That’s right … a Gibson played through a Fender along with percussive firepower from a set of silver sparkle Ludwigs along with some vocals to tell the whole truth. Think White Stripes … Black Keys … all of which makes for pretty damn good company.
Azzi and Schindler both attend Marietta College at present and drew a small but faithful gathering of student aged fans for their set. As for their other fellow students, these guys are worth having to stay up an hour later to finish the next day’s assignment.
The duo powered their way through a set of originals to the delight of the crowd. But it wasn’t all crash and distortion as Schindler went acoustic for a few songs as Azzi added fitting percussion. Damn those Radicals utilized the old sonic switch-a-roo before finishing the set with a crowd pleasing fuzzy kick in the ass.
With a recent release entitled “Faking Friction” to support, with any luck we’ll be seeing a lot more of these Damn Radicals, no matter what the scientific consequences may be!
“No matter what your talent level, there has to be something a little unsettling about presenting your skills onstage and being judged among your peers. And when one looks at the scope of performances at the recent 20th Annual Blues, Jazz & Folk Music Society’s Blues Competition, it would appear that solo performers have a daunting task indeed. Gary Applegate (www.garyapplegate.com) of Indianapolis, IN met that challenge head on during his performances last Saturday.
While bands competing in the contest certainly have an advantage of a fuller sound and a livelier stage, Applegate utilized a few talents of his own as well. The competition witnessed four solo acts over its two day run with two of those performers advancing to the final round on Saturday evening and a third just barely missing out.
What is it that gave Applegate and Elyria, OH’s Luther “LT” Trammell a ticket to the finals? Several factors come into play for the solo contestant, with two obviously enormous ones being instrumental and vocal talent. When the solo performer walks onto the stage, they are essentially walking on to a blank canvas ready to be painted by their musical talents. Sure full bands will paint their own portrait as well, but often times the same full sound that bands attempt to achieve may also create a less defined vision of the combined talents being presented.
In the competition, blues content is the heaviest weighted scoring category, meaning that all the contestants are assessed a number between one and ten by the judges and then their score is multiplied by a value of four to achieve an acts “blues content” score. While bands may sometimes have the tendency to stray into other musical genres during their performances, the solo artist can strip their presentation down to the essential old school fundamentals of the blues themselves.
While just literally singing the blues may be grandfather of all blues music, one can easily imagine that an acoustic guitar and a harmonica are not too far down that family tree. But while Trammell presented a more traditional performance, Applegate wowed the fans and judges with a little bit of technical know-how to go along with his obvious talent.
“I’ll be playing all the sounds you hear live,” Applegate said to the standing room only crowd before beginning his twenty minute set. Armed not only the traditional acoustic guitar and harmonica instrumentation, Applegate also uses a unique style which allows him to incorporate a bass line and a kick drum sound … all being played by him live!
Through a little modern technology (no more than your average electric or bass guitar player uses in foot pedals or amplifiers), Applegate transforms his two lower strings in the E and A positions, into the bass line and splits the signal to a bass amp onstage. On the floor, Applegate’s right foot becomes a metronome/kick drum which is amplified as well. So far there are two tracks being played … are you following?
The other four guitar strings are played as rhythm and lead during the performance … now there’s three tracks. Next throw in vocals or an occasional blast of harmonica, and yes that right, Applegate is essentially keeping four separate tracks under control at one time! All of which are being played live.
Now it is easy to discuss Applegate’s interesting set up, but ultimately it still boils down to the performer being able to exude the power and emotion on which the blues have relied for hundreds of years. There has to be a felt personal connection between the crowd and the performer, with the artist holding the keys to unlock those emotions.
In a bittersweet manor, Applegate explained the story behind his original song, “Damn It! I’m Lonely” and that sometimes elusive connection was established. It was inspired by his loss of a loved to cancer at far too early of an age.
In years past the BJFMS would award a sponsorship to both a band category and a solo performer, but that was changed a few years back. Luckily for Applegate, the BJFMS came up with an interesting guideline concerning sponsorships of solo performers.
Within the finals of the blues competition, if a solo performer places in the top three spots, he or she will be awarded a sponsorship by the society to the International Blues Challenge. Applegate will be busy in home state of Indiana, before returning on July 6th for the 18th Annual Red, White & Blues Festival in Marietta.
If there’s one thing that people should know about Jimmy Clinton, it’s his partiality to be in a position to rise to the occasion. Sure Clinton enjoys being the spectator from time to time and watching others in that position, be it a Scarlet Knight athlete or a veteran bluesman such as Buddy Guy, but in the end he’s like most people who welcome a good challenge.
Fittingly, Clinton and his band will return to one of his favorite stomping grounds Friday evening, the Worthington Golf Club located at the corner of Fairview and Roseland Avenues in Parkersburg. Except this time instead of strapping a golf bag filled with fourteen clubs over his shoulder, Clinton will be sporting his trusty Stratocaster. As a teen competing in a junior high golf tournaments at the locale, one has to believe Clinton probably never uttered “see that ballroom there … someday I’m going rock that ballroom.”
And that’s the great thing about growing up; it affords one the opportunity to do things they never dreamed of when they were younger. And with the help of bassist Vincenzo Mele and drummer Jeremy Harmon, Clinton is ready to turn it into a reality.
The group played its first formal gig at a private party last December in Parkersburg. From there it was on to the Adelphia Music Hall for a January show with the Carpenter Ants from Charleston. The following weekend the Jimmy Clinton Band once again graced the Adelphia stage as part of the Washington County Humane Society Dylan Tribute show. Over that period of time, fans saw the band slim down to a three piece power trio, a format which has always suited Clinton’s artistic endeavors particularly well.
Now it’s time for the Jimmy Clinton Band to play their first public Parkersburg show. The doors will open at 8 p.m. and shortly thereafter, Don Baker will open the show with his folk sensibility and Americana sounds. Baker’s natural sound will be perfect in the setting of vintage wood paneling.
The Jimmy Clinton Band will finish out the night with its own brand of Americana music, but full on rocking. One of the nice things about the band are the years of musical influences and the input from the fellow veteran musicians, which helps to form a powerful and unique sound. The audience will be treated to some old songs, some cover songs and more importantly, some new songs. “One thing’s for certain, it’s a lot easier to learn songs when only three people have to remember them,” Clinton said.
What this means is that there will be something for everybody at this show. The cover charge is only $5 and they’ll be plenty of libations and dancing … after all it is a ballroom.