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Saturday, December 7, 2013
THE DAN MAY BAND
Singer-songwriter Dan May’s career path has taken more twists and turns than a corkscrew in a hurricane. He has worked as a grave-digger, television cameraman, short-order cook, nuclear missile security guard, gas station attendant, ice cream truck driver, delivery man, amusement park worker and greenhouse laborer; all before the age of 25.
While studying music composition in college, he inadvertently stumbled upon an international opera career that forced him to leave a promising future as a songwriter behind. Cut to 15 years later, and after a vocal chord surgery that left him no longer able to meet the demands of opera, Dan returned to doing what he does best; writing and performing his own songs.
Since his crossover from classical to popular music, Dan has hit the ground running. With three critically acclaimed albums already under his belt, his latest release, Dying Breed, has quickly become his most successful project to date.
Saturday, December 14, 2013
CHUCK ANDERSON TRIO
"I have known Chuck for many years. He's still one of the finest guitarists on the planet. Glad he is back on the scene".
Chuck Anderson is a world renowned concert jazz guitarist, composer, educator, author, and lecturer. He has worked extensively in the concert field as a jazz artist. His original writing differentiates Chuck from most concert jazz guitarists in the field today. As an educator and author, he brings enormous experience to master classes, private teaching, lectures, clinics and workshops.
Eric Schreiber is a very versatile, experienced bass player. He has recently added a unique form of upright bass playing to his arsenal. Whether the feel is driving and powerful or needs the sensitivity of a ballad, Eric makes a major contribution to the Trio.
Ed Rick is one of those rare drummers who can play effectively at all volume levels. This is a critical skill with the Trio's emphasis on dynamics. From swing, to jazz waltz to bossa to ballad, Ed blends with the bass to provide excitement as well as great rhythmic stability and propulsion.
Saturday, December 21, 2013
From Ithaca, NY, Joe Crookston & The BlueBird Jubilee pick and twist their way through energetic and sonically lush sets of Joe Crookston originals.
Crookston was awarded “Album of the Year” by the International Folk Alliance and received a songwriting grant from the Rockefeller Foundation to travel New York State, interview locals and write original songs based on his travels.
He was recently signed to Tamulevich Artist Management with fellow songwriters John Gorka, Red Horse and Peter Yarrow.
Together as the BlueBird Jubilee, Joe and Peter have played to full houses at Festivals and Performing Arts Centers across the US.
It's a high energy show full of story songs, fingerpicking stomping rhythms and a deep well of musical tradition and creativity.
Tuning up their Martins and vintage Gibsons, these guys can play! They’ll weave and travel mystical, historical, and humorous roads, and twist through personal stories along the way. Ex-slaves, Oklahoma towns, rattlesnake tails, drunk Roosters, Dylan Thomas, and possibly a damn good Supertramp cover to boot.
At the end of the night, you’ll leave inspired, with a renewed sense of what’s possible. In Irish culture, there is phrase called the “The Long Note.”
“The Long Note” is that place of resonance and transcendence where the music, the voices, the instruments, and the community ALL come together and unite…There IS a “Long Note” and Joe Crookston is reaching for it!
Joe Crookston. Artist, writer, singer, guitar picker, painter, claw hammer banjo player, eco-village member and believer in all things possible. You'll be pulled in by the magic and musical world he creates and you'll end up in the moment, humming & buzzing with the rest of the crowd. He'll sing to you ~ You'll sing with him…He's plumbing for lyrical gold, like some kind of social archeologist. His story songs are universal, masterful and his concerts are a grand celebration of all of us.
Joe's favorite review: "I hate folk music, but I absolutely LOVE Joe Crookston's music!"
But, for Joe, it's less about awards and quotes, and it's more about this:
"I am learning to trust that my voice as a songwriter is a combination of my conscious and unconscious mind. More and more I find that when I tell my story from both of these realms, it has wider breadth, deeper impact, and resonates more clearly.
After years of creating, I do feel as though I've honed a way of writing and performing that has identifiable themes and expresses my quirky uniqueness.
There is a Georgia O'Keeffe quote that I love, and I'm paraphrasing: "The parts of ourselves that we are most self-conscious of, are the parts of ourselves that are most uniquely true to who we are!"
I see my job as an artist to have the confidence to sing, play and perform from this deep/true place inside of myself despite what is hip and cool at the moment."
Joe Crookston is a master storyteller. His music swirls with themes of lightness, darkness, clocks ticking, weeping willows, cynicism, hope, and the cycles of life and rebirth. If you love a moving song and musical madness, Joe Crookston delivers it all, the melodies, the lyrics, the energy, and a deep passion for exceptionally well-written songs.
Haven't seen him perform? Promise, you'll be more than glad you did.
His music has been recorded and performed by Irish harpers, a cappella gospel choirs, solo artists, and numerous national and international performers.
Peter Glanville accompanies Joe six-string guitar, tenor guitar, and vocals. Glanville is also from Ithaca, NY and plays extensively on Joe's 2011 "Darkling & the BlueBird Jubilee" CD.
Brittany Ann could sing before she could talk, or so says her mother. Growing up, when her father wasn't serenading her and her sisters, she would sometimes pick up his guitar and teach herself some chords.
Wednesday January 1
FIRST WEDNESDAYS BLUES JAM with the PHILLY BLUES KINGS
An opportunity for players and lovers of the Blues to get together to celebrate the USA's original musical art-form. Hosted By WXPN's Jonny Meister and Jamey Reilly.
We open our doors the first Wednesdays of every month from 7pm to 10 pm free of charge to invite both players and lovers to join for a few hours in an intimate concert-like environment to enjoy the spontaneous expression of the USA's original musical art-form. The Blues Jam is hosted by Jamey Reilly and WXPN's Jonny Meister, host of "Blues and Beyond" and the "Blues Show."
Guest players should plan to do 1 or 2 songs. Blues music only! There will be a sign-up sheet by the door for your name and instrument. The Philly blues kings will play the first and third 45 minute sets, and guest players will play for the second hour and a half set.
The PHILLY BLUES KINGS features:
Georgie "The Blacksmith" Bonds" - lead vocal
David "Long Otis" Reiter - 7 string lead guitar and vocals
Jamey Reilly - 5 string fretless bass
Gary Hyde - harmonica and vocals
Jesse Hubley- drums and vocals
We make it easy for players by supplying a full sound system, drum kit, keyboard, and several amplifiers. All you need to bring is your favorite instrument. All levels of proficiency are welcome... from seasoned professional players to amateurs with a story to tell. Solo and acoustic artists are accommodated as well.
The Blues found its voice in the deep south from the Mississippi Delta to Memphis Tennessee during the times of African-American slavery, when field workers would holler and moan to break the heat and monotony of cruel work under the hot sun... often communicating spiritual sentiments, social commentary, personal tragedy or news of escape in the underground railway.
From these early traditions of one man with a guitar, steeped in the rhythms of Africa, came influences from places as diverse as the Celtic Isles, France and the Carribean which blended to create a style of music that developed regional inflections which came to be known as "Folk, Country, Delta, Texas, Memphis, Barrel House, Chicago, East Coast, Electric, Piedmont, Jump, Swamp, Boogie, etc.". From the raw and earthy power of the Blues emerged the genres of Jazz, Rhythm and Blues, and Rock 'n' Roll. Having come full-circle, the Blues has finally earned worldwide respect, with broad appeal to audiences and players of all races and social statures.
Many of the founders and popularizers of Blues music are still with us or recently passed. Greats like BB King, Son House, John Lee Hooker, Jimmy Rodgers, Robert Johnson, Bessie Smith, Big Bill Broonzy, Howlin' Wolf, Muddy Waters, Little Walter, Willie Dixon, Blind Lemon Jefferson, JB Lenoir, and so many more old-timers. Modern adherents of the tradition have carried the Blues into the present day and given it new sounds... including Paul Butterfield, John Mayall, Bonnie Raitt, Bobby "Blue" Bland, Susan Tedeschi, Shemika Copeland, Joe Bonamassa, Samuel James, Keb Mo, Magic Slim, Deb Callahan, Don Evans, Danielle Miraglia and Rory Block, among many others. Echoes of the Blues can be heard in almost all popular music today.
Our listening room holds 60 guests comfortably, and we welcome aficionados to come, kick back and enjoy an evening of good music and good company. BYO snacks and drinks are welcome.
Come and enjoy!
Saturday, January 4, 2014
“Mean” Mary James, youngest of six children, was born in Geneva, Alabama, though her family lived in Florida, a couple miles below the Alabama line. Her mom (author, Jean James) and dad (WWII veteran, William James) lived a very nomadic lifestyle. On one occasion they packed up the family (Mary was four at the time) and moved from Florida to North Minnesota, near the Canadian border, to rough it in the wilds.
The North Country:
For three months they lived in a tent built from a roll of Visqueen they’d brought with them. During this time, they built a log cabin using only an axe, hand saws, and the trees around them. They cooked their food on a campfire, got their water from a deep hole they’d dug, and read at night by the northern lights shining through the clear walls of their plastic tent. On one occasion their tent was mauled by a large, 7’1” black bear that Mary’s mom, Jean, was forced to shoot.
The tent soon became unbearably cold, and when they finally moved into their almost completed log cabin, winter was upon them. Without electricity or running water, and cold enough to freeze water five feet from the only source of heat (an old wood stove), the family spent many hours reading books by kerosene lamp and enjoying the great outdoors (cutting firewood!).
Mary’s oldest brother, Jim, who’d just joined the Navy, sent the family a guitar and a compilation tape of songs he liked. With a battery-powered tape-player, the family listened to the music of Hank Williams, Jr. and Dolly Parton. It wasn’t long before Mary was singing the songs plus vocalizing all the instrumentation. Seeing her talent, Mom and Dad bought guitar books, and Mom started teaching all the children to play the guitar. Mary and her brother Frank were the two who would turn music into a career.
Mary learned to read music before she could read words and was an official singer/songwriter before she’d started her first day of kindergarten. With the help of her mom, she wrote her theme song “Mean Mary from Alabam’.” The press immediately baptized her with this handle, and she’s been Mean Mary ever since.
Goodness, Snakes Alive:
The James family eventually migrated back to Florida. Mary’s dad (who was sixty when she was born) was now retired, and Mary’s mom searched for ways to help support the family as well as feed Mary’s musical appetite and the varied interests of their other children. She started an organic truck farm, built and sold live-animal traps, collected live reptiles, amphibians, and mammals for wholesale distributors, and collected live venomous snakes for antivenom production. The children joined in all these undertakings and found it great sport.
On the Road Again:
Mary was now playing guitar, banjo and fiddle. She recorded her first album at age six, and spent five hours a day on instrumental and vocal practice along with her live performances. When she upped her music study time to seven hours a day, and her road shows began to multiply, it became impossible for her to attend school. At the end of the second grade, she went into home study and also started appearing daily on the Country Boy Eddie Show, a regional TV program out of Birmingham, Alabama. During this time, she also appeared regularly in Nashville, Tennessee at the Nashville Palace, on the Nashville Network, the Elvis Presley Museum, and on Printer’s Alley.
In spite of her hectic schedule, she found time for her studies and when only nine years old she aced a state required test at a 12th grade equivalency level. This wasn’t surprising to her parents who had witnessed her read the entire Gone with the Wind novel at age seven.
Her guitarist brother, Frank James, who’d now joined her on stage and in the home school program, also excelled in his studies and at age fourteen taught himself trigonometry. He graduated from high school at fifteen.
Back in Time:
At one point, Mary and Frank were booked at a living history event. They immediately fell in love with folk music. They’d grown weary of the commercial, country-music scene and so started a tour of historic folk and Civil War era music. It wasn’t long before they were one of the most sought after historical folk groups in the country, being booked every weekend and having to turn down hundreds of shows a year.
There was only one problem with this new arena of music to Mary’s fourteen-year-old eyes: all those mounted reenactors riding around while she stood in the dust and played music. Mary had always wanted a horse, and being a wise teenager she slyly told her parents that the only reason she’d worked so hard on music was so she could one day afford one! When her brother, Frank, who was equally drawn by equestrian interests, seconded her resolve, Mom and Dad gave in.
Always creative with new ideas to make money for her kids’ dreams, Mom started selling fudge at their live shows. The revenues from this enterprise almost too quickly materialized into horse flesh: an Arabian mix which Frank named Rogue, and a green-broke Thoroughbred mix which Mary named Apache. They promptly added “horse-back music” to their overflowing repertoire and began playing “mounted” music whenever they could book it. This led them from parades to wild-west shows and even a few bank robberies (re-enacted, of course).
Apache was a spirited horse and contstantly got into trouble. He loved to perform, but that didn’t stop his proclivity for accidents. He once reared in a parade and fell over backwards on Mary and her guitar. Another time, when spooked by a deer, he bolted, his saddle broke, Mary fell underneath, and was trampled by his running hooves. He also, at times, liked to roll down hills with Mary astride. But in spite of broken bones, swollen limbs, twisted legs, and multiple bruises, Mary never missed a show, though she did on occasion have to prop herself against a support.
California, Here They Come:
In the meantime, Mary and Frank were eliciting interest from a California music agency, and Mom James had just signed a contract with a California literary agency. The other children were all grown and on their own by this time, so Mom, Dad, Frank, and Mary did the “Beverly Hillbilly” thing. They packed all their belongings into, and onto, their vehicles, hooked up the horse trailer with Rogue and Apache, and drove to LA.
For the next three years, Mary and Frank were involved in almost every TV show and movie produced in the Hollywood area - be it as background actor, stand-in, photo double, stunt double, or day player. Mary found a large, beat-up, slide-in camper for the back of her pickup truck that cost only two hundred dollars, and that became her home. She parked it wherever it was convenient, and sometimes in places not so convenient. There are no doubt still dents on low-hanging limbs all over the LA area, thanks to Mary and her top-heavy home. And then there was the time she took the mirror off a movie executive’s car at Fox studios by trying to squeeze through an impossibly-narrow area. She bought him a new mirror but never got a movie roll out of the happening!
It was exciting, interesting work but it wasn’t furthering her music career, and the horses didn’t like it at all. They longed for the green fields they were used to. Eventually the James Gang migrated back to the South, finding homes in Tennessee.
The Great Setback:
The horses were happy, and Mary’s music career was really taking off, when the most devastating happening of her life occurred. One rainy evening in February she was the front-seat passenger in a small car when the driver lost control, Mary’s head broke the windshield and her neck cracked the hard plastic dashboard. The twisted state of her neck convinced the driver she was gone. He even called her parents and told them she was dead. But a high-speed ambulance ride and quick medical attention at the hospital saved her life – if not her future. It was there she received news that, to her, was worse than death – her right vocal cord was paralyzed.
She brought her battered body home from the hospital and began her fight. Music was her life – had always been her life – and she couldn’t give it up. She purposely set herself to do the hardest of physical tasks, demanding her body to get well. She stacked hay bales, built fences and barns, took winter swims, and constantly worked her vocal cords. The rest of her body soon recovered from the trauma, but her right vocal cord stayed paralyzed. The left side tried to compensate for it, making it possible for her to sing a little, but only for about ten minutes at a time, and her voice was dead next to its former capabilities.
A Bit of Light in the Darkness:
It was one joyous day, six months later, a throat specialist told her there was slight movement in her frozen vocal cord. He said it might not totally recover, might not even improve further, but his news was enough for Mary. That was when her real work began. She booked shows, sang when she could, and when she couldn’t she’d play her instruments.
She started touring again, sometimes alone, sometimes with her brother, and sometimes with her full band. She also got her own Nashville TV show: The Never-Ending Street - a documentary/reality type show depicting the trials and joys of a touring musician.
During this time, she co-wrote novels with her mom. To date, she is the award winnng author of 2 published novels - available now at bookstores: Sparrow Alone on the Housetop, and Wherefore Art Thou, Jane?. Another novel is due for release in 2014.
It was also during this same time that her YouTube videos began to take off. They’d started out with a few daily visits but quickly climbed to over 4000 visits a day. Her bookings increased and her international fan base took a leap of growth. This was all good news, but the greatest thing to happen during this time was the recovery of her vocal cord. She’d worked it back to life!
On the Never-Ending Street:
Today she labors on her TV show, produces music for herself and other artists, produces shows and videos, is co-writing a novel trilogy about the music world, is an endorsing artist for Deering Banjos, and is constantly touring.
There is not room here to tell the whole life story of Mean Mary, but if you’d like to hear more of it, listen to her music—it’s all there
Saturday, January 18, 2014
We love what we do. We are a high energy band that loves to have fun. Inside the band competition breads us to get better, write better music, and perform at a higher quality. Three members attend college, while one is a senior in highschool. Needless to say we collectively would enjoy to never have to take a class again and just perform music for the rest of our lives. We have passion. We have power. And we have promise.
Biographically we are from Delaware County Pa out of an interesting scene of music. Justin Russell is the most recent addition to the band. He was the final piece to the band bringing amazing vocals to an already established sound. Denis Xhori was previously just a violinist in the Springfield High School orchestra, but now he is a rock and roll monster. His personality is soft-spoken, but you wouldn't know that when he performs. His sound is so vital to the band. Tyler O'shea and Bruce Mac Knight are the original members of the band. Tyler's drum sound and Bruce's guitar playing is what is at the core of Knightlife. Tyler remarked: "When I heard the recording of Steppin' I could only remember the days Bruce and I were practicing that song together up in my bedroom with no one around to here. I remember just hitting those notes side by side with Bruce and it feeling amazing. The fact we have our own recordings now is much to my amazement."
Tyler and Bruce have a motto that: "It will just work out". Prior to the first performance Knightlife was without a singer. Justin contacted Knightlife 4 days before the show. Needless to say...it just worked out.
Saturday, January 25, 2014
JOHN WORT HANNAM
2010 Contempory Album of the Year Winner -¬‐ Canadian Folk Music Awards 2010 Juno Award Nominee -¬‐ Roots and Traditional Album of the Year
2009 Grand Prize Winner -¬‐ Calgary Folk Music Festival Songwriting Competition 2008 North American Folk Alliance Award Nominee
2007 Double Western Canadian Music Award Nominee
2007 New Folk Winner -¬‐ Kerrville Texas New Folk Songwriting Competition 2007 Grand Prize Winner -¬‐ Calgary Folk Music Festival Songwriting Competition 2005 Double Canadian Folk Music Award Nominee
2005 Western Canadian Music Award Nominee
2004 Grand Prize Winner -¬‐ Calgary Folk Music Festival Songwriting Competition
For five years John Wort Hannam taught grade 9 language arts on the largest reserve in Canada – The Kainai Nation, part of the Blackfoot Confederacy. But in 1997 he heard a Loudon Wainwright III record and was hooked by the music and the stories. In 1998 he bought a guitar and learnt some chords. In 2002 he quit teaching and began to pursue the dream of being a working musician.
John Wort Hannam comes from a long line of people who make a living using their hands. His great-¬‐great grandfather drove horse and buggy for the village doctor. His great-¬‐grandfather was a stevedore, his grandfather, a farmer and his father still works as a master carpenter. Wort Hannam now carries on the tradition making his living writing songs and playing music.
He independently released his debut CD “pocket full of holes” in 2003 and his 2nd CD “Dynamite and ‘Dozers” in 2004. His third CD “Two-¬‐Bit Suit” was released by Black Hen Music in the spring of 2007. In May of 2009 John went back in the studio and recorded "Queen's Hotel". In 2012, he released “Brambles and Thorns”, this time recording with producer Leeroy Stagger and releasing the record on Borealis Records.
He was commissioned to write the official 2011 Alberta Winter Games song “Like The Northern Lights” and the 2012 official song for the 100th Anniversary of the Empress Theatre.
He tours actively as a solo, duo, trio, and at times as a four piece band with John on guitar, tenor guitar, and harmonica and Tyson Maiko on upright bass, Scott Duncan on fiddle, and Brad Brouwer on percussion.