On Stage: Poco’s Young unretires, finds new path

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By Denny Dyroff, Entertainment Editor, The Times


With the great variety of shows around the area tonight, if you can’t find something you like, then you should resign yourself to an evening at home binge-watching your favorite show on Netflix or Hulu.

Live music will be available tonight in an array of diverse genres. The schedule includes a band from the 1960s that fostered country rock (Poco), a veteran singer/songwriter (Steve Forbert), a punk rocker/MTV star from the 1980s (Billy Idol with his guitarist Steve Stevens), a traditional singer from Mauritania (Noura Mint Seymali), a hard rock band that has been a major draw for years (Red Sun Rising), a theatrical children’s show written by the author of one of Broadway’s most successful musicals (“Peg + Cat”), a Philly-based blues/R&B band that has been selling out shows for years (Dukes of Destiny) and one of the most promising young hard rock bands on the scene (Dirty Honey).

Poco, which is headlining a show on March 30 at the Scottish Rite Auditorium (315 White Horse Pike, Collingswood, New Jersey, scottishriteauditorium.com), is an American country rock band originally formed by Richie Furay, Jim Messina and Rusty Young. Poco, which had its roots in Buffalo Springfield, was part of the first wave of the L.A.-based West Coast country rock genre.
During recording of Buffalo Springfield’s third and final album, “Last Time Around,” lead singers Stephen Stills, Neil Young and Richie Furay each recorded songs without the other members present. One of Furay’s solo efforts was the country-influenced ballad “Kind Woman,” which he recorded with the help of producer/engineer/bassist Jim Messina and pedal steel guitarist Rusty Young.
When Buffalo Springfield split up, Furay, Messina and Rusty Young decided to start their own group with a country rock focus while the other two singers formed the band know as Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young.

Poco’s original lineup was Furay (vocals and rhythm guitar), Messina (lead guitar, vocals, producer), Young (pedal steel guitar, banjo, dobro, guitar, mandolin and vocals), George Grantham (drums and vocals) and Randy Meisner (bass and vocals). The group was signed to a recording contract with Epic Records. Originally, the new group was named Pogo,”after the Pogo comic strip character, but was changed when its creator, Walt Kelly, objected and threatened to sue.

Over the next five decades, alongside bandmates that would also include Paul Cotton, Randy Meisner and Timothy B. Schmit, Young became not only the musical core of the band, but also the writer and vocalist behind hits including “Rose Of Cimarron” and the Number 1 hit “Crazy Love.”

Cotton joined Poco in 1970. He and Young remained the only constant members from 1970-2010 with the exception of the five years Cotton was on his own from 1988-1992. All along, Young remained the heart and soul of Poco.

At the end of 2013, Rusty Young announced his retirement. At the age of 68, he said he had spent 45 years on the road in the same band and needed a break.

“In 2013, I had decided that I had enough fun,” said Young, during a recent phone interview from his home near the Mark Twain National Park in Missouri.

“I decided that I wasn’t going to tour anymore – that I would do little things with friends in Nashville or do a cruise. Later that year, I got a call from Jimmy Messina. He said – I’ve got four dates out here on the coast…want to come and play?”

One thing led to another.

“I met a guy at one of the gigs who said he had a label called Blue Eden and asked if I wanted to do an album. I really wasn’t interested in a vanity thing. Then, I started thinking about it. In 50 years of Poco, I had never done a solo record. Other friends form bands had done solo records but not me. I had two goals – do a solo record and write a book. The solo record would be part of my legacy.”

It was time to fulfill the solo album part.

According to Young, “I’d intended to retire from the road. I was certainly slowing down, wanting nothing more than to spend more time at home gardening and fishing. But a fan reached out saying that he had a new artist-friendly record label and asked if I would consider a solo project. I had been offered solo deals back in the ‘70s, but always felt Poco was more important.

“But I feel I’m now the best I’ve ever been as a singer and songwriter, and I have a better grasp of the music than ever before. And I realized that this was the perfect time to do something that could be a really rewarding part of my legacy.”

All of Young’s skills came to the forefront with his solo recording – “Waitin’ For The Sun.”

“The solo record shows what I did with Poco,” said Young. “Once I had recorded it, I had to go out and promote the album.”

Produced by Jack Sundrud with assistance from the legendary Bill Halverson and mixed/mastered by Joe Hardy, the album was recorded at Cash Cabin in Hendersonville, Tennessee, the former home recording studio of Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash.

“June’s old piano is all over the record,” said Young. “And, I got to play Johnny’s ’57 Les Paul.”

Young also played steel and acoustic guitars, dobro, mandolin and banjo, with the current configuration of Poco — Sundrud, keyboardist Michael Webb, and former Flying Burrito Brothers drummer Rick Lonow.

“They are, quite simply, the best musicians I know,” said Young. “You can’t separate me from the sound of Poco, but I wanted to take the Poco sound — the songwriting, the vocals and the playing — to the next level. The goal of this album was to go one step beyond.

“When I’m not on the road, I get up every morning at 4:30 a.m., sit downstairs with my guitar and wait for the sun to come up. That’s where the album title came from. I knew I had to come up with 12-14 songs and it took about a year.

“I play some of the new songs in the shows on this tour, but I know that people come wanting to hear their Poco favorites. I even do one Buffalo Springfield song. The audiences are great. They’re so loyal. Most of the shows are sold out.”

Video link for Poco – https://youtu.be/4mUxh4VEXw8.

The show at the Scottish Rite Auditorium, which has Jim Messina as the opening act, will start at 8 p.m. Tickets are $69.50, $59.50, $49.50 and $39.50.

Dukes of Destiny

Maybe the Dukes of Destiny should add the song “Tradition” from “Fiddler on the Roof” to certain shows in the area.

The Dukes of Destiny, a long-time Philly band, have established a tradition of playing a mid-winter show at the Kennett Flash (102 Sycamore Alley, Kennett Square, 484-732-8295, http://www.kennettflash.org). It started in February 2017, repeated in 2018 and will continue this year with a show on March 30.

The Dukes of Destiny, who have been treating fans to live performances of top-flight blues and soul music for almost three decades, are Arlyn Wolters (vocals), Ian Landes (guitar, vocals), Bob Holden (drums, vocals), Chicago Carl Snyder (keyboards, vocals), Rich Curtis (bass, vocals) and John Colgan-Davis (harmonica, vocals).

“We’re looking to make this an annual January thing at the Kennett Flash,” said John Colgan-Davis, during a phone interview Wednesday night from his home in the Mount Airy section of Philadelphia.

“When the Turtle Dove Folk Club in southern Chester County was still around, we were always their first concert of the year. We currently play the Meeting House in West Grove each year in October but it’s good to be back with a January show – and to get a new tradition going at the Flash.”

“We have one new member – Ian Landes on guitar. He’s a bit of a younger guy who has played around Philly with his own band. He replaced our long-time – 10 years – guitarist AC Steel. He also has his own band The Galvanizers and he wants to concentrate on that.”

In addition to performing at most of the clubs in the Tri-State area, the Delaware Valley band has performed at the Pocono Blues Festival, the Waterfront Jam at Philadelphia’s Penn’s Landing, the State Street Blues Stroll in Media, the Bucks County R’n’B Picnic, the New Jersey Folk Festival and the Longwood Gardens Summer Concert Series.

“For the past few years, we’ve had great years,” said Colgan-Davis. “We played places we had never played before – like the Philadelphia Folk Festival. We also played places we really love like the Kennett Flash and the West Grove Friends Meeting.

“We played the Phoenixville Blues Festival and the Paoli Blues Festival. We really love playing the Kennett Flash. And, we love our Chester County crowd. They’ve been coming to see us play for 14-15 years.”

Chester County music fans and the Dukes of Destiny definitely have a love affair going.

“We did the Turks Head Festival in West Chester two years ago – and ‘Rhythm and Roots’ in Media,” said Colgan-Davis. “We love the Flash – the intimacy and the sound system. And, we love what it stands for and what it means to Kennett Square.

“We love the people of Chester County and I really like the landscape of the area. It’s always a special place for us. Chester County gigs have the vibe of old coffee houses. We put out the energy and the audience give sit back to us.”

Audiences that like to get out of their seats and dance are a big part of the Dukes of Destiny live experience.

“We get all kinds of dancers at our shows,” said Colgan-Davis. “We’ve been playing a lot more festivals. We’re back on the festival circuit. I love playing festivals for a couple reasons. You get a whole bunch of people playing together. That takes me back to the 60s and the be-ins back then.

“Sun Ra had said the message that music is the healing force of the universe and you feel that at festivals. And, kids get to hear real music played by real people. With a band like us that plays off the crowd, a festival show is a real exciting thing.”

Colgan-Davis’s introduction to the blues came when he was in high school at Central High in Philadelphia and saw the Stones performing with Howling Wolf on the “Shindig” TV show. Howlin’ Wolf, whose real name was Chester Burnett, was an American blues singer, guitarist and harmonica player who was one of the premier Chicago bluesmen.

“When I saw Howlin’ Wolf on that TV show, I jumped up and said — this is what I want to do,” said Colgan-Davis. “I started playing blues when I was 16. My dad gave me a grab bag for my birthday and a harmonica was in it.

“I started listening to blues records a lot — players like Muddy Waters and James Cotton. I was really into Chicago blues of the 1950s and 1960s when I started. Then, I got into guys like Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee. One of the first bands I played in was a Philly blues band called Sweet Stavin’ Chain.”

A while later, the Dukes of Destiny became the main musical vehicle for Colgan-Davis. At first, they played house parties in Germantown, generating word of mouth interest. A gig at the now-defunct Taker’s Cafe in Germantown launched their public career

“The Dukes got together in the mid-1980s,” said Colgan-Davis. “Steve Brown started the band and it began with that gig at Taker’s Café. Steve died of pancreatic cancer in 2000 and I’ve been the leader ever since. Steve has always been in my mind. We did a tribute concert to him a few years ago and we still do some of his favorites in our set.

“We have a whole range of music in what we can play — everything from Chicago blues to old-school soul. What’s great about the Dukes is that we’re a band. We use each other’s strengths. Arlyn and I do the bulk of the singing but everybody in the band sings.”

Video link for the Dukes of Destiny — https://youtu.be/j5fM0sugB5w.

The show at the Kennett Flash will start at 8 p.m. Tickets are $18 and $22.

Peg + Cat Live!

On March 30, Kimmel Center Presents has a special matinee geared for a young audience – “Peg + Cat Live!”.

The show is scheduled for 2 p.m. at the Perelman Theater at the Kimmel Center’s Perelman Theater (300 South Broad Street, Philadelphia, www.kimmelcenter.org).

Based on the Emmy-winning PBS Kids show “Peg + Cat,” this kids-oriented musical features wild comedy, countless favorite songs from the show, and Peg’s super coolest pal Ramone.

When Peg’s mom asks Peg and Cat to mail some really important letters, they come face to face with a really big dog — really big problem. To solve it, they’ll need math — bar graphs, size comparison, position words, fair sharing, and a whole lot of counting. They’ll also need to count on each other, and the audience too, for their problem to be solved.

Peg + Cat is an American/Canadian animated children’s television series based on the children’s book The Chicken Problem,” which was published in 2012. The series, which features the voice acting of Hayley Faith Negrin and Dwayne Hill, is created by Billy Aronson and Jennifer Oxley and produced by Fred Rogers Productions and 9 Story Media Group. It debuted on most PBS stations on October 7, 2013, as part of the revamped PBS Kids brand.

“The show about friends who love each other – and they sing a lot,” said Aronson, during a recent phone interview. “We plan the show to be educational – but we don’t talk about it that way.

“A few years back, Jennifer had an RFP (Request for Proposal) from PBS. They wanted to do a math show for kids. They wanted to show that math was for everybody. Jennifer invited me to write together with her. It came down to three people making pilots and we got it. Jennifer and I put our heads together and wrote something we loved. We came up with stories.

“Jennifer and I like shows where you don’t even know you’re learning. Peg and Cat could be anywhere. In one episode, they were visiting Romeo and Juliet. She’s on a balcony. To get her, he realizes he needs horizontal lines.

“In another episode, they’re in Vienna helping Beethoven create a symphony. Cat falls down and is laughing – hah, hah, hah, HAH. That ‘short, short, short, long’ was the start of a symphony.

“You need math to do something cool. Math has the power. Our feeling is that math is for everyone. We’ve done everything we can to reach people. The show premiered in 2013 and won n Emmy for best animated pre-K show.”

Now, they have taken the show from the TV screen to the live stage.

“The theater show happened pretty quickly – just last fall,” said Aronson, who grew up in Bala-Cynwyd, graduated from Lower Merion High and got a degree in Theater and English from Princeton University. “The Bay Area Children’s Theater put the show together in three weeks.”

The Kimmel Center has another show by Aronson on its schedule for 2019 and it’s about as unlike to “Peg + Cat” as can be.

That show is “Rent,” which had a sold-out run at the Academy of Music a few weeks ago and is being brought back for an encore run in October. “Rent” was created as a collaboration between playwright Aronson and producer/composer Jonathan Larson.

Video link for “Peg + Cat” — https://youtu.be/cseNMi_IGjw.

The show at the Kimmel Center will start a 2 p.m. Tickets are $25, $29.50, $39.50 and $50.

Noura Mint Seymali

The Kimmel Center will also be hosting an international music concert on March 30 when Noura Mint Seymali and her band perform in the Kimmel’s SEI Innovation Studio.

Seymali and her band are from the Islamic Republic of Mauritania – except for drummer Matthew Tinari, a Delaware Valley native who graduated from St. Joseph’s Prep in Philadelphia.

“I’m living in Dakar (capitol of Senegal) and the rest of the band is from Nouakchott (capitol of Mauritania),” said Tinari, during a recent phone interview. “I went to Oberlin College. After I graduated, I got a scholarship to study Wolof (the language of Senegal, the Gambia and Mauritania) in Senegal.”

Seymali is a nationally beloved star and one of Mauritania’s foremost musical emissaries.

Born into a prominent line of Moorish griot (West African praise singers, poets and musicians), she began her career at age 13 as a supporting vocalist with her step-mother, the legendary Dimi Mint Abba.  From a very early age, she was trained in instrumental and vocal technique by her grandmother, Mounina, mastering the ardine, a harp reserved only for women, and singing at weddings with family.

Seymali Ould Ahmed Vall, Nouras father, was similarly an important teacher, himself a seminal figure in Mauritanian music who devised the first system for Moorish melodic notation and composed many works popularized by his wife, Dimi. The elder Seymali sparked Noura’s compositional instincts and encouraged her earliest experimentations with fusion music.

Reared in this rich and transitive music culture where sounds from across the Sahara, the Magreb and West Africa coalesce, Noura Mint Seymali currently drives the legacy forward as one of Mauritania’s most adventurous young artists. 

Fueled by the exploratory sound of her husband Jeich Ould Chighaly’s emotive psych guitar lines, the two master musicians formed their first “fusion” band in 2004 after working together for many years as a duo in the local traditional circuit. Chighaly, a master of the tidinit (a.k.a. ngoni, xalam), brings the force of yet another important line of Moorish griot to bear, adapting the tidinit’s intricate phrasing to a modified electric guitar with heroic effect.

His unique sound, mirroring Seymali’s vocal lines and refracting their melodies into the either, was born out of years of practice presiding over wedding ceremonies where solo guitar or tidinit directs the dance.  In parallel to his work with Seymali, Chighaly remains one of Nouakchott’s most sought-after guitarists within the griot community until present.  

As the couple’s pop aspirations and a shared dream of modernizing Moorish music and exporting it all over the world began to take hold, their focus shifted from playing at weddings to experimenting with new formations in an effort to apply the griot’s wellspring of traditional knowledge and oral history towards something boldly contemporary. 

Tinari has been providing the beat for Seymali and her band for several years.

“The band has been together in its current formation for about eight years,” said Tinari. “Noura and Jeiche (her husband Jeiche Ould Chighaly) got married 22 years ago and have been playing traditional music ever since.

“They draw on traditional music but, in 2004, they started trying fusion music. There was no-one else doing it. There is a vibrant traditional space but beyond that was open space. Noura’s father (Seymali Ould Ahmed Vall, a seminal scholar figure in Mauritanian music) was supportive of a more dynamic vision of expanding traditional music.

“What we’re doing is modernizing it. But we also have songs that are straight traditional. We also found ourselves in the position of being the only band from Mauritania that is touring.”

Seymali released two albums — “Tarabe” (2006) and “El Howl” (2010) — which were only released locally in Mauritania. “Tzenni,” the band’s first full-length album for the international market, was released on Gliiterbeat Records in 2013 and followed by the “Arbina” album in 2016. Tinari’s drumming figured prominently in the music on both LPs.

“As a drummer, the drum parts I write are based on traditional rhythms,” said Tinari. “I use a bass drum called a t’beul and a high hat that is actually a metal plate. The rhythm is called gangesh.

“We’ve got the material ready for our next album. Noura does most of the writing. After this tour, we’re going to focus on recording the album – probably in Mauritania. Then, we’ll be back in the states in August.”

Video link for Noura Mint Seymali — https://youtu.be/o4euzr4UaQI.

The show at the Kimmel Center will start at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15.

On March 30, the Chameleon Club (223 North Water Street, Lancaster, 717-299-9684, http://www.chameleonclub.net) will be serving up a four-course delight – an evening of fresh, powerful hard rock music. Red Sun Rising is headlining a quadruple-bill that also features Dirty Honey, Another Day Dawns and Goodbye June.

Red Sun Rising

For the last year, Red Sun Rising has been touring in support of the band’s latest album “Thread,” which was released last year via Concord Music/Razor & Tie.

“Thread” is Red Sun Rising’s sophomore album. The quintet’s debut LP “Polyester Zeal” was released in August 2015. The Akron-based band — Mike Protich, Vocals, Guitar; Ryan Williams, Guitar; Ricky Miller, Bass, Vocals; Dave McGarry, Guitar, Vocals; Pat Gerasia, Drums — has been together since 2006.

“We were putting songs together for ‘Thread’ when we were still recording ‘Polyester Zeal’,” said Protich, during a recent phone interview from a tour stop in Grand Rapids, Michigan. “When we were touring ‘Polyester Zeal,’ we were writing.

“I’m always writing. A lot of these original ideas started back then. Then, during two-and-a-half years of touring ‘Polyeser Zeal,’ the ideas developed – a riff here, a melody here, a chorus here.”

Red Sun Rising really gelled as a band when it was making Thread.”

“When we started working on the songs in the spring of last year, we rented a cabin on a lake in northern Illinois,” said Protich. “We got snowed in there for two weeks with our engineers – Kevin and Matt Doherty. Then, we did another week at a studio in Michigan.

“Matt Hyde produced and engineered the record at Sonic Ranch, which is located in the middle of the desert near El Paso, Texas. We were down there for three weeks. We recorded the album pretty quickly.”

Produced by Hyde (Deftones, AFI, Porno for Pyros) and mixed by Jay Ruston, “Thread” continues to expand on Red Sun Rising’s concept of mixing different genres and influences to create a unique sound.

According to Protich, “This album feels like a rebirth. Although Red Sun Rising played 140 shows on our last tour, it was not until we made this album that I felt we became a band.

“The growth and evolution of Red Sun Rising that you will hear in our sound and our songwriting builds on our ‘Thread’ mentality (songs that people can love and sing with us but don’t fit a mold).  We aren’t chasing trends and never will.”

With Protich at the helm, Red Sun Rising made its early recordings available through social media websites and steadily built a nationwide fan base.

“The majority of the songwriting is mine,” said Protich. “Once we establish the skeleton of the song, the band comes in and puts the meat on.

“For ‘Thread,’ we started with 35 songs and had to cut down to 11. That is such a brutal process because you’re proud of all the ideas. The key is to figure out what is going to resonate with people.

“We cut a few songs that didn’t fit with the calm desert vibe, so we had to leave them off the album. We went for a lot more vintage sound. We wanted an album of songs with synchronicity.

“We wanted ‘Thread’ to represent the music – and more. We wanted it to represent our lifestyle. There is usually a hopeful undertone to our music.”

Now, the band has a new EP to add to its catalogue – “Peel,” which was just released on March 22.

According to Red Sun Rising, “The name of our new EP comes from our love of great rock songs by the Beatles and the Beach Boys. Many of their songs may sound so simple at first, but when you peel back the layers of the song, the lyrics, melodies, harmonies, you realize how much more complicated they are.”

Video link for Red Sun Rising — https://youtu.be/0crY95eobHU.

Dirty Honey

Los Angeles rock band Dirty Honey is gearing up for an ambitious 2019. Led by front man Marc Labelle, guitarist John Notto, bassist Justin Smolian, and drummer Corey Coverstone, the band just released its eponymous debut EP and embarked on a non-stop touring schedule.

 Dirty Honey is set to perform at more than a dozen festivals this summer including Sonic Temple, Welcome To Rockville, Rocklahoma, Louder Than Life , Lunatic Luah, Heavy MTL, and Epicenter among others. With a support slot for Red Sun Rising this spring, and a return invitation to join Slash on tour this summer, DirtyHoney is poised to reach the “big time.”

“We’re coming up on two years together,” said Labelle, during a phone interview Thursday from a tour stop in Detroit, Michigan.

Everyone in the band is a professional musician in his own right. I’m the only one who wasn’t a full-time musician. I worked on film sets doing location scouting prior to playing in this band.”

Labelle explained the band’s evolution.

“It’s a very familial-like music scene in L.A.,” said Labelle. “John, our guitarist, came to one of my cover gigs and sat in. After that, I wanted to keep playing with him. Then, he introduced me to Justin.

“Getting the drummer was the last piece to solidifying the four-piece and that was about 18 months ago. We were looking for a drummer who had the feel and the attitude we needed. Corey has that. We did our first gig with Corey on Sunset Boulevard outside MOTA.

“Our band has a deep-rooted love for rock-and-roll – bands like Black Crowes and Guns N’ Roses. We’d go to these jams and look around and there wasn’t a lot of authentic rock floating around L.A. – not a lot of great rock singers.

“We play soulful, sexy rock-and-roll – stuff that originally derived from Chicago blues. I love James Brown and Otis Redding – sex and soul. I don’t think anybody else is doing that right now. Most bands are ProTools metronome – not much life.”

Now, the quartet from Southern California is touring in support of its self-titled EP.

“For the EP, we got producer Nick Didia and went to Byron Bay in Australia for three weeks,” said Labelle. “We recorded the EP at La Cueva Recording. It’s an awesome studio and it was gorgeous there in Australia during their summer. We cut seven tracks and released five.

“We’re performing one of the unreleased tracks in our live set now but we’re focusing on the first five. On this tour, we have a 30-minute set. It’s perfect – short-and-sweet and a lot of high energy.”
Video link for Dirty Honey — https://youtu.be/jthRYwvIAXA.

The all-ages show at The Chameleon, which features Red Sun Rising, Dirty Honey, Another Day Dawns and Goodbye June, will start at 7 p.m.

Tickets are $18.

This weekend, Lancaster will also be the site of another show that features hard rock that is sexy, powerful and blues-based.

The Music of Cream

On March 31, the American Music Theatre (2425 Lincoln Highway East, Lancaster, 800-648-4102, www.AMTshows.com) will present “The Music of Cream: 50th Anniversary World Tour.”

Cream was rock power trio formed in London that lasted just over three years from 1966-1968. Considered to be the rock world’s first “supergroup,” the trio featured drummer Ginger Baker, guitarist/singer Eric Clapton and lead singer/bassist Jack Bruce.

Their music included songs based on traditional blues such as “Crossroads” and Spoonful,” modern blues such as “Born Under a Bad Sign,” and current material such as “Strange Brew,” “I Feel Free,” “Sunshine of Your Love,” and “White Room.”

There will never be a Cream reunion. Baker never did and never would get along with his bandmates – especially Bruce — long enough to make it through a tour. Clapton has been involved in his own projects for years and Bruce passed away from liver disease in 2014.

Fortunately, the music of Cream lives on through the three original members’ kin.

“The Music of Cream: 50th Anniversary World Tour” features Kofi Baker (Ginger’s son) and Malcolm Bruce (Jack’s son) and Will Johns (Eric Clapton’s nephew). Kofi, Malcolm, and Will are master musicians whose lives have been steeped in the Cream spirit and are now celebrating that band’s extraordinary legacy.

Kofi Baker first performed live with his father at age six on the BBC TV show, The Old Grey Whistle Test. In the early ’80s, the pair played drum duets throughout Europe, and has since toured with Uli Jon Roth, Vinny Appice, Glenn Hughes of Deep Purple, and others.

Malcolm Bruce began performing professionally at age 16 and has recorded and performed with his father. He’s also played on recordings by Eric Clapton, Dr. John and Joe Bonamassa, among others.

Will Johns is Clapton’s (and George Harrison’s) nephew through their former marriages to Pattie Boyd. He’s the son of the legendary recording engineer and producer Andy Johns.

Through stories, anecdotes and images displayed via a sizable video screen behind the band, they integrate home movies and photos, some of which have never been seen before on stage and interplay with their bloodlines to create a show like never before.

“Malcolm and Kofi have been playing on-and-off for years,” said Johns, during a phone interview Wednesday afternoon. “This project never took off until they met. I knew Malcom. I met him in his late teens playing in bands in London. I met Kofi in 2013 when he was playing in a band called Sons of Cream.

“A few years ago, my dad passed away and I was in a sad state. I got a call from Malcolm inviting me to play. I sat in and it went well. We did a show in London. But nothing really came of it until we got our current manager – Simon Roberts. He put together a tour of Australia and New Zealand and brought in Glenn Hughes and Robben Ford.

I don’t know how useful it was to have two extra guys. That was in April and May of 2017. Then, we had a fall tour with us working as a proper three-piece. That’s when it started to gel. We did a 39-date tour with just four days off. It was pretty intense.”

All three have also continued with work outside “The Music of Cream.”

“We all have our individual projects,” said Johns. “I have three solo albums out and my own band – the Will Johns Band. I’ve gone to Moscow four or five times as part of the ‘British Blues Invasion.’ I also have a fishing show on television called ‘Cooked Up in a Heartbeat.’”

Johns has music running all through his DNA.

His uncles include Eric Clapton, Mick Fleetwood and the late George Harrison. His mother Paula Boyd is the sister of Pattie Boyd, ex-wife of George Harrison and Eric Clapton. His father Andy Johns was a world-class sound engineer and record producer who worked with the Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin. His dad’s brother Glyn Johns is also a world-class sound engineer and record producer who worked with the Who, Bob Dylan, the Eagles, The Clash and many, many more – including the Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin.

“I used to hang out with Eric Clapton quite a lot in the late 1980s and early 1990s,” said Johns. “I learned a lot about music from him – and about fishing. He taught me how to cast a pole.”

But there is nothing fishy about “The Music of Cream: 50th Anniversary World Tour.” It’s all about music, visuals and rock history.

“At the moment, we’ve taken the best of the best from the Cream catalogue,” said Johns. “We’ve taken the best material we can fit in a two-hour set. We’re playing all the popular tunes. And, we’re jamming like the original Cream did.”

Video link for “The Music of Cream: 50th Anniversary World Tour” – https://youtu.be/H7-XPfZlC3s.

The show at the American Music Theater will start at 7 p.m. Tickets are $29.

Michael Glabicki and Dirk Miller

For a long time – somewhere in the vicinity of 30 years — Michael Glabicki has been travelling across Pennsylvania…travelling from his hometown Pittsburgh to Philadelphia to bring his band Rusted Root to play shows in this area.

Glabicki is coming again this weekend to perform a show on March 31 at the Sellersville Theater (24 West Temple Avenue, Sellersville, 215-257-5808, www.st94.com).

While Rusted Root is on hiatus, Glabicki has been devoting his time to creating an entirely new soundscape. Glabicki intends to bring back parts of the Rusted Root of old, but also including more percussion and female vocals.

The Pittsburgh-based singer/songwriter/guitarist will continue to play Rusted Root’s entire catalogue but with a twist. The band will play fresh inspired versions of RR’s tunes along with new unreleased originals.

Rusted Root, the multi-platinum band out of Steel City, evolved around front-man Michael Glabicki’s distinct sound and grew into a musical entity that has thrived in a non-genre specific category all its own.

Now, Glabicki is exploring new sounds and opening new doors with his solo career. He has started touring nationally as a duo with Rusted Root’s guitar player, Dirk Miller, and explains that although he has his roots with Rusted Root, this show is very different.

Live, both Glabicki and Miller  play acoustic and electric and Glabicki often adds rhythm with a kick drum – creating a much fuller sound and energy than you find with a traditional duo. They also perform at times in a band format under the name Uprooted.

“Dirk and I – we’re really hitting it,” said Glabicki, during a phone interview from a tour stop in Isle of Palms, South Carolina. “We’re on a southern tour and the music is really starting to gel.

“I think we started a couple years ago with shows here and there. Now, we’re starting to do bigger tours. It’s a really special show that fans have taken to.

“I’ve been writing a lot of material I tried to get to fit with Rusted Root and it just wasn’t happening. It just wasn’t clicking for various reasons. I’m not really sure why.This project is clicking.”

A multifaceted musician, producer and songwriter, Glabicki has a wealth of musical talent. His duo tour dates and new music are extensions of his creative talent, and while the show still features many Rusted Roots hits, it also provides a look into the mind of Glabicki through stories and songs yet to be released.

“With Dirk and me, I wanted to make it a little more cinematic – and more blues-oriented,” said Glabicki. “I wanted tighter grooves and more impact for vocals as a collective.

“It’s a different show. It’s expansive. We’ve spread out the dynamics. I’ve been doing a lot of writing and we’ve been working in the studio – doing a lot of recording for an upcoming Uprooted record. We’re about three or four months away from finishing.

“I’m still writing tunes and have about five that are almost done. I’ve been testing out songs live both with the Uprooted band and with just me and Dirk. I get informed with both duo and band.

With Rusted Root’s hectic schedule, it was time for everyone in the band to take a well-deserved break.

Rusted Root, which still includes three of the original five members, still calls Pittsburgh home.

The trio of founding members includes Michael Glabicki (lead vocals, guitar, harmonica, mandolin), Patrick Norman (bass guitar, backing vocals, percussion) and Liz Berlin (percussion, backing vocals). Rounding out the quintet are Preach Freedom (percussion, backing vocals) and Dirk Miller (guitar, backing vocals).

“We’ve been pretty busy the last few years,” said Glabicki. “We had a great tour around the country. We went to Japan. We went to Guam and played for the troops over there. On the average, we play 160-170 shows a year. The numbers have been going up recently.”

In honor of its 25th Anniversary, Rusted Root embarked on an extensive national tour several years ago to support its most recent album “The Movement,” which is described by Glabicki as “an extremely joyous recording with seriously deep undertones.”

“The Movement” was released on Shanachie Records in 2012.

Rusted Root, which is known for its fusion of acoustic, rock and world music, has recorded eight albums and sold over three million records worldwide. The band’s music has been featured in films such as “Ice Age,” “Twister” and “Matilda” and TV shows such as “Ally McBeal,” “New Girl” and “Charmed.”

Now, for the time being, Rusted Root has been placed in a state of suspended animation. Glabicki is keeping his perpetual motion going with Uprooted and with duo shows.

“Me and Dirk have been doing a lot of duo shows and that was the inspiration for Uprooted,” said Glabicki. “With just two of us, we’ve been getting more in synch with each other – and we realized that there was this vast landscape to be explored.

“People are loving it. And, we’re having fun and learning more about ourselves. In our live shows, we have three songs that are strictly Uprooted and we do different takes on old Rusted Root songs.

Video link for Michael Glabicki — https://youtu.be/pQWxfzsR5Io.

The show at the Sellersville Theater will start at 8 p.m. Tickets are $25.

An interesting show will take place in Philly on April 2 when Big Eyes headlines a show at Cousin Danny’s (5001 Market Street, Philadelphia, https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cousin-Dannys-Lounge-5001-50th-Street)

Big Eyes

Big Eyes is a band but, more realistically, it is a vehicle for Kait Eldridge’s music. In its current incarnation, Eldridge takes lead and is backed by the Ridenour brothers, Paul on guitar and back-up vocals, and Jeff on bass, with Shane Kerton rounding out the group on drums.

The band is now on tour in support of its new album “Streets Of The Lost,” which will be released on April 5 on Greenway Records.

“I started the band in late 2009,” said Eldridge, during a recent phone interview from her home in Brooklyn. “The first show was New Year’s Eve 2009/2010.

“Back then, I made some demos and got friends to play. Two of my previous bands had broken up. With Big Eyes, the line-up has changed throughout the years. But it’s always me. I write all our songs.

“With the current line-up, Paul has been with me four years and his brother Jeff has been the bass player for three years. Our drummer Shane has been with us about four months. This album that’s just coming out is the fourth album. We’ve also released a handful of singles.”

Eldridge, who grew up in Long Island, relocated to the West Coast in the early part of this decade.

“In 2011, I moved out to Seattle, Washington,” said Eldridge. “Our old drummer CJ moved with me and we got a new bass player. That’s when we did the most extensive touring – six months a year. I played more in Portland and Vancouver than in Seattle.

“I came back to New York in 2014 by myself. I had to get a whole new line-up. That’s why I had a three-piece when I returned. It’s fun now with a four-piece. It gives me more freedom with vocals and playing guitar. I don’t have to do all the solos.”

Eldridge and Big Eyes have just made a fresh album with snarling riffs, tasty melodies and vocals by Eldridge that will inevitably draw comparisons with Joan Jett’s singing and playing.

“We recorded ‘Streets of the Lost’ in February 2018 in Cincinnati, Ohio,” said Eldridge. “We produced it with John Hoffman and Jerri Queen, who are in the band Vacation.

“We decided to go to Cincinnati for a week and do the album with them. They have access to a lot of studios there. We recorded tracks at Ultrasuede, which is a studio owned by the Afghan Whigs’ John Curley.

“It took a long time to finish the mixing. We mastered it last summer and then didn’t know whether to release it in the fall, in the winter or in the spring. We finally decided on April because it’s nice weather for touring.”

Video link for Big Eyes — https://youtu.be/VQCe4CBl1Tk.

The show at Cousin Danny’s, which also features Dark Thoughts, Todd Killingz, and Wild Flowers of America , will start at 8 p.m. Tickets are $12.

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