On Stage: Coatesville’s Mascherino brings back The Color Fred

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By Denny Dyroff, Entertainment Editor, The Times

Fred Mascherino

The Color Fred is back from the dead.

Coatesville’s guitar hero Fred Mascherino has reignited his solo project The Color Fred with a revamped lineup. Mascherino has also resurfaced with a brand-new song titled “Don’t Give Up On Me” – released as a single and a lyric video as well.

To celebrate its first new material in over a decade, The Color Fred will be playing shows this weekend in Philadelphia at King Fu Necktie and Brooklyn at the Knitting Factory.

The Color Fred’s Philly show at Kung Fu Necktie (1248 North Front Street, Philadelphia, 215-291-4919, kungfunecktie.com) will take place on June 14.

The Color Fred is an indie-rock band headed by Mascherino, a former guitarist/vocalist for Taking Back Sunday. The Color Fred’s debut full-length album, “Bend to Break,” was released in October 2007 via Equal Vision Records. The album peaked at #8 on the Billboard Heatseekers Chart. TCF toured the U.S., Canada and the U.K. The Color Fred released “The Intervention EP” in April 2009. The EP featured new and old songs performed acoustic, plus two home demos.

When Mascherino entered the studio to record the second TCF album, he began collaborating with his friends Josh Eppard (Coheed and Cambria) and Andy Jackson(Hot Rod Circuit) in what eventually became Terrible Things. That band released its self-titled debut album on Universal Motown. Mascherino then went on tour playing bass for The Lemonheads and guitar for Say Anything.

During that time, Mascherino was producing and writing for bands, eventually building his own studio, Diver Down. In late 2018, he decided to close the studio to the public and start recording his own music again.

Mascherino had been living at a house located between Coatesville and West Chester for a while but now is a resident of West Goshen.

“I moved here two years ago,” said Mascherino, during a recent phone interview. “I downsized a bit and turned the garage into a soundproof studio. I finished I about a year ago and then stared working on new music.

“I had been producing and writing for other bands for about the past 10 years. I played bass in the Lemonheads. I played guitar with Say Anything. And, I had a band called Terrible Things.

“This is The Color Fred, which is my solo project. The new single – ‘Don’t Give Up On Me’ – is the fist ting under that name in 10 years. I did all the music on the record. I put out that first song on May 1 and I’m happy with the response it’s been getting. I have four more songs for this summer. In addition to the music, there will be e YouTube videos and podcast.

“The podcast is called ‘In The Shed with Fred.’ It’s a bit of a variety show. I’ll be playing pieces of new songs and talking about how I wrote them and recorded them. I’ll also play older The Color Fred songs and some covers.”

There are a number of Coatesville natives who have achieved international stardom and repeatedly expressed pride in their hometown. One of the first was Calvin Grove, who was a world champion boxer. Then, there was basketball star Rip Hamilton, who was one of the premier players in the NBA. Mascherino’s name also belongs on that list.

Mascherino has always had respect for his roots and pride in his hometown and it showed up in two tracks by Terrible Things.

“Steel Town” was inspired by the series of fires in Coatesville a few years ago. Another TT song – “Up at Night” – dealt with that period when they told residents to keep lights on at night. The lyrics talk about being able to see Coatesville from space that night.

“I grew up in Coatesville,” said Mascherino, who has a degree from Temple University in jazz performance/guitar.

“I have a history of referring to Coatesville in my songs. I’m proud of being from there. Some people don’t have a good impression of Coatesville, but I think it was a good place to grow up and is still a good place to live.”

Now, Mascherino has been developing an attachment to West Chester.

“My wife Elena opened up a vegan restaurant in West Chester,” said Mascherino, who was top-flight swimmer at Bishop Shanahan in the 1990s.

His wife’s restaurant is called Love Again Local (18 South Church Street, West Chester, www.loveagainlocal.com). It features a wide variety of vegan sandwiches, salads, daily specials and desserts.

“We’ve been vegans for 20 years,” said Mascherino. “Elena’s restaurant has been open for two years. It started when she had success making vegan cookies and evolved into a restaurant in downtown West Chester. We make a lot of the meats and cheeses ourselves.”

With organically developed The Color Fred music and fresh vegan food, Mascherino has become a natural success.

Video link for The Color Fred — https://youtu.be/WcT-4wd-hVE.

The show at Kung Fu Necktie, which has Goddamnit and Hold Down The Ocean as openers, will start at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20.

Arianna Neikrug

Arianna Neikrug, who is headlining at South Jazz Restaurant (600 North Broad Street, Philadelphia, 215-600-0220, https://southjazzkitchen.com) on June 14 and 15, is a 25-year old a jazz/pop vocalist, songwriter, and arranger from Los Angeles who has been singing for more than two decades.

“Music was a family affair,” said Neikrug, during a recent phone interview from her home in New York City. “My mom was into soul, R&B and jazz and my dad was a classical pianist. They tell me that I was singing before I was talking.

“He would play all of my favorite show tunes and I’d be singing and performing in the living room – for just my family. There was always playing and singing. Now, my mom is a talent manager for actors and my dad teaches piano.”

When it was time for college, Neikrug left Southern California and headed to South Florida. She graduated with a Bachelor of Music degree in Studio Music and Jazz vocal performance from the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami in May of 2015.

“The University of Miami had a great program for jazz vocals,” said Neikrug. “One of the attractions was that Larry Lapin, was a professor and program director of studio music and jazz vocal performance at the University of Miami. Ironically, halfway through my time there, he turned the program over to Kate Reid.

“When I was studying at Miami, there was no way to add musical theater to my curriculum. The freedom in jazz is better for me. Unlike with musical theater, with jazz, you can be yourself and not be a character.”

Neikrug has already made her mark in the jazz world.

She was the winner of the 2015 Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition (the “Sassy” Awards) and has shared the stage with various artists including Steve Miller, Alice Cooper, Kenny Burrell, Neil Young, Al Jarreau, Mindy Abair, James Moody, George Benson, Karrin Allyson, Gretchen Parlato, and Roseanna Vitro.

Neikrug has performed at some of the hottest jazz clubs in the US, including Jazz Standard and Birdland in NYC, Catalina Jazz Club and Blue Whale in Los Angeles, SFJazz Center in San Francisco, Dazzle Jazz Club in Denver, and Spaghettini in Seal Beach.

In July of 2016, she traveled with her group to Montreal, Canada to perform at the International Montreal Jazz Festival alongside some of the most renowned jazz artists. Her first international show was an extraordinary success and earned her a standing ovation.

Neikrug also won an outstanding soloist award in the college division at the Monterey Next Generation Jazz Festival in March of 2015, where her small jazz vocal group Extensions took first place.

Now, listeners don’t have to wait for Neikrug to play their towns in order to hear her music. She just released her debut album, “Changes,” on Concord Records, in collaboration with pianist, arranger, producer and 2010 Grammy® winner, Laurence Hobgood.

“There are two originals on ‘Changes,’” said Neikrug. “I didn’t start writing until I was 21. Jazz is the background of any song. I love groove-based music – and I’ve loved ballads all my life.

“With jazz, part of the appeal was the discipline – knowing how hard I had to work to understand this idiom. It isn’t easy – but I like working hard at something. I also like the timelessness of jazz.

“As a creative person, I can take all my influences and push it forward. With jazz, you can be who you are and put it into the music playing to your strengths.”

Video link for Arianna Neikrug — https://youtu.be/UaPdz7VqrIc.

The shows at South will be at 7 and 9 both nights.

Popa Chubby

On June 15, Kennett Flash (102 Sycamore Alley, Kennett Square, 484-732-8295, http://www.kennettflash.org) will host a show by Popa Chubby, one of America’s modern-day blues-rock/blues masters. Popa Chubby plays between 180 and 200 shows each year.

The veteran rocker just released a new album — “Prime Cuts – The Very Best of the Beast from the East.”

With a career spanning nearly 30 years, Popa Chubby has delivered a hand-picked anthology of 15 tracks from his prolific and ever-expanding catalogue. “Prime Cuts” reflects Popa’s choice of the best of his best — tracks that keep the Chubby legacy fresh and the fans happy.

“I went all the way back and picked the best stuff from my last 38 records,” said Popa Chubby, during a  recent phone interview Tuesday from his home in New York’s Hudson Valley.

“There were two criteria. First, I had to really like the song. Second, it had to be music the fans request. A lot of it was easy. A a lot came down to the fans – ‘Sweet Goddess of Love and Beer,’ ‘Angel on My Shoulder,’ ‘Light of Day’ – give the people what they want.

“They were all original album tracks, but some were alternate mixes. I did a lot of re-mastering. There were also two new tracks – and a Christmas song. It took a couple months to put it all together. It just came out at the end of November.”

Popa Chubby’s last two studio albums were “The Catfish” in 2016 and “Two Dogs” in 2017.

“I never stop recording,” said Popa Chubby. “I recorded ‘Two Dogs’ right after I finished making ‘The Catfish.’ I’m working on my next album now. This is the time of year when I’m home and can get recording work done.

“I have a studio in my home. For D.I.Y. stuff, I use ProTools. My studio is filled with vintage stuff – RCA mics, old compressors and vintage guitars and drums.

“I have a background in recording. I worked as an engineer and I started out working with tape. It’s all digital now — but I have an analog way of getting in and an analog way of getting out.

“When I was working with Tom Dowd, a legendary engineer, he was so happy to go to digital instead of tape. He explained that each time the tape goes over the (recording) head, it loses particles.”

Finding time to get in the studio is a luxury for Popa Chubby.

“I’m never home,” said Popa Chubby. “It seems that I’m always touring a lot. The progression of my career has been slow and steady. I like to give people real music. The best music for me comes from not making music. It comes from me jamming with myself.”

Video link for Popa Chubby — https://youtu.be/r3ledCIoXH8.

The show at Kennett Flash will start at 7 p.m. Tickets are $30.

Marcia Ball

The 19th Annual State Street Blues Stroll (www.statestreetblues.com) will be held along State Street in Media on June 15 from 6 p.m.-1 a.m. With “Celebrating The Women of the Blues” as this year’s theme, the headline act will be Texas blues legend Marcia Ball.

If you like your music with a southern vibe – especially music with its roots in the myriad of styles found in New Orleans – then you need to check out Marcia Ball’s show in Media.

Ball’s latest album is “Shine Bright,” which was released last year on Alligator Records and produced by Los Lobos’ sax player Steve Berlin.

“I’m still working ‘Shine Bright’,” said Ball, during a phone interview last week from her home in Austin, Texas. “We cut ‘Shine Bright’ in October and November. We recorded part of it in Louisiana and did eight songs in Austin, Texas.

“I’ve known Steve for a while. He was at an event in Austin and I thought – if he’s coming to Austin, maybe we can get together and do some recording. He did have some time and he was happy to do it.”

According to ball, “With ‘Shine Bright,’ I wanted to make the best Marcia Ball record I could make. It is a ridiculously hopeful, cheerful record.”

In doing so, she has put together the most musically substantial, hopeful and uplifting set of songs of her five-decade career. “Shine Bright” contains 12 songs (including nine originals), ranging from the title track’s rousing appeal for public and private acts of courage to the upbeat call to action of “Pots and Pans,” a song inspired by renowned Texas political writer and humorist Molly Ivins.

“In Louisiana, we recorded at a studio called Dockside Studio in Maurice,” said Ball, who was named Texas’ “State Musician” this year. “It’s a legendary studio. It’s where B.B. King recorded ‘Blues on the Bayou’ and it’s also where Buckwheat Zydeco made a lot of records.”

Over the years, there have been several stellar piano players from Louisiana who have made the region’s blend of blues, soul and swamp boogie famous around the world. The list is mostly male-dominated — Fats Domino, Huey “Piano” Smith, Dr. John, Allen Toussaint, Professor Longhair — but also includes Marcia Ball.

Ball’s music has always been able to blend Gulf Coast blues, New Orleans R&B, swampy Louisiana ballads, and jumping, Tex-­‐Mex flavored zydeco into a one­‐of­‐a­‐kind musical gumbo — a sound she has been perfecting over the course of her legendary career.

Ball received the 2014 Blues Music Award (BMA) for the Pinetop Perkins Piano Player of the Year. She has now won a total of 10 BMAs and has received a whopping 44 nominations. Ball recently received a 2015 Living Blues Readers’ Poll Award for Most Outstanding Musician (Keyboard) and now holds nine Living Blues Awards in all.

She was inducted into the Gulf Coast Hall of Fame in 2010 and into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame in 2012. This year, she was inducted into the Austin City Limits Hall Of Fame – along with Los Lobos and Ray Charles.

Ball released her first album in 1972. Her career is still going full-tilt 46 years later and her popularity continues to grow.

It was back in the early 1970s when she immersed herself in the music of the great New Orleans piano players — especially Professor Longhair. Her solo album debut was a country-rock album called “Circuit Queen” that was released in 1978 on Capitol Records.

Before long, Ball developed her own sound which was much more in line with the sweat-drenched music played in clubs in the Texas-Louisiana border region than with traditional country music. She released six critically acclaimed albums on the Rounder label during the 1980s and 1990s.

The Louisiana vibe became more pronounced when she moved to Alligator Records in 2001. She has recorded seven albums for Alligator, including “Roadside Attractions”, which received a 2011 Grammy Award nomination in the Best Blues Album category.

“I’m still a little studio shy — and I don’t write that much,” said Ball. “I make a lot of notes, hum songs into my cell phone and then finally sit at a piano at home. I’m busy and it’s hard to find time to write with so much going on.”

Even though Ball has been recording and touring for more than four decades, the spirited veteran is showing no signs of slowing down.

“I’m still doing more than 100 shows a year and that’s fine,” said Ball. “I play clubs and theaters and do a few festivals each year.

“I never get tired of being on the road because home is where the homework is. My band is what it is — a five-piece with bass, drums, guitar, sax and me on keyboards and vocals.”

Ball and her band members all have roots in the Louisiana/Texas music scene.

“I grew up in Louisiana,” said Ball. “I was listening to New Orleans music, Fats Domino, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis. I also listened to a lot of blues musicians who did gigs in Baton Rouge. I have a lot of R&B in my background along with the great legacy of Delta music.”

It’s now been a while since Ball has been in the recording studio.

“We’re thinking about what we’re going to do – what do we have here – how do you sell music,” said Ball. “I haven’t been in the studio since ‘Shine Bright.’ I’m thinking about making a new album when I’ve got a dozen songs. But maybe I’ll do it bit-by-bit.

“I’m also working on a musical. I’m writing songs I can play and put words to but not sing. It was written by Lawrence Wright, who is a famous author. He had this play written and wanted it ot be a musical. It’s about Texas politics. It’s a comedy and it’s a tragedy.”

Video link for Marcia Ball – https://youtu.be/kqB8PqOORls.

Some of the other featured acts will be Philly Gumbo, the Lonnie Shields Band, Deb Callahan, Lisa Chavous, Laura Cheadle, Steve Guyger & The Excellos, Kim Trusty, Lost Northern Tribe, Ben Tinsley, Johnny Never, Carol Moog, Andrea Carlson, and Gary Cogdill.

Tickets for the State Street Blues Stroll are $30. For additional information, call (610) 566-5039 or visit www.statestreetblues.com

Dylan LeBlanc

Dylan LeBlanc just released a new album and then embarked on a three-and-a-half-month tour that is taking him coast-to-coast and to eight European countries

His new album “Renegade” was released on June 7 on ATO Records. Now, LeBlanc will treat area fans to songs from his latest full-length when he headlines a show at Boot and Saddle (1131 South Broad Street, Philadelphia, 215-639-4528, www.bootandsaddlephilly.com) on June 15.

Born in Shreveport, Louisiana with time spent in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, LeBlanc had released three previous albums – “Paupers Field” in 2010, “Cast the Same Old Shadow” in 2012, and “Cautionary Tale” in 2016.

“I’m rally excited about the new album,” said LeBlanc, during a recent phone interview from his current home in Nashville.

“We recorded it last October and November here in Nashville at RCA Studio A, a great historic studio that Chet Atkins built in the 1950s. That’s the studio Dave Cobb wanted to use.”

Produced by Grammy Award winning Cobb (Brandi Carlile, Chris Stapleton), “Renegade” features 10 new songs from LeBlanc and his longtime band, The Pollies.

According to LeBlanc, “I wanted to write the same type of songs that matched the atmosphere the band and I were bringing live. So, I started with ‘Renegade,’ which was fitting since I felt myself going in a new, more intense direction with this record. In the studio, I let go almost absolutely and let Dave Cobb do his work.”

Not surprisingly, “Renegade” has a natural feel and a powerful feel.

“Dave Cobb is a realist,” said LeBlanc. “His whole thing is capturing the live feel. It’s not a perfect album. There are some mistakes. It’s definitely just us – live in the studio. Most songs were done in three takes.

“I started playing with the Pollies and they are a rock-and-roll band. I’d bring songs to the band and we’d flesh them out. The songs have louder guitar. I’ve never made a rock-and-roll record. It’s usually softer.

“The songs were all ready when we went in the studio. I wrote 20 and recorded 10. We booked 10 days in the studio and were done in five. Then, we spent five days mixing.

“None of the songs on ‘Renegade’ are longer than 3:30 – on purpose. I wanted a record of shorter songs. My next record will reflect more of my other side.

“I’ve always wanted a more lively stage show and I didn’t have that before this project. Now, the shows have a band feel. These guys will all be with me on tour. We’re playing about all of ‘Renegade’ – maybe nine out of 10.

“They’ve been my touring band and it’s been an evolution. It started out after ‘Cautionary Tale’ and became what it is now. It’s a high-energy rock show. I sort of take on a different personality. I still do a lot of acoustic stuff. It’s a healthy balance.”

Video link for Dylan LeBlanc – https://youtu.be/qMKxRyCSnoo.

The show at Boot and Saddle, which has Erin Rae as the opener, will start at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $15.

Los Coast

Los Coast is a young band from Austin, Texas that’s been making a name for itself for the last few years. Yesterday (June 14), the band released its debut album, “Samsara,” on New West Records.

Following a long-established industry game plan, Los Coast is now on a national tour in support of its new full-length – a tour that will visit the area on June 15 for a stop at the World Café Live (3025 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, 215-222-1400, www.worldcafelive.com).

Los Coast is the brainchild of Trey Privott and John Courtney and is completed by Megan Hartman on bass, Damien Llanes on drumkit, and Nat Wright on keys. Together, their music is a punchy, psych-tinged, lyrical variety of rock and soul.

“The band has been together for about three years,” said Privott, during a recent phone interview from his home in Austin.

“John and I — we were just kinda writing songs. We were kinda in this other band and decided to be more serious about it. So, we started playing acoustic sets with Meghan, who played upright bass. Then, Damien joined on drums and Nat came in on keyboards. We’ve also had different horn players in the band, but the core has always been the five of us.”

Privott and Courtney have always been the band’s primary drivers.

“I’ve been writing songs since I was 14,” said Privott. “There’s a song on the album called ‘Testify’ which used to be called ‘The Mess’ and it goes back to when I was 14.”

Privott, who grew up in Columbus, Georgia, was a Journalism/English Lit major at the University of Alabama who graduated in 2013.

“In college, I was mostly playing acoustic sets,” said Privott. “I moved to Texas after I graduated.

“When I got to Austin, I wanted to play more rock-and-roll. I always played electric guitar too but not as aggressively as I do now. I’m more a songwriter who sits down and figures out different chord progressions and melodies than one who practices the scales. John’s writing fits he melodies I always had. We have different version, but we ended up working it out quite a bit for the album.”

Privott’s musical influences musical enthusiasm are gospel, punk rock, folk, and hip-hop. Courtney’s style is rooted in experimental rock and modal jazz and heavily influenced by an appreciation of music theory developed studying mood, texture, and composition at Berklee College of Music.

“The album is a combination of all the ideas that John and I had,” said Privott. “We cut half of it at Chase Park Studio in Athens, Georgia and then came back to Austin where we re-worked almost the entire thing. We wanted to put more effort into it. We finished it at Arlyn Studio ibn Austin with Jacob Skiba as the main producer.

“We’re touring the album now and playing a lot of new cities. This will be our first time to play Philadelphia so we’re really excited about that.”

Video link for Los Coast — https://youtu.be/DfieRaqhbec.

The show at the World Café Live, which has Levee Drivers as the opening act, will start at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $10.

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