On Stage: The music inspired by Bucks County at Michener

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By Denny Dyroff, Entertainment Editor, The Times

Karen Gross

 If you enjoy visiting museums, listening to good music or are a history buff – or all three – then you should consider a trip to Doylestown on November 10 to visit the James A. Michener Art Museum (138 South Pine Street, Doylestown, MichenerArtMuseum.org).

On Sunday afternoon, the Michener Art Museum will host singer and songwriter Karen Gross as she presents “Bucks County as Muse: A Cabaret Celebrating Art, Music, and Nature.”

Bucks County has been a source of creativity for many artists, including the Pennsylvania Impressionists, Broadway lyricist Oscar Hammerstein II, and author James A. Michener.

Through story and song, Gross will honor Bucks County as muse during “Sunday Afternoon Music at the Michener.” The acclaimed cabaret artist will focus on the music of the early 20th century when Pennsylvania Impressionism flourished.

Gross has an extensive musical repertoire – from timeless jazz and Broadway standards to contemporary and original music – and she also engages audiences with classy, sassy humor. She has scripted, performed, and produced a number of popular cabaret shows, including a sold-out concert of Oscar Hammerstein’s music at his longtime home, Highland Farm.

Back in September, Gross presented another cabaret show – “Anything Goes: Stories, Songs, and Stars from 1930s Broadway Musicals.”  The production was staged at the Studio of Ben Solowey in Ottsville.

“I love playing traditional clubs, but I also like performing in alternate spaces – like the show I did at the Studio of Ben Solowey,” said Gross. “His studio is an arts installation that is like a mini-museum dedicated to his work. I performed in an intimate gallery space. I’ve done three shows there.”

On Sunday, Gross is delivering a show at another non-traditional space — “Bucks County as Muse: A Cabaret Celebrating Art, Music, and Nature” at the Michener Art Museum in Doylestown.

“It’s a show that provides some interesting history,” said Gross. “It draws on my background as a journalist.”

Gross is a talented singer and storyteller…a composer of heartfelt original music. She is also a throwback to a bygone era…a playful chanteuse who can perform sophisticated, sassy cabaret shows.

She has performed at prestigious venues including Lincoln Center in New York City and the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts in Philadelphia.

The versatile entertainer has built a large fanbase in the Northeast with her ability to charms audiences with her warmth, wit, and heartfelt singing. She has headlined celebrated cabaret and music clubs including The Metropolitan Room, Don’t Tell Mama, Tin Angel, and Cabaret at Odette’s. She was the featured entertainer at a private party in Frank Sinatra’s former NYC penthouse, featured on the HGTV show “Selling New York.”

Performing a show at the Michener Art Museum holds special significance for her.

According to Gross, “As a native of Doylestown, I’ve enjoyed visiting the Michener Art Museum many times over the years. I’m particularly moved by the current exhibition ‘Impressionism to Modernism: The Lenfest Collection of American Art’ and learning about the artists who have lived, worked, and drawn inspiration from this area’s unparalleled beauty.

“As I’ve gotten older, my appreciation for Bucks County and its artistic heritage has continued to grow. This new cabaret show is a chance to celebrate and give thanks to Bucks County through words and music.”

Gross is a modern-day Renaissance woman. She has recorded her original music with three Grammy Award-winning producers. Her voice and lyrics can also be heard on electronic dance music developed in collaboration with her brother, Silk Music label director Jacob Henry, and globally recognized producers Dinka, Mango, and Aeron Aether.

The show this Sunday in Doylestown is an opportunity to see her shine in another of her many incarnations – and in an impressive setting.

The Michener Art Museum collects, preserves, interprets and exhibits American art, and promotes the work of nationally and internationally known Delaware Valley artists of all eras and creative disciplines.

The museum presents exhibitions that explore a variety of artistic expressions and offers diverse educational programs that develop a lifelong involvement in the arts. Throughout the year, the Michener Art Museum hosts a wide range of programs open to the public, including lectures, artist conversations, gallery talks, artist studio tours, dance performances, jazz and other musical performances, family-themed activities, and other events.

The museum also offers a diverse selection of art classes for children and adults, which include instruction in drawing, painting, sculpting, and printmaking as well as programs for the public, schools, and teachers designed to support arts and STEAM education. The Michener Art Museum is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums.

Guests are encouraged to enjoy the Museum’s galleries before or after the performance.

Video link for Karen Gross — https://youtu.be/IZxV9ZVwG7E.

The show at the Michener Art Museum will on November 10 will start at 3 p.m. Tickets are $25 — $10 for students.

Gross has been a performer for more than two decades, but when it comes to longevity, she can’t compete with one of the other acts on this weekend’s schedule.

Carl Palmer

The act with the most longevity has to be Carl Palmer, who will headline a show on November 9 at 2300 Arena (2300 South Swanson Street, Philadelphia, www.2300arena.com).

Palmer’s music history takes him back to rocking England in the mid-1960s.

After playing for a few small local bands in London in 1966, Palmer was invited to join Chris Farlowe and the Thunderbirds. In 1969, Palmer became the permanent drummer for The Crazy World of Arthur Brown, which was known world-wide for its hit single, “Fire.”

After a stint with Atomic Rooster in 1970, Palmer joined forces with Keith Emerson, who had been the keyboard player with The Nice, and Greg Lake, who had just left King Crimson.

The three British lads formed a band called Emerson, Lake & Palmer which later also was called ELP.

With nine RIAA-certified gold record albums in the US, and an estimated 48 million records sold worldwide, ELP was one of the most popular and commercially successful progressive rock bands in the 1970s.

Palmer is the only surviving member of the trio. Emerson died in March 2016 at his home in Santa Monica, California. In December 2016, cancer claimed Lake’s life.

After ELP disbanded in 1980, Palmer became part of another classic British progressive rock band – Asia.

Of all the bands in which Palmer played a key role, the one with the greatest legacy is Emerson, Lake & Palmer – and Palmer is still keeping that band’s legacy alive with his 2019 World Tour, “EMERSON LAKE & PALMER LIVES ON!”

Palmer, guitarist and vocalist Paul Bielatowicz and bassist Simon Fitzpatrick – a.k.a. Carl Palmer’s ELP Legacy — are in the middle of a 14-show U.S. tour that started on October 31 and will conclude on November 23. This tour is a musical celebration of ELP.

“About two years ago, I did a live DVD tribute to Greg and Keith and coupled it with a CD,” said Palmer, during a recent trans-Atlantic phone interview from his home in North London.

Palmer’s latest CD/DVD is an international release of a his 2016 “Pictures at An Exhibition” tribute to Keith Emerson – a project that featured Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett, Vanilla Fudge keyboardist and vocalist Mark Stein and drummer David Frangioni.

Another recent issue was the band’s “Live in The USA” CD. Palmer’s label, BMG Music has had great success in the last few years with the re-issue of the entire ELP catalog.

With nine gold albums by ELP, Palmer is faced with the task of deciding which songs to play in the live shows.

‘In America, I look at the radio lists,” said Palmer. “I look at what got played a lot.

“I know what pieces are incredibly important to ELP fans – songs such as ‘Tarkus,’ ‘Pictures at an Exhibition,’ ‘Hoedown,’ ‘Fanfare for the Common Man,’ Carl Orff’s ‘Carmina Burana,’ ‘Lucky Man,’ and ‘Knife Edge.’

“I put an hour and 45 minutes together pretty easily. That’s a good length. An hour-and-a-half or a little longer are the best for these shows.

“I really don’t do any new material. With 18 pieces in the back catalog that everyone wants to hear, the demographic isn’t very keen to new material. But I have added ‘America’ – a new classical piece.”

Next year will mark 50 years since Emerson, Lake & Palmer’s formation and that calls for something special.

“We’re going to have a special hologram show for the 50th anniversary of the group,” said Palmer. “The shows will feature a hologram of Keith and Greg and me playing. I think Greg and Keith would approve. I think the 50th anniversary was the right time to do this.”

Palmer’s current tour also highlights his collection of fine art, which was recently done in conjunction with California’s Scene Four Art Studios. The images combine motion, color, and lighting into some of the most compelling fine art visuals ever created.

As with his previous solo tours, Palmer presents bold, new arrangements of the best-loved instrumental music of ELP, and other composers – in a multimedia experience combining music and video projection.

Video link for Carl Palmer – https://youtu.be/kjLtpSTN8r8.

The show at 2300 Arena will start at 8 p.m. Tickets are $25, $40 and $100.

Twiztid

Music of an entirely different nature will rattle the walls and attack brain cells when Twiztid makes a rare area appearance at Reverb (1402 North Ninth Street, Reading, 610-743-3069, www.reverbconcerts.com) on November 9.

Twiztid is an American hip hop duo from Detroit, Michigan. Formed in 1997, Twiztid is composed of Jamie Spaniolo and Paul Methric, who perform under the stage names Jamie Madrox and Monoxide. Spaniolo and Methric are former members of the group House of Krazees, which disbanded in 1997 a year after the duo’s departure.

Twiztid released its debut album in 1997. The two musicians always perform in make-up – make-up that makes them appear as if they just left the set of a horror movie.

On Saturday night, Twiztid is playing the penultimate show of its “Every Day Is Halloween Tour.” Then, the tour will be put to bed on November 10 in Worcester, Massachusetts.

“We’re just finishing up the ‘Every Day Is Halloween Tour’ – down to the last three days,” said Madrox, during a phone interview Thursday from a tour stop in Rochester, New York.

“This is more of an intimate show. There is no band — just me and Monoxide. It’s a throwback to show what we were. We’re playing a lot of old school shit.”

Formed in the late 1990s, Twiztid is an 11-time Billboard chart-topping rap duo. Now, 22 years later, the Twiztid guys are still going strong with more than 20 albums in their catalogue.

Madrox and Monoxide Child could be content to settle into the cycle of releasing an album, touring extensively in support of the disc and then starting the cycle all over again with a new album.

But that’s never going to happen. That’s the “straight” way and Spaniolo and Methric do things the “Twiztid” way.

Twiztid has its own record label and management company called Majik Ninja Entertainment. Recently, Twiztid released its 12th album – “Generation Nightmare.” It was released on April 26, 2019 through Majik Ninja Entertainment. Recording sessions took place at the Dojo, Twiztid’s Michigan recording studio.Production was handled by A Danger Within, Michael “Seven” Summers, YYBeats, Godsynth, Young Wicked, Fritz the Cat and LunarVision.

“We made the album a little while ago,” said Madrox. “We released a single – ‘Magic Spells’ and then put out ‘Wreck,’ which people seemed to like.

“We recorded ‘Generation Nightmare’ on and off last year. We worked on it when we were out on the Warped Tour. By the end of the Warped Tour, we had the skeletal layout for a new record. But we still needed to flesh it out.”

Playing Warped Tour 2018 was a new, enjoyable and beneficial experience for Twiztid.

“Warped Tour opened our eyes to show us that there are still people who enjoy music mad enjoy being entertained,” said Madrox. “If you’ve got what it takes, you will enamor these people.

“Playing on the Warped Tour was an opportunity of a lifetime for us. It took us out of this little petri dish and allowed us to be able to showcase our stuff to the world.

“We’ve been doing this for 20 years. The Warped Tour dates have been more productive for getting a new audience than half of the first 20 years. If we had done the Warped Tour 10 years ago, who knows where we’d be now.

“The Warped Tour was like a festival. Just walking around, you hear so many different types of music. That was why there was room for us. I appreciate them (Warped Tour producers) putting up with our shit. We’re not your typical act.”

Video link for Twiztid – https://youtu.be/4QtokETDSiQ?list=RD4QtokETDSiQ.

The show at Reverb, which has September Mourning, Bake Lo, Gibby Stites, and Syde Projekt as opening acts, will start at 7 p.m. Tickets are $20.

Loud Luxury

On November 9, another duo who can perform with or without a band is headlining a show in downtown Philadelphia. On Saturday night, Loud Luxury will headline a show at Franklin Music Hall (421 North Seventh Street, Philadelphia, https://www.bowerypresents.com/greater-philly/shows/franklin-music-hall).

Loud Luxury — Andrew Fedyk and Joe Depace – is a Canadian music production and DJ known for producing house music…. deep house, future house, trance house.

In a little more than two years, Loud Luxury has been increasing its popularity in the dance music scene and gaining the support of EDM luninaries such as Tiesto, Oliver Heldens, and Martin Garrix.

Gaining international attention for their remix of Dzeko & Torres’ hit single “Home’ (which reached #3 on the HypeM charts) and then followed with a #1 on the charts with their unofficial remix of Justin Timberlake’s “Can’t Stop The Feeling.”

Loud Luxury took a quantum leap forward with the hit track “Body” (feat. brando), which was the most played song on dance radio for all of 2018. JUNO-Award winners Loud Luxury have had a remarkable musical career thus far with their hit single “Body” which has almost 600 million streams on Spotify.

On the “Nights Like This” tour, they are supporting this track as well as “I’m Not Alright.” Loud Luxury has also shown off their production talents by recently remixing Ed Sheeran and Justin Bieber’s smashing hit “I Don’t Care.”

In addition to the popular tracks, the duo is road testing new material that will appear on the upcoming EP due out later this fall.

“We’re out on a pretty big tour right now,” said Fedyk, during a phone interview Thursday afternoon. “It’s a 65-show tour and we have about a third left. We’ll finish near the end of December.”

The music is set to a custom high-production show complete with confetti, massive sparkle bursts from Europe and Vegas-style lighting for a complete dance party.

“It’s a big show with a lot of production support,” said Depace. “We’ve got a bus full of people. We bring our own production with full lighting. It’s a massive live production.”

“Body” (feat. brando) has sold platinum across the globe (7x in Canada, 3x in Australia, 2x in Switzerland and 1x in the U.K. U.S., Netherlands, Austria and more), held the #1 spot in the U.S. Mediabase Dance Airplay chart for two weeks, charted in the Top 40 of U.S. Pop radio and the U.K.’s Official Singles Chart (#4) and accumulated hundreds of millions of plays across the most popular streaming services. On Spotify alone, the track has received over 531,000,000 plays.

Its follow-up single “Love No More” (with anders) garnered 12 million streams on Spotify alone in its first month and currently sits at an impressive 86 million+ plays on the streaming platform.

“After university, we’ve always been doing music,” said Fedyk, who attended Western University in London, Ontario. “We were playing in bands before we met but we’ve always loved dance music.

“In our shows, we play a mixture of our own music with a mixture of stuff we like,” said Depace. “We’ve done some instrumental stuff, but we prefer working with singing.

“Deciding who we’d like to work with comes in different ways. We’re pretty open. At the end of the day, whoever writes a good song – that’s what we look for.”

Video link for Loud Luxury – https://youtu.be/Gu24QY2369Y.

The show at Franklin Music Hall, which has Justin Caruso as the opener, will start at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $25.

If American music — folk, R&B, jazz, gospel, bluegrass and rock and roll — is your cup of tea, there is a show in Philly on November 9 that you’re sure to like.

The Way Down Wanderers

On Saturday evening, City Winery (990 Filbert Street, Philadelphia, citywinery.com/philadelphia/) is presenting a twin-bill with The Way Down Wanderers opening for Upstate.

The Way Down Wanderers — Austin Thompson- Vocals, Guitar; Collin Krause- Vocals, Mandolin, Violin, Electric Guitar; John Williams- Vocals, Upright Bass; John Merikoski – Drums, Percussion; Travis Kowalsky – banjo, fiddle — are from the heartland of America. They hail from Peoria, Illinois – and that’s about as heartland as it gets.

The band’s music exhibits a variety of influences — bluegrass, classic rock, jazz, classical music and even hip-hop. The group crafts stories inspired by the heartland with a unique blend of influences stemming from their varied musical backgrounds.

“Me and Collin started the band in 2013 in Peoria,” said Thompson, during a phone interview Wednesday morning from a tour stop in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

“He and I had been in different bands but neither of us were front men. When we first started, I was going to a community college and he was 15. Shortly after that, we met our bass player John Williams in a coffee shop. Then, we met our drummer John Merikoski through friends. A few years later, we met our banjo player Travis Kowalsky at a festival in northern Michigan.”

After a few years, the band released its self-titled debut album.

“We made that first album in 2016 at Sonic Ranch Studio in Texas,” said Thomas.

Sonic Ranch is a legendary studio in Tonillo, Texas located on a huge pecan orchard that borders the Rio Grande River and Mexico. It is the world’s largest residential recording studio complex and features five world-class studios.

“Working at Sonic Ranch was amazing,” said Thompson.

Now The Way Down Wanderers are on tour in support of their independent sophomore release “illusions.”  Though their sound is built on a foundation of Americana and bluegrass, The Way Down Wanderers inject their signature multi-part harmonies with unexpected elements of pop and reggae. Rolling Stone Country just featured them as one of “10 New Artists You Need To Know”, saying “The Way Down Wanderers are taking bluegrass in a wild new direction…their intricate, hypnotic rhythms call to mind ‘Bittersweet Symphony’ more than bluegrass traditional.” 

“We cut ‘illusions’ in March 2018 at Sargent Studio in L.A.,” said Thompson. “It used to be called Echo Studio. It’s got great analog gear.

“The album was produced and engineered by David Schiffman, who has worked with acts such as Johnny Cash. We particularly liked the work he did with the Strumbellas.

“We had been building up songs for about a year before we went in the studio. We went in with 20 and came out with 11.”

Songwriting for The Way Down Wanderers happens in a variety of ways.

“We each do our own writing,” said Thompson. “And we also collaborate and construct songs together.”

The variety of influences on the band’s different members leads to the band’s variety of styles.

“When it comes to genres or styles, we don’t like to pin ourselves down too much,” said Thompson. “People try to pigeonhole us. When they see the banjo, they want to call us bluegrass. But we’re a lot more than that.

“With the new album, we wanted to get across that we’re more than just an acoustic bluegrass band. The new songs have more space. We had Toger Manning play keys and that brought each song t the next level.

“We’re gearing up for a U.K. tour in the spring. And we’re writing all the time. We already have eight or nine songs ready to record. We’re hoping to get another album out in 2020.”

Video link for The Way Down Wanderers – https://youtu.be/p5ZEb3Tfwm0.

The show at City Winery on November 9, which has the Way Down Wanderers opening for Upstate, will start at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15.

Amythyst Kiah

Another show featuring American roots music with a feeling of being “authentically” real will take place November 9 when the Locks at Sona (4417 Main Street, Manayunk, 484- 273-0481, sonapub.com) presents Amythyst Kiah.

Southern Gothic alt-country blues singer-songwriter Amythyst Kiah has strong vocal integrity and eclectic influences that span decades. She draws heavily on old-time music and is inspired by vocal stylings of R&B and country music from the 1950s to the 1970s, as well as many leading contemporary artists.

Born in Chattanooga, Tennessee and now based in Johnson City, Tennessee, Kiah has a commanding stage presence marked by her raw and powerful vocals – a deeply moving, hypnotic sound that stirs echoes of a distant and restless past.
Accompanied interchangeably with banjo, acoustic guitar, or a full band, her eclectic influences span decades, finding inspiration in old time music, alternative rock, folk, country, and blues.

“I grew up around a lot of music,” said Kiah, during a phone interview Wednesday morning from her home in Johnson City.

“My dad had a really big record collection – all kinds of music. When I was 13, I wanted to learn to play guitar. So, my parents bought me an acoustic guitar.

“I played sports and was involved in other activities at school and they wanted me to have a well-rounded education. I wrote poetry and short stories and I liked to read a lot.

“At first, I just played the guitar in my room. I learned how to play by ear – and by watching videos. I was in talent shows and I sang at my mother’s funeral. Those experiences gave me positive feedback.

“I didn’t start performing until I was in my early 20s when I was going to school at East Tennessee State University.

“It didn’t take long for me to get interested in traditional music.  What started as catharsis as a teenager tuned into a career.”

Kiah’s career developed quickly.

“I studied bluegrass at East Tennessee State with Jack Tottle and then I got interested in Celtic bands. After that, I transitioned into playing in old-time bands.

“At the university, Roy Andrade asked me to be in the first-ever East Tennessee State Old-Time Pride Band because he heard my voice and felt like I would fit well. From then on, I just did old-time.”

While in college, Kiah not only studied music, she studied about music.

“I also took cultural classes,” said Kiah. “I took an American Folk Music class by Dr. Ted Olson. I was learning about the history of all the music I loved. I realized that all the music I loved was connected.

“My first EP was recorded back in 2011 and it’s not in print anymore. My first full length was ‘Dig’ in 2013 and my first album with a full band was ‘Her Chest of Glass’ in 2016. My new album will be coming out soon.”
Video link for Amythyst Kiah – https://youtu.be/31MjqjcdCUM.

The show at Locks at Sona, which has Alexa Rose as the opener, will start at 8 p.m. Tickets are $12.

On back-to-back nights, Locks at Sona will go from presenting a very young and new artist to presenting an old and well-season artist – from Amythyst Kiah, who is three albums into her career, to Kinky Friedman, a septuagenarian whose career than has spanned more than a half-century.

Kinky Friedman

Over the years, Kinky Friedman has been called a lot of things – by friend and foe – but “prolific” isn’t one of them.

Friedman, who will play November 10 at the Locks at Sona could probably go an entire year without even having thoughts of making a new album.

Prior to “The Loneliest Man I Ever Met,” which was released in October 2015, Friedman had released just 10 studio albums — starting with “Sold American” in 1973.

But the pattern has changed a little bit recently.

Friedman released “Circus of Life,” his first all-new album of original tunes in four decades in July 2018.

Now, Friedman has flirted with being prolific by releasing perhaps his greatest work ever, the album “Resurrection,” which was released on October 25, 2019 via Echo Hill Records. .

In working with superstar producer, multi-instrumentalist, and three-time Grammy Award winner Larry Campbell, Friedman found the perfect complement to his jagged-edged Texas Hill Country persona. Together with three-time Grammy-winning engineer Justin Guip, they have produced one of the crowning achievements of the Kinkster’s career – “Resurrection.”

With 11 new tunes and a special guest appearance by long-time friend Willie Nelson on the title track, Friedman puts on an impressive display of his chops as a songwriter. Now, Friedman is out on a six-week, 25-show tour in support of the new LP.

“This tour – the ‘Merry Kinkster Tour’ — is a sleep deprivation tour,” said Friedman, during a phone interview last week on the eve of his 75th birthday. “There aren’t many days off – and even those are likely to get filled.

“This record – ‘Resurrection’ – is suddenly getting airplay from all kinds of places you wouldn’t expect,” said Friedman.

“The album was made north of Woodstock at Justin Guip’s studio. I had the greatest producer in the world – Larry Campbell. I was worried about the budget. He said – don’t worry about anything…don’t worry about the money …just be the music man.

“When Dylan first got started, he picked up the guitar to get laid. His idea of success was to hear his music on the radio. With my new album, the challenge for Larry Campbell was to make it sound different from all the crap coming out of Nashville and still get on the radio.

“Willie Nelson and Bob Dylan have written over 2,000 songs apiece. After that, you have to do stylistic stuff like Sinatra music. It’s interesting to me how Willie and Bob have merged with the road.

“I’ve toured with Willie, but I prefer shows that are cabaret style. A tour with Willie has big audiences – bigger than I like. Plus, when I tour with Willie, I get so high I need a stepladder to scratch my ass.”

A few years ago, Nelson was responsible for Friedman ending his album drought with the “Circus of Life” record.

“I got a 3 a.m. phone call from Willie,” said Friedman. “He asked me was doing at that moment. I told him I was watching ‘Matlock’ on TV. He told me that it was a sure sign of depression. He said – Kinky, turn Matlock off and start writing.

“So, I did. I got inspired. I wrote 12 tunes in about five weeks. That’s a fact. Willie said – send them to me. Writing was fun. For example, the song ‘Jesus in Pajamas’ is a true story. It really happened.”

Friedman is a singer-songwriter who has been recording music since the mid-1960s. But that only tells part of his story. He was making music that was a blend of country, folk and rock long before the term “Americana” was coined.

His music and his outlook have always had humorous sides. His first real group was Kinky Friedman and The Texas Jewboys, a name which parodied the famous country/western swing band Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys.

By the mid-1970s, Friedman’s music was poplar enough to land him a spot as the opening act for one of Bob Dylan’s tours. One of his signature songs from that era was “They Ain’t Makin’ Jews Like Jesus Anymore.” a song in which Kinky puts down a drunken white racist who has been spewing hate for blacks, Jews and frat boys.

Friedman’s bio almost reads like fiction – but it’s all true. He served two years in the United States Peace Corps as a teacher in Borneo. Just over 20 years ago, he started writing detective novels with a fictionalized version of himself as a New York City detective.

In 2004, Friedman began a serious but unsuccessful campaign to get elected as the Governor of Texas with campaign slogans such as “My Governor is a Jewish Cowboy” and “He ain’t Kinky, he’s my Governor.”

“I don’t regret running for Governor,” said Friedman, who also ran for a short while in the 2010 Texas gubernatorial election. “I lost in 2006 but I still got 600,000 votes. That’s not bad at all. The governor’s race was the one I won everywhere but Texas. I’ve been ahead of my time.”

Friedman has also become a well-respected cigar maker. His line of Kinky Friedman Cigars includes stogies called Kinkycristo, Texas Jewboy, The Wille (inspired by his friend Wille Nelson), Lone Star #4, The Governor, Utopian and Kinky Lady. He will have his cigars on sale at his show in Philly.

He also sells Kinky Friedman Cigars Coffee which is grown by Fara Coffee, a company that produces Rainforest Alliance-certified 100 percent shade-grown Arabica coffee on its own farms in the mountainous rainforests of Nicaragua. And, he founded Utopia Animal Rescue Ranch to care for stray, abused and aging animals.

But, music is on the main burner right now with a new album and a major U.S. tour.

Video link for Kinky Friedman – https://youtu.be/DxYxF3khdJM.

The show at Locks at Sona, which has Cleve Hattersly as the opening act, will start at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $30 and $40.

On November 10, there will be a concert at the at the Scottish Rite Auditorium (315 White Horse Pike, Collingswood, New Jersey, scottishriteauditorium.com) that is unlike any other concert around.

The show is BASE Hologram’s “Roy Orbison & Buddy Holly: The Rock ‘N’ Roll Dream Tour.”

Obviously, Holly and Orbison will not be performing live onstage, Holly was killed in a tragic plane crash at age 22 along with Richie Valens and the Big Bopper in 1959. Orbison died of a heart attack at age 52 in 1988.

This production uses holograms of the two rock legends.

Accompanied by a live band and back-up singers, this cutting-edge, holographic performance with remastered audio will transport audiences back in time for an unforgettable evening of Roy Orbison and Buddy Holly’s greatest hits onstage.

Performing (virtually) together for the first time, this once in a lifetime show will feature chartbuster favorites including Roy Orbison’s “Oh, Pretty Woman,” “You Got It,” “Only the Lonely” and Buddy Holly’s “Oh Boy!,” “Not Fade Away” and “That’ll Be the Day”, among many others.

Stemming from the success of BASE Hologram’s” In Dreams: Roy Orbison in Concert” tour that broke records across the globe in 2018, the company will bring Orbison and Holly together for an exciting new production .Eric Schaeffer (“Million Dollar Quartet”), who shepherded the “In Dreams: Roy Orbison” production will return as the director.

“BASE has done hologram shows for Roy Orbison and Maria Callas,” said David Hirshland, during a phone  interview from New York last week. “They were excited to put Buddy together with Roy for a tour.”

Hirshland is the executive vice president of music publishing catalogs at BMG.

“I purchased the rights to Buddy Holly’s catalog, name, image and likeness from his widow Maria Elena Holly back in 2015,” said Hirshland said. “She’s 85 and still very frisky. After hearing about the hologram show of Tupac, she said – I want to do that for Buddy.”

Making the holograms is a painstaking process.

“You shoot an actor who is imitating the moves and look of Buddy Holly,” said Hirshland. “Makeup takes a lot of time and then you shoot with a special camera. After that is done, you do CGI work to enhance the image more to make it appear as if it really is Buddy Holly on stage.

“The effect is really striking. When Buddy Holly’s hologram is playing, it has the effect of a real person. This show features 10 or 11 Buddy Holly songs – all of which were hits.”

Holly wrote 46 songs in an 18-month period and nearly all of them were hits, including “Not Fade Away,” “Everyday,” “That’ll Be the Day,” “It Doesn’t Matter Anymore,” “Peggy Sue,” “Rave On,” “Maybe Baby” and “Oh, Boy.”

Video link for “Roy Orbison & Buddy Holly: The Rock ‘N’ Roll Dream Tour” — https://youtu.be/tcGSQtuxOcg.

The show on November 10 at the at the Scottish Rite Auditorium (315 White Horse Pike, Collingswood, New Jersey, scottishriteauditorium.com) will start at 7 p.m. Tickets are $49.50, $59.50 and $79.50.

If you want to cap off your weekend with a show Sunday night that features an old-and-new singer/songwriter twin-bill, head out to the Sellersville Theater (24 West Temple Avenue, Sellersville, 215-257-5808, www.st94.com)

John Hiatt and Adam Chaffins

The lineup for the November 10 show has John Hiatt as the headliner and Adam Chaffins as the opener.

Chaffins is a singer-songwriter and upright bass player extraordinaire recently named by NPR as one of the Best New Artist Playing AmericanaFest. 

Chaffin is no stranger to the Americana, bluegrass, indie-rock or alt-country scenes having previously played with The Deadly Gentleman, Town Mountain plus many others. 

“I have a new album coming out at the beginning of next year,” said Chaffins, during a phone interview Tuesday morning from his home in Mount Juliet, Tennessee. “So far, I’ve just been releasing a few singles from it.”

The current release is “Her,” a reflective song about a past love-filled with lush yet haunting melodies.

“I did an EP in May called, ‘I’m Over You.’ I did a video for that with a full string section which came out with the EP. There was an acoustic version as well.

“I put out five singles from the album so far. There will be nine tracks on the album. This is my debut album as a solo artist so I’m still introducing things.”

The album was recorded over a two-year period at Zac Brown’s Southern Ground Nashville recording studio. Producer Ethan Ballinger (Lee Ann Womack, Andrew Combs, Ryan Culwell) and engineer Brandon Bell (Brent Cobb, The Wood Brothers, Sarah Jarosz) teamed up on the project to maximize the effect of Chaffins’ wide-ranging sonic palette and unique voice. A talented cast of Nashville musicians such as Matty Alger and Aubrie Sellers also played on the record.

“Ethan is a great player,” said Chaffins, who sings and plays bass. “And, Southern Ground Nashville is a great studio. The recording process happened over the course of several years. We wrapped up recording in 2017. I’m still working on the record deal. That’s why we’re holding the release date until early next year.

“It’s a diverse album because I have a pretty diverse music background. I grew up listening to 90s country and bluegrass. Then, I studied jazz at Morehead State University in Kentucky. Then, I started touring with progressive bluegrass bands. And, I’ve been a session musician in Nashville for about a decade. The album is a mixed bag of everything I’m into.”

Video link for Adam Chaffins – https://youtu.be/JOAAyzH0mpU.

The show at the Sellersville Theater, which has John Hiatt as the headliner, will start at 8 p.m. Ticket prices range from $79.50 to $95.

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One Comment

  1. BJ says:

    Awesome!

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