On Stage: The Eternal Yardbirds return to play City Winery

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By Denny Dyroff, Entertainment Editor, The Times

The Yardbirds

Any credible list of the 10 all-time best rock guitarists should – without question – include Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page.

Amazingly, all three got their starts in the same band – the Yardbirds

The Yardbirds, who are playing the City Winery (990 Filbert Street, Philadelphia, citywinery.com) on September 22 are a bit like the Black Knight in the movie “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.” The Black Knight challenges King Arthur who then cuts off the knight’s left arm. The Black Knight continues to fight and loses his other arm. Eventually, he is totally dismembered by Arthur. Still, he keeps going through all the adversity.

Over the years, the Yardbirds have gone through their own continual process of being dismembered. Original lead guitarist Top Topham left and was replaced by Eric Clapton and then Jeff Beck replaced Clapton two years later. It was this line-up that recorded the group’s signature hits “Heart Full of Soul”, “I’m a Man” and “Shapes of Things.”

In 1966, bassist Paul Samwell-Smith left the group. Jimmy Page joined, and the band used a double-lead guitar format for a brief while. Then, Beck left, and Page remained – but only for a short while before leaving to form Led Zeppelin.

In 1976, vocalist Keith Relf died in an accident leaving the band with just a pair of original members – drummer Jim McCarty and rhythm guitarist/bassist Chris Dreja. The group seemed to quietly fade into history.

Then, in 2003, the Yardbirds regrouped and recorded their latest album “Birdland.”  The band’s lineup included McCarty and Dreja along with other young British musicians.

Dreja sat out the US spring 2012 tour to recover from an illness. It was announced in 2013 that he was leaving the band for medical reasons and would be replaced by original Yardbirds guitarist Topham. Then, Topham left. On August 12, 2015, it was announced that Boston guitarist Johnny A. would become the newest member of The Yardbirds. He was with the band for a while and then he too departed.

The  Yardbirds’ current line-up features critically-acclaimed original drummer/composer/Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Jim McCarty; lead vocalist/rhythm guitarist John Idan, whose tenure with the band began in 1992; bassist Kenny Aaronson, who has worked with Billy Idol, Joan Jett, and Hall and Oates; lead guitarist Godfrey Townshend, who has performed with rock luminaries such as John Entwistle and Jack Bruce; and Myke Scavone, (who is also lead singer in The Doughboys) on harp, percussion and backing vocals.

“It’s the same line-up we’ve had for a while except for our guitar player Godfrey Townshend, who is the musical director for the ‘Happy Together’ tours,” said McCarty, during a phone interview last week from his home near Nice in southern France. The rest of the guys have been around since 2015.

“This line-up has been together longer than the original line-up. As far as the original line-up, Chris (Dreja) is still alive but unable to play. He’s had some strokes and is still struggling. Paul (Samwell-Smith) gave up playing years ago and Keith Relf died in 1976.”

Many bands lost time, momentum, tour revenue and record sales during the pandemic. McCarty lost a lot more.

“The lockdown coincided with me losing my wife, Lizzie,” said McCarty. “I ended up doing another book.”

The book, “She Walks In Beauty..My Quest For The Bigger Picture,” was released in August 2011.

According to McCarty, “My last book — ‘Nobody Told Me’ — was the story of the best days of my life, and a musical career that took me from a holiday camp in the English west country to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. This book, on the other hand, begins on the very worst day of my life, June 7, 2020— with the death of my wife Elisabeth. Lizzie.”

“She Walks In Beauty” is the tale of McCarty’s lifelong quest to unravel the mysteries of the world that exists beyond the world in which we live. Beginning with a childhood fascination with the paranormal that only gathered strength as he grew older, this book explores the world hidden just out of reach, the shadows that are just out of sight and the certainty that there is an enduring connection between the living and the dead.

“The book is about paranormal things,” said McCarty. “I communicated with Lizzie after she died. We were married for 16 years. I knew her for about 23 years. We were very close, and I couldn’t believe she wasn’t around somewhere. I studied mediumship.

“I did research and looked into near death experiences. I discovered a medium Suzanne Giesmann. She taught me ways to connect with Lizzie. I was able to communicate with her and get hard evidence. I asked her things about people she didn’t know, and they proved to be true.”

The Yardbirds’ personnel may change every once in a while, but the set list with a slew of classic songs remains constant.

“People realize what a great repertoire it is,” said McCarty. “They love to hear this music. It’s hard to put something new in the set list.”

The Yardbirds’ most recent albums are “Birdland,” which was released back in 2003, and “Making Tracks,” which came out in 2013.

“We’re talking about recording a new Yardbirds album — classic bluesy-type thing,” said McCarty. “We’ve thought about getting back in the studio. The chemistry with this lineup is good. There are no egos and they’re all good guys.

“They know the music and it’s quite authentic. We go back to the originals. It is important for us to go back to the originals. That’s the music that the fans have loved all these years.”

For a band that really wasn’t around that long (just over five years in its original incarnation) and never really had a string of monster hits, the Yardbirds left an indelible imprint on rock music.

Taking their name from Jack Kerouac’s writing (“yardbirds” were hobos that hung around railroad yards and hopped trains), the Yardbirds evolved from the Metropolitan Blues Quartet, a seminal British band put together by guitarist Paul Samwell-Smith and vocalist Keith Relf. They added Chris Dreja (guitar), Jim McCarty (drums) and a 16-year-old guitarist Tony “Top” Topham to complete the original Yardbirds’ lineup.

Topham was pressured by his parents to return to school and a then unknown British blues guitarist named Eric Clapton replaced him. Clapton was the first of three “Guitar Gods” to handle lead guitar duties for the Yardbirds. His tenure lasted for one very blues-oriented studio album and a live album of the band backing blues legend Sonny Boy Williamson.

The Yardbirds’ final guitarist was Jimmy Page, who was with the group for one album. Page then formed the New Yardbirds — a band that was the embryo of Led Zeppelin.

Most of the Yardbirds’ groundbreaking music came during the three-year period when guitar master Jeff Beck was the group’s lead guitarist. Beck’s innovative and emotive style of playing stretched the boundaries of traditional rock and opened the door for new improvisational and experimental aspects of rock and roll.

“The original band was together for five years,” said Dreja, during a previous phone interview. “But it felt like 20 years with all the miles traveled and music played. It started to fade around 1968.

“After we did the last tour with the ‘Little Games’ albums – which was a good tour — Jimmy and Keith wanted to come off the road. Then, Keith and Jim left to form Renaissance and Page went to Led Zeppelin. Paul had left a while before. I had already started my career as a professional photographer. So, I went to New York and learned the craft of studio photography.”

Dreja and McCarty brought the Yardbirds back to life in 2003. Now, with Dreja sidelined, it is up to McCarty to carry the banner.

Video link for the Yardbirds (1965) — https://youtu.be/HU5zqidlxMQ.

Video link for the Yardbirds (current) — https://youtu.be/PYnkPBnn4mg.

The opening act on Thursday night will be the duo of veteran songwriters – Rogers & Butler.

Rogers & Butler

Ed Rogers, a British native, has released more than 10 albums – including two with his group Bedsit Poets, a Folk/Brit-inspired trio whose name was given to them by The Zombies’ Colin Blunstone.

Steve Butler is a founding member of Smash Palace, a band from South Jersey that formed in 1985 and signed with Epic Records. Record company troubles resulted in the group becoming inactive within two years. In 1999, Butler and Greg DiDonato, another member from the formative days brought the band back to life.

Since then, Smash Palace has released 13 albums while going through a number of personnel changes. The current line-up features Stephen Butler, David Uosikkinen, Wally Smith, Cliff Hillis and Greg Maragos.

Rogers released his seventh solo album, “TV Generation” (Zip Records) in 2017. In the gritty tradition of Nick Cave, Kevin Ayers and Ray Davies, “TV Generation” pairs Rogers’ authentic and reflective lyricism with his powerful melodic voice creating an album that is grounded in Britpop and Britfolk.  He was joined in the studio by several talented musicians including the album’s producer Don Piper, James Mastro, Sal Maida, Dennis Diken, Geoff Blythe, Marty Willson-Piper, and  Jane Scarpantoni.

Born in Birmingham, England where he spent the first 12 years of his life, Rogers moved to New York City just as the British Invasion began in the States. He started his career behind the drum kit, which he played in several garage bands.

When a subway accident in October 1985 left him without his right arm and right leg below the knee, he turned to songwriting. As he developed his writing talents, Edward found he enjoyed singing and writing more rewarding than playing drums.

Rogers released his eighth solo album, “Catch A Cloud” in June 2021. “Catch A Cloud” is a soul-searching, stripped-down personal statement, a trippy swirl of music and ideas, observations of what was going on around him at the time, which influenced both the music and the lyrics of the songs.

The two music vets decided to collaborate about six years ago.

“We wrote our first song together back around 2016 at the Cutting Room in New York City,” said Butler, during a phone interview Wednesday afternoon from his studio in Rancocas Valley, New Jersey.

“I think that Ed, being English born, is more an Anglophile. I’m more West Coast with influences like the Byrds and Buffalo Springfield.”

Rogers said, “Steve is a classically trained guitarist. He told me that I reminded him of Duncan Browne. We’re both lovers of 60s and 70s British rock. We’re inspired to write as close as we can to the Ray Davies neighborhood.”

After releasing a well-received, four-song EP, “Diana Dors,” Rogers & Butler released its first full-length album, “Poets & Sinners,” on Zip Records. “Catch A Cloud” was originally scheduled for release in 2020, but Rogers decided to put the album on hold in order to release “Poets & Sinners,” the debut from Rogers & Butler in anticipation of tour dates with The Zombies in Europe. The CD was released in June 2020, but for obvious reasons, all live dates were postponed.

Smash Palace released its 13th album, “21,” with 10 rock n roll songs designed to be the soundtrack for the summer of 2021.

“With Smash Palace, we did an album last year,” said Butler. “But for now, my full energy is on Rogers & Butler. Ed and I have been writing a lot. We’re very prolific. We just crank out the songs.”

Rogers & Butler’ new album, “Brighter Day,” was released June 24 on TLAK Music and came in at #29 on the NACC Radio 200 Adds Chart. The album also picked up official adds from some great stations including KTCU, WTCC, KSYM, WCNI, WFWM, KGAR, and WODU along with New Jersey stations WGLS and WLFR.

“Brighter Day” draws primarily upon the timeless sounds of sixties and seventies pop with echoes of the Kinks, Mott the Hoople and early Tom Petty merged with more subtle references to folk, country and English music hall. While dark emotional concerns emerge via Lou Reed style observations and laments alongside Dylan’s “Blood on the Tracks,” the overriding vibe is one of near boundless optimism and a fashioning of romance and beauty from even the most prosaic elements of life.

Highlights include the Big Star meets Ray Davis “Let’s get Up!,” message of opener “Brighter Day’” contrasting with the melancholic, Colin Blunstone-besotted, elegant piano and strings heartbreak ballad “Last Reply.” “The Sun Won’t Shine’ contains glimmers of “All Things Must Pass” era George Harrison, while the nostalgically tinged tin-and-tambourine, acoustic thump and tumble of “Oh Romeo” keeps good company with Ronnie Lane’s Slim Chance through close harmony and wry lyrical sympathy. The Duncan Browne stylings of “Cabaret” takes listeners into a baroquely pensive club world, and the album takes its leave with the climactic “A Brand New Day Tomorrow,” which has a heavy Flamin’ Groovies vibe.

“We cut the album in New York City – at Greenpoint Recording in Brooklyn,” said Rogers. “Our producer Don Piper put it all together. We pitched 10 labels, got three offers and signed with TLAK. They are great to work with.”

Ironically, ‘TLAK,’ which is an acronym for “Think Like A Key,” means “pressure” in the Czech language.

“When we made the album, we kept all the options on the table,” said Butler. “We had a solid unit in the studio and made the album in two days.

“We sent the material to the players and then got together for two rehearsals – three hours each. We got in the studio and did all the songs in two or three takes. Then, Don (Piper) put his magic on it.”

The band’s fans will hear a lot of new material this weekend.

“We’re doing mostly new songs in our live set,” said Rogers. “This is a good thing. We’re used to opening for bigger bands, so we know how to play short compact sets.”

Video link for Rogers & Butler — https://youtu.be/inKowrQOX6g.

The show on September 22 will start at 8 p.m.

Ticket prices range from $40-$55.

Other upcoming shows at City Winery are Paul Thorn on September 23, Eric Hutchinson on September 24, Mister Mann’s Jam Session on September 25, Marshall Crenshaw on September 27 and “That Awful Man and His Manager: An Evening of Conversation with Robert Fripp and David Singleton” on September 28.

Edie Carey

Folk/pop singer-songwriter Edie Carey released her debut album, “The Falling Places,” in 1998. Over the past 20-plus years, she has performed numerous times in the Philadelphia area with shows at such venues as Burlap and Bean, The Point and The Tin Angel.

Those three clubs are gone but Carey is still going strong. Needing a new venue to bring her music to area fans, Carey found a very new venue – Media Arts Council.

On September 22, Carey will headline a show at Media Arts Council (11 East State Street, Media,www.mediaartscouncil.org) with singer/songwriter/guitarist Jeremy Facknitz as the opening act.

Carey just released her new album, “The Veil,” and was looking for a Philly area venue to play an album release support gig. She turned to Tara Endicott, who with her husband Brent Endicott owned Burlap and Bean – a listening room in Newtown Square that did not survive the pandemic.

“I called Tara inquiring about where I could play this fall,” said Carey, during a phone interview Tuesday from her home in Colorado. “She suggested that I check out Media Arts Council.”

As a result, Carey is making her debut at the multi-media space in Delaware County’s bustling county seat.

“‘The Veil’ is my eighth studio album and my 11th overall,” said Carey. “I recorded it in November 2021 at June Audio in Provo, Utah.”

Released June 3, 2022, Carey’s critically acclaimed new album was produced by Scott Wiley (Ryan Adams, Elliot Smith, Bonnie Raitt) at June Audio and features a stellar team of musicians and songwriters — Rose Cousins, Sarah Sample, Megan Burtt, Mai Bloomfield (Jason Mraz and Sara Bareilles), Paul Jacobsen, Sam Cardon, Stewart Wheeler, Sam Cardon, John Standish, and Stewart Maxfield + Aaron Anderson of Fictionist.

Utah may not come to mind when naming America’s music capitols. While not on a par with Austin, L.A., Nashville, San Francisco or New York, Utah has been gaining respect from musical folk.

“There actually is a pretty good music scene in Provo – a hidden music scene,” said Carey. “There is also a good scene in Salt Lake City. There are a lot of talented musicians in the state.

“I recorded the album with producer Scott Wiley. I had worked with him before. He produced my ‘’Til The Morning: Lullabies and Songs of Comfort’ album in 2014.”

Wiley, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is an audio engineer, music producer, and owner of June Audio Recording Studios in Provo.

According to Wiley, “I opened June Audio in the spring of 2000 to provide Utah’s music community with the very best in recording. From the extensive list of studio gear and microphones to the amazing collection of instruments and amplifiers, musicians will find everything they need to be inspired and create great art.

“My job is to help musicians to get their dream, their vision or whatever it is across in the best manner. It’s not my album. … I want to take what you bring in and just make it blossom.”

June Audio has been in full operation since 2007 and has worked with The Moth and the Flame, Fictionist, Mindy Gledhill, Neon Trees, Joshua James, Sarah Sample, Ryan Innes, Cherie Call, the LDS Especially for Youth albums, and local group collaborations such as the Lower Lights.

“It’s a great studio,” said Carey. “It has a lot of really good recording gear and Scott has a lot of great guitars. Any artist would be in heaven recording there.

“I went into the studio with a lot of songs. Usually, I go in with five or six and then write more in the studio. Because of COVID, I had more time to write instead of ramping up for a tour or ramping down after a tour.

“I had about 35 or 40 songs ready when I went in. I also do a lot of commission songs and a couple of them are on the record. I’m proud of the writing because I had a lot of time to work on these songs”

Since 2003, Carey has been writing commissioned songs for birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, engagements, apologies, posthumous tributes and more. Some of those songs have been included on her albums and some are only ever played for the loved one in the song.

Carey’s musical trademarks are her emotional lyrics, her soulful voice, and her ability to engage with her audiences.

Her decision to pursue a career in music after pre-med studies in college would be enough to drive most parents to tears. You can imagine a lament like this – “she was on her way to becoming a doctor and instead became a folksinger…Oy Vey.”

“I was going to be a doctor,” said Carey, who was born in Burlington, Vermont and raised in the Boston suburb Dedham by her English teacher father, social worker mother, and poet stepmother.

“I went to Barnard College in New York City and was an English major with a pre-med minor.”

However, during her freshman year, two pivotal discoveries knocked those plans right off course: the Postcrypt Coffeehouse and the Italian language.

In the Postcrypt, an intimate music venue in the basement of St. Paul’s Chapel at Columbia University, Carey watched performers like Jeff Buckley, Ani DiFranco, Ellis Paul and Lisa Loeb perform unplugged to rapt, candlelit audiences and was floored by the power of their songwriting.

Around the same time, Carey had begun studying Italian. Her passion for the language eventually led her to spend a year abroad in Bologna where she taught herself to play the guitar.

“I went to Italy and that changed everything,” said Carey. “It was a year-long program that was really a life-changing experience. I was in Bologna, which was a great place to learn Italian because not many people in that city spoke English.

“I was busking in Bologna in the main piazza. I was singing mostly covers – Indigo Girls, Bonnie Raitt, Shawn Colvin. That’s when I really started writing songs and began playing originals.”

Carey’s year spent in living in the Emilia-Romagna region in Northern Italy went by way too quickly and soon she was back in Manhattan.

“When I came back to New York, I was performing on campus and also opening for different folk acts,” said Carey. “I owe a lot to Melissa Ferrick – as an influence and as a musician who helped me a lot with my career.

“Now, this is my 22nd year doing this as my job, and I love it now more than ever. I definitely have a strong female audience – maybe 80 per cent. I’m a woman in her late 40s with two kids and a career in music.

“My daughter Emilla is six and my son Luca turns 10 this week. His birthday is tomorrow (September 21) so I’ll be here for his party – double figures is a big birthday – and then take an overnight flight to Philly.”

Not co-incidentally, both of her kids have Italian names. It’s all about Italy, its language and famiglia.

“In my live set now, I’m doing eight or nine songs from ‘The Veil’ along with a selection from previous albums,” said Carey. “I sing and play guitar and have two side players – John Standish on keyboards and Jeremy Facknitz on electric guitar and vocals.”

It will be a full evening for Facknitz who also serves as the opening act.

Facknitz has been entertaining audiences with his lovingly crafted music and high-energy performances for more than a quarter century.

Since the 2002 break-up of his Detroit-based band “The Ottomans” (who earned a 2001 Detroit Music Award for Best New Alternative Band”), Facknitz has performed primarily as a solo act, melding Americana and jazz stylings to showcase his intimate stories of life, love, and self-discovery.

Video link for Edie Carey – https://youtu.be/SDH5V_418ME.

Video link for Jeremy Facknitz — https://youtu.be/9RLgUmma46c.

The show at MAC on September 22 will start at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets are $25.

The Candlelight Theatre (2208 Millers Road, Arden, Delaware, www.candlelighttheatredelaware.org) has just begun its fifth production run of 2022. The lively musical “Memphis” is running now through October 30.

On September 22, the theater will present the September edition of Candlelight Comedy Club.

The headliner will be Erik Terrell. The feature will be Ed McGonigal and the MC will be Delia Amendolia.

Terrell is a big kid with a big heart. His love for the stage began in his freshman year at Hampton University in 2009 as he landed supporting roles in “A Love to Call My Own” and “Dreamgirls” in both sophomore and junior years.

After trying standup comedy on summer vacation after sophomore year at Hampton, Terrell quickly adopted a new identity as not only actor but also standup comedian.

In college, Terrell hosted and performed on most of Hampton University’s Homecoming and Spring Fest Comedy shows. After graduating college in 2013, he returned home to Philadelphia where he was soon picked up by Helium Comedy Club. He then quickly began headlining venues along the East Coast and working at various New York Comedy Clubs including Gotham Comedy Club, Broadway Comedy Club, and Stand Up NY.

In 2018, Terrell headlined and produced his own show at the Glasgow International Comedy Festival and performed at both the Asheville Comedy Festival and Gilda’s LaughFest in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

The show on September 22 will start a 6:30 p.m.

Tickets are $30.

“Memphis,” which was inspired by actual events, is about a white radio DJ who wants to change the world and a black club singer who is ready for her big break.

The play looks at their incredible journey to the ends of the airwaves and is filled with laughter, soaring emotion, and roof-raising rock-and-roll.

Winner of four 2010 Tony Awards including Best Musical and two 2015 Olivier Awards, Memphis features a Tony-winning book by Joe DiPietro and a Tony-winning original score with music by Bon Jovi founding member David Bryan.

The production at the Candlelight Dinner Theatre is directed and choreographed by Devon Sinclair with Hallie Berger as co-choreographer. The vocal director is Garrick Vaughan.

“Memphis” is running now October 30.

When Heaven 17 brings its “We Don’t Need This Fascist Groove Thang U.S. and Canada Tour” to the Keswick Theater (291 N. Keswick Avenue, Glenside, 215-572-7650, www.keswicktheatre.com) on September 24, it will be a rare treat for area fans.

The band was formed in 1980, has released more than a dozen albums and has had numerous hit singles.

One thing Heaven 17 – Martyn Ware and Glenn Gregory — has not done is do a tour of the United States. This 2022 tour is the first full U.S. tour in their four-decade history.

The U.S. fans’ wait to see Heaven 17 live on stage was scheduled to come to an end two years ago – but COVID 19 prolonged the wait.

“We had this tour planned for two years ago,” said Ware, during a recent phone interview from his home in London. “In 2020, we had this tour scheduled as well as a 20-date tour in Europe. Both have been postponed twice.”

Heaven 17 is an English new wave and synth-pop band that formed in Sheffield in 1980. The band were a trio for most of their career, composed of Martyn Ware (keyboards) and Ian Craig Marsh (keyboards), and Glenn Gregory (vocals, keyboards)

Marsh and Ware were the founding members of pioneering Sheffield electro-pop group, the Human League.

Gregory (who had previously been in a punk band called Musical Vomit with Marsh) had been their original choice when seeking a lead singer for the band but as he had moved to London to work as a photographer at the time, they chose Ware’s school friend Philip Oakey instead.

When personal and creative tensions within the group reached a breaking point in late 1980, Marsh and Ware left the band, ceding the Human League name to Oakey. Meanwhile, Ware and Marsh formed the production company British Electric Foundation (B.E.F.).

Ware and Marsh’s first release as B.E.F. in 1980, a collection of instrumentals entitled “Music For Stowaways,” was initially available only on cassette and was inspired by the appearance of the first Sony Walkman (at first marketed in the U.K. as the Sony Stowaway). There was also a vinyl release, “Music For Listening To,” mainly targeted for export sales, which was slightly truncated (though with the addition of a track not found on the cassette). In the late 1990s, a CD release with this title contained the complete contents from both versions.

In 1982, with Heaven 17 already established with Glenn Gregory as the lead vocalist, B.E.F. released an album entitled “Music of Quality and Distinction Volume One” on Virgin Records, which involved other artists covering classic songs.

The album’s production was mainly in the synthesizer-heavy Heaven 17/ B.E.F. style. In 1991, a second volume was released – “Music of Quality and Distinction Volume Two.”  It featured Tina Turner singing “A Change Is Gonna Come” and Billy Mackenzie singing “Free.”

Heaven 17’s debut album, “Penthouse and Pavement,” was released in 1982 followed by “The Luxury Gap” (1983), “How Men Are” (1984), “Pleasure One” (1986) and “Teddy Bear, Duke & Psycho (1988).

“We play electronic music but there is a gigantic range of electronic music,” said Ware. “Brian Eno has been a massive influence and I’m a big fan of Philip Glass.

“We’re also fans of prog rock – bands like Can, Neu, Faust, Kraftwerk and Amon Düül. Additionally, I listened to a lot of music by Luciano Berio and early 20th-century Russian composers.”

Heaven 17, however, did not just make music that appealed to listener-heavy prog rock fans. The band made music that appealed to MTV audiences and songs that were dance crowd favorites.

They had James Brown lined up to do a vocal on one song, but his financial demands were too much. They did do sessions with Tina Turner and Lalah Hathaway. It was a meeting of electronica and funk.

“We’re from Sheffield and that’s a city that loved soul music,” said Ware, who is a big fan of the British football (soccer) team Sheffield Wednesday. “Throughout our career, a lot of production I’ve done has appealed to American tastes.”

The early 1990s was a quiet period for the band, though Ware produced a second B.E.F. album in 1991, to follow 1982’s original “Music of Quality & Distinction.”

In late 1992, a Brothers in Rhythm remix of “Temptation” reached number four and was followed by the compilation album “Higher and Higher – The Best of Heaven 17” in 1993. Remixes of “(We Don’t Need This) Fascist Groove Thang” and “Penthouse and Pavement” were also minor hits in 1993. However, the band didn’t release any new material as Heaven 17 until 1996’s “Bigger Than America. “

In 2005, Heaven 17 released a new studio album, “Before After,” which had a much more contemporary dance sound compared to previous albums. A CD composed entirely of remixes of the song “Hands Up to Heaven” from the album reached number six on the US Billboard Hot Dance Club Play chart in May 2006.

In October 2006, Virgin Records issued a greatest hits compilation album entitled “Sight and Sound.” Heaven 17’s most recent album is “Naked As Advertised,” which was released in 2008.

“We’ve never actually disbanded,” said Ware. “We’ve had other projects. Obviously, I’ve had a big career.”

Ware has collaborated with Vince Clarke (as The Clarke & Ware Experiment) on two music projects — the “Pretentious” album (1999), and “Spectrum Pursuit Vehicle” (2001). He has also contributed programs to internet radio stations.

Ware also completes sound installations as a “sonic muralist.” In 2016 he released an 82-minute soundscape called “Sounds of Our Shores,” made up of seacoast sound clips sent in by the public.

He curated and produced “Everything You Can Imagine Is Real” for the UK’s National Portrait Gallery in 2017, to coincide with their Picasso Portraits exhibition. The event was inspired by Picasso’s circle in Montmartre in the first decade of the 20th century. He arranged for the gallery to become an artists’ colony featuring a wild cross-pollination of ideas, music, poetry, performance, art, film and dance. It included acts as diverse as the Radiophonic Workshop, Scanner, Feral Five and White Noise.

Ware created a 3D surround sound auditorium for the National Centre for Popular Music in Sheffield – a museum of contemporary music and culture, launched with £15 million of National Lottery money, which opened in March 1999 and closed in July 2000. Ware later used the surround sound technology to launch an Arts Council subsidized touring project called “The Future of Sound.”

In late 2020 he began a series of podcasts entitled “Electronically Yours” in which he interviewed various influential figures from the world of music, art, film, comedy, and TV that he has encountered during his 40-year career within the industry. Interviewees have included John Foxx, Peter Hook, Gary Numan and Sandie Shaw.

“The podcast is doing really well,” said Ware. “It’s been 15 months with 120 episodes – mainly one a week. It’s basically informed in-depth chats with various musicians I knew in electronics and film production.”

Heaven 17 live is a project that is satisfying for both the musicians and the fans.

“It’s basically me and Glenn,” said Ware. “Ian left in the mid-2000s. The good news is that three women are part of the band to counterbalance our bald heads. Rachel, Kelly and Flo are wonderful singers. I think we put on a great show.”

Video link for Heaven 17 – https://youtu.be/3wNkRkJKL9c.

The show at the Keswick Theater on September 24 will start at 8 p.m.

Tickets are $35 and $65.

Other upcoming shows at the Keswick are Peabo Bryson on September 25 and Ninja Sex Party on September 27.

Jamey’s House of Music (32 South Lansdowne Avenue, Lansdowne, 215-477-9985,www.jameyshouseofmusic.com)

is the place to go to hear folk, jazz and blues music every Thursday through Sunday.

The “Thursday Night Jazz Jam” and the “Sunday Blues Brunch & Jam” are regular features on Jamey’s calendar while Friday and Saturday night shows feature national and regional acts.

The shows this weekend are Liz & Pete and Michael G. Rondtadt & Aaron Nathanson on September 23 and The Two Johns on September 24.

The Two Johns is a duo featuring John Colgan-Davis and Johnny Never.

East Coast bluesman Johnny Never has a mission to deliver pure, unadulterated vintage blues to those who already love the blues as well as those who have never heard it. Whether solo or with accompaniment, Never has energized audiences in Northern Maryland, Southeastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey from small bars and restaurants to music halls such as the MAC Concert Series, The Mainstay, the Kennett Flash and Jamey’s House of Music.

Never, who has also performed in variety of music festivals, delivers his take on the blues as a solo performer as well as with a duo and a trio.

Often referred to by blues enthusiasts as “the real deal,” Never pays homage to, but does not mimic, the vast array of original bluesmen that gave birth to the genre more than a century ago. He is known for his covers of artists like Son House, Robert Johnson, and Charlie Patton.

His original compositions possess the qualities of the genuine article, delivered through deft finger-style guitar work and a voice that reeks of authenticity.

These qualities have earned him recognition by blues and folk music societies from Memphis to Philadelphia. In 2014, Johnny was a quarterfinalist in the International Blues Challenge in Memphis.

Johnny Never – a.k.a. John Dorchester — is a multi-discipline artist/creator who grew up in West Chester and attended West Chester Henderson before graduating from Westtown School.

Colgan-Davis, harmonica and vocals, started playing the harmonica in local blues and folk clubs back in the late 1960s while he was still a high school student. He played and recorded with Philadelphia singer-guitarist Jesse Graves and played with Bonnie Raitt when she lived in Philadelphia in the early 1970s.

Through Raitt, he had the opportunity to meet and play with Mississippi Fred McDowell, Arthur Crudup, Buddy Guy, Skip James, Mississippi John Hurt, and others. He has also jammed with James Cotton, John Hammond, Charlie Musselwhite, John Lee Hooker, Bill Dicey, and Louisiana Red.

Colgan-Davis has toured nationally and has recorded two CDs — “Cold and Lonesome on a Train” and “Heroes and Hard Times.”

For a long time, the two Philly area blues aces were aware of each other and their talents. A few years ago, their paths came together.

“About four years ago, Johnny and I were at the same gig and started talking,” said Colgan-Davis.

“We started hanging out together. Then, I sat in with him at a mini-festival bit I can’t remember where. It was somewhere out in the country. He also had a bass player with him – Dave Young who since has moved to Colorado.”

In a phone interview, Never said, “John is a great harmonica player. I’ve been playing blues for decades and had a parting of ways with my previous harmonica player. I called John up to see what would happen.”

Colgan-Davis said, “For the past few years, we’ve been playing as The Two Johns. Our first real show was at Hummingbird on Mars in Wilmington.

“I love playing acoustic again. There are things you can do as an acoustic harp player that you can’t do with a loud band.

“Johnny is a very good picker and a great slide player. He’s also a great Piedmont Blues player.”

Colgan-Davis and the harmonica have a long history together.

“I started acoustic harmonica when I was in high school at Philadelphia’s Central High School,” said Colgan-Davis. “Central High had a folk music club, and we had a budget big enough to being Skip James and Son House to play at our school.

“With The Two Johns, we play a couple songs I played in high school – including Son House’s ‘Death Letter Blues.’ We play a lot of Piedmont Blues, ragtime and some 1920s jazz ‘Ain’t Misbehavin’,’ a Fats Waller song. We do things I haven’t found a way to do with the Dukes of Destiny.”

Never said, “Music is about feel. When you play with somebody, you need to make sure you can connect with the feel. John’s playing works very well with old blues – especially Piedmont style. I play guitar almost exclusively acoustic. Early blues didn’t have electric guitar.

“I got attracted to early acoustic blues as a young person. It was a slow evolution. As a teenager, I heard recordings by Charley Patton and Son House. It hit me – and really stuck with me. When I was in my late 30s and early 40s, I really started working at it.”

As an adolescent, Never had a keen interest in landscape painting and filmmaking — studying painting with Nantucket artist, Warren Krebs, and filmmaking with Earl Fowler, whose famous brother, Jim, made nature films for Mutual of Omaha’s “Wild Kingdom.”

“I’ve had a bunch of different jobs,” said Never/Dorchester. “I started as an AFA painter and then got into commercial filmmaking from 1993-2014. Now, I’m back to being a fine artist working in oils”

He is also back to being a fine musician who has teamed with Colgan-Davis to keep early acoustic blues alive.

Video link for The Two Johns — https://youtu.be/ny2EmfXYMR0.

The shows at Jamey’s on Friday and Saturday will start at 8 p.m. Tickets are $25 for Friday and $20 for Saturday.

The “Thursday Night Jazz Jam” and the “Sunday Blues Brunch & Jam” are regular features on Jamey’s calendar while Friday and Saturday night shows feature national and regional acts.

Jamey’s has started a popular “Guest Singer Series” featuring many of the best singers in the region performing a set from 7-8 p.m. with the backing of the Dave Reiter Trio and occasional guest musicians.

The guest artist on September 22 will be Bruce Klauber.

Klauber is the biographer of jazz great Gene Krupa, writer/producer of the Warner Brothers “Jazz Legends” DVD series, columnist for the Broad Street Review and jazzlegends.com, and Public Relations Director for the non-profit Jazz Bridge. A hard-driving swing jazz drummer out of the Krupa/Rich school, his mission, much like the missions of all those in this group, is to utilize a natural flair for showmanship to “win over” audiences who may not have liked jazz before or since. When the mood strikes, Klauber effectively doubles on alto and baritone saxophones, vibes, piano and as a Sinatra-styled vocalist.

The Philly Blues King are a veteran outfit comprised of David Reiter on guitar, keyboards and vocals, Maci Miller on vocals, Bill Marconi on drums and vocals and Reilly on bass guitar. They have performed together for 15 years (except for Miller) and are the house band for Jamey’s House of Music. They are well known for tight, jazz inflected classic blues.

Reiter performs on a seven-string guitar and Reilly plays a fretless five string bass and that sets the group above the ordinary. The three veteran musicians have each spent decades playing the blues professionally and have backed many well-known national artists. Maci Miller, an internationally recognized jazz singer based in Philadelphia, joined the Blues Kings and quickly established herself as a top-flight front woman.

Video link for Philly Blues Kings — https://youtu.be/bAnBVLc7Wsg.

The show at Jamey’s House of Music on September 25 will start at noon. Admission is free.

Two-and-a-half years ago, HumblemanBand, one of the Philadelphia area’s longest-running rock bands, released its most recent album, “Beautiful Day.” The album officially dropped with a “HumblemanBand CD Release Party” at Rittenhouse Soundworks in November 2018.

On November 2019, HumblemanBand played a special area show at its favorite local haunt — the Mermaid Inn in Germantown. Little did they know it was to be their last show for an extended period of time.

Now, after a long layoff caused by COVID-19, HumblemanBand is hitting the stage again. On September 24, the band is performing at Dawson Street Pub (100 Dawson Street, Philadelphia,www.facebook.com/humblemanband).

“The HumblemanBand was formed in 1999,” said guitarist/songwriter/vocalist/founding member Charlie Cooper, during a phone interview from his home in Germantown. “I was in a band with our drummer Buck Buchanan. Three of us were living near each other in South Philly and we gradually picked up people.

“The third guy was bassist Bruce Koch, who just died two years ago from a stroke. That was a real loss – as a friend and as a bandmate. We weren’t sure we were going to pick up the pieces. We were using hired hands to fill in. We then added a permanent bass player – Boz Heinly, who lives in Plymouth Meeting.

“Now, there are five of us in the band and we get along really well musically and as friends. We have a lot of respect for each other.”

The band also has had respect for COVID-19.

“When COVID shut down things, we shut down,” said Cooper. “I was just laying low – playing guitar. We started up again in September 2021, but that didn’t last long because of omicron.

“I went through a dry period during lockdown. Then I got introduced to ‘The Artist’s Way.’ You have to do writing exercises every day and it helped. I ended up writing three new songs.”

“The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity” is a 1992 self-help book by American author Julia Cameron. The book was written to help people with artistic creative recovery, which teaches techniques and exercises to assist people in gaining self-confidence in harnessing their creative talents and skills. The program is focused on supporting relationships in removing artistic blocks and fostering confidence.

“Things were chugging along and then our previous vocalist Kim Epson decided she wanted to do things elsewhere,” said Cooper. “So, we got a new singer.”

The band’s current lineup includes Wain Ballard on guitar, Katie Tuner Drake on vocals, Heinly on bass, Buchanan on drums and Cooper on vocals and guitar.

“We seem to have a cycle of putting out an album every five years,” said Cooper.  “We put out an album a few years ago called ‘Least Bad of Humbleman 1984-2009.’ That album was a 25-year compilation starting with our days in 1984 as a punk band called The Proles.

“Our most recent previous album was ‘Late Bloom’ in fall 2015 was self-produced – and mostly D.I.Y. “‘Beautiful Day’ was also self-produced – and also mostly D.I.Y. We recorded the album ourselves in our rhythm practice space and then did solos and vocals in my living room. For our previous album, we used CakeWalk. This time, we used REAPER.”

REAPER is a complete digital audio production application for computers, offering a full multitrack audio and MIDI recording, editing, processing, mixing and mastering toolset.

“We spent most of this year making the new album,” said Cooper. “After finishing recording it ourselves, we sent it out for the mixing. We had Scoops Dardaris do it. We were extremely happy with the mixing.

“We mastered it at Rittenhouse Soundworks in Germantown. Jim Hamilton, a percussionist and tap dancer from the Kensington area of Philly who toured with Boyz II Men, put the studio together. He’s a terrific talent – and he knows an amazing amount of people in the music world.”

HumblemanBand, a rock quintet that is socially conscious, features songs that band members have written and arranged – songs with lyrics inspired by current events as well as by activists such as poet activist Gil Scott-Heron.

Gil Scott-Heron was a very influential voice in music and activism and most-known for his song ‘The Revolution Will Not Be Televised’ and his poetry. HumblemanBand, like Scott-Heron, has consistently delivered social commentary and positive messages, often with humor and a light touch, using spoken word lyrics, and generally delivered with dance beat arrangement. His influence upon the band has been strong.

Video link for Humbleman Band – https://youtu.be/01Clk69MaAU.

The show at Dawson Street Pub, which has Emmett Drueding as the opening act, will start at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $10.

Opera Philadelphia (www.operaphila.org) has embarked on its 2022-2023 season. In addition to live performances, the season will include a multi-day film festival devoted to opera.

When Opera Philadelphia’s renowned Festival O returns this September for the first time since 2019, it will spawn a new film festival within the opera festival, composed of some 30 cinematic operas over 12 screenings at the Philadelphia Film Center.

Opera on Film, presented from Tuesday, Sept. 27 through Sunday, Oct. 2, is a big-screen binge of the operatic art form’s cinematic possibilities, gathering both feature-length and short-form films featuring an array of artists crossing time and genres: artist and director William Kentridge; opera singers Patricia Racette, Karen Slack, Zachary James, Lester Lynch, and NBC’s The Voice finalist John Holiday; film directors James Darrah, Pedro Almodóvar, Joseph Losey, Mary Birnbaum, and E. Elias Merhige; composers Tyshawn Sorey, Rene Orth, Missy Mazzoli, Terence Blanchard, Paola Prestini, and Amanda Feery; drag superstar Sasha Velour; actress Tilda Swinton; and pop superstar Beyoncé.

According to David B. Devan, General Director & President of Opera Philadelphia. “As we return to Festival O, we’ve created a series to celebrate this unprecedented period of artistic achievement by performers, directors, and opera producers across the globe, screened alongside classic opera films and films inspired by opera. Whether you’re an opera buff or a film buff, “Opera on Film” is six days of binge-worthy art that we can experience together on two screens at the Philadelphia Film Center, the city’s premiere hub for film.”

The company received more than 800 submissions to Opera on Film via FilmFreeway. Opera Philadelphia chose 20 official selections to screen alongside special presentations and films.

Audiences can enjoy the entire series for just $25 with an Opera on Film badge. Festival packages, film badges, and performance tickets are now on sale at operaphila.org, or by calling 215.732.8400 (Monday through Friday, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.). Tickets for individual film screenings will go on sale through the Philadelphia Film Center box office in September.

Some of the featured films are “Soldier Songs,” “The Human Voice,” “Rumspringawakening,” “Don Giovanni,” “TakTakShoo,” “The Copper Queen,” “Polia & Blastema,” “Carmen: A Hip Hopera,” “La voix humaine,” and “Obscura Nox.”

Video link for Opera Philadelphia — https://youtu.be/ttPH-2Tnj-s?list=PLpbhbGwbWvNKh_AzHTw-Mnvz7cPhwHE24.

Uptown! Knauer Performing Arts Center (226 North High Street, West Chester, www.uptownwestchester.org) is presenting Dueling Pianos on September 22 and Comedy Sportz Philadelphia on September 23.

Kennett Flash (102 Sycamore Alley, Kennett Square, 484-732-8295, http://www.kennettflash.org) is hosting Jazz Jam on September 25 and Western Centuries on September 28.

The Sound Bank (119 South Main Street, Phoenixville, www.soundbankphx.com) will have Brian Quirk + Tim Balch + Jimmi Buskirk + Jason Ray + Vassal on September 22, Floorbird on September 23, Tommy Conwell and the HouseRockers on September 24

The Ardmore Music Hall (23 East Lancaster Avenue, Ardmore, www.ardmoremusic.com) will present Saved By The 90s on September 23, Pink Talking Fish on September 24, Leo Nocentelli on September 25, and Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears on September 28.

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