On Stage: Matt Cappy taps into holiday spirit at City Winery

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By Denny Dyroff, Entertainment Editor, The Times

Matt Cappy

Matt Cappy, one of the top young trumpeters in the jazz scene, is a musician on the move.

On December 15, he will travel 1,125 miles south to be a guest performer at the Mississippi Jazz Foundation’s 19th Annual “Night of Musical Artistry” in Jackson, Mississippi.

In April, Cappy will travel 3,400 miles overseas to start a U.K. tour in Manchester, England.

But, before he starts racking up frequent flier miles, he will make a 20-mile trip from his home in Collingswood, New Jersey on December 8 to Philadelphia for a return engagement at City Winery (990 Filbert Street, Philadelphia, citywinery.com). Cappy played to a standing room crowd at the venue back in May.

The show at City Winery is billed as the “Matt Cappy Holiday Show.”

In addition to travelling to perform live shows, Cappy has been travelling from his South Jersey home to University City in Philly to work on a new album at Drexel University’s Studio One.

“My previous album ‘Tales of the Tape,’ was recorded there,” said Cappy, during a phone interview from Jersey on Tuesday night.

“I’ve gone back there to record my next album because it’s the most advanced studio in the city. And I get to work with my friend Ryan Moys, who is a great engineer.

“I’ve been recording there for a while – since the end of October and into November. I slide in there on Wednesday mornings. Drexel students are able to work on the process.”

Cappy’s debut album, “Church and State,” was released in June 2017. “Tales of the Tape” was released in June 2021.

“I’m nine songs into my third album,” said Cappy. “They are all originals. ‘Tales of the Tape’ was also all originals. The new songs have a Herbie Hancock ‘Head Hunters’ vibe with a Fender Rhodes motif.”

Hancock is an American jazz pianist, keyboardist, bandleader, and composer who has played in bands with Donald Byrd, Miles Davis and Bill Laswell. In the 1970s, Hancock experimented with jazz fusion, funk, and electro styles, utilizing a wide array of synthesizers and electronics. It was during this period that he released perhaps his best-known and most influential album, “Head Hunters.”

The Fender Rhodes piano is an electric piano which became popular in the 1970s. Like a conventional piano, the Rhodes generates sound with keys and hammers, but instead of strings, the hammers strike thin metal tines, which vibrate next to an electromagnetic pickup.

“My new music is Rhodes-based with a groove like ‘Head Hunters’ – with a fresh twist on that,” said Cappy. “This album is just me and my Rhodes – more keyboards and less trumpet.

“I’m hoping to have it done by the first quarter – hopefully April before I head off for the U.K. tour. I am thinking about releasing a single before then.”

Before any of that, there is the “Matt Cappy Holiday Show” this week.

“It will be a Matt Cappy show bookended by a Christmas show,” said Cappy. “I’ll probably do ‘Ave Maria’ and maybe ‘Amazing Grace’ from my first album.”

Cappy’s current band features Dan Rouse on keyboards, Andrew Marsh on drums, Tone Whitfield on bass and Zach Lopresti on guitar.

“All of them have been with me in the studio for the new album,” said Cappy. “For the show at City Winery, Dan is out of town, so we’ll have Dana Bennett on keyboards. We’ll also have my good friend V Roane from Paulsboro on vocals.”

Valvin “V” Roane is an American R&B/soul singer and songwriter who has worked on projects with artists such as Anthony Hamilton, Jill Scott, Justin Timberlake, Musiq Soulchild, Will Smith and DJ Jazzy Jeff.

“This will be the first time for me to do one of my shows with a vocalist,” said Cappy. “V is a soul singer with a velvety voice. We’ll be doing my originals with a sprinkling of nice Christmas songs. I’m really looking forward to it.”

One week after his Philly gig, Cappy will perform at a benefit show in the Magnolia State.

The Mississippi Jazz Foundation’s 19th Annual “Night of Musical Artistry,” which is a project by Ann Burton and the Burton Family, seeks to promote jazz musicians and jazz education. The MJF “Annual Night of Musical Artistry” is a fall holiday jazz concert that serves as the organization’s premier fundraising event to provide further support to the promotion of music education, as well as academic and performing arts, while honoring those individuals who have made substantial contributions to music and performing arts industry and providing scholarships to deserving students.

“This event has a 20-year history,” said Cappy. “Ann Burton contacted me and said – we want to get you down here.”

Cappy has toured and/or performed with a wide array of top-flight musicians including Jill Scott, Maxwell, The Roots, Kirk Franklin, Tony Bennett, Aretha Franklin, Bilal, Mos Def, Common, Talib Kweli, Erykah Badu, Leela James, Jeff Bradshaw, Gerald Levert, Fred Hammond, Mary Mary, Yolanda Adams, The O’Jays, The Moody Blues, Gerald Veasley, Marah, Slo-Mo and John Train.

His first real breakthrough came when performing with Jill Scott’s band but there was a lot of music in his life long before that happened.

“My mom was musical,” said Cappy. “She played the clarinet. My grandfather was a Methodist minister, and my grandmother played the piano in church.”

When he was young, his parents moved from New York to Berlin, New Jersey. In high school, Cappy played in the highly regarded Overbrook High music program in Pine Hill, New Jersey.

“Overbrook was a great music school,” said Cappy. “They had state competitions in New Jersey for music bands – sort of like they do for marching bands. We placed first in the state twice when I was in school.”

In his senior year, Cappy received the New Jersey Governor’s Award for the Arts. Next on tap was studies at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia.

“I majored in trumpet performance at the University of the Arts and then got a master’s degree in education there in 1997,” said Cappy.

He began playing clubs around the Philly area and that set the stage for the jump to the next level.

“Back in 1999, I was sitting in at a club in Philly – Wilhelmina’s on South 11th Street,” said Cappy. “Some of the guys from Jill Scott’s band were in the club. When they heard me play, they asked me to join the band.”

Scott is a singer, songwriter, model, poet and actress who is a native of North Philadelphia and a graduate of Girls’ High and Temple University. Her 2000 debut album, “Who Is Jill Scott?: Words and Sounds Vol. 1,” went platinum, and the follow-ups – “Beautifully Human: Words and Sounds Vol. 2” (2004) and “The Real Thing: Words and Sounds Vol. 3” (2007) — both achieved gold status.

“When Jill Scott hit, ‘Neo Soul’ didn’t exist,” said Cappy. “Then, ‘A Long Walk’ took off in America.”

“A Long Walk,” which was on Scott’s debut album, was a Top 10 R&B hit in the U.S. and a Top 50 chart single in the U.K. in 2001.

“Right after that, she opened for Sting on his U.S. tour,” said Cappy. “That got a lot of press.”

Cappy was off to a good start.

Over the last 20 years, his talent has taken him around the world, into network TV studios, concert halls and clubs, performing and recording with musical giants like Michael Jackson, Aretha Franklin and Earth, Wind and Fire.

When he’s not on the road, Cappy stays busy with gigs and recording sessions in New York City and Philadelphia, particularly in the “Neo-Soul” R&B scene centered at Larry Gold’s The Studio. His reputation as a soulful trumpet player has led to touring, performing and cutting tracks with Grammy-winning acts such as Scott, the Roots and gospel superstar Kirk Franklin.

Cappy also has an impressive resume of studio work. Some of his other recording credits include work with jazz/R&B greats such as Michael Brecker, Randy Brecker, Arturo Sandoval, Wallace Roney, and Stanley Clarke and Earth, Wind & Fire.

He has recorded on multiple Grammy and Latin Grammy Award-winning albums, including Fred Hammond’s “Free to Worship,” and Kirk Franklin’s “The Fight of My Life,” which both won a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary R&B Gospel Album in 2008 and 2009, respectively. He also recorded on the John Legend and The Roots album “Wake Up!” (Grammy Award for Best R&B Album 2011) and Alejandro Sanz’s “Sirope” (Latin Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Pop Vocal Album 2015).

“I played on the song ‘Butterflies’ from Michael Jackson’s ‘Invincible’ album in 2001,” said Cappy. “The song was written by Jackson, Andre Harri and Marsha Ambrosius. Four years ago, Marsha sang on a track on my first album.”

Cappy’s strengths include more than just providing melodies. He is a musician with the ability to make his instrument work as a vocal part of the song – similar to British guitar legend Jeff Beck, who can make a guitar sing like no other.

Ironically, both Cappy and Beck have recorded versions of the operatic classic “Nessun Dorma,” an aria from the final act of Giacomo Puccini’s “Turandot.” In both recordings, listeners can hear the instruments “vocalizing” Puccini’s lyrics.

“I like to sing through my trumpet,” said Cappy – stating the obvious.

Video link for Matt Cappy — https://youtu.be/WPBrf6nAuvA.

The show on December 8 will start at 8 p.m. Tickets are $18.

Other upcoming shows at City Winery are Tyler Fischer on December 9, Tamika Patton on December 9, Tim Reynolds on December 10 and Raheem DeVaughn on December 13 and 14.


QDK is happening on December 10 in Lancaster.

What is QDK?

It could stand for:

A. Quantum Development Kit – Microsoft’s Quantum Development Kit which contains the tools you’ll need to build your own quantum computing programs and experiments.

B. A nickname for radio station WQDK from Gatesville, North Carolina broadcasting a country music format as “New Country and the Legends.”

C. A trio that performs a blend of rock and roll, electric blues, surf, and rockabilly music — a band that might have rockabilly songs from its album played on WQDK (if it had an album).

The correct answer is “C.”

QDK is a Pennsylvania based band featuring guitarist Quentin Jones, drummer David Uosikkinen, and bassist Kenny Aaronson.

On December 10, QDK will headline a show at Zoetropolis (112 North Water Street, Lancaster, www.zoetropolis.com).

Their first gig as QDK was for Gretsch Guitars at the world-famous Street Sounds in Brooklyn to an SRO crowed. The band made such an impression that the Brooklyn Eagle newspaper featured the band on cover of the June 2019 issue. Since then, QDK has been making a name for itself at venues and events all over the Northeast.

“Gretsch was having a 40th anniversary party and the invited me to play,” said Jones, during a phone interview Monday afternoon from his home in Hickory, a suburb of Lancaster.

“I had worked with David before in his project In the Pocket. I met so many musicians from being involved with In The Pocket.”

The individual resumes of the three musicians are more than impressive.

Jones is a Hall of Fame guitarist who is endorsed by Gretsch Guitars. He has played guitar for Peter Noone and Herman’s Hermits, Billy Burnett, Robert Gordon, Graham Nash, Linda Gail Lewis, the Rockats, Marshall Crenshaw, Johnny Neel, Dee Dee Sharp, and John Sebastian.

He also played guitar for Charlie Gracie, who took Jones on the road with him when he was the opening act for Van Morrison.

Jones, who has written for Lee Rocker of the Stray Cats, co-produced Charlie Gracie’s 2011 ABKCO Records release “For the Love of Charlie” with Al Kooper.

Jones has own unique style and sound. He has gained fame playing rock-n-roll, blues, surf, rockabilly and old-time country and western. He is endorsed by Gretsch guitars and in 2016 was enshrined in the Rockabilly Hall of Fame in Nashville Tennessee.

Jones is also a well-known music producer and songwriter. His music appears in movies, network television shows, DVDs and has been recorded by some of the world’s top artists.

For the last four decades, Uosikkinen has been the drummer for the Hooters, one of Philadelphia’s all-time favorite bands.

Uosikkinen has also recorded and performed with Alice Cooper, Robert Gordon, Rod Stewart, Cyndi Lauper, Taj Mahal, Dar Wlliams, Charlie Gracie and Patty Smyth, as well as with many other emerging artists. In addition, he has performed on extensive international tours, including Live Aid, Amnesty International and Roger Waters’ “The Wall” in Berlin.

In 2010, he formed his own band, David Uosikkinen’s In The Pocket to bring awareness to music education and to pay homage to all of the great music that has come out of Philadelphia. For his In the Pocket project — both live and in the studio — Uosikkinen uses a revolving line-up of Philadelphia’s most celebrated musicians to perform covers of tunes from Philly’s rich rock music history.

In The Pocket has recorded 20 classic Philadelphia songs and two CDs – “Live” and “Sessions.”

The musicians are so talented that they are able to meld together on stage without any elaborate preparations.

“Everybody in In The Pocket is so good,” said Uosikkinen. “We have had line-ups with Tommy Conwell, Kenn Kweder, John Faye, Quentin Jones, John Faye, Ben Arnold, Zou Zou Mansour, Greg Sover.”

Some of the other in the Pocket regulars are Wally Smith (Smash Palace, Crosstown Traffic), Richard Bush (The A’s), Steve Butler (Smash Palace), Greg Davis (Beru Revue), Joey DiTullio (JDT), Pete Donnelly (Figgs, NRBQ), Buddy Cash, Ben Arnold, Cliff Hillis, Graham Alexander, and Pete Donnelly.

Aaronson is a highly acclaimed American bass guitar player. He has recorded or performed with artists such as Bob Dylan, Rick Derringer, Billy Idol, Foghat, Sammy Hagar, Billy Squier, Mick Taylor, New York Dolls, and Hall and Oates. Since 2015, he has been the bass player for The Yardbirds.

In 1988, Aaronson was named “Bassist of the Year” by Rolling Stone.

Aaronson has toured and recorded with a variety of artists including Dave Edmunds, Steve Cropper, Brian Setzer, Dickey Betts, Link Wray, Neal Schon, Johnny Winter, Lita Ford, Tony Iommi, Dave Gilmour, HSAS (with Sammy Hagar, Neal Schon, and Michael Shrieve), Graham Parker, Robert Gordon and Leslie West Band.

Aaronson was a regular member of Joan Jett’s backing group the Blackhearts from 1991-1995. Aaronson was one of the few Blackheart band members to co-write a track with Jett. The song, “World Of Denial,” was recorded for the 1994 album “Pure and Simple,” but was not released in the U.S. until 2001’s “Fit To Be Tied- Great Hits by Joan Jett and The Blackhearts.”

A common thread for the three musicians is Robert Gordon.

“Our first gig was in 2014 with Robert Gordon,” said Jones. “Kenny on bass, me on guitar and David on drums were backing Robert Gordon. After that, we made a conscious effort to keep playing together.”

It was a wide decision – for the three musicians and for area music fans.

“I always put myself in a room with people more accomplished than I am,” said Jones. “David and Kenny are amazing musicians.

“We like to make shows special events. People want to be entertained. We are pure rock and roll – all from different backgrounds.

“In our live shows, we play songs that aren’t played to death – songs that are gems. We do some old school like Link Wray and Freddie Fender, and we play some originals. We focus on putting on a good live show.”

For Jones, there is no horsing around when it comes to music but there is some serios horsing around when it comes to the real world.

During Jones’ “downtime,” he takes care of and trains a rescued horse named Nevi.

Nevi was on the way to be butchered for meat when he as saved and sent to Quentin’s brother Wendell Jones’ farm. Wendell, who is also the singer in the Reach Around Rodeo Clowns, asked Quentin to help him at the stable during the shutdown of 2020. The bond between Quentin and Nevi grew so strong that Quentin adopted Nevi that summer.

“Nevi is going to be five soon,” said Jones. “He was going to be loaded in a truck to be taken to a slaughterhouse. We took him off the truck and sent him to my brother’s farm. Nevi really bonded to me immediately.”

Nevi, Wendell and Quentin all live in the Lancaster area. On Saturday night, Quentin and his band will be playing in their backyards with a show at Zoetropolis.

In the concert on Saturday night, QDK will be joined by a guest artist – Daryl Davis.

Davis is an international recording artist, actor and leader of The Daryl Davis Band. He is considered to be one of the greatest Blues & Boogie Woogie and Blues and Rock’n’Roll pianists of all time, having played with The Legendary Blues Band (formerly the Muddy Waters Band) and Chuck Berry.

As a race relations expert, Davis has received acclaim for his book, “Klan-Destine Relationships” and his documentary, “Accidental Courtesy.” He is also the recipient of numerous awards including the Elliott-Black Award, the MLK Award and the Bridge Builder Award.

“Daryl is amazing,” said Jones. “He’s worked with the Klan to improve race relations. He’s a great actor and an unbelievable musician.

“On Saturday, we’ll play a couple of his songs and a couple of our songs. We don’t know his and he doesn’t know ours – but we’ll be fine. We’re just going to get onstage and play.”

Video link for QDK — https://youtu.be/K8hqqMhgXJs.

The show on December 10 will start at 8 p.m.

Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door.

Roots-Americana singer/songwriter William Clark Green released his sixth album, “Baker Hotel,” on March 25 via his own Bill Grease Records. He has been on the road ever since on a support tour for the album – a tour that touches down locally on December 9 at the Sellersville Theater (24 West Temple Avenue, Sellersville, 215-257-5808, www.st94.com)

The Eastland, Texas native has been selling out venues across his home state and beyond for the last 15 years, making a name for himself as a gritty performer with a “big ole’ voice and a powerhouse band.”

Opportunities for his fans in the Northeast to hear him perform live are few and far between.

Currently, he is in the Northeast for a brief run that includes stops in Annapolis (MD), Richmond (VA), Worcester (MA) and Sellersville.

“We do play in the Northeast – but not that often,” said Green, during a phone interview Wednesday from a tour stop in Annapolis. “We played Philadelphia once. We’ve played New York several times.

“In Texas, we’re playing shows every weekend. In the Northeast, people are more appreciative because they don’t get to see us that much.”

Green is Texas all the way through.

He was born in Flint, Texas and attended A&M Consolidated High School in College Station, Texas. He graduated in 2004 and then attended Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas. It took six years for him to graduate because he was concentrating on his music career.

“I learned how to play guitar when I was in eighth grade,” said Green. “I started writing songs and kept working hard at it. I wrote rock songs, and I wrote country songs.

“My biggest influences were Willis Alan Ramsey and Lyle Lovett. They’re still my biggest influences.

“I went to high school in College Station. Lubbock is where my career got started. College Station is all maroon-and-white (Texas A&M University’s colors). I decided to go to Texas Tech. I had to get out of College Station.

“I majored in agriculture economics at Texas Tech. I worked on ranches ever since I was young, so I knew I wanted to do something in ag.

“In Lubbock, I spent three years with a regular Monday night gig at the Recovery Room. Back then, I was just playing acoustic guitar.”

In 2008, Green recorded his first album while he was studying at Texas Tech. The album, “Dangerous Man,” was released in September 2008. He followed with his second album, “Misunderstood,” in 2010.

“I recorded ‘Dangerous Man’ in 2008 in Acuff, Texas,” said Green. “I started band and began touring in 2008 when I was 22.”

In 2012, Green recorded his third album, “Rose Queen,” at Sixteen Ton Studio in Nashville, Tennessee. The album was released in April 2013.

“‘Rose Queen’ was my breakthrough album,” said Green. “I had five singles off it and three or four were Number 1s.”

The first single from the album, “It’s About Time,” became his first Top Ten song on Texas Radio. He had a Number 1 regional hit with the song “She Likes the Beatles” and the album yielded three Top Ten singles on the Texas country charts.

In April 2015, Green released his fourth album, “Ringling Road,” which debuted in the Top Country Albums chart at No. 18. The first single from the album was “Sympathy,” which topped the Texas Music Chart. Green’s fifth album, “Hebert Island,” was released in August 2018.

Now, the focus is on “Baker Hotel.”

“I’ve been working on it for years,” said Green. “COVID had its good and bad. It gave us a good break. That’s the silver lining.

“There wasn’t much going on. I took a year off from music for the first time. My goal was to find another source of income. So, I was a contractor for a year.

“In the second year of COVID, I did a lot of writing. In 2021, I was in and out off the studio all year. I was doing the recording sat Melody Mountain Ranch.”

During the recent lull in live performances, Green took stock of his career, re-prioritized, and challenged himself and his sound. “Baker Hotel is the creative universe born out of the process.

According to Green, “What this record means to me is self-reflection, realizing that I just turned 35 and it’s like, ‘Where am I at in life? Where do I want to be? Where did I think I would be?’ Not being able to work during the lockdown, I had a lot of time to sit and think about myself, and what’s really locking me down, and that’s what I think this record is about.”

Video link for William Clark Green — https://youtu.be/gIqsxVTcpzA.

The show at the Sellersville Theater on December 9 will start at 8 p.m.

Tickets are $21.50 and $29.50.

Other upcoming shows at the Sellersville Theater are Bill Kirchen on December 8, Mary Fahl on December 10, Riki Ratchman on December 11 and Anthony Geraci on December 14.

Jamey’s House of Music (32 South Lansdowne Avenue, Lansdowne, 215-477-9985, www.jameyshouseofmusic.com) continues its tradition of presenting top quality blues music this weekend.

On December 9, Jamey’s will host The Ardvark Felon.

The Ardvark Felon is the anagram-derived alter ego of live music man Frank Velardo, composer, lead singer, guitar-slinger, and man in front of the band.

The band’s music is spontaneous but polished, serious yet absurd. They’re bluesy and funky in all the right ways, love playing for dancers, and know just when to turn things up with explosions of group improvisation and jamming.

Video link for The Ardvark Felon – https://youtu.be/ME-SnQRLRfE.

The show at Jamey’s on December 8 will start at 8 p.m.

Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the door.

On December 10, the venue in Delaware County will present THE URBAN ACOUSTIC’s “Not Just Christmas Show.”

Jefferson Berry has gone out as Jefferson Berry & the Urban Acoustic Coalition with a full band for years.

Jefferson Berry & the UAC released its fourth studio album, “Soon!” in April 2021.

Berry grew up in Southern California and is a graduate of University of California Santa Cruz, a school whose sports teams are nicknamed, “Banana Slugs.” He eventually landed in the Philadelphia area where he became part of Philly’s folk/rock/Americana scene.

Berry’s website presented the history behind UAC:

“In 2006, at around 3 a.m. at the Falcon Ridge Festival, Jefferson and his banjo playing brother Hank were playing a Hillbilly version of “White Room” by Cream. In fest-jam fashion, each vocal verse was separated by an instrumental-lead verse. Out and of the shadows and into the light of the campfire came this guy with a mandolin and long red hair, playing the song’s iconic Clapton lead pretty much verbatim.

“As the sun was coming up, Jefferson asked Bud Burroughs if he wanted to start a band and Hippies and Hillbillies was born. The album Drumless America was recorded in Bud’s living room: a quirky mix of covers ranging from Robert Earl Keen and Townes Van Zandt to Neil Young and U2, the show and CD was fun for some, but considered blasphemous at the bluegrass festivals the band played.

“Bud and Jefferson’s next venture involved Jefferson’s daughter.  Briana Berry and her sister were raised at the summer festivals—Kerrville, Falcon Ridge, XFS and Philly. The Berry’s 2009 album, Fairmount Station featured songs written by Briana and her Dad. It was promoted nationally to radio by Powderfinger Promotions and charted fairly high for an independent release on the folk charts. The band played X-Fest and the Philadelphia Folk Festival that year.

“The Urban Acoustic Coalition came to be in 2014 with the release of Guitar on the River. Again, Bud Burroughs served as the music director for a collection of Jefferson’s city-themed songs. Recorded at MelodyVision by Rodney Whittenberg, the album’s sessions grew the band. Jefferson Berry and the Urban Acoustic Coalition (a mouthful) played the Camp Stage at the Philadelphia Folk Festival that year with a Coalition of players from Boris Garcia, Bad Sister and Beaufort.

“This was an example of the “coalition” aspect of the band, an ethic that allowed players to keep their other projects alive while clearing dates with the UAC periodically. While bass players (Billy Hyatt, Dean McNulty) and female vocalists (Irene Lambrou, Emily Drinker) have cycled in and out of the band to pursue their own projects, the core of the coalition for the past six years has been Jefferson, Bud, Marky B! Berkowitz (on harmonica), Dave Brown (on banjo, guitar, keys and anything else needed), David Rapoport (on drums).

The show at Jamey’s on December 9 will start at 8 p.m.

Tickets are $18 in advance and $25 at the door.

On December 8, it will be time for the “Thursday Night Jazz Jam” featuring Suzie Telep. The Dave Reiter Trio lays down the backing for some out of this world jazz to happen from 8-10 p.m. every Thursday.

Parisienne chanteuse Suzie Telep is a world traveling jazz singer, scholar and teacher. She returns to her stateside homebase for a night of swing and bop.

Every Sunday, Jamey’s presents “SUNDAY BLUES BRUNCH & JAM” featuring the Philly Blues Kings from noon-1 p.m. and an open jam session from1-3 p.m. There is no cover charge.

Jawn Of The Dead is a Philly band built around the nucleus of guitarists/vocalists Rich Hill and Jim Tauscher.

Hill, who was a music major at West Chester University, will be bringing his band to the area in December for a pair of shows located not far from his alma mater.

This weekend, Jawn of the Dead will come close to Chester County with a show on December 9 at Rivet Canteen & Assembly (238 East High Street, Pottstown, www.visitrivet.com). On December 31, JOTD will play a New Year’s Eve show atShere-E Punjab in Media.

The Grateful Dead tribute band just celebrated a milestone event for a young music act – its third anniversary.

“We started on March 20, 2019,” said Hill, during a phone interview from his home in nearby Ridley Park. “It was supposed to be a one-off show at The Fainting Goat in Glenolden.

“I play there once a month with my bar band so I asked if I could do a (Grateful Dead) show. I invited some musician friends to get together to play Dead stuff. I took people from different bands, and we rehearsed 30-40 songs.

“We showed up at the club with our gear and the place was packed. Deadheads from around the area got the word and showed up.

“After we played the second set, people were coming up to us saying that they loved it. I said to the guys – I think we have a ‘thing.’ They said — yeah, we do have a ‘thing.’ We didn’t have a name, so we came up with Jawn Of The Dead.”

JOTD’s other band members are Jim Shaflucas (bass/vocals), Dean Sophocles (keyboards) and Drew Gerace (drums).

Time out here for a Philadelphia based etymology lesson.

If you live more than 35-40 miles from Philly, you might not have ever heard the word “jawn.”

“Jawn” is a slang term local to Philadelphia and its metropolitan area. “Jawn” is a context-dependent substitute noun, meaning it is a noun that substitutes for any other noun – and it can be singular or plural.

“Jawn” is a word loved by Philly residents. Because it has no specific meaning, it can be used to mean all sorts of things. One of the only points on which everyone can agree is that “jawn” is a noun – and that now it is part of the name of a Philly area band.

Lesson over!

“We played a handful of shows from March through August 2019,” said Hill, who grew up South Philadelphia and graduated from Neumann High. “Then, we got a call from the World Café Live about its Tuesday Dead Jam. One of the bands cancelled and they asked us to play.

“The audience liked it. We kept the band going – playing a few places around Philly. Last February, we played the Boot and Saddle. We figured that if we got 50 people, it would be a good start. We got 170. We were just getting started and then we had to shut down because of COVID-19.”

Billing themselves as “an energetic tribute to the mystique and musical mayhem of The Grateful Dead,” Jawn Of The Dead posted this message on its website – “The dedication of the band to both the songs of the Grateful Dead and their spirit of musical exploration sets JOTD apart.”

“We’re not a tribute band in the sense that we’re trying to be the people in the Dead,” said Hill, who was a music major at West Chester University.

“Our commitment is to excellence – to playing the music well and to also honor the song writing. We play a whole catalogue of Dead songs along with cover songs the Dead played.”

Jawn Of The Dead has already become a favorite of Philly area Deadheads so the band must be doing something right.

Hill and his mates aren’t looking to conquer the world. Right now, they’re happy just “Playing in the Band.”

Video link for Jawn of the Dead – https://youtu.be/p6qxYa6p20o.

The show at Rivet on December 9 will start at 9 p.m. Tickets are $12 in advance and $15 at the door.

Uptown! Knauer Performing Arts Center (226 North High Street, West Chester, www.uptownwestchester.org) is presenting The Last Big Band Holiday Show on December 20.

Kennett Flash (102 Sycamore Alley, Kennett Square, 484-732-8295, http://www.kennettflash.org) is hosting Lilli Lewis with special guest Sara Henya on December 9, and Bryan Tuk Project on December 10.

Phantom Power (121 West Frederick Street, Millersville, www.phantompower.net) will have Maya de Vitry on December 9, and Aunt Mary Pat on December 29.

In addition to all the music shows, there are several top-quality holiday-themed stage shows be presented at theaters around the area.

Uptown! Knauer Performing Arts Center (226 North High Street, West Chester, www.uptownwestchester.org) is bringing live theater to its stage with a rarely seen production of “The Butterfingers Angel.” The show is running now through December 23.

Created by William Gibson (The Miracle Worker), one of America’s major dramatists, this touching, funny and highly imaginative retelling of the Nativity story is presented from a fresh and richly creative point-of-view.

The action follows a free-spirited Mary who had decided that men and marriage were not for her, a suddenly cautious Joseph who contends that he is too old for his intended, and a flustered boy-angel who directs each scene from a prompt book and can only manage to get the most strangled, bleating sounds from his trumpet.

Enhanced by a talking tree, sheep and a donkey, along with traditional Christmas music, this wholly original theatre piece is both secular and sacred – often antic, but the spirit of reverence, joy, and the true significance of the occasion is never lost.

This story is an original, funny and heartfelt retelling of the greatest story ever told. A fumbling young Angel announces to Mary that she has been chosen to become a mother. But Mary is a free spirit, and her plans do not include marriage, or motherhood. Once a bewildered Joseph is won over, an antic pageant of Tree, Sheep, Donkey, Cow, Kings, and others set off on the road to Bethlehem.

Video link for “The Butterfingers Angel” – https://youtu.be/de1ihz8FvZo.

The show will run now through December 23.

Ticket prices start at $40.

1812 Productions (1812productions.org) is dedicated to creating theatrical works of comedy and comedic works of theater that explore and celebrate our sense of community, our history, and our humanity.

1812 Productions was founded in 1997 by Jennifer Childs and Peter Pryor, two long-time friends and artistic collaborators, with a dedication to comedy, theater, and Philadelphia artists.

1812 Productions is the only professional theater company in the country dedicated to comedy and was the recipient of an honorary citation from the City of Philadelphia for outstanding work and commitment to the Philadelphia arts community.

This weekend, 1812 Productions is presenting their popular political satire, “THIS IS THE WEEK THAT IS.”

A celebrated part of the Philadelphia theatre season for the past 17 years, the show delivers sharp satire and content that changes with the headlines. This year’s production will run now through December 31 at Plays & Players Theatre, which is located at 1714 Delancey Place in Philadelphia.

“The first act is mostly songs and sketches,” said Childs. “They are evergreen sketches that look back on 2022.  There are 2022 versions of holiday classics such as ‘A White Christmas’ and ‘It’s a Wonderful Life.’ The second half features weekly – and sometimes daily – changes.”

Show times are December 8 at 7 p.m., December 11 at 2 p.m., December 15 at 7 p.m., December 16 at 8 p.m., December 22 at 7 p.m. and December 29 at 7 p.m.

Ticket prices are $40-$45. Select performances are mask-required.

The Playhouse on Rodney Square (1007 North Market Street, Wilmington, Delaware, www.thegrandwilmington.org/venues/the-playhouse/) is presenting “Holiday Dreams Cirque” on December 10 and 11.

Holograms, projection mapping, interactive lasers and award-wining cirque artists all come together in a spectacular holiday production show.

“Holiday Dreams Cirque” presents a jaw-dropping, modern holiday show featuring acrobats, comedy, daredevils and a modern soundtrack.

Show times are 2 and 8 p.m. on December 10 and 2 p.m. on December 11.

Tickets are $48 and $88.

Now through December 23, The Candlelight Theatre (2208 Millers Road, Arden, Delaware, www.candlelighttheatredelaware.org) is presenting “Irving Berlin’s White Christmas.”

The successful song-and-dance act of army buddies Bob Wallace and Phil Davis follow a duo of singing sisters en route to their Christmas show at a Vermont lodge, which just happens to be owned by Bob and Phil’s former army commander. Filled with laughter, romance, spectacular dance numbers and the unforgettable songs of Irving Berlin, it’s clear to see why this is a holiday favorite for the whole family.

The American Music Theatre (2425 Lincoln Highway East, Lancaster, www.AMTshows.com) is presenting its annual Christmas production “The 2022 Christmas Show: Home for the Holidays” now through December 30.

This live, original musical experience features a new cast delivering the same high-quality, Broadway-caliber performances as in years past – and it all begins the moment you arrive!

Inspired by the warm, cherished memories of family Christmases spent together with loved ones, “Home for the Holidays” opens on the joyous gathering of family and friends who celebrate with a rich tapestry of song, dance, and holiday traditions. Next, we take you to Santa’s Candy Factory where you’ll be transported to a dream world of bright colors and Candy Elves! Finally, you’ll join us at a “midnight” candlelight service for some songs of worship, traditional carols, and the powerful, harmony-filled rendition of “O Holy Night.”

Ticket prices start at $23.

People’s Light (39 Conestoga Road, Malvern, peopleslight.org) is presenting “Alice in Wonderland: A Musical Panto,” which is running now through January 1, 2023.

Each year, the People’s Light holiday panto transforms a beloved children’s story into a musical extravaganza filled with outrageous characters, toe-tapping original music, slapstick comedy, and topical humor for both kids and adults.

The beloved holiday tradition returns to People’s Light with the world premiere of “Alice in Wonderland: A Musical Panto.” The show, which is directed by Bill Fennelly, features book by Jennifer Childs and music and lyrics by Alex Bechtel.

People’s Light has adapted the theatrical form of British pantomime into its own unique brand of holiday hilarity. Audiences of all ages gather to partake in the songs, dances, topical jokes, and jovial camaraderie of this longstanding tradition.

The People’s Light panto is entertainment for the entire family, and the audience is part of the action.

The show at People’s Light will through January 1. Ticket prices start at $47.

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