Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Don't Miss the Legendary Peggy King at the Sellersville Theater Sunday February 1, 2015


The Legendary Peggy King
Graces the Sellersville Stage


By Rob Nagy


Mere words can’t describe the meteoric rise of Philadelphia’s own Peggy King. Best remembered as “Pretty Perky Peggy King” from the 50’s hit TV program “The George Gobel Show,” King, who turns 85 years young next month, defied overwhelming odds to become one of the decade’s star performers. 



Barely 5’ 2” tall, King’s larger than life personality, commanding vocal talent and relentless drive led to a spectacular career in live radio, film and TV.

Routinely working alongside icons Mel Torme’, Bing Crosby, Sammy Davis, Jr. and Frank Sinatra (and often compared to Judy Garland), King became one of Hollywood’s most charming treasures.  She was a frequent guest on “The Steve Allen Show,” “American Bandstand,” “The Perry Como Show,” “The Tonight Show” and “The Jack Benny Show.”

King remains one of the few great American jazz pop vocalists still performing.

Born and raised in Greensburg, Pennsylvania to working class parents, King recalls the abject poverty her family endured.

“My parents were strong people, but I came from nothing,” recalls King as we met in her Philadelphia apartment. “I was determined to help them. I did not want to live the rest of my life in that kind of poverty. I wanted to move on, and I felt that I had enough talent to do that.”

“I always wanted to sing,” added King. “I asked my mother, ‘When did I start singing?’ She said, ‘I don’t remember when you weren’t singing.’ I drove my parents mad. I sang from morning to night. When I was 7 or 8, I just knew that I wanted to be a professional singer. Nothing else mattered to me. I wanted to be a singer so I could buy my parents a house.”

The teenage King relocated to Cleveland, Ohio where she found work on radio and stage.  After performing with the legendary Charlie Spivak, Ralph Flanagan and Ray Anthony Bands, King found even greater success in sunny California in film, TV and recording.

“I felt like someone in a fairy tale,” recalls King. “I couldn’t believe this was really happening. I knew I could sing, but I didn’t know I was going to be able to get work.  I became one of the few (professional) girl singers of that time.”

Contracted by MGM in 1952, King made her big screen debut in Vincente Minnelli’s “The Bad and the Beautiful,” starring Kirk Douglas and Lana Turner.

Recommended by Bing Crosby, a great fan of her work, King began a three-year tenure as a regular on the popular George Gobel TV show in 1954.



“My agent took me aside and said, ‘Someone is going to call you and ask you to do weekly TV at Saturday night at ten o’clock,’” recalls King. “’It’s the most watched time of all weekend. It’s almost impossible that the show won’t be a hit.’ I was doing very well working five days a week and making good money. I thought, ‘do I want to do this?’ I called my folks and they said, ‘we don’t think you should pass up an opportunity like this.  We think you should take it!’”

“So I made the leap and took the show,” added King. “Within two weeks, I couldn’t walk down the street. That’s how famous I was and how fast things happened. It was big! I still wonder how it all happened.”

1955 was a banner year for King.  Inking a recording contract with Mitch Miller at Columbia Records, she released two bestselling albums, "Wish Upon a Star" and "When Boy Meets Girl.”

Performing at the Academy Awards, King sang the nominated song “Count Your Blessings (Instead of Sheep)” and was named "Best New Singer" of 1955-56 by both Billboard and Downbeat Magazines.  She also sang commercial jingles for Hunts tomato sauce.



“Once I started, I went from one stepping stone to another,” recalls King. “I’ve always been one of those people who was in the right place at the right time. I’m kind of fearless. I know what it’s like to be hungry. I know what it’s like not to know what’s going to happen next week. At first I wanted to do it to help my folks. I don’t think I knew how much I wanted to do it for me. Every job I went for I got. It was weird. I would walk in and sing, and I would get the job.”

By the late 1950’s, rock and roll was in flux, and the teen idol craze was building. King could see her musical genre fading. It was only a matter of time before her career would be impacted.  

Fate led King to meet the love of her life, Sam Rudofker, a successful entrepreneur and philanthropist (and owner of the Philadelphia-based After Six formal wear company).  The couple married in a matter of months.  Following her heart, King opted for domestic life.

“There was something about him,” recalls King.  “He was so nice. He was the one, and I knew it. I had been in the business for a long time, and it was time for me to go. He insisted I continue my career even though I didn’t want to. I was so impressed by that. I saw the house in the suburbs. I saw what I didn’t have as a kid. I wanted the family more than the career. So, I took the opportunity.”

“I was so happy with him. He was everything I ever wanted. I don’t know how I ever got that lucky.”

King’s storybook marriage came to an end in 1994 with Sam’s passing. Other than an occasional benefit or public appearance, she maintained a low profile.

Tragedy struck in 2000 when King’s adult son, Jonathan, unexpectedly passed away.

“Losing my son was something that I can’t even describe,” says King. “To live through the death of a child, I still to this day can’t tell you how I made it. You never get over it. However, I do not dwell on it any longer, and I think maybe that has to do with going back to singing.”

A chance meeting between King and the All Star Jazz Trio was fateful.  Soon, she was singing with Andy Kahn (piano), Bruce Kaminsky (bass) and Bruce Klauber (drums) at Philly’s Chris’ Jazz Café, wowing an audience.

“It worked from the beginning,” says King. “I never really thought of coming back. I wouldn’t have had I not heard them. I guess it was meant to be. I guess I was waiting for somebody to come along and pull me back in.”

“What sets us apart is that I’m absolutely fearless,” added King. “If Andy decides to change keys in the middle of a song, I go with him. We look at each other, and we know what we’re doing. I know that, when the trio is playing for me, they will not let me fall. They are my safety net. It works. I don’t ever want to work with another band.  I want to work with them.”

“I don’t want to see the kind of singing I do go down the drain, and I fear that it is,” says King. “I am determined to keep the great American songbook alive.”

Always focused on the happily ever after, King did realize her dream of buying her parents a new home.  They settled in the town of Ravenna, Ohio.

Peggy King and the All-Star Jazz Trio perform at the Sellersville Theatre; located at 24 West Temple Ave., Sellersville, PA, on Sunday February 1, 2015 at 2:00 P.M. Tickets can be purchased by calling
215-257-5808 or on-line at www.st94.com.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Don't Miss Music Legend Peggy King at the Sellersville Theater Sunday February 1, 2015


The Legendary Peggy King
Graces the Sellersville Stage


By Rob Nagy


Mere words can’t describe the meteoric rise of Philadelphia’s own Peggy King. Best remembered as “Pretty Perky Peggy King” from the 50’s hit TV program “The George Gobel Show,” King, who turns 85 years young next month, defied overwhelming odds to become one of the decade’s star performers.


 Barely 5’ 2” tall, King’s larger than life personality, commanding vocal talent and relentless drive led to a spectacular career in live radio, film and TV.

Routinely working alongside icons Mel Torme’, Bing Crosby, Sammy Davis, Jr. and Frank Sinatra (and often compared to Judy Garland), King became one of Hollywood’s most charming treasures.  She was a frequent guest on “The Steve Allen Show,” “American Bandstand,” “The Perry Como Show,” “The Tonight Show” and “The Jack Benny Show.” 



King remains one of the few great American jazz pop vocalists still performing.

Born and raised in Greensburg, Pennsylvania to working class parents, King recalls the abject poverty her family endured.

“My parents were strong people, but I came from nothing,” recalls King as we met in her Philadelphia apartment. “I was determined to help them. I did not want to live the rest of my life in that kind of poverty. I wanted to move on, and I felt that I had enough talent to do that.”

“I always wanted to sing,” added King. “I asked my mother, ‘When did I start singing?’ She said, ‘I don’t remember when you weren’t singing.’
I drove my parents mad. I sang from morning to night. When I was 7 or 8, I just knew that I wanted to be a professional singer. Nothing else mattered to me. I wanted to be a singer so I could buy my parents a house.”

The teenage King relocated to Cleveland, Ohio where she found work on radio and stage.  After performing with the legendary Charlie Spivak, Ralph Flanagan and Ray Anthony Bands, King found even greater success in sunny California in film, TV and recording.

“I felt like someone in a fairy tale,” recalls King. “I couldn’t believe this was really happening. I knew I could sing, but I didn’t know I was going to be able to get work.  I became one of the few (professional) girl singers of that time.”

Contracted by MGM in 1952, King made her big screen debut in Vincente Minnelli’s “The Bad and the Beautiful,” starring Kirk Douglas and Lana Turner.



Recommended by Bing Crosby, a great fan of her work, King began a three-year tenure as a regular on the popular George Gobel TV show in 1954.

“My agent took me aside and said, ‘Someone is going to call you and ask you to do weekly TV at Saturday night at ten o’clock,’” recalls King. “’It’s the most watched time of all weekend. It’s almost impossible that the show won’t be a hit.’ I was doing very well working five days a week and making good money. I thought, ‘do I want to do this?’ I called my folks and they said, ‘we don’t think you should pass up an opportunity like this.  We think you should take it!’”

“So I made the leap and took the show,” added King. “Within two weeks, I couldn’t walk down the street. That’s how famous I was and how fast things happened. It was big! I still wonder how it all happened.”

1955 was a banner year for King.  Inking a recording contract with Mitch Miller at Columbia Records, she released two bestselling albums, "Wish Upon a Star" and "When Boy Meets Girl.”

Performing at the Academy Awards, King sang the nominated song “Count Your Blessings (Instead of Sheep)” and was named "Best New Singer" of 1955-56 by both Billboard and Downbeat Magazines.  She also sang commercial jingles for Hunts tomato sauce.

“Once I started, I went from one stepping stone to another,” recalls King. “I’ve always been one of those people who was in the right place at the right time. I’m kind of fearless. I know what it’s like to be hungry. I know what it’s like not to know what’s going to happen next week. At first I wanted to do it to help my folks. I don’t think I knew how much I wanted to do it for me. Every job I went for I got. It was weird. I would walk in and sing, and I would get the job.”

By the late 1950’s, rock and roll was in flux, and the teen idol craze was building. King could see her musical genre fading. It was only a matter of time before her career would be impacted.  

Fate led King to meet the love of her life, Sam Rudofker, a successful entrepreneur and philanthropist (and owner of the Philadelphia-based After 6 formal wear company).  The couple married in a matter of months.  Following her heart, King opted for domestic life.

“There was something about him,” recalls King.  “He was so nice. He was the one, and I knew it. I had been in the business for a long time, and it was time for me to go. He insisted I continue my career even though I didn’t want to. I was so impressed by that. I saw the house in the suburbs. I saw what I didn’t have as a kid. I wanted the family more than the career. So, I took the opportunity.”

“I was so happy with him. He was everything I ever wanted. I don’t know how I ever got that lucky.”

King’s storybook marriage came to an end in 1994 with Sam’s passing. Other than an occasional benefit or public appearance, she maintained a low profile.

Tragedy struck in 2000 when King’s adult son, Jonathan, unexpectedly passed away.

“Losing my son was something that I can’t even describe,” says King. “To live through the death of a child, I still to this day can’t tell you how I made it. You never get over it. However, I do not dwell on it any longer, and I think maybe that has to do with going back to singing.”

A chance meeting between King and the All Star Jazz Trio was fateful.  Soon, she was singing with Andy Kahn (piano), Bruce Kaminsky (bass) and Bruce Klauber (drums) at Philly’s Chris’ Jazz Café, wowing an audience.

“It worked from the beginning,” says King. “I never really thought of coming back. I wouldn’t have had I not heard them. I guess it was meant to be. I guess I was waiting for somebody to come along and pull me back in.”

“What sets us apart is that I’m absolutely fearless,” added King. “If Andy decides to change keys in the middle of a song, I go with him. We look at each other, and we know what we’re doing. I know that, when the trio is playing for me, they will not let me fall. They are my safety net. It works. I don’t ever want to work with another band.  I want to work with them.”

“I don’t want to see the kind of singing I do go down the drain, and I fear that it is,” says King. “I am determined to keep the great American songbook alive.”

Always focused on the happily ever after, King did realize her dream of buying her parents a new home.  They settled in the town of Ravenna, Ohio.

Peggy King and the All Star Jazz Trio perform at the Sellersville Theatre; located at 24 West Temple Ave., Sellersville, PA, on Sunday February 1, 2015 at 2:00 P.M. Tickets can be purchased by calling
215-257-5808 or on-line at www.st94.com.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Don't Miss Julie Slick and Marco Machera at the Hard Rock Cafe in Philly on January 30, 2015


Julie Slick brings her “Fourth Dementia”
to Philly’s Hard Rock Cafe

By Rob Nagy

Routinely delving into the avant-garde and thriving on spontaneity, virtuoso bassist/composer Julie Slick is the latest homegrown talent to attain international prominence.



Still in her twenties, Slick is rapidly becoming a seasoned veteran of the road and the recording studio.  Garnering praise from King Crimson alumni Adrian Belew, Pat Mastelotto and Tony Levin, among others, Slick is enjoying a career working among the music elite in the jazz and progressive rock worlds.

“Fourth Dementia” (2014), her third album, is the latest release featuring Slick and Italian bassist/songwriter Marco Machera. Rounding out the group are drummers Eric Slick and Pat Mastelotto as well as violinist Sarah Anderson. The end result is a collection of 8 masterfully executed original compositions offering a tantalizing listening experience. “Fourth Dementia” exemplifies real musical prowess and finds Slick and Machera pushing their creativity to the outer limits.

Slick and Machera first met in 2010 at “Three of a Perfect Pair Music Camp” held in upstate New York and hosted by Tony Levin, Adrian Belew and Pat Mastelotto.

In April 2014, the duo began collaborating following a European tour Slick did with the Crimson ProkeKCt’s. Inspired by the response they received while performing in Tuscany, Slick and Machera continued writing songs together.  That effort gave birth to “Fourth Dementia.”

“As soon as we plugged in, we just started improvising and composing out of nowhere,” says Slick. “‘I’ve got this idea.  Oh, I’ve got this idea.  Do you want to try to do something to this?’ The next thing you know, we had four new songs.  Two days later we played them for our shows in Tuscany. They were extremely well received. I was shocked. I was like ‘wow!’ People had even made the trip over that had come to the Crimson project shows.”

“We kept going with that momentum, and I was like, ‘We definitely need to record these songs!’” added Slick. “So, we recorded the ideas that we had, and then we just finished the record by sending ideas back and forth to one another. Within 7 weeks, from start to finish, the album was done. I met up with my brother in the studio in Philly, and he did all the drums for the record, and it was done. I knew it was something special, and I felt really good about it.”

Slick launched her music career at the tender age of 12, enrolling at the newly opened “Paul Green School of Rock.”  She earned notoriety as the school’s first All-Star bassist and was prominently featured in the soundtrack of the award-winning documentary “Rock School.”



By her mid-teens, Slick had performed throughout
The U.S. and Europe with a diverse collection of musicians, including Jon Anderson (YES), Stewart Copeland (The Police), Frank Zappa alumni Ike Willis and Napoleon Murphy Brock, Ann Wilson (Heart) and Alice Cooper.

Following her graduation from Paul Green School of Rock in 2004, Slick moved on to Drexel University, class of 2008, where she earned magna cum laude honors in the music industry program.

In 2005, Adrian Belew invited the talented siblings Julie and Eric to play a show with him at New York’s Knitting Factory.  Belew was so impressed by the duo’s performance at that gig, he enlisted them to round out his newly formed “Adrian Belew Power Trio” the following year.

“We did the show and it was great,” recalls Slick. “Adrian called Paul a few months later about recommending some former students of his that could be in his band. Paul recommended Eric and myself. Then he called me, asking how my chops were to see if I could field it well enough to fly to Nashville to audition for Adrian’s band. It was a life changing phone call.”

“I was excited, and I was nervous,” added Slick. ‘”Oh my God, this is really happening?’ Paul had told me on the phone call that Adrian had already bought my plane ticket to Germany to do four dates in Europe. So, it was really my job to lose. So, I felt confident. I was really excited to work with my hero. We went to his studio at his house, ran through the songs a couple of times, and it was like, ’OK, I planned the whole weekend for rehearsal, but I guess we don’t need that.’ So, it was really a good feeling, like ‘Yea, we knocked it out of the park.’”

“I have moments on where I’m like, ‘Wow! I’m on stage with Adrian,’” says Slick. “I’ll look out to the audience, and I’m like, ‘Wow!  There are people here watching us play. This is awesome, and I’m doing this for my job.’ It’s great. I’m very fortunate that I went through the School of Rock and was given this opportunity. There’s no reason I should be playing with Adrian, but then again, there’s every reason. It’s given me a lot of great opportunities and opened a lot of doors for me. I’ve gotten to meet a lot of incredible - not just musicians - incredible artists and people. It’s just fantastic!”

As an artist in demand, Slick finds herself literally with no permanent address and, instead, living out of three suitcases.

“It was very scary, but it’s been very liberating,” says Slick. “I’ve realized that the universe does provide. I’ve sort of gotten rid of everything. I’m very fortunate that I have friends in a lot of places. I’m just very grateful that I‘m living in a time like this that can afford me the opportunity and the possibility to even do this. I guess I’ve made some sacrifices, but, for me, I’ve just been so focused on being a professional musician and making a living in music. Of course I would do this to achieve that.  Sacrificing all this stuff has been the best thing that has ever happened.”

Slick and Machera, who will be joined by Pat Mastelotto (drums) and Tim Motzer (guitar), are looking forward to bringing their “Fourth Dementia” show to Philadelphia later this month.



“We’re going to do a lot of Fourth Dementia material,” says Slick. “We’re going to do a lot of improvisations. I think it would be very foolish to have all these amazing musicians on stage and not try to just make something new. And, of course, we’ll play a Crimson song or two and some solo work. It is going to be a great night!”

Julie Slick and Marco Machera, with special guests Pat Mastelotto (King Crimson) and Tim Motzer, perform at the Hard Rock Café, located at 1113-31 Market Street (corner of 12th & Market Street),
Philadelphia, PA 19107, on Friday, January 30, 2015 at 8:30 P.M.  Doors open at 8:00 P.M.  For more information, call 215-238-1000
or visit www.hardrock.com.

To stay up to date with Julie Slick, visit www.julieslick.com.


Friday, January 23, 2015

Trevor Gordon Hall - The Meeting at the Window (For Will Ackerman)

Don't Miss Israel Nash in Philly Tonight January 23, 2015


Israel Nash returns to the U.S.
in support of “Rain Plans”

By Rob Nagy


For Indie-country-alternative artist Israel Nash, it took leaving America for this burgeoning star to lay the foundation for inevitable success.




Working feverishly throughout the U.K. and Europe to build an audience and earning critical praise along the way, the ascendancy of his latest album, “Rain Plans,” finds him returning for another round of touring on his home turf in support of what will likely be his breakthrough record.

“I had never really toured or been a presence in the U.S.,” says Nash from his Dripping Springs, Texas home. “I guess I was fine with that, because I was trying to play music at some point. I’ve been really busy in Europe.  That’s where my career has been over the last four years. I couldn’t get arrested at home, but I had a lot of growing fans in Europe, which gave me a place to be, a place to sell records and to be a professional musician for the first time in my life.”

Inspired by the sounds of the early 70’s, Rain Plans’ vibrant nine-song collection captures Nash and his incredible band at their best. Sprinkling his work with the influence of Neil Young, Lynyrd Skynyrd and classic Rolling Stones, Nash is poised to capture American audiences.

“I’m obsessed with the sounds of the 70’s,” says Nash. “I think the 70’s had the best records of all time. There are big elements of “Rain Plans” that I copied from that period. I just studied the way these guys made albums. It was like these get-togethers were an event. I’ve tried to emulate these styles in the way we record records.”

Hailing from Missouri, Nash relocated to New York City in 2006 to get closer to the music business. Honing his skills in the Lower East Side club scene, Nash released his independent debut album, “New York Town,” in 2009.

After setting up shop on a farm in New York’s Catskill Mountains, Nash recorded his follow-up album, “Barn Doors and Concrete Floors.”
For that project, he reached out to various musician friends to form a backing band.  The band included Joey McClellan (lead guitar/vocals), Aaron McClellan (bass/vocals) and Eric Swanson (pedal steel/vocals).  Nash also recruited Steve Shelley (Sonic Youth) to play drums and co-produce the album.

Continental Record Services released the record in the spring of 2011.  Nash then toured throughout the U.K. and Europe. The success of “Barn Doors and Concrete Floors” led to 2011 Album of the Year honors on the Euro Americana Charts.

“I’ve really moved forward in the last few years in knowing what I want,” says Nash.  ”Having enough people around me that balance me out and tell me when my ideas are crazy or tell me when my ideas are cool – ‘let’s do it!’ I don’t really take no for an answer. I just work hard to do what I feel is supposed to be done and to keep going forward. I don’t want to make the same record every time. I don’t want to talk about the past all the time. I just want to move and keep going forward and do the best that I can.”

Eventually, Nash pulled up his New York City stakes and headed south to Dripping Springs, Texas, a neighboring town of Austin.

“My wife and I moved to Texas out in the hills and built this house outside of Austin in the country,” says Nash. “It just was a huge impact on my life, the growth as a man and an artist. I saw the world differently. All these things started to affect me. I now have clarity and confidence. I know what I want to do, and I’m not afraid to do it anymore.”

“All these transitions happened between my last work and ‘Rain Plans,’” added Nash. “I think I went through a bit of a change in my own life, personally and in the move, that put me on that path.”

Nash used his new home as a studio and temporary residence for his band during the recording of “Rain Plans.” Fronting the same group of musicians from his previous album, he replaced Steve Shelley on drums with Josh Fleischmann. Released by the London, England label Loose Music, “Rain Plans” garnered rave reviews from music critics and fans alike.

“Everyone came to the house and lived there for 2 ½ weeks, and we recorded day and night just living there,” says Nash. “It was all these guys that know each other making music. I wanted to make this environment in which we were there just to make art. Nothing else mattered. Creating those vibes and those feelings is something that you will be able to hear on an album every time.” 

“The band that I am playing with are my best friends,” added Nash. “We’ve been playing together for five years. I met them years ago in New York, and they’ve become my brothers. We’re just a very close family and believe in the creation of art and doing it in a pure way that you can share that with people that you love so there’s no weirdness or awkwardness.  It’s just stripped down to being simple.”

With aspirations of being a successful songwriter and musician during his early teenage years, Nash wisely abandoned the adolescent rock star fantasy years ago, opting to focus instead on giving depth and purpose to his creativity.

“My job is writing songs,” reflects Nash. “Thinking outside the box without constraints on the art and making music that hopefully resonates with other people as well. I want to have these songs that are real, that mean something - that other people can share.”

“I want people to feel something,” added Nash. “To feel alive. To have people enjoy my music and to be around people and community. I get a lot of energy and good feelings from writing songs and being a part of people’s lives. Do the best that you can, and, hopefully, you’ve made this world a little bit better.”

Israel Nash, with special guest Birdie Busch, performs at Johnny Brenda’s, 1201 Frankford Avenue Philadelphia, PA 19125, on Friday January 23, 2015. Doors 8:00 P.M. Showtime 9:15 P.M. Tickets are $10.00. For further information call 215-739-9684 or visit www.johnnybrendas.com.

To stay up to date with Israel Nash visit www.israelnash.com