Sunday, January 31, 2016
Saturday, January 30, 2016
Get your tickets for Graham Nash at World Cafe Live (Philadelphia, PA) February 18th and 19th, 2016. Look for my interview feature with Graham coming soon.
Thursday, January 28, 2016
Tuesday, January 26, 2016
Sunday, January 24, 2016
A picture I dug up recently of me and Bill Haley and the Comets drummer Ralph Jones. He was with Haley during his peak years of 1955 to 1960. That is the original drum head he is holding, which my dear friend Mike DeFeo and I restored at the time.
Friday, January 22, 2016
Sunday, January 17, 2016
Thursday, January 14, 2016
The Dirty Bourbon River Show brings
a taste of New Orleans to Sellersville
By Rob Nagy
Drawing from the richly diverse musical history of the deep south (Dr. John, Tom Waits, The Dirty Dozen Brass Band), New Orleans based “The Dirty Bourbon River Show” has captivated audiences of all ages.
“We take pride in having a broad appeal,” says Matt Thomas from his home in New Orleans. “It’s one of those good and bad things. We tend to grab people from different demographics, but at the same time when people ask you to define yourself - what do you do? We’re not really just one thing.”
“We’re always digging into different styles of music,” says Thomas. “We all come from different musical backgrounds. It’s kind of a mish mash of what we’re all into, especially with New Orleans being the melting pot of music that it is. We kind of, in some way, pay tribute to the people and the bands that we really admire and emulate the sounds that we like.”
“We try to stay true to our New Orleans roots and to be thankful for the people around us that inspire us,” adds Thomas. “It’s a really great place to be. New Orleans is a super unique place. You draw from anything as old as Louis Armstrong, Preservation Hall Band, brass band stuff, soul and R&B. It helps that you are exposed to so much music from different genres. It’s a really creatively inspiring place to live.”
“Right now, we’re working on a bunch of different songs in different genres and trying to put together our next album, which we’re pretty stoked about,” says Thomas. “We want to take things to the next level and get a stronger national presence and to also try to be a little more present in New Orleans as well.”
“While we take pride in our recordings, we try to do an all encompassing live performance,” adds Thomas. “We call ourselves the Dirty Bourbon Show as opposed to a band because the live show is really what we thrive on. You put yourself on the road and hit it hard. You give people a reason to want to pay to see you. We try and engage the audience. We dress a certain way. We’ve done shows with musicians and burlesque and belly dancers. It’s about an experience. In order to create a fan base, you have to make them want to remember you. You engage them through as many senses as you can. It’s not a good show unless you are sweating through your shirt.”
Joining the group in 2011, Thomas recalls what he considers to be a pinnacle moment for the Dirty Bourbon River Show.
“We got invited to play the TV Radio Correspondence Dinner in Washington, D.C. in 2013,” recalls Thomas. “A lot of the national news companies were represented there, and it was the first time we got on something really big. We rented nice suits and got everything set-up really nice. We realized that people were starting to value what we were doing.”
“It was a looser thing back then,” adds Thomas. “We were still finding our sound and setting our selves apart. We always knew we wanted there to be a visual aspect to the show. As the songs started to evolve and people were trying to classify what we were doing, it kind of became what it is now. It’s still always changing.”
Eager for greater national exposure and to reach more fans, especially on college campuses, the quintet continues to patiently work toward a common goal.
“Where we are right now has been kind of a big evolution,” says Thomas. “It really has become more of a commitment dedicated to the idea of what we’re doing. Every year there’s progress. We look back and realize we’re making more money and playing nicer shows. We’re sleeping more often in a hotel room instead of on somebody’s floor. We’re eating better food instead of having to eat off the dollar menu at Taco Bell. We’ve gotten to the point where we continue to make steps forward and are excited about the next year. There’s still a long way to go, but we’re pretty happy with where we are now and we’re definitely excited about 2016.”
The Dirty Bourbon River Show performs at the Sellersville Theater; located at 24 West Temple Ave., Sellersville, PA, January 21, 2016 at 8:00 P.M. Tickets can be purchased by calling 215-257-5808 or on-line at www.st94.com.
To stay up to date with the Dirty Bourbon River Show visit www.dirtybourbonrivershow.com
Tuesday, January 5, 2016
Celebrate the music of The Band
and Bob Dylan at Steel City
By Rob Nagy
It has been nearly 40 years since the original
lineup of “The Band” played their “Last Waltz” at San Francisco’s Wonderland Arena.
Decades later, “The THE BAND Band” (featuring Gary Solomon (bass, vocals), Jack Kraft (keyboards, accordion, vocals),Vinny Nicosia (drums, vocals),
Mike Corbin (guitar, vocals) and Josh Radin (guitar, mandolin, vocals)) is keeping The Band’s music alive in what they describe as “authentic, true-to-form renditions of their extraordinary repertoire.”
Conceived in 2007 by fellow musicians and Band enthusiasts Gary Solomon and Jack Kraft, The THE BAND Band began innocently as an excuse to get the friends together to play songs by their favorite group.
“I was at ‘The Last Waltz,’” recalls Gary Solomon from his home in Stony Point, NY. “I was 19 years old, and I just happened to be in San Francisco. I heard about it and went to the concert. It was amazing. When that happens to you, it kind of gets into your blood.”
“Jack and I started playing in some bands back in the early 1980’s - rock bands, weddings bands,” adds Solomon. “I was a young teenager when I got into The Band and started covering their songs in my early rock and roll bands. Both Jack and I saw them a couple of times before we knew each other, so it was kind of in our DNA. When we would get together and hang out, we would play around with Band songs just because that was what we loved.”
“One day Jack said to me, ‘why don’t we get a guitar player and a drummer and let’s learn these songs and play them really, really well, like The Band, just for fun,” says Solomon. “And I said, ‘sure, that sounds great!’ We found a guitar player friend of ours who we knew was a fan of The Band, and we had a drummer friend of ours. So we built the framework for it and set the model of the standard for it. We made sure that we had it the way it needed to be - playing the music like it was played on the records.”
With less than a year under their belt, The THE BAND Band made a gutsy move by playing on The Band’s home turf in Woodstock, NY.
“We took it very seriously from the beginning,” recalls Solomon. “There’s a coffee house or a bar in Woodstock, The Band’s adopted musical home. We ride into town and people are saying, ‘you guys better be good to come into Woodstock and call yourselves ‘The THE BAND Band.’ To me, it was like riding into Liverpool and calling yourselves “The Beatles.” We thought, ‘we think we can do this.’ We realized there’s something here for us that nobody else is doing.”
“There were a bunch of old timers sitting right in front of us with their arms folded and looking at us,” adds Solomon. “We started playing and, after a couple of songs, they were moving and tapping their feet and clapping their hands and that kind of built up. We got to a high point where we whipped the crowd into a frenzy and we were like, ‘if you can do that in Woodstock to a lot of doubting Thomases…’ We knew we still had a long way to go and a lot to learn, but it felt like people really love this music. People really want it. They haven’t heard this stuff live in years.”
Eight years into their journey, The THE BAND Band is rapidly making a name for themselves as the premier tribute group featuring the music of The Band. Offering an unforgettable show including the classics "The Weight," "Up On Cripple Creek" and "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down," The THE BAND Band also delves into a broad range of deep cuts from the classic albums “Music From Big Pink,” “The Brown Album” and “Stage Fright,” among others.
By delivering music with the passion and commitment The Band was known for, the group hopes that fans will experience the intensity and excitement of what it was like to witness one of The Band’s legendary concerts.
“This really grew organically. We never thought for a minute that we were actually going to take this out on the road,” says Solomon. “It’s intoxicating when you can play a full room and people just love it! All of us are in our late 50’s or early 60’s and we’ve been playing a long time and it’s nice to have something that, if you take it seriously musically, can actually get you somewhere. You can play great original music and struggle your whole life to get it heard.”
“It’s our highest compliment when people say, ‘you know, when I close my eyes it sounds like The Band,’” adds Solomon. “I’m under no illusions. A tribute band is a tribute band. It’s The Band that you are honoring that created it and they had the personalities and the stories that went with it too.
We are paying tribute to great music, and we’re doing it well enough that people keep coming out.”
The THE BAND Band performs at Steel City Coffee House, 203 Bridge Street, Phoenixville, PA 19460 on Friday January 8, 2016 at 8:00 P.M. Tickets can be purchased by calling 610-933-4043 or on line at www.steelcitycoffeehouse.com.
To stay up to date with The THE BAND Band, visit www.thebandband.com.