A sampling of my decades of concert photography that I will be offering for sale on-line and in regional galleries. Rush on their final 2016 concert tour.
Monday, January 23, 2017
Sunday, January 15, 2017
Saturday, January 14, 2017
Friday, January 13, 2017
Monday, January 9, 2017
The Ragbirds Return to the East Coast
for two Regional Shows
By Rob Nagy
The Ragbirds, of Ann Arbor, Michigan, are a band to watch in the burgeoning Indie folk-rock fusion scene. Featuring Erin Zindle (vocals, violin, mandolin, banjo, accordion, percussion), T.J. Zindle (guitar, vocals), Randall “The Hitman” Moore (percussion), Jon Brown (drums and vocals) and Dan Jones (electric bass guitar and percussion), the quintet has spent a decade tirelessly dedicated to the art of music making.
The group employs complex combinations of Gypsy, Middle-Eastern, Americana, rock and Latin influences, along with a Celtic flair, in their latest LP release, “The Threshold & The Hearth.”
“This is the first album that we’ve put out that actually has a thread that’s woven throughout as far as a story line of a young couple - at least they start off young in the beginning of the album - and through the 13 tracks on the record,” says Erin Zindle, from her home in Ann Arbor, Michigan. “It spans 20 years of their relationship together. So, it’s an album with many different scenes; all of which are things that have affected this couple’s relationship as well as anyone who’s struggled to make love last in the long run. So, there are a lot of different topics touched on throughout the album, but it kind of circles around this couple’s relationship. They are a fictitious couple that I’ve named Betty and Bill who meet in college, get married, raise a family and weather the trials of a long-term relationship. Much of the material was written in the wake of the birth of our three-year old daughter Aviva, who tours with us. I feel like this is the best thing we’ve put out.”
“Before we wrote this album, we had spent so many years touring really hard and really far,” adds Zindle. “We played 48 states plus Japan. We’ve been on the road on nearly 200 dates some years. My husband (who is the percussionist in the band) and I had a baby 3 years ago. That was part of the reason for us touring lightly over the last couple of years. The point is, we’ve been discovering more of what home is. So, the whole album follows that theme too as well as how two people can make a home that can be defined in so many ways.”
Founded in Ypsilanti, Michigan, The Ragbirds released their debut album, "Yes Nearby," in 2005. After Hurricane Katrina struck the South in 2005, the Ragbirds released one of their most important songs, “Washed Away.” A portion of the proceeds from that release was donated directly to the Red Cross.
In 2007, upon releasing “Wanderlove,” their number one selling album on Homegrown Music Network, The Ragbirds embarked on a two year touring schedule that found them performing throughout the U.S. and the world.
With a goal of expanding their reach, the Ragbirds signed with Japan’s Buffalo Records in 2009, resulting in the distribution of “Wanderlove” throughout that nation. Subsequent album releases, “Finally Almost Ready” (2009), “Travelin' Machine" (2012) and the live album "We Belong to the Love" (2013), fueled the band’s energy and widened their global reach.
“Touring, considering the type of band that we are, definitely has been key to the success that we have had,” says Zindle. “Just getting out there as much as we can. For us, it’s all about connection. The music that we make is exciting because we get to watch people experience it and it really touches people’s lives. We get to connect with them in a way that we couldn’t otherwise if we were just recording stuff in a studio and sending it out there. The fact that we get to meet people face to face and they get to tell us their stories and we get to engage with them means we feel like we have this ever-expanding family that we’re building.”
“There’s a message in our music,” adds Zindle. “I think overall it’s me as the songwriter struggling to find hope through all of these circumstances. I’m a self-improvement junkie (laughs). I’m always trying to find ways to look at the world, even the darker parts, that help me to have some kind of hope, to constantly strive for better things. So, I think that there’s a part of my personality that comes across in our lyrics and our message overall. Musically, there’s a real fun energy in our work. We call it folk rock with world music influences, high energy folk rock.”
“We love what we do. We love playing. We love sharing our songs. We love improvising. We get charged with the energy that we get from each other on stage and from the audience and what they bring. It’s kind of like a dance party and a folk show at the same time. We’re enjoying the ride and the connection, which is the biggest thing we get to make with our fans. It’s still growing. It’s still inspiring to me and to others around us. I’m very pleased.”
The Ragbirds will perform at the Sellersville Theater, located at 24 West Temple Ave., Sellersville, PA, Wednesday January 18, 2017 at 7:30 P.M.
The Ragbirds will perform at World Café Live, located at 500 N. Market St. Wilmington, DE, 19801, Friday January 20, 2017 at 8:00 P.M.
To stay up to date with The Ragbirds, visit www.theragbirds.com.
Johnny’s Dance Band will make rare appearance at Steel City
By Rob Nagy
Back in the 70’s, Johnny’s Dance Band enjoyed a reputation as a uniquely entertaining regional act, offering a variety of genres including rock ‘n roll, ska, hard rock, calypso, swing, bossa nova, rhythm & blues, jug band, cha-cha, jazz, folk, country, traditional blues, ballads and simple love songs. The Band’s alluring live act made them a fan favorite from Boston to Washington, D.C.
Headlining hundreds of concerts and opening shows for the likes of Patti Smith, The J. Geils Band, Bonnie Raitt, Whole Oats (later Hall & Oates), The Youngbloods and Procol Harum, Johnny’s Dance Band left an indelible mark upon music. The Band performed locally at Grendel's Lair, The Philadelphia Folk Festival, The Valley Forge Music Fair, The Main Point and The Tower Theater. They were the only unrecorded act to ever play the 19,000-seat Philly Spectrum, and they entertained an audience of 25,000 at the first concert ever held at the Penn's Landing waterfront.
Formed in 1969, Johnny’s Dance Band, today features founding member Tony Juliano (guitar, harmonica, keyboards, congas), Courtney Colletti (lead acoustic & electric guitars, flute, bass, dialects), Bobby Lenti (lead guitar, keyboards.), Su Teears (keyboard, guitar, percussion), Steve Delaney (drums, guitar, bass) and Joey Stout (bass and keyboards).
In their early years, the Band feverishly worked the college and club circuit. The support and exposure from Philadelphia’s WMMR 93.3 FM radio and that station’s legendary disc jockey Ed Sciaky earned Johnny’s Dance Band praise from listeners as “The Best Local Band.” From 1975 through 1979 the group became the biggest local concert draw in the tri-state area.
“We came up with this term many years ago: “Rock and Roll Vaudeville,” says Juliano. “To us what that simply means is this: in addition to just playing songs, whenever it seems appropriate, we do more than just play the songs. We portray characters within the songs in various ways either with jokes, stories and skits or sometimes with costume and sometimes with caricature ethnicity. (We employ) lots and lots of satire, although some of the music is just plain straight forward good music.”
The Band achieved iconic success at New Hope, Pennsylvania’s John’s Place (later John & Peter's) after its opening in 1973. The group’s numerous appearances there led fans to line up around the block, eager to fill the 125-seat venue, putting both the band and John’s Place on the map.
Rejected by numerous record labels, Johnny’s Dance Band eventually signed with Windsong Records (a subsidiary of RCA) in 1976 and released a self-titled debut album. Joining a stable of artists that included Kenny Rogers, David Bowie, Bo Diddley, Etta James, Don McLean, Harry Nilsson, The Guess Who, the Band appeared to have gotten the break that they had worked so hard to secure.
“Even though we signed with RCA, they didn’t understand us,” recalls Juliano. “They didn’t know what to do with us, and they strived to narrow the focus. They tried to make us be same, same, same all the time. So, when we started putting out records, it was the result of that pressure from the Company. The records didn’t reflect what the band was really at all. It was a compromise of what the band wanted to be and what the record company wanted us to be and in compromising we lost the idea. So, it was doomed.”
“I think there are some obvious reasons and I think the people that were following us around at the time, especially in the media, would probably agree with what I’m about to say,” adds Juliano. “One of the reasons was the band was far too eclectic for it’s own good. We had no focus. Everybody in the band took a turn in the spotlight, which was part of the reason we refer to it as rock and roll vaudeville. From one song to the next, not only would there be a different lead singer or a different focused individual, but there would also be a different style to each song covered in maybe a dozen different genres throughout the course of the show. When a major record or management company wants to promote an act, they want it to be very narrow in focus. They want the act to always appear the same way, to always sound the same way and to always focus on an idea. We resisted that. We didn’t like that. We had all done that and found that to be rather boring. So we relished the idea of being that eclectic. But, at the same time, it hurt. We left the label in 1981.”
“We had stopped doing anything at all for the better part of 20 years, the 80’s and 90’s,” recalls Juliano. “When we got to 1999, we decided to have a 30th anniversary concert at John and Peter’s in New Hope with some of the original members. That was so successful that we kept it up for a year and then that stopped. Then, every once in a while we would find a reason to do another reunion or anniversary. We decided recently to only perform a few times a year because we all have a lot of irons in the fire. We just don’t have a lot of time. Also, if we do it less frequently each show is more special and has a good healthy turnout.”
“Being a part of Johnny’s Dance Band was the single greatest creative success and creative achievement of our careers, despite anything else that we’ve done,” says Juliano. “The reason why we say that is because we reached a lot of people. We weren’t a national success, but we were what they used to call a regional success. I’ve always tried, as much as possible, to maintain the original concept. That’s my number one priority - to be true to the original concept.”
Johnny’s Dance Band will perform this Saturday at Steel City Coffee House, 203 Bridge Street, Phoenixville, at 8:00 P.M. Tickets are $20.00/ advance $25.00/ day of show and can be purchased on line at www.steelcitycoffeehouse.com or by calling
To stay up to date with Johnny’s Dance Band, visit www.johnnysdanceband.com.