Friday, April 30, 2010

Friday, April 23, 2010

Blues Harmonica Blowout, Infinity Hall

Norfolk CT
April 22, 2010
President Abraham Lincoln played one. The black migrants of the 1950s who traveled north to Chicago, Detroit, and New York, and south to St. Louis, Memphis and New Orleans played them. Today, there are some who consider the harmonica to be more of a toy than a professional instrument.

But on a Thursday night in late April 2010, in a venue created for such a showcase of talent, the Infinity Music Hall & Bistro in Norfolk, CT hosted what’s come to be known as “The Blues Harmonica Blowout ” featuring old school blues aficionados: Mark Hummel, James Montgomery, Magic Dick, and Sugar Ray Norcia.

Mark Hummel, Photos by Nanci 2010
Back in 1991 Mark Hummel hosted a series of festivals focusing on the great sound produced by the harmonica, thus “The Blues Harmonica Blowout” was founded.

Hummel’s website states: ”The Blues Harmonica Blowout™ has grown to become an internationally recognized event, with performances at the Nottoden Blues Fest in Norway, the San Francisco Blues Fest, the Chicago Blues Fest, Mississippi Valley Blues Fest, BB King's, Monterrey Jazz Festival, Poconos Blues Fest, American Music Festival, and the Heritage Blues Festival, to name a few.”

It goes on to explain “A list of performers that have played would take many pages but the short list is: John Mayall, John Hammond, Sugar Ray Norcia, Kenny Neal, Fingers Taylor, James Cotton, Snooky Pryor, Charlie Musselwhite, Kim Wilson, Huey Lewis, Dave Earl, Rod Piazza, William Clarke, Rick Estrin, Paul DeLay, Billy Branch, Lazy Lester, Carey Bell, Little Sonny, Paul Osher, Cephas and Wiggins, Gary Primich, Paul Rischell and Annie Raines, Carlos Del Junco, Norton Buffalo, Sam Myers and many more!” For more information visit:

Just who are these masters of this instrument: (from their websites)
Mark Hummel has crafted his own trademark harmonica sound - a subtle combination of tone, phrasing and attack combined with a strong sense of swing. Hummel is the founder of Blues Harmonica Blowout™ series. Born in New Haven, Connecticut and raised in Los Angeles, California, Mark absorbed the music of such Chicago based harp blowers as Little Walter, James Cotton, and Sonny Boy Williamson, before settling in Berkeley, California in 1972. There he played with local bluesmen such as Cool Papa, Boogie Jake, Mississippi Johnny Waters and Sonny Lane. In 1980, he took the helm to lead the popular Blues Survivors Band.

James Montgomery "brings it on home" when he blows the harp. Whether it's recording with Kid Rock, sitting in with Gregg Allman, or fronting his hot band of thirty years, Montgomery plays with authority. In 1970, while attending Boston University, Montgomery formed the James Montgomery Band. His inimitable (oh yeah, he majored in English) harmonica playing combined with his incredibly energetic live shows led to the band's quick ascension on the New England music scene. Within two years, the James Montgomery band was among the hottest acts in Boston along with J. Geils and Aerosmith, and they were quickly signed to a multi-album deal with Capricorn Records.

Magic Dick, originally from New London, Connecticut, picked up the harmonica in his sophomore year at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Worcester, Massachusetts where he met J. Geils and Danny Klein and became a founding member of the J. Geils Blues Band in 1968. J. Geils Band, had many hits in the 1970s and 1980s. Chart-toppers like "FreezeFrame", "Centerfold", "First I Look At The Purse", "Must a Got Lost", "Give It To Me" and Magic Dick's own "Wammer Jammer" were in the Top Ten off and on for 20 years and made them one of the few top bands (other then WAR) that featured a harmonica prominently in the frontline. Dick went on to start "Bluestime" with J. Geils after the original band broke up, making two CDs for Rounder Records. The J. Geils Band will open for Aerosmith, August 14, 2010 at Fenway Park, Boston, MA.

Sugar Ray Norcia has been recording since 1979; he cut his first album “Sugar Ray and the Bluetones” on Baron Records. In the 1980s he hooked up with Ronnie Earl and the Broadcasters and had a number of hit albums. In the 1990s he was the frontman for Roomful of Blues for six years. In 1996, “Turn It On, Turn It Up” was nominated for a Grammy Award in Best Traditional Blues Category.

Following the introduction of the “house” band, James Montgomery took the stage and performed songs includeing Junior Wells’ “Messin with the Kid”, which Montgomery described as a “nod to Junior, “Messing Whiff the Kid”. He sang, blew the harp and high-kicked through his set.

Hummel was up next announcing his new CD Retro-Active is out and available downstairs. His set included some songs from Retro-Active: The classic Muddy Waters “I Want to Be Loved”; Jimmy Reed’s “My Baby’s So Sweet”; and Percy Mayfield’s “Never No More” which he introduced by saying “I have to mention people’s names so maybe you’ll get turned (by their music), you won’t hear them mentioned on TV.” He closed his set with “a little tune I call Harpo Ventilator.”

Following a short break for the band to head downstairs to sign CDs and greet fans, Sugar Ray Norica burst onto the stage. He opened with J.J Barnes’ “Baby Please Come Back Home” followed by one of his own “Rockin Sugar Daddy” and closed his set with T. Bone Walker’s “Evening.” As he walked off stage there were shouts from the crowd for one more song. Hummel came out and said “Don’t worry, Sugar Ray will be back in a bit.”
Magic Dick (MD), the man I’d been waiting to see, came out and arranged the stage to his liking; he wasted no time jumping into Sonny Boy Williamson’s “Pontiac Blues”; Little Walter’s “I Got To Find My Baby” and T. Bone Walker’s “No Sleepin’est Woman” which he dedicated to Miss Bluesy who won the “Wang Dang Doodle” contest on a recent Blues Cruise. He asked the band and audience to “Continue down the scale of semi-tones” and started to blow Little Walter’s “Tell Me Mama.” As he said, “if this was a rock show you’d already be into this one” but he took a “pause for the cause ‘cuz this one kills me…” And in one note, the audience was screaming “WAMMA JAMMA”
After MD caught his breath, he was joined on stage by the Hummel, Montgomery and Norcia for not one but two songs. They had planned on one song but after they left the stage the crowd was yelling for more! They all returned and treated the fans with “Early In the Morning Blues.”
This was a memorable show, one I’m glad I got to experience and very worth the five hour round trip drive (thanks Jay.)

To view more photos from the show please visit:

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Peter Wolf Announces Tour Dates

Peter Wolf , the front man for the J. Geils Band, announced some of his tour dates to
promote his new CD “Midnight Souvenirs”.
© 1982 Photos by Nanci

As a kid who grew up outside of Boston in the 70s, I cut my teeth on the Mighty J. Geils Band. Heck my high school science teacher’s band did Geils covers at our school dances. In college, at UMASS-Amherst, Geils played the Fine Arts Center because Stephen Joe Bladd’s son was attending the school. My “Blow Your Face Out” album won’t play unless the needle has a nickel taped to it! The chemistry of these guys was just amazing. Their studio albums could never touch their live performances. It’s cool that the J. Geils Band is backing Aerosmith at Fenway Park on August 14 (sorry it’s SOLD OUT) but I’m somewhat saddened that Wolf is out touring by himself. I’d love to see a full blown J.Geils reunion tour but I can absolutely derive pleasure from seeing Peter Wolf out on his own!

Wolf’s new CD, his first in eight years, goes back to his roots. It features Merle Haggard, Shelby Lynne and Neko Case and was produced by Wolf and Kenny White. Most of the tracks are co-written with the likes of Angelo Petraglia, Taylor Rhodes, Will Jennings, Tim Mayer, or Chuck Prophet; although two tracks were written by David Johnston “I Don’t Wanna Know” and “Everything I Do” by Allen Toussaint. The first single out is a duet with Shelby Lynne, “Tragedy” which was performed on the Jimmy Fallon Show April 5. Boston guitar legend Duke Levine is featured prominently on the CD.

“Thick as Thieves” featuring Wolf on harmonica and David Johnston on the cellphone intro has a delta bluesy sound; “Overnight Lows” has a kind of Chi-Lites sound; “Everything I Do (Gonna Be Funky)” definitely has a New Orleans beat; “The Night Comes Down (For Willy DeVille)” is classic Wolf storytelling. The CD closes with a duet with Merle Haggard “It’s Too Late for Me” showing off Wolf’s writing talents. See you on the road!
For Information about Wolf-click here Peter Wolf

New England Tour Dates (so far)
May 9 Tupelo Music Hall Londonderry NH
May 11 Ironhorse Northampton MA
May 12 Port City Music, Portland ME
May 21 The Egg Albany NY
May 22 Infinity Music Hall Norfolk CT

More Photos by Nanci of Wolf and J. Geils please visit:

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Daily Show Correspondent reveals all to Lebanon Opera House Crowd

Aasif Mandvi brought his multi-media show to the Lebanon Opera House Saturday April 17, 2010. His show opened with a video clip of his first appearance on The Daily Show (TDS) with Jon Stewart. Mandvi was an actor in New York when he got the call to audition for TDS, after TDS writers, in 2006 came up with a bit for a Middle Eastern correspondent.

He interviewed with Jon Stewart, who Mandvi says “smells like paprika”, performed his “best Stephen Colbert” and recited a piece from Henry IV. Stewart said “just read the piece.” He was hired on the spot and brought to the rehearsal at 4:30. The rehearsal consists of the writers and producers sitting in the audience while the troupe runs through the material for the day. Mandvi looked out into the audience and saw a guy in a baseball cap sitting with a teenager. He thought “My god, Bruce Springsteen works at The Daily show.”

Mandvi shared with the audience a theater piece he wrote explaining his journey from Bombay to northern England to America. His father immigrated not for freedom or an ideal, he immigrated for a word. “A very American word…BRUNCH” ; where else can you get a stack of pancakes 8” high, with too many toppings to describe, OJ, Tomato Juice, coffee, eggs for a mere $7.95. His father called from West Palm and told his family to leave everything behind and get to America. Only Americans would come up with a meal between breakfast and lunch, bloody brunch.

Another video clip shown was the episode on Immigration; Mandvi says that he’s brown but of the tech support, cardiology brown not the dishwasher, parking lot attendant brown. America’s slogan of “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free has been re-branded to “What can brown do for you?”

After a few more video clips, Mandvi opened the floor to questions from the audience. All in all a very entertaining evening.

More photos may be viewed at:

Vermont Talent Celebrate Record Store Day in Maine

Grace Potter and Scott Tournet

Grace Potter and the Nocturnals and Anais Mitchell performed free mini-concerts for a crowd of over 250 people at the Bull Moose Record Store in Scarborough, ME on Saturday April 17, 2009.

Record Store Day was the brain child of Chris Brown, an employee of the independent record store chain, Bull Moose, which has locations in Maine and New Hampshire. The day was conceived in 2007 as a celebration of the unique culture independently owned record stores in the USA, and hundreds of similar stores internationally. Record Store Day is celebrated the third Saturday in April.

Record stores come together with artists to celebrate the art of music. Special vinyl and CD releases and various promotional products are made exclusively for the day, and hundreds of artists in the United States and in various countries across the globe make special appearances and performances.

When Tower Records closed in 2006, many saw it as a sign that record stores were dying out altogether. The age of online ordering through huge discounted warehouses threatened the existence of the local record store. In my area, many independent stores have closed over the last few years with only Newbury Comics in West Lebanon NH surviving.

Benny Yurco, Chris Brown, Grace Potter and Matt Burr

This year at the Scarborough ME location of Bull Moose Anais Mitchell and members of Grace Potter and the Nocturnals came out to celebrate with the record store. Grace Potter was accompanied by band mates Matt Burr, Scott Tournet and Benny Yurco (missing was bassist Catherine Popper).

Potter and crew performed a song from their special Record Store Day release “Live From Skowhegan” including “Ragged Company” and a song on their new CD due out June 8, “Tiny Light”. In addition, Potter had the crowd singing along to “Paris” with a rousing chorus of “Oh la, la, la, la, la, la”

Following their set, Potter, Burr, Tournet and Yurco greeted the fans and we busy signing autographs and chatting for about an hour. They concluded their visit to the record store by buying some vintage vinyl and DVDs.

Scott Tournet
Chris Brown and Anais Mitchell

Anais Mitchell

Anais Mitchell, who’s on the road promoting her folk opera “Hadestown” also made an appearance at the record store. Her set consisted of a few from her Hadestown CD including “Why we build this wall.” Mitchell also greeted fans after her set and signed autographs. She later had a performance at One Longfellow Square in Portland ME. She returns to Cambridge MA Sunday April 18 for another Hadestown performance at Passim School of Music Workshop.

More photos from the day's event maybe viewed at:

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Double Play - Aerosmith & J. Geils Band To Rock Fenway Park August 14th

Aerosmith & J. Geils Band Rock Fenway Park August 14th

On Saturday, August 14th Aerosmith & The J. Geils Band will descend upon Fenway Park to deliver the grandest slam to their hometown crowd. For the first time ever, the Bad Boys of Boston will be bringing their brand of major league rock straight to Fenway Park.

During last Wednesday's Red Sox-Yankees game, Steven Tyler from Aerosmith and Peter Wolf representing the J. Geils Band appeared in the booth alongside Jerry Remy and Don Orsillo in the bottom of the fourth to announce the event.

AF1 VIP ticket package pre-sales began Monday, April 12th at 10am EDT. THEY ARE SOLD OUT! There are still a few Party Passes remaining.
AEROSMITH PARTY PASSES get you into the rockin’ pre-show party where you can compare Notes, News, and Stories with other Aero Fans from across the land – and Oh, Yeah – Joey Kramer and Brad Whitford will stop by the party to share up-close and personal Aerosmith stories.

Tickets will go on sale Saturday, April l7th through and by phone at 1-800-514-3849.
Tickets will not be available at the Red Sox ticket office.

For more information on AEROSMITH, including fan club pre-sale tickets, go to To buy tickets to this show click HERE.

Fenway Park is offering a PreSale: Thursday, April 15 12 p.m. (noon) and ending at 6 p.m. on Friday, April 16.
Enter your password: PERRY

Photo courtesy of AeroForceOne

For J.Geils Photos by Nanci, please visit:

Monday, April 12, 2010

Two new songs from Blues and Lasers

<a href="">After All We're Only Human by Blues and Lasers</a>

Richard Marx at the Lebanon Opera House May 28

Richard Marx
May 28 Friday 7:30 PM

With over 30 million records sold and 13 number one hits, Richard Marx has consistently and powerfully made his mark on the music industry for the past 20 years. Now he performs those hits and more in an intimate acoustic concert at Lebanon Opera House.

His debut single “Don’t Mean Nothing” and self-titled debut album kicked off his career as a solo artist in 1987 and went on to sell 3 million copies.

His 1989 follow-up CD, “Repeat Offender,” became even more successful, selling over 7 million copies worldwide. From 1987 to 1990, he became the first male solo artist in history to have his first 7 singles reach the top 5 on Billboard’s singles chart, including the 1 hits “Hold On to the Nights,” “Satisfied” and the worldwide classic, “Right Here Waiting.” This feat remains unchallenged.

Pricing: All seats: $28

Hey folks it's the night before Grace Potter and the Nocturnals at the Opera House for Concerts for a Cause...make it a weekend of music!!

Cover Home Repair Benefit--The Wailin' Jennys

A benefit for COVER Home Repair.
April 24 7:30 PM
Lebanon Opera House

Frequent guests on NPR’s A Prairie Home Companion, The Wailin’ Jennys are Nicky Mehta, Ruth Moody and Heather Masse - three distinct voices that together make an achingly perfect vocal sound. All established singer-songwriters in their own right, The Jennys are winning fast fans all over the world with their powerful singing and thoughtful rootsy songwriting.

Section A: $28
Section B: $28
Section C: $28
Discounts available for Seniors & Kids


Sponsor: The Point

Aasif Mandvi at the Lebanon Opera House April 17

April 17
Lebanon Opera House, Lebanon NH
From the Opera House Website:
Known for his entertaining and insightful "on-location" reporting, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart correspondent Aasif Mandvi brings Upper Valley audiences behind the scenes of the hit primetime news satire. Mandvi offers his insight on how the writers and correspondents analyze the best and worst of each day's news to provide hilarious insight into the often ridiculous world of politics and international relations.

Section A: $25
Section B: $25
Section C: $25
Discounts available for Seniors & Kids
Part of the LOH Cheap Seat Series
Similar Artists: Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert

Sponsors: The Point | Hubert's Family Outfitters

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Little Cayman Diving, The Best in the Caribbean

Just back from a week diving in the clear waters off Little Cayman Island. We always stay at Little Cayman Beach Resort; this trip was our 11th visit!
Little Cayman is one of the two Sister Islands of the Caymans, the other is Cayman Brac. Grand Cayman is the largest island and Little is the smallest, only 10 mi long. But is has the BEST diving. The Northside has the famous Bloody Bay Wall which begins at about 20 feet and descends to about 6000 feet.
Just east of Bloody Bay is Jackson Bight, which boasts a mini-wall, a sandy boulevard where one can find Southern Stingrays, garden eels and if you're lucky Eagle Rays (pictures above); and the outer wall.
The reefs are lush with beautiful corals, hard and soft and lots of fishes. From the smallest Pipe Horses to the occasional Whale Shark.
Life on the reef was good until the Lionfish moved in...
Sure it looks beautiful, all those colors and feathers but this critter can decimate a reef very quickly. They have no predators, reproduce quickly and very young and eat everything in sight. Plus the young reef fish don't know what these animals are, and as a result they get eaten.
The Dive Masters at Reef Divers are collecting these fish as fast as they can but they are fighting a losing battle. They have now started training the Nassau Groupers to eat them.
While the groupers don't hunt and take them on their own yet, it's only a matter of time for these intelligent, curious fish to "catch" on. The groupers could be the saviors of the reef!

For more info about the Lionfish invasion please check out:

For more photos from our dive trip please visit: