Friday, April 23, 2010
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 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: http://www.markhummel.com/index.html
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: http://www.photosbynanci.com/bluesharmonica.html
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Sunday, April 18, 2010
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
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
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.
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: http://www.photosbynanci.com/aasifmandvi.html
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
Record Store Day was the brain child of Chris Brown, an employee of the independent record store chain, Bull Moose, which has locations in
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
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.
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 “
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.
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
More photos from the day's event maybe viewed at: http://www.photosbynanci.com/recordstoreday.html
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Aerosmith & J. Geils Band Rock Fenway Park August 14th
GET YOUR WINGS and BLOW YOUR FACE OUT!!!
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. NO CONCERT TICKETS!
Tickets will go on sale Saturday, April l7th through www.LiveNation.com 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 www.aeroforceone.com. 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: http://www.photosbynanci.com/jgeils.html
Monday, April 12, 2010
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.
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!!
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
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
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: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/Invasion-of-the-Lionfish.html
For more photos from our dive trip please visit: http://www.photosbynanci.com/LCBRApr2010.html