Strike the ripe note Peach Music Festival lets fans, acts branch out

Strike the ripe note Peach Music Festival lets fans, acts branch out

The Peach Music Festival feels perfectly ripe in its seventh year.
The weekend-long concert series has refined its palette of offerings each summer, but even for diehards who have attended since it first broke ground at the Pavilion at Montage Mountain in 2012, there’s still fresh music to be seen and heard.
When Peach Fest returns to town Thursday, July 19, through Sunday, July 22, it’ll host new faces alongside dedicated favorites, including Grammy Award-winner Warren Haynes, who has performed at the festival since its first run.
With a repertoire of songs that covers his career in groups such as the Allman Brothers Band, various iterations of the Grateful Dead and his own jam band, Gov’t Mule, Haynes promised a wide range of hits old and new. Throughout the weekend, guests can catch him fronting Gov’t Mule and Dark Side of the Mule — a set of all Pink Floyd covers — as well as “Wake Up with Warren Haynes.”
Just before he jumped on a plane to depart for a string of gigs in Europe, Haynes spoke with The Times-Tribune by phone about why he loves playing shows like Peach Fest. 
“Festivals are an opportunity for both the fans and the bands to kind of branch out,” he said. “The bands get to play to some people who never heard them before, and fans discover music they never heard before.
“We tend to keep festival shows more up-tempo and a little more high-energy,” Haynes added. “Every show is different for us, so we usually don’t know until the day before or even the day of what we’ll play. Since we’ve played Peach Music Festival several times, we’ll make sure it’s different than what people heard the past couple years.
“There’ll be something from each part of our career, and also new music.”
Each of Haynes’ three sets will embody a specific vibe, giving guests plenty to take in even if they catch each of his performances.
“We’ll do a normal Gov’t Mule show, which is, I guess, anything but normal,” he said. “We don’t do much talking during shows; it’s mostly just music.”
Dark Side of the Mule, meanwhile, was a concept Haynes developed 10 years ago when he first played the covers for a Halloween show, one of the only occasions he’s dared to don a disguise and play someone else’s music, he noted.
“In the past couple years, we got so many requests for it, so this year we’re doing a handful of shows like that, and we’re excited about that,” Haynes said.
“Wake Up with Warren Haynes” aims to rouse the overnighters at the music festival with a morning of mellow music.
“Between those three sets, I don’t think we’ll repeat a song,” Haynes said.
The energy at Peach Fest is generated not only from the musicians who come back year after year, but also from the audiences who have a love and passion for the music that is just as strong, he said.
“Our music is all about honesty. We give everything we have to the music,” Haynes said. “We love what we do, and I think that translates to the audience.
“We’re taking all of our influences and combining them together in a way that hopefully appeals to like-minded fans of music, and since we do a different show every night, we are striving to give the audience something they’ll only see one time.
“That’s what I want to see at a show,” he added. “Something that never happened before, and something that’ll never happen again.”

Scranton’s Slapjaw marks  20 years of energetic music

Scranton’s Slapjaw marks 20 years of energetic music

Since bursting onto the local music scene two decades ago, Slapjaw has become an indelible fixture in the heavy metal/hardcore pantheon of Northeast Pennsylvania.
As the Scranton band gears up for a headlining show to mark its 20th anniversary, guitarist/bassist Jerry Kamora took a few moments to go On the Record about what’s changed over the years and what’s stayed the same with Slapjaw — namely, a dedication to presenting high-energy music that showcases strong tunes and even stronger friendships.

Q: Tell me a little about what you have planned for the upcoming 20th anniversary show.
A: Everyone does an anniversary show, but we aren’t everyone, so we’re having a birthday party. It’ll have giveaways plus performances by Alpha Audio, Victim, Earthmouth and Terrorize This.

Q: What’s the biggest difference among the band since you first entered the scene 20 years ago?
A: We’ve had many members come and go throughout the years (three singers and nine bassists). Our musical style has fluctuated slightly with the loss and addition of new members, but we’ve always remained true to our sound regardless of those changes or what has been the trend. Holding on to our core values of friendship, love for what we do and unwillingness to follow trends has allowed us to continue all these years.

Q: Describe your music and stage presence.
A: Our music is heavy, driven and loud. We take much pride in our stage performances. You won’t catch us standing on stage playing songs. We are in the crowd. We are rolling around on the floor. We can definitely be described as highly energetic and unorthodox. People often complement us on our stage presence. Many say that they have never seen such antics before nor have they seen our level of energy from another band in a long time.

Q: What do you hope audiences take away from a Slapjaw show?
A: We hope that everyone has as good a time as we do, no matter how young or old. If they like our sound, great. If they like our stage performance, great. If they like both, even better. We love what we do first and foremost beyond everything else. If one person appreciates any component of what we do, we are grateful for it. We realize that not everyone will like us, but if one thing we do at a show allows them to have fun, that is meaningful to us. We’d like everyone to walk out of that venue satisfied that their night was not spent in vain.

Q: How does it feel to hit this milestone?
A: It’s surreal in a sense. Starting out, we really had no idea how long this endeavor would last. At about 10 years in, we started to realize that this thing can potentially go on until it can’t anymore. The beauty of it all is the friendships that are created amongst ourselves. You really become a family when you’ve been together for this long. All of the disagreements and potential attitudes surrounding the music disappear, and you become an efficient unit. We certainly can’t leave out the many friendships we created and continue to create with fans and other musicians. These are friendships we cherish. Another fascinating part of being around this long is mentoring. We often don’t realize how much of an impact we may have made on fellow musicians, or kids who later become musicians, throughout the years until meeting them later in life and hearing them say things like, “It is because of you guys that I play an instrument,” or “Thank you for complimenting us on our band; you have no idea what it means to us coming from you guys.” We take much pride in that. It’s very humbling.

Sounds – July 19, 2018

Sounds – July 19, 2018

BAD ATTITUDE ADJUSTMENTS MIMICKING BIRDS – ‘Layers of Us’
THE GOOD: Northwest indie rockers Mimicking Birds come back with a placid third.
THE BAD: Not really.
THE NITTY GRITTY: What started out as a solo outlet for singer/guitarist Nate Lacy has become a proper band for a couple of records now. “Layers” continues the trio’s logical progression; a spacey work made of fragile melodies and pastoral settings that still manages to let a bit of genuine rock sneak into the mix.
On the surface, the songs are seamless, ebbing and flowing on waves so gentle they’re damn near hypnotic. What keeps the album from becoming straight up “dream pop” though is the backdrops. Punchy rhythms and electric guitars constantly remind you that this IS a rock album (and not only in spirit).
Warm and cozy tracks like “Sunlight Daze” and “Belongings” are blessed with Lacy’s tender vocals and just enough echo to take the edge off any jagged riffs. However, these songs carry the forward momentum necessary to keep us from completely drifting off into the ether.
BUY IT?: Sure.

THE VACCINES – ‘Combat Sports’ 
THE GOOD: British indie rockers the Vaccines regroup and release its fourth.
THE BAD: Changes…some good, some dull.
THE NITTY GRITTY: The band’s line-up shuffled (a pair of touring musicians are now full-fledged members), the Vaccines continue to refine its sound. Keyboards are more prominent and the guys have smoothed over some of the rough edges. But is that a good thing?
Those big bold hooks remain intact. It’s tough to ignore the slamming melodies carrying songs like “Put It on a T-Shirt” and “Maybe (Luck of the Draw).” Still, the Vaccines’ most exciting work is spread across its first two more visceral records – 2011’s “What Did You Expect” and 2012’s “Come of Age.”
If they continue in this direction, the band risks losing all that made them distinct in the first place (can you say Wombats?). “Combat Sports” hasn’t gone THAT far yet, but it should make long-time fans cautious about the future. Hopefully, the fifth album gets a shot of pure adrenaline.
BUY IT?: Your choice.

MATT AND KIM – ‘Almost Everyday’
THE GOOD: Brooklyn indie duo Matt and Kim come back with a brief wandering sixth.
THE BAD: Some songs work. Others feel incomplete.
THE NITTY GRITTY: The record was written and recorded while Kim Schifino recovered from a serious knee injury. That could have influenced the creation of more introspective pieces and less party anthems. Tracks such as “Like I Used to Be” and “Happy If You’re Happy” hail from a mellower place than usual. But you still get thumping forceful bangers such as the frustrated “Forever” and the slick “Glad I Tried.”
Yet, other cuts feel like unfinished throwaways. There’s a germ of an idea running through “All in My Head” that goes nowhere. Multi-chapter closer “Where Do We Go from Here” is TOO open-ended; a beginning with no logical conclusion. Plus there are a lot of GUESTS (Blink 182, Walk the Moon, Santigold, etc.) whose contributions feel wholly unnecessary (and in many cases are barely noticeable).
BUY IT?: Your call.

Concerts – July 19, 2018

Concerts – July 19, 2018

F.M. Kirby Center, Wilkes-Barre
Tickets: 570-826-1100
Dion, Friday, July 27
Yanni, Tuesday, July 31
Blues Traveler, Wednesday, Aug. 1
Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band and Beth Hart Band, Thursday, Aug. 2
Foghat and Savoy Brown, Saturday, Sept. 1
Sebastian Maniscalco, Friday, Sept. 14
Danny Gokey, Saturday, Sept. 29
Dwight Yoakam, Friday, Oct. 5
Wanda Sykes, Thursday, Nov. 1
Stayin’ Alive: One Night of the Bee Gees, Friday, Nov. 2

Mount Airy Casino Resort, Mount Pocono
Tickets: 877-682-4791
Lee Brice, Friday, July 20 (Outdoor Summer Pavilion)
Brian Wilson, Saturday, July 21 (Outdoor Summer Pavilion)
Billy Currington, Saturday, July 28 (Outdoor Summer Pavilion)
Jay Sean, Saturday, Aug. 4 (Wet Nightclub)
MADEINTYO, Saturday, Aug. 18 (Wet Nightclub)
Michael McDonald, Friday, Aug. 24 (Outdoor Summer Pavilion)
DJ Pauly D, Saturday, Aug. 25 (Wet Nightclub)
Phillip Phillips and Gavin DeGraw, Thursday, Aug. 30 (Outdoor Summer Pavilion)
The Isley Brothers, Saturday, Sept. 1 (Outdoor Summer Pavilion)
Alanis Morissette, Saturday, Sept. 8 (Outdoor Summer Stage)

Radisson at Lackawanna Station hotel, Scranton
Tickets: 570-575-5282
Scranton Jazz Festival, Friday, Aug. 3, through Sunday, Aug. 5

Penn’s Peak, Jim Thorpe
Tickets: 570-325-0371
Killer Queen, Thursday, July 19
Buddy Guy & Jonny Lang, Friday, July 20
Blackmore’s Night, Thursday, July 26
Yonder Mountain String Band, Friday, July 27
Creedence Clearwater Revisited, Wednesday, Aug. 1
Guster, Thursday, Aug. 2
Another Day Dawns, Friday, Aug. 3
Nightwind, Saturday, Aug. 4
Becky & The Beasts, Thursday, Aug. 9
Chris Isaak, Thursday, Aug. 16

Sherman Theater, Stroudsburg
Tickets: 570-420-2808
The Crowning, Friday, July 20
Benatton featuring Lani Lux, Saturday, July 21
Billy Currington and LOCASH, Sunday, July 28
Eye on Attraction, Saturday, July 28
The Bacon Brothers, Thursday, Aug. 2
Saint Slumber, Saturday, Aug. 4
Black Label Society with Corrosion of Conformity, Thursday, Aug. 9
Acoustic Pursuit EP release show, Friday, Aug. 17
Stereo Jo, Saturday, Aug. 18
Bloom./Bleacher Days, Tuesday, Aug. 21

SteelStacks, Bethlehem
Tickets: 610-332-1300
Tonic and Vertical Horizon, Thursday, July 26
Mary Chapin Carpenter, Friday, July 27
Trombone Shorty’s Voodoo Threauxdown Tour, Thursday, Aug. 2
Styx and Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Friday, Aug. 3
Daughtry, Saturday, Aug. 4
Jim Gaffigan, Sunday, Aug. 5
Dierks Bentley, Monday, Aug. 6
Kesha, Tuesday, Aug. 7
Gary Clark Jr., Wednesday, Aug. 8
Grouplove, Thursday, Aug. 9

The Fillmore, Philadelphia
Tickets: 215-625-3681
Foxtrot and the Get Down, Thursday, July 19
#yes50: Celebrating 50 Years of Yes, Friday, July 20
Nicki Bluhm, Thursday, July 26
My Bloody Valentine, Monday, July 30
Rico Nasty, Thursday, Aug. 2
Birdtalker, Friday, Aug. 3
Lydia, Friday, Aug. 10
Niki and Gavi, Sunday, Aug. 12
Playboi Carti, Tuesday, Aug. 14
No Place Like Home, Saturday, Aug. 18

Electric Factory, Philadelphia
Tickets: 215-627-1332
This Is Hardcore Fest, Friday, July 27, through Sunday, July 29
Glassjaw & Quicksand, Wednesday, Aug. 1
Beres Hammond, Saturday, Aug. 8
Alkaline Trio, Sunday, Aug. 19
Seether, Saturday, Sept. 15
Zhu, Tuesday, Sept. 25
Social Distortion, Friday, Sept. 28
Lost ’80s Live, Saturday, Sept. 29
Trice, Saturday, Oct. 6
Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators, Wednesday, Oct. 10

Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia
Tickets: 800-298-4200
Panic! At the Disco, Friday, July 27
The Smashing Pumpkins, Saturday, July 28
Radiohead, Tuesday, July 31, and Wednesday, Aug. 1
Super Freestyle Explosion 15th Anniversary Concert, Saturday, Aug. 18
Jeff Lynne’s ELO, Friday, Aug. 24
Elton John, Tuesday, Sept. 11, and Wednesday, Sept. 12
Sebastian Maniscalco, Thursday, Sept. 13
Drake with Migos, Saturday, Sept. 15
Childish Gambino, Tuesday, Sept. 18
Bruno Mars, Thursday, Sept. 19, and Friday, Sept. 20

Madison Square Garden, New York City
Tickets: 212-307-7171
Beck, Thursday, July 19
Panic! At the Disco, Tuesday, July 24
The Smashing Pumpkins, Wednesday, Aug. 1
Rod Stewart with Cyndi Lauper, Tuesday, Aug. 7
Shakira, Friday, Aug. 10
Jason Aldean, Saturday, Aug. 11
Jeff Lynne’s ELO, Tuesday, Aug. 21, and Wednesday, Aug. 22
Drake and Migos, Friday, Aug. 24, through Tuesday, Aug. 28
Dierks Bentley, Saturday, Sept. 8
Childish Gambino, Friday, Sept. 14

Beacon Theatre, New York City
Tickets: 212-465-6500
Punch Brothers with Madison Cunningham, Saturday, July 28
Alice Cooper, Thursday, Sept. 6
Eddie B. Teachers Only Comedy Tour, Saturday, Sept. 8
Ian Anderson presents Jethro Tull 50th Anniversary Tour, Tuesday, Sept. 11
Amos Lee, Friday, Sept. 14
The The, Monday, Sept. 17
James Bay, Tuesday, Sept. 18, and Wednesday, Sept. 19
Hozier, Monday, Sept. 24, through Wednesday, Sept. 26
The Gipsy Kings, Friday, Sept. 28

Sounds – July 12, 2018

Sounds – July 12, 2018

COMEBACKS AND KICK-OFFS BELLY — ‘Dove’
THE GOOD: New England alt-rockers Belly reforms and releases its third album (and first in over two decades).
THE BAD: Nope.
THE NITTY GRITTY: With Tanya Donelly still in front of
the band’s most prominent lineup, Belly picks up right where it left off in 1996. The group reformed for a handful of concerts two years ago and realized there was still NEW music in it. “Dove” is the result of some rather prolific sessions.
What’s great about the record is that the tunes are truly timeless. Belly didn’t radically overhaul or update its sound, and at the same time, the songs don’t sound stuck in the era of “Seinfeld” and Bill Clinton. “Dove” is simply guitar-driven indie rock; Donelly’s female vocals still captivate and hold their own against the delicate thunder below. Tracks such as “Human Child” and “Suffer the Fools” are that perfect combination of grace and power, with swaying melodies riding a fair amount of sheer volume. This reunion feels totally natural. Embrace it.
BUY IT?: Yes.

WE ARE SCIENTISTS — ‘Megaplex’
THE GOOD: New York indie pop duo We Are Scientists gives us its sixth.
THE BAD: Mixed emotions.
THE NITTY GRITTY: There’s good and bad on “Megaplex.” While the writing is focused and the songs are strong, a lot of the band’s quirky indie and new wave elements are toned down. It’s as if “Megaplex” is a bid for the pop market. I’m not saying that’s the case, but the record sounds dull and predictable in spots.
We still get the delicate sway of “KIT” and the melodic punchy closer “Properties of Perception.” Technically, there are NO duds here. However, there’s a certain “sameness,” not just amongst individual tracks but also the group’s catalog in general. These guys aren’t progressing enough from release to release. “Megaplex” is an enjoyable, guitar-based rock/pop record, but it barely leaves any lasting impression. It’s also interchangeable with their previous two or three albums.
BUY IT?: Your choice. Newbies may actually get more out of “Megaplex” than long-time fans craving something fresh.

MIDDLE KIDS — ‘Lost Friends’
THE GOOD: Australian indie trio Middle Kids releases a confident first full-length album.
THE BAD: “Lost Friends” loses momentum across its second half, but not enough to damage the overall work.
THE NITTY GRITTY: The group teased us with a self-titled EP last year. Now, the main attraction is here (and with only two “repeats” from 2017’s mini jam). “Lost Friends” is a driven, catchy set recalling a lot of female-fronted ’90s faves (Belly, Cranberries, Sleeper) and more recent friends (Joy Formidable, Naked and Famous, Metric). There’s nothing starkly original here, but the songs are damn good, and Hannah Joy’s entrancing vocals are their perfect method of delivery.
The album immediately draws us in with the one-two punch of full-bodied openers “Bought It” and “Mistake.” From there, the record rarely stumbles. By the time we reach the set’s second half though, songs begin to blend together. Still, this band is just getting started. “Lost Friends” accomplishes much, leaving us hopeful for the group’s future.
BUY IT?: I would.

Concerts – July 12, 2018

Concerts – July 12, 2018

F.M. Kirby Center, Wilkes-Barre
Tickets: 570-826-1100
Josh Blue, Thursday, July 12
Dion, Friday, July 27
Yanni, Tuesday, July 31
Blues Traveler, Wednesday, Aug. 1
Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band and Beth Hart Band, Thursday, Aug. 2
Foghat and Savoy Brown, Saturday, Sept. 1
Sebastian Maniscalco, Friday, Sept. 14
Danny Gokey, Saturday, Sept. 29
Dwight Yoakam, Friday, Oct. 5

Mount Airy Casino Resort, Mount Pocono
Tickets: 877-682-4791
Tee Grizzley, Saturday, July 14 (Wet Nightclub)
Lee Brice, Friday, July 20 (Outdoor Summer Pavilion)
Brian Wilson, Saturday, July 21 (Outdoor Summer Pavilion)
Billy Currington, Saturday, July 28 (Outdoor Summer Pavilion)
Jay Sean, Saturday, Aug. 4 (Wet Nightclub)
MADEINTYO, Saturday, Aug. 18 (Wet Nightclub)
Michael McDonald, Friday, Aug. 24 (Outdoor Summer Pavilion)
DJ Pauly D, Saturday, Aug. 25 (Wet Nightclub)
Phillip Phillips and Gavin DeGraw, Thursday, Aug. 30 (Outdoor Summer Pavilion)
The Isley Brothers, Saturday, Sept. 1 (Outdoor Summer Pavilion)

Radisson at Lackawanna Station hotel, Scranton
Tickets: 570-575-5282
Scranton Jazz Festival, Friday, Aug. 3, through Sunday, Aug. 5

Penn’s Peak, Jim Thorpe
Tickets: 570-325-0371
David Allan Coe, Thursday, July 12
38 Special, Friday, July 13
Shellshocked Churchills, Saturday, July 14
Killer Queen, Thursday, July 19
Buddy Guy & Jonny Lang, Friday, July 20
Blackmore’s Night, Thursday, July 26
Yonder Mountain String Band, Friday, July 27
Creedence Clearwater Revisited, Wednesday, Aug. 1
Guster, Thursday, Aug. 2
Another Day Dawns, Friday, Aug. 3

Sherman Theater, Stroudsburg
Tickets: 570-420-2808
Dead Men, Friday, July 13
A.J. Croix, Saturday, July 14
The Crowning, Friday, July 20
Benatton featuring Lani Lux, Saturday, July 21
Billy Currington and LOCASH, Sunday, July 28
Eye on Attraction, Saturday, July 28
The Bacon Brothers, Thursday, Aug. 2
Saint Slumber, Saturday, Aug. 4
Black Label Society with Corrosion of
Conformity, Thursday, Aug. 9
Acoustic Pursuit EP release show, Friday, Aug. 17

SteelStacks, Bethlehem
Tickets: 610-332-1300
Splintered Sunlight, Thursday, July 12
Banditos, Thursday, July 12
Tonic and Vertical Horizon, Thursday, July 26
Mary Chapin Carpenter, Friday, July 27
Trombone Shorty’s Voodoo Threauxdown Tour, Thursday, Aug. 2
Styx and Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Friday, Aug. 3
Daughtry, Saturday, Aug. 4
Jim Gaffigan, Sunday, Aug. 5
Dierks Bentley, Monday, Aug. 6
Kesha, Tuesday, Aug. 7

The Fillmore, Philadelphia
Tickets: 215-625-3681
Katie Herzig, Thursday, July 12
Emo Night Brooklyn, Friday, July 13
La Santa Cecilia Boogie Tour, Tuesday, July 17
Adelitas Way, Wednesday, July 18
Foxtrot and the Get Down, Thursday, July 19
#yes50: Celebrating 50 Years of Yes, Friday, July 20
Nicki Bluhm, Thursday, July 26
My Bloody Valentine, Monday, July 30
Rico Nasty, Thursday, Aug. 2
Birdtalker, Friday, Aug. 3

Electric Factory, Philadelphia
Tickets: 215-627-1332
Old Crow Medicine Show, Tuesday, July 24
Sleep, Wednesday, July 25
This Is Hardcore Fest, Friday, July 27, through Sunday, July 29
Glassjaw & Quicksand, Wednesday, Aug. 1
Beres Hammond, Saturday, Aug. 8
Alkaline Trio, Sunday, Aug. 19
Seether, Saturday, Sept. 15
Zhu, Tuesday, Sept. 25
Social Distortion, Friday, Sept. 28
Lost ’80s Live, Saturday, Sept. 29

Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia
Tickets: 800-298-4200
Shania Twain, Thursday, July 12
Panic! At the Disco, Friday, July 27
The Smashing Pumpkins, Saturday, July 28
Radiohead, Tuesday, July 31, and Wednesday, Aug. 1
Super Freestyle Explosion 15th Anniversary Concert, Saturday, Aug. 18
Jeff Lynne’s ELO, Friday, Aug. 24
Elton John, Tuesday, Sept. 11, and Wednesday, Sept. 12
Sebastian Maniscalco, Thursday, Sept. 13
Drake with Migos, Saturday, Sept. 15

Madison Square Garden, New York City
Tickets: 212-307-7171
Radiohead, Friday, July 13 and Saturday, July 14
Foo Fighters, Monday, July 16, and Tuesday, July 17
Billy Joel, Wednesday, July 18
Beck, Thursday, July 19
Panic! At the Disco, Tuesday, July 24
The Smashing Pumpkins, Wednesday, Aug. 1
Rod Stewart with Cyndi Lauper, Tuesday, Aug. 7
Shakira, Friday, Aug. 10
Jason Aldean: High Noon Neon Tour 2018, Saturday, Aug. 11
Jeff Lynne’s ELO, Tuesday, Aug. 21, and Wednesday, Aug. 22

Beacon Theatre, New York City
Tickets: 212-465-6500
Erasure, Friday, July 13, and Sunday, July 15
Dickey Betts with Marshall Tucker Band and Devon Allman featuring Duane Betts, Wednesday, July 18
Alice Cooper, Thursday, Sept. 6
Eddie B. Teachers Only Comedy Tour, Saturday, Sept. 8
Ian Anderson presents Jethro Tull 50th
Anniversary Tour, Tuesday, Sept. 11
Amos Lee, Friday, Sept. 14
The The, Monday, Sept. 17
James Bay, Tuesday, Sept. 18, and
Wednesday, Sept. 19

Music guides Scranton singer-songwriter through recovery

Music guides Scranton singer-songwriter through recovery

Scranton singer-songwriter Amanda Rogan was diagnosed with her first chronic illness, hypothyroidism, at 13.
Not long after, she also learned she had Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. And at 24, Rogan developed endometriosis, which caused her to undergo several serious surgeries in the span of a year.
But through all of her doctors’ appointments, surgeries and even a cancer scare, writing, recording and performing her music remained a source for healing and positivity.
“I try to talk about my struggles to help other people, for them to see that they are not alone and maybe find some sort of comfort or inspiration in my personal story,” the 26-year-old said.
In April, Rogan, who performs under the moniker Sweetnest, released her debut album, “Until Now.” She recently went On the Record to discuss the creation of that album while dealing with her chronic illnesses and what she plans for her future as a musician.

Q: How did you choose your stage name, Sweetnest?
A: I was in recovery after my latest surgery when I began to read more and write more, paying attention to words and phrases that I liked, specifically ones that carried a warm and comforting feeling. I eventually came across sweetness, which is a word I’ve always adored and called my loved ones. I then decided to try “Sweetnest” (as a play on words) and define it how I personally wanted to understand it. That definition is a safe space, one of comfort and authenticity. A place to be held and supported, always in existence, within or outside of the self. This message is also written on the back of the physical copies of “Until Now.”

Q: You just released your debut album, “Until Now.” How long were you working on writing and recording it?
A: The album itself took roughly six months to record, produce, mix and master. It was all done at JL Studios in Olyphant. They were remarkable and made the process much smoother for me. As for the songs, some of them are 12 years old, while others are less than a year old. And since all of my songs consisted mainly of just ukulele and vocals, nearly all of the instrumental was written and formed in studio. Focusing on creating this was a saving grace and perfect place to put my energy during a very stressful and scary time in regards to my health.

Q: How does it feel to have your music out there for people to consume whenever they choose?
A: It really feels amazing, honestly. I finally feel like I have something to show for all of my years of writing and playing music, and I really am proud of it all. I used to walk around and say, “Hey! I have a bunch of original songs,” but when people asked how they could listen to them, there wasn’t a way. But now I am beyond happy that people can access it and have it as their own. I’ve always dreamt of my music having a place in others’ lives.

Q: What are some of your influences, either musically or non-musically?
A: Musically I have had a lot of different influences. I was raised on Motown and classic rock, but my music taste is all over the place. Some of my biggest influences include Conor Oberst, Daughter, Regina Spektor, Dry the River, Andy Hull, Bowerbirds, Justin Vernon, Amy Winehouse, Ben Howard, No Doubt, Dear and the Headlights, Hayley Williams, Panic, Tegan and Sara, Carole King, and the list goes on and on. As for non-musically, I’m influenced and inspired by kindness, empathy, pain, passion, movement, color, connection. I’m inspired by loneliness as well as love. My hard-working family as well as the individuals living in their own power and truth (which encourages me to do the same). I’m also heavily inspired by water, nature, plants and animals as well as simple things that help (make) navigating this life a little easier: painting, art in general, touch, laughter, books, learning, helping others, etc. I feel it all trickles into my art, writing and music as well.

Q: What do you enjoy about performing in and around NEPA? Has the music scene here affected your sound?
A: There’s a real sense of community within the NEPA music scene. Everyone is ready to support one another and lift each other up. In the past, I was familiar with the art side, but deep down I wanted to be heavily involved with music. I felt like an outsider until Matt (my guitarist) introduced me to other local musicians that I clicked with. That’s when I really began to feel this may be a place for me. I feel like I have my own style musically, but I was definitely influenced by the amazing drive and natural talent of many local acts.

Q: What do you hope to achieve in 2018 and beyond as a musician?
A: I hope “Until Now” reaches as many people as possible. I hope it resonates with them and, like I said before, can hold a space in their lives. This album has every part of me in it, and I can only hope some success can come from it. I’m really grateful for the positive feedback I’ve received so far, and I am looking forward to playing more live gigs, writing new material and getting back into the studio to create. I’m also looking forward to collaborating with other musicians and getting to know more people in the community.

 

Concerts – July 5, 2018

Concerts – July 5, 2018

F.M. Kirby Center, Wilkes-Barre
Tickets: 570-826-1100
Josh Blue, Thursday, July 12
Dion, Friday, July 27
Yanni, Tuesday, July 31
Blues Traveler, Wednesday, Aug. 1
Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band and Beth Hart Band, Thursday, Aug. 2
Foghat and Savoy Brown, Saturday, Sept. 1
Sebastian Maniscalco, Friday, Sept. 14

Mount Airy Casino Resort, Mount Pocono
Tickets: 877-682-4791
August Alsina, Saturday, July 7
(Wet Nightclub)
Tee Grizzley, Saturday, July 14 (Wet Nightclub)
Lee Brice, Friday, July 20 (Outdoor Summer Pavilion)
Brian Wilson, Saturday, July 21 (Outdoor Summer Pavilion)
Billy Currington, Saturday, July 28 (Outdoor Summer Pavilion)
Jay Sean, Saturday, Aug. 4 (Wet Nightclub)
Michael McDonald, Friday, Aug. 24 (Outdoor Summer Pavilion)
DJ Pauly D, Saturday, Aug. 25 (Wet Nightclub)
Phillip Phillips and Gavin DeGraw, Thursday, Aug. 30 (Outdoor Summer Pavilion)
The Isley Brothers, Saturday, Sept. 1 (Outdoor Summer Pavilion)

Radisson at Lackawanna Station hotel, Scranton
Tickets: 570-575-5282
Scranton Jazz Festival, Friday, Aug. 3, through Sunday, Aug. 5

Penn’s Peak, Jim Thorpe
Tickets: 570-325-0371
Craig Thatcher Band, Thursday, July 5
#yes50: Celebrating 50 years of YES, Friday, July 6
Bounty Hunter, Saturday, July 7
Ted Nugent, Wednesday, July 11
David Allan Coe, Thursday, July 12
38 Special, Friday, July 13
Shellshocked Churchills, Saturday, July 14
Killer Queen, Thursday, July 19
Buddy Guy & Jonny Lang, Friday, July 20
Backmore’s Night, Thursday, July 26

Sherman Theater, Stroudsburg
Tickets: 570-420-2808
Dead Men, Friday, July 13
A.J. Croix, Saturday, July 14
The Crowning, Friday, July 20
Benatton featuring Lani Lux, Saturday, July 21
Billy Currington and LOCASH, Sunday, July 28

SteelStacks, Bethlehem
Tickets: 610-332-1300
Eaglemania, Saturday, July 7
The Struts, Tuesday, July 10
Splintered Sunlight, Thursday, July 12
Banditos, Thursday, July 12
Tonic and Vertical Horizon, Thursday, July 26
Mary Chapin Carpenter, Friday, July 27
Trombone Shorty’s Voodoo Threauxdown Tour, Thursday, Aug. 2
Styx and Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Friday, Aug. 3
Daughtry, Saturday, Aug. 4
Jim Gaffigan, Sunday, Aug. 5

The Fillmore, Philadelphia
Tickets: 215-625-3681
The Euphoric Experience, Saturday, July 7
O-Town, Sunday, July 8
King Princess, Monday, July 9
OS Mutantes, Wednesday, July 11
Katie Herzig, Thursday, July 12
Emo Night Brooklyn, Friday, July 13
La Santa Cecilia Boogie Tour, Tuesday, July 17
Adelitas Way, Wednesday, July 18
Foxtrot and the Get Down, Thursday, July 19
#yes50: Celebrating 50 Years of Yes, Friday, July 20

Electric Factory, Philadelphia
Tickets: 215-627-1332
Old Crow Medicine Show, Tuesday, July 24
Sleep, Wednesday, July 25
This Is Hardcore Fest, Friday, July 27, through Sunday, July 29
Glassjaw & Quicksand, Wednesday, Aug. 1
Beres Hammond, Saturday, Aug. 8
Alkaline Trio, Sunday, Aug. 19
Seether, Saturday, Sept. 15
Zhu, Tuesday, Sept. 25
Social Distortion, Friday, Sept. 28

Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia
Tickets: 800-298-4200
Shania Twain, Thursday, July 12
Panic! At the Disco, Friday, July 27
The Smashing Pumpkins, Saturday, July 28
Radiohead, Tuesday, July 31, and Wednesday, Aug. 1
Super Freestyle Explosion 15th Anniversary Concert, Saturday, Aug. 18
Jeff Lynne’s ELO, Friday, Aug. 24
Elton John, Tuesday, Sept. 11, and Wednesday, Sept. 12
Sebastian Maniscalco, Thursday, Sept. 13
Drake with Migos, Saturday, Sept. 15

Madison Square Garden, New York City
Tickets: 212-307-7171
Radiohead, Tuesday, July 10, through Saturday, July 14
Foo Fighters, Monday, July 16, through
Tuesday, July 17
Billy Joel, Wednesday, July 18
Beck, Thursday, July 19
Panic! At the Disco, Tuesday, July 24
The Smashing Pumpkins, Wednesday, Aug. 1
Rod Stewart with Cyndi Lauper, Tuesday, Aug. 7
Shakira, Friday, Aug. 10

Beacon Theatre, New York City
Tickets: 212-465-6500
Erasure, Friday, July 13, through Sunday,
July 15
Dickey Betts with Marshall Tucker Band and Devon Allman featuring Duane Betts,
Wednesday, July 18
Alice Cooper, Thursday, Sept. 6
Eddie B. Teachers Only Comedy Tour, Saturday, Sept. 8
Ian Anderson presents Jethro Tull 50th Anniversary Tour, Tuesday, Sept. 11
Amos Lee, Friday, Sept. 14
The The, Monday, Sept. 17
James Bay, Tuesday, Sept. 18, and Wednesday, Sept. 19
Neko Case, Thursday, Sept. 20

Cry the Blues

Cry the Blues

By: Clare Collins

Jam out to all the finest blues music the area has to offer at Briggs Farm Blues Festival.
Guests can enjoy the 21st annual music festival at the Nescopeck family farm from Thursday, July 5, to Sunday, July 8.
For four days and three nights, guests can experience first-class blues music from a number of different bands and soloists. Musical performances will be held in the farm’s natural outdoor amphitheater on the rolling hills of the more than 250-year-old farm. Organizers expect to receive over 7,000 guests from all over the world.
The Mighty Susquehannas & Friends, performing the music of Eric Clapton, will be the main event for Thursday night, when campers and multiple-day ticket holders can catch the act on this added extra night of music.
The weekend’s events also feature international, national and regional acts spread across three stages, including Samantha Fish and Vanessa Collier. 

Vanessa Collier

“There are a lot of strong female blues artists this year,” organizer Richard Briggs said. “Samantha Fish is a fantastic guitar player and contemporary blues musician, and Vanessa Collier is a very skilled saxophone player and an impressive, sophisticated vocalist.”
The National Reserve will perform Friday night on the main stage and Saturday night on the back porch stage.
“They have a very soulful, gritty sound to them,” Briggs said.
Sunday’s Gospel Blues show ends the weekend with performances by Mike Farris & the Roseland Rhythm Review and Ed Randazzo & Friends.
“It makes sense to end with gospel with the history of the blues,” Briggs said. “It’s very inspirational to end the weekend that way.”
In addition to the musical festivities, guests can enjoy authentic Mississippi Delta-style barbecue, including slow-smoked pulled pork; Southern fried catfish; jambalaya; fresh-picked, fire-roasted sweet corn; and mac-n-cheese with stewed tomatoes. Campers can enjoy breakfast from Saturday 7 to 11 a.m., and it includes biscuits and gravy, eggs and a choice of ham, bacon or sausage. There also will be lunch on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., which includes a chicken bacon ranch wrap.
“This isn’t your typical festival food,” Briggs said. “We tried to focus on adding Southern-style soul food for guests to enjoy.”
The Briggs family is extremely invested in this year-long project, with all members of the family preparing for the event. The festival has occupied most of the family’s time, with Briggs’ sons and grandsons helping year-round.
“This festival became a big part of our life and legacy,” he said.
_______________________________________________________________________________________________

If you go
What: Briggs Farm Blues Festival
When: Thursday, July 5, camping gate open 3 to 9 p.m., music 7 to 11 p.m.; Friday, July 6, camping gate open 10 a.m., main gate open at noon, music 2 p.m. to midnight; Saturday, July 7, main gate open at noon, music noon to midnight; Sunday, July 8, music 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., concert/campgrounds close 4 p.m.
Where: 88 Old Berwick Highway, Nescopeck
Tickets: Four-day pass with camping, $130 advance/$140 at gate; four-day general admission, $85 advance/$100 at gate; three-day pass with camping, $105 advance/$115 at gate; three-day general (Thursday to Saturday) $70 advance/$80 at gate; three-day general (Friday to Sunday), $70 advance/$80 at gate; two-day general, $50 advance/$60 at gate; one-day general $30 advance/$35 at gate; Sunday general $25 advance/$30 at gate. Tickets are available at several locations, including Joe Nardone’s Gallery of Sound, Wilkes-Barre and Dickson City; Briggs Farm and Amish Pantry, Nescopeck; A Perfect Blend, Berwick; and Endless Records, Bloomsburg.
Details: Visit briggsfarm.com.

Sounds – July 5, 2018

Sounds – July 5, 2018

WOMEN OF INDEPENDENCE COURTNEY BARNETT — ‘Tell Me How You Really Feel’
THE GOOD: Singer/songwriter/guitarist Courtney Barnett obliterates the sophomore slump.
THE BAD: Nope.
THE NITTY GRITTY: It was wise to release a collaborative effort with Kurt Vile (“Lotta Sea Lice”) instead of directly following up 2015’s triumph “Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit.” Barnett was placed on such a high pedestal in the indie rock community that ANY follow-up could be considered a let-down. “Sea Lice” gave listeners a simple, unaffected set to savor — a nice warm-up before the main event.
Now, “Tell Me” is finally here. It’s a record that doesn’t try to match “Sit and Think” and is all the better for it. The new album is slightly smaller in scope, with Barnett allowing us to get closer and peek inside her psyche. Tracks are both loose (the rambling “Hopefulessness”) and airtight (the razor-sharp “Crippling Self-Doubt and a General Lack of Confidence”). Barnett embraces her mood swings and grows as a songwriter. The next one should be brilliant, too.
BUY IT?: YES!

BEACH HOUSE — ‘7’
THE GOOD: Baltimore dream pop duo Beach House (vocalist/keyboardist Victoria Legrand and multi-instrumentalist Alex Scally) comes back with an appropriately titled seventh.
THE BAD: Nothing.
THE NITTY GRITTY: The band embraces a new creative process with “7.” Long-time producer Chris Coady has been replaced by NO official producer at all. Indie legend Sonic Boom acts as an on-again, off-again consultant of sorts. Instead of recording the album in a singular burst of creativity, the pair took its time at various sessions spread out over a year, letting the songs form more naturally.
“7” also is more intense than past efforts. The dreamy elements remain intact. However, they’re further enhanced by more live drums than usual, droning fits of distortion and echoes of vintage shoegaze. Sonic Boom’s presence certainly is felt within the distant rumblings of classic “My Bloody Valentine,” “Lush” or even his own “Spacemen 3.”
“7” is hardly a “noise-fest” though. You can still slip on a pair of headphones, close your eyes and drift away.
BUY IT?: Surely.

HOP ALONG — ‘Bark Your Head Off, Dog’
THE GOOD: Philadelphia indie rocker Hop Along comes back with a multi-textured third.
THE BAD: Nope.
THE NITTY GRITTY: Three albums into their career, Frances Quinlan and her crew already have covered a lot of territory. They’re one of those groups that are difficult to pigeonhole (never bad), rolling and crashing like thunder one moment and delicately weeping the next.
Musically, they recall amazing, female-fronted indie legends such as Bettie Serveert, Madder Rose and Throwing Muses while embracing the more progressive-leaning elements of contemporaries, such as Warpaint. Lyrically, Quinlan tells wondrous stories both concrete and abstract.
On “Dog,” tempos vary, moods swing and the guitars often take a backseat to delicate, intimate string arrangements. Quinlan’s emotional vocals always are the main focus, whether it’s the exhausted strains of “The Fox in Motion” or the breathy waltz bringing “Not Abel” to life. It’s impossible to discover all the subtle nuances of “Dog” in just one sitting. The album is further enhanced with each subsequent spin.
BUY IT?: Yes.

Olyphant’s Nothing Yet builds on rock background

Olyphant’s Nothing Yet builds on rock background

— By Brigid Lynett

Nothing Yet leaves nothing yet to be desired in Northeast Pennsylvania’s music scene.
Although the band is fairly new, the members — Brandon Rodriguez on lead guitar, Evan Collins on bass, Justin Kucharski on rhythm guitar and backup vocals, Martin Monahan on drums and backup vocals and Nicolo Manzo on lead vocals — created the band’s concept years ago during middle school.
Nothing Yet began playing strictly modern rock but has evolved to classic rock songs and even some pop music. Despite the formidable struggle that comes from juggling band members’ schedules, Nothing Yet continues to change, grow and thrive. The Midvalley-based band recently went On the Record to discuss its sound, struggles and goals.

Q: How did Nothing Yet get its start?
Monahan: The idea of the band started in 2011 when we wanted to play a middle-school talent show, and our current lineup started playing together in 2013.

Q: Tell us about the first time you performed.
Manzo: We were excited and kind of nervous, but the crowd was energized by hearing a full band. It was a surreal experience.

Q: Do you write your own songs? What is your creative process like?
Rodriguez: We’re in the early stages of writing our first song. It’s a collaborative effort. Anyone who has an idea is encouraged to bring it forward, and we work from there.

Q: How has NEPA affected your music?
Kucharski: The area has a vibrant music scene, and we’ve been given many opportunities. Each gig teaches us what music people enjoy and want to hear. As we got older, we learned that every opportunity is something to take seriously, as a way to prove ourselves. We were growing up as the music scene changed in NEPA, and we’re relatively new to the scene but have found it to be very exciting.

Q: How did you each get involved in music?
Manzo: My family is bonded together by music. Going back to my dad’s father, he was a singer, and everyone in my house is a singer or plays some instruments. It keeps us together, and we all share the love for it.
Collins: I was surrounded by friends who played music and was just looking for another thing to challenge myself with, which led to playing the bass.
Kucharski: My grandfather and my father played in a band, and I felt inspired and wanted to play the guitar. I started in 2010 and haven’t stopped since.
Monahan: I joined concert band and chorus in elementary school and, in middle school, I was encouraged to play the drums in school jazz band. Soon after that, I felt inspired to start the band with Justin and Nicolo.
Rodriguez: I got into music by accident. My cousin was telling me how much fun it was to play in a band. I picked up saxophone, and after a couple years, I tried guitar to play the music I liked, and it stemmed from there.

Q: Who has been your biggest influence?
Collins: Our families have been our biggest supporters throughout the years, and we wouldn’t be where we are without them.

Q: What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced as a band?
Monahan: Our ages slowed our growth early as a band. We tried to play everywhere we could, but only certain places accepted us because we were too young. Presently, we’re all working or in college, so it’s tough to make schedules line up to practice and write.

Q: Has your sound changed over the years?
Collins: Our sound has definitely expanded over the years. We’ve moved from strictly modern rock to both classic rock and some pop. We’ve learned from the many different types of crowds we’ve had and what they want to hear. Our taste in music has also evolved, and we’ve learned to play with more maturity and to be better as a group.

Q: What do you hope to accomplish this year?
Monahan: Our goal this year is to play more regularly and to write some original songs. These goals contribute to our major mission — to not let the rock die out.

 

Sounds – June 28, 2018

Sounds – June 28, 2018

INTERSTELLAR OVERDRIVE MGMT — ‘Little Dark Age’
THE GOOD: New England indie duo MGMT (vocalists and multi-instrumentalists Andrew VanWyngarden and Ben Goldwasser) come back with a focused fourth.
THE BAD: Nope.
THE NITTY GRITTY: It’s been over a decade since these guys scored with the synth-tinged rock set “Oracular Spectacular,” a tight Dave Fridmann-produced playlist that had massive crossover appeal. After that, the guys rallied against mainstream expectations on two follow-ups — the particularly weird “Congratulations” (2010) and the spacey “MGMT” (2013). Both had their moments while being “difficult” in places.
VanWyngarden and Goldwasser now bring back the hooks and approachable vibes. “Little Dark Age” is the most accessible the pair has been since its debut. Sell outs? I would bet not. The guys are simply playing to their strengths. MGMT are damn good at conjuring up catchy, synth-heavy indie pop. So it was time to do that all over again. My guess is all the band’s strange days AREN’T behind it. For now though, just revel in the bliss that is “Little Dark Age.”
BUY IT?: Yep.

OF MONTREAL — ‘White Is Relic/Irrealis Mood’
THE GOOD: Georgia indie rockers Of Montreal (mastermind Kevin Barnes and whomever he’s playing with) give us their 15th.
THE BAD: Not really.
THE NITTY GRITTY: Of Montreal is a rarity in that it’s VERY prolific (a new album comes out almost every year) AND willing to change direction often. Despite being released in quick succession, records often vary greatly from one other.
A few albums back, Barnes was all about the “band” aesthetic. A set such as 2013’s “Lousy with Sylvianbriar” was raw and spontaneous; Barnes created the din with a gaggle of other players. Since then, electronic elements have crept back into the mix, and more so on each subsequent outing.
“White Is Relic” finds the synths and dance grooves taking over; the record is even sequenced more like a collection of extended remixes than a proper LP. But this is all new material, inspired by current American paranoia and ’80s 12-inch singles. So get scared, get down and get crazy. That’s what Kevin wants.
BUY IT?: Yeah.

YOUNG GALAXY — ‘Down Time’
THE GOOD: Canadian electronic duo Young Galaxy goes completely independent on its sixth.
THE BAD: No complaints.
THE NITTY GRITTY: Since husband-and-wife team Stephen Ramsay and Catherine McCandless no longer suffer from record label restraints and expectations, the pair did whatever it felt like on “Down Time.” We reap the benefits of that freedom.
While the duo hasn’t abandoned its pop sensibilities (tight melodic tracks such as “Show You the Valley” and “Frontier” are proof of that), there’s a “chill” vibe running throughout the songs; the entire affair is much more ethereal and otherworldly than past efforts. McCandless’ rich vocals are out front most of the time, but the music doesn’t lose any clout when she’s not around; the swirling backing tracks are just as enthralling.
There’s an ebb and flow to “Down Time” that’s hypnotic. Rhythmic, ambient pieces such as “River” give way to focused bits such as “Stay for Real.” The record pulls you out of unconsciousness with a pronounced beat or hook. Mood swings work beautifully.
BUY IT?: I would.

Sounds – June 21, 2018

Sounds – June 21, 2018

NOT-SO-QUAINT FOLK WYE OAK — ‘The Louder I Call, the Faster It Runs’
THE GOOD: Maryland indie duo Wye Oak comes back with a buzzing, crackling sixth.
THE BAD: Nope.
THE NITTY GRITTY: What began as a modern, folk-tinged project has slowly morphed into something completely dissimilar over the past three albums. Rather than play it safe, guitarist/vocalist Jenn Wasner and drummer/keyboardist Andy Stack have left much of their acoustic leanings behind in favor of more electric guitars, tougher rhythms and more dominant synthesizers (some abrasive at times).
Harsher? Perhaps, but the music still emotionally resonates. Here, songs such as the delicately flowing “Lifer,” the melodic and dreamy “Over and Over” and the punchy title track resemble the early stuff in composition. However, their execution is radically different. Skip from 2009’s “The Knot” immediately to this new release, and you’d swear this was an electronic-leaning rock act trying to BE Wye Oak as opposed to the genuine article. However, the pair continues to make this ongoing sweeping transition run smoothly.
BUY IT?: Yes.

OKKERVIL RIVER — ‘In the Rainbow Rain’
THE GOOD: Modern folk/rock outfit Okkervil River comes back with its ninth.
THE BAD: Every album has its highs and lows, inspired moments and bits that drag. “Rain” follows this pattern.
THE NITTY GRITTY: Okkervil River has always been a proper band, but the only permanent member is singer/songwriter Will Sheff. Every record finds the man telling stories and getting introspective about his past. “Rain” kicks off with the clever “Famous Tracheotomies,” a track recalling Sheff’s own life-threatening surgery that occurred when he was just an infant. As the song plays on, we hear of other famous people who underwent similar procedures, Motown’s Mary Wells and Kinks frontman Ray Davies among them.
From there, moods shift from the top-heavy pop of “Pulled up the Ribbon” to the somber “Human Being Song.” Some tracks immediately click; others are slow burns. No DUDS though. Sheff covers emotional territories that are immediately relatable, and his songs are just distinct enough to not melt into one another.
BUY IT?: Sure.

S. CAREY — ‘Hundred Acres’
THE GOOD: Singer/songwriter and Bon Iver drummer Sean Carey releases his third solo full-length.
THE BAD: No gripes.
THE NITTY GRITTY: Carey’s profile has risen during the past decade. He’s no longer “that dude from Bon Iver who occasionally goes solo.” Now, he’s S. Carey, “the man who still plays with Bon Iver even though a solo career wouldn’t be out of the question.”
“Hundred Acres” feels like a genuine effort to maybe go in that very direction. The album is the most accessible of his career, with Carey abandoning some weird percussive habits in exchange for lush melodies, cozy harmonies and warm strings. Lyrically, the man keeps matters close to home; relatable relationships and simple pleasures are not uncommon.
Carey also realizes “less is more.” “Hundred Acres” sticks around just long enough (10 tunes in 38 minutes) to avoid the trappings of tedium. Moods and tempos rarely change, but the momentum never dissipates. There’s nothing wrong with a pleasant visit now and then.
BUY IT?: Sure.

Concerts – June 21, 2018

Concerts – June 21, 2018

F.M. Kirby Center, Wilkes-Barre
Tickets: 570-826-1100
Quiet Riot, the Sweet and House of Lords, Friday, June 29
Josh Blue, Thursday, July 12
Dion, Friday, July 27
Yanni, Tuesday, July 31
Blues Traveler, Wednesday, Aug. 1
Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band and Beth Hart Band, Thursday, Aug. 2
Foghat and Savoy Brown, Saturday, Sept. 1
Sebastian Maniscalco, Friday, Sept. 14
Danny Gokey, Saturday, Sept. 29

Mount Airy Casino Resort, Mount Pocono
Tickets: 877-682-4791
DJ Pauly D, Saturday, June 23 (Wet Nightclub)
Andrew Dice Clay, Friday, June 29 (Outdoor Summer Stage)
Vic Latino’s Free Live, Saturday, June 30 (Outdoor Summer Stage)
August Alsina, Saturday, July 7 (Wet Nightclub)
Tee Grizzley, Saturday, July 14 (Wet Nightclub)
Lee Brice, Friday, July 20 (Outdoor Summer Stage)
Brian Wilson, Saturday, July 21 (Outdoor Summer Stage)
Billy Currington, Saturday, July 28 (Outdoor Summer Stage)
Jay Sean, Saturday, Aug. 4 (Wet Nightclub)
Michael McDonald, Friday, Aug. 24 (Outdoor Summer Stage)

Radisson at Lackawanna Station hotel
Information: 570-575-5282
Scranton Jazz Festival, Friday, Aug. 3, through Sunday, Aug. 5

Penn’s Peak, Jim Thorpe
Tickets: 570-325-0371
Trace Adkins, Friday, June 22
Nightwind, Saturday, June 23
The Robert Cray Band, Sunday, June 24
Pat Benatar & Neil Giraldo, Thursday, June 28
Canned Heat, Friday, June 29
Neal McCoy, Saturday, June 30
Craig Thatcher Band, Thursday, July 5
#yes50: Celebrating 50 years of YES, Friday, July 6
Bounty Hunter, Saturday, July 7
Ted Nugent, Wednesday, July 11

River Street Jazz Cafe, Plains Twp.
Tickets: 570-822-2992
Catullus, Friday, June 22
Professor Louie & the Crowmatix with MiZ, Saturday, June 23
The Quebe Sisters, Friday, Aug. 17
Big D and the Kids Table, Pietasters and Hub City Stompers, Saturday, Sept. 15
Young n Dead featuring Young at Heart, Strawberry Jam and Village Idiots, Saturday, Sept. 22
Souled Out, Friday, Sept. 28
Royal Scam — Steely Dan tribute, Saturday, Sept. 29

Sherman Theater, Stroudsburg
Tickets: 570-420-2808
Lake Street Dive, Tuesday, June 19
Grand Khai, Friday, June 22
Echoes, Saturday, June 23
Open mic night with Poor Eliza, Sunday, June 24
Cedar Green, Friday, June 29
Dead Men, Friday, July 13
A.J. Croix, Saturday, July 14
The Crowning, Friday, July 20
Benatton featuring Lani Lux, Saturday, July 21
Billy Currington and LOCASH, Sunday, July 28

The Fillmore, Philadelphia
Tickets: 215-625-3681
Magic Sword, Sunday, June 24
Eric Bellinger, Tuesday, June 26
Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear, Thursday, June 28
The Matches, Friday, June 29
The Calling, Saturday, June 30
So Far Gone, Saturday, June 30
The Euphoric Experience, Saturday, July 8
O-Town, Sunday, July 8
King Princess, Monday, July 9
Os Mutantes, Wednesday, July 11
Katie Herzig, Thursday, July 12

Electric Factory, Philadelphia
Tickets: 215-627-1332
Old Crow Medicine Show, Tuesday, July 24
Sleep, Wednesday, July 25
This Is Hardcore Fest, Friday, July 27, through Sunday, July 29
Glassjaw and Quicksand, Wednesday, Aug. 1
Beres Hammond, Saturday, Aug. 4
Zhu, Tuesday, Sept. 25
Social Distortion, Friday, Sept. 28
Lost ’80s Live, Saturday, Sept. 29
Ja Rule, Friday, Oct. 12
Jessie J, Saturday, Oct. 20

Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia
Tickets: 800-298-4200
Sam Smith, Wednesday, July 4
Shania Twain, Thursday, July 12
Panic! At the Disco, Friday, July 27
The Smashing Pumpkins, Saturday, July 28
Radiohead, Tuesday, July 31, and
Wednesday, Aug. 1
Super Freestyle Explosion 15th Anniversary Concert, Saturday, Aug. 18
Nick Cannon presents: Wild ‘N Out Live, Thursday, Aug. 23
Jeff Lynne’s ELO, Friday, Aug. 24
Elton John, Tuesday, Sept. 11, and Wednesday, Sept. 12
Sebastian Maniscalco, Thursday, Sept. 13

Madison Square Garden, New York City
Tickets: 212-307-7171
Harry Styles, Thursday, June 21, and Friday, June 22
U2, Monday, June 25, and Tuesday, June 26
Sam Smith, Friday, June 29
Radiohead, Tuesday, July 10, through Saturday, July 14
Foo Fighters, Monday, July 16, through
Tuesday, July 17
Billy Joel, Wednesday, July 18
Beck, Thursday, July 19

Beacon Theatre, New York City
Tickets: 212-465-6500
The Monkees present The Mike and Mickey Show, Friday, June 22
The Ultimate Doo-Wop Show, Saturday, June 23
Seal, Tuesday, June 26
Erasure, Friday, July 13, through Sunday, July 15
Dickey Betts with Marshall Tucker Band and Devon Allman featuring Duane Betts,
Wednesday, July 18
Alice Cooper, Thursday, Sept. 6

SteelStacks, Bethlehem
Tickets: 610-332-1300
Nick Lowe with Los Straitjackets, Tuesday, June 26
Langhorne Slim and the Lost at Last Band, Friday, June 29
Craig Thatcher Band, Saturday, June 30
Eaglemania, Saturday, July 7
The Struts, Tuesday, July 10
Splintered Sunlight, Thursday, July 12
Banditos, Thursday, July 12
Femi Kuti and the Positive Force, Sunday, July 22
Tonic and Vertical Horizon, Thursday, July 26

Quartet at home playing NEPA for two decades

Quartet at home playing NEPA for two decades

A 40-pound head might sound strange to some, but for the past 22 years, it has been the namesake of a Luzerne County band.
The four-piece group, which describes its genre as “the other music,” came together in 1996 first as a cover band and then moved into writing its own music. Although sometimes the group performs as a two-piece unit known as 20lb Head or as a trio dubbed 30lb Head, it primarily plays as a quartet under its main moniker, performing both covers and original music.
The quartet is comprised of Jason Egenski on vocals, Steven Egenski on guitars and vocals, Gary Mikulski or bass and vocals and Mike Zubritski on percussion. Jason Egenski recently went On the Record to discuss the band’s past, present and future as a staple in Northeast Pennsylvania.

Q: Where did the name 40lb Head come from? How did the band form?
A: The long but abridged story behind the name is best laid out this way: One head equals eight pounds; five heads (yes, five) equals 40 pounds. Five heads together equals one big “40lb Head.” We never ended up with that fifth member, so we just upped the weight of one head to 10 pounds since 32lb Head doesn’t roll off your tongue quite as nice. Makes sense, right?

Q: What is a 40lb Head live show like? How would you describe the experience from the stage and for the fans?
A: Well, the best way to enjoy us is to grab a beer and watch a couple of your friends get together and have some fun. It’s like playing frisbee or corn hole with friends. Sometimes the bag is falling in the hole every other toss. Sometimes you miss a catch or the frisbee curves because you held onto it too long. Sometimes it’s the wind. Mostly winning though but never taking score.

Q: What are some of the biggest influences (musical or non-musical) to your sound?
A: We all have similar tastes in music. But when you start “taking exits off the highway and a couple turns and end up on a dirt road, the rabbit holes get deep.” Ya know what I mean?

Q: Do you perform covers or write original songs?
A: We started in 1996 as a cover band. It was tricky picking songs everyone enjoyed, but we broke out the abacus and found our lowest common denominator. In just a couple years, we were diving into writing original music. We put three albums out years ago — “Savior Self” in 1998, “Hills and Valleys” in 2000 and “Third Shift” in 2002. We were young then, and full of piss and vinegar. No careers yet, no families — plenty of extra time. Those were the days. Now, some 20 years later, we’re still having a blast throwing an original in there now and again along with “playing frisbee” with our cover songs.

Q: What do you enjoy about performing in and around NEPA? Has the music scene here affected the band’s sound?
A: There’s no place like home. I see a lot of complaining going on on Facebook about this area, but I love Northeastern Pennsylvania. Our roots are deep here. As far as I see it, our canoe is perfectly positioned in the river to “go with the flow” so to speak. It has been a relatively smooth sailing and enjoyable operation, and we are all very fortunate and grateful for that.