RSSLocal Scene By Tom Lounges
Lounges looks at the latest projects of local musicians and bands and lets people know about upcoming musical events.
It’s happening again! South Side production company, SoPro, presents its 31st Annual Thanksgiving Chicago All-Star Blues Revue Saturday (11/30) with a stellar cast of musical talents onboard.
SoPro partners BUD MONACO and RED ROSE have fine-tuned this event over the years, as players step on and off stage in a timely manner for mini-sets of blues classics and original fare. Although meticulously structured the show never comes off mechanical, as participants embrace the jam-heavy, free form style inherent to the blues.
“We’ve got a lot of the familiar faces back with us and we’re back for a second year at Sullivan’s Irish Pub & Eatery (4660 West 147th St.) in Midlothian,” said Monaco. “Sullivan’s is a perfect venue for this kind of multi-artist show because it has a full size stage, in-house sound and lights, and plenty of free parking.” Sullivan’s offers a varied menu, so blues fans can opt for a full dinner/concert experience.
For Richard Sterban, it does not feel like 40 years have passed since he got the surprise phone call from William Lee Golden inviting him to join the Oak Ridge Boys.
Because Golden picked up the receiver and let his fingers do the walking that day in 1973, Sterban’s trademark bass tones will be heard Nov. 24 at Star Plaza Theatre when the Oaks’ perform their 34th annual Christmas concert there.
Star Plaza Theatre’s CEO and talent buyer, Charlie Blum, once told this columnist, “The Christmas season doesn’t start in Northwest Indiana until the Oak Ridge Boys show up at Star Plaza.” Many folks in the region share that sentiment.
The name Jann Klose has become more recognized since it first appeared a number of years ago in this column, when I was introduced to the music of this singer/songwriter with global roots by my music savvy friend Anne Leighton.
Klose not only has a unique sound, but also quite a unique background — residing at times in South Africa, Germany and the American Midwest – which explains the multi-cultural influences and flavoring heard in his acoustic-rock sound.
“South Africa is a whole other world. I went to grade school there and High School in Johannesburg and before that my family lived in Kenya in Nairobi. I spent the first 10 years of my life in South Africa,” explained Klose, who was born in Hamburg, Germany. “Then I came here as an exchange student to Cleveland, Ohio where I joined a choir, took up playing keyboard and taught myself guitar.”
Jef Sarver has been a regional singer/songwriter for decades whose name has appeared in this column many times over the years, during which time he has released a string of original music albums. His latest solo CD, “Eight,” is expected to be released in mid-December.
This week is the first time Jeremy Sarver gets his first splash of ink in The Local Scene, with a powerful new collection of songs collaborated on with brother Jef and aptly titled “Sarver 2” (or Sarver squared), which weaves together two distinct styles of music.
“It’s a real niche sound,” said Jeremy. “It’s like Bob Dylan meets Nine Inch Nails.”
Last week’s Local Scene column offered aspiring young region hopefuls perhaps misled by the many reality TV shows about how easy it is to find musical success, some true reality from the lips of six major musicians who have earned star status.
Those nuggets of knowledge were but a few shared with this columnist during my years of doing celebrity interviews. This second part of that insider advice column wraps up this week with six additional stars sharing their nuggets.
“Try to find your own sound and develop it to its fullest,” advised Jethro Tull founder/frontman Ian Anderson. “Jethro Tull’s sound is hardly typical, yet we’ve been quite comfortable and successful over the years. As a musician or band, if you are unique, you will usually find an audience who will listen. It may not be a huge audience, but you can usually find a niche that will allow you to make a comfortable living with your art or your craft and being able to do that is what I would consider being a success.”
In today’s world of “American Idol”, “The Voice,” and other talent shows, it would seem that music stardom is quick and easy? But any working musician knows that it’s tough to eke out a living playing music and that it is often a difficult and heartbreaking road to travel.
My Local Scene column for this week and next week will offer young and gifted regional music hopefuls some true reality of what goes along with chasing fame and stardom. This two part column will feature some hard learned nuggets of knowledge passed on to me over my years of doing celebrity interviews with veteran artists who have made the climb and grabbed the brass ring.
“There’s no such thing as overnight success,” advised Joan Jett, who came to fame at 16 as a member of the all-teenage girl band, The Runaways. “Don’t ever be afraid to work hard and pay dues. Don’t be discouraged if doors get slammed in your face. Let those negative things serve to inspire you more and fuel your creative fire. If you stick it out, one day you will have the last laugh.”
Arguably one of the best groups to emerge from the “pre-wave” days of the 1970s was Chicago’s pioneering power-popsters, Pezband, a collective from suburban Oak Park formed in 1971.
Despite a trio of albums and two EPs full of infectious, hook-laden tunes, and having their 1978 LP “Laughing In The Dark,” heralded as “one of the best albums of the year” by Rolling Stone Magazine, Pezband never attained the level of success enjoyed by other Chicago groups who followed in their creative wake (i.e. Cheap Trick, Shoes, Off Broadway, etc.).
Pezband reunited last year with three founding members -- guitarist/vocalist Mimi Betinis, bassist/vocalist John Pazdan and drummer Mick Rain – and recently released “Dangerous People,” a collection of nine previously unreleased studio songs and two live tracks all recorded during the band’s late ‘70s heyday.
Iconic Windy City jazz-rock group, Chicago has never rested on their laurels nor resigned themselves to being “an oldies” act. According to the ensemble’s trumpeter/vocalist and co-founder, Lee Loughnane, they are not about to start.
Since first hitting the charts in 1967, the brassy jazz-rock band has continued to create new music and release new products, keeping them in the U.S. Top 10 during every decade of their existence, making Chicago one of the best-selling American bands in the world.
Lounghnane hopes to keep that streak going with the group’s release last week of new single, “America.” With its grass roots message that challenges “we the people” to step up and save the American dream before it’s too late.
A recent experience my wife Alice and I had while attending a concert at a very popular region concert hall is what inspires today’s column topic, “Proper Concert Hall Etiquette.”
As a music fan first and foremost, I attend concerts to see and more importantly to HEAR the artist performing on stage. It seems logical to assume most people do the same after shelling out money and taking time out of one’s life to attend a concert event.
Enjoying an evening of acoustic music was the plan, for us and for two other couples who showed up to enjoy an amazing performance by a national singer/songwriter. That was until a group of chatty late-comers ended our collective enjoyment with an endless stream of chatter, whispering and laughter, coupled with several trips to and from their seats.
With Paul Revere & the Raiders co-headlining the “Where the Action Is: An Evening of Hits and Laughs” at Star Plaza Theatre tonight, I thought it fun to share fun facts about “the legend of Paul Revere.”
1) Paul Revere is his real name... sort of. He was born January 7, 1938 as “Paul Revere Dick.”
2) Paul Revere owned a burger joint in Caldwell, Idaho and the kid delivering his burger buns was future Raiders’ singer Mark Lindsay. Their meeting made history.
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