RSSLocal Scene By Tom Lounges
Lounges looks at the latest projects of local musicians and bands and lets people know about upcoming musical events.
During the 1960s and 1970s in the neighborhoods and housing projects of Chicago to the steel city of Gary, some of the greatest soul music in America was composed, performed and recorded by such artists as Curtis Mayfield, Jerry Butler, The Dells, The Chi-lites, The Five Stairsteps, Chaka Kahn & Rufus, The Jackson Five and others.
Born and raised on Chicago's South Side, guitarist Peter Aglinskas - a professor in the music department at Harper College in Palatine, Ill - rekindles the soulful sound of such artists that he, like most of us, first heard played on local AM radio stations during his formative years.
His latest CD, "South Shore Soul," features a dozen solo finger-style guitar arrangements of soul music from some of these artists and others rooted in the region.
On Saturday there is an event akin to the “Superbowl” for dedicated lovers of vinyl all across the land. It's a day perfect for music aficionados who cherish the experience of flipping through racks and dropping a stylus into the grooves of a 12-inch platter of plastic.
Music fans will celebrate "Record Store Day" at independent record shops that have managed to survive since the advent of MP3s and digital downloads. Many of the vinyl treasures being sought on Saturday are pressed in extremely limited amounts ranging between 1,000 to 10,000 from copies of each title, adding to the excitement of the day.
"Immersing yourself in the environment of a real record store where music is celebrated and cherished adds real value to the experience of buying music,” said John Mellencamp. “In some ways, that retail experience is as important as the music.”
Another respected and beloved member of the local Northwest Indiana music community - Mike Severance - original drummer for Southern Rock group Eat A Peach, passed away March 31 following a long illness. The 1990 Hobart High School graduate became a major part of the region's music scene for many years.
This columnist had the pleasure of working closely with Eat A Peach in the late 1990s and early 2000s, writing about them often in this column, and producing shows with them at Star Plaza Theatre. Mike's exceptional drumming helped make Eat A Peach a major Midwest attraction and a popular national touring act that was written up in many music publications.
The band enjoyed some international glory when a popular French music magazine covering Southern Rock ran a major feature on them, bumping Lynyrd Skynyrd's Johnny Van Zant and Charlie Daniels Band's Taz Digregorio in favor of putting Eat A Peach on the issue's front cover.
Front Porch serves up what might be best described as "a world music smoothie" on Friday with the presentation of Four Shillings Short, a musical duo at the forefront of a current creative genre that blends Celtic, East Indian and American Folk music with Medieval and Renaissance styles.
With seven albums now to their credit, Four Shillings Short first formed in the San Francisco Bay Area in the mid-'80s when Aodh Og O’Tuama began making music with an ever evolving cast of Northern California’s Irish, Folk, Jazz and Classical musicians. The project finally solidified when O’Tuama - born in Cork, Ireland and plays Medieval and Renaissance woodwinds, tinwhistles, recorders, bowed psaltery, dumbek, spoons and sings in English and Gaelic - met up with Christy Martin in 1995. Martin has remained his creative partner in Four Shillings Short ever since.
O’Tuama comes from a family of poets, writers, musicians and teachers and studied music at University College Cork in Ireland and Stanford University in California, where his path crossed with native Californian Martin. Martin grew up in a family of musicians and dancers and began studying the Sitar at age 16 with a protégé of famed sitar maestro Ravi Shankar.
County Line Orchard, 200 South County Line Road, in Hobart, will again be the site for The Humane Society of Northwest Indiana's annual PET ROCK fundraiser on Saturday. The event features live entertainment, silent and live auctions, food options, a cash bar and more.
This columnist is again thrilled to be involved with the PET ROCK project serving as the evening's emcee - and in the spirit of full disclosure - helping to personally secure many of the celebrity-signed items to be auctioned.
Headlining the evening's stage bill is The Bluz Brothers - billed as "Chicago's premier tribute to Jake & Elwood Blues" - with special guest Laurie Blazzing from "Joplin: The Janis Joplin Show." The evening also features a special acoustic performance by members of Northwest Indiana's top club band, The Crawpuppies, plus comedians Marci Deloney and Rudy Ruiz of the Tomfoolery Fun Club variety show.
Fresh faced country music star RaeLynn, now 21, began her journey to fame four years ago as a teenager competing on Season Two of the hit television series, "The Voice," making it to the semi-finals for "Team Blake."
Since then, her self-composed songs - "God Made Girls," "Boyfriend," and latest single, "For The Boy" - have landed RaeLynn on major tours (Miranda Lambert, Rascal Flatts, etc.), on a record with former TV coach Blake Shelton, on radio playlists, and to the delight of region teens at Hobart High School.
On March 12, RaeLynn visited Hobart High School as part of a week-long "Music In Our Schools Bus Tour" - sponsored by National Association for Music Education, Give a Note Foundation and Radio Disney - celebrating the 30th anniversary of "National Music in Our Schools Month." The free event drew over 200 people. More: raelynnbustour.com.
It is with much sadness that I write about Mike Dykes, age 57, a beloved member of the regional music community who passed away Feb. 25. Very involved in the local music scene for many years, Mike was the dedicated manager and promoter for The Highway Band, a blues-rock group who under Mike’s guiding hand released four solid albums and rose to become a top drawing musical attraction in Northwest Indiana during the decade of the 2000s.
Mike Dykes was relentless when it came to promoting “his boys” as he often referred to the band. The phone calls and emails to this columnist were many over the years because he was the kind of band manager who broke a sweat, stayed up late and gave his best for his band.
More than just a hard worker with a persistent nature, Mike was always quick to step up and help with fundraising and benefit events, especially those aiding local musicians. Mike Dykes was simply a sweetheart of a guy whose smile lit up a room and whose presence always made an event more enjoyable. Mike was laid to rest March 2 at Salem Cemetery in Hebron. My condolences to his wife Becky Dykes, their children and all others in his family. Mike will be missed by all of us whose lives intersected with his over the years.
Although it may seem like only “yesterday” that The Beatles wanted to “hold your hand,” The Searchers had us on “needles and pins,” and Peter & Gordon refused to live in “a world without love,” five decades have passed since The British Invasion.
Flower Power, Psychedelic, Punk Rock, Disco, New Wave, Grunge and Alternative have come and gone since then. But for one night on March 7, those old songs will come to life again as The City Winery (1200 West Randolph) in Chicago hosts “The British Invasion 50th Anniversary Tour,” featuring Denny Laine (Moody Blues and Wings), Billy J. Kramer, Chad & Jeremy, Terry Sylvester (The Hollies), Mike Pender’s Searchers and Peter Asher (of Peter & Gordon).
“I emcee, tell some stories and introduce all the artists. Everyone does a handful of their hits, including me, and occasionally a few of us sing together. It’s really a lot of fun for us and for the audience,” said Peter Asher who with Gordon Waller landed nine songs on the U.S. Top 40. “Promoter Andrew Sandoval has included a lot of archival stuff to the show – photos, video clips and what have you – that really adds to things.” Some Asher stories are from his days as head of A&R for The Beatles’ Apple Records label.
Musical storyteller Ellis Paul brings his acoustic sound to Front Porch Music (505 East Lincolnway) in Valparaiso for an 8 p.m. all ages concert on March 7 (tickets, $18).
Paul's latest album, "Chasing Beauty," is a set of songs which detail stories of people and places that reflect larger truths about us all. Some of its best tracks are "Kick Out the Lights (Johnny Cash)," a tribute to the American icon name-checked in its title; "Plastic Soldier," a homage to a wounded soldier returning from Afghanistan and the tale of a real-life barnstorming pilot shared in "Jimmie Angel's Flying Circus."
Paul has told musical tales such as these for more than a quarter century, over the course of 19 albums, featuring songs that have been included on various movie soundtracks. Like Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan before him, Ellis Paul is a true troubadour, a tireless road dog that has spent most of his adult life strumming and singing in music haunts across the land.
Travel back to the magical 1960s, a time when all you needed was love, and a little help from your friends!
After playing to rave reviews and sold-out crowds on London’s West End and on Broadway in New York, “Let It Be: A Celebration of the Music of The Beatles,” a musical production seen by more than 1 million people worldwide, stops in South Bend tonight for a performance at the Morris Performing Arts Center, followed by a Chicago stop on Saturday at the Rosemont Theatre.
Acclaimed Beatles concert, “Let It Be” - the only show with grand rights to The Beatles’ music – is jam-packed with more than 40 Beatles’ hits, bringing the incredible catalog of songs to a whole new audience of music lovers.
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