- Published on Friday, 17 May 2013 12:37
- Written by Jeanne Slaughter
Performance Space - Bowie Playhouse at Whitemarsh Park, 16500 White Marsh Park Drive, Bowie, MD 20715. By 2nd Star Productions.
Book and Lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner
Music by Frederick Loewe
Based on "The Once and Future King" by T.H. White
Directed by Jane B. Wingard
- Published on Wednesday, 08 May 2013 09:20
- Written by Donna Jefferson
- Published on Sunday, 05 May 2013 13:13
- Written by Jeanne Slaughter
By combining personal lyrics, air tight harmonies and earthy instrumentation using Mandolin, Violin, Concertina, and Acoustic Guitar and percussion, The Railers melds their energetic songs with the classic groundbreaking styles of the Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, Dixie Chicks, Nickel Creek and Bonnie Raitt, leaving audiences with an undeniable sound and unforgettable live show.
Appearing Saturday, May 11, 2013 at the Avalon Theatre, 40 E. Dover Street in Easton., Doors open at 7:30 pm; Show starts at 8:00 pm.
Follow The Railers on Facebook and catch up with their latest news and show announcements.
- Published on Wednesday, 01 May 2013 11:29
- Written by Heather
Think Adele mixed with Mary J. Blige, with a certain South Of The Mason-Dixon Line ache that’s all her own”, Sweet Leda has earned a reputation as a “rising star,” taking the diverse mid-Atlantic music scene by storm and becoming one of the most exciting and accomplished live acts around. Powered by Julie Cymek’s it has a rich blend of new school funk, soul, and pop, Sweet Leda’s heartfelt original material has drawn comparisons to Joss Stone, Janis, Maroon 5, Edie Brickell, and even Led Zeppelin while garnering its very own stylistic label: “sexy smooth rock and groove.” The band has been traveling more than ever, working it’s way up and down the east coast, so be sure to check the website for dates close by.
- Published on Monday, 29 April 2013 12:42
- Written by Chris Bancells
To look at them, you would never know. If you passed any one of the Kings of Crownsville on the street, you might not even notice them, not really. If you did, you might see a laminated badge for some government agency. You might even take note of his shoes, thinking that the red Chuck Taylor's, brown leather slides, or well-worn running shoes are nothing special.
What you will never, ever see, though, is their sound. That. Well, that has to be heard to be believed, because New Orleans blues has no business being so good so far north.
To be fair, calling the Kings a blues band might be an oversimplification.
"We don't reject any style," says Steve Johnson, the band's founder and front man. Growing up in New Orleans and Memphis, the deep roots beneath Johnson's songwriting and composing are obvious. But in a mix of guys this diverse, it can be hard to pin the Kings down.
"It's the gumbo," he adds, referring to the music just as much as the players.
In 2005, when Johnson started the band, there was a completely different line-up. Around 2009, 3 members left at the same time, and an evolution began as the current members came onboard.
Mike McCormik, a software engineer, brought a curious combination of classical and R&B experience, becoming the band's first piano player. He sits tall, on the soft side of rigid, behind a complicated-looking, red keyboard. Some of his band mates liken it to the control panel of a nuclear facility. For McCormik's part, he loves the inspiration and variety of the Kings.
"We're a New Orleans blues band, but we're more than that."
David Vermette, who has been playing bass guitar since he was 12, sees it from a different perspective.
"We're roots rock with a New Orleans sound." He points to the horns section for that, but also Johnson's "literary lyrics."
"The songs are about something specific. It's not just oh-my-baby-done-left-me. They are well-thought out, with great imagery," Vermette says. A freelance writer and researcher, the bespectacled bassist has a master's degree in music, taught musicology at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, and has studied with both a Grammy winner and a MacArthur "Genius Grant" recipient.
Rob Creath, a research scientist at the University of Maryland Medical School, who also happens to have a steady hand on the drums, is quick to point out the band's independent streak, especially when it comes to song selection.
"There are few bands playing original stuff, especially in jazz-oriented music," he says.
Indeed, most of the Kings' repertoire was written by Johnson and arranged by the whole group during rehearsals. In fact, on the band's latest studio album, Waiting There for Me (2012), 9 of the 10 songs are original material.
"Composing is rare," says Jim Tavener, a retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel who plays every horn he can get his hands on (and a little back up percussion as the need arises).
"It adds a lot of richness and variety to all the music we do," he adds. Along with fellow horn player Ed Justice, Tavener has spent the last 20 years playing in the Annapolis Junction Big Band. Looking every bit the government software analyst he describes himself as, Tavener nonetheless brings a sharp wit and easy laugh to the group.
Justice, a federal budget analyst, plays in a further four bands which he describes as "seasonal": The Incidental Brass (classical brass quintet), The Boonetown Stompers (Dixieland), The Maryland Musikverein (German "oom pah"), & The Benfield Brass Band (traditional British brass).
Although they spend their days in a variety of professional roles, each band member thinks of himself as a musician first. And whether it's during the regular Wednesday-night rehearsal at Johnson’s house, or out at a live show, the sound is what brings these Kings to life.
"When we're playing well, " Johnson says, "it's just great. Even in the living room."
"Especially in the living room," Creath adds.