On Thursday, July 14, 2016; I started out with a near impromptu stop at the New Bern Golf & Country Club to grab a beer with my favorite blues couple, Big Jim & Kathy Kohler. This duo had just returned to town, earlier that day from a gig in Seattle. WA.
The couple hails from Long Island, NY and has been a part of the New Bern Community since 2011. Recently, the former youth pastor from their church on Long Island reached out to them and asked if they would come to play at an open house event for his new church in Seattle, WA. Upon completion of the performance, Big Jim was able to say he has played his blues from coast to coast.
The event was a success and many new town folks stopped in to hear the band while meeting and greeting parishioners.
The talented pair will return to NBGCC to perform on Thursday, July 28, 2016.
For my next stop, I shot over to Half Times Pub & Grub on Martin Luther King Blvd. to check in with Paid Time Off. The father/daughter duo featuring Rick and Jenna Leigh Huff were joined by special guest on bass and backing vocals; Mike Sandvig for a fun night of familiar melodies and great grooves.
I surprised sweet Jenna with a request for an original to send to my friend John Jones. She impressed me with the delivery of the first work she ever completed. This girl has is an amazing talent who can help you get lost in her soothing voice. The other thing that warms my soul about this girl is the connection she shares with her father. Be sure to check them of this Summer. I will, of course, keep you posted on their dates.
On Friday, July 15, 2016 it was the much anticipated Chamber of Commerce’s Rockin’ On The Rivers Concert featuring 3Day Weekend, Bryan Mayer and The Marshall Tucker Band.
Have you ever noticed that when you set up events outside in July here in the down east, more times than not; RAIN HAPPENS? Friday was no different. After a couple of songs by 3Day Weekend, the stage and the field had to evacuate due to inclement weather. Bryan Mayer did not get a chance to play at all. However, the good news for ticket holders on hand for the headliner, The Marshall Tucker Band, was that the weather moved out and the show went on.
This band was one of the first band’s I ever got to see live in concert. I saw them twice in the mid-80’s and loved them. On Friday night they brought me back to my youth as I stood stage side listening to all the classic tunes I’ve always loved. They played many great songs, including the old favorites like, “Fire On The Mountain,” “Heard It In A Love Song,” and of course the highlight was:
The other thing I really enjoyed about this show was watching the crowd of all ages get into the timeless southern rock made famous by the band so many years ago. Though this band has been through many season throughout their 45 years of entertaining us, the one thing that remains unchanged is founding member and lead singer, Doug Gray is still leading the charge on vocals. The rest of the line up includes Pat Elwood, bass; Marcus James Henderson, keyboards, flute, and vocals; B.B. Borden, drums; Chris Hicks, guitar and vocals and Rick Willis, guitar and vocals.
While waiting for the weather to figure out what it was going to do; my crew and I headed over to The Brown Pelican where we got to listen to James Ford and special guest on guitar and vocals; Sean Canary, who had the crowd grooving to his music when we walked in.
On Saturday July 16, 2016; I started out at the New Bern Civic Theater with mom where we took in the performance of “Bye Bye Birdie.”
This show was a lot of fun and most importantly it was a production brought to us by the youths in our community. New Bern Civic Theater, Executive Director, Angelina Doyle explained that they tried to bring this production to the stage many years ago, but the reception of the idea was not so warm. After many years of urging the theater to enlist our youths, they finally listened and TA DA! They put on a fine production of this timeless classic.
Set in Sweet Apple, Ohio in 1958 this show is about singing sensation Conrad Birdie going off to service. It offered comedy, music and great theatrics. I especially enjoyed the dramatic moments of Mr. MacAfee played by Wesley Gerard. His delivery was so full of emotion and feeling, that he brought you with him into every scene he was featured.
All in all, the entire cast of teenagers did an awesome job with bringing this sold out production to the stage. Never underestimate the power of our youth. They are amazing people with great minds that are inclined to accomplish the things we think the can’t.
One of the things that made this show even more enjoyable for me, the music lover, of course, the band. I asked Doyle if I could take a few shots of the band for my blog and she agreed. Making up the orchestra for this production are pianist, Shawntez D’Nadre Bell; bass, Ethan Goecke; clarinet, Brie Jones; trumpet, Aaron Register and drums, Nick Scott.
The final two shows for this play are happening today at 2 pm and this evening at 7:30 pm. A few tickets for tonight’s encore performance were still available, but hurry as this final show will certainly sell out also.
After our trip to the theater I dropped Mom at home and jumped in the “Magic Music Bus” and headed down to the dirty bird (The Brown Pelican) to have a listen to Zen Pirates who were tearing up the joint with their rock n roll offerings. I actually did not have this stop on my agenda until yesterday morning. I read news that keyboard, guitar girl and singer, Tracey Brenneman would be calling it quits after this gig. Hearing news like that will always prompt me to be a part of the action.
Looking ahead the band will carry on in her absence. They have joined forces with Atlantic Avenue singer Alisa Mike so look forward to that dynamic pairing in the weeks ahead. She debuted with the band a couple of weeks ago and everyone enjoyed the results. When I asked Mike about the future of Atlantic Avenue, she said they are still standing strong and playing around. In fact, she even plans on enjoying the jazz thing she does too. “Atta girl” was the phrase that passed through my mind when she shared her news.
Our final stop for the weekend was in Havelock, NC. We headed down to Jean’s Place located on Highway 70 East to check in with Solid Ground. This four piece band delivered a solid blend of rock favorites that kept the dance floor moving to their grooving!
The boys in the band already had a solid history of making good music, but with the addition of powerhouse vocalist, Donna Storey front and center, they seriously are standing on Solid Ground as their name reveals. In all honesty, last night was one of the best rock shows I have seen in these parts.
I became a fan of Storey’s some years ago when she was with another band project that played around the down east region. Though that band was a good effort, this band offers Storey lots of room for growth. She is playing with some serious players that truly match her level of talent.
On guitar and vocals you have an amazing player in Adam Hill who hails from Pink Hill, NC. This guy can call Hendrix and Vaughan straight from Heaven’s door to the stage with his ability to shred a six string. Helping fill out the sound are bass player Gordy George and Wayne Terribile behind the kit.
To keep up with all of the band news…like them on Facebook! Solid Ground on Facebook
That is a wrap on this weekend’s run around. However, before I jet set to the pool for some float time, I just wanted to make sure you knew that New Bern’s mascot band, The Bears will be playing today from 5-8 pm at Mickey Milligan’s on Trent Road in New Bern.
This venue is a first for them and their show is a first for the club as well. Given that, they are hoping you can make it out to show them your support. Free finger foods will be available inside. There is a $3.00 admission to the show.
Well kids, thanks for reading. I hope you share my work with your friends. I will be back later in the week with a new regional rundown this Thursday. If you’d like to get in the Zone, send me your dates and invite me to shows. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org