By: Rachel Rocks
I know every month it’s the same thing… my life is CRAZY! Well let me tell ya, this month is no different. I think things have to calm down, but in reality I know that will never happen. The old phrase, “You can sleep when you’re dead” is a very common phrase in my life. I know it’s not just my life, it seems that craziness is happening all around me. I’m writing this after waking up and seeing images of Tubby’s up in flames. My heart absolutely breaks for Linda, Tom, Randy, Noel, Alena, Ritt, and all of the Staff of Tubby’s. They all have always supported the PA Musician Magazine and treated me like one of the family. Tubby’s fans, bands, staff, etc.. we are all just one big family. This is a huge impact on the entire Central PA music scene. As a magazine we lost an advertiser and long time supporter, but all of our advertising bands also lost another room to play in and get paid to play! Which means, how can they justify advertising? The PA Musician Magazine is definitely struggling, for our long time readers and supporters you know you used to open it up and flip through pages of bands, bands that would have their whole ad filled with dates Tues-Sat and beyond! It’s a whole domino effect, and unfortunately the big metal ball knocking us all down is money. I would honestly love to go live in a perfect utopia where we can just trade goods and survive off the land. Unfortunately, that’s not in the cards right now, so I will hopefully continue to plug on, and the PA Musician Magazine will continue to survive. Thank you so much to all of the people that heard my cry for advertisers on Facebook and came to the rescue!! Please take a moment to check out all of our advertisers and get out there and support them. Also, kudos to all of the bands that stepped up to play benefits for Tubby’s and their employees. The numbers just keep growing of how many benefits there are going to be and where. Hopefully by press time we will have an ad that displays all of this information, so again, check it out… They might have unemployment or insurance, but it’s a long process til everything gets sorted out and you get the money from the insurance or whoever. This will hopefully take some of the burden off of everyone. There was an article on Penn Live that said Tubby’s might not be able to rebuild simply because of the new flood plain laws, let’s hope that’s not the case and Tubby’s can rebuild… bigger and better than EVER!
So this month starts out a long time ago on February 23rd for the Millennium Music Conference! It seems like a zillion years ago, and it’s not even been a whole month! Because of Mom’s medical issues and deadlines she was unable to come to the MMC this year, but I was able to hold down our booth and Acoustic stage thanks to the assistance of Chris and Dave from DP Russell Piano Conversions, also known as O.M.G. (Open Mic Guy). They always do an amazing job at providing sound, stage, instruments, including guitars, bass, drums, and even a Grand Piano! I also had Jim Price and Meredith Kaminek there to help me in a pinch, and my friends Lisa Lilly, and Monica Bollinger for all of their assistance. Of course my lunch delivered to me Friday by Six Bar Break was pretty darn sweet! Thanks again guys!!!! Also huge thanks to Meredith for bringing delicious Maple Donuts for our booth. With over 10 years of hosting an Open Mic at the MMC we’ve made quite a bit of friends along the way. Some of those amazing friends are CK, Heather, and Ivan. They travel to Harrisburg every year and help Harris with Registration, Mentoring, and everything else he might need. They are amazing and some of the nicest people ever! I look forward to hanging with them every year.
We saw 48 different acts on our acoustic stage in just 2 days of the trade show, which is only 6 hours each day. So.. that’s 48 changovers in 12 hours, which is about 4 minutes per act! Needless to say we were boppin and moving and grooving, I’m so grateful to all of the professionalism from all of the musicians in being prepared and respectful and playing their two allotted songs. Some played a little less, some a little more, but all in all it was an amazing day. We truly heard some super talented musicians all day long. Then after 6 hours of constant music, it was off to go support the band’s showcases at the venues throughout Harrisburg. Then you would think that would be enough, but then of course The Best Western was again amazing and let us go into the Ballroom so we could all hang out and the musicians could continue to jam. It really is honestly one of my favorite parts about the MMC is that it’s all about music… people are living, breathing, talking, playing, and learning about music all weekend long. People travel from near and super far, like Canada and beyond to come share their music. Obviously I can’t possibly write about all 55 Acts that I saw at the MMC, but I will do my best, and my only advice is don’t miss it next year!
Thursday night of the Millennium Music Conference always starts with bag stuffing. Once again we had a fabulous turn out and already met quite a few amazing groups and people. Two of those people are Joann and Vincent from Keep Music Alive. Google them and check them out. They are from Philadelphia and they are working with music teachers, musicians, etc. all over the United States and beyond to Keep Music Alive! It’s so important.. can you imagine a world without music?!? The party continued right there in O’Reilly’s with music starting at 8 with Cubbage, Highway 4, Autopilot, and Melt Like Clouds. All the bands did a great job at kicking off the weekend full of music and shenanigans. Autopilot came all the way from Saskatoon, Canada. The three guys from Autopilot quickly became our good friends, and stayed with us pretty much all weekend. By Saturday night we were even squishing 7 people in one Uber so we could all go downtown to support more music!
After just almost 2 hours of sleep it was time to wake up to put the kids on the bus, walk the dogs, and get to the conference. Thursday night we met The Foxfires from West Nyack, NY. They were cool cats from the very beginning. I told them about the acoustic stage and they were there pawing at it the next day, ready to play as soon as we were all hooked up and ready to go. The first one to sit down and drool over Dave’s amazing piano conversion, was Foxy from The Indigos. The Indigos are a 10 piece band from Muncie, Indiana. If you attended the conference, chances are you definitely met one if not all of them, or maybe you were fooled by one of their merch guy’s magic tricks. They were the band that was always wearing “indigo” colored clothes and talking about their band. Audrey Morgan, a pianist, also sat down at the piano and sang us a couple of very soft and soulful songs. Mike Lawson from Norfolk, VA also made heads turn as soon as he took the stage. His voice was just captivating!
The next band to stop by and say Hi were my local buddies, Six Bar Break. They were appreciating being on the cover of the magazine. Since there was a magazine in all of the buzz bags a lot of people definitely recognized them just from their cover pic. Ben’s wife Mo hung out at the booth with me while the boys went and learned “music stuff” at all of the amazing panels. Unfortunately RT had to work, but Ben and Dave got up and played us a couple songs. They also brought me back some delicious lunch from O’Reilly’s that definitely helped me get thru my day! Six Bar Break has a few dates this month, make sure and check out their ad for all of the details.
Mayfest was a young, pop band from Knoxville, TN that had me tempted to head to The Champ for their show if their set wasn’t so early. I was just too exhausted to get there in time. Chelsea Locklear was a frequent flyer on our stage. She not only plays the guitar, she plays the piano too, depending on her song. Her voice was mesmerizing so any chance I saw her standing around I’d get her to play some more! Ha! She was a good sport.
Jason Spiewak stopped by to jump on the piano a couple times. When he’s not too busy in panels or mentoring he would stretch his legs and play us a song or two, or just jam with whoever was on the stage at the time. Dave’s Piano Conversions are no joke! He rescues old beat up pianos from junkyards and completely redoes the woodwork and converts it into a Digital piano. He does grand pianos and uprights. They are perfect for small clubs, churches, houses, etc. because it has it’s own little PA system built right into it so it’s easy to adjust the volume and even have a couple friends plug in and play with you. The one he had at the trade show even had Bluetooth so we could play the music from our phones through the piano. Pretty crazy! Everyone that played it couldn’t believe it was a digital piano because it still feels and looks so much like the old classic piano.
Julia McDonald sat up on the stool to play us a beautiful song all the way up from sunny Florida. She was going to head to SXSW next. I would love to check that out someday. Vincent James had a booth at the trade show for Keep Music Alive, but he had to tickle the ivories and play some songs on the piano. One of SondorBlue’s band members stopped by to also play the piano. SondorBlue set up a tour from their hometown in South Carolina to help make their visit to Pennsylvania a worthwhile one.
The familiar faces of Sterling Koch and Jack Kulp from Crossroads Duo stopped by next. These two are always tons of fun, and amazing blues/rock musicians. They just recently got back from a trip to Memphis to play with some of the Nation’s top blues musicians. It was cool watching their experience unfold on Facebook. Crossroads Duo have quite a few shows lined up for April. You can check out their ad in this issue to get all of the details and get out there rockin’ and a rollin’ with these guys!
Another familiar, local face, Mycenea Worley showed up next. She at first jumped up on stage and jammed with Crossroads Duo. Then after she played her own song she invited up her 15 year old student, Cami Emerick to sing a song with her. Out of all the songs in the world, Cami chose “Chandelier” by Sia and she nailed it! Her voice was truly amazing!!! I guess if you’re looking for a good vocal coach, I’d contact Mycenea Worley.
Next on the stage was our first ukulele with the band Sofeya and the Puffins. I knew just from their outfits they were going to be fun and they really were. According to Facebook they label themselves as “gypsy rock”. They sounded like a pretty good mix of rock, folk, and bluegrass, but one thing for sure is they definitely had their own sound. Jimmy Clark was playing with Sofeya and he also sang and played his own song that was more of an Irish Folktale. These guys are very interesting to listen to. They play quite often here in the Harrisburg area, so I will definitely keep my eye out for them.
Nightmares of Eve returned to our stage next. They played our stage the previous year and I was glad to see them back again. They are a METAL band out of Harrisburg, but they play a very special acoustic version of their songs just for our stage. Dominic has an amazing voice, I’ve yet to see them out in their full metal glory, but hopefully our paths will cross soon. One person that did show up to see their MMC showcase at The Fieldhouse were the guys from iAi Records. They enjoyed their set so much that they signed a demo deal with the indie record label company. Hopefully all things go well, and they can talk more about their future! I’m excited to see they put an ad in this issue. You can check it out and get all the info you need to get out there and see these guys for yourself.
I have to admit, one of my favorite bands from the conference showed up on our stage next, The Vine Brothers. They are a 3 piece band, that aren’t actually brothers, but their harmonies and energy on the stage all gelled so well together, the name makes sense. These guys technically live in 3 different states, but they’ve been touring and criss-crossing the country for over 4 years! Every time they get together it just clicks. Their songwriting is so unique and different with a crazy mixture of bluegrass, folk, and blues, but also with plenty of wild energy just like a rock band! Seeing them perform on our acoustic stage twice and I even caught one of their Showcases at O’Reilly’s and every time I was equally impressed.
The final special treat of Friday’s tradeshow was a visit from Jack Pyers. You might recognize his name from his days in Dirty Looks or Harpo. Now he is performing as a solo artist and is working on a new CD. His voice is very captivating, and he’s one heck of a guitar player.
Next up it was time to head out to the Showcases, but first we needed some dinner. We decided to just eat at O’Reilly’s. While we were there we saw the Eugene Tyler Band. Their harmonies were so amazing, after they were done I invited them to play on our acoustic stage the next day, I was thrilled when they actually came, and they did not disappoint. The next band at O’Reilly’s were The Vine Brothers. You already know how much I love these guys. It was cool to hear them play longer and play some different songs. After we ate dinner it was time to zoom over to The Pour House for The Foxfires. Wow. Their harmonies and their songs were just crazy. They rocked The Pour House so much that they blew a fuse! Next we zoomed downtown to catch our good buds from Canada, Autopilot. Seeing them rock on the big stage in The Capitol Room was pretty cool. It was my first time seeing The Capitol Room at HMAC, it is an amazing room. The sound isn’t the best since the room is so huge, but it is a great size stage with great lights. Hopefully I will get the chance to see many more bands there soon. After seeing them and hearing Autopilot I could understand why they wouldn’t play on our acoustic stage. Their energy and sound is one of a kind and definitely needed a big stage! I’m glad we made it in to their Showcase. We were pretty excited to be heading back to the hotel, but then we found out that there was still quite a party happening at Joe K’s. We decided to jump back in the Uber and head over there. When we arrived Gina Cutillo was just finishing up her set. She was singing with a wired mic and riding on a mechanical bull! It was a little crazy and cool all at the same time. The last band of the night was Epoch Failure. I had a blast seeing these guys last year and this year was no different. One of my favorite things about these guys is the positive message in all of their songs! Their song “Champion” was even featured during the Superbowl when they were passing out The Lombardi trophy and doing their post game interview with Tom Brady. Pretty awesome! Well believe it or not, this was finally the end of the 1st full day of MMC 21. Now on to Day 2…
John Harris was a little nuts this year and started Saturday’s Trade Show at 10am. I thought for sure nothing would be going on, but before I even got to my booth the Baked Potatoes were on the stage and ready to play. Yes, the Baked Potatoes.. the best part is they had their Showcase Friday night with YamYam.. Yeah I know, I thought I was still sleeping too. Anyhow it was an early start to another very crazy day. Lou DeLise, another vendor at the trade show could no longer resist, he came over to try out Dave’s cool piano too. The Wildcat O’Halloran Band has their own special twist on their blues songs with very unique lyrics. One that definitely caught my attention. Experiment 34 had an amazing rock groove to their songs. They are from New Jersey, I will have to keep an eye out for these guys while I hang out at the beach this Summer. Grapefruit Cannonball.. I know, some of these band names… but anywho.. these guys played two songs that were so entirely different it was like you got slapped twice. Both songs were awesome and unique in their own special way. We then had a few repeat performers from Friday, and then Joey Welz came into the room.
Joey Welz is best known for his amazing piano skills in the legendary song “Rock Around the Clock” with Bill Haley & His Comets, but he also manages Canadian American Records where he has helped quite a few indie musicians find their way in this very complicated world of music. While helping other artists, Joey is still a very active artist himself. During the MMC Joey received a Lifetime Achievement Award for being the only artist in Rock and Roll Music who has written, recorded and released new music consecutively from 1955 until now, 2017. He has created 75-45s, 60-33.3 albums and 105 CD Albums! That is 62 years of never missing a year of new music. No other artist can make that claim. Congrats Joey on this amazing achievement. You can check out his ad in this issue for more information about Canadian American Records.
The Wild Planes flew down from New York and stopped by our stage. They were all wearing Fireball shirts, so I already knew we were going to be friends. They had amazing energy and charisma even on an acoustic stage, I can’t imagine how much fun they are when they our rockin’ all night in a venue. Next up was Danni Christian. I met her the night before at the “After Jam” in the ballroom. Danni and her friend Phil were very quiet and laid back, they barely even talked, well I guess she was saving it all for the stage. Her lyrics were shocking! She sings more of a Hip/Hop style of music with amazing and super fast lyrics and so much emotion! Definitely another one of those lessons of don’t judge a book by its cover! Phil Firetog took the stage next. Another great solo singer songwriter, I was told he also plays with some other guys too, and they call it The Phil Firetog Trio.
The Eugene Tyler Band that I saw the night before took my advice and stopped by our booth. It was awesome hearing their amazing harmonies more up close and personal. A full rocking band, the Nick Ryan Band stepped up next. I recognized Nick as part of the Taylor Tote Band from last year. He was back and ready to rock with a whole band of his own and Jake Tavill on keys. Joe Trojcak and Byron Linder both from Progressive Sound Studios came up next to tickle the ivories of the piano. It was time for the ladies to take over the stage for a bit. Alex Fry sat down at the piano and played and sang some absolutely beautiful songs. Then, Meloday Stolpp sat down on the stool and played her guitar for us all to hear.
Generations took the stage next. I tried hunting them down on Facebook but it’s amazing how many bands there are with the name Generations. Needless to say I couldn’t find this duo, but it seemed to me that they must be Father and Son. They really sang and played great together. Ashley Heath stopped by the stage next with a very smooth and sultry voice. Feyer stepped up and played his guitar and sang for us too, and at this point I heard that there was a Tornado Warning in our area and I started to freak out because my kids, 11 and 14 were home alone. I’m an over protective Mom, so needless to say I was freaking out. Luckily there were no tornadoes close to our house, but one did touch down in Lancaster. Crazy! Unfortunately, as I was calling my kiddos and making sure everything was still standing, I missed 3AM. 3AM is Eli the Hawk and Chris Whitmer. I’ve seen them both at the last few MMCs. It’s cool to see how they’ve gotten together and created their own band. I was looking forward to hearing them.
Andy Dimacale had some amazing lyrics it was cool just to listen to what he was singing. Pistol Shot Gypsy took the stage next. There were only 3 guys on stage, I was told they were missing some members, but either way they still captivated me with their music. They are actually a full rock band, and just by their style and their stage presence on our little acoustic stage, I’m sure their full show is rockin! They came down from Rhode Island, and I’m glad they stopped by our stage.
Matt Pless and Valerie were working on finding the time between panels all day to get the chance to play on our stage and they finally did. I guess they never really performed together before, but they were excited to try playing together on our stage. Hopefully our stage helped them move on with their musical journey because it was hard to believe they never played together before. Ten Cent Days are from right here in PA. It was crazy to see that the majority of the bands weren’t. It’s so sad for me to see that the local musicians hardly support such an amazing conference. I know a lot of people get upset because they have to play for free at venues they get paid to play at, but going to a music conference is also all about networking, trading shows, and going new places! I’m glad Ten Cent Days took advantage of everything the conference had to offer.
Some locals that were there and squeezed in a visit to the MMC into their very busy day were Nate Myers and Pete Netznik. They hung out for a while, visited with some different people and even found some time to step up on our stage. I could listen to Nate sing and play the harmonica for hours, and I just love watching these two together on stage. Pete and Nate are definitely not only two amazing musicians, but awesome people too! They had a gig later that afternoon at The Chameleon as part of the Lancaster Roots and Blues Festival but still made time to come hang out with us. These guys play with Nate Myers and the Aces and the Nate Myers Trio. You can check out their full schedule at natemyers.com. You can also see their ad in this issue.
Spencer & Sequoia have quite the story of how they met sharing songs through e-mail. Spencer lived in New York and Sequoia lived in New Zealand. She finally took the plunge and moved to New York where they got married and now have this amazing little band. I would’ve loved to have more time to hear these two and get to know them more. Suzi Brown stopped by next with her impressive guitar percussion unique style. She’s been to so many MMCs now, I can’t even keep track of what year we first met.
Roger Hammer took the stage next. He usually has JD on the stage with him, but unfortunately, he couldn’t make it. Instead of standing up there alone he invited up Nate and Pete to jam with him. The music community in this area is such a tight knit one, it was very normal to see these guys rockin together. Thanks to Roger Hammer for placing an ad in this issue! Every little bit counts and we need all the advertisers we can get! The last band on our acoustic stage was a repeat visit from Sofeya and the Puffins. I have to admit it was pretty cool to see and hear them again and finish our acoustic stage with a ukulele. Thanks again to Chris and Dave Russell from DP Russell Piano Conversions for bringing all the equipment and running the stage for me. You guys were absolutely amazing! It was definitely a record year with over 55 performers!!
Again, the night still wasn’t over!! We were all too exhausted to drive anywhere so we called Uber and had them take us down to HMAC. They had technically three different stages right there in one venue, so we had plenty of options. When we arrived the Chis Paterno Band was on the Capitol Room Stage. It was cool to catch their Showcase because I was impressed with how they promoted their Showcase. They actually wrote personal notes and put them under people’s hotel room doors, inviting them to come check them out. Quite a few people I talked to made the comment, “These guys put a note under my hotel room door!” So obviously, their idea worked!
My sister, Andrea Greene was out on a hot date with her friends and her hubby and they all stopped in to hang out with me. It is very rare to get my sister out enjoying live music, so it was a lot of fun! I personally was intrigued with The Indigos and looked forward to hearing their full show. With 10 people on the stage it was definitely a show! They were all over the place. I personally loved their energy, but with so many people playing at the same time, I have to admit I was a bit overwhelmed at times. It was a great stage for such a big band. I’m glad they were able to spread out and give us all a great show!
My brother-in-law Dave who is an amazing musician really liked the band SondorBlue playing down on the Stage on Herr. With only four members this band was extremely tight. It was cool to see Dave so excited. I wish I could get Dave and Andrea out more, it’s awesome to hear Dave’s musician stand point on a band’s performance.
My friend CK is a huge Observe the 93rd fan. They are the main reason we wound up at HMAC, but I’m glad we did because we really got to see a lot of great bands. Observe the 93rd has really come a long way since I originally started seeing them. I am so happy to see how natural Derek looks behind the microphone now. He has really come a long way in his performance. Observe the 93rd recently released a new album and new merch, so if you haven’t been out to a show, get out there and support them soon!
Next I went back upstairs to the Capitol Room to check out Yam Yam. I’ve heard a lot about this local favorite, and I’m glad our paths finally crossed. They are definitely a jam band, but they know how to rock too. Now I finally know what all the hype is about. The very last band of the night and of the MMC was The Trap Music Orchestra from Boston, MA. I forget how many band members they had on stage but it was somewhere around 20 with tons of different instruments. It was crazy! If you thought The Indigos had a lot of music going on with only 10 people, this was extremely overwhelming. They definitely had a lot of hype about them throughout the whole conference. There were plenty of people there to check them out!
It’s hard to believe MMC 21 has come to an end.. It’s always an absolute blast. I love visiting with my friends that I only get to see once a year. They are all like family. We’ve been to over 8 MMCs together. We’ve seen a lot of absolutely amazing bands. Congrats to John Harris on organizing yet another amazing MMC! Here’s to 21 more!
Besides for the MMC I didn’t really get out this month. I’ve been busy taking care of Mom. She has one more big surgery on Monday, March 27th, to remove her Kidney stones and then hopefully they can remove the tube in her back, and we can get things back to normal. We are getting very tired of the whole process. Hershey Medical Center has been amazing compared to Pinnacle. All of their doctors have an amazing bed side manner. We are so glad we made the switch to Hershey.
While I was out delivering magazines I did see J & D (Jeff Seyfried and Darrell Adams) at the Fredericksburg Eagle Hotel. It’s always a great place to stop, get some dinner, and enjoy the music! They’ve been having acoustic music on Friday nights from 6-9, followed by a DJ after the dinner rush. It really works out perfect for my delivery route! It was crazy to see Darrell stepped up to the technological world and is now using an iPad to get his song lyrics and ideas, although his big old school binder still travels with him. I’ll have to wait and see who is going to be next. You can also check out the Eagle Hotel’s full schedule in this issue and plan your next big night out on the town.
Please check out this issue. We have quite a few new advertisers and plenty of old ones! All of our advertisers need as much help as you can possibly give them. It is not easy to be self-employed in today’s world, or any world for this matter. Before you order something on the internet, please remember your local merchants. Make sure and check out the ad about all of the numerous benefits for Tubby’s happening throughout April and beyond. It is awesome to see the outpouring of the music community helping Tubby’s clean up from the ashes. We are still holding on to hope that they will rebuild, but as I’m typing this, that is still up in the air. So, we shall see… There are fewer and fewer places to play. Please get out there and support live music, support the venues, the music stores, the bands, etc. We are family, we have to watch out for each other. If you have any questions or comments you can reach me at RachelRocks@pamusician.net. Get out there and Support Local Music!