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The Professor’s “Live Reviews” – August 2017

By Jim Price

              Summertime live music activity continues at a frenzied clip, with concerts, festivals, fairs, celebrations and other various events and occasions providing plentiful music both outdoors and indoors!

              Outdoor music events have kept my life crazy in recent weeks. I took in two days of Johnstown’s 20th annual Thunder In The Valley motorcycle rally in late June. First attending on Thursday of Thunder weekend, I arrived in time to catch part of Norman Nardini’s performance at People’s Natural Gas Park. Flanked by his cast of Harry Bottoms on bass, Larry Siefers on keys, sax and harmonica, and Mike Floccari on drums; Norman mixed a smorgasbord of blues, rock, soul and country-toned original songs, dropping in generous dosages of his trademark humor and wit. Along the way, Norman welcomed renowned local guitar-wielding guests Felix Kos (of the Hurricanes) and Gene Sweeney (of Who’s Your Daddy) to work their respective six-string magic. Following Norman on the same stage was Johnstown trio Van Waylon, who fired up their blend of classic rock staples from the 1970s through 1990s. Singer/bassist Todd Harteis again showed a gritty, soulful voice, while guitarist Sebastian Steele displayed his axeslinging prowess and Ben Ressler’s driving beats propelled forward songs from Led Zeppelin, Black Crowes, Alice Cooper, Bad Company and more. I next headed to the Train Station stage, where Inside Out closed out the night with their fiery brand of modern, classic rock and originals – with some unexpected surprises thrown in. The catalyst for the surprises was 11-year-old guest drummer Alex Shumaker, who coaxed Inside Out to perform a few songs outside of their hard-rocking comfort zone. The result was rare Inside Out renditions of Fallout Boy’s “Sugar We’re Going Down,” Mark Ronson/Bruno Mars’ “Uptown Funk” and Walk the Moon’s “Shut Up and Dance.” But not to fear – singer/guitarist Tim Frick, bassist Larz Philip, new guitarist Cody Williams and drummer Mark Gindlesperger kept their rocking fan base happy with original tunes such as “Vampire Eyes,” “Giving Myself Away” and even their ‘90s-era original rocker “Can’t Stop a One Way Ride,” along with tunes from Disturbed, AC/DC, Marilyn Manson, Three Days Grace and more.

              I then returned for much of Saturday’s Thunder In The Valley slate, arriving to catch the last several songs of Second Wind’s performance on the Central Park gazebo stage. This western PA-based band of Riches – Bell on guitar and vocals, Howard on guitar, fiddle and vocals, Kost on bass and Resslar on drums – did nice work on classic, southern rock and country favorites. For their finale, Rich Howard took the spotlight, displaying fiery fiddle work on renditions of Charlie Daniels’ “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” and “Orange Blossom Special.” I then headed to the Biker Mall stage to see Nate Myers & the Aces in their first Thunder appearance. Namesake Nate singing and wailing on harmonica, guitarist/singer Jimmi Sexton, bassist Pete Netznik and drummer Kenny Ross mixed up R&B, funk, soul and swing sounds as they did original songs and select cover material. Nate sang and delivered play-by-play on original song favorites “Jager and Waffles” and his canine ode “Sparky Come Home,” and introduced the new song “Got a Job” from the group’s forthcoming album; and he and the Aces gave their signature flavor to renditions of Bill Withers’ “Ain’t No Sunshine,” Louis Prima’s “Jump, Jive an’ Wail” and Bobby Blue Bland’s “Turn On Your Love Light.” From there, I returned to the Central Park stage to see Krazy Kat Daddies as they performed vintage pop, rock and country favorites. Singer Jo Ann Nardelli, drummer Mike Nardelli, guitarist Vic Sabo and bassist Gary Faidley sparked dancing in front of the stage with hits from the Surfaris, CCR, Tommy James, Wilson Pickett, Elvis Presley, Stevie Ray Vaughan and more. Then back to the Biker Mall stage (yes, I got my cardio in during this event!), where the Stone Bridge Blues Band had begun. Singer/guitarist Mike Borstnar, bassist/singer Brian Moore, keyboardist Harold Hayford, harmonica player Rick Rhodes and drummer John Mundy generated bluesy grooves and stellar musicianship on blues canons from Muddy Waters, Junior Wells, Freddie King and more. Guest sax player Greg Maiocco helped stir up instrumental fireworks when he dueled with Mike and Rick on Albert Collins’ “Love Me Like You Say” and Freddie King’s “I’m Tore Down.” I then headed to the People’s Natural Gas Park stage to discover Pittsburgh country performers The Stickers. Brothers Joe Wodarek on lead vocals, John Wodarek on bass and Jim Wodarek on drums, plus guitarist Mike Ofca and keyboardist Jay Casper, fired up line dancing with their upbeat set of country original songs and select covers. One highlight was their popular song “Girl in a Pickup Truck,” which will be featured in the new movie Pure Country Pure Heart; they also did songs such as “Summertime” and “Country Proud,” plus a version of Motley Crue’s “Home Sweet Home.” I later returned to this same stage to see Shades Of June close out the night; sisters Jill and Leah Gontkovic joined the group as they performed rock and pop favorites.

              In between The Stickers and Shades Of June, I saw Thunder In The Valley Saturday headliners 38 Special rock the crowd at the Train Station stage. Starting with their classic anthem “Rockin’ Into the Night,” 38 Special – lead singer/guitarist Don Barnes, guitarist Danny Chauncey, keyboardist Bobby Capps, drummer Gary Moffatt and bassist Barry Dunaway – fired up the crowd with hits and favorites from throughout their career. 38 Special delivered constant energy and tight execution as they performed numbers such as “Back Where You Belong,” “Wild Eyed Southern Boys,” “Second Chance,” “Fantasy Girl,” “If I’d Been the One” and more. Kicking off with a take on Bad Company’s “Live for the Music,” the group strung together a lengthy medley of favorites that included “20th Century Fox,” “Back to Paradise,” “Sound of Your Voice,” “Somebody Like You,” “Honky Tonk Dancer,” “Teacher Teacher” and “You Keep Runnin’ Away.” A rendition of ZZ Top’s “Just Got Paid” led into a guitar solo display by Danny, followed by “Trooper with an Attitude” and a Gary drum solo – all setting up for the set-closing hit “Caught Up in You.” When the Thunder crowd demanded an encore, 38 Special returned to do three more – “Chain Lightning,” the hit “Hold On Loosely,” and a roaring rendition of CCR’s “Travelin’ Band.”

              Besides 38 Special, I saw another legendary southern rock/country name recently – Charlie Daniels headlined last month’s 43rd annual Country Music Show fundraiser for the Indiana County Fraternal Order of Police, which took place at the Indiana County Fairgrounds. Johnstown-based Johnny Cash/June Carter tribute group Ole 97 set the joyous tone for the afternoon. This group’s “Johnny” and “June” – singers Randy Hunter and Charlene Boldin – led the group as they celebrated ‘The Man In Black’ and June Carter with hits and curios from throughout Cash’s career. Randy, Charlene, guitarist/fiddler Joe Brucker, guitarist Doug Nagy, bassist Andy Heinze and drummer Paul Carpenter did Cash standards such as “I Walk the Line,” “Ring of Fire,” “I’ve Been Everywhere” and the set-closing “Folsom Prison Blues.” Randy and Charlene recalled the Johnny-June duets on “Long-Legged Guitar Pickin’ Man” and “Baby Ride Easy,” and Charlene sang lead on “Juke Box Blues.” Ole 97 dedicated the gospel-toned “Peace in the Valley” to all police and military personnel who gave their lives in the line of duty, and they did Joe’s original Cash-themed number, “Whole Lot of Cash.” Ole 97’s happy and reverent celebration of Johnny and June drew unanimous applause as they warmed up the huge grandstand crowd. Then, with the “Tennessee Waltz” playing through the sound system, Charlie Daniels and his band arrived on the stage. At age 80, Charlie showed no signs of slowing down as he and his band took charge from the get-go, opening with “Southern Boy” and “Drinkin’ My Baby Goodbye.” Charlie sawed on his fiddle early, and introduced “Redneck Fiddlin’ Man,” before switching off to guitar for two songs off his landmark 1974 album Fire On The Mountain, “Trudy” and “Caballo Diablo.” Charlie frequently celebrated his sidemen, and let guitarist Bruce Brown sing and take the spotlight on his own original song “Peace in the Morning.” He also spotlighted guitarist Chris Wormer’s shredding skills on a heated rendition of the “William Tell Overture” toward show’s end, and showcased the talents of keyboardist Shannon Wickline, bassist Charlie Hayward and drummer Ron Gannaway on the instrumental jam “Black Ice.” Charlie frequently addressed the audience between songs; saluting the troops and sharing his sentiments about a strong America before his hit “In America,” sharing the inspiration behind his spooky hit “The Legend of Wooley Swamp,” and humbly acknowledging how “Long Haired Country Boy” escalated into a fan favorite. He also related his early career as a session player who got hired to play guitar on Bob Dylan’s 1969 Nashville Skyline album, prompting his rendition of Dylan’s “I Shall Be Released.” Charlie saluted Johnny Cash with his band’s own take on “Folsom Prison Blues,” and offered a reverent, escalating version of “How Great Thou Art.” And to end the show, Charlie brandished fiddle again to recall his epic “The Devil Went Down to Georgia,” dueling and jamming with his bandmates for a feverish finish to a great show.

              Set to achieve the 90-year-old milestone early next year, the man who first taught me what treble and bass clefs, rests and quarter-notes are – my childhood accordion teacher Mario Crocetti – is still booking shows and entertaining audiences with his self-named trio. I checked out the Mario Crocetti Trio in action during the Lilly Fire Company Carnival in late June. Playing his Siwa & Figli accordion, Mario wasn’t even the eldest member of his own band this night, as singer Jack Dominick is already at the 90 mark, and still has a good singing voice! Mario, Jack, sax player/singer Brian Regala and drummer Jake Yarnish entertained carnival-goers with a variety of pop, jazz and country standards, polkas and even renditions of Elvis Presley’s “It’s Now or Never” and “Don’t Be Cruel!” The group also did favorites from Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Boots Randolph, Glenn Miller, Jim Reeves, Tom Jones, Louis Armstrong and more. And Mario and his trio broke out a few tunes I remember from long ago when I had to learn those songs for weekly accordion lessons – I’m now going to have to dig into my old Sedlon Accordion Method music books to relearn and find out what they were!

              Arts festivals were plentiful in recent weeks, including the 51st annual Central PA Festival of the Arts in downtown State College. I attended and witnessed several of the Saturday entertainers this year, beginning with Pure Cane Sugar at the Festival Shell stage. Vocal harmonies were again front and center of this group’s performance, as singer Natalie Race and singer/acoustic guitarist Kate Twoey blended their voices with stunning results. They, along with guitarist Jason “Junior” Tutwiler, bassist Bob Hart and drummer Daryl Branford triggered fun vibes and plentiful hula-hooping with their mix of original songs and inventive takes on favorites. The group introduced newer original songs such as “Box n’Nails” and their new single “Crazy,” as well as innovative takes on Tears for Fears’ “Shout,” Buffalo Springfield’s “Mr. Soul” and more. Next on the same stage was Nora Jane Struthers & the Party Line. Since the first time I saw them a few years ago, this group has evolved their brand of Americana-flavored music to mix traditional folk and bluegrass roots with country, rock, gospel and other elements. Singing and strumming acoustic guitar, Nora Jane and the Party Line – her husband and multi-instrumentalist Joe Overton, guitarist Josh Vana, bassist Brian Miller and drummer Drew Lanhorn – did a variety of folk, country and bluegrass-toned original songs and select covers. She tapped newer and older material, doing an upbeat arrangement of the title track to her 2013 album Carnival, and new songs from her next album, to be released in October. Nora and the Party Line also did versions of the Staple Singers’ “We’ve Got to Get Ourselves Together” and Guy Clark’s “Texas Cookin.’” From there, I headed to the Sidney Friedman Park stage to catch the last few songs of Velveeta’s performance. These Happy Valley favorites – singer/guitarist Brian Kriley, keyboardist/singer Brent Martin, bassist/singer John Matthews and drummer/singer John Harper – had a brisk dance party going as they finished up with favorites from The Foundations, Neil Diamond, the B-52s and Bryan Adams. I then returned to the Festival Shell for that stage’s final act, Pittsburgh’s Billy Price Band. Still possessing a strong and soulful voice and presence, Billy and his band – this night saxophonist Eric DeFade, guitarist Steve Delach, bassist Tom Valentine, keyboardist Jimmy Britton, drummer Dave Dodd and trumpet player George Amer – took the audience on a spirited rhythm and blues joyride. Opening with two songs from his new live CD Alive and Strange – “Ain’t a Juke Joint Without the Blues” into “Lickin’ Stick” – Billy and the group played songs from throughout his library, including more from the new CD such as “Something Strange,” “This Time I’m Done for Good,” “One More Day” and “Never Get Enough.” Billy’s spark was constant, and his band was tight and in the pocket, with Eric, Jimmy, Steve and Dave each providing stellar solo work along the way. After this performance, I caught the tail ends of both The Ultra Kings’ set at the Allen Street stage and Jackie Brown & the Gill Street Band (more on them later) at the Sidney Friedman Park stage to cap my Arts Festival experience.

              During the same week, the 25th annual People’s Choice Festival of Pennsylvania Arts & Crafts took place on the grounds of the Pennsylvania Military Museum in Boalsburg. Attending on the first day, Thursday, I saw two performances. State College’s Bluegrass Redemption performed on the South Stage shortly after I arrived. This group – singer/guitarist Rick Auhl, fiddler/singer Jane Auhl, banjo picker/singer Keith Miska, upright bassist Mike Bratton and mandolin player George Macias – entertained with a mix of traditional bluegrass, folk and country, with a few surprises thrown in. Bluegrass Redemption pleased the audience with numbers from George Jones, Pete Seeger, Jimmy Martin, Earl Scruggs, Dolly Parton and more; they also did a grassed-up version of Steve Winwood’s “Back in the High Life Again.” Afterward, I headed to the North Stage to catch part of ESP’s performance. Featuring singer/bassist Pat Elliott, guitarist/singer Ralf Southard, guitarist/singer Jerre Price and singer/multi-instrumentalist Eileen Christman, ESP demonstrated strong vocals and harmonies plus instrumental dexterity as they did classic rock gems from the 1970s. The group opened with the Crosby Stills & Nash double-shot of “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes” and “Wasted On The Way,” the Doobie Brothers’ “Black Water” and Toto’s “Africa.”

              I also attended the first day of the annual Westmoreland Arts & Heritage Festival, which took place at Twin Lakes Park near Greensburg in late June. A variety of live music was offered on four stages during this festival; the first performer I witnessed was Eirinn Abu on the Laurel stage. A Grammy-nominated saxophone artist who has worked with Miami Sound Machine and Dolly Parton, Eirinn performed a selection of instrumental adult contemporary numbers. Citing Andrea Bocelli, Michael Buble and Kenny G as influences, Eirinn explained his performance philosophy as singing through his saxophone. He demonstrated a smooth, gentle style as he performed movie themes from Romeo & Juliet, Titanic and other films, versions of Elvis Presley’s “I Can’t Help Falling in Love with You,” “How Great Thou Art” and more. I next headed to the Island stage to catch my first look at the Bad Boy Blues Band. Formed in 2012, this Greensburg-based group – singer/guitarist Bob Boyle, guitarist Vinnie DeFloria, bassist Ned Stokes and drummer Mike Sheffler – performed a rowdy mixture of electric blues, classic rock and original songs. Their original song selection mixed newer numbers with tunes from their debut album Temptation’s Calling; they also did numbers from the Rolling Stones, The Band, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Bad Company and more. I then returned to the Laurel stage to see Patsy Cline tribute performer Cathi Rhodes. After performing and directing the theatrical production Always Patsy Cline more than a decade ago, Cathi started her tribute to Patsy’s legacy, and regularly performs throughout western PA. Cathi gave background information about Patsy’s career, while performing many of Patsy’s songs such as “In Care of the Blues,” “Leavin’ on Your Mind,” “Stop, Look and Listen,” “Anytime” and more. And back at the Island stage, I watched Washington, D.C.’s Black Masala perform their worldbeat-driven sounds. Seven members strong including a brass section, Black Masala mixed elements of Slavic, Balkan, funk, punk, reggae and more into an energetic, unpredictable presentation. No two songs were the same, and the group’s multiple angles, vocal and instrumental diversity made this a fun show.

              The July 4 holiday brought another edition of Central PA 4th Fest, which took place around Penn State’s Beaver Stadium. Again, a number of musical performers entertained leading up to one of the biggest fireworks displays in the Northeast. I arrived in time to see the last three songs of former The Voice contestant Adley Stump’s performance. Adley and her band performed her new single, “Call You Mine,” before displaying her rocking persona with the AC/DC double-shot of “Highway to Hell” and “You Shook Me All Night Long.” I then saw Jackie Brown & the Gill Street Band present their high-energy, brass-edged mixture of funk, soul and R&B. Namesake Jackie was front and center, energizing the large audience with her vibrant, hearty voice and stage presence – flanked by keyboardist/singer John “JT” Thompson, guitarist/singer Charles Halcomb, bassist Peter Jogo, drummer Stubby Stubbs, and the four-piece horn section of sax players Tom Gallagher and Benjamin Kim, trumpet player Richard Meyer and trombone player Dave Priester. Highlights were numerous, as Jackie and Gill Street roused the crowd with hits from Average White Band, Marvin Gaye, Donna Summer, The Supremes, Stevie Wonder, Earth Wind & Fire and more. And Jackie doesn’t just sing; at one point, she went behind the drum kit to capably provide the beat on a few songs. And just before the fireworks began, I caught the last several songs of Velveeta’s set, as they triggered a dance party with hits from Dave Matthews Band, Neil Diamond, Bruce Springsteen, Don Henley, Styx, Old Crow Medicine Show and more.

              Also on July 4th weekend, I caught up with Ricky Lee and his band as they entertained partiers on the Bistro Deck at Lake Raystown Resort. This was a fun night as Ricky – flanked by bandmates Chip and C’Jay Castello on guitars, Dave Collins on bass and new drummer Rob Bonsell – sang a mixture of his original songs, country and southern/classic rock favorites. Ricky sang popular patriotic odes such as “She’s an American Soldier,” introduced new tunes such as “Something About You,” and performed favorites from Big & Rich, Old Crow Medicine Show, Brooks & Dunn, Travis Tritt, Kid Rock, Luke Bryan, George Jones, John Mellencamp and more. Ricky’s hearty voice was in good form, and he had fun with the crowd and kept them involved in the show. He celebrated his parents in the audience, and saluted his father, a cancer survivor. He also honored several requests from the packed-deck crowd. An obvious highlight was the fireworks display over Lake Raystown in between Ricky’s sets, with the band resuming the music as the fireworks concluded. Ricky and his band return to the Lake Raystown Bistro Deck on Sept. 3 (Labor Day weekend).

              Altoona’s Railroaders Museum stayed busy in recent weeks with several more installments of their Alive @ 5 Concert Series. New Jersey-based Tom Petty tribute Damn the Torpedoes graced the Museum’s flatcar stage in late June, with Agent Smith opening. With special fifth agent Rich Johnson helping out on guitar, Agent Smith accomplished their mission of rocking the rail yard crowd with a blend of hard-rocking favorites from the 1970s through 1990s. They did excellent work on tunes from Living Colour, Stone Temple Pilots, Queensryche, Tonic, Fuel, Led Zeppelin, Journey, Van Halen, The Cult and more. Guest Autumn Shiffler joined in to belt out her superb voice on versions of Stevie Nicks’ “Edge of Seventeen” and Alanis Morisette’s “You Oughta Know.” Damn the Torpedoes then followed, bringing the maximum Tom Petty music party for two sets. Five members strong, Damn the Torpedoes blended Petty hits and deep cuts from throughout the group’s career. Frontman Rich Kubicz was strong in the role of Tom Petty; his voice and presentation captured Petty’s style and sound. The rest of the group – guitarist Jimi Alan, keyboardist Gary Castelluccio, bassist Jon Provan and drummer Ross Kantor – were solid as well, nicely capturing the Petty-like arrangements. Most of the essential Petty catalog was performed: “I Won’t Back Down,” “Listen to Her Heart,” “I Need to Know,” “Running Down a Dream,” “Don’t Do Me Like That,” “It’s Good to Be King,” “You Got Lucky,” “You Don’t Know How It Feels,” “The Waiting,” “Even the Losers,” “Yer So Bad,” “Free Fallin,’” “Learning to Fly,” “Breakdown,” “Jammin’ Me,” “Mary Jane’s Last Dance,” “Here Comes My Girl,” “Refugee,” “American Girl” and more. When the crowd demanded more, Damn the Torpedoes encored with the Traveling Wilburys’ “Handle With Care,” “Don’t Come Around Here No More” and “You Wreck Me.” 

              I also witnessed Florida-based U2 tribute group U2 By UV last month at the Railroaders Museum, with Rewind opening the night. Rewind – singer Tom Getz, guitarist Chris Silva, bassist Dan Lukens and drummer Jamie Lane – won some new fans with their blend of rock and country favorites. During two sets, Rewind mixed up tunes from Poison, Finger Eleven, Lit, Bryan Adams, Pat Benatar, Luke Bryan, Bowling for Soup, Good Charlotte, Sponge, Van Halen, Theory Of A Deadman and more. They kept the momentum going, and attracted more cheers as their performance progressed. U2 By UV soon took the stage, and proceeded to open eyes and ears with their stunning depiction of U2, as they played hits and deep cuts from the U2 catalog, with special emphasis on The Joshua Tree album. Singer Michael Schmidt delivered a convincing voice as ‘Bono,’ and offered personality and charisma to match. The group’s ‘Edge,’ Eddie Steklasa, captured the various tones and nuances of The Edge’s guitar sound, and bassist Keith Howard and drummer Jeff Clemens were tight and convincing in the Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen, Jr. roles respectively. This group was invested in their U2 catalog, and did exceptional work on U2 canons such as “I Will Follow,” “Beautiful Day,” “Mysterious Ways,” “Vertigo,” “Pride (in the Name of Love),” “Where the Streets Have No Name,” “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For,” “Bullet the Blue Sky” and more. They closed their first of two sets with a Joshua Tree mini-set that included “Red Hill Mining Town,” “With or Without You” and “One Tree Hill.” Another highlight was “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” where Michael used his own version of the Bono ‘rant’ to honor veterans and military personnel, and encourage the audience to pressure lawmakers to work harder for legislation to support veterans and their families. In lieu of an encore, U2 By UV thanked the audience before doing their final two songs, “Until the End of the World” and “One Love.” The Alive @ 5 Concert Series concludes Aug. 4 with Styx tribute Rockin’ the Paradise and Teazed.

              Space limitations prohibit me from going into detail, but other shows I saw in recent weeks included…D.D. & the Pub Crawlers’ fun performance last month at Altoona’s Valley View AmphitheaterDenny Pompa and the Jess Zimmerman Band at the second annual Northern Cambria Heritage Festival in downtown Northern Cambria…Singers/songwriters Dylan Miller and New Jersey’s Wyl White at the annual Showing For Victory, Pulling For Kids benefit at the Huntingdon County Fairgrounds…Singer/songwriter Josh Starrett at Mr. Toad’s in Greensburg…Performances by Montreal, Canada’s Era 9, Doctor Smoke, Pittsburgh’s Defy The Tide, Nobody’s Heroes, Lose The Name, The Snipped, X’s For Eyes and Klockwick at McGarvey’s…And Felix & the Hurricanes’ Sunday shows at Altoona’s Black & Gold Tavern.

News and notesJefferson Starship, Sugar Ray, The Clarks, John McEuen & Friends and Igor & the Red Elvises are among the performers at this year’s AmeriServ Flood City Music Festival, happening Aug. 4-5 at People’s Natural Gas Park in Johnstown…Jackie Brown & the Gill Street Band, Mama Corn, Frackwater Jack and Biscuit Jam will be among the performers at the 34th annual Bellefonte Arts & Crafts Fair, happening Aug. 11-12 at Bellefonte’s Talleyrand ParkAltitude Entertainment will present “Remember When Rock Was Young: The Elton John Tribute” at Altoona’s historic Mishler Theatre on Aug. 18, featuring Broadway veteran Craig A. Meyer as “Almost Elton John” and performing many of the legend’s hit songs…Cottonmouth and Phil McCaulley will perform at La Ferme Rouge near Patton during the after-party of Brian Gates’ fifth annual Bri’s Rock N Ride, a fundraiser for Autism Solutions, on Aug. 20…The annual Route 22 Rock’n’Blues Festival happens Aug. 18-20 at Lincoln Caverns Amphitheater near Huntingdon, featuring 16 local and regional bands…Members of The Betty Ford All Stars, 44 Mag, Prairie Dogma, Veer and C4 will be among numerous performers at “Rock-n-Roll Away Heroin” at the Skybox Sports Bar & Grill in Montoursville Aug. 19, with proceeds helping out Project Bald Eagle, a coalition working to battle the opioid/heroin epidemic…The Crew Of The Half Moon and D.D. & the Pub Crawlers will entertain craft brew connoisseurs during the annual Rails & Ales fundraiser for Altoona Community Theater on Aug. 26 at Altoona’s Railroaders Museum…New area country band RailTowne, featuring former members of the Adam Ernst Band, Bad Daze and Hello, Vixen, debuts Aug. 19 at Davey’s Lounge in Hastings as part of a benefit show to help out cancer patient Steve Price…Drummer Richie Servello has parted ways with Blossom HollowChris Rattie has named Jeff Downing as the new bass playr of his group The New Rebels…And Aaron Gindlesperger takes over bass duties in the group Down to the Wire, replacing Bob Seiler.

Please send correspondence and recordings to: Jim Price, 1104 S. Catherine St., Altoona, PA  16602. You can also e-mail me at And if you’re into social networking, look me up on Facebook or Google+. SUPPORT LOCAL MUSIC!  

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