Here I sit on New Years Eve reflecting on the last month…year…and I have to admit that while it had it’s ups and downs just like anyone else, it was a great year overall. This last month definitely brought some challenges which slowed me down a bit and made for a missed show or two unfortunately, but they also showed me how great it is to have a solid support system. I wish the same for all of you. I only made it for three shows this month, but they were some of my favorites for sure. I’m thankful for the friends that I’ve made over the years of covering our incredible music scene and look forward to the new friends I make as 2024 unfolds!
First up for the month was a trip to Shermans Creek Inn to see a band I’d last seen a little over two years ago – Lucid Ruby. When I last saw them, they were just a duo but had a good sound and I thought showed a lot of promise. The group is now up to four members and I was ecstatic to find that I was right about them: they showed a ton of growth since our last meeting, performing a bunch of original tunes with a blues/rock/southern rock/jam sort of feel to them as well as a well place cover or two. Bringing to the stage super smooth rhythms and bass combined with powerful guitar licks, the guys did an awesome job for a good crowd. It was great to see them get such a great reception to all their original music, as we all know that can be tough to do with folks that maybe aren’t so familiar with it. The guys will be hitting the studio early in 2024 to get some recording going and I’m definitely looking forward to that. If this style sounds interesting to you, I really think you’d enjoy checking them out.
Next up was a trek down to The Englewood in Hershey for a yearly event that has quickly become one of my favorites – Joy To The Burg. This is an awesome event started five years ago to help raise money to support neighbors that are facing homelessness. Since the project began, it has raised over $200,000 and helped over 500 individuals improve their living situation…an amazing result in my opinion. CD’s are still available at your local Karns stores and feature twenty local artists performing a variety of Christmas and Holiday songs. I have all five of the cd’s they’ve put together and they get a lot of play time here around the holidays. The day of the event they have cd’s for sale, raffles to raise money, as well as several of the musicians and groups from the cd performing on The Englewood’s beautiful stage. This year’s performances were kicked off by Antonio Andrade – 2021 CPMA winner and genuinely good guy. Antonio played a number of classic Christmas songs and even gave some history behind their origin which I personally thought was pretty cool. Santa then came out to read a Christmas story to the kids (and adults wanting to be kids) in the crowd followed by a song by Vicki Rogers who sang with a beautiful voice. Next up was Loco Lobo performing for (I think) their fifth time at Joy To The Burg, and doing so with a lot of class. Following them was a recently created project with Joe Trojcak & Greg Platzer: Goove Rebels. These folks rocked the stage and I’m definitely looking forward to seeing what they come up with in the future! We all then got to participate in some sing alongs with Bob Geiger and John Hickey which was fun, but further highlighted to me that I definitely belong behind a camera and not singing of any sort LOL. Shea Quinn and Glenn Hamilton then hit the stage to do a fantastic rendition Little Drummer Boy. Rounding out the evening was the Starving Musicians. You just can’t go wrong starting off a Christmas Rock set with the Charlie Brown Christmas Song, and these folks just nailed it. Great memories were brought back listening to that one for sure. All in all, it was really just a great afternoon of holiday music and raising money for an awesome cause and I can’t wait to attend again next year.
Our last trip was actually last night, back down to Shermans Creek Inn. Have I mentioned before how I love this place? I probably have, but some things bear repeating. The owners are awesome, the staff does a great job (it’s amazing what good leadership brings to a venue, and we have a lot of venues in the area that can truthfully lay a claim to this), and the food is always delicious. Always no cover for their music that they have every weekend, they just do a great job of supporting our local music scene. First up for the evening was a band that I’ve been wanting to catch for a while – Thank God It’s Rock! Admittedly, I’m good friends with Patricia and David, but for a host of reasons this was the first time I got to see this band play together and it was worth the wait. Patricia and David swap back & forth on vocal duties, each singing songs that play well to their strengths. Covering songs from bands like Greta Van Fleet, Highly Suspect (an absolute favorite of mine), Foo Fighters, Rival Sons and more, it takes a lot of variety I think to meet the demands of some of these songs and they do a great job. Backed up by some killer guitar and percussion work, these folks really are just a ton of fun to see perform. Closing out the evening was my pals in Stricken, a tribute to the music of Disturbed. If you know Disturbed’s music, then Stricken doesn’t need much of an introduction as they do an incredible job paying tribute. Songs like The Light, Stricken (shocker! LOL), Down With The Sickness, and even a beautiful version of The Sound Of Silence. Both bands had the full house rocking and dancing the night away and it was just nice to have a great night with so many friends.
So there it is, my month of music through my eyes and ears. I want to once again thank all the bands, venues, and everyone else involved in our incredible local music scene for everything they do. As I often see a friend of mine post on Facebook: “Know Music, Know Life”. I know that my life, and the lives of many others, is just better because of the music we have available to us. Just a reminder: if you’ve got a show coming up that I should see; make sure to send me an invite, shoot me an email or a message, let me know about it. Venues: please don’t hesitate to reach out to me as well. The majority of the shows that I go and shoot I find out about through invites from all of you or your friends. Hit me up on facebook: @chrisriderphotography or email: email@example.com, stop me if you see me around and say hi. Until next month…go find some live music and give them and the venue your support, they truly need it more now than they ever did.