Top 5 Songs of 2010

Posted by DAMES of Pa on Mar 18, 2011 in Charts, News

DAMES of PA’s Top 5 Songs of 2010

Each day during the week of March 14, 2011, we revealed another of our top 5 songs from 2010, counting down from #5 to #1. These rankings are our purely our opinion and (obviously) slanted in favor of those musical acts with whom we are familiar and have had the opportunity to carefully listen to and cover on our site.

For 2010, Pennsylvania music went in a more stripped-down and authentic direction, as portrayed in this very diverse list, two of which are live recordings, one gospel folk, one pop, and one that was never even released. We also hope that these rankings spark interest and debate among our readers and we encourage each of you to leave comments.

Friday, March 18th
No. 1 Live On Derry St by Nate Myers & the Aces
Same Old Song & Dance
Nate Myers & the Aces

From the album Live On Derry St.
An incredibly deep and moody song from a band that usually sticks to straight-ahead blues, “Same Old Song & Dance” is a perfect mix of moody, strummed guitars, blues harp, and rough, emotion vocals. The song is reminiscent of some of the better tunes by Blues Traveler in the nineties, but with a tinge more honesty because it was recorded live.

Related Article: Aces In the Hole
Nate Myers & the Aces Website

Thursday, March 17th
No. 2 Animal Society
Vieux Carre
Animal Society

From the album Any Atomic Lies
This song was written about the struggles of the people trapped in New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and was slated for the long defunct project Americana On Acid but was later picked up by Animal Society. The song’s title means “old square” in French, the traditional name for “The French Quarter”.

DAMES of PA Profile of Animal Society

Wednesday, March 16th
No. 3 The Beggar Folk
Ohio Interlude
The Beggar Folk

From the album The Beggar Folk
The opening song on an album of spiritual folk songs by husband and wife Trista and Josh Lamb. “Ohio Interlude” is quite beautiful in its straight forward  simplicity. The duo formed The Beggar Folk while living in Northern Africa in 2008 and are currently based in Lancaster.
The Beggar Folk Website
Tuesday, March 15th
No. 4 Wayne Supergenius
Haven’t Learned to Say
Wayne Supergenius

From the Album Without Memory
A beautiful and elegant song that lies somewhere between the hard edge of country and the softer side of the Stones, “Haven’t Learn to Say” is a true highlight on the latest album by Wayne Supergenius.

Without Memory featured as a DAMES of PA Top 5 Album of 2010
Wayne Supergenius Website

Monday, March 14th
No. 5 Sterling Koch
Kiss The Blues Goodbye
Sterling Koch

From the album Steel Guitar Blues
A classic, upbeat “good time blues” song in the tradition of George Thorogood and the Destroyers, “Kiss the Blues Goodbye” by steel/slide virtuoso Sterling Koch is a fun and entertaining tune saturated by howling and crying guitar.

Sterling Koch Website

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This Is Cabinet, Set 1 by Cabinet

Posted by Sigourney Soul on Dec 27, 2010 in Artists, Reviews

This Is Cabinet, Set 1 by CabinetA blue grass jam band from Wilkes-Barre with some virtuoso playing, Cabinet has put something together that is truly original with the live This Is Cabinet -Set1. Recorded at the River Steet Jazz Cafe’ in Wilkes-Barre as well as venues in Erie and Cleveland, the album was produced by Bill Orner, Eric Ritter, along with the group themselves.

The sound is amazingly tight for the pace, amount of improvisation, and amount of musicians. There are six members of the band including J.P. Biondo on mandolin and vocals, Mickey Coviello on acoustic guitar and vocals, Pappy Biondo on banjo and vocals, Todd Kopec on fiddle and vocals, Dylan Skursky on bass and Jami Novak on drums. The recording is pristine for a live situation, with each instrument and voice well-repesented in the mix. It follows the band’s self-titled 2009 debut studio recording and, perhaps, proofs that Cabinet is much more effective as a live band.

The album starts with a medley “Tower/Salt Creek” which establishes the undeniable blue grass backdrop while also giving hints that there is something a little more here. In the instrumental “Treesap”, the band interjects a strategic dose of reggae rhythms while the intense, long jam “Coalminers” has some theatrics and talks of digging and digging all day”, in an almost nineties grunge-style manner. The nearly nine minute instrumental “Shifty Shaft” closes the album, leaving the listener hungry for more, as a member announces “We’ll be right back” at the close of the song. Back soon with This Is Cabinet – Set 2? In fact, Coviello has stated that he hopes this is, in fact, the first of a series of albums.

This may be by design, as the group intentionally books sparsely in their home Scranton/Wilkes-Barre region to assure that all their shows are a true “event”. The group is, in many ways, reminiscent of seventies virtuosos Little Feat and The Charlie Daniels Band. But their is also something really original and edgy about Cabinet and I feel we’ll be hearing much more from them.


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The Badlees Work Overtime

Posted by Karyn on Sep 26, 2010 in Artists, Events

September 25, 2010
Overtime Sports Bar, Hershey, Pa.

On this first Saturday night of Autumn, music fans were treated to a great show in Hershey by three solid bands. No, we’re not talking about Nickleback, Buckcherry, and Three Days Grace at Hersheypark Stadium. We’re talking about a show about a mile away at Overtime Sports Bar featuring The Badlees with Pan.a.ce.a and TT Max.

The show was great and the crowd seemed to have a good time. But not everything was perfect. It would take some serious entertaining skills and improvisation to shield most of the audience from the technical difficulties in the background.

TT Max got things started, with a tight set of classic heavy metal, including an excellent rendition of Alice In Chain’s “Man In the Box”. The Harrisburg-area band includes longtime Badlees sound engineer Keith Barshinger along with Todd Eric Bender, Robert Scott, Mike Nixon, and Doug Geyer. This is a very good band for fans – male and female alike – who enjoy that late 80’s, early 90’s style of heavy rock.

The middle act was Wilkes-Barre’s Pan.a.ce.a, another hard rock band, but with a more modern edge. Their set of entirely original music kicked off with “Too Little Too Late” which was hindered by sound problems – there were no stage monitors and the bass cut out halfway through the first set. Front man Tim Farley chatted up the audience while the technical difficulties were being sorted out. Eventually, they resigned to continue the show in spite of the technical problems and delivered a solid performance, ending strong with the title song from their last album We the Broken.

A new album of acoustic songs by Pan.a.ce.a named Bare Bones will be available soon, and some songs are currently available on iTunes.

In an evening plagued by sound system issues, The Badlees, the headliners of the show, proved they can rise above adversity and deliver an entertaining show. The enthusiasm of the crowd was unaffected by the random cutting out of bass, vocals and even the drums. Most of the frolicking crowd was unaware of the technical difficulties going on behind the scenes. No one seemed to notice band members disappearing and reappearing to personally tweak the soundboard. The band played on and improvised for some long extended periods, especially during the songs “Silly Little Man” and “I Liked You Better When You Hated Yourself”.

Beyond the technical issues, the show itself was unique as The Badlees played an extended set that spanned their decades of material, including a couple of rareties from Renew and several deep tracks from River Songs. In fact, they will play River Songs front to back at their next show a special daytime, all ages show in Jim Thorpe, Pa. on Sunday, October 3rd.

Our affiliated site, Modern Rock Review, will publish an in-depth profile of The Badlees when the site officially launches on October 10th.

If anything, this night showed that technical difficulties can befall even the most professional acts, but how these difficulties are handled– through ad-libbing and keeping it interesting while working on these issues behind the scenes, takes an extraordinary level of professionalism, quick thinking, and hard work.

On this night, The Badlees and their quality supporting acts truly worked “Overtime”.

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See That My Grave Is Kept Clean
by Ed Randazzo & Bret Alexander

Posted by Sigourney Soul on Jul 13, 2010 in Artists, Reviews

See That My Grave Is Kept Clean by Ed Randazzo & Bret AlexanderSometimes less is better. Sometimes it is better to return to the most base fundamentals in order to refresh the world and interhect some clarity through the convolution. With See That My Grave Is Kept Clean, singer Ed Randazzo and producer/multi-instrumentalist Bret Alexander do just that.

A collection of ten songs that straddle the line between traditional folk and modern age Americana, the album contains four originals by Randazzo along with six, mostly traditional folk ballads which are many decades, or even centuries old. Most songs were recorded “live” in the studio with some sparse overdubbing of acoustic instruments by Alexander. The arrangements are simple and authentic – music which could’ve been performed on any porch in America in our great-grandparent’s day – with no bass or drums or electronic instruments of any kind. This minimalist approach to instrumentation, really draws focus to Randazzo’s voice and the lyrics he is singing, which range from dark spirtual to populist entertaiment to odes to the working man.

The album’s title and corresponding cover song was coined by Blind Willie Jefferson in the 1920s and later covered by many folk singers including Bob Dylan on his 1961 debut. Of the covers, the most recent is the 1971 hit “Grandma’ Hands” by Bill Withers, while the oldest is a Celtic ballad that may date back to the 14th century called the “Unquiet Grave”. There is one song, “Only a Miner”, of which its origins and authorship are a comple mystery, and was even the subject of a recent book by Archie Green. So basically, these are not songs that you’ve heard on the radio much.

Still, Randazzo’s quartet of originals are the real highlight of this album, adding some modern energy while not clashing with the traditional songs. “Devil Gonna Come” contains a riff pattern that is almost fifties-style rockabily, while “Three Ravens” contains a complex, lyrical plot. “Graveyard Boogie” comes complete with “LP” scatching sounds and feature background vocals by Janet Rains of M80, while the mandolin-fuel closer “Ring Them Bells” contains some excellent harmonica and background vocals by Alexander and has the overall feel of a traditional spirtual.

For rock and pop fans, a radical album like See That My Grave Is Kept Clean may at first seem alien or out-of-place in the modern day. But for serious music listeners, this is a rare treat that should be listened to.


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Sound Off for Vets 2010

Posted by DAMES of Pa on Jun 19, 2010 in Events, News

Pride Of the Susquehanna
The Pride of the Susquehanna, was the stage for artists and bands during Sound Off for Vets 2010.

It was a  spectacular summer’s day on City Island, Harrisburg with a festive atmosphere of food, drink, music, and relaxation. The first (annual) Sound Off for Vets benefit concert was held on June 17, 2010. The event was organized by Chris Nelson and sponsored by The Harrisburg Riverboat Society and DAMES of PA (that’s us!). It was scheduled to coincide with the Harrisburg arrival of The PA Hero Walkers who are walking 342 miles from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh to raise money for The Wounded Warriors Project, which also received proceeds from this event.

Chris Nelson
The event kicked off at 3pm with singer/songwriter Chris Nelson performing a nice mix of original songs plus covers such as R.E.M.’s “Driver 8″ and “Pink Houses” by John Cougar Mellencamp. Nelson, the organizer and primary engine behind this event, was introduced by DJ Nipsey from the rock station 105.7 “The X”.
Chris Nelson Video

Mycenea Worley
Nipsey also stuck around to introduce the talented Mycenea Worley, who performed  some interesting arrangements of cover songs such as “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” by Stevie Nicks and “In Your Eyes” by Peter Gabriel, but really stole the show with her powerful originals “Low” and “100 Days”.
Mycenea Worley Video

Brian Xander
At 5:00, the third and final acoustic act, Brian Xander performed a unique acoustic set that included a wide range of material from Green Day to AC/DC to some country-rock standards. His original tune about American servicemen “Standing Tall” was a definite highlight and totally gelled with the theme of this event.
Brian Xander Video

Fools on Sunday
The first band to perform was the New York trio Fools On Sunday, featuring 13-year-old prodigy “Johnny Lightning” on lead vocals and drums. The band performed some interesting, punked-out of versions of rock standards, such as “Summertime Blues”, “I Wanna Hold Your Hand”, and “Free Bird” as well as a few originals.
Fools on Sunday Video

Animal Society
Another trio, Animal Society from the Harrisburg area, followed with a solid set of mostly original tunes from their upcoming album Any Atomic Lies. These included the standouts “Say No More”, “California”, and “The Lion” – a song actually written about a wounded warrior. They also adapted some unique covers such as Widespread Panic’s “One Arm Steve” and the Zeppelin rarity “We’re Gonna Groove”.
Animal Society Video

Shift Seven
Another local power trio, the impressive Shift Seven, performed next. The band has a well crafted sound that could be a hybrid of ZZ-Top, Lynard Skynard, and Aerosmith, or as they put it, “Acid Fried Funkabilly Blues Rock”. They performed a crisp, tight set made up of selections from their latest studio project 1.5 Days.
Shift Seven Video

Odd Man In?
Odd Man In? capped off the night with their original set of rock/jam tunes plus some covers that ranged from Sublime to Pink Floyd as darkness descended upon the boat and the 10:00 city curfew quickly approached.
Odd Man In? Video

In between sets, many of the donated items and gift baskets were raffled off to attendees who contributed to the cause by purchasing raffle tickets. These prizes included a basket of wine from the Finger Lakes region of New York, passes to Hersheypark and The Civil War Museum, an autographed baseball bat, several gift certificates to local businesses, and much more.

All in all, Sound Off for Vets 2010 was a success. The music was quality and entertaining, the weather was spectacular, and the setting was unique. The event had some inherent uphill challenges such as going head-to-head with Mechanicsburg’s Jubilee Day and Game 7 of the NBA Finals, not to mention it was the first of it’s kind so there was no habitual pattern of attendance to count on. But Nelson feels this was a good start and a learning experience and already has some big plans for doing it again in 2011.

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Odd Man In?

Posted by DAMES of Pa on Jun 15, 2010 in Artists

Odd Man In?Odd Man In? started out with Matt Pochak and Lou Fabrizi meeting and playing guitar at a college party at Indiana University of Pennsylvania a few years ago. Lou and Matt both ended up living in Harrisburg and the search started for finding more musicians to start a band.

Jon Stucky joined on drums and the three worked on finding a unique sound and composed many instrumentals while searching for a front man. Corey Bealert came into the picture soon there after and the group has been writing and playing since.

The goal of the band is to create a fresh sound incorporating each member’s influences and styles. Writing and performing original music is a priority to the band; however the band takes great pride in covering some of the world’s finest music. Odd Man In? is currently working on a self-produced, full length album.

For more information visit the Odd Man In? Facebook Page.

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Shift Seven

Posted by DAMES of Pa on Jun 12, 2010 in Artists

Shift SevenShift Seven is a guitar-riff driven rock trio from Jonestown performing in the Central PA area. The guys are seasoned pros and have been writing and recording together for years. They just finished their second studio album “Love Lust” for Bofa Dees Records and it will be pressed soon. Bret Alexander of the Badlees was the engineer and performed on the album. What you get is a high energy rock show by competent musicians. Shift Seven is not a cover band even though they do some covers for their own enjoyment.

Terry Gayhart is one of the founding members whose expertise is well rounded in guitar, bass and vocals. His writing ability is the foundation upon which the band depends. and his patience and experience is priceless.

Keith Myers has a smoky voice that is full of emotion. To help convey the mood of each piece, his tone changes from smooth to full bore madness, and his guitar follows suit. His niche is writing hooks and groves with the other members. With Terry, he belts out two part harmonies that are on the mark.

Rick Boltz came to Shift Seven with with serious skills and dedication to the song. He doesn’t just keep time, he plays the song like he is singing with his sticks. In the studio he is a one-take monster and the main reason Shift Seven was able to name its debut CD “1.5 Days”. That is all the time it took to lay down the tracks.

For more information visit the Shift Seven Website.

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Animal Society

Posted by DAMES of Pa on Jun 9, 2010 in Artists

Formed in 2008, Animal Society is a rock-n-roll trio that likes to explore several sub-genres such as blues, jazz, folk, country, and funk.

The band consists of Erik Trabert on guitars, Matt Roy on drums, and Ric Albano on bass and vocals. Albano has recently worked on the Imaginary Lines project, while Roy has a background in multiple styles and Trabert is a multi-instrumentalist who started out on saxophone and even performed at the famed Royal Albert Hall in London.

The band led off the Dollars for Diane 33 benefit concert in January 2010 and has recorded material for their debut album, which is now in post-production. The album, titled Any Atomic Lies is due to be released in the Fall 2010.

Animal Society Band Site on Cygnus Wave

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Fools On Sunday

Posted by DAMES of Pa on Jun 5, 2010 in Artists

Lead Singer/Drummer Johnny Lightning, age 12 is multi-instrumental and is currently finishing up writing tunes for our first CD. Johnny starred for two years on the MTV2 cult classic show Wondershowzen, an appearance in as yet to be released Zach Galifianakis video (musical parody of “Don’t Cry for me Argentina”), as well as appearing on film inciting an 8 year old boy to begin a murderous spree in the award winning indy horror flick “Joshua”.

Bassist Marc Seligman aka “Johnny Rock” is a long time veteran of the New York music scene. In the past he has recorded and performed with The Cyclones (local favs with hit single “You’re So Cool”), The Mad Violets, and The Vines.

Guitarist Stuart Lederer aka Stuart “Long” Johns virtuoso guitar licks have been heard with NY punk group the Penetrators, California Glam-Punk rockers Radio Babylon, then later with infamous LA punk group The Flesheaters. Stuart has also worked with numerous local and national acts in production and soundman capacities

For more information about Fools on Sunday: www.myspace.com/foolsonsunday

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Brian Xander

Posted by DAMES of Pa on Jun 2, 2010 in Artists

Brian Xander has an impressive musical resume. He has opened for national country recording artists Neal McCoy, Josh Turner, and Tim Rushlow. He has performed at the world famous Bluebird Cafe as well as at the Opry Mills Entertainment Complex in Nashville, Tennessee as a featured artist.

Though he started singing in church choir as a youth, Brian says he didn’t start writing songs until he was 19. “I was having some hard times in my life and wasn’t sure which direction to turn. I heard the song “The River” by Garth Brooks. Even though I had heard that song many times before, it never hit me before that time. It was like my eyes were opened by the lyrics. I started reading about the song and how it inspired so many people and changed their lives. That is when I realized the true power of a song.”

Brian has had the honor of performing his song “Standing Tall” at the memorial services for several fallen soldiers. Brian said he was inspired one sleepless night to write the song when he saw a news clip of the president walking through Arlington Cemetery. “The song talks about taking a walk through Arlington and the sea of white tombstones. Each one of the people who rests there has died so that we all can be free, and each one of them is represented by the flags and white crosses. Even though those soldiers may have been scared, they were Standing Tall for their country. ”

Brian has volunterred his time to play at both Sound Off for Vets Benefits in 2010 and 2011. When asked why he volunteered to play for these events Brian explained, “Everyone who has ever fought for this country, veterans and current soldiers, are the reason that I am able to pick up the guitar, sing, and write. I am free to do so because of them. They put their lives on the line for everyone else in our country. Unfortunately, these same people are often taken for granted. I tip my hat to them and will do whatever I can to help them get the recognition they deserve.”

For more information about Brian Xander go to: www.brianxander.com

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