Top 5 Songs of 2011

Posted by DAMES of Pa on Mar 12, 2012 in Charts, Editorial, Reviews

DAMES of PA’s Top 5 Songs of 2011

Each day during the week of March 12, 2012, we will reveal another of our top 5 songs from 2011, 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.

In 2011, there were a lot of very good albums released by Pennsylvania artists. Unfortunately, we had to exclude some from this list, as we are unable to focus on all of them (something we hope to replicate with the new Key Rock Review.

   Friday, March 16th
No. 1 A Good Problem to Have by Farley
Waiting On Me

From the EP A Good Problem To Have
“Waiting On Me” is a standout on Farley’s debut EP A Good Problem To Have. While each song on this EP exemplifies Tim Farley’s vocal dexterity and range as well as his songwriting ability, this song captures an early Beatles vibe with tinges of Johnny Cash influences in its catchy melody. This potent combination makes it DAMES of PA’s #1 song for 2011.
Farley Website
   Thursday, March 15th
No. 2 East Hope Avenue by MiZ
Dopesick Blues

From the album East Hope Avenue
Although the lyrics to “Dopesick Blues” appear describe a battle with addiction, the sentiment can translate to anything a person does for a temporary fix that ends up causing long term misery. Mike Mizwinski‘s earnest vocals against an ensemble of guitars, pedal steel, and organ make this song a standout on East Hope Avenue.
Thanksgiving Eve Storytellers Show
MiZ Website
   Wednesday, March 14th
No. 3 Watching the Highway by Emily Yanek
Please, Please (C’Mon, C’Mon)
Emily Yanek

From the album Watching the Highway
“Please Please (C’Mon C’Mon)”, from her 2011 debut album Watching the Highway, showcases Emily Yanek‘s clean, fresh vocals and songwriting talent perfectly. The lyrics are optimistic and hopeful driven along by solid piano and guitar riffs that give the song just the right amount of edge.
Emily Yanek Website
   Tuesday, March 13th
No. 4 Tanker A by HotWingJones
Dream Day

From the album Tanker A
The best song on an album full of interesting and original tracks by HotWingJones, “Dream Day” starts with a groove reminiscent of early Chicago in the intro and then migrates through interesting changes. The instrumentation is bright and pleasant throughout with a driving strummed guitar, a nice mix of mellotron and organ, and especially good bass and drum interludes.
Varieties of Hot Wings
HotWingJones on ReverbNation
   Monday, March 12th
No. 5 The Invisible Man by Chris Nelson
In Praise of Failure
Chris Nelson

From the album The Invisible Man
“In Praise of Failure” has a calm, moody 1980s-style backdrop upon which Chris Nelson shouts desperate vocals in great contrast, building towards the signature line “…the greatest way to leave your mark is to jump off of a building …” The song also contains some good guitar work with a slow, methodical, bluesy lead.

DAMES Review of The Invisible Man
Chris Nelson Website

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Top 5 Albums of 2011

Posted by DAMES of Pa on Mar 5, 2012 in Charts, Editorial, Reviews

Each day during the week of March 5, 2012, DAMES of PA will revealed our top 5 albums from 2011, counting down from #5 to #1. These rankings are 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.

In 2011, there were a lot of very good albums released by Pennsylvania artists. Unfortunately, we had to exclude some from this list, as we are unable to focus on all of them (something we hope to replicate with the new Key Rock Review.

Friday, March 9th
No. 1 East Hope Avenue by MiZ
East Hope Avenue
Mike Mizwinski and his band MiZ weaves quite a tale of heart and soul through East Hope Avenue. The songs in this collection are obviously based on deep personal reflection and experience. Despite nearly virtuoso performances, there is nothing pretentious about this album. The pure Americana vibe and eclectic mix of traditional instruments including upright bass, grand piano, fiddle, pedal steel and mandolins complement the guitars and vocals perfectly. The sincere delivery and simple yet complex arrangements make East Hope Avenue an interesting listen from beginning to end.
Thanksgiving Eve Storytellers Show
MiZ Website
Thursday, March 8th
No. 2 Tanker A by HotWingJones
Tanker A
Harrisburg’s HotWingJones added some new dynamics to their sound with Tanker A, particularly the pedal steel guitar, which tilted the band’s sound towards a more “alt country” feel, as compared to their debut 2006 EP which had a more bluesy-rock feel. But there are far more dynamics at play as well and as a whole, the album is a listening adventure.
Varieties of Hot Wings
HotWingJones on ReverbNation
Wednesday, March 7th
No. 3 Idaho by Pete Bush & Hoi Polloi
Pete Bush & Hoi Polloi
With Idaho, Pittsburgh’s Pete Bush & the Hoi Polloi captured the live magic of the jazz/fusion trio with some nice sonic additions to enhance the dynamics. The album simultaneously captures the rhythmic flow while maintaining a sense of spontaneous improvisation.
DAMES of PA Review of Idaho
Pete Bush Website
  Tuesday, March 6th
No. 4 Slide Ruler by Sterling Koch
Slide Ruler
Sterling Koch
The slide guitar is traditionally thought of as a country instrument. Sterling Koch defies that stereotype with Slide Ruler, which showcases his guitar skills brilliantly. Enlisting the support of some heavyweights on the blues scene, including bassist Tommy Shannon and Grammy-nominated drummer Chet McCracken, Koch’s rock and blues style shines against this solid rhythm section. The album covers a dozen blues standards bringing a fresh perspective to each one.
Sterling Koch Website
  Monday, March 5th
No. 5 Wash Your Mouth Out by Dana Alexandra
Wash Your Mouth Out
Dana Alexandra
Dana Alexandra is a performer who can shine with just her guitar and voice. Her songs are strong enough to carry the day in such stripped-down arrangements. Wash Your Mouth Out takes these solid songs and adds just enough pop production with a touch of synths and vocal effects. This enhances the catchy melodies, syncopated beats, pop hooks, and fresh vocals with smoky undertones, to make for a very good album.
Dana Alexandra Website

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A Night of MMC Performances

Posted by Karyn on Feb 21, 2012 in Events, News

Millenium Music ConferenceThis past Friday night, my husband and I caught much original music in downtown Harrisburg, PA during the first night of showcases for Millenium Music Conferfence 2012. This is the 16th year for the MMC. It includes music business panels and workshops during the day and a whole lot of bands playing at night. Our rough count was between 120 and 140 artists performing in the Harrisburg area on Friday night alone, with a similar slate on Saturday. We were able to catch performances by five of these artists.

We spent some time with the online MMC schedule, planning a mini-tour of downtown Harrisburg so we could check out several bands that peaked our interest. For how big the MMC has become, their website leaves a lot to be desired. The user is lead through a convoluted maze of Facebook pages and spreadsheets with little cross-referencing when it comes to artist information. Our goal was to catch as many PA-based bands as possible while hitting establishments which were all within walking distance. We came up with a plan to see five acts, three of which we hadn’t heard before. But we started the night with someone really familiar to us, Philadelphia’s Carmen Magro.

We worked with Carmen twice last year when he performed at benefits for the Wounded Warrior Project and he lent us his song and video, “America” to use as the theme song for our Sound Off for Veteran’s Day show on November 11th (check out that video here). Carmen agreed to give us a short interview before his 8:00 performance at Carley’s Piano Bar on Locust St. He told us how his song “Miracle In Me” became an inspiration to representative Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly. Carmen’s daughters drew a picture and sent it to the congress woman’s office and also made a YouTube video to catch her attention. Carmen also said that he is working on a lot of new songs for an upcoming album to follow up his debut EP, Come Alive.

Carmen MagroUpon arriving at Carley’s, we were greeted immediately by a friendly bartender who inquired whether we had a dinner reservation. When we said we were there for the music, he offered to start a bar tab for us and assured us the performance would start soon. The establishment is a cozy space with brick decor and light fixtures made to look like candle chandeliers. The dining room was still serving dinner and we noticed that several of the tables offer a wonderful vantage point of the baby grand piano. Carmen performed along with bassist Chuck Scarpello and violinist Brian Fitzgerald, who employed a pedal board full of effects, much like a guitar player. It was hard to hear the music over the din of the crowded bar (which unfortunately was mostly full of people engrossed in loud conversations). On a stroll to the restroom I discovered the sound was better in the dining room than in the bar and made a mental note to make a dinner reservation and request one of those tables for any future trips to Carley’s.

Mountain RoadAfter Carmen’s performance, we walked over to 3rd and Market to check out two more bands at MoMo’s Barbeque, Gypsy Caravan and Mountain Road. Here we entered a place with a completely different vibe than Carley’s. MoMo‘s is an establishment of standard downtown width but with high ceilings and very long depth. The bar stretched nearly the length of the room and was completely full. The tables appeared to be full as well and there were several groups gathered around the hostess station. The hostess announced that there was “at least a 30 minute wait” for a table. We asked if there was anywhere to stand and enjoy the music while we waited? She said we could go stand at the end of the bar if we wanted to and we gave that a shot for a few minutes. But the only space to stand placed us directly in the path of the waitresses as they ferried drinks from the bar to their customers, so after a few minutes of unpleasant shuffling, we decided to make our way back to the front and try to listen to the band from the lobby area. We did land an open six-seat table and ordered some smoked wings with a spicy maple sauce (which were quite tasty) but we could not see the bands at all from our table and really could only hear the bottom end (bass and drums) and scarce vocals.

Gypsy CaravanStill, Gypsy Caravan’s lead singer Jen Brickner caught our attention with her Grace Slick-style vocal vibe, topping off the band which fuses jazz, blues, and rock. The band includes two acoustic guitarists but again, all we could really hear were the bass and drums musically (which were good) but we’ll have to check out Gypsy Caravan again to get a truer listen of this band. Much the same can be said of Mountain Road, although this band seemed more genre-specific, falling solidly in the country-rock category. They are a well polished band that really seemed to please the crowd well, but our inability to hear any top-end from our position nor actually see the performers eventually made the experience frustrating. We gave up midway into Mountain Road’s set opting to head up Second St. to check out the bands at The Quarter. MoMo‘s has great food and I’d suggest it all day for lunch or dinner, but they need to make some adjustments in order to be a destination for music fans.

Gold StreetsAfter a five block stroll through the brisk winter air, we arrived at The Quarter just as the Brooklyn, NY band Gold Streets were beginning their set. The band set up on the ground floor, right next to the bar of this multilevel, New Orleans style establishment. We sat across the bar and for the first time of the evening we were to see AND hear the performers. Gold Streets plays a heavy and dramatic style of music which has been compared to bands such as Sonic Youth and Radiohead. Although, this is usually not our preferred genre, we were both impressed by the band’s performance. Further, the band has a unique element with the female “backbone” tandem of bassist Gisella Otterson and drummer/vocalist Tiffany Almy, both of whom had very impressive performances.

Puffer FishWhen we arrived at The Quarter, there were people around the bar, but it was not crowded so we were able to snag the last two stools at the bar. One of the bartenders was aloof and kept drifting right past us without acknowledging our existence. After a few songs, a second bartender took our drink order. The atmosphere in the place was industrial meets New Orleans with a cavernous open kitchen area, closed while we were there, taking up a huge portion of the room. After Gold Streets, Central PA’s Puffer Fish took the stage. The band looks like three rock musicians backing up a B-52’s-inspired singer, with David Byrne-like dance moves. The sound was pretty cool albeit quite a contrast to the previous band but this crisp and direct dose of power-pop was a suitable way to top off the evening.

In all, despite the (largely unnecessary) frustrations, I think we really enjoyed being able to see five diverse performers in three diverse venues. Each of these artists are worth seeing again. I hope MMC continues to grow in the future but tilts towards better info and smoother experiences for the pure music fans.


Related Links:
Millenium Music Conference Website
Carmen Magro Website
Gypsy Caravan on Facebook
Mountain Road on ReverbNation
Gold Streets Website
Puffer Fish on mySpace

NOTE: This article was originally posted on Modern Rock Review


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Idaho by Pete Bush & the Hoi Polloi

Posted by Sigourney Soul on Jan 21, 2012 in Reviews

Idaho by Pete Bush & Hoi PolloiPittsburgh’s Pete Bush got his start playing guitar in a hard rock band in the late 1990′s before making the radical transformation to stand-up bass in a “jazz-sex-pop” band called Salena Catalina. He next moved up to frontman when he formed Pete Bush & the Hoi Polloi, a jazz/fusion trio with whom Bush provides vocals, guitars, and various other instrumentation. Idaho was released by the group last May and adds some nice sonic additions to the base live sound. This sound is an unsual blend of jazz, rock, blues, rockabilly, and even a hint of punk. Finding a specific genre in which to market their sound has been a struggle for the band from the beginning.

Along with bassist Jesse Prentiss and drummer Christian Catone, Bush recorded the sonically adventurous Idaho in a studio owned by Jawbox’s lead singer J. Robbins in Baltimore, MD.

Pete Bush & Hoi PolloiThe 8-song album leaves no moment wasted for filler or throwaway tracks. The opener “Ceiling Mirror” starts the album off perfectly as a fusion of all the group’s styles, arranged masterfully for maximum effect of the rock parts. It gives the listener an immediate display of the range of styles present on the album. Other highlights of the album include the croning jazz ballad “Montebean”, the pleasant closing title song “Idaho”, and a couple of strongly Latin-influenced numbers, “Sacramemento” and “How Apropoe”, the latter of which is built on a choppy, electric guitar riff.

Even with the release of the album the band still looks forward to their live performances to express their passion for music. Still, Idaho simultaneously captures the rhythmic flow of a well produced studio album while maintaining a sense of spontaneous improvisation usually reserved for the live performance.

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Miracle On Rock Street by 12-24

Posted by Sigourney Soul on Dec 7, 2011 in Reviews

Miracle On Rock Street coverTwelve Twenty-Four released their debut album Miracle On Rock Street in late 2010, just prior to launching their annual holiday tour for that season. The album got its title from Rock Street Music in Pittston, PA owned by drummer Richie Kossuth, where the album was partially recorded. The rest of the recording took place at Studio Independence in Hazleton, PA, which is owned by guitarist Lenny Kucinski and his wife, singer Bobbie Kucinski. The majority of the songs on the album were composed or arranged by keyboardist Jason Santos. The album was produced by Ivan Martin Justofin and mixed and mastered at the famed Barbershop Studios in New Jersey.

Putting together the CD was challenging because there were so many differing ideas among the 17-person group made of musicians from diverse backgrounds. Overall, the album found some cohesion in the balance between symphonic versions of tradition Christmas standards blended with “progressive metal” overtonesin the same vein of the group’s main influence, Trans-Siberian Orchestra. However, there are some tracks that strongly deviate from this formula such as on the songs “Funky Little Xmas”, “Sterling Salvation”, and “The Season Is Never Over”. These three songs being really off the beaten path make for a more interesting listen of the album. The production and mastering of the album is great through most of the tracks where the most subtle nuances are crystal clear in the mix. However, it is a bit overdone in a few instances, especially when it comes to volume normalization. That being said, Miracle On Rock Street scores high in all the criteria we use to review albums – musicianship, originality, entertainment, diversity, arrangement, and quality production.

All songs on the album are original compositions or arrangements, with Santos taking the helm in writing much of the music with strong input from Kossuth and Lenny Kucinski. Guitarist Kevin Reilly also chipped in with an original composition and original arrangement. Of the ten songs, four are instrumentals with five of the remaining six featuring different lead vocalists and one song, actually featuring six different lead vocalists – Bobbie Kucinski, Tanisha Redding, Mallory Shaw, Cornelius Goodwin, Santos, and Reilly. This song, which Lenny Kucinski considers the best on the album, starts with a marching drum beat and contains a fantastic duo guitar solo and dramatic rudiments and bell sounds in between verses.

The album’s instrumentals include the opener “God Rock Ye Merry Gentlemen”, “Celtic Noelle”, and “What Child Is This?”, all arranged by Santos, along with a spiced up version of Karl Jenkins’ “Palladio”. Each of these instrumentals feature the group’s string section, consisting of Jill Trapane on first violin, Michaelina Trapane on second violin, Larissa Lycholaj on viola, and the late Andrew Collinsworth on cello. The best of these is “Celtic Noelle”, a play on the theme “Deck the Halls”, which morphs from a heavy metal intro into a more measured groove lead by the string section, before the entire band works their way into a nice original riff.

Twelve Twenty-Four in 2010

Twelve Twenty-Four in 2010

The album contains a couple of inspiring ballads, starting with “Angel Lullaby”, sung by Tanisha Redding, who provides soarng vocals above a soft acoustic guitar and piano melody. “Cold December Night” is sung by Bobby Kucinski, who hits some nice high notes above the electric piano of Frank Gruden. The song, which incorporates “The First Noel”, was co-written by local Pennsylvania music teacher Dan DeMelfi, and features current Twelve Twenty-Four members Christine Barnes on viola and Hannah Levine on backing vocals.

Then there are the three songs that are off the beaten path. “Funky Little Christmas” is just that. A very James Brown inspired piece sung by Cornelius Goodwin and complete with the cool, upbeat bass of Dirk Yahraes, a wild clavichord effect by guest keyboardist Nathan Santos, and an actual seventies-era talk box by Lenny Kucinski. Reilly’s “Sterling Salvation” is pure rock with a completely new doomy vibe on the standard “Silver Bells” and features Goodwin on saxophone. The album’s closer, “The Season Is Never Over” is perhaps the most unusual song on the album. It harkens back to the better “hair band” material of a few years back with Santos on lead vocals, a task he certainly performs well.

About a decade ago, Lenny Kucinski was approached by singer George Houseknecht, who came up with the idea for Twelve Twenty-Four and soon recruited Kossuth and Santos. Since then, this project has grown artistically as well as in membership. Kucinski says they put in between 12 and 18 hours daily in order to make this album, but is very grateful for the opportunity to do so. His wife Bobbie is also enthusiastic as they make the transition from promoting TSO’s music to a product of their own. They hope Miracle On Rock Street will be the first of many holiday CDs by the group.

The CD is available on the group’s website www.twelvetwentyfour.net and a portion of all sales goes to the Earthly Angles Autism Fund of the Luzerne Foundation.

Twelve Twenty-Four on Facebook


NOTE: This article was originally posted on Modern Rock Review


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Thanksgiving Eve Storytellers Show

Posted by DAMES of Pa on Nov 27, 2011 in Events, News

Concert in Wilkes-Barre on 11/23/11A very unique concert was held on Wednesday night, November 23rd in downtown Wilkes-Barre. Dual headliners The Badlees and MiZ played a special “storytellers” show in a former church building now run by the Wilkes-Barre Downtown Arts Center. The live performances featured stripped-down acoustic arrangements and the whole night was recorded by Bret Alexander‘s Saturation Acres Recording Studio for possible use for live albums by either or both artists. Each act performed for a little more than an hour, with the Badlees taking the stage first in this all-ages, family friendly event.

“Gwendolyn” kicked things off, a popular song from the Badlees 1995 album River Songs. This was followed by the first “story” of the night by lead singer Pete Palladino, about an unreleased song called “Spark the Blue Moon” slated for the album which would become Up There, Down Here. This led into another song from that album, “Don’t Let Me Hide”. The rest of the Badlees set was filled with interesting stories and interesting song selections, including rarely played gems like “The Last Great Act of Defiance”, “I’m Not Here Anymore”, and Alexander’s banjo-fueled version of the 1992 classic “Diamonds In the Coal”. The band, joined by guitarist Dustin Drevitch, moved on to a couple of Alexander-led songs from their latest album before finishing with their popular hits “Angeline Is Coming Home” and “Fear of Falling”.

This stripped-down arrangement really highlighted some talents which are not always apparent when the Badlees play at full volume. First, the background vocals of bassist Paul Smith are really excellent and spot-on to some of the band’s recorded work. Also, the percussive skills of drummer Ron Simasek are just amazing, as he used many different sticks, skins, and techniques.

The band MiZ then took the stage, lead by Mike Mizwinski and joined by Bret Alexander on guitar and mandolin. The band played several selections from their new album East Hope Avenue, first of which was “My Irene” featuring a some fine piano by keyboardist Freeman White, complementing the acoustic pattern by Mizwinski. “3 am”, one of the better songs from the album, was highlighted by a command performance on upright bass by Bill Stetz. “Wink” featured an extended instrumental section with excellent playing by all members, including drummer A.J. Jump.

Miz told his own stories to accompany the music, including one about a haunting experience he had while living in an old house near Scranton, which he relates in the song “Pen Y Bryn Road”. He also gave a lengthy introduction to “October Skies”, explaining the tie-in between the novel of the same name and his own grandmother. The band has a very likeable quality both in musical performance and songwriting ability, with songs that are pure and honest with no pretensions. There is a unique “complex simplicity” to the arrangements, which make the live performance an interesting listen from beginning to end. There are elements of several Pennsylvania artists present in the sound with Miz’s vocal style similar in ways to folk singer Brad Yoder and the overall sound naturally influenced by Bret Alexander.

Local Wilkes-Barre writer Alan Stout, who just recently ended his decades long column Music On the Menu, was the night’s MC for this special show. He introduced the the evening as a “passing of the torch”, with the Badlees representing the past success story and Miz being the future.


Badlees Website
MiZ Website
Downtown Arts Facebook Page

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Come Alive With Carmen Magro

Posted by Karyn on Nov 20, 2011 in Reviews

Carmen MagroCarmen Magro plays inspirational music. Much of this music translates from his inspirational story. He has an enthusiasm for life and a remarkable ability to turn life’s tragedies into something positive. This is what you’ll find when you listen to his debut EP Come Alive.  It contains five songs filled with Carmen’s contagious, positive energy telling stories of the past and lessons learned while looking forward to the future.

The opening, title track “Come Alive” showcases Magro’s emotive vocal ability as it sets the theme for this collection. The song begins abruptly with a strong guitar riff but then settles into a sweet piano ballad encouraging the listener to hope, dream and look towards the future. ”I’ve been thinking of things I have not seen And they’re so beautiful…” 

“Take Me Back” is an upbeat rocker that reminisces the joys of youth and being surrounded by the familiar friends and places of your childhood. It is specifically about Carmen’s memories of growing up in the Manyunk section of Philadelphia. Essentially, no one can take away your memories and we can take comfort in that.

The album ends with a pair of uplifting straight-up pop songs, the simple love song “Looking at Me”, and “Our World” another opportunity for Magro to inspire people to make good choices and do good things for each other; “It’s our world take the time to put up a fight for the things that you know will set us right”. A better life and a better world through choosing to do the right thing.

But by far, “America” is the most moving song on this CD, as well as the most obviously personal. Carmen was gracious enough to donate this song to be used as the theme song for our recent Wounded Warrior Benefit. On stage that night Carmen told the story of finding out why his father enlisted in the military at the start of World War II and with this back story, he paints vivid lyrical portraits of the American life for which his father felt was worth fighting. 

Carmen is backed up, on stage and on recording, by an excellent and professional group of musicians including Mark Burkert, Rob DiSimone, Chuck Scarpello, Dave Murphy, and Steve Sauer. The only flaw in this CD may be that the production is slick and a bit over polished not truly doing justice to the fantastic sound this group of musicians achieves during live performances.

Upon listening to this collection of songs, it is apparent that Carmen Magro has been shaped by life experiences – some tragic, some jubilant, some commonplace –  into an interesting person with a compelling story. He writes songs that are as contagious as his life loving attitude.
His friendly demeanor and ever present smile captivate an audience before he even sings a note.

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Wounded Warrior Benefit on 11.11.11

Posted by DAMES of Pa on Nov 16, 2011 in Events, News

Champion's MarqueeOn Friday, November 11th, four Pennsylvania bands donated their talents to a Veteran’s Day benefit at Champion’s Sports Bar in Highspire, PA. The benefit concert, associated with the Sound Off for Vets concerts, donated proceeds to The Wounded Warriors Project and was organized by Ric Albano of 33 Dimensions LLC, along with his wife, our own Karyn Albano.

The event kicked off at 9pm with singer/songwriter Mycenea Worley, who performed all original songs, including many from her soon-to-be released new album. These included “Set Me Free”, “You Don’t Owe Me”, and the fine, alternative-tuning driven “That Is All”. Mycenea also performed a fine version of “Low” from her 2009 EP Love.

A brand new band from Lebanon, Meeka, formed by the father/daughter duo of Terry and Romeeka Gayhart performed next. Along with bassist Drew Washington, keyboardist Arte Munoz, and drummer Wyatt Latimer, the band played jazz/rock fused originals with an original sound. The best of these songs were “Black Dog Barking”, Land of Giants”, “Avalanche”, “Love Life”, and “Call Me”.

Next up was Carmen Magro with his six-piece band from Philadelphia. They put on an energetic and inspiring performance, including the hit “America”, which is also the official theme song of the event. “Come Alive”, the title song from their new EP, included some excellent guitars from Mark Burkert and Rob DiSimone, while Chuck Scarpello, Dave Murphy, and Steve Sauer added perfect backing for Magro as he performed songs that ranged from the ballad “Looking at Me” to the frenzied rocker “Take Me Back”.

Closing out the night was the talented Hot Wing Jones of Harrisburg. Starting with their funky classic “Jambalaya Stew”, the band migrated through a mix of original songs and originally arranged covers such as blues classics “Killing Floor”, “Mustang Sally”, “Back Door Man”, and the more recent Kenny Wayne Shepherd classic “Blue On Black”. Lead by vocalist/bassist Andy Shemeta along with guitarist Anthony Pepoli, drummer Steve Montresor, and pedal steel/rhythm guitarist Corey Woodcock, the band also worked through their fine catalog of originals including “Be My World”, “Dream Day”, “Tanker A”, and “Rhiannon” with Mycenea Worley coming up to offer backing vocals.

In between sets, donated items and gift baskets from businesses and individuals were raffled off to attendees who contributed to the cause by purchasing raffle tickets. There was also some entertainment provided by DJ Kai, who incorporated video throughout the night. Sound for the event was provided by Chris Hicks of Voyager Music, while video was shot by Tim Dyer of Dyersworld.com.

The benefit was a great success, drawing a total of $1,111.00 in monetary donations between the show itself and online donations. The music was quality and entertaining, the venue was large and attractive , and the cause fantastic.


Sound Off for Vets Website
DAMES Profile of Mycena Worley
Mycenea on Reverbnation
Mycenea on Facebook
DAMES Profile of Meeka
Meeka on Facebook
Carmen Magro Website
DAMES Profile of Carmen Magro
Carmen Magro on Reverbnation
Carmen Magro on Facebook
DAMES Profile of Hot Wing Jones
Hot Wing Jones on Reverbnation
Hot Wing Jones on Facebook
Tim Dyer’s YouTube Page

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Posted by DAMES of Pa on Nov 1, 2011 in Artists

Romeeka GayhartThe band Meeka consists of singer/songwriters Romeeka Gayhart and Terry Gayhart. This daughter/father duo have been writing and performing since Romeeka’s childhood days. She makes quite an impact with her unique presence,voice and lyric content. The collaboration between the two guarantees an eclectic mix of styles.

Filling out the rhythm section are Aaron Stevenson on drums and Drew Washington on bass. The band is honored to donate a performance to the Sound Off for Veteran’s Day cause. Terry is a member of the original rock outfit Shift Seven who have performed for this Wounded Warrior Project for the last two years. This year it wasn’t possible so “Meeka” was asked to step in.

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Gaines & the Rain at Little Buffalo

Posted by DAMES of Pa on Oct 2, 2011 in News

2011 Little Buffalo Creative Arts FestivalThis past Saturday afternoon, October 1st, was a very interesting musical experience for my husband and me. For the first time, we headed up to the Little Buffalo Festival, located in a scenic and remote corner of Perry County.We’d been to this state park for the Halloween hayride when the kids were younger. But this was our first time at this specific festival which has been ongoing since the early 1980s. The main draw for us was the headliner Jeffrey Gaines, but we would discover and enjoy many different performances by artists in many different genres on this cold and drizzly day.

Made2BPlayed by Charlie Bush On the way to the show, we stopped by the Modern Rock Review P.O. box to the find we were sent Made2BPlayed by Williamsport’s Charlie Bush. it was a pleasant surprise to have something new to listen to during this 45 minute drive into the mountains. Bush produced an upbeat, solid, roadhouse country album with strongly themed songs. The best of these is “9-11 Ride”, a song which describes a bike rally in honor of the victims of the most terrible day in American history. The song is becoming popular across the country, especially at bike rallies, some of which have adopted it as their official theme song. A few other highlights from Made2BPlayed are “Recollections”, a heartfelt song with a lighter touch, and the remake of Del Shannon’s “Runaway”, which has an interesting sonic twist while maintaining the overall spirit of that original song. The album was recorded at Green Valley Recording in Hughesville, PA, and has an excellent overall sound. Bush describes his music as having, “a little country-rock feel – not country music but like chicken-fried, swamp bottom rock ‘n roll…”

George Wesley

We arrived at Little Buffalo mid afternoon and headed to the main stage to catch the end of George Wesley‘s set.  Wesley’s reggae influenced, Carribean vibed, feel-good music – made you feel more like you were on a sun-soaked island beach than a rain-soaked field. George Wesley has written and performed his own infectious music for over four decades creating many memorable songs influenced by the blend of rock ’n roll and Caribbean sounds.  Through the years George has been a headliner at many festivals as well as playing the same stage with a long list of well known artists including The Wailers, Santana, Black Uhuru and Jimmy Cliff.

We then headed to the acoustic stage to see the Buc Hill Aces.  The Buc Hill Aces are Glenn Carson (fiddle), Patty Carson (bass), Nancy Lockman (guitar), and Brian Lockman (banjo).The band plays old time music, gospel, blues, and whatever strikes their fancy!. .

The Small Ponds, from Raliegh, NC,  were the next act to take the main stage. Their set was a striking contrast to the previous band’s upbeat vibe  with quiet, deliberative arrangements and vocal harmonies. It was a very relaxing portion of the show..

The Acoustic Stage Headliner  this year was Banks, Whitmoyer & Raczar who treated us to a genre bending mix of blues, folk, bluegrass, country and rock. Their sound was truly original and their musical skills quite impressive.

Jeffrey GainesBy the time Jeffrey Gaines took the main stage, the drizzle had turned into a full fledged shower scattering the crowd to seek shelter under trees and tents but not dampening their enthusiasm for the music.  Gaines has a cool, Lenny Kravitz thing going on with dark glasses and a  leather jacket. He creates a  big sound performing with just his voice and a guitar in  a style commanding that you listen. A highlight of the performance was  “Hero In Me” from his debut album in 1992. It was a real treat to catch Jeffrey Gaines performing at a free festival and certainly worth getting rained on!

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