DarielB – Flying Under the Radar

Conway’s Rivertown Festival Scores Big With Randall Bramblett Band

Posted in Live Performance Previews/Reviews by darielb on April 25, 2012

Randall Bramblett during a Myrtle Beach show for South By Southeast.
(Photo Dariel Bendin)

The Rivertown Music & Arts Festival is held in Conway, S.C. each year on the first Saturday in May, and it’s always fun. But this year, it’s going to be even better. Headlining the festival will be the eclectic and uber-talented Randall Bramblett Band.

The twenty-sixth annual Rivertown Music & Arts Festival will be held May 5 from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. in historic downtown Conway, S.C.  Great music, art and a variety of cuisine choices will celebrate this annual event.  Local and regional bands will provide music ranging from jazz to gospel to beach music from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

The headline act, Randall Bramblett Band, is an extraordinary group of “musician’s musicians.” From his early career with Capricorn Records (Cowboy, Gregg Allman, Sea Level) to his more recent tours with Widespread Panic, Traffic and Steve Winwood, Bramblett has worked with the best in the business. Chuck Leavell (Rolling Stones, Allman Brothers) says “Randall is in my opinon one of the most gifted and talented souther singer-songwriter musicians of the past several decades.”

Bramblett has toured and recorded with national acts including Traffic, Gov’t Mule, the late Levon Helm, Elvin Bishop and Gregg Allman, to name just a few. Guitarist John Keane, of Widespread Panic fame, is joining the band for the Rivertown Festival show.

Randall Bramblett Band performs at 5:30 p.m.

Atlanta's power trio Kick the Robot

Also playing the Festival will be alternative rock’s Kick the Robot, a young powerpop trio driven by strong songwriting and vocal harmonies. The group, which recently won the Atlanta division of the Hard Rock Rising 2012 competition, is produced by Gerry Henson, legendary session drummer and producer for many artists, including Shawn Mullins and Randall Bramblett. Kick the Robot takes the stage at 4 p.m.

Another plus, local favorite Southern Blue is also set to perform at the Rivertown Festival. Playing throughout the southeast, the southern rock and blues band has opened for a long list of national acts that includes Blake Shelton, Molly Hatchett, Little River Band, David Allan Coe, and Confederate Railroad. Southern Blue performs at 7:30 p.m.

Festival-goers are encouraged to bring a chair to enjoy the musical acts on Laurel Street and then meander over to the Classic Car Show hosted by Chicora Car Club and sponsored by Palmetto Chevrolet.

From 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. local artists, crafters and merchants will line the downtown streets offering an assortment of wares including pottery, wood, glass, photography, jewelry and paintings.  Gourmet food, hotdogs and local cuisine will also be available in the food court area.

Proceeds from this event benefit Conway Downtown Alive, a nonprofit organization that aims to stimulate economic development, encourage historic preservation and promote the vitality of downtown Conway. For more information visit conwayalive.com or call 843-248 6260.

 

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Bo Schronce Talks about Music & More at Sunset River Marketplace – April 23

Posted in Music Stories by darielb on April 13, 2012

This is going to be a lot of fun, so I thought I’d share it with you. Sunset River Marketplace,

Bo Schronce, founder of N.C. group the Fantastic Shakers (photo Dariel Bendin)

the very cool gallery in Calabash, N.C. where I hang out so much, is bringing in Bo Schronce  to speak at their next Creative Exchange event on Monday, April 23 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.  Bo formed  the Fantastic Shakers back in 1978, so you know he’s got decades of stories to share.

Growing up in Lincolnton, N.C. Bo Schronce first started singing at church, but he admits candidly that he liked the attention that came with being the lead singer in a band. His very first group was the Little Logan Hot Dog Band (He was Little Logan). A few other small bands followed including Bo & the Fugitives and Nobody’s Perfect.  In the mid 70s, he joined the Catalinas, one of the Carolinas’ definitive beach bands. In fact, it was Bo’s vocals recorded on what has become the band’s signature tune “Summertime’s Calling Me.”

However, Bo Schronce is best known for his Fantastic Shakers, which, by the way, he co-founded with keyboard player Dino Fair, now with the popular S.C. powerhouse trio, Sea-Cruz. The Shakers are known throughout the region for beach hits such as, “Myrtle Beach Days,” “Shakin’ the Shack,” and the classic ballad, “Where Do I Go.”

With the Shakers, Bo has built one of the most versatile bands around. Five lead vocalists, three horns and what seems to be a limitless song list of original and cover tunes mean this group is always in demand.

They have performed at Lincoln Center in New York City, where blues fans and radio station deejays welcomed them warmly. “After they heard  ‘Shakin’ the Shack,’ we got in big with the N.Y. blues stations,” said Bo. “I didn’t know how to handle it. I’m just a redneck farm boy from N.C. who knows how to sing.”

Bo Schronce’s vocals are well known and respected throughout the industry. Nashville guitarist and vocalist Rickey Godfrey says, “I think Bo Schronce is easily the most talented, versatile singer in beach music. He can do everything … and he does!”

Jim Quick, front man for the Coastline band and King Tyrone & the Graveyard Ramblers agrees. “ Bo has a voice that is the representation of the greatest songs in beach music. He’s a performer who can’t be compared to any other I’ve known, a southern gentleman … A father figure, a tutor, a singer’s singer, a show man a nd a dear friend. He’s a red-neck badass, a family man, and the hardest worker in and out of the music scene … a man of truths and a man of the most audacious lies an ear can absorb.”

How’s that for a ringing endorsement, Bo?

The Fantastic Shakers have been guests of honor at both North and South Carolina gubernatorial events. Myrtle Beach has presented them with the key to the city. They have also played the American Bop Association Convention in Cincinnati, Ohio. The band’s gigs take them from the Carolinas and Virginia, beyond to Maryland, Pennsylvania and Oklahoma. Bo Schronce has taken home three Carolina Beach Music Academy (CBMA) awards for Male Vocalist of the Year. The band has five Group Album awards to their credit, plus other honors for singles and blues albums, including a 2011 Song of the Year award and 2011 Blues Song award for their hit single, “I Still Do.”

Despite all this, they cut back their play dates a little bit each year.  “I want time for my family,” says Bo. “I love to garden, I love to fish and I’ve got my dogs – a competition pack of beagles that I take out whenever I can.”

Since opening in 2002, Sunset River Marketplace has become an active supporter of performing, literary and visual arts in the area. The gallery hosted Brunswick Arts Council’s Evening of Miniature Masterpieces fundraiser multiple times and is a regular sponsor for the Friday evening Summer Concert Series at Ocean Isle Beach.

Creative Exchange is an interactive community event held at Sunset River Marketplace. The gallery is located at 10283 Beach Drive SW (Hwy. 179) in Calabash, N.C. The Bo Schronce presentation takes place from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. There is a $7 fee and, due to limited seating, reservations are required. This event is expected to fill up quickly, so get your spot early.

For more information, call 910-575-5999. If you’d like to be notified about upcoming Creative Exchange, Coffee With the Authors or other gallery events, send an email to lassiter@sunsetrivermarketplace.com. Gallery news is also posted on the website: www.sunsetrivermarketplace.com.

David Fair’s Rockin’ Americana Comes to Myrtle Beach

Posted in Interviews by darielb on April 6, 2012

(Photo courtesy David Fair)

Nashville singer/songwriter David Fair is coming to Myrtle Beach this weekend for two shows. Tonight, Friday night, he’s opening for Phil Vassar at Club Boca at Broadway At the Beach (in fact, he’s probably on stage now!); on Saturday, he’ll be at 2001 Nightclub in their intimate Stage room.

David plays a rockin’ guitar, writes some solid lyrics and brings a kick-ass voice to the stage. No surprise, he grew up with music all around him. His dad, Joe Fair, is a respected Nashville singer/songwriter in the Christian music community (Listen to “I Am Certain,” written by Joe Fair, vocals by David Fair). By age 12, David was playing drums in a garage band.  Then he joined Tennessee rock group Pieces of Eight, playing clubs and local events. David formed his own band at age 15. Dubbed Walt-Dizzy by David’s father, the group had a southern hard rock sound that helped them land gigs opening for Steppenwolf and headlining local shows throughout the south.

“After that I joined a hard rock metal band called Medicine Mann,” David said in a telephone interview last week. “I fronted them for eight years. We opened for some major acts.”

David is very low key about these major acts, so let me tell you. During his career, he’s opened for Tesla, Craig Morgan, Warrant, Skid Row, Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora, Jewel, Quiet Riot, Big and Rich, Eric Martin and Eric Church. He’s played The Fillmore in San Francisco, the Cannery and the Starwood Amphitheatre in Nashville, and the Bitter End in New York City.

“It was pretty cool,” David says. “I opened for Tesla at the Warfield in San Francisco … and I played the Fillmore, too, which was great because my dad had played there with the Grateful Dead. I grew up looking at the poster.”

Have you been living in Nashville this whole time, I asked.

“No, I had moved to California in 1999. After I left Medicine Mann, I began to pursue the Americana thing.

“My dad really helped me make connections,” he laughs. “He’s good friends with David Garibaldi, the Tower of Power drummer, who hooked me up with Troy Luckketta, the drummer for Tesla, who wound up producing my first solo CD. Halfway through the album, Tesla went out on the road. That was when I opened for them at the Warfield.”

(Photo courtesy David Fair)

Returning to Tennessee, David toured with the Mulch Brothers, opening for the group and then playing in the band. He also began work – with the help of CJ Boggs – on a second EP, You Never Know.

“CJ played on my first album and played for Mr. Big, and now he has this engineering gig. We set up a studio in the house, brought in these fabulous players … it was great.”

Players included some of the best session players in Nashville and then some: Troy Luckketta, Tesla’s drummer; Kevin Carlson from Aldo Nova on guitar and keys; bluegrass performer Chris Thile;  Bryan House, Sam Bush’s bass player; Bruce Bouton on steel guitar; “Banjo Ben” Clark, who plays with Taylor Swift and the Clark Family; Chris Solberg, Eddie Money guitarist, and N.Y.C.’s Phil Roselle, now part of the Sowing Circle.

David’s favorite writing partner, other than his dad, is music veteran Billy Falcon, who shares songwriter credits on half a dozen Bon Jovi albums and whose tunes have been covered by Stevie Nicks, Cher, Manfred Mann, Sherrie Austin, Meatloaf, Trace Adkins and others.

Based on what I’ve heard, the new CD will be a keeper.

Band members include: David Fair, acoustic lead vocals/guitar/harmonica; Moises  Padilla/drums; David Phoenix/bass; Josh Gramling, lead guitar/backing vocals.

The Backstory

David Fair and I share the same hometown. Floral Park, N.Y. I went to school with his Uncle Dave. My older brother was great pals with David’s dad, Joe. Joe played ball on one of my dad’s ball teams, either Little League or Babe Ruth, and my sister is friends with David’s aunt.

Until last week, though, when I got a message on Facebook from David, I didn’t know him and wasn’t familiar with his music. Now I’m a fan.