DarielB – Flying Under the Radar

Jumpin’ On the Mary4Music Bandwagon

Posted in Music Stories by darielb on June 17, 2012

Mary4Music.com gets over 32,000 unique visitors a month, and I don’t mean hits. (That number is in the hundreds of thousands.) I’m talking about individuals who come back to the site over and over again. I’m not particularly surprised, because I’m one of them. It’s a great site.

Mary4Music is one of the best resources around for all things blues – blues clubs, blues festivals, blues bands, magazines, websites, CD reviews and more. So I’m beside myself that they’ve asked me to add my interviews with blues artists to the site. Zowee!

The Mary in Mary4Music is Mary Roby. She’s a music fan from way back. About 13 years ago, she met blues guitarist Forrest McDonald online and wound up working with his Atlanta, Ga.-based World Talent Records label. “It began as a hobby. I used to update the web page for the label site. I put up a page of music-related links and that link page evolved into Mary4Music,” she told me on the phone last week. “Then I met Pete online, too. I had been to see Lonnie Brooks and commented on AOL about it. Pete responded, so I started checking out his reviews.”

Pete is Peter “Blewzzman” Lauro, Mary’s business partner, fanatic blues aficionado and CD reviewer. Pete adds, “I was working as a doorman at what was then a major blues clubs (now defunct) called Alligator Alley. I’d come home all wired up, not ready to sleep. There was section in the Jazz & Blues category in AOL called Who’d You See Tonight. So I’d review the shows I’d seen … Mary sent me an email about writing reviews for her website and that’s how we became partners.”

Today Mary4Music has evolved into a comprehensive resource used – and inspired by– both musicians and fans. Mary says, “I had one email that said, ‘I’m coming up north. Can you map me a route?’ That’s where the directory came from. Another guy told me that he had planned his whole trip from Canada through the U.S. based on my website.”

Debbie Davies with Mary Roby and Pete “Blewzzman” Lauro

“For us,” Pete (who gets to at least 40 blues events and festivals a year) explains, “blues isn’t just something to do on a Saturday night. It’s a lifestyle. “My wife, Rose and I, we take our vacations to blues festivals.” Asked about his favorite event, the Blewzzman answers emphatically, the Blues Awards, which are held each May in Memphis, Tenn. “Rose and I went to our first Blues Awards show in 2000, and we got hooked. I said to her, ‘We have to do this again,’ and we have, every year since. This year was my thirteenth consecutive year. “I know everybody. I know it sounds like I’m bragging, but I’m not. Blues musicians are so approachable.”

Pete and Mary have not gone unnoticed in the industry. This past October, Pete was invited to be a presenter at the Blues Blast Awards. “So here I am at Buddy Guy’s Legends in Chicago and Buddy Guy won my category. It was one of the most memorable moments of my life.” Mary4Music was also honored last year with a 2011 Keeping the Blues Alive award in the Internet category from the Blues Foundation. These international awards are presented to individuals and organizations (non-performers) who have made “significant contributions” in both promoting blues and preserving the music.

Pete “Blewzzman” Lauro, who used to write for BluesWax online and Big City Blues magazine in Detroit, publishes CD review/s each month. By the first read, you can tell this is a man who loves his blues. I’ve been following his reviews for some years now, and my take is, if the Blewzzman tells you to check something out, check it out. You won’t be sorry.

On the subject of CDs, Mary4Music is currently hard at work on putting together a ten-track compilation CD. Sadly, it won’t be for sale. The recording, which is titled Mary4Music Presents Keeping the Blues Alive Vol.1 (with the blessing of the Blues Foundation), is a promo disc for radio deejays, to help get airplay for the groups involved. According to Mary, they hope this is the beginning of a series of recordings. To me it seems this is just one more way that Mary4Music is working to get the music out there.

You may notice when you visit the site, there are two portals, one titled Blues and the other, Indie. “Back when I first started working with Forrest, it was more about indie music,” Mary says. “But as I got into it, I started leaning more toward the blues, so I separated them.” There is clearly more blues-related information, but there’s plenty of indie resources, too.

What I’ll be doing with Mary4Music though is strictly blues. My plan is to continue my blog, DarielB-Flying Under the Radar, which covers mainly roots, R&B, soul and blues. But my interviews with blues artists will be posted at Mary4Music as well. I am so excited to be a part of this. Stay tuned. I’ll be posting my first Mary4Music interview soon!

If you haven’t been to Mary4Music.com already, I hope you’ll visit soon and “like” them on Facebook, too. (And in case you’re wondering why there isn’t a photo of Mary, you’ll have to take that up with Mary herself!)


Mama Rue’s Gears Up for Summer

Posted in Music Stories by darielb on June 11, 2012

Mama Rue’s Blues Garden in Pawleys Island, S.C. was under water during the recent torrential downpour, but owners

Refried Blues Band will play Mama Rue’s on Friday, June 22, starting at 8 p.m.

Marrue Bleau and Eric Sutherland know how to roll with the atmospheric punches. They stayed open through the worst of it and are already gearing up for a summer of jerk pork and blues.

The entertainment lineup for June includes local favorites along with some regional big names that, combined with Chef Eric’s magic in the kitchen, are pushing this “best known secret of the Grand Strand” to the forefront of the music scene.

During cool months, there’s an intimate corner stage inside the restaurant. Once it’s warm, though, everyone heads outside to the Blues Garden with its live oaks, bottle tree and friendly, rustic bar.

June offerings include:

Friday June 15, 8 p.m. Pastor Pastor, a blues trip off the beaten path.

Wednesday,  June 20, 7 p.m. Jeff Liberty. From Columbia, S.C. Liberty’s scorching guitar and smokey vocals make him a favorite at Mama Rue’s.

Friday,  June 22, 8 p.m.  Re-Fried Blues. This local group plays some rockin’ blues. Members include Mike Markiewicz (vocals), Rick Oliver (bass), Chicago Bob Hess (guitar), and Ed Roderick (percussion), Sadly, Todd Roth “aka”My Buddy Todd” is off finding his fortune in Austin, Texas, so he won’t be joining them onstage.)

Wednesday, June 27   (not yet scheduled)

Friday June 29, 8 p.m.  Back Road Hounds. Another local group, the Hounds play hard drivin’ contemporary blues. Players are Eric Stair (drums), Johnny Webb (bass), Mike Donellan (lead guitar and vocals), and Steph Wilmson (harp and vocals).

Mama Rue’s Blues Garden is located at 9737 Ocean Hwy. (Hwy. 17) in Pawleys Island. Find them on Facebook or visit their website. For more information, call 843-235-3853.

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.

Darden Smith Working On New Album

Posted in Music Stories by darielb on February 29, 2012

Darden Smith is touring Texas, Oklahoma and New York before heading to the U.K. for a session with songwriting legend Boo Hewerdine.

Remember when I posted about Darden Smith and his songwriting camp for veterans that took place earlier this year in Colorado Springs? Well, his people sent me another press release and I thought I’d share it with you. Right now, he’s in Nashville working on a new album.

The new release is being produced by Jon Randall and Gary Paczosa and will feature some of his more recent music (written in the last five years). It includes “Love Calling,” which some of you may have heard on the Sirius Coffee House channel.

Also on the recording will be “Angel Flight,” which is a collaboration with Radney Foster. It was inspired by volunteer missions of military pilots who return the bodies of those wounded in combat. The song has been performed at memorial services, repatriation ceremonies.

Other co-writers include Gary Nicholson (Vince Gill,“One More Last Chance”), Patty Loveless (“The Trouble with the Truth”), and Montgomery Gentry (“She Couldn’t Change Me”); the late Harley Allen (Blake Shelton’s “The Baby,” Joe Nichols’ “I’ll Wait For You,” and Darryl Worley’s “Awful, Beautiful Life”), Jack Ingram (“Barbie Doll”; and Jay Clementi (“Sweet and Wild” by Dierks Bentley, Darius Rucker’s “Might Get Lucky”).

According to the press materials, “Smith has released a dozen critically acclaimed albums that have achieved broad appeal in both the American and British music scenes, including the most recent Marathon (2010). Praised by All Music Guide and Rolling Stone, his songs have climbed the charts in pip, country and rock genres. Hit singles include “Little Maggie” (Darden Smith, 1988), “Midnight Train” (Trouble No More, 1990), “Loving Arms” (Little Victories, 1993), and “After All This Time” (Sunflower, 2002).”

Darden will continue to record under his own Label, Darden Music. In addition, he has collaborated with photographer Kate Breakey in a 32-page book that pairs the lyrics from “Marathon” with her photography.

For more information, visit www.dardensmith.com and www.thebeanartistprogram.com

Music Camp Helps Veterans Tell Their Stories In Song

Posted in Music Stories by darielb on December 31, 2011

I came across a press release that I thought was kind of interesting and cool, so I thought I’d share the info with you.  There’s a songwriting camp for veterans, sort of a transitional program that’s specially designed for members of the military and their families. It’s taking place Jan. 19-23, 2012 in Colorado Springs, Colo.

It’s being hosted by a nonprofit group called LifeQuest Military Transitions. According to this press release all costs for veterans are covered – travel, accommodations and the music camp. The LifeQuest mission is to empower military service members with life skills that enable personal growth, promote leadership development and facilitate positive change during transition into, through and beyond military life.

Austin, Texas-based musician Darden Smith will direct the songwriting program. A longtime singer/songwriter, Smith recorded

The multi-faceted musician also created Songs From the Big Sky, a documentary for BBC Radio in 2006 about the relationship between Texas songwriters and the state’s landscape. (photo courtesy dardensmith.com)

his first album in 1986 (Native Soil/ Redi-Mix Records; re-released on Watermelon Records in 1992), which, had some big-name backup players – Lyle Lovett, Nanci Griffith. Since then, he’s recorded 12 others, including Sunflower (2002/Dualtone Music Group), which included the hit single “After All This Time,” a tune that reached No. 3 on the BBC Radio 2 chart. His most recent is Marathon (2010/Darden Music). Quoting his website,Combining a sophisticated austerity with philosophical heft, Marathon undoubtedly reflects a veteran songwriter in transition, a truth-seeker willing to lay bare the hardships of scrutinizing his place in the modern world. Smith admits: ‘I couldn’t have written these songs 20 years ago.’”

Part of Darden Smith’s place in the modern world is clearly helping his fellow humans find their own place, and he most definitely has an affinity for those in the service of their country. This songwriting retreat is a follow-up to an earlier camp held in July 2011 in Edwards, Colo. Smith gathered a team of pros who worked with a group of participating service men and women.  Their songs were performed at a September 11 concert at the World Arena in Colorado Springs, and are now available on iTunes. After the January 2012 music camp, the songs from both camps will be compiled on a new album. Proceeds from the recordings will benefit the veterans and help fun LifeQuest programs.

If you know anyone who would benefit from this (or maybe someone in a position to volunteer or help our financially), please pass this along.

Music Camp Website (Go to EVENTS tab)

About LifeQuest Military Transitions

LifeQuest Military Transitions (LQMT) is a 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization based in Colorado Springs, Colo. that provides a unique variety of transition programs for military members and their families. Participants come from all over the United States.  LifeQuest’s programs center on physical rehabilitation & training, adventure activities, and life skills development for wounded, ill and injured veterans. The program emphasis is always to empower participants through choice, challenge and change.

GRAMMY Winner Yonrico Scott Heads to Myrtle Beach for SxSE Show

Posted in Music Stories by darielb on December 1, 2011

Yonrico Scott. Check out the drum head.

On Jan. 31, 2010 drummer Yonrico Scott was onstage at the L.A. Convention Center for the pre-telecast award ceremony of the GRAMMYs accepting the award for Best Contemporary Blues Album for the Derek Trucks Band. On Dec. 3, he and his own Yonrico Scott Band will hit the stage right here at the historic Myrtle Beach Train Depot for the final South By Southeast Music Feast of the year.

This is why I “Trust the Frog.” The folks at SxSE spend their time scouring the road not taken by the mainstream bandwagon to bring us some of the country’s most respected singer/songwriters and musicians, most of whom aren’t household names to the public, but are well-known to other musicians.

Yonrico Scott is one of this talented community of musicians. He played with the Derek Trucks Band from about 1993, he guesses, until the band went on hiatus late last year so Derek could form a new band with wife Susan Tedeschi. He has toured with Peabo Bryson and Earl Klugh and played with greats like Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Freddie Hubbard and the Allman Brothers Band.

In a telephone interview earlier this week, we talked about his GRAMMY experience, his career and his passion for art.
As a child, Scott was greatly influenced and encouraged by his mother Ruth Naomi Scott, a gospel singer who grew up in Detroit. She was a member of the Detroit Harmonettes and it sounds like she cherished her son’s budding talent.

“She was truly an angel,” says Scott, “always encouraging me. I started playing drums at about five years old.”

By age 14, he was studying with Motown drummer George Hamilton. At 15, he recorded “Message From the Ghetto” with The Sons of Truth for the Stax gospel subsidiary.

He went to college in Kentucky, studying drums and percussion with Chicago Symphony classical percussionist Patrick Arnold and classical timpanist Dave Davenport. Scott says his classical study is the reason that he is the drummer he is today.

Upon moving to Atlanta, Ga. in the late seventies, he immediately met guitarist George Greer, who turned him on to the neighborhood arts center. Connections made there helped get his foot in the door of the jingle business, and he started doing work for Atlanta mogul Ted Turner.

Sometime in 1992 or 1993, he had a call from Col. Bruce Hampton (Gov’t Mule) with the news that then 14-year-old Derek Truck was looking for a drummer.

“The first time I heard him play, I knew this was big,” Scott tells me. “The first year we played 320 dates. We did all the small cities.
“A lot of people don’t know, but when I started with DTB, we were doing bebop … all sorts of stuff.”

Because DTB took a regular hiatus, Scott was able to play with his own Yonrico Scott Band, which includes Kofi Burbridge, keys/flute; Todd Smallie, bass; Mace Hibbard, sax; Nick Johnson, guitar; Laura Reed, special guest vocalist; and many other players on different occasion. YSB’s debut release, Turning the Corner, a 12-track disc of mainly jazz instrumentals, was released in January, 2004.

His first touring job was with Peabo Bryson and Patti LaBelle. Through Bryson, he connected with Broadway and spent several years working in productions such as The Wiz, Dream Girls, Les Misérables and Five Guys Named Mo, which featured the music of Louis Jordan.

What was it like getting a GRAMMY, I wanted to know.

“I loved it. I walked the red carpet with Ringo Starr on my right and Mick Fleetwood on my left.”

He continues, “Derek had been really cool with it, said he wasn’t going to go, so I said that I was thinking of going and Derek asked me to represent the band, so then it was official. I was going!”

Scott kept a GRAMMY journal about the experience that’s posted on the Derek Trucks Band site. It’s a great read. I love how much fun he’s having with it. Here’s just a snippet:

“I get the award and I’m trying to stay composed on stage but in my mind, I’m freaking out! A lot of the other winners seemed so relaxed when we won, but for me it was just such a huge deal. I had this Grammy in my hand and I was just blown over! Right now I still think it’s a dream and I just wonder when the dream will be over.”

Throughout all Scott’s stories (and he has many), I was impressed by just how jaded he is not. He is embracing every experience that comes along.

“After I got the Grammy, I decided I wanted to do another album. I started in March of 2010, and I finished about three months ago.”

Scott is very excited about the new recording, Be In My World, which he expects will be released in early 2012. Players include his sister Ronda Scott (they sing a duet); vocalist Laura Reed from South Africa; Derek Trucks; DTB bass player Todd Smallie; DTB vocalist Mike Matteson, jazz guitarist Grant Green Jr.; virtuoso bassist Joseph Patrick Moore; singer/songwriter Diane Durrett and more. Three of the tracks are written by funk keyboardist Reverend Oliver Wells. Scott himself wrote several tracks.

“There are 15 original songs and a cover of Buddy Miles’ “‘dem Changes,’” Scott says, “and this is the first recording with me as a lead vocal. So that’s me on vibes, percussion, singing and drums. The album, titled Be In My World is a tribute to Buddy Miles.”
Art is another passion for Yonrico Scott. “I was always drawing and making stuff, as a kid.”
Once again, his mother was at his side, encouraging him.

“‘You can have the upstairs. Do whatever you want,’ my mother told me,’ Scott laughs.

“Then, when I started with Derek, we were making up set lists and I started drawing on them. We would make color copies for the band, and then for some of the fans. And now they’re collected all over the place.”

Scott is a prolific artist, painting drum heads for his many gigs along with paintings.

“I’m not a trained artist,” he continues. “I’m making a statement . . . One of my biggest idols was Howard Finster [legendary Atlanta folk artist known for his 1980s album designs for groups like R.E.M. and Talking Heads].  He told me to keep doing my own stuff. Don’t take lessons. So that’s what I do.”

This past October, when  visionary artists Alex and Allison Gray, known for their psychodelic album covers, came to Atlanta’s inaugural Visionary Arts Fair, Yonrico was part of it.

“I was playing drums, wearing a crazy suit. I loved it.”

So much is  happening for Yonrico Scott these days, it’s  hard to keep up.

“The biggest thing for me right now is a new band. I’ve been invited to join the Royal Southern Brotherhood with Cyril Neville, Devon Allman and MIke Zito with Charlie Wooton on bass. The band will debut at the New Orleans Jazz Fest, and we have bookings through Dec. 2012.”

Joining Scott at the SxSE gig will be jazz keyboardist Buzz Amatto, guitarist Randy Honea, and Ted Peccio on bass. Something tells me this is going to be a genre-jumping adventure, and I can’t wait.

Music Feasts are $25 per person ($20 for SxSE annual concert series members). Reservations are suggested. Send an email to southxsoutheast@aol.com, with the number of tickets and your zip code. They’ll put you on their A list.

The Myrtle Beach Train Depot is located at 851 Broadway in Myrtle Beach. For more information about the SxSE event,log onto http://www.southbysoutheast.org.

Note: I loved talking with Yonrico Scott, and there’s a lot more to the interview, so I plan to organize my notes and add some of them to this blog post soon.

Mama Rue’s Celebrates One Year in Pawleys

Posted in Live Performance Previews/Reviews, Music Stories by darielb on October 19, 2011

On Friday, Oct. 14, Mama Rue’s Blues Garden had their blow-out first anniversary shindig. Alongside Chef Eric’s fabulous jerk

Mama Rue - MIstress of the Bar!

chicken, collards, and Island rice with festival bread, they had the Keith Patterson Band’s official CD release party for Stone Cold Blue (which, despite the title, is over the top hot!).

Mama Rue’s is a smokin’ little juke joint just below the Hammock Shops in Pawleys Island. I don’t think they have more than ten or 11 tables inside, but the vibe is sweet , and outside there’s a big old bar with picnic tables and the main stage. I could live there.

Owners are Marrue Bleau and Chef Eric Sutherland. The duo met some 25 years ago in St. Pete’s, Fla. and have been looking for just the right spot to open a Jamaican restaurant slash blues club (Thank goodness they’re on Island time and didn’t rush into anything!) Marrue books the music and runs the bar, which includes creating some pretty magical cocktails. Eric works his magic in the kitchen.

Chef Eric is a native of Galina, Jamaica. He’s been in the States since 1979. Eric is a self-taught kind of chef. He cooks from the heart, with no recipes. He blends his own seasonings, makes his own signature hot sauce, his own jerk sauce. He buys whole seafood and he buys local.

I had a chance to talk to Eric when he came out to the bar during a brief kitchen break.

“When I was younger, I was adventurous! My first job was at the Playboy Club in Ocho Rios in Jamaica. I was determined to travel a

Chef Eric Sutherland and guitarist Keith Patterson

lot, so I then I worked for different cruise lines. Before I came to Pawleys, I was cooking in Atlanta. Now I like Pawleys; the people are friendly, always nice.”

I think Eric’s cooking must put them in a good mood … or it could just be hanging at the bar with Marrue.
She grew up in Florida and says she’s worked in and out of restaurants since she was 17.

“I was a bartender at a hotel in Palm Beach, working with a little jazz trio there, and that planted the seed of owning my own place.

Marrue has spent time in the Keys, on Grand Turk in the Turks & Caicos; she’s lived on the Suwannee River. Marrue and husband Steve lived on a 27-foot sloop for a time. They took off on a motorcycle and wound up in Mobile, Ala. for a while, too.

“I met Eric when my husband and I used to hang out at his place in St. Pete’s,” says Marrue. “It was called the EZ Jamaican Cafe, and people just went to it in droves. I needed a job and he took me in.”

Marrue and Eric are in the process of expanding the menu to offer more vegetarian fare. For me, I like the stuff that moves! Curried goat, jerk pork, Wednesday night ribs, the daily catch in Jamaican butter sauce or escovitch style (with spicy vegetables). Even the lowly burger is to die for.

I love the character of the place. There are no TVs to distract from the music or the conversation. Marrue laughs when she says, “We don’t serve shooters, we serve cocktails.” And if it’s wine you want, it comes in sweet little jelly jar glasses, New Orleans style.

All that, and top drawer music, too. Marrue tells me that she’s always been drawn to early blues. At Mama Rues, though, she’s

Todd Roth of My Buddy Todd on lead ironing board slide

running the gamut. Of blues, that is. Earlier this month, Mississippi John Doude was in the
house! Local bluesman Todd Roth of My Buddy Todd is a regular player. You can catch George Davis playing a set or two, as well. Rootsy, bluesy gospel duo Blue Mother Tupelo played to a packed house this summer. Rickey Godfrey brought his hot rockin’ blues to Mama Rue’s and folks are still talking about it.

That brings me back to the Keith Patterson Band, another rockin’ blues band, somewhat reminiscent of the seventies, when it was hard to tell the difference between blues rock and hard rock.

Keith’s 11-track debut CD, Stone Cold Blue is solid blues rock, dominated by guitar and B3. I can’t do a full-on review here, but the disc is in my car player and I’ve got it loud!

The five-piece band includes Keith Patterson on guitar; Daniel Korzelius singing lead vocals; John Taylor on drums; Brian Mckenzie, guitar and lap steel; and Drew Jacobs on bass.

They put on a great show. My guess is they’ll be back at Mama Rue’s before too long. YEAH!

Walk Softly and Carry a Big Fish Shtick

Posted in Live Performance Previews/Reviews, Music Stories by darielb on October 19, 2011

Once again, I’m a happy girl, with some lip-rippin’ food and cool sounds to boot.

It’s time for the fifth annual Big Fish Shtick!

On Sunday afternoon, Oct. 23, from noon until 7 p.m. at the Triangle Lounge in Wilmington, N.C., it’s Jim Quick’s Big Fish Shtick. And our boy knows how to party! There will be four bands this year – JQ & Coastline, the Castaways, 40 East and Band of Oz, plus deejay Joey Warren, who always puts the fun in fundraiser.

Ticket donations are $25 each for this event and all proceeds go to United Cerebral Palsy of Wilmington (www.ucp.org). So be sweet. Open up your hearts and your pocketbooks.

Come hungry kids, cause you be eatin’ all day. Jones Fish Camp will be on hand with fish and fixin’s. Boom Boom’s BBQ will be front and center. Plus you’ll have fried shrimp and Captain Crain’s World Famous Shrimp Stew. Think I’m gonna faint!

The music don’t get no stronger … Jim Quick & Coastline, where swamp funk meets smart. Quick is a lyrical Energizer bunny with soul.

Wilmington-based 40 East is a new band for me, one I can’t wait to hear. From what I’ve listened to on the web, they’re kind of crossover country pop with a little R&B thrown in for good measure.

The Castaways are one of those beach bands who like to mix it up. You can expect to hear their signature beach tunes along with some great soul sounds and some killer rock and roll. If we’re lucky, lead vocalist Karen Clayton will treat us to her version of “I (Who Have Nothing),” originally released by Ben E. King back in 1963. Goose bump time!

Last but not least, Band of Oz, frat band turned pro, and one of the most sought-after beach bands on the scene. These guys have been winning awards and hearts for years.

As with any fundraise worth its salt, the Big Fish Shtick will have auctions, raffles, door prizes and more.For any of you extra generous folks, sponsorship packages are still available at $250, $500 and $1,000 levels. Go to the website for details (www.bigfishshtick.com).

Fall S.O.S. Is All About Fun

Posted in Live Performance Previews/Reviews, Music Stories by darielb on September 3, 2011

This year's Fun Monday block party will feature R&B group Wallstreet, Craig Woolard Band with special guest Danny Wood, and soul singer William Bell. Shown, Craig and William at the 2009 CBMA Awards at the Alabama Theatre in North Myrtle Beach, S.C. (Photo Jim Allen)

When the subject of conversation is a ten-day adult party that takes over a town in the south, you know you’re talking about S.O.S. in the Ocean Drive section of North Myrtle Beach, S.C. The 2011 S.O.S. Fall Migration starts Thursday, Sept. 16 and runs full board through Sunday, Sept. 25.

Most of the fun will be taking place at the famous S.O.S. lounges – Fat Harold’s, Duck’s, O.D. Arcade, and the clubs at the O.D. Beach Resort and Golf Resort (Spanish Galleon, O.D. Beach Club and the upstairs O.D. Café). But make sure you also check out Deckerz, right off Main St.; Boom Boom’s Raw Bar on 13th Ave. North; HOTO’s on the beach in Cherry Grove, 2001 Nightclub on Lake Arrowhead Rd.; and Captain Poo’s at Anchor Marina. Party hearty, folks.

There’ll be shag exhibitions and workshops, live entertainment, deejays spinning your favorite tunes, dancing, dancing and more dancing! In fact, over at Fat Harold’s, they’ll be holding their first Last Shagger Standing contest  from 12 noon to 12 midnight on Tuesday, Sept. 20, and the payoff is a thousand bucks, so start practicing those maneuvers.

On the first Sunday and only Monday of Fall Migration, thousands fill the streets for two of the biggest block parties you’ll ever experience. For Fun Sunday, as it’s come to be called, head to the parking lot across from the O.D. Arcade (100 S. Ocean Blvd.). Mark Roberts Band and Legends of Beach, two of the hottest bands around will play from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

The Mark Roberts group defines the term “dance band.” They play everything from beach and boogie to blues rock to party music. Musically and stylistically, they’re a cut above.
Legends of Beach, featuring the inimitable Jackie Gore on lead vocals, is pure beach music. If you haven’t seen them lately, Pat Carpenter has joined the mix on guitar and vocals. Add to that Nantucket saxman Eddie Blair, Ben Shaw on trumpet and Original Carolina Girl Terri Gore on vocals. And let’s not forget band stalwarts Johnny Barker (keys), Tony Davis (drums) and Gerald Davis (bass). Hot ticket … and it’s free!

Fun Monday brings us another amazing day. Main Street will be blocked off and the band stage will be at the “horseshoe” at the ocean. The bands start at noon and play until about 5:30 p.m.

Wallstreet will be here, all the way from Joisey. This five-man R&B group doesn’t get to this neck of the beach all that often, don’t miss this opportunity to hear a topnotch group. Founder Odell Mickens splits his time between playing the B3 with Wallstreet and  bass guitar for the Trammps, known best in the Carolinas for their “Hold Back the Night.”

New Jersey R&B group Wallstreet.

Wallstreet singles include “The Little Things,” “Closing Time,” “Finally Friday” and their latest “Old School Music” on Shantys Records. Odell tells me they’ve got a brand new drummer, Jerome “J.T.”  Tyus from the late Keisha Brown’s band. Don’t miss this show.

Sharing the Fun Monday bill with Wallstreet will be CWB – the Craig Woolard Band with special guest Danny Woods, formerly with Chairmen of the Board.That’s going to be some kind of vocal energy on that stage, a whole lotta soul goin’ on. For anyone living under a rock, Craig Woolard is a superb vocalist. Before starting his own band, he spent many years with beloved beach music group, the Embers. Beach, boogie and blues … he does it all. But my favorite is Craig’s rendition of “Georgia.” Goose bumps, every time.

Last but not least for Fun Monday is soul singer William Bell. This guy is considered one of the architects of the 1960s Stax-Volt sound. His debut single was “You Don’t Miss Your Water” (1961), and he’s still associated with the tune. Another William Bell classic is “Private Number,” (1968) a duet with Judy Clay. “Trying to Love Two” hit the Top 40 and No.1 on the R&B charts. Otis Redding fans will recall “A Tribute To a King.”

Many folks don’t realize that William is noted for his songwriting as well. He shares songwriting credits on Chuck Jackson’s hit, “Any Other Way,” which Bell recorded first, by the way. He also penned his hit “I Forgot To Be Your Lover” (1968), which would become a Top 10 pop hit for Billy Idol in 1986, and co-wrote (with Booker T. Jones)  the 1967 Albert King blues classic “Born Under a Bad Sign.” I promise you, the William Bell show will be super.

To say Fun Monday is fun is an understatement. It’s a blast. If you’re in the neighborhood, head over the Main Street and enjoy yo self!

Events at the S.O.S. lounges mentioned above require an S.O.S. card for admission. For $35 per person, you’ll find yourself part of a unique lifestyle, one that simply doesn’t exist anywhere else. Entry to the other clubs will either be free or close to it. For more information and schedules, visit the S.O.S. website or the clubs’ individual websites.

If you’ve got other events, club dates or S.O.S. news, feel free to add your comment here!!!

Nationally Known Nantucket Band Has Roots At the Beach

Posted in Music Stories by darielb on May 18, 2011

Even if you’re not Carolina-grown, you may remember the rockin’ sounds of Nantucket. If you plan to be on the Grand Strand on May 19, you can hear them again. Nantucket is heading to Duck’s Beach Club on Main Street in North Myrtle Beach for a high-energy night of signature Nantucket tunes and a brand new CD of beach music that includes the group’s recent tribute to soul-beach icon, “General” Norman Johnson, who passed away on Oct. 13, 2010.

Formed in Jacksonvile, N.C. back in the late sixties, Nantucket was first known as Stax of Gold and later Nantucket Sleighride (after the song by Mountain).
Playing mostly covers, the group became a huge draw throughout North Carolina and later, the entire southeast.

After signing with Epic Records in 1977, they released their self-titled album which included the hit tune “Heartbreaker,”  By that time they were touring nationally and opening for top acts such as KISS, Journey, Styx and the Doobie Brothers.

Touring now throughout the Carolinas, the group has just played the Red Rose Festival in Lancaster, S.C.  and Thunder In the Smokies in Maggie Valley, N.C. After Ducks in Ocean Drive, they’ll head to Carolina Harley Davidson in New Bern, N.C. on May 21 and the Clayton concert series in Clayton, N.C. on June 2.

Today’s Nantucket features original members Mike Uzzell on keyboard bass and organ; Larry Uzzell singing lead vocals and playing trumpet, harmonica and percussion and Tommy Redd on rhythm guitar and vocals. Edddie Blair plays saxophone, keyboards and provides vocal suppport; and Jason Patterson is on drums.

The new seven-track CD is titled You Need a Ride to Raleigh. The show at Duck’s Beach Club at 229 Main Street begins at 9 p.m.