DarielB – Flying Under the Radar

Chucktown’s Annual Beach Music & Shag Fest Set for August 25 & 26

Posted in Live Performance Previews/Reviews by darielb on July 9, 2012

The seventh annual Charleston Beach Music & Shag Festival will be held on August 25 and 26 in the ballroom of the North Charleston Performing Arts Center, which is connected to the Embassy Suites, organizer Harriett Grady has announced.

The two-day event will feature six powerhouse acts, shag workshop and deejays: on Saturday, brush up on your shagging at a workshop with Jerry and Barbara Wade, 1 p.m.; Rickey Godfrey Band at 3 p.m.; the Castaways at 5:30 p.m.; and Carolina Soul Band at 8 p.m. Deejay Gerry Scott will spin tunes for shaggers in between performances.

On Sunday, deejay Betty Brown begins at 1 p.m. and returns between acts. The Fantastic Shakers start at 2 p.m.; the Johnny Rawls Blues Band – with Rickey Godfrey sitting on guitar – takes the stage at 4 p.m.; and the mighty Tams close out the entertainment at 5:30 p.m. Betty Brown returns to the deejay booth at 7 p.m.

The Festival is being presented by The Beach Music & Shag Preservation Society of South Carolina (BMSPSSC) along with Big Mamma Entertainment of Charleston, S.C.

The mighty mighty Tams.

In a telephone interview, Grady said she formed the BMSPSSC back in 2006 at the urging of Diane Pope, manager of the original Joe Pope Tams and wife of original member Charles Pope. “She [Diane Pope] talked to me for several years asking me to have a beach festival in Charleston,” explains Grady. “She said there was not a beach music festival here and she thought there should be. She said she had been thinking about it over and over and she thought I should be the one to do it. So about that same time an investor came along and said every one in Charleston pointed at me to help get a Beach Festival going.

“Well, with two strong people coming at me I decided to try it. I coined the name Charleston Beach Music and Shag Festival that first year and it stuck. That was in 2006 and I have continued every year on my own having the Charleston Beach Music and Shag Festival. The Joe Pope Tams have been in all but one of them.”

Festival sponsors include Strom Altman Suzuki of Charleston; Coast magazine and Alternatives NewsMagazine (myrtlebeachalternatives.com) of Myrtle Beach; music blog DarielB-Flying Under the Radar (darielb.wordpress.com). According to Grady, she is still seeking and accepting sponsors for the event.

BMSPSSC is a private nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization formed to promote, preserve and perpetuate the S.C. state dance, the shag, and South Carolina’s most popular music, beach music. Festival tickets are $20 per day for BMSPSSC members and $25 for nonmembers. Two-day tickets are $35/members and $45/nonmembers. Tickets may be purchased online at http://www.bmspssc.com or http://www.pivotsbeachclub.com. Special Festival rates are available at the adjoining Embassy Suites. For more information, call 843-814-0101.


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.

D.J. Throwdown at Ocean Drive

Posted in Live Performance Previews/Reviews by darielb on February 26, 2010

Fans of Carolina R&B love this event. The 19th Annual DJ Throwdown in North Myrtle Beach, S.C. is bringing 60-plus deejays to Ocean Drive along with three of the hottest beach bands around: Band of Oz, Legends of Beach and the Fantastic Shakers.

The fun takes place March 4 – 6 at Duck’s Beach Club on Main Street and the O.D. Beach Club where Main Street meets the beach.

Doors open at Ducks on Thursday night at 7:30 for a night of classic beach music. Tickets are $10 (Thursday night only). Band of Oz starts at 8 p.m., followed by Legends of Beach and ending with the Fantastic Shakers.

Although Band of Oz has been around in one form or another since  the sixties, the current lineup showcases Scott Fine on vocals and trombone, Tim Morris on vocals and trumpet, and Daniel Morris on saxophone and vocals. They tour throughout the Carolinas, Va. and Ala. to sell-out crowds, and Ocean Drive will be no exception.

Typically, organizers bring in a national blues act for the middle slot. One year it was guitar whiz Debbie Davies. Last year harp man Mitch Kashmir came to town. For DJ Throwdown 2010, though, things have changed and I contacted deejay/organizer Butch Metcalf to find out why, but I haven’t heard back yet, and a deadline is a deadline is a deadline …

Legends of Beach bass player Gerald Davis (Photo Frank Hall)

So, next up will be Legends of Beach, a topnotch beach band consisting mainly of former members of the Embers band. These guys are some of the best vocalists and musicians in beach music today. Jackie Gore is the personification of beach music. He wrote and sang the original classic “I Love Beach Music” with the Embers in 1979. R. Mark Black, another former Ember, brings soulful vocals and sax to the stage.  Gerald Davis (bass), Jeff Grimes (guitar, sax) and Johnny Barker (keyboards) all include the Embers band on their resumes. You can expect an exciting set of classic R&B from this group.

Closing out Thursday night at Ducks are the Fantastic Shakers, who will keep the crowd movin’ and shakin’ into the wee hours. These guys are party animals and talented musicians to boot. Tunes like “Myrtle Beach Days” and “I Just Don’t Look Good Naked Anymore” keep audiences singing along. I have yet to experience a Fantastic Shakers show when they weren’t “on.”

Of course, that’s just Thursday. For Friday and Saturday, deejays rule. They’ll be playing the old stuff, the new stuff, the sleepers, the breakout tunes, what’s hot, what’s obscure and everything in between. O.D. Beach Club will have deejays starting at 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. The club has announced it will be non-smoking for the weekend.

For more information, visit http://www.abscdj.com and click on the Ducks logo to download a flyer.

Sunday at the Charleston Beach Music Festival

Posted in Music Stories by darielb on September 9, 2008

For beach music fans, last weekend’s Charleston Beach Music Festival (Aug. 21 – 24, 2008) was the place to be. I couldn’t be there for all four days, but I made it down to Chuck Town for Sunday, Aug. 24 and it was a blast! Hats off to Harriett Grady-Thomas, festival organizer and owner of J.B. Pivots for pulling together a terrific festival.

This is the third year of the beach music bash, which moved to the Citadel Alumni House, and what a great venue. We were out of the rain and into the air conditioning!

Holiday Band kicked off at noon. This is such a great, high-energy live group. Wearing wireless mics, at least one of them is usually out line dancing or shagging with the crowd. As for vocals, Duane Neese had more than enough motor under the hood for this audience of shaggers and music lovers. By the way, Bob Martin from California is the new guy playing saxophone.

Next up was Sea-Cruz. This triple threat can stand head to head with any of the big boys. And I’ve still got goosebumps from Butch Barnes’ amazing falsetto.

Singer/songwriter Rick Strickland was a wonderful treat for me. I hardly ever get to see him play live. He performed quite a bit from his new Island Soul CD, and, of course, couldn’t get off the stage without doing “Something Smooth.”

Johnny Rawls Blues Band had the 4:30 slot. If you’re into bluesy, soul-filled vocals and a sultry delivery, Johnny Rawls is your man. (Last winter, during the Lowcountry Blues Bash, Johnny told me he loved my red shoes, and I’ve been smitten ever since).

Many in the crowd had never seen him before, and they went wild! This time, Johnny’s daughter, Destini Rawls, performed with him. When she eased into “I’d Rather Be Blind,” the heart-wrenching, show-stopping Etta James standard, people stopped everything to listen. Playing keyboard with the band was none other than Easley, South Carolina’s Bobby Simmons, who did a fine, fine job.

I think it would be awfully tough to follow Johnny Rawls, but I doubt that even occurred to Jim Quick & Coastline. They hit the stage running and didn’t stop for the next hour. I love these boys!

Closing out the show was the inimitable Bo Shronce and his Fantastic Shakers.