On Stage: Delco’s Tom Keifer comes home

Also: Cowboy Junkies in area to support new release

By Denny Dyroff, Staff Writer, The Times

tom keiferThe quote “You Can’t Go Home Again” is taken from the title of a novel by Thomas Wolfe. It’s not a quote you could apply to rock musician Tom Keifer. He is going home again.

Keifer is a local boy who rose to international fame as the lead vocalist of the glam-rock band Cinderella. He is a Philadelphia area native who relocated to southern New Jersey during the Cinderella days and then moved to Nashville around 20 years ago.

More specifically, Keifer grew up in Delaware County and graduated from Springfield High School. On April 28, he is returning to the area to perform a concert just a few miles from his hometown. Keifer and his band will perform at Harrah’s Philadelphia’s The Block (777 Harrah’s Boulevard, Chester, 484-490-1800, http://www.caesars.com/harrahs-philly).

“It’s going to be fun to come back home and play in Delaware County,” said Keifer, during a phone interview last week from his home in Nashville. “I started playing in my first bands there, including dances at Holy Cross School with my early garage band.”

Back in 1983, Keifer formed Cinderella in Philadelphia. Jon Bon Jovi took a liking to the band and persuaded his record label to sign them. In 1984, Cinderella released its debut album “Night Songs” and it reached No. 3 on the Billboard albums chart. One of the band’s biggest singles was “Don’t Know What You Got (Till) It’s Gone.”

Cinderella — with Keifer singing lead vocals — still tours occasionally. But, Keifer has spent most of the last two years touring in support of his solo album “The Way Life Goes.”

“I moved to Nashville in the mid-1990s,” said Keifer. “Cinderella had broken apart. I moved here because it’s such a creative community. I wanted to put together as solo band and this is where the musicians are.

“The record was made piece-meal over a period of 10 years. It was a labor of love. I was in a band place with the record industry. With Cinderella, our record deal went south and we couldn’t record together.”

Keifer worked on his solo album in-between Cinderella reunion tours and the birth of the first child for him and his wife Savannah (Snow) Keifer.

“I was pretty disgusted with the music industry,” said Keifer. “My wife Savannah, who is a songwriter, had gone through a similar thing. She was signed to some big companies in Nashville and had to deal with the same kind of things.

When we started working on the new songs, it was because we just wanted to make music. No record companies were involved. We have our studio and began working with friends of ours, brought in musicians that we liked. After awhile, we had a lot of songs done and it sounded like an album.”

Keifer almost lost his ability to sing when he was diagnosed with vocal cord paresis. The incurable ailment involves the periodic loss of voluntary movement of the vocal cords. Fortunately, he now has the disorder under control.

Keifer and his band mates — Tony Higbee, guitars and vocals; Billy Mercer, bass and vocals; Paul Simmons, drums and vocals; Paul Taylor, keyboards and vocals; Savannah Keifer, vocals, percussion and piano; Kendra Chantelle, vocals and percussion — have been touring in support of the album ever since its release and they’re still not showing any signs of stopping.

“The current band is the very first bunch of people that came in to audition a few years back and we’re still together today,” said Keifer. “This band has great chemistry. It’s very high energy. We just finally recorded the band live in the studio. We did a couple bonus tracks for the deluxe release of the album later this year. It will be a commemorative edition.”

The new tracks will be featured as bonus material on an expanded, deluxe edition of”The way Life Goes.” Set for release later this year, the package will also include the original album that is currently being re-mastered by Richard Dodd (Kings of Leon, Jason Aldean, Lady Antebellum), a bonus DVD with video extras, a documentary about the creation of the bonus tracks, and exclusive interviews with the band filmed during the new recording sessions.

The as-yet-untitled deluxe set will be wrapped in an all new expanded art package designed by artist David Calcano (creator of the Fantoons comic strip series) with one-of-a-kind unique illustrations depicting each song.

“My solo music is very similar to what I wrote with Cinderella,” said Keifer. “My goal has always been for ‘real’ rather than ‘flavor of the day.’ It’s the same blues-influenced hard rock that I grew up with in the 70s.”

Video link for Tom Keifer —https://youtu.be/T7tAh1862eI.

The show at Harrah’s will start at 7 p.m. Tickets are $25.

Other shows this weekend at Harrah’s will be Completely Unchained, a Van Halen tribute band, on April 29 and “I Love the 80’s & 90’s Old School Party 2” on April 30.

Another music act with a long history will visit the area on April 29 when the Sellersville Theater (24 West Temple Avenue, Sellersville, 215-257-5808, www.st94.com) hosts Cowboy Junkies.

cowboy junkies

Cowboy Junkies

Cowboy Junkies are a Canadian band that transcends genres — alternative, country, blues, folk rock, psychedelic music, Americana, and straight-ahead rock. The group was formed in Toronto in 1985 by Margo Timmins (vocalist), Michael Timmins (songwriter, guitarist), Peter Timmins (drummer) and Alan Anton (bassist),

Now, Cowboy Junkies have announced select 2016 tour dates in support of their latest release “Notes Falling Slow.” After an 18-month break from touring, the band is revitalized and ready to hit the road.

The band will be performing two sets each night, with the first set focusing on the material from their recently-released “Notes Falling Slow” box set. The second set will reach back and delve deep into the group’s extensive catalog. 

“Notes Falling Slow” (Latent Recordings) includes re-mastered versions of the three studio recordings that the band released in the 2000s — “Open” (2001), “One Soul Now” (2004) and “At The End Of Paths Taken” (2007).

A fourth disc — “Notes Falling Slow” — features songs that were written during the making of the three studio albums, but never completed or released. A few of these songs made it to the band demo stage, some never made it past songwriting demos and a couple were completed but were left off the final albums.

“You always revisit your repertoire to find songs to put in a show,” said Margot Timmins, during a phone interview last week from her home in Beaver Valley, Ontario. “When we were putting together a previous tour, we were listening to some of our older music. These three albums were written in the early part of the century and were totally different from each other.

“When we started to re-listen, we didn’t remember them. When we listened, we realized that the lyrics had similar stages — babies coming into world, parents going out or starting to. It was a really weird period. To us, it was a missed period because we all had children late. We realized that our audience now had teenagers of their own.

“We also found that we had written a ton of stuff that didn’t make the album. It was frustrating then because there were good songs that just didn’t fit on those albums.”

In review, the answer became obvious and that answer became the four-CD set “Notes Falling Slow.”

“We did some re-mixing of the songs from the earlier albums,” said Timmins. “On the fourth CD, some were originals and some were re-recorded. For example, the song ‘Ikea parking Lot’ wasn’t complete. I love the song and loved what it said. But, it was too much of a sad ballad to go on one of the three albums when they were first released.”

The band’s history stretches back over three decades — back to the Timmins family home in Ontario.

“Our dad was in the aviation industry,” said Timmins. “We’d be eating dinner and he’d go to his reel-to-reel and play music for us. Our house was always filled with music and he instilled that need in us. We all liked playing music.

“When my brother Mike got his B.A. and finished college, he decided he wanted to be a musician. When he came back to Toronto, it started coming together. My brother Peter got some drums and Mike asked me if I wanted to sing.

“We used to go to punk concerts all the time. So, we started to play garage gigs punk-style. We were at that perfect age. We just wanted to play music. So, we did — and we’ve continued to do it ever since.”

With several Juno Awards “Group of the Year” nominations and more than 20 albums to their credit, it appears as if they made the right decision.

Video link for Cowboy Junkies — https://youtu.be/edevIzrUVjQ.

There will be two shows at the Sellersville Theater on April 29 — 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. Tickets for either are $39.50 and $55.

quebe sisters 2

The Quebe Sisters

The Sellersville Theater will also present a show by the Quebe Sisters on April 30.

The Quebe Sisters are a fiddle-centric Western swing group from Texas. The band features a trio of sisters — Grace, Sophia and Hulda Quebe. Formed in 2002, the band performs fiddle music — Western and traditional Texas style — along with Western swing and vintage country.

When the Quebes (rhymes with “maybe”) take the stage, the triple-threat fiddle champions play and sing in multi-part close harmony. The trio’s vocal and instrumental performances are authentic all-Americana. 

“My sisters and I started playing music for fun,” said Hulda Quebe, during a phone interview last week from the sisters’ home in Dallas. “We grew up in Krum, Texas. We never thought we’d play music professionally as fiddlers. We just played little Suzuki violins. It was fun.

“Then, our teacher encouraged us to enter a fiddle contest. We ended up quitting playing violin and stared fiddling. We started taking lessons and our teachers saw the potential. That’s when we started competing in fiddle contests.”

When Hulda, Sophia and Grace were ages 7, 10 and 12 in 1998, they attended their first local fiddle competition in nearby Denton, and decided fiddling was what they wanted to do. The sisters earned solo and group accolades early on — winning state and national championships in their respective age groups in 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2002.

“Our teachers were Sherry McKenzie and her husband Joey McKenzie, who was a professional fiddler,” said Hulda, the youngest of the three.

“They gave us music to listen to — western, jazz and country. The three of us would sit in the same room and take lessons together. We’d all learn the same kind of material and we kept progressing at the same level. We learned about chords and arranging. Soon, we were playing gigs.

“Since then, we tour all the time. Tours range from a week to a month or more. We’ve been coming to Pennsylvania for a long time. Some of our earliest shows were in Pennsylvania. We love touring. It’s been great to see so much and to meet so many wonderful people along the way.”

Along with headlining their own shows, the Quebe Sisters have shared stages with American music legends like Willie Nelson, George Strait, Merle Haggard, Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder, Ray Price, Connie Smith, Marty Stuart, Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers, Ray Benson and Asleep at the Wheel, and Riders in the Sky.

 “Our first album in 2003 — ‘Texas Fiddle’ — was an all-instrumental album,” said Hulda. “We weren’t really a band yet. We’re proud of that album. We were kids and we did a good job. One of the people who recommended we do vocals was Ricky Skaggs. He invited us to play the Grand Old Opry.

Opry announcer Eddie Stubbs told listeners on his own show on Nashville’s WSM — “One thing is for sure, you don’t see a group like The Quebe Sisters come along every day. Give them your undivided attention, and if you’re not already, you too, will become a fan.”

“In 2005, we started singing in our own shows,” said Hulda. “We’re still learning and working on it. It’s a whole different world. We tour with our band which has Simon Stipp on guitar and Daniel Parr on bass. Now, we’re working together on material for a new album and plan to go into the studio at the end of the year.”

Video link for the Quebe Sisters — https://youtu.be/QANZnAKDvc8.

The show by Quebe Sisters, which features The Hello Strangers as the opening act, will start at 8 p.m. Tickets are $19.50 and $29.50.

Other upcoming shows at the venue in Sellersville are Barry McGuire and John York on April 28, Spyro Gyra on May 1, John Hiatt on May 2 and Simo on May 4.

wild feathers

Wild Feathers

On April 30, the Wild Feathers will make a return visit to Philadelphia to treat fans to a heavy dose of music from their new album “Lonely Is a Lifetime,” which was released last month on Warner Bros. Records. The band will headline a show at The Foundry at Fillmore Philadelphia (1100 Canal Street, Philadelphia, 215-309-0150, www.thefillmorephilly.com).

The Wild Feathers are an American rock and roll band. The band’s home is in Tennessee and there are country influences in the band’s music but the group is far from being just an Americana act.

The foursome of Taylor Burns (guitar, vocals), Ricky Young (guitar, vocals), Joel King (bass, vocals) and Ben Dumas (drums) just released its sophomore album “Lonely Is a Lifetime” and appears poised to be one of America’s next big bands.

But, the Wild Feathers are far from what you’d call an overnight success.

“We’re based in Nashville,” said Burns, during a recent phone interview as the band was travelling through Washington state on its way to a show in Seattle.

“Ricky and Joel were living in Nashville and had mutual friends. They were in Austin with a friend of mine and we met. We were having a few beers and hanging out. We brought guitars. One thing led to another and we started writing together.

“We had some interest from Interscope Records at the start and they’d put us up for months at a time in L.A. so that we could write together. We did that three times but we were all still living at home. After awhile, I decided to move from Austin to Nashville and I’ve been there for about four years.

“We did this crazy tour opening for Paul Simon. So, we made a four-song EP to sell at the shows. We had already started to gel — but we hadn’t toured that much. That was back in 2011. That was a crash course on how to tour as a band.”

The Wild Feathers had music ready to get out to the world but no avenue to do it.

“The first album was already written at the time,” said Burns. “But, we were waiting in exile — unsigned and drifting along. Our A&R guy left Interscope and went to Warner Bros. Records and he signed us.

“The day we went in the studio was the day we signed the contract. We had kind of demo-ed the songs two or three times already and then we did some pre-production. We record really fast. We’ve spent less than three weeks in the studio on each of our albums. Our producer Jay Joyce likes to work fast and so do we.

“We sat on the first album for a year and toured the whole year. Then, we kept touring for another year. All that touring made us better musicians. We were more focused on what we wanted. We became tighter and more close-knit. And, we got more rock.

“We wrote at sound checks with amps and electric guitars and ideas were flowing. Me and Ricky and Joel share the songwriting. The new album is noisier, louder, and, for us, more experimental. But, at the same time, it still sounds like us.”

According to Burns, “We’re a rock and roll band who can play all different kinds of things. We made a conscious effort to expand our sound. We went into the writing mode on the same page. We wanted to preserve the essence of The Wild Feathers with the multiple harmonies, but we also wanted to take this step forward and experiment.”

 As a result, “Lonely Is a Lifetime” reflects a richer confluence of influences, while maintaining the band’s signature soul and spirit and a nod to all that time on the road together.

Following the first album’s marathon of touring, the band retreated to a cabin in Muscle Shoals, AL. It was there they collectively sifted through the myriad ideas accrued on the road. Their three singular voices began to shine within the new material, giving a platform to their respective identities as both singers and writers.

Produced once again by Jay Joyce (Cage the Elephant, Zac Brown Band, Patty Griffin, Fidlar), and mixed by D. Sardy (Oasis, The Rolling Stones, Nine Inch Nails), “Lonely Is A Lifetime” is the follow-up to the band’s 2013 self-titled debut, which hit No.1 on Billboard’s Heatseekers chart.

On the new album, the Wild Feathers pay homage to the musician that was the catalyst for the merging of rock music and country music — the late Gram Parsons, former Byrd and co-founder of the Flying Burrito Brothers.

On the anniversary of Parsons’ birthday, the boys were working on music in Los Angeles. Given the proximity to Joshua Tree, they made a pilgrimage to The Joshua Tree Hotel where Parsons died. They stayed in his final hotel room and wrote “Lonely is a Lifetime.”

According to King, “We were on a huge Gram Parsons kick, and we had to book the room. We went out there just for the experience. It ended up being a magical thing because we wrote this song in 45 minutes. It was inspiring.”

After two years of touring, the Wild Feathers have developed into a very tight unit — a band capable of performing great on stage and delivering in the recording studio.

“We’re proud of what we did on the new album,” said Burns. ‘And, people seem to really love it.”

Video link for the Wild Feathers — https://youtu.be/oTYdz0ZMOz0.

The show at The Foundry, which also features The Shelters and TJ Kong and the Atomic Bomb, will start at 8 p.m. Tickets are $17.

Other upcoming shows at The Foundry are The Lawsuits, Former Belle, Foxtrot, and the Get Down on April 29; Youth Code on May 1 (6:30 p.m.); and Questlove on May 1 (11 p.m.).

james supercave

James Supercave

James Supercave is a band from Southern California that will be in the area on April 30 for a show at Underground Arts (1200 Callowhill Street, Philadelphia, http://undergroundarts.org).

The band’s music is easy to categorize — that is if you simply refer to it as psych-pop. But, it’s not that easy

The trio of guitarist Joaquin Pastor, keyboardist Patrick Logothetti and guitarist Andrés Villalobos creates music that is hard to describe. The lyrics are cerebral, a bit obscure — and definitely spacey. The vocals are expressive, pensive — and definitely spacey. The instrumental parts are muscular, obtuse — and definitely spacey.

James Supercave’s debut album “Better Strange” was recently released on Fairfax Recordings. “Better Strange” was co-produced by Kevin Augunas (Cold War Kids, Nick Waterhouse, Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros) and the band. It is available on 2xLP limited edition white vinyl (limited to 500), 2xLP black vinyl, CD, and digitally.

In 2014, a demo of their song “Burn” made it into rotation at L.A.’s tastemaker radio station KCRW, which gave the single a coveted “Track of the Day” designation.

“We recorded ‘Better Strange’ at the end of last year,” said Pastor, during a phone interview last week. “We were working on it few months until March. Then, we jumped on tour with Warpaint and put out a video for ‘The Right Thing.’

“The band formed in the Echo Park/Silverlake area of Los Angeles. We’re a trio but we’re a five-piece when we play liver. In the past, we’ve had some rhythm section changes.

“Echoplex (a club in Echo Park) is our home club. We’ve played there ever since we started. We’ll have our homecoming show there next month at the end of this tour. Me,  Patrick and Andrés made the album. When we’re making songs, everyone touches everything. It’s a think tank.

“Most of ‘Beter Strange’ was done to tape and we had control over the edit. We synched it to ProTools. We’re pretty detail-oriented so there was a lot of splicing and dicing. It was basically a self-production — along with Kevin (Augunas) at Fairfax Recording Studio. He also runs Fairfax Records. He’s a friend who has been a fan of ours for a long time. He has a new label and we were one of his first acts.

“There was a lot of mixing as we went –and that took time. We were still making changes right until the end. I actually added some audio after the masters were done. The only reason the record ever came out was because we had a deadline. Otherwise, I’d still be making changes.

“We walked into the recording sessions with a bag of 30-40 songs and only nine made it to the album. A couple songs are three or four years old and a couple were written in the studio. The record feels all over the place — songs from all over the map.

“This is our first record. It’s a classic first record because we’ve been carrying these songs around for awhile. It’s a benchmark of what we’ve been — an audio snapshot. We still play most of the songs in our live show. We stop playing songs when they stop feeling fresh.”

Video link for James Supercave — https://youtu.be/gfKYg-9MCYA.

The show at Underground Arts, which has Wild Belle as the headliner, will start at 8 p.m. Tickets are $14.

Other upcoming shows at Underground Arts are MH The Verb and GR Stone with Kuf Knotz  plus The Flowdown, Ill Fated Natives and Luke O’Brien on April 28, Fat White Family and Dilly Dally with Littler on April 29, and West Philadelphia Orchestra and Slavic Soul Party on May 1. 

lady bones 2Lady Bones will release its new EP “Terse” on April 29 via Midnight Werewolf Records.

On April 30, the band will visit the area for a show at Nico Nico Mansion (40th and Green streets, Philadelphia, https://www.facebook.com/events/1688652884741733).

One of Boston’s most highly-regarded young bands, Lady Bones — Sean Gilston (vocals,. guitar), Jeremy Jackson (bass) and Egon Ryan (drums) — released its full-length debut ‘Dying” just over a year ago. Picking up where they left off with their debut, the three musicians followed with an album of melodic, sludgy indie rock with twisting structures that shift without warning.

The three friends have been playing together since 2011 when they met as high school students. There is no stylistic leader of Lady Bones. The band writes songs for each other and teak individual ideas to fit the needs of the group as a whole.

“We recorded ‘Terse’ at Format Studio in Amesbury, Massachusetts with Ryan Stack,” said Gilston, during a recent phone interview from his home in Boston.  “He’s a great engineer.

“We banged it out in about four days. A lot of the songs we had been working on for about three months prior and one was a last-minute addition. We write together. There is no singer/songwriter in the band. We just go into our practice space and hash it out. We’re definitely a group.

“With every new batch of songs we write, they always end up a bit different. This new EP is definitely different from the album. The songs are a lot shorter — and a little more straight-forward. On the full-length, we’d take a song and see how far could take it.

“The songs on ‘Terse’ were more concise.  We did drums first and then came in and added guitar and bass. We wanted to start strong with drums to open the recording process. On the album, we did it all live. It was fun to do but the songs come out differently when you track separately.”

The band members’ respect for each other as friends plays a big role in the music.

“We grew up in New Hampshire — in the Portsmouth area,” said Gilston. “Me and John have known each other since middle school. We met Egon at a jazz summer camp in school. We’ve been hanging out together ever since.

“After high school, we moved to New York for a year. Then, we moved to Boston in 2013. That’s when it started taking shape. Now, we all live together in the Allston area of Boston. We’re all right there when it’s time to practice or write.”

Video link for Lady Bones — https://youtu.be/1MjJ_1wUcqE

The show at Nico Nico Mansion, which also features Pet, Seismic Thrust and The Honeymoon Band, will start at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10.

wilmusic festWilmington University will be presenting an event called “Wilmusic Fest” (320 North DuPont Highway, New Castle, Delaware, http://events.wilmu.edu/site/alumnianddevelopment/event/wilmusic-fest-16) on April 30.

The festive spring event, which is scheduled to run from noon-5 p.m., will feature live music, food trucks and craft vendors. The lawn event is free and open to the public.

The schedule of live performances features Megan Knight at 12:45 p.m., Nelly’s Echo at 2 p.m., Nalina and Sarina at 3 p.m. and The Souldaires at 4 p.m.

Nalani & Sarina — twin sisters Nalani and Sarina Bolton — are seasoned musicians even though they just turned 22. They are vocalists, songwriters, multi-instrumentalists who know how to rock, write insightful melodic songs and how to get their funk on.

The Souldaires are a rock/soul/funk fusion band featuring frontman Darnell Miller. The band has roots in gospel, jazz and many other genres leading to a sound that is unique to the band.

Participating food vendors will be The Plum Pit, Kapow, Wildwich and Scoops. Outside food or drink will be prohibited.

Video link for Nalani & Sarina — https://youtu.be/SBpqsaHYaRE.

Video link for The Souldaires — https://youtu.be/rNdDVP4RLCM.

The Flash (102 Sycamore Alley, Kennett Square, 484-732-8295, http://www.kennettflash.org) will feature Open Jam with Davey Dickens & The Troubadours on April 28, The Bullets, Betty & The Bullet, Origami for Addicts, Kid Michael Davis on April 29, All Good People – A Tribute to Yes on April 30 and Open Mic with guest hosts Elliott & Andrew from Vinyl Artifacts on May 1.

The Steel City Coffee House (203 Bridge Street, Phoenixville, 610-933-4043, www.steelcitycoffeehouse.com) will host PHILLY IN THE BURBS with Avi Wisnia, Song Dogs and Last Full Measure on April 28,  Sean Rowe on April 29 and Marshall Crenshaw on April 30.

The Colonial Theatre (Bridge Street, Phoenixville, 610- 917-1228, www.thecolonialtheatre.com) will present Jim Florentine on April 29 and The Eric Mintel Quartet on April 30.

Chaplin’s (66 North Main Street, Spring City, 610-792-4110, http://chaplinslive.com) will host a show by Matt Szlachetka on April 30.

The Ardmore Music Hall (23 East Lancaster Avenue, Ardmore, 610-649-8389, www.ardmoremusic.com) will have Perpetual Groove, and The Beating (members of Brothers Past & Grimace Federation) featuring Jesse Miller of Lotus on April 28, Consider The Source, and Out of the Beardspace on April 29, Start Making Sense (Talking Heads Tribute) on April 30 and Dweezil Zappa & The Zappa Plays Zappa Band: Performing the Music of Dweezil Zappa on May 4.

Doc Watson’s Public House (150 North Pottstown Pike, Exton, 610-524-2424, docwatsonspublichouse.com) will host the Mystery Guest band on April 29 and the Tommy Froehlich Trio on April 30.

Burlap & Bean Coffeehouse (204 South Newtown Street Road, Newtown Square, 484-427-4547, www.burlapandbean.com) will present Ben Arnold with Andrea Nardello on April 29, and Dan Collins and Katie Barbato  with Brooke Annibale on April 30.

The Keswick Theater (291 N. Keswick Avenue, Glenside, 215-572-7650, www.keswicktheatre.com) presents Chrisette Michele, MeetSims, and Lil’ Mo on April 29, and Under The Streetlamp on April 30.

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