On Stage: The Atomic Bitchwax rocks it old school

Everybody Panic! among hard rocking acts hitting the area this weekend

By Denny DyroffStaff Writer, The Times

the atomic bitchwax

The Atomic Bitchwax brings their old-school, driving rock sound to Kung Fu Necktie, Friday.

The Atomic Bitchwax is a band without any pretensions. The hard-rocking trio doesn’t use any gimmicks, never subscribes to the flavor-of-the-month and refuses to give less than its best — every time out.

The band — bassist/vocalist Chris Kosnik, guitarist Finn Ryan and drummer Bob Pantella — hails from the North Jersey shore area — a region is known for blue-collar rock acts such as Bruce Springsteen and Southside Johnny.

The Atomic Bitchwax, which headlines a show at Kung Fu Necktie (1248 North Front Street, Philadelphia, 215-291-4919, kungfunecktie.com) on May 19, is also blue-collar but its music is far-removed from the rock-folk-blues sound of Springsteen and the like.

According to the band’s bio, “The Atomic Bitchwax is an American ‘Super Stoner Rock’ band mixes elements of 1960s psychedelic rock and 1970s riff rock, filtered though modern progressive rock.”

“We started playing as a band in 1993 in the Neptune, Long Branch, Bricktown area in North Jersey,” said Kosnick, during a phone interview Tuesday afternoon from his home in the Asbury Park area. “We were just a bar band playing jams. We didn’t have a lot of songs. We were all in different bands and we did this as a side project.

“I was in Godspeed. Our original guitarist Ed Mundell was in Monster Magnet. When we weren’t on tour with our other bands, we’d get together and play. We played a show at CBGG’s in New York. The owner of TeePee Records was at the show and liked what he heard. He offered us a record contract and we made a record.”

TAB released its debut album “Atomic Bitchwax I” in 1999 and followed with “Atomic Bitchwax II” a year later — both on TeePee.

“We actually are still on that label,” said Kosnick. “After the first two albums, we went with Meteor City and they released ‘3’ in 2005 and ‘TAB 4’ in 2008. Then, we came back to TeePee.”

The band’s first release in its second stint with TeePee was an album titled “The Local Fuzz” in 2011.

“We had been recording a lot of riffs — not songs, just riffs,” said Kosnick. “Then, we decided to put them all together. The result was a one 42-minute track that had more than 50 riffs back-to-back. That became ‘The Local Fuzz’ album.

“We’ve had different line-ups with this band and the one we have now is the best. Bob and I go back for awhile. He was in Raging Slab and then went to Monster Magnet. The following year, our drummer quit and Magnet was up in the air. So, Bob joined Bitchwax.

“Finn was in a band called Core. He was still in high school when the band got signed to Atlantic Records in the mid-1990s. Ed left our band in 2005 and Finn joined. So, both Bob and Finn have been in the band for over 10 years.”

Not only is the current line-up the best, TAB’s new album is its best. “Gravitron,” which was released in April 2015, is described in a press release as “an A-level master class in badass rock and roll. The description is spot-on. “Gravitron” is clean and powerful and relentlessly kicks ass from start-to-finish.

“We actually wrote 30 songs in the year before we made the album,” said Kosnick. “Then, we whittled it down to 10 really strong songs. The key to a good band is that there has to be some element of danger. So, we intentionally play like it’s going to fall apart — but it never does.”

Video link for The Atomic Bitchwax — https://youtu.be/yHIJTEHaWY0.

The show at Kung Fu Necktie, which also features The Obsessed and Karma to Burn, will start at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20. 

Fans of powerhouse rock have choices on May 19 — head east to Philly for the show at Kung Fu Necktie or head west to the show at Reverb (1402 North Ninth Street, Reading, 610-743-3069, www.reverbconcerts.com) featuring Everybody Panic! and (Hed) P.E.

Everybody Panic!

Everybody Panic!

Everybody Panic! is a hard rock band from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma that features Ty on vocals, Provo on guitars, Pat on bass, and Levi on drums. The band formed in 2012 and released its first self-produced EP independently in February of 2013.

“Ty contacted me and asked if I knew anyone looking for a singer,” said Provo, during a phone interview Wednesday afternoon from a tour stop in Baltimore. “Everybody Panic! first started with me and him.

“I was doing only the music and he was doing the lyrics and vocals. In 2012, we put a band together. We started out in Oklahoma City and we all knew each other from the scene there.

“I have a recording studio in Oklahoma City called Pirated Sound Studio. We recorded both of our EPs there and also used Robert Lang Studios in Seattle. We were releasing songs every other month through 2012. Our first show was 12-21-2012. Then, we put out a hard copy of our self-titled EP in February 2013.”

The band steadily built a fan base — locally and through social media.

“We just kept playing lots of shows,” said Provo. “Our third show ever was opening for the Deftones in Oklahoma City. Scott McKinley from CaviGold Records saw us and offered us a deal with his company. We had other offers but CaviGold had ideas that were different. We liked what they had to offer.

“In 2014, we kept playing as much as possible and writing songs for our next EP ‘Attack.’ We recorded it throughout 2015. At the same time, we were on the road a lot too — playing as many shows as we could. We’ve really transitioned into being a touring band.

“We’re working on new stuff now. We’ll be touring for the rest of the year and then take time off at the end to do some more recording. We’re going to stick with making EPs. Our plan is to release something every year to keep things flowing.

“On this tour, we only have a 30-minute set so we’re picking and choosing songs from both EPs. I actually love playing 30-minutes sets. We have tons of energy and it’s full blast for 30 minutes.”

Video link for Everybody Panic! — https://youtu.be/nZxcEgVnwlo.

The all-ages show at Reverb, which starts at 6 p.m., also features The Veer Union, Likewize, Lungz the Soul Stealer, Mak Hatchet, AnigmA, Ignite the Fire, Blackout, and Into the Mouth of Fear. Tickets are $17.

The Hit Men

The Hit Men

If you had every record on which members of The Hit Men played, you’d have a huge — and very valuable — record collection.

The Grand Opera House will present a concert by The Hit Men on May 20 at

Playhouse on Rodney Square (10th and Market streets, Wilmington, Delaware, 302-888-0200, www. duponttheatre.com) and the show promises to be a trip through the history of rock and roll — an authentic trip.

Keyboardist and group founder Lee Shapiro, lead guitarist/vocalist Jimmy Ryan, bassist/vocalist Larry Gates, vocalist Russ Velazquez and drummer Gerry Polci deliver sizzling shows that combine live music, eye-popping videos and reminiscences born from their witnessing and making musical history as it happened.

The capsule biographies of the five veteran players offer a glimpse at how meshed in the fabric of American rock these musicians are.

Shapiro is a music producer, arranger, and musician who has been involved in the New York music scene for over three decades. After Frankie Valli’s road manager saw him perform at a club in New Jersey, Lee became one of Frankie Valli’s celebrated Four Seasons as both an arranger and a keyboardist.

He toured the world with the band, performing classic hits and acting as the musical director and arranger on others including “Oh, What A Night” and “Who Loves You.” These experiences gave Lee the vehicle to meet and collaborate with a wide variety of stars including touring with Tommy James as one of the Shondells, co-producing the score to “Copacabana the Musical” with Barry Manilow, and collaborating with true music icons such as Bob Gaudio, Charlie Calello, Jimmy and Jerry Vivino, Paul Schaffer, and Will Lee.

Polci began his professional career at the age of 14, playing drums and singing at private parties and nightclubs throughout the Tri-State area. After studying as the protégé of renowned drummer and technician Joe Morello, Gerry became one of Frankie Valli’s celebrated Four Seasons in 1973. His recordings with the group became worldwide hits, most notably “Who Loves You,” “Silver Star,” and “Oh, What A Night,” on which he sang lead.

Velazquez is a singer, composer, arranger, and producer — an in-demand studio musician who has performed on thousands of studio sessions covering an extraordinary range of genres and styles. He has worked with Sting, Carol King, the Ramones, LL Cool J, Luther Vandross, Korn, and Paula Abdul.

He is a four-time Emmy-nominated composer and arranger for his work on the children’s television show “Sesame Street,” and had a Number One record on the children’s charts and Radio Disney for his song “2BA Master,”, the “Pokemon” CD title song. Additionally Russ has composed, arranged, produced and performed several popular TV themes and shows.

Gates is a composer and lyricist who has co-written songs with Desmond Child, Larry Hochman, Izzy James, and Daniel Freiberg. At The Hit Factory, NYC, he worked with artists such as Janis Ian and Rick Derringer. Gates has also done significant work as a studio vocalist and has been heard on local and national commercials including Nestlé, Kodak, Min-wax, and Hasbro, in addition to producing and playing on the well-known Toys”R”Us theme song.

Ryan started his musical career in the mid-sixties as lead guitarist, vocalist and co-songwriter with The Critters, who had three top hits — “Younger Girl,” “Mr. Dieingly Sad” and “Don’t Let The Rain Fall Down on Me” (which he composes).

When the Critters split up in 1969, Ryan continued his career as lead guitarist, backup vocalist, often arranger, and occasional co-writer with Carly Simon. He has played on many of Simon’s hits and has performed with her in two HBO specials — “Live From Martha’s Vineyard” and “My Romance.”

Ryan has recorded albums with many other artists including Cat Stevens, Jim Croce, Rod Stewart, Paul McCartney, Mick Jagger, John Entwhistle, Jim Webb, Elton John and Kiki Dee. He also has scored 38 films for theater and TV.

“Up until last year, I was doing a lot of film scoring,” said Ryan, during a recent phone interview from his home in Fairfield, Iowa. “When The Hit Men came along, I decided to drop the film stuff.

“With The Hit Men, we play songs that are ones on which we played on the original recordings. In our shows, I do a lot of Carly (Simon) and Cat (Stevens) songs. We do a lot of Four Seasons tunes along with songs by Carole King and Tommy James. Occasionally, we might do a Critters song.

“I’ve worked a lot with Carly Simon. I’ve been playing on her records for 21 years, including her hits ‘Anticipation,’ ‘You’re So Vain’ and ‘Let The River Run.’ I also have gold records from albums I did with Jim Croce and Cat Stevens.”

With more than 200 years of performing and playing music, the five band members still love getting onstage. They love entertaining audiences and it’s a task they fulfill extremely well.

“We just do weekends,” said Ryan, who studied at Villanova University back in the 1960s. “We love playing but we also love being home with our families.

“Our audiences aren’t just people in the 50s and 60s. Occasionally, we get people in their 80s and 90s — people with their walkers. And, we’re getting audience members in their teens, 20s and 30s. The range keeps getting wider and wider. Old folks tell their kids about listening to real music.”

The Hit Men have a huge repertoire of songs and they continue to add new material (from the past) and retire old songs.

“With ‘The Jersey Boys’ closing on Broadway, we’re backing off on the Four Seasons a little bit but we’re still doing more legacy work from all of us,” said Ryan. “We’ll be adding more new songs this summer.

“It’s hard picking songs to play because we played with a large variety of artists who have nothing to do with each other. Still, they all will be songs that were Number One records. It’s essentially the same show that we’ve done for the last four or five years.”

Video link for The Hit Men — https://youtu.be/6RAKv2Mwpg4.

The show at the Playhouse will start at 8 p.m. Tickets are $30, $34 and $37.

This weekend, the Grand Opera House (818 North Market Street, Wilmington, Delaware, 302-652-5577, www.thegrandwilmington.org) will be hosting a show by Brian Regan. The acclaimed comedian will perform on May 22 at 7 p.m. with tickets priced at $46. 



Purson is a band. Purson is also a person. Purson, which will headline a show on May 20 at Union Transfer (1026 Spring Garden Street, Philadelphia, 215-232-2100, www.utphilly.com), is a band that is just a person at times and a full band at other times.

On the road, Purson, a band based in London, features Rosalie Cunningham, vocals, lead guitar; George Hudson, guitar; Samuel (Shove) Robinson, organ, Mellotron, Wurlitzer; Justin Smith, bass; and Raphael Mura, drums.

Cunningham was 16, and already an electric guitar virtuoso, when she left her native Southend to pursue music, forming the short-lived Ipso Facto in London.

Dubbed “The Female Horrors” for their gothic take on psychedelic rock, Ipso Facto split when Rosie realized people were more interested in the way these four pretty, heavily stylized teenage girls looked than any actual sound they might make.

Cunningham disbanded Ipso Facto in 2009.  She put Purson together in 2011, signed with Rise Above/Metal Blade Records and released the Purson debut album “The Circle and the Blue Door” in 2013.

“The Circle and the Blue Door” was described as “the missing link between Pentangle and Pentagram, by way of David Bowie’s dream reality and The Beatles’ feel for the perfect melody.”

Last year, Purson signed with Spinefarm/Machine Elf Records for a worldwide deal and on April 29, 2016 released its second studio album, “Desire’s Magic Theatre.” The music on the album spans genres — including folk, prog, psychedelic, gothic and classic rock.

“The writing for the new album just gradually evolved,” said Cunningham, during a phone interview Tuesday afternoon from a tour stop in New York. ‘I write constantly. It took me about a year-and-a-half to finish writing the songs for ‘Desire’s Magic Theatre.’

“I went into the studio last January. I went into the studio knowing what I wanted to record. I had done a lot of demos and it became very clear to me which ones should be an album. I do have some left over that may be used on the next album — or never used at all.

“There is no theme or thread on the new album. It was more of a feeling — because the songs are very varied. I wanted the songs to be light and playful. I wanted it to be a whimsical journey.”

The emotions and vibes on “Desire’s Magic Theatre” are almost polar opposites of those on The Circle and the Blue Door.”

“The first album was a horrible experience,” said Cunningham. “I broke up with my boyfriend and he left the band when we were in the middle of masking the record. It was a nightmare.

“The second album was hard because I did all the production and all the writing. I also did all the playing. Sam and George have been in the band since Day One. We were friends as kids.

“The writing and recording I do alone — but, they’ve always been in the band.  We also got our original drummer Rafael back. After he left a while back, we had eight no-good replacements. So, it’s great to have him back. Justin has been playing bass for us for awhile.

According to Cunningham, Desire’s Magic Theatre is “a psychedelic rock opera dedicated to our good friends Sarge Pepper and Zig Stardust. The twists in the tale have been carved out by the path we’ve taken over the last 12 months. It’s been constantly shape-shifting and developing with all the wonderful experiences we’ve had.

“On behalf of the band, I give thanks to everyone who has bought a Purson record and been to our shows. Your continued support means everything… and you have our promise that the best is yet to come…”

One of the main strengths of Purson is Cunningham’s ability to write great songs — songs that are strong musically and intriguing lyrically.

“When I’m writing, I always start with the music first — the lyrics some afterwards,” said Cunningham. “The music side comes without thinking. It just comes to me. It’s rare when I sit down and nothing comes.

“I write on acoustic guitar or piano. Usually, the chords and melody come first. Lyrics are different. I get ideas and write things in a notebook. I’m more self-conscious writing lyrics than I am writing music.”

Video link for Purson — https://youtu.be/boscR_9EE5Q.

The show at Union Transfer, which also features The Sword and From Beyond, will start at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20 in advance and $22 at the door. 

This weekend, the Ardmore Music Hall (23 East Lancaster Avenue, Ardmore, 610-649-8389, www.ardmoremusic.com) will host a very special two-day event on May 21 and 22 called “Live from the Lot.”

Another special show is scheduled for May 20 — the “Live from the Lot: Kickoff Party.” The show will present two interesting acts — both of which feature Tom Hamilton.

American Babies

American Babies

Tom Hamilton’s American Babies will open show followed by Electron, which features Marc Brownstein and Aron Magner of The Disco Biscuits, Tom Hamilton of American Babies and Mike Greenfield of Lotus.

American Babies is the pseudonym under which Philadelphia-based songwriter, vocalist and guitarist Tom Hamilton can be found creating his most personal and idiosyncratic work.

Hamilton also shares his time with other bands including Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, Billy & The Kids (featuring Grateful Dead drummer Billy Kreutzmann) and Electron. It’s American Babies, however, that’s the home to which he always returns.

“An Epic Battle Between Light & Dark” is American Babies’ fourth studio album.  True to its title, the songs assembled for this latest effort seem to define epic in sound and spirit.

Although American Babies began as a side project for Tom Hamilton with a rotating cast of musicians, the lineup has recently solidified to include Hamilton’s longtime partner-in-crime bassist Clay Parnell (Particle, Brothers Past), keyboardist Adam Flicker (The Brakes), drummer Al Smith, and rhythm guitarist Justin Mazer.

With American Babies, Hamilton has turned his focus to songwriting and crafting lyrics that share tales of trials and tribulations ranging from working class hard truths and political chaos to personal relationships gone sour.

“I was in (Philadelphia-based indie rock band) Brothers Past when I was in my 20s,” said Hamilton, during a recent phone interview from a tour stop in Chicago. “American Babies started as something else to do.

“Brothers Past was an electronic band and I wanted to focus more on songwriting. I wrote songs in that vein that the Brothers Past guys weren’t into. American Babies was more of a recording project. Then, Brothers Past went the way of the dodo.

“I really enjoyed the way American Babies motivated me so I decided to make American Babies my main focus. It started in 2008 but I wasn’t really serious about it until 2010. It’s a rotating line-up because my tastes are rotating. My tastes change. I hate doing the same thing over and over again. Having a set line-up is something that can stifle your growth.

“The band was more traditional Americana when I started it five years ago. Having change keeps it interesting for me. It evolves when it needs to — when the writing is on the wall. The band that I have now — Tom Hamilton – Guitar; Justin Mazer – Guitar; Al Smith – Drums; Raina Mullen – Acoustic Guitar; Mark Sosnoskie – Bass — is the best version yet. It is a positive exciting group of people.

“I have a studio in Center City (Philadelphia) with my partner Pete Tramo. We started writing and recording the album there. Pete contributed a lot to the music. I wanted to go in with no material — to see what happens and let it develop organically.

“We’ve been touring a lot in the spring. And, I was doing a couple shows with Grateful Dead drummer Bill Kreutzman’s band. I also played a show with the Dead’s Bob Weir — an acoustic set at Sweetwater in Marin County.

“On July 4 weekend, I’m playing with Joe Russo’s Almost Dead at Red Rocks in Colorado and then American Babies are playing an after-party at the Fox Theatre in Boulder. That’s one of America’s best theaters for music.”

Video link for American Babies — https://youtu.be/ldkyU8e0qQc.

The show will start at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $25.

“Live from the Lot,” an outdoor music festival sponsored by Ardmore Music Hall, has a line-up for May 21 that includes The Phonies, Pimps of Joytime, Charlie Hunter, Foundation of Funk, Superhuman Happiness, The Revivalists, Marco Benevento, and Snarky Puppy.

The “Official Live from the Lot After-Party” will present Everyone Orchestra, conducted by Matt Butler, featuring Aron Magner, Marco Benevento, Tom Hamilton, Zigaboo Modeliste, David Shaw, Rob Mercurio, Jen Hartswick, Natalie Cressman, Brian Jay, and Johnny Kimock.

Because of the forecast for severely inclement weather, the Saturday events only have been shifted to the Electric Factory (421 North Seventh Street, Philadelphia, 215-627-1332, www.electricfactory.info).

A “Live from the Lot Brunch” will take place from 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. on May 22 — a “Dead Brunch” with Steve Kimock and special guests Leslie Mendelson, John Kimock and Anders Alfelt.

The main “Live from the Lot” concert on May 22 starts at 1 p.m. and features Darla, Snarky Puppy, Swift Technique, The Greyboy Allstars, High & Mighty Brass Band, Soulive & Friends, and Pink Talking Fish.

On May 19, the Ardmore Music Hall will host the “30th Anniversary of Elvis Costello’s ‘King of America’ and ‘Blood & Chocolate’” presented by Ross Bellenoit & the Deceptions with special guests Ben Arnold, Sean Hoots, Pete Donnelly, and Cliff Hillis.

Hate Eternal

Hate Eternal

Last August, the world of metal music fans welcomed a new release by one of the genre’s top acts — the “Infernus” album by Hate Eternal, a band that features Erik Rutan (vocals, guitars), J.J. Hrubovack (bass, backing vocals) and Chason Westmoreland (drums).

 “Infernus,” which was released on Seasons of the Mist Records, was the band’s first new album in four years. The album showcased Rutan’s best songwriting of his career with songs such as “The Stygian Deep,” “Pathogenic Apathy,” “Zealot, Crusader of War” and “Infernus.” The disc was considered by many sources as the best death metal record of 2015.

After the release of the album, the band from St. Petersburg, Florida hit the road with the “Infernus World Tour.” The tour has been brought back for more dates in 2016 including a show on May 20 at the Voltage Lounge (421 North Seventh Street, Philadelphia, 215- 964-9602, www.facebook.com/Voltagelounge).

“We recorded ‘Infernus’ from October 2014 through January 2015 and then it came out in the summer of 2015,” said Rutan, during a phone interview Wednesday afternoon from a tour stop in Worcester, Massachusetts. “It was a tremendous amount or work.”

Rutan and his band mates recorded the album at his Mana Recording Studios in St. Petersburg. Rutan’s studio is a far cry from most bands’ home studios.

“I always wanted to have my own studio — to have a band and make my own records,” said Rutan. “I started Mana Recording in 1999 — not long after I put Hate Eternal together. The studio is a 2,300-foot-square facility and there have been well over 100 albums made there.

“I grew up in Jersey — in the Red Bank area. I had my own band called Ripping Corpse. Then, I moved to St. Pete to join Morbid Angel and never looked back. When my band broke up, I joined Morbid Angel initially as a live gig and then landed a full-time gig with the band.”

Rutan had several stints with Morbid Angel with interruptions to work with his own band Hate Eternal. “Conquering the Throne” was Hate Eternal’s debut album in 1999. It was the first of three albums with Earache Records — along with “King of All Kings” in 2002 and “I, Monarch” in 2005.

“Fury & Flames” was Hate Eternal’s début album with Metal Blade Records in 2008 followed by “Phoenix Amongst the Ashes” in 2011 and “Infernus” I 2015.

“Production-wise, ‘Infernus’ is my favorite,” said Rutan, a diehard Philadelphia Eagles fan. “I worked really hard on it. I played all the guitar parts and sang — and produced everyone else. There is a labor of love there. ‘Infernus’ is one of my bright stars.

“My studio still has a lot of analog equipment and I still approach things in an analog way. I use both analog and ProTools. I started learning about recording early in my career. I always keep up on technology. And, I’ve always focused on performances in the studio.

“’Infernus’ is one of the highlights of my career as a musician and a producer. I’m very, very happy with it. I really captured the vibe I was going for.”

Video link for Hate Eternal —https://youtu.be/vHtnGqmBd1Q.

The all-ages show at the Voltage Lounge starts at 5 p.m. and also features Vital Remains, Black Fast, Inanimate existence, Outerheaven, and Kill the Stigmatic. Tickets are $20.

jacob whitesides

Jacob Whitesides

Jacob Whitesides , who will be performing on May 20 at Coda (1712 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, 267- 639-4630, http://www.codaphilly.com/), is no longer is the second most famous singer from Sevierville, Tennessee.

Sevierville is the hometown of Dolly Parton .There is even an amusement park named Dollywood that occupies the site that once was an amusement park named Silver Dollar City Tennessee in nearby Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg area, a tourist Mecca in the Smoky Mountains.

Whitesides is an artist who appears destined for fame. But, no matter how popular he might become, he will never be his hometown’s most famous star.

The reason that is no longer is the second most famous singer from Sevierville has nothing to with his 1,642,648 total page likes on Facebook but more with the fact that he has left town.

“I just moved to Nashville six months ago,” said Whitesides, during a phone interview Wednesday afternoon from a tour stop in Essington, D.C. “Actually, I moved to Brentwood which is right near the studio I use. David Spencer, my producer, has his own studio here.

“I’ll be touring for awhile on ‘The Lovesick Tour,’ which is named after my new single. I’ve been working on my new album. I wrote every day for a month straight and then did the album in a month-and-a-half. We finished it two months ago. The release date is September 8.

“We had a solid deadline so we really focused on the record. I’m releasing it through my label Double U Records and it will be distributed through BMG/Warner ADA. I got a deal where I could retain control of everything. I didn’t want to lose a part of my soul like some of my friends did in deals with record companies that turned out badly.”

Whitesides may only be 18 years old but he is already an industry veteran with long-time exposure to music.

“My dad was always in bands — playing guitar in bands,” said Whitesides. “So, I was exposed to music at a very young age. As I got older, I listened a lot to acts like John Mayer, Jack Johnson and Maroon Five. My dad listened to a lot of singer-songwriters.

“When I was middle school, I liked sports. But, when I was 13, I was still pretty short. So, I decided to try music.”

Whitesides built a following entirely on his own — one that is deeply rooted in his connection with his ever-growing international fan base.

“At first, I was posting covers of popular songs and getting 20,000-50,000 hits,” said Whitesides.

“I posted a One Direction cover and Liam, one of the guys in the group, tweeted that he liked it. After that, I got a half-million hits in a couple days. I had no clue because my fan base wasn’t that large. The first original I posted was ‘You’re Perfect’ — a super-catchy pop song that I’m not really proud of.

“My music has come a long way since then. I knew who I wanted to be as an artist. I wrote what I was feeling. ‘Not My Type At All’ was a song about my dad. I also wrote a song called ‘Rumors.’

“I was just writing about whatever things I was feeling at the time — writing stuff that I was passionate about. I like to think that I’m the John Mayer of my generation. My fan base is getting more mature as my music gets more mature. I talk to parents at my shows and they say that they like my songs too.”

Video link for Jacob Whitesides — https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=ATS_yuko34Y.

The show at Coda, which also features Shane Harper , will start at 8 p.m. Tickets are $17. 

Urban Pioneers

Urban Pioneers

Urban Pioneers will be in the area on May 20 for a show at The Tusk (430 South Street, Philadelphia, 215- 923-8780). The band features Jared McGovern on banjo, guitar and vocals, Liz Sloan on fiddle and vocals and Martin Sargent on bass.

The band’s bio offers the following description — “Mix one part Texas fiddle and one part Tennessee banjo, add doghouse bass and a splash of guitar and you have a delicious cocktail for your ears known as the Urban Pioneers.”

“We’ve been called Americana, country and bluegrass but none of those genres really mean anything,” said McGovern, during a phone interview Wednesday afternoon from a tour stop in Bridgeport, Connecticut. “We play a variety of traditional old-time music, western swing and some songs that are almost punk rock.

“Liz met awhile back playing in Austin. Then, we were playing with Jayke Orvis and The Broken Band and living in Pittsburgh. We had formed Urban Pioneers a few years ago just to fill in the time when we weren’t playing with any other band. At one point, we didn’t have any other bands so we said — this is our band now.

“We were just a two-piece at the time. I had just started learning how to play banjo. Liz was a classically-trained violinist and she was learning fiddle songs. Western swing and country fiddle came naturally to her. I wanted to learn songs with her and I didn’t want to stick to bass. That’s why I got a banjo.

“I had a bass built custom built for me by Knight String Bass in Naples, Florida. I had to go there to pick it up so I booked a three-week tour for venues from Pittsburgh to Florida. We needed something to sell on the tour so we slapped together ran album really fast.

“We released the ‘Addicted to the Road’ album for the tour. We didn’t have time to get CDs made for us. At first, we just burned CD copies and sold them in brown paper bag After that, we ordered 1000 CDs from a company and they sold out. Then, we signed with Muddy Boots Records and pressed the album on vinyl.”

Urbann Pioneers have released two more albums since then.

“We put out ‘Vehicle in Transit’ a little less than a year later,” said McGovern, who moved from Pittsburgh to Texas with Sloan. “It was more arranged and more planned-out. We released our third album ‘Feast or Famine’ last week.

“Now, we’re starting to find our stride. We’re finding our own identity — our own groove. ‘Addicted to the Road’ had happy, fun songs. The second album was western swing and country truck-driving songs — and some gypsy klezmer sounds.

“Our live show now is about 70 per cent from the new album. We’ve become a real touring band. We tour a lot. We did over 300 shows last year and it looks like we’ll be playing more than 250 shows this year. That’s a lot of touring.”

Video link for Urban Pioneers — https://youtu.be/vz8f-kTpZsw.

The show at The Tusk, which also features Gallows Bound and Outlaw Ritual, will start at 9 p.m. Tickets are $12. 

Kennett Flash (102 Sycamore Alley, Kennett Square, 484-732-8295, http://www.kennettflash.org) will present Chris O’Connor, Alyssa Al-Dookhi, Jia Din and Dan Vetrano on May 19; The Dylan Band on May 21, and One Alternative on May 22.

The Steel City Coffee House (203 Bridge Street, Phoenixville, 610-933-4043, www.steelcitycoffeehouse.com) will host SONiA Disappear Fear on May 20 and John Wesley Harding on May 21.

The Colonial Theatre (Bridge Street, Phoenixville, 610- 917-1228, www.thecolonialtheatre.com) will present a concert by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band May 21.

Chaplin’s (66 North Main Street, Spring City, 610-792-4110, http://chaplinslive.com) will host a quadruple-header on May 20 featuring Nalani & Sarina, The Lunar Year, American Honeys, and Joy Ike.

Doc Watson’s Public House (150 North Pottstown Pike, Exton, 610-524-2424, docwatsonspublichouse.com) will present Chatterband on May 20 and Ruckus rocxx on May 21.

Valley Forge Casino (1160 First Avenue, King Of Prussia, 610-354-8118, www.vfcasino.com) will present a concert by 3AM Tokyo on May 21.

Burlap & Bean Coffeehouse (204 South Newtown Street Road, Newtown Square, 484-427-4547, www.burlapandbean.com) will present Danika Holmes and Jeb with Orion Freeman on May 20, and Bobtown with Rebecca Pronsky on May 21.

The Academy of Music (Broad and Locust streets, Philadelphia, 215-731-3333, www.kimmelcenter.org) will present “The Amazing Tour Is Not on Fire” on May 20 and “Mel Brooks: Back in the Saddle Again!” on May 21.

The Kimmel Center (Broad and Spruce streets, Philadelphia, 215-731-3333, www.kimmelcenter.org) has a line-up featuring “Show Stoppers: Spring Revue” on May 19 (Perelman Theater), The Philly Pops “Cirque Goes to the Movies” from May 20-22 (Verizon Hall), Philadelphia Baroque Orchestra “Tempesta di Mare, Handel and his Frenemies” on May 21 (Perelman Theater), Philadelphia Young Artists Orchestra on May 22 (Perelman Theater), Jazz Residency Artist Korey Riker’s “Work in Progress” on May 23 (SEI Innovation Studio), Philadelphia Sinfonia Festival Concert on May 25 (Verizon Hall).

The Keswick Theater (291 N. Keswick Avenue, Glenside, 215-572-7650, www.keswicktheatre.com) presents Jackie Mason on May 19,  Keb’ Mo’ Band on May 20 and Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes on May 21.

The Sellersville Theater (24 West Temple Avenue, Sellersville, 215-257-5808, www.st94.com) has The Fabulous Thunderbirds featuring Kim Wilson and

Little Red Rooster Band on May 19, Justin Hayward and Mike Dawes on May 20 and 21, Edwin McCain and Jenn Grinels on May 22, and Todd Rundgren on May 23.

World Café Live at the Queen (500 North Market Street, Wilmington, 302- 994-1400, www.queen.worldcafelive.com) presents Robert Zinn Quartet on May 19, Trashcan Sinatras on May 20, Xtra Alltra on May 21 and Wilmo Wednesdays on May 25.

The Candlelight Theater (2208 Millers Road, Arden, Delaware, 302- 475-2313, www.candlelighttheatredelaware.org) is presenting the hilarious comedy “Arsenic and Old Lace” now through June 19. Performances are Friday and Saturday evenings (doors 6 p.m./show, 8 p.m.) and Sunday afternoons (doors, 1 p.m./show, 3 p.m.). Tickets, which include dinner and show, are $59 for adults and $33 for children (ages 4-12).

The Rainbow Comedy Theatre (3065 Lincoln Highway East, Paradise, 800-292-4301, http://www.rainbowcomedy.com) is presenting “Catch Me If You Can” thorough May 28. Ticket prices range from $30-$55.

Pin It

Share this post:

Related Posts

Leave a Comment