On Stage: Jon Pousette-Dart comes to The Flash

By Denny Dyroff, Entertainment Editor, The Times

Jon Pousette-Dart

Jon Pousette-Dart’s debut album in 1976 was “Pousette Dart Band.” Now, Pousette-Dart has 10 albums to his credit and more than a thousand shows on his musical resume.

When Pousette-Dart goes on tour, it could be in one of three configurations – as a solo act, as an acoustic duo or with his talented band that features Malcom Gold (Sheryl Crow, Indie.Arie) on bass and harmony vocals, Eric Parker (Joe Cocker, Mick Taylor) on drums, and Jim Chapdelaine (Al Anderson, Phoebe Snow) on guitar/vocals.

He is touring this September as the Jon Pousette-Dart Duo and the tour touches down locally on September 14 at Kennett Flash (102 Sycamore Alley, Kennett Square, 484-732-8295, http://www.kennettflash.org).

“I’m out as a duo with a singer and guitar player from my band — Jim Chapdelaine,” said Pousette-Dart, during a recent phone interview from his home in Cold Spring in New York’s Hudson Valley.

“Jim is a great musician who has played with a lot of people including NRBQ and Al Anderson. We’ve been playing together for 25 years and he co-produced several of my albums.”

Active as a performer/recording artist for more than 40 years, Pousette-Dart founded The Pousette-Dart Band and carved a place in the landscape of American music in the 1970s.

The Pousette-Dart Band started out as an acoustic combo (with John Troy and John Curtis) on the Northeastern coffeehouse circuit. Manager Don Law discovered them opening for John Hammond on Nantucket. In 1974, now a full-fledged rock band, the band signed a multi-album deal with Capitol Records.

The band started with a series of four critically hailed albums on Capitol Records – “Pousette-Dart Band,” “Amnesia,” “Pousette-Dart Band 3,” and “Never Enough.” Two of them – “Amnesia” and “Pousette-Dart Band 3” — made the Billboard album chart. The band’s single “For Love” reached Number 83 on the Billboard singles chart in 1979.

The Pousette-Dart Band shared the same soft rock/country rock genre as the Eagles, America and Orleans. Despite arena tours and major-label releases, PDB was unable to gain the same widespread audience as those groups. The band released it fourth album for Capitol Records in 1979.

The group toured incessantly throughout the 1970s, drawing on pop, folk, country, and blues styles. In 1980, the band was without a record deal and called it quits. John Pousette-Dart returned with the album “Ready to Fly” in 1998. He followed that with his “Sample This” LP in 2002.

After the band’s demise, Pousette-Dart moved on to a second – and more lucrative – career. He worked in the world of television jingles, and also was involved in singing and playing sessions, collaborating with other songwriters, and producing a series for the History Channel. He also represented the work of his father — the internationally renowned abstract artist Richard Pousette-Dart.

Pousette-Dart brought his music career back to life with a recorded reunion with his old colleagues called “It’s About Time,” which was released in 1998, and followed with another LP titled “Ready To Fly.” He then released three solo albums – “Sample This” in 2002, “Heart & Soul” in 2005, and “Anti-Gravity” in 2008.

After another long gap, Pousette-Dart released his latest solo record, “Talk,” in 2015. The well-crafted disc was met with great reviews.

“With ‘Talk,” I had been writing songs for a while,” said Pousette-Dart. “I was also working with a lot of friends in Nashville. I cut it at Ronnie Milsap’s Black River Studio.”

The album was produced by Nashville’s legendary producer Bil VornDick (Alison Krauss, Bela Fleck, New Grass Revival) and featured an array of top-flight musicians including Reggie Young (Elvis, Eric Clapton), Dan Dugmore (Linda Ronstadt, James Taylor), Clayton Ivey (James Brown, Bobby Womack), Glenn Worf (Mark Knopfler, Bob Seeger).

Jonnell Mosser, Bekka Bramlett and bluegrass queen Rhonda Vincent have duets on the record. The LP also features songs Pousette-Dart wrote with John Oates, Gary Nicholson, Fred Knobloch, Angela Kaset, Sally Barris and Kostas.

“I’m back in the studio again now,” said Pousette-Dart. “I’m doing a lot of recording here and releasing songs every week on Facebook, YouTube and my website. It’s a mixture of songs and songs with videos. It’s a tapestry of stuff.

“I was going to make an album, but a lot of really good stuff gets buried these days. I found it hard to get stuff across. People’s attention spans have become very, very short. And, it’s easier than going through the whole process of making an album – all the time involved in releasing an album.

And, singles are more immediate. We turn around things in a couple days. My latest song is called ‘Two Souls’ and it has a really positive message.”

Video link for Jon Pousette-Dart Duo – https://www.pousette-dart.com.

The show at Kennett Flash will start at 8 p.m. Tickets are $25 and $30.

Other upcoming shows at Kennett Flash are The Bryan Tuk Complex Album Release Show on September 14 and Vanessa Collier on September 15.

If you blindfolded someone, took them on a helicopter ride, landed in Warren County, New Jersey and then drove for 10 minutes before taking the blindfold off, the person probably would be a bit disoriented.

Saint Slumber

If you drove around for another 10 minutes and then asked the person what state they were in, the first guess would not be New Jersey – nor would be the 10th guess – nor probably would be the 30th guess.

This area in the northwest corner of the Garden State is country – woods, streams, small towns, few roads and no congestion (people or cars)

Warren County has rolling hills, with the Kittatinny Ridge in the west. It is home to fewer people than 18 of the state’s 21 counties.

Nearby are two mines/mineral museums that are unique. The Franklin-Sterling Hill area has more fluorescent minerals than anywhere else on earth.

Warren County is also home to one of the most promising young rock bands on the East Coast – Saint Slumber.

Formed in the small, quiet towns of this region of New Jersey, the alt-pop trio is comprised of vocalist Joshua Perna, guitarist Aaron Brown, and drummer Matt Carpenter.

On September 14, Saint Slumber will return Philadelphia – its adopted hometown – to open for  Judah and the Lion at The Met (858 North Broad Street, Philadelphia, http://themetphilly.com).

“We’re close to the same distance from New York and from Philadelphia,” said Perna, during a phone interview Wednesday afternoon from his home near Blair, New Jersey. “There is no music scene here, so Philly is the closest thing to being our hometown. We’ve played there a lot and the Philly community has accepted us the most.

“We’ve been together as Saint Slumber for about three years, but Aaron and I go back a lot more than that. I met Aaron when we were in middle school at a Pentecostal school near where we lived.  We first met Matt at a gig a few years ago. We’re all great friends now. We’d be great friends even if we weren’t in this band together.”

Saint Slumber has been working on its debut album but it’s an album with a difference. The album has been reconfigured into three EPs.

“A lot of bands are releasing singles on a regular basis rather than a full-length album,” said Perna. “That’s definitely our M.O. We wanted to fit that model — except with EPs rather than singles. We grew up listening to albums and we love albums. But now with listening websites, albums get truncated and songs get separated.

“We decided to make a full-length with 15 songs but do it in three EPs instead of one LP – three EPs one song at a time. At the end of two years, we’ll have a full album that will tell a story.

“The first EP ‘YOUTH//1’ came out in spring 2017. The second one – ‘YOUTH//2’ was released in September 2018. The third — ‘YOUTH//3’ – just came out this August.”

The writing for the EPs also came in phases.

“We’d write a batch of 10 songs and then parse it down to the ones we wanted for the EP,” said Perna, who also has lent his vocal talents to feature on a handful of popular EDM releases by artists such as, Modern Machines and Adventure Club.

“There is definitely an evolution. The way we’re releasing the music, people can watch it in real time.

“The trilogy is called ‘Youth’ – what it means to be growing up and getting out of your youth. There is continuity between the three releases. I’m the songwriter. If I’m writing a song, it’s me. That’s a common thread.

“Sonically, it’s a lot tighter now from when we started. Our first record was written before the band even had a show. Once we started playing live, we found the true element of what our sound is. We embrace minimalism.

“Minimalism means that we’re finding one or two elements that are important — finding the one dynamic we’re trying to hit and not cluttering it with extraneous parts. Less is more.”

Video link for Saint Slumber – https://youtu.be/8cP6wx98btM.

The show at The Met, which has Judah & The Lion as the headliner, will start at 8 p.m. Ticket prices start at $24.95.

Other upcoming shows at The Met are The Piano Guys on September 12, Marina on September 14, Bastille on September 16, NF on September 17 and Lizzo on September 18.

The National Parks

National Parks are all around this area — Independence National Park, Valley Forge National Park, First State National Park.

On September 13, The National Parks will be visiting this area.

The National Parks is a folk/pop/rock band that is visiting the area on Friday night for a show at The Locks at Sona (4417 Main Street, Manayunk, 484- 273-0481, sonapub.com). The band’s roster includes founder Brady Parks (guitar, vocals), his wife Megan Taylor Parks (fiddle), Sydney Macfarlane (keyboards), and Cam Brannelly (drums).

“We’re based in Utah,” said Brady Parks, during a phone interview Tuesday from a tour stop in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

“We’re based in Salt Lake City now but we started off in Provo.

“I started off as a singer/songwriter and then just kind of met everybody else through the music scene. I started jamming with Sydney first with her singing and playing keys. After that, Megan and Cam joined the band.”

The group released its debut album, “Young” in 2013. The album was recorded at June Audio with producer Scott Wiley and climbed to Number 13 on the iTunes singer/songwriter chart.

“That album had national distribution,” said Parks. “We were lucky because it trended on iTunes and went high on the singer/songwriter chart. Because of that, we got a lot of press.

“Our second album, ‘Until I Live,’ was released in September 2015. Then, our third album ‘Places’ came out in October 2017. We’re on tour between cycles now playing songs from all three.

“We’re currently working on our fourth album. We wrote 35 songs and then picked 16 to record. There will probably be 12 on the actual record. We’re recording it at June Audio in Provo.”

The band has been honing its sound along the way.

“Our music has evolved,” said Parks. “The first album was a combination of folk and singer/songwriter. The second record was indie/folk/pop with more of as pop element. ‘Places’ was more indie/pop and less folk. The new stuff is a perfect blend of the three. Pretty much all the demos are done and we’ve recorded six songs in the studio already.”

Like most of the residents of the Beehive State, the members of The National Parks are Mormon. More than 60 per cent of Utahns are Mormon.

“In a way, Mormon is the core element of who all of us are,” said Parks. “It plays into the writing but I wouldn’t say that we’re a Christian Rock band.”

The National Parks has toured nationally for years but this weekend’s show will be their area debut.

“This will be our first time to play Philly,” said Parks. “So, we’re really excited.”

Video link for The National Parks – https://youtu.be/pFSGX4h-WfI.

The show at Locks at Sona, which has Wild as the opening act, will start at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10.

Other upcoming shows at Locks at Sona are Young Dubliners on September and Padraig Stevens & Leo Moran on September 14.

You don’t have to wait until Friday to get your musical weekend started.

Future Thieves

On September 12, Boot and Saddle (1131 South Broad Street, Philadelphia, 215-639-4528, www.bootandsaddlephilly.com) is hosting a show by Future Thieves.

Nashville has been a destination for country musicians for years and years. About 20 years ago, displaced rock bands from the 70s found a home in Nashville.

In recent years, Nashville has become a Mecca for sensitive singer-songwriters – especially Berklee College of Music grads heading south from Boston.

Tennessee’s Music City also welcome another type of transplants – the alt-rock/indie band Future Thieves. The band features lead singer Elliot Collett, guitarist Austin McCool, bassist Nick Goss and drummer Taylor Jones.

Taylor and I are from eastern Kentucky,” said Collett, during a recent phone interview from a tour stop in Washington, D.C.

“The other two are from Indiana and they’ve lived in Nashville for seven years. I met them when we worked at a country club together – the Hillwood Country Club.

“Our different bands had disbanded so we started playing together doing shows at local clubs. We started playing together five years ago. Our first gig was about two months after we started at The Basement in Nashville.”

McCool and Goss grew up as friends in Evansville, Indiana, and went to Purdue University together. Six years ago, after graduation, McCool moved with his band at the time to Nashville and Austin.

Collett got to know McCool and Austin and joined their search for a perfect drummer. They found him in Gianni Gibson, whose journey began in his hometown of Los Angeles. Gibson’s journey now is taking him elsewhere.

“Gianni moved on after six years,” said Collett. “Being in a band is tough. When he left, we got Taylor Jones as our new drummer. We’re really happy about that. Taylor is a great drummer.”

Future Thieves is now in the process of making a new EP.

“The EP is called ‘Emotional Cost’ but there is no official release date set yet,” said Collett. “It should be out around Halloween. The first single we released from the EP was ‘My Body.’ The second single – ‘Get Up’ – will be out in a few weeks.”

Initially, Future Thieves began by learning some songs that Collett had written while spending a few months in L.A. and then started jamming out some new stuff. About a month later, they had enough songs to play a 30-minute set at The Basement.

“Ryan Adams has been a big influence on our music,” said Collett. “But, we have our own sound. We describe it as rock-pop-dance-love.

“We made our first EP when we first started but we don’t count it anymore. We recorded our first album about a year after we started. ‘Horizon Line’ came out in October 2015.

“Our second album ‘Live at Blue Rock’ has 12 songs that were done as a live steam at Blue Rock, a huge studio compound in Wimberley, Texas. We were only there to do as live stream. But, they recorded it so we decided to put it out. We also added a couple unreleased songs. It’s all live.”

The band’s third album – “Future Thieves” – came out in 2018.

“We recorded the album at Sonic Ranch in Texas in March 2017,” said Collett. “We stayed there two weeks and recorded 80 per cent of the record there until we had to leave for a European tour. We finished up the record at my studio in Tennessee.

“The material on that album was a great improvement. We cleaned up a little to get away from the heavy guitar and we added more keyboards to create more space.

“Since then, we did three singles earlier this year – ‘Always Something,’ ‘Focused’ and ‘One in a Million.’ The first three were done at my house studio with Alex Jarvis and then finished at his studio.

“The record we’re working on now was all done at my house in eastern Tennessee. I finally got my place sounding good. Recording there is the best way because it’s cheaper and we have the comfort of our own home.

“The new material sounds really good. We really wanted to keep it nice and real – and in your face.”

Collett talked about the band’s musical evolution.

“We just keep getting better,” said Collett. “We got more focused – and we have better songwriting. Alex co-wrote five or six songs. In addition to being our producer, he’s also played keyboards with us in our live shows.

“Our live show now is about 50/50 old and new material. We still play quite a few songs from our first record.”

Video link for Future Thieves – https://youtu.be/Mrt5ZbFLNA0.

The show at Boot and Saddle, which has Hardcastle as the opening act, will start at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $12.

Other upcoming acts at Boot and Saddle are Flaural on September 13, Matthew and the Atlas on September 14, Noera on September 15, Rose of the West on September 17 and Saintseneca on September 18.

The Colonial Theatre (Bridge Street, Phoenixville, 610- 917-1228, www.thecolonialtheatre.com) will present Preacher Lawson on September 13.

The Ardmore Music Hall (23 East Lancaster Avenue, Ardmore, 610-649-8389, www.ardmoremusic.com) will host The Nth Power on September 12, Black Uhuru on September 13, Octave Cat on September 14, and Elise Testone’s All Star Amy Winehouse Tribute on September 15.

118 North (118 North Wayne Avenue, Wayne, www.118northwayne.com) will have Hotlanta on September 14 and Jon Stickley Trio on September 14.

The Keswick Theater (291 N. Keswick Avenue, Glenside, 215-572-7650, www.keswicktheatre.com) presents Tusk: The Ultimate on September 14.

Living Room (35 East Lancaster Avenue, Ardmore, https://thelivingroomat35east.com) will host Tim Motzer on September 12, Colebrook Road on September 13, and Kuf Knotz and Christine Elise with Christina Holmes and Myles Bullen on September 14.

The Sellersville Theater (24 West Temple Avenue, Sellersville, 215-257-5808, www.st94.com) will present back to Back to Black: Amy Winehouse Tribute featuring Remember Jones on September 13, Lloyd Cole on September 14, Rael: The Music of Genesis on September 15, and Ray Wylie Hubbard on September 18.

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