On Stage: Strong voices in spotlight locally this week

Break out of the winter blues with some hot local music

By Denny DyroffStaff Writer, The Times

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Breaking Benjamin

The weekend’s abundance of standout live music gets off to a good start on January 29 and continues the next day with five concerts featuring acts that have an emphasis on strong vocal performances — Breaking Benjamin, Nalani & Sarina, René Marie, Garland Jeffreys and Raul Malo.

Breaking Benjamin will bring its “Breaking Benjamin — Unplugged” show to Fillmore Philadelphia (1100 Canal Street, Philadelphia, 215-309-0150, www.thefillmorephilly.com).

Back in December, Breaking Benjamin, the chart-topping Pennsylvania-bred rock band led by founder Benjamin Burnley, announced a tour featuring a string of intimate acoustic performances throughout January and February. The band will be performing live and unplugged versions of several fan favorites.

Breaking Benjamin’s highly-anticipated return to rock music in 2015 scored them a Number One Billboard Top 200 album debut with the June release of its fifth studio album “Dark Before Dawn” — an album that included two consecutive Number One active rock singles in “Failure” and “Angel’s Fall.”

“Dark Before Dawn” came out a really long time after the band’s previous release — “Dear Agony,” which was released in September 2009. A six-year hiatus can frequently spell doom for a band but Breaking Benjamin’s ever-loyal fan base continued to grow with over 5.8 million Facebook fans, 267K followers on twitter and 80K Instagram followers combined.

“There was a good reason for the long gap between albums,” said Burnley, during a recent phone interview from his home in Ocean City, New Jersey. “I went on a hiatus to address some health issues and then deal with a legal conflict. Those two things combined to produce an extended hiatus.”

But, Breaking Benjamin never died and “Benjamin breaking” never happened. The veteran singer did not let adversity break him. If anything, it made him more determined to keep going and growing.

“Everything happens in its own time and with its own reason,” said Burnley. “We came back stronger than ever.”

The band’s re-vamped lineup features musicians hand-picked by Burnley himself; guitarists Jasen Rauch (Red) and Keith Wallen (Adelitas Way), bassist Aaron Bruch, and drummer Shaun Foist (Picture Me Broken).

“A six-year hiatus was hard to take,” said Burnley. “Most of the time, it was me going to the doctor and trying to discover the cause of the problem. I’m still suffering. Inflammation of muscles, joint pain and dizziness are constant things. I’m still suffering but I’m pushing through and living my life.

“It has influenced my songwriting. Any sort of aspect of life influences any artist and what they write. As a songwriter, you never really stop writing. I put ideas down all the time — constantly. Writing is just something I unconsciously do.”

Burnley’s writing resulted in a well-received, critically-acclaimed album.

Originally known as Clan 9, Breaking Benjamin got its start in north-central Pennsylvania right around the start of the century. Late in 2001, the group became Breaking Benjamin after a lineup shuffle. Burnley grew up in Ocean City and later moved to Pennsylvania where he put the band together. Now, Burnley is back at the beach.

 “I have my own home studio here and I’m building a larger studio which is also in Ocean City,” said Burnley. “I did most of the writing for the new album here in Ocean City. I’d say 95 per cent of it was written before I put the band together. I’ve always been the primary writer for the band.

“Whenever I’m writing a song for the band, I have the whole song envisioned in my mind. And, I’m fluent in programming drums so that allows me to make a project that is complete.

“When I write something new, I don’t have any expectations of a song’s success. I just try to do the best I can. If it does well, it’s validation — just icing on the cake. I definitely don’t write anything that would coincide with a trend. I can’t bring myself to be that way. And, my fans recognize that sincerity.”

Video link for Breaking Benjamin — https://youtu.be/9zFfRSeA1ls.

The “Breaking Benjamin — Unplugged” show at the Fillmore will start at 8 p.m. with Starset as the opening act. Tickets are $38.50.

nalani & sarina 2016

Nalani & Sarina

Nalani & Sarina (22-year-old twin sisters Nalani and Sarina Bolton) are already seasoned musicians — vocalists, songwriters, multi-instrumentalists who know how to rock, write insightful melodic songs and how to get their funk on.

The sisters, who are performing on January 29 at MilkBoy Philly (1100 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, 215- 925-6455, www.milkboyphilly.com), have a strong following in the Philly area — especially locally having performed shows at The Flash in Kennett Square, the Steel City Coffee House in Phoenixville and the World Café Live at the Queen in Wilmington.

All those shows allowed fans to hear and see Nalani & Sarina play in small, comfortable setting where their performances were part acoustic and part electric with just the two performers on stage.

The show at MilkBoy Philadelphia will be different. When the twins, who are from Flemington (NJ), perform shows in North Jersey and New York, they are almost always accompanied by their band. This Friday will mark the first time they have played the Philly area with a full band.

“We’ll have Jim Hines on drums, Mark Carson on bass and Derek Monroe, who is from Flemington, on guitar,” said Sarina, during a phone interview earlier this week from the twins’ home in central New Jersey. “And, WHYY-TV is filming the show for their ‘On Tour’ series.”

Last year, Nalani & Sarina released an impressive debut record titled “Scattered World.”

“We did a lot of pre-production at Julian Herzfeld’s studio in Wayne,” said Nalani, during a recent phone interview. “After we released our last album — ‘Lessons Learned’ — we just continued to write. We started making demos with Julian last summer.

“Then, we worked on demos ourselves and also with Greg Drew. Greg started off as our vocal coach when we were 16 and just getting started. He’s always looked out for us and has been our manager for the last three years.”

Sarina said, “We tested all the new songs before we recorded them. We’ve learned that the best way to test a song is by the audience’s reaction. Another test is the way it feels to us as we’re playing it.

“If a song works out well live then we know it’s a good song to record. We go with the mentality that you have to have 10 songs to get one good one. We’re really hard on ourselves.

“We just go and see where a song will take us. We want the song to direct the production. The band that we used in the studio really helped with how the songs sound on the album. We are huge fans of groove and funk and it shows on the new record.”

Now, the twins are back in the studio.

“We’ve been recording some new stuff over the last few weeks,” said Sarina. “We’ve been constantly writing so we wanted to get it on tape. There are no big plans for these recordings although we do expect to release something.

“We just recorded three songs but we’re still writing. We’re staying true to our normal stuff. There’s rock and funk — and one ballad. Our new direction is still finding its own path. We want the songs to tell us which way to go.

Nalani said, “One of the songs is more rock-driven. Each song is significantly different from the next — funky, rocking and ballad-style. You can expect it to be as eclectic as usual. But, we do have to go with the funk.

“Our writing has been Stevie Wonder-driven. We’ve also been listening a lot to D’Angelo. He’s very funky but he has a different style — still old school and very funky. We listen to a lot of different music but James Brown, Stevie Wonder and the Rolling Stones are always in rotation in our car.

“When we’re writing songs, there is no real method to our madness. If it’s too planned, it doesn’t seem natural. We’ve done most of the recording at Carriages House Studio in Connecticut and we’ve also done some with Julian at his Tardis Studio in Wayne (PA).

With roots based in rhythm-and-blues, soul and rock, the sisters create vocal harmonies that only twins can make.

“We’re sonically alike and there is this telepathy,” said Sarina. “We’ll be singing a new song and when one of us gravitates to a harmony, the other knows exactly where to go. We’ve been singing together ever since we were three. Being twin sisters, there was nothing else to do. We started singing professionally when we were 15.”

Nalani & Sarina have been making music together for a long time.

“We’re identical twins,” said Nalani. “We graduated early from Hunterdon Central High a few years ago and we’ve been doing music ever since. Actually, we both started playing classical piano when were six and then studied operatic vocals when we were in sixth grade.

“Classical music and opera provided good basics for us. Our mom was a folkie so we listened to a lot of folk music when we were young — great songwriters like Leonard Cohen and Bob Dylan. And, we’ve listened to a lot of classic rock.”

Nalani & Sarina, who perform mainly as a duo, list acoustic guitar, piano and ukulele as their main instruments. In their live shows, they even do a ukulele duets of the Ramones’ “I Wanna Be Sedated” and AC/DC’s “Highway to Hell.”

Video link for Nalani & Sarina — https://youtu.be/Z–xTny5aMY

The show at MilkBoy Philadelphia, which also includes Chestnut Grove and Audra McDonald, will start at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door.


Rene Marie

René Marie, who will be performing at the Kimmel Center (Broad and Spruce streets, Philadelphia, 215-731-3333, www.kimmelcenter.org), is one of the country’s top female jazz vocalists. Amazingly, she didn’t start her professional career until she was in her early 40s. But, her musical roots — and her ability to move people with her singing — go back to when she was just a teen.

“I grew up in Warrenton, Virginia in the Roanoke area,” said René Marie, during a recent phone interview from her home in Fredericksburg, Virginia. “I sang at home a lot and did everything I could do musically at school. I learned a lot of classical tunes when I was in the choir.

“I had my own R$&B band when I was 15. I met my husband in one of those R&B bands. After we got married, we became Jehovah’s Witnesses. We mutually agreed to stop singing in public. For more than 20 years, the only music we made was with Jehovah’s Witnesses.”

In1996, her eldest son Michael urged her to take the plunge to pursue a career. He told her that was what she needed to do. Two years later following an ultimatum by her husband to either stop singing or leave their home, she chose to leave after 23 years of marriage.

Since then, René Marie, whose style incorporates elements of jazz, soul, blues and gospel, has quickly become a heroine to many — a woman of great strength explaining how finding her voice and self through singing gave her the courage to leave an abusive marriage.

In 2011, René Marie’s recording career moved to a higher level when she began recording for Motema Records. Her label debut was “Voice of My Beautiful Country”  with the bulk of the music on the album in the form of two interestingly-structured, multi-song pieces.

“Imagination Medley” featured jazz great Jimmy Van Heusen’s “Imagination”, the Temptations’ hit “Just My Imagination”, Dobie Gray’s “Drift Away”, “John Henry”, the Latin American standard “Angelitos Negros” and, strangely, the Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit.”

The “Voice of My Beautiful Country Suite” included “America the Beautiful”, “Drum Battle”, “Piano Blues”, “My Country ’Tis of Thee”, “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing/Star-Spangled Banner.”

Not long after the release of the album, René Marie was one of the headliners at the 2011 Clifford Brown Jazz Festival in Wilmington.

“We had been playing all these songs for at least two years before we recorded them last September,” said René Marie, during a phone interview prior to the festival. “I wanted to record them back then but I didn’t have a (record) label. I signed with Motema about two months before we went into the studio in Charleston (SC).

 “The catalyst for the album came when I was in Russia and the interviewer said – ‘As an American.’ My knee jerk reaction – I wanted to say ‘you made a mistake.’ Then, I realized I almost corrected someone for calling me American. I questioned why I felt that way.

“I realized I had spent my first 10 years living under the Jim Crowe Law and there had never been a discussion about it. For me, there were a lot of unresolved issues. So, I decided to take these patriotic songs that I loved singing and record them. I wanted to see how I could engage more on an emotional level.”

René Marie’s next album was “Black Lace Freudian Slip” in 2011. She followed with “I Wanna Be Evil (With Love to Eartha Kitt)” in 2013.

“With my pro career, there was a bit of concern at first,” said René Marie. “After I made the first CD, I was going through a divorce and couldn’t figure out how to make the transition from my day job at a bank. My brother told me to just jump first so I turned in two weeks’ notice at the bank.

“My last day was on a Friday. The following Tuesday, I got a phone call from a theater in Richmond. They needed a singer who could drop everything and go on a 10-week tour. That was enough to carry me through.

“That tour was ‘Songs from the Soul.’ It was musical theater of black American music from field songs to spirituals to blues to jazz. There were four of us — me and three young guys. They were in their 20s and I was in my 40s.”

René Marie released her maiden album “Renaissance” in 1998 and has added 11 more to her catalogue since.

Throughout the years, the versatile singer has never been one to shy away from controversy.

Although most of “Voice of My Beautiful Country” is performed in English, René Marie sings in Spanish on the Latin standard “Angelitos Negros,” She included the song to acknowledge the importance of Hispanic culture as a basic building block of America.

In 2007, René Marie released “Experiment in Truth” as well as the single “This Is (Not) A Protest Song,” a fund-raiser for the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless.

In 2009, she released the soundtrack for her touring one-woman play, “Slut Energy Theory” (which follows the protagonist U’Dean Morgan on a journey from sexual abuse to self-esteem). René Marie also released a digital single, “Three Nooses Hanging,” which musically embodied her shock and reaction to the Jena Six case in Louisiana.

“Voice of My Beautiful Country” followed up a nationally publicized incident where she was invited to sing “The Star Spangled Banner” in Denver at the Mayor’s State of the City address. Instead, she sang the lyrics to “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing” with the melody of “The Star Spangled Banner.” The event touched off a firestorm of press and right wing criticism — and even death threats.

Now, René Marie is finishing up a new album that should be out in a few months on Motema Records — “Sound of Red.”

“It’s all original music,” said René Marie. ‘Just like blues isn’t about the color blue, ‘Sound of Red’ isn’t about the color red. It’s more about reflections — the spectrum of human emotion. It’s an acknowledgement of what we all go through if we live long enough.”

Video link for René Marie — https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=AZY9B_6aVJo.

The show at Kimmel Center will start at 8 p.m. with tickets priced at $34 and $44.

garland jeffreys

Garland Jefferies

Garland Jeffreys, a veteran rocker who has been making interesting music for more than four decades, is also an artist whose music deals with racism in America.

On January 30, Jeffreys will return to the area for a show at the Tin Angel (20 South Second Street, Philadelphia, 215-928-0770, http://www.tinangel.com).

Jeffreys first came into his own as a professional musician in New York City in the mid-1960s. He released his first solo album “Garland Jeffreys” on Atlantic Records in 1973. Around the same time Atlantic also released a Jefferys 45 titled “Wild in the Streets, a song that was not on the album.

The guitarist/singer/songwriter wrote the song after hearing about a pre-teen rape and murder in the Bronx. He was joined on the record by a number of top musicians including Dr. John, David Spinozza, Rick Marotta and the Brecker Brothers on horns.

“Wild in the Streets” has continued to have iconic status in the skate community and been covered by a variety of  musicians including The Circle Jerks, Chris Spedding, Hurricanes, British Lions and Hot Water Music.

“I’m working on a new album right now,” said Jeffreys, during a phone interview last week from his home in New York. “It could be done within the next month. It’s coming along really well. I like to take my time. When I get in the swing of making a record, I get inspired. I find out where I’m really going — what I have to say.

“I have about 15 songs now. I’m very happy with it. It’s going to be really special. When you work on a new album, you don’t ask yourself — do I still have it? The songs I’ve been writing for this album are really good.

“For the longest time, race has been my topic. I’ve always felt the issue of race ever since I was a young kid. I’m a light-skinned black. When I was a kid, I remember going into this candy store across the street from my public school in Brooklyn. The guy behind the counter said — what are you doing in here? It was because I was a black kid and I felt offended.

“Racism is still very real today. I was in Nashville last year and did a show. I could see the racism. I could feel the vibe there. It’s still definitely anti-Black. I’m always aware of racist issues because I write about things. My daughter, who is also a singer, is hip to it too.

“I write about other things too. I had a great, great experience of living in Italy. I was in Florence for undergrad school. I was really interested in painting and sculpture and Florence has great museums.”

In 1992, Jeffreys released his “Matador and More” album in the states. The two albums after that were only released in Europe. Finally, he came back with a pair of stateside releases. He put out the “The King of In Between” album in 2011 and followed with “Truth Serum” in 2013.

“The King of In Between” was hailed by NPR as “as good a classic roots rock record as you’re going to hear from anybody” and earned glowing reviews from a number of publications.

It also led to a performance on David Letterman as well as appearances onstage with artists such as Bruce Springsteen, Levon Helm, Lou Reed, Alejandro Escovedo and Chuck Ragan. “Truth Serum” was equally well-received.

“I worked on ‘Truth Serum’ for quite awhile,” said Jeffreys. “It had a lot to do with the players I was working with — guys like Brian Mitchell. I’ve always tried to have the best players around to support my music. My band now is Mark Bosch on guitar, Tom Coriano on drums, Brian Stanley on bass and Charles Roth on keyboards.”

Jeffreys, who will be 73 in July, is showing no signs of slowing down. He keeps making and playing music — and his 19-year-old daughter doing the same. Savannah Rae Jeffreys recently released her own album titled “Ask Me Anything.”

“My direction is very clear — to get onstage and play my songs,” said Jeffreys, who has recorded more than a dozen albums on his own, including the classic “Ghost Rider.” “I’m grateful to still have an audience after all these years.

“I’m doing as many shows as I can do. I have all the vitality I need. I’m blessed with that and blessed with my health. I travel a lot and play everywhere. Last year, I did shows in Australia and Tokyo. And, I’m playing four festivals this year.

“Right now, I’m playing songs from ‘Truth Serum,” songs from my catalogue and some new things. The song ‘Truth Serum’ is a fun song to play because it’s blues and I don’t usually do blues.

“I always like to use different musical styles. It helps solidify the variety. For me, variety is so important because I’m telling a story.”

Video link for Garland Jeffreys  — https://youtu.be/GmOttD9n6nU

The show at the Tin Angel will get underway at 8 p.m. Tickets are $25.


The Mavericks

There are few American rock bands that have been able to rise to the top and then maintain that lofty plateau the way the Mavericks have. The band came together in Miami just over 25 years ago and immediately built a strong following with its eclectic mix of rock, country, Latin, rockabilly, standards and cowpunk.

Despite personnel changes, financial difficulties, internal conflicts, a few periods in limbo and a variety of other challenges, the Mavericks are still going strong more than a quarter-century later. In February, the group just released its eighth studio album “Mono” (The Valory Music Co — Big Machine Label Group). The current line-up of The Mavericks includes founding members Raul Malo (vocals) and Paul Deakin (drums). Jerry Dale McFadden has been the band’s keyboardist since 1994 and guitarist Edie Perez joined in 2003.

The band has spent a lot of time on the road since the release of the album — including several visits to venues in this area. On January 30, Mavericks’ fans will have the opportunity to hear Malo performing solo when he does a one-man show at the World Café Live at the Queen (500 North Market Street, Wilmington, 302- 994-1400, www.queen.worldcafelive.com).

“We leave on a Delbert McClinton Cruise on Saturday — a music cruise to St. Thomas,” said Malo, during a phone interview a few weeks ago from his home in Nashville. “A lot has been happening for the band lately.

“We were named the Americana Music Awards Duo/Group of the Year. We also earned two Grammy nominations — Best American Roots Song for ‘All Night Long’ and Best Americana Album for ‘Mono.’ We won our first Grammy in 1996 for Best Country Performance by A Duo Or Group With Vocal for ‘Here Comes The Rain.’

“I never ever said we were a country group. I guess Americana is really the place where we belong the most. It’s the one place where you can branch out and do different things. So, I’m proud that Americana is where we’re at. Americana shouldn’t be defined. It should be a nebulous thing. If you look at the Americana charts, it’s a pretty impressive list of great artists.

“Before Americana came along, I could see the writing on the wall. I saw the Gavin Report and that was a start. All these great artists weren’t being played on country radio. Gavin was the start of a rebellion against corporate country radio. Gavin and Americana was really started for bands like the Mavericks.”

The Mavericks spent a good portion of last year are touring in support of their new disc. In September, the “Mono Mundo Tour” visited the Santander Performing Arts Center in Reading.

“This past year, we worked ‘Mono’ quite a bit,” said Malo. ‘It’s fun for us to play the new material. Now, I’m ready to start writing again — to get back into it. But, I don’t think we’ll do a new record any time soon.”

After releasing an eponymous album in 2003, the band did a support tour and then split up. From 2006-2010, Malo built a strong solo career and released several albums on his own. In 2011, a reunion, which was eagerly anticipated by fans, took place and The Mavericks have been on a roll ever since.

 “When we came back, we wanted to play this new music,” said Malo. “We’ve enjoyed this era of The Mavericks more than any other. No strings attaches, no agendas — it was all up to us.

 “With songwriting for me, it’s whenever the muse comes –hopefully when I’m awake. I’m not that disciplined to say — I’m going to get up and write. And, I don’t really write on the road but I will get ideas and inspirations when we’re on tour. The songs can start a lot of different ways. Sometimes, it might just be a phrase. Usually, it’s a melody and a riff.”

Video link for The Mavericks — https://youtu.be/94xEZ_cqFFI.

Raul Malo’s show at the World Café Live will start at 8 p.m. Tickets are $30 in advance and $35 day of show.

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The Dukes of Destiny

Another band that relies on heart-felt vocals — blues style — will be playing the area on January 30. The Dukes of Destiny will be performing their tasty blend of blues and old-school soul in Chester County at a special concert at the West Grove Friends Meeting (153 East Harmony Road, West Grove).

“We play at a wide variety of venues — the Mermaid Inn is our home away from home,” said John Colgan-Davis, during a phone interview from his Philadelphia home last week. “We’ve played The Flash a lot over the years and have always had a great time there. It’s one of our favorite places to play.

“Now, I’m really happy to say that the Dukes are returning to West Grove Meeting House on January 30 in a gig put together by folks from London Grove and West Grove Friends Meetings, primarily through the efforts of Rebecca Mitchell. This is exciting for us. We loved playing there for some 16 or 17 years and we are super excited about being back at the Grove.”

The Dukes of Destiny, who have been treating fans to live performances of top-flight blues and soul music for almost three decades, are Arlyn Wolters (vocals), AC Steel (guitar, vocals), Bob Holden (drums, vocals), Chicago Carl Snyder (keyboards, vocals), Rich Curtis (bass, vocals) and John Colgan-Davis (harmonica, vocals).

In addition to performing at most of the clubs in the Tri-State area, the Philly-based band has performed at the Pocono Blues Festival, the Waterfront Jam at Philadelphia’s Penn’s Landing, the State Street Blues Stroll in Media, the Bucks County R’n’B Picnic, the New Jersey Folk Festival and the Longwood Gardens Summer Concert Series.

“One of our favorite places was always the Turtle Dove Folk Club,” said Colgan-Davis. “It was a long-standing tradition. It started out as a folk club to bring performers in. In the second year of the Turtle Dove Folk Club, we got booked to play a January gig. That was around 1997 and the shows took place at the West Grove Friends Meeting. It was a wonderful experience — all ages of people from two to 82.

“After that show, I said — this is a great gig, can we do it again? It became a tradition to play a Dukes of Destiny gig every January for 17 years. We watched people grow up. It was a family vibe. Then, Todd Tyson, the guy who put the shows together, moved to Vermont and it came to an end.”

It may have been dead but it wasn’t buried.

“There is always something special about playing the Friends Meeting House,” said Colgan-Davis. “It was like playing in a church basement. A little while ago, we were in contact with Rebecca Mitchell and some other people at London Grove Friends Meeting. She took it to friends there and they contacted people.

“This is the first time in four or five years that we’ll be back at the West Grove Friends Meeting. I am excited. It’s a special event for me. West Grove is always a lot of fun. When we first started there, MTV was a big thing. With the shows at West Grove, kids got a chance to hear music played live.”

Colgan-Davis’s introduction to the blues came when he was in high school and saw the Stones performing with Howling Wolf on the “Shindig” TV show. Howlin’ Wolf, whose real name was Chester Burnett, was an American blues singer, guitarist and harmonica player who was one of the premier Chicago bluesmen.

“When I saw Howlin’ Wolf on that TV show, I jumped up and said — this is what I want to do. I started playing blues when I was 16. My dad gave me a grab bag for my birthday and a harmonica was in it.

“I started listening to blues records a lot — players like Muddy Waters and James Cotton. I was really into Chicago blues of the 1950s and 1960s when I started. Then, I got into guys like Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee. One of the first bands I played in was a Philly blues band called Sweet Stavin’ Chain.”

A while later, the Dukes of Destiny became the main musical vehicle for Colgan-Davis. At first they played house parties in Germantown, generating word of mouth interest. A gig at the now-defunct Taker’s Cafe in Germantown launched their public career

“The Dukes got together in the mid-1980s,” said Colgan-Davis. “Steve Brown started the band and it began with that gig at Taker’s Café. Steve died of pancreatic cancer in 2000 and I’ve been the leader ever since. Steve has always been in my mind. We did a tribute concert to him a few years ago and we still do some of his favorites in our set.

“We have a whole range of music in what we can play — everything from Chicago blues to old-school soul. What’s great about the Dukes is that we’re a band. We use each other’s strengths. Arlyn and I do the bulk of the singing but everybody in the band sings.”

Video link for the Dukes of Destiny — https://youtu.be/j5fM0sugB5w.

The show at the West Grove Meeting House will run from 8-11 p.m. Doors open at 7 p.m. and there is a suggested donation of $15.

On January 30, another show in the area will feature “Three Tenors” — but attendees should not expect any vocal pyrotechnics.

The show at the University of Pennsylvania’s Irvine Auditorium (3417 Spruce Street, Philadelphia) will feature “The Three Tenors (who can’t sing).”

“The Three Tenors (who can’t sing)” is a night of stand-up (and a sit down) with three made men of comedy. The 22-city national tour started January 22 in Boston and will run until April 8.

The show stars Vic DiBitetto, now considered the “Godfather of Comedy.” DiBitetto has taken the internet by storm with tens of millions of views and multiple viral videos including  “Bread and Milk” and his own television talk show.

Joining DiBitetto are two stand-up guys from the neighborhood — Richie Minervini and Fred Rubino — both top headliners in The Family. The three performers will bring their incredible stand up to the stage and then have a sit down together with hilarious improvisation and audience participation.

“My manager Russell Betz came up with the idea — three tenors who can’t sing,” said DiBitetto, during a recent phone interview from his home in North Jersey. “He picked the cream of the crop.

“We’re all national touring headliners and we have an MC. Each comic does his own set and then we have an Act IV with all four of us. I’ve got a lot of fans in Philly and Richie Minervini is a legend. He started at the East Side Conedy Club in Long Island a long time ago.

“We’re all friends. This show has that Italian team — stand-up with three made men. You don’t have to be Italian to enjoy it — but it helps. I’m the main guy. I got the following with YouTube and Facebook. I’m the locomotive. I do 30 minutes and then bring the other guys out.”

DiBitetto’s comedy is very up-front and approachable.

“I talk about growing up in Brooklyn,” said DiBitetto. “I talk about being marries and having kids. I’m not clever like Seinfeld. I’m the workingman’s comedian — a blue-collar guy like Archie Bunker and Ralph Kramden.

“My video for ‘Bread and Milk’ went viral during a snowstorm. If it wasn’t for social media, I don’t think I’d have the following that I have. After I did that video, I saw what a reaction it got. It’s a great thing.”

Video link for Vic DiBitetto’s “Bread and Milk” — https://youtu.be/i6zaVYWLTkU.

The show at the Irvine Auditorium will begin at 8 p.m. Tickets are priced at $35 and $55.

Christian McBride, one of the most respected upright bass players in the jazz word, is a Philadelphia native. Not surprisingly, any time he has the opportunity to do a show in his hometown, it means something special to him.

Back in November 21, the Kimmel Center presented a special McBride show at the Merriam Theater. McBride’s “The Movement Revisited” featured spoken texts from four major figures of the civil rights movement — Rosa Parks, Malcolm X, Muhammad Ali and Martin Luther King Jr. — along with a jazz band and a gospel choir.

McBride will return to Philly for a show this weekend as bassist and musical director of the Mack Avenue SuperBand. On January 31, the all-star band will perform at the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg Center (3680 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, 215-898-3900, http://www.annenbergcenter.org).

The Mack Avenue SuperBand brings together an impressive ensemble of jazz greats for an unforgettable concert experience. This stellar group includes seven-time Grammy Award-winning vibraphonist Gary Burton; R&B saxophonist Tia Fuller; Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra trumpeter Sean Jones; and four-time Grammy Award-winning bassist Christian McBride backed by pianist Christian Sands and drummer Carl Allen.

The initial SuperBand made its debut at the 2012 Detroit Jazz Festival. Every year since, it has returned. And, each year’s live show has been recorded and released as an album. And, each line-up features top talent from the roster of Detroit-based record label Mack Avenue.

“They called me from Detroit and asked me to be the musical director,” said McBride, during a phone interview Tuesday afternoon. “This was the first time I did this. But, with a line-up like we have, it’s not that hard. Everybody brings songs in and we see which ones fit well. When I heard the songs we had, I was pleased. It worked out well.

“I’ve played with everybody in the band before. For example, Gary (Burton) and I played together on one of his CDs a few years ago — a tribute album to Lionel Hampton, Red Norvo, Milt Jackson, and Cal Tjader. Christian Sands is in my trio and Carl Allen is in my band Inside Straight.

McBride, who went to high school in Philly at CAPA and then later graduated from Juilliard School of Music, always has a lot of projects going.

This year, his schedule includes shows with the Christian McBride Trio, the Christian McBride Big Band and the duet of Edgar Meyer and the Christian McBride. He also will be performing with the Knoxville Jazz Orchestra, the Houston Chamber Choir and the Christian McBride’s “New Jawn.” And, there is the 21-show tour with the Mack Avenue SuperBand.

“In our live shows on the SuperBand tour, we’ll be playing pretty much everything from the CD — because that’s all we have,” said McBride. “We’re playing four straight nights at Birdland in New York before we come to Philadelphia. I’m glad we’ll have time to work things out there so that when we get to Philly, we should have a pretty good set.

“It’s always great for me to come back to Philadelphia. The show at the Kimmel back in November was a really great night. And, I’m looking forward to another great show when we play there this weekend.”

Video link for Mack Avenue SuperBand — https://youtu.be/BBNiAKfR14U.

The show at Annenberg will start at 7 p.m. Tickets are $20, $35 and $50.

Also on January 31, music fans can head in a different direction for a very different style band. If they head west to Lancaster, they can check out hard rock band Failure Anthem’s performance at the Chameleon Club (223 North Water Street, Lancaster, 717-299-9684, http://www.chameleonclub.net).

Failure Anthem, a quartet from Greensboro, North Carolina, is led by guitarist/producer Kile Odell and vocalist JD Eubanks. The group also features Ryan Nimmo on bass and Zame Frye on drums.

“We’ve been together for about two years,” said Odell, during a phone interview last Thursday as the band was travelling to Texas for a show in Houston. “We all got together in Greensboro.

“Prior to being in this band, JD was in a power metal band and the other two guys were in pop-punk bands. I’ve been playing in bands for about 15 years. I was in a lot of metal bands — Euro-style thrash bands.

“I’m a producer when I’m not touring. I had written a few songs I thought were cool. I had recorded JD before. I hit him up and he came out and sang the songs. That was the start. I had been friends with the other guys prior to this band.

“Once we got the four of us, we knew it was the right line-up. We’ve kept the same line-up ever since. Our first gig was two years ago at Ziggy’s in Winston-Salem.”

Failure Anthem’s debut album “First World Problems” was released on Razor & Tie on January 22.

“Tomorrow is the big day,” said Odell. “It’s a little crazy. I can’t believe it (the album’s release day) is finally here. We recorded the album in Greensboro where we have our own studio. It took between six months and a year to record it because we write so many songs.

“The album was pretty much all done when we started talking to the label. We still needed the opener for the CD. I had the perfect song — ‘First World Problems.’ We finished the album and turned it in to the label in November.

“The band’s name comes from a European metal band called Soilwork. They had a song called ‘Great Failure Anthem.’ I’m also a fan of the American band Gaslight Anthem. So, I wanted a band name that had the word ‘anthem’ in it.”

Video link for Failure Anthem — https://youtu.be/9b1R3jqUCP4

The show at the Chameleon, which starts at 5:30 p.m., features Failure Anthem and headliner Adelitas Way along with Through Fire, Eye On Attraction and She Pulled the Trigger. Tickets are $15 in advance and $17 at the door.

High Waisted, a New York-based surf-pop-rock band, came into existence two years ago in the city’s Lower East Side. The band has grown and evolved since then and now is taking it to a new level.

The rocking quartet has recently embarked on its first national tour and is ready to release its debut album “On Ludlow” in March. The tour brings High Waisted to Philly for a show February 1 at Kung Fu Necktie (1248 North Front Street, Philadelphia, 215-291-4919, kungfunecktie.com).

The band was formed by Jessica Louise Dye, who handles the vocals and plays guitar. The other three members are Jono on drums, Jeremy on bass and Steven on guitar and vocals.

There are some anomalies associated with High Waisted.

The band’s music sounds as if it were created by young musicians who grew up along the ocean in Santa Monica and Orange County in California rather than a group of musicians who came together in the lower end of Manhattan.

“I met my bassist Jeremy in New York,” said Dye, during a phone interview Wednesday afternoon from a tour stop in Des Moines, Iowa. “He worked in a bar called Los Feliz that had a ‘Bring Your Own Vinyl Night.’

“I brought a lot of my old surf records and we immediately clicked. Jeremy was really into surf music and has an amazing collection of surf records. I got into surf music because I used to surf at Rockaway Beach here in New York.”

That’s another anomaly. Dye didn’t grow up as a surfer. She was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona and there aren’t a lot of reef break waves in the deserts of the Southwest.

“I just got into surfing because I thought it would be fun,” said Dye. “There is a pretty cool surf community in Rockaway Beach. After awhile, I put down my board and got into surf music. I began listening to albums by the Ventures and Link Wray.

“I originally moved to Washington, D.C. when I left Phoenix. Music came late in the game. I bought a guitar in D.C. five years ago and haven’t put it down since. I started going solo stiff and then played in different bands in D.C.

“Then, I moved to New York three years ago. I was always playing with other people and then put this band together. We all have broad musical tastes that overlap nicely. We all met on Ludlow Street. I work at a music venue called Pianos. The other three are bartender/bar managers — Jono and Steven at Black Tree and Jeremy at Los Feliz.”

After writing and road-testing their songs for a year, the four musicians headed into the studio early last year.

“We recorded the album last February in the middle of a blizzard at Dreamland Studios in Woodstock, New York,” said Dye. “It’s a nice studio with a big room and we wanted to track it live. There is an energy you get when you record live. Anything else is too sterile.

“We gigged the songs a lot before we went into the studio. We went in with 14 songs and cut it to 12 for the album. Most of the songs were recorded in one or two takes. We were in a great mindset. The album is ready to go and we’re putting it out through Eat Trash Be Free on March 4.”

Video link for High Waisted — https://youtu.be/aFebC9i0J9U.

The show at Kung Fu Necktie will start at 8 p.m. with three opening acts — The Mysteries, Seismic Thrust and Motherer. Tickets are $6.

Last but far from least on the list of music talent heading to the area over the next week is Butch Trucks.

On February 3, Ardmore Music Hall (23 East Lancaster Avenue, Ardmore, 610-649-8389, www.ardmoremusic.com) will host a special show featuring former Allman Brothers drummer Butch Trucks and the Freight Train Band.

The Freight Train Band line-up includes Damon Fowler on lead vocals and second/slide guitar, Trucks’ son Vaylor Trucks on guitar, Heather Gillis on guitars/vocals, Tad Isch on drums, keyboard legend Bruce Katz, and Berry Oakley Jr. (son of Allman Brothers bassist Berry Oakley) on bass.

“This project came together because I didn’t to go through a year without playing in a band,” said Trucks, during a trans-Atlantic phone interview Wednesday morning from his home in Monblet, France. “I may be 68 but I’m not planning to quit by any exit.

“I played a couple shows last year with Oteil and Jaimoe (former Allman Brothers bandmates Jai Johanny “Jaimoe” Johanson and Oteil Burbridge) but they were just one-offs.

“Then, Berry Oakley Jr. and I got together and decided to do some shows. I had been in my place in France since May so I decided to fly back to the states and do a few shows with him. We did a couple shows, got a manager and then he got serious.

“We went and played six shows — one after another. I hadn’t done six straight shows since 1971. I was tired at the end of the six — but it was a good tired. Now, we’re starting off this run in Nashville — with Bonnie Bramlett as our special guest for that show.

“For the whole tour, I’m bringing along Heather Gillies who sings and plays guitar. I discovered her at a club in Tallahassee. We have a great band and we work together really well.

“My son Vontay was that cute blonde-headed kid on the Allman Brothers’ ‘Brothers and Sisters’ album. He’s not that cute anymore, but he’s one hell of a guitar player and I always wanted to play with him.

“To get ready to tour, we had to do a lot of rehearsing over the internet because I’m in France and they’re scattered around the United States — mostly in Florida. We knew we wanted to do some Allman Brothers songs but we’re not an Allman Brothers cover band by any extent. We came up with about 15 cover songs that we loved and made them outr own. I even get up and sing a song — the first time I’ve done that in 41 years.

“The last show we played was on New Year’s Eve to a packed house in Clearwater, Florida. Now, we’re doing a lot of driving on this tour and that’s a great place to work on writing some songs.”

Video link for Butch Trucks and the Freight Train Band — https://youtu.be/ffVXXtfiPdw.

The show at the Ardmore Music Hall, which has Old Soul Revival as the opening act, will start at 7:45 p.m. Tickets are $29 in advance and $36 day of show.

Other upcoming shows at the venue are Splintered Sunlight (January 29), Echotest (January 30), and Tauk (February 2).

The Flash (102 Sycamore Alley, Kennett Square, 484-732-8295, http://www.kennettflash.org) will present Adrien Reju, Aaron Parnell Brown and Elijah Wolf (January 28), The Dispersions, Luvcraft and Californium (January 29), Francis Dunnery (January 30) and The Remedy and The Absolute Sky (January 31).

The Steel City Coffee House (203 Bridge Street, Phoenixville, 610-933-4043, www.steelcitycoffeehouse.com) will host Night Windows, Davis Jameson Howley and Todd Fausnacht (January 28), The Jost Project (January 29) and Jim Boggia (January 30).

Chaplin’s (66 North Main Street, Spring City, 610-792-4110, http://chaplinslive.com) will host Project Ico and George Weldon on January 29 and Gabbii Donnelly, Dylan Andre, Rachel Daniels, Rachel Thomas and Morgan Smith on January 30.

Doc Watson’s Public House (150 North Pottstown Pike, Exton, 610-524-2424, docwatsonspublichouse.com) will be rocking to the sounds of the Chatterband on January 30.

Valley Forge Casino (1160 First Avenue, King Of Prussia, 610-354-8118, www.vfcasino.com) will host a show by Stellar Mojo on January 30 in The Vault.

Burlap & Bean Coffeehouse (204 South Newtown Street Road, Newtown Square, 484-427-4547, www.burlapandbean.com) will present Jason McGovern, Peter Linwood & Chelsea Allen on January 29, and Robinson Treacher and John Beacher on January 30.

The Keswick Theater (291 N. Keswick Avenue, Glenside, 215-572-7650, www.keswicktheatre.com) presents Steven Wright  on January 29,  “Who’s Bad: The World’s Number 1 Michael Jackson Tribute Band” on January 30,  and the Indigo Girls on January 31.

The Sellersville Theater (24 West Temple Avenue, Sellersville, 215-257-5808, www.st94.com) will have Robyn Hitchcock and Emma Swift (January 28), Indigenous and the Levi Platero Band (January 29), Captain Jack — Billy Joel Tribute

(January 30), Judy Collins and Ari Hest (January 31) and Alan Doyle of Great Big Sea (February 3).

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