On Stage: Celtic music just in time for St. Patrick’s Day

The Chieftains come to Philadelphia to mark the holiday

By Denny DyroffStaff Writer, The Times

the chieftains

The Chieftains come to Philadelphia this week — just in time for St. Patrick’s Day.

The middle of March is when St. Patrick’s Day festivities fill the calendar every year. And, St. Patty’s Day activities in the area always include concerts by bands that perform Celtic music.

The pattern hold true this year with Enter the Haggis performing in Philadelphia on March 12 and the Chieftains visiting the city for a concert on March 13.

In the world of Celtic music, there is simply no match for the Chieftains — in terms of longevity, talent, musical influence and recorded output. On Sunday afternoon, the Kimmel Center will present a concert by the Chieftains at the Merriam Theater (250 South Broad Street, Philadelphia, 215-893-1999, www.kimmelcenter.org).

The Chieftains — Paddy Moloney, Kevin Conneff and Matt Molloy — are a traditional Irish band formed in Dublin, Ireland in November 1962, by Sean Potts, Michael Tubridy and Moloney.

In 2012, they celebrated their 50th anniversary with an ambitious album and tour. The album “Voice of Ages” was produced by T-Bone Burnett and featured the Chieftains collaborating with many musicians including Bon Iver, Paolo Nutini and The Decemberists.

It also included a collaboration with NASA astronaut Cady Coleman playing the flute aboard the International Space Station as it orbited the earth.

“Cady Coleman had one of Matt’s flutes and one of my tin whistles with him in space,” said Moloney, during a phone interview last week from a tour stop in Michigan. “Cady played an instrumental version of ‘Moondance.’

“For our show in Philadelphia, we will also feature a bagpiper and a choir to help us with our music. There is something magical about bagpipes. On our ‘San Patricio’ album, we worked with a Mexican bagpipe band called Saint Patrick’s Battalion (Banda de Gaita de Batallón de San Patricio) on the song ‘March to Battle.’

“We have a choir help us with music from ‘Long Journey Home’ — a song we usually do with a supporting orchestra. And, in honor of 150 years of W.B. Yeats, we set one of his poems to music — ‘Never Give All the Heart.’ In our shows, we also have the Pilatzkes with Ottawa Valley step dancing.”

The Chieftains have become known for their collaborations with popular musicians of many genres including Jackson Browne, Elvis Costello, Marianne Faithfull, Bela Fleck, Art Garfunkel, Mick Jagger, Tom Jones, Mark Knopfler, Lyle Lovett, Madonna, Ziggy Marley, Van Morrison, Willie Nelson, Luciano Pavarotti and the Rolling Stones.

“We did this song called ‘Troublemaker’s Jig’ for a documentary movie about Nelson Mandela,” said Moloney. “Mandela’s middle name was ‘Troublemaker’ so we honored that.”

Moloney, who will turn 78 in August, has been playing music for a very long time.

“My grandfather played flute so there was always music in the family,” saiod Moloney, a native of the Donnycarney area of Dublin. “When I was six years old, my mom bought me a tin whistle for one shilling, nine pence and then I taught myself to play.

“Now, I’ve been making music with the Chieftains for 53 years. We’ve made over 50 albums and have won six Grammys. I don’t see any reason to stop now.”

Video link for the Chieftains — https://youtu.be/7sEgTY2aDWU.

The show at the Merriam Theater will get underway at 3 p.m. Tickets are $45, $70 and $80.

enter the haggis

Enter The Haggis

Enter the Haggis will return to Philly for a concert at the World Café Live (3025 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, 215-222-1400, philly.worldcafelive.com).

Enter The Haggis have been one of North America’s premier Celtic Folk Rock bands for more than two decades  — establishing a reputation for memorable performances, inspired songwriting, musical proficiency and high quality recordings.

The Toronto-based band has released eight acclaimed studio albums, the most recent debuting at Number 9 on the U.S. national Billboard Heatseekers charts.

The band’s original songs such as “One Last Drink,” “Down With The Ship” and “Gasoline” have become folk rock anthems and have been used in such films  as “Goon,” “10mph” and “Addicted to Plastic.”

The band was formed in 1995 in Toronto by Craig Downie, the only remaining original member in the lineup. The band currently consists of Downie (highland bagpipes, vocals), Brian Buchanan (vocals, fiddle, guitar), Trevor Lewington (vocals, guitar), Mark Abraham (bass), and Bruce McCarthy (drums).

The band’s latest single “Mrs. Elliott” showcases Enter the Haggis’ signature sound and instrumentation — bagpipes, a powerhouse hard-rock rhythm section and lead vocals by Lewington and Buchanan.

Enter the Haggis’ current tour is in support of the band’s 20th Anniversary retrospective double album “Cheers and Echoes,” which features the band’s best-loved songs.

Their eighth and latest studio album “Penny Black” was released in 2014 under the Jubilee Riots name.

“Our music over the last 15 years went through a lot of evolution,” said Buchanan, during a phone interview Tuesday afternoon from Toronto. “With ‘Penny Black,’ we did an Enter the Haggis album but it didn’t have any of the Celtic Enter the Haggis elements.

“There was a bit of frustration after 15 years of Enter the Haggis. So, we changed the name so it wasn’t saddled with the Enter the Haggis legacy. Enter the Haggis was a name people recognize. It was a name that was appropriate for what we had been playing but it wasn’t appropriate for what we were doing. So, Jubilee Riots was an experiment with a non-descript name.”

Jubilee Riots didn’t last long.

“A while after we did the ‘Penny Black’ album, we started working on new music and the Celtic influence was back,” said Buchanan. “We didn’t regret what we did but we did go back to being Enter the Haggis.”

While the rest of the band is based in Canada, Buchanan lives in Chestnut Hill with his girlfriend Rose Baldino, fiddle player for the Philadelphia -based Celtic band Burning Bridget Cleary.

“Living with a fiddle player, I rediscovered my love for the instrument,” said Buchanan. “There is a lot more fiddle in the songs I’ve been writing lately. We went to Dublin for a few weeks and I really got back into Celtic music. Rosie also introduced me to the music of a lot of good new Celtic rock bands.

“We just released ‘Cheers and Echoes,’ which spans our whole career. I hadn’t gone back and listened to our old stuff in years. It was interesting to listen to it. We realized that we do have some strengths in those areas.”

Video link for Enter the Haggis — https://youtu.be/MfK7n7BMrd0.

The show at the World Café Live will start at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $17 SRO and $27 seated.

too close to touch

Too Close To Touch

Music fans can start their weekend off early with two attractive shows tonight at venues in Philadelpha. BANNERS will perform at the Foundry at Fillmore Philadelphia (1100 Canal Street, Philadelphia, 215-309-0150, www.thefillmorephilly.com) while Too Close To Touch will headline a show at the Voltage Lounge (421 North Seventh Street, Philadelphia, 215- 964-9602, http://voltagelounge.com/).

The Kentucky-based band Too Close to Touch visited the area back in July 8 for a highly-anticipated show at the Voltage Lounge (421 North Seventh Street, Philadelphia, 215- 964-9602, www.facebook.com/Voltagelounge) and did not disappoint.

Now, the band — guitarists Mason Marble and Thomas Kidd, bassist Travis Moore, drummer Kenneth Downey, and vocalist Keaton Pierce — is returning to do it again.

“We had an awesome show at the Voltage Lounge,” said Pierce, during a phone interview Monday from a tour stop in Worcester, Massachusetts. “The sound system is really good and they have a cool upper deck.”

Earlier this year, Too Close To Touch celebrated singlehood on Valentine’s Day with the release of an acoustic song called “Heavy Hearts.”  According to Pierce in a press release quote — “Our new acoustic track ‘Heavy Hearts’ is very personal to me.  It tells a story that I’m not too fond of reliving, and there really was no happy ending.”

On last summer’s tour, Too Close To Touch was on the road in support of its debut album “Nerve Endings,” which came out on Epitaph Records in April 2015.

“’Heavy Hearts’ was a B-side we were sitting on,” said Pierce. “It’s an acoustic song we were waiting to release.

“A new album is what we’re looking at right now. We already announced it on our website. Right now, we’re just writing and making demos — no recording yet. I was just down in Florida co-writing with Tom Denney from A Day To Remember.

“The songwriting for the band depends on the situation. Somebody might have an idea on his own or we might write collectively. We place a lot of emphasis on songwriting. It’s very important to us. Creativity is important to us.”

Too Close To Touch has been around since 2012.

“We’re just a bunch of friends who were hanging out in Lexington,” said Marble. “Me, Ken and Travis were here in Lexington. Keaton moved up from Benton, Kentucky and Thomas had moved to the area from Arizona.

“We just all clicked immediately. The music just came out of the overflow of our friendship. We started writing songs together three years ago and the first gig with this line-up was in late summer 2014. We write songs all different random ways.”

The band’s chemistry was obvious from the start.

“When you get a bunch of creative people together, it just happens,” said Moore. “Our first hit ‘Deep End’ was one of the first songs we wrote. It didn’t take us long to vibe off each other.

“For this record, we picked a finite direction where we wanted to go,” said Moore. “Everyone in the band had this idea of what they wanted us to be and we’re all in tune with that. We wanted to focus on the emotions as well as the catchiness of the songs.

“We met with our producer Erik Ron in California. He kept us in line — and co-wrote some songs. The album was written over the course of a year and we went out to L.A. three times to work in the studio with Erik.

“At first, we had a five-song EP. Then, we needed some additional content. We recorded more songs and expanded the EP to a full-length. With three trips out west, we had grown a little more each time. It brought diversity to the record and allowed us to focus on each segment.”

Video link for Too Close to Touch — https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=x20a3n__zuk.

The all-ages show at Voltage, which starts at 6:30 p.m., also features Secrets, Palisades and Picturesque. Tickets are $13.50 in advance and $15 at the door.



BANNERS, which is the stage name for British singer-songwriter Mike Nelson. At the Foundry, the Liverpool native and Spotify Spotlight 2016 artist will perform as part of the “SiriusXM Presents Alt Nation Advanced Placement Tour,” which also features Pop Etc., and The Moth & The Flame.

“It’s fun to be out touring with them because they are two great bands,” said Nelson, during a phone interview Wednesday afternoon en route from New York to Philadelphia. “We get along well and we change the order of performing every night.”

Nelson is tour in support of his self-titled debut five-song EP “BANNERS.” The EP’s five tracks are “Shine A Light,” “Ghosts,” “Start A Riot,” “Gold Dust,” and “Back When We Had Nothing.” 

“I do a 45-minute set and play all five songs from the EP,” said Nelson. “I also play four new ones that are from the group of songs I’ve written for my debut album. I’ve done all the recording in Toronto, where I now live.

“I write and record with my producer Stephen Kozmeniuk. I play piano and guitar in the studio. When I’m touring, I have a keyboard player with me and I play acoustic and electric guitar.

“The album is pretty far along. I’ve got pretty much everything written. After this tour, I’ll have time off and I’ll get back into the studio. We have a decent enough pool of songs to draw from — about 20 songs that have been finished.”

Nelson has already shown the knack for writing pleasing songs with strong melodies and heartfelt lyrics.

“When writing, the most stressful thing is getting the hook,” said Nelson. “Once you get the hook, the song is written. Then, you just figure out the lyrics. The most important thing is that it is something that I feel strongly about. And, the song has to work with just an acoustic guitar or a piano.”

Nelson grew up singing in the Liverpool Anglican Cathedral Choir and the Liverpool Kop (home to the world-famous football club Liverpool F.C.). After singing in cathedrals and concert halls across Europe, he went to work on his own material.

“There was always music in our house,” said Nelson. “My mom plays piano, sings and plays clarinet and my father is a record producer. I just always wanted to make music. There was never a decision about what type of music or what genre. I just wanted to make music that I wanted to listen to.”

Now, he is making music that a lot of people want to listen to.

After his signing to Island Records early last year, BANNERS first connected with audiences on his debut single “Ghosts” which rose to Number 2 at Hype Machine, and was heard on MTV’s “Teen Wolf.”

“Shine A Light” was heard on ESPN’s “Monday Night Football,” the official trailer for EA’s new blockbuster game “FIFA 16 Ultimate Team Legends” and an episode of FOX’s “American Idol.”  “Start A Riot” went on to be featured in an episode of E! Channel’s UK-centric “The Royals.”

“I have a really good TV and film department and they’ve done a great job of getting songs placed,” said Nelson. “The song on the FIFA game really works well.”

Nelson is die-hard Liverpool F.C. fan — a longtime season ticket holder for the Reds. Hopefully, he will be smiling when he takes the stage at the Foundry — smiling because the Reds emerged victorious in today’s UEFA Europa League game against Manchester United. The two most successful English clubs in history will vie for a place in the last eight of the Europa League with the first leg taking place at Anfield, the Reds’ home stadium.

“For two hours, I’ll be locked in front of the television set,” said Nelson. “No-one will be able to disturb me.”

Video link for BANNERS — https://youtu.be/uaLblVmnNL4.

The show at The Foundry will start at 8 p.m. Tickets are priced at $15.

the tenors

The Tenors

This area will also host another band based in Toronto this weekend when The Tenors perform on March 13 at the Keswick Theater (291 N. Keswick Avenue, Glenside, 215-572-7650, www.keswicktheatre.com).

The Tenors (formerly known as The Canadian Tenors) are a vocal quartet featuring Remigio Pereira, Victor Micallef, Fraser Walters, and Clifton Murray. They perform operatic pop music that is a mixture of classical and pop.

The Canadian multi-Platinum, Juno Award-winning vocal group is touring in support of its latest Number 1 album “Under One Sky” — an album that was just nominated for a Juno “Adult Contemporary Album of the Year” Award.

“We’re in Toronto now starting the process of making our next album,” said Murray, during a phone interview Monday afternoon. “And, we’re rehearsing songs for the Juno Awards show in April.

“The lineup of the band has been together for nine years. Fraser and I were in similar circles — one degree removed. I joined the group seven-and-a-half years ago. I was the final piece of the puzzle.

“We own the company and the creative buck stops with us. We have the rule of the creativity. We play instruments. We tell stories. We’re intimately involved in all aspects — song selection, creativity, arranging, choosing the orchestra. We also produced a number of the songs on the album ourselves.

“Now, we’re out on a 78-city tour. Between our Christmas tour, corporate shows and regular tours, we do 200-230 shows a year globally. It really is all about the artistry of the four of us together.”

Over the past several years, The Tenors have been selling out concerts across Canada, the U.S. and the U.K., and have performed over 500 live shows on five continents.  In 2014, they performed for the Obamas at the prestigious National Christmas Tree Lighting.  Their previous TV appearances–over 150 worldwide–include the Today Show, Good Morning America, Dr. Phil, Oprah (with Celine Dion), the Primetime Emmy Awards, ITV’s Diamond Jubilee Show for the Queen and many more.

They have shared the stage with such luminaries as Andrea Bocelli, Sting, Elton John, Earth Wind & Fire, Paul McCartney, Jennifer Hudson, Ellie Goulding, Justin Bieber and more. The Tenors’ first self-titled album is certified double Platinum, and their 2010 “The Perfect Gift” holiday album is certified triple Platinum in Canada.

Their third album — 2012’s “Lead With Your Heart” — went double Platinum, won a 2013 Juno Award for Adult Contemporary Album of the Year and debuted at Number 1 on Billboard’s “Classical Albums” and “Classical Crossover Albums” charts.

“Under One Sky” is a 13-track album combining a mix of originals alongside new interpretations of familiar favorites, including Queen’s “Who Wants To Live Forever” (featuring Lindsey Stirling), “Lean On Me,” “You Are So Beautiful” (duet featuring Walters’ wife, Kelly Levesque), “Granada,” “Besame Mucho” and “Agnus Dei.”

The quartet has also released a highly-acclaimed video for the song “Under One Sky.” The video captures each of The Tenors visiting different parts of the world along with to videos submitted by their fans gathered via a social media campaign. Walters began writing “Under One Sky” as a theme for the Pan Am Games, reflecting on his experience on Canada’s national track and field team 15 years ago. The reflective upbeat tune soon morphed into something more universal.

“We were in Prague talking about making a video with all our fans,” said Murray. “We figured what better way than to have them send in videos of themselves pointing one finger up to the sky. That’s our message — bringing together people from all walks of life.”

Video link for The Tenors — https://youtu.be/jzMZ4C_XtBU.

The show at the Keswick will get underway at 8 p.m. Ticket prices are $49.50 and $69.50.

dead ships

The Dead Ships

There will be a lot of interesting acts playing at venues around the area on May 11 including Dead Ships at Underground Arts, Tancred at Union Transfer, Rob Crow’s Gloomy Place at Boot & Saddle and Patty Larkin at the Sellersville Theater.

Area fans will have two opportunities to hear the Dead Ships perform this weekend.

On March 11, they will play a show at Underground Arts (1200 Callowhill Street, Philadelphia, http://undergroundarts.org). On March 12, they will headline a show at Home Grown Café (126 East Main Street, Newark, Delaware, 302-266-6993, www.homegrowncafe.com).

The Dead Ships — a garage rock trio featuring Devlin McCluskey (vocals, guitar), Christopher Spindelilus (drums) and Alex Moore (bass) — formed around four years ago in Los Angeles and released their debut album “Electric Ahab” in 2012.

That album led to led to a collaboration with Broken Social Scene’s Brendan Canning, who produced the band’s “EP1” and the lead single “Big Quiet.”

“We played a couple shows in Toronto at NXNE,” said McCluskey, during a phone interview Tuesday afternoon from Brooklyn. “We had some mutual friends so Brendan came to one of our shows.

“He saw something in us. We hung out together in Toronto for a night. A month later, he offered to produce us. It was great because we were all big Broken Social Scene fans. He came down to L.A. and we did two separate recording sessions with him. The first was in November 2014 and the second in spring 2015.”

McCluskey, who grew up in Illinois, first arrived in L.A. to pursue a career in film and TV.

“I had been writing music since I was 15,” said McCluskey. “I met up with Chris when we worked at a reality TV company. I overheard Chris talking about getting a new drum kit. I told him — I have all these songs…we should get together and play. He had never really been in bands before so it was a way for both of us to ease into playing.

“We’ve been growing and building for the last three years. Our first gig was about four-and-a-half years ago. Our second gig was at the Bottom of the Hill in San Francisco. On our third gig, we opened for King Khan at the Echo in L.A. Echo has always been my favorite venue in L.A. And, I live right across the street from it.”

The Dead Ships still have songs in the can that they recorded with Canning and more new ones in progress.

“We’re looking to get out a full-length with all the songs we did with Brendan,” said McCluskey. “We just need to find a label that wants to do it. All our records so far have been self-released.

“I’ve been writing a ton in the last year and I’m itching to get back in the studio. We playing at SXSW later this month and we got signed to play for this year’s Coachella (Music and Arts Festival). Hopefully, it will be a big year for us.”

Video link for the Dead Ships — https://youtu.be/LP_MIw8Lvrk.



The show at Underground Arts, which has Le Butcherettes as the headliner, will start at 8 p.m. Tickets are $12. The free show at Home Grown Café, which has Travel Songs as the opener, will start at 9 p.m.

When Jess Abbott is playing in a band, she goes by the name Jess Abbott. When Abbott is recording or performing on her own, she goes by the name Tancred. On March 11, Tancred will be in Philly for a show at Union Transfer (1026 Spring Garden Street, Philadelphia, 215-232-2100, www.utphilly.com).

“I started Tancred in 2011 as a side project,” said Abbott, during a phone interview Tuesday en route from Chicago to a tour date in Detroit. “I never tried to tour with it before. It was just a recording thing. It’s been about a year now that I’ve been putting everything into it. “

Abbott is touring in support of a new Tancred album titled “Out of the Garden,” which will be released on April 1 on Polyvinyl Records. The first single “Sell My Head” recently premiered on Stereogum.

“When I decided I was going to take it on the road, I didn’t want a solo project,” said Abbott. “I wanted a fuller sound.  So, I put together a trio with a bass player, a drummer and me on guitar and vocals.

“I wrote all the songs myself. I started in late 2014 and wrote the last one in January 2015. Then, I went into the studio in May. It was produced by Anna Waronker from That Dog and Steven McDonald from Off! and Redd Kross at Whiskey Kitchen Studio.

According to Abbott, the album was shaped by her experiences living in Minneapolis and working at a liquor store in a rough part of town — “I learned how to speak up when I needed to and how to truly be myself without reservation. I felt afraid walking home at night, and after a couple of months I just got sick of it and started getting into self-defense and self-empowerment as a means of coping. Finding my own strength changed everything.”

When Abbott composed the songs for the album, she knew where she wanted it to go musically.

“I wrote them with a full band in mind,” said Abbott. “This is the third Tancred album but it feels like the first because the songs are so different — not only a new page but a new book.

“I always write on guitar. I’ll pick up the guitar and it will always start with a riff for a chord progression. Ideas for songs will pop in my head and I’ll jot something in a notebook and then come up with a riff. But, I’ve never written lyrics first.”

Video link for Tancred — https://youtu.be/A2Bmn05F5zw.

The all-ages show at Union Transfer, which starts at 7:30 p.m., also features Foxing and Lymbyc System. Tickets are $13 in advance and $15 day of show.

rob crow

Rob Crow

The show by Rob Crow’s Gloomy Place at Boot and Saddle (1131 South Broad Street, Philadelphia, 215-639-4528, www.bootandsaddlephilly.com) will present Crow in a different light.

Crow definitely has something to crow about — imcluding a new album titled “You’re Doomed. Be Nice.,” which was released on March 4 via Temporary Residence Ltd.

“You’re Doomed. Be Nice.” is Crow’s first album since his heavily-publicized withdrawal from music – specifically the toxic byproducts of the lifestyle of a touring professional musician attempting to survive in an industry of diminishing returns.

“I never wanted to stop creating,” said Crow, during a phone interview Monday, en route from Louisville to a tour stop in Baltimore. “I just felt that being a touring musician was irresponsible for my family. It takes so much time and effort and money.

“I had to focus on supporting my family. I have three kids and a wife. And, I needed to get myself in shape in general. I realized I had to stop and I did it right then and there. All I knew was that I had to get my shit together. I had family responsibilities and I was trying not to lose my home. I had to figure out how.”

On a Facebook post, Crow wrote — The bank was threatening to foreclose on my house.

I was unhealthy and directionless. I felt terrible, worthless, and ashamed. I couldn’t support my family, let alone release any of the music I felt I was so selfishly creating.

I was drinking an average of a pint of Jameson and a bottle of red wine every night.

Pinback, as a creative partnership, pretty much dried.

Our family’s plan had always been for me to support us, at least until my wife graduated nursing school, after which we would at least have her job to keep us afloat. Unfortunately, my income was waning faster than it was taking her to finish, and when she did graduate (with honors), it turns out that due to a glut of nursing schools in our area, the actual jobs were few and far between. Meanwhile, I was trying to live the life of an “artist”, but everything was falling apart.

Fortunately, things took a turn in a positive direction for Crow and his clan.

“I worked really hard trying to find a real job,” said Crow, who also had been the frontman for the band Pinback. “My wife found her job — but it took over a year to do it. I stopped drinking. I gave up everything at once — including caffeine. I went on a very strict diet and did 10 miles a day on the elliptical. Now, I run 5K (3.1 milws) every day. And, I’ve lost 100 pounds.

“I had an album’s worth of material that I had written at home. I sent it to Jeremy (Temporary Residence Ltd. founder Jeremy deVine) and asked if it was viable. He said it was. So, I put a band together, went into the studio and re-did everything.

‘Now, I’m out on tour with my band — a full month-long stateside tour. I’ve done six gigs so far. The audiences have been small but enthusiastic. I’m surprised when anybody listens to my stuff. Having people listen to your music is a privilege not a right.’

Video link for Rob Crow — https://youtu.be/_qO-S1EULB4.

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

Patty Larkin will be in the area for a pair of shows this weekend sharing the bill with Jonatha Brooke in both of them. They will perform March 11 at the Sellersville Theater (24 West Temple Avenue, Sellersville, 215-257-5808, www.st94.com) and March 12 at the World Café Live at the Queen (500 North Market Street, Wilmington, 302- 994-1400, www.queen.worldcafelive.com).

Larkin writes and plays folk-urban pop music characterized by her inventive guitar phrasings and uncompromising vocals and lyrics. Larkin comes from a long line of Irish American singers and taletellers. Her mother was a painter and her sisters are both musicians.

The veteran singer-songwriter sang throughout her high school and college career, starting out in coffeehouses in Oregon and San Francisco. Upon graduation from the University of Oregon, she moved to Boston and devoted herself to music — busking on the streets of Cambridge and studying jazz guitar at Berklee College of Music and with Boston area jazz guitarists.

Larkin has already achieved a number of milestones in her music career. In 2008, she reached double figures with her solo album discography with her album “Watch the Sky” on Vanguard Records.

In 2010, she celebrated 25 years in the business with an album titled “25” and subtitled “25 Years, 25 Love Songs, 25 Friends”. Her most recent album is “Still Green,” which was released in 2103 on Signature Sounds.

“This year, I’ve been working on a new project — a multi-media project,” said Larkin, during a phone interview Wednesday morning from a tour stop in Maryland. “I did ths performance art piece last summer — a short video clip. I’ve also been doing some short story writing — memoirs.

“I’ve also been recording a bunch of instrumentals — seeing what shape the songs take — story songs. The new album will be song-oriented with a couple instrumentals thrown in. Songwriting comes natural to me. I’ll probably be working with Mike Denneen in his Q Division Studio in Boston. Before that, I have a home studio to get a feel for what I’ve got.”

On this mini-tour, fans will be treated to a well-rounded show featuring two of today’s premier singer-songwriters.

“I’m looking at a set list that will have songs from all my albums,” said Larkin. “Some of the older songs that I play resonate with me differently now. I still do one song from ‘Step into the Light,’ my first album from 1985. Also, requests from the audience might push me into playing an old song.

“I play electric guitar, acoustic guitar and I get some loops going on electric guitar. Jonatha and I will be doing some songs together — including a love song called ‘Only One’ that she sang with me on my ‘25’ album. She’s an exciting performer to co-bill with.”

Video link for Patty Larkin — https://youtu.be/Zl_DDzmu1qw

The show at Sellersville on March 11 will start at 8 p.m. with tickets priced at $29.50 and $45. The show at the Queen on March 12 will get underway at 8 p.m. and tickets are $32.

Things will definitely be lively on March 12 at the Sellersville Theater when the venue hosts a show by Roomful of Blues.

The Rhode Island-based band boasts a recording career that has lasted longer than 40 years and resulted in more than 20 albums. The band has toured worldwide and has treated fans around the world to its unique blend of a variety of music genres including rock and roll, swing, R&B, boogie-woogie, soul and a number of different blues styles.

Roomful of Blues has received five Grammy Award nominations and seven Blues Music Awards , including “Blues Band Of The Year” in 2005). The Down Beat International Critics Poll has twice selected Roomful of Blues as “Best Blues Band.

Over the years, more than 50 different musicians have been part of Roomful of Blues’ line-up, including vocalist/guitarist Duke Robillard, vocalist Lou Ann Barton, keyboardist Junior Brantley and trumpeter Fred Jackson.

Roomful of Blues is currently an eight-piece unit led by guitarist Chris Vachon and long-time tenor and alto sax player Rich Lataille. The other members are Mark Earley (saxophone), Rusty Scott (piano, Hammond B-3 organ), Chris Rivelli (drums), Doug Woolverton (trumpet), John Turner (bass) and Phil Pemberton (vocals).

“We’re going to do a new album pretty soon,” said Vachon, during a phone interview Tuesday afternoon from his home in Rhode Island. “We used to do one every couple years.”

Roomful of Blues’ latest album is titled “45 Live.”

“We recorded the album in 2013,” said Vachon. “It was our 45th year being together so we decided to do a live record. We did it in Rhode Island at a club called Ocean Mist in Wakefield. We recorded three nights in a row there and there were sell-out crowds every night. It’s our favorite little bar.

“We worked there a lot before so we knew it was going to be a good situation. We set up with a control room on the side. We played the same set every night. When it was time to put the album together, I ended up picking stuff from all three shows. There were a lot of people there for every show. It was St. Patrick’s Day weekend so people were really in a party mood.”

Not many bands stay together for more than 10-15 years. Very few make it past 25 and passing a 40th anniversary is almost unheard of. Roomful of Blues is less than three years away from its golden anniversary (50 years) but, according to Vachon, there is no great secret to the band’s ability to keep it going.

“What’s the reason for our longevity — it’s the music we like to play,” said Vachon. “We’ve had our ups and downs. Some years we’ve toured more than others. We currently play about 150 shows a year. We used to do more but it’s becoming harder to do weekday dates. Lots of venues aren’t even doing weekday nights.

“The band keeps getting new fans and there are a lot of older people who have been listening to us for years. For young people, their only exposure to us has been at festivals. We play a lot of festivals every year.”

With a 48-year history and 20-plus albums from which to draw songs, choosing a set list for a show can be easy and difficult at the same time — what to play and what to leave out.

“We always mix it up,” said Vachon. “We’ve got a lot of stuff from over the years. We’ve got so many albums, it’s hard to just pull one out. We try to keep some variety there with tempos and beats — trying to mix it up.

“What I like to do is have a variety of stuff so people aren’t listening to the same beat over and over again. It’s more of a journey instead of 10 shuffles in a row. And, we do a fair amount of covers — not familiar stuff but rather mostly obscure stuff that no-one knows.”

Video for Roomful of Blues — https://youtu.be/9Fb7m4Ilsl8.

The show at Sellersville will get underway at 8 p.m. with the Kim Brewer Band as the opening act. Tickets are $25 and $39.50.

Another hot show at Boot & Saddle this weekend will take place on March 12 when the venue on South Broad Street hosts Skylar Gudasz.

Gudasz is touring in support of her debut LP “Oleander.”

“This is my first full-length,” said Gudasz, during a phone interview Tuesday afternoon from her home in Durham, North Carolina. “I had a 7-inch in 2014, a digital single and some EPs with Ugly Girls. This feels like my first full-length because it’s solo.”

A native of Ashland, Va., Gudasz started playing flute at age 5. Her brother taught her to play guitar in elementary school, and she began learning piano on her own a few years later. She studied theater and creative writing at the University of North Carolina, and stuck around in Chapel Hill and Durham post-college after connecting with some of the area’s most promising young musicians.

It didn’t take long for renowned Chapel Hill producer Chris Stamey to be drawn to Gudasz’s distinctiveness as a songwriter. Shortly after his ambitious Big Star Third collective began playing, Stamey brought Gudasz aboard — introducing her to a cast that included Big Star drummer Jody Stephens, R.E.M.’s Mike Mills and the Posies’ Ken Stringfellow.

“I recorded ‘Oleander’ with Chris Stamey at his Modern Recording Studio in Chapel Hill and with Mitch Easter at Fidelitorium in Turnersville, North Carolina,” said Gudasz.

“I had some songs that I didn’t feel I could play with my rock band (Ugly Girls). I made some demos with Chris and he said we should make a record out of them. I also had some older songs from 2012. All the songs that start with ‘I’ are the newer ones.

“I just tried to keep writing songs. I write on guitar and keyboards. I feel more at home on piano. I’ve played piano when I was younger. I also had classical training on flue when I was young.

“I’ve written songs my whole life. I was a theater student and a creative writing student when I was in college. I graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2009. There’s a great music scene in the Triangle (Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill) and I got into it.

“After I did the Big Star tour, I wanted to start a new musical project. Now, I have a five-piece band with a drummer, a guitarist, a bass player and an organist/guitarist. I play guitar and keyboards and sing.

“This will be my first time to play Philadelphia. I’m looking forward to it because I come from a Quaker family. My dad went to the University of Pennsylvania.”

Video link for Skylar Gudasz — https://youtu.be/Lekuvamm7Bs.

The show at Boot & Saddle, which also features Mount Moriah, will start at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $12.

This seems to be the week that music acts from Toronto are destined to play the Philly area. On March 15, Metric, a Canadian indie-rock band, will play a show at Fillmore Philadelphia.

Metric got its start in Toronto in 1998 when vocalist Emily Haines and guitarist Jimmy Shaw crossed paths. The band’ lineup now includes, Joshua Winstead (bass, synthesizers, backing vocals), Joules Scott-Key (drums, percussion), Haines (lead vocals, synthesizers, guitar, tambourine, harmonica, piano) and Shaw (guitar, synthesizers, theremin, backing vocals).

Metric has released five albums with 2009’s “Fantasies” and 2012’s “Synthetica” winning Juno Awards for “Best Alternative Album.” Metric’s new album “Pagans in Vegas” was released in September 2015 on Metric Music International.

“We recorded most of the album in 2014 and kind of wrapped up in March 2015,” said Shaw, during a recent phone interview from his home in Toronto. “We cut most of it in our own studio in Toronto and did a little at a studio in New York owned by Adam from the Beastie Boys.

“We used a ton of analog gear. We recorded a lot to ProTools and we also recorded a lot to tape. It’s a throwback to the 80s English sound — bands like the Cure and Depeche Mode. I grew up with a lot of synth-pop stuff — and I was raised classically.

“There weren’t a whole lot of Canadian bands when I was growing up. I was raised on classical music. That’s what I listened to as a kid.”

The making of “Pagans in Vegas” didn’t go quite as Shaw and his mates planned.

“The album came out in September in the U.S. and in Canada,” said Shaw. “It was a strange turn of events. We were almost finished the album and we got invited to tour with Imagine Dragons. It wasn’t the healthiest of things for us because we had to get the record together faster than usual — and get the show together. It wasn’t an advantage. We also had another record that we recorded on the road. By the time we got off that tour, we were exhausted — and prepping for the release of the ‘Pagans in Vegas’ album.”

Now, the members of Metric are refreshed, revitalized and ready to rock.

“In our live show, we’ll probably be playing a fair amount of songs from the ‘Pagans in Vegas’ album,” said Shaw. “We’re six albums deep. At this point, whatever album we just did becomes part of our repertoire. We don’t necessarily like to tour just an album.”

Video link for Metric — https://youtu.be/XnJKGwOA2vI.

The show at Fillmore Philadelphia, which also features Joywave, will start at 8 p.m. Tickets are $26.

The Flash (102 Sycamore Alley, Kennett Square, 484-732-8295, http://www.kennettflash.org) will present Better Than Bacon on March 10, Raymond the Amish Comic on March 11, Lucy Kaplansky and Geri Smith on March 12,

Bathing Suit, Charis Latshaw, Hanna Paige, and Lily Albright on March 13 and

Ben Caplan, Chris Ferron and Brad McNemar of Jive Sons of Turkey on March 14.

The Steel City Coffee House (203 Bridge Street, Phoenixville, 610-933-4043, www.steelcitycoffeehouse.com) will host Femme Brulee on March 10, No Good Sister and Caleb Hawley on March 11 and Jacob Snider, Chelsea Sue Allen and Dave Spencer on March 12.

Chaplin’s (66 North Main Street, Spring City, 610-792-4110, http://chaplinslive.com) will have The Walkabouts, Sky’s Edge and Blanko Dave on March 11 and Pisces Party with Sliding Delta on March 12.

The Ardmore Music Hall (23 East Lancaster Avenue, Ardmore, 610-649-8389, www.ardmoremusic.com) will present Quanticr, Xenia Rubinos and Worldtown SoundSystem on March 10, Robert Randolph and The Family Band and Nik Greeley & The Operators on March 11, Control for Smilers (Phish Tribute), Aqueous and  Dale and the ZDubs on March 12, AM Radio on March 13 and The Druids and Galway Guild on March 15.

Doc Watson’s Public House (150 North Pottstown Pike, Exton, 610-524-2424, docwatsonspublichouse.com) will present the Tommy Froelich Trio on March 12.

Burlap & Bean Coffeehouse (204 South Newtown Street Road, Newtown Square, 484-427-4547, www.burlapandbean.com) will present Diana Jones and Rod Picott on March 10, Christine Havrilla & Gypsy Fuzz with Colin McGetrick on March 11and JD Malone with Zak Trojano on March 12.

The Candlelight Theater (2208 Millers Road, Arden, Delaware, 302- 475-2313, www.candlelighttheatredelaware.org) will open a new show this weekend. “The Secret Garden” will debut on March 12 and run through April 24.

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