On Stage: Vanessa Collier comes home for rooftop show at The Flash

By Denny Dyroff, Entertainment Editor, The Times

Vanessa Collier

Vanessa Collier is a highly acclaimed blues/jazz sax player who – in normal times – spends a lot of time touring nationally.

Occasionally, the Chadds Ford resident gets an opportunity to play a show at a venue close to home – including Delaware gigs at the Candlelight Dinner Theater and the Arden Gild Hall.

On July 30, she will play a show virtually in her own backyard when she is the featured act at Kennett Flash’s Rooftop Series (Kennett Square Parking Garage Rooftop, 100 East Linden Street., Kennett Square, 484-732-8295, http://www.kennettflash.org).

When the COVID-19 pandemic arrived last spring, it forced Collier to abandon a spring/summer tour after just one show and to push back the release of her new album. It also wiped out a blues cruise in the fall on which she was scheduled to be a featured performer.

Fortunately, Collier, a resident of Chadds Ford, has been able to start booking shows again and she is going forward at full speed.

Tonight (July 29), she is performing at the Crossroads Blues Fest in Lima, New York. After Friday’s show in Kennett Square, she is heading to Marlinton, West Virginia for a show at the Pocahontas Opera House on Saturday night followed by a performance at the Pittsburgh Blues Festival Sunday afternoon.

Then, it’s on to Mayville, New York on August 2, Erie on August 3 and then cross-country to be a featured act at Bluesapalooza in Mammoth Lakes, California. Mammoth Lakes is a town in California’s Sierra Nevada mountains.

“I haven’t done any recording lately,” said Collier, during a phone interview Tuesday evening. “Touring is picking back up and I’ve been adding in a few new band members.

“I have a van and I’m using it a lot. I’ll fly out for the California date. But for anything within a 12-hour drive, I use my van.

“I have a two-week run in Colorado in the fall and I just added a show in Switzerland.”

Fortunately for Collier’s fans in this area, she has a few other relatively close gigs on her schedule – Berks Jazz Festival in Reading on August 14, Long’s Park Summer Series in Lancaster on August 15, Philadelphia Folk Festival on August 22 and the Lancaster Roots and Blues Festival on October 17.

She has been making up for pandemic-induced lost time.

In October 2020, she had the opportunity to play a show at a venue that was very close to her home – an outdoor matinee concert at Candlelight Dinner Theatre.

Ironically, one of the last shows he played before the pandemic shut things down was about one-half mile south of the Candlelight Theater at the Arden Gild Hall

“I played a show at the Arden Gild in February 2020 and a few other shows after that,” said Collier. “My last gig on the tour was March 12 – the first show of a Midwest tour. We played Mojo’s Boneyard in Evansville, Indiana. That same day, the NBA and MLB stopped their games.

“I realized it was serious, so I said to my band – ‘let’s play this show and go home.’ I love to talk to people after my shows. I just like chatting with my fans, but I couldn’t do that. Instead, the show ended, and I had to head back to the Green Room. I like hugging people, but I didn’t want to put them at risk.

“At first, I thought it would just be a few weeks with the pandemic, but it just kept getting worse. I lost a tour and had a cruise cancelled. Plus, I support a band of five and I haven’t been able to support them. It was incredibly frustrating.”

Collier released her new album “Heart On The Line” on August 21 – an album that has received rave reviews from music critics and fans alike. Still in her mid-20s, Collier has toured all over the world numerous times and has released three solo albums. With searing saxophone solos, soulful vocals, and witty lyrics, her songwriting features a blend of blues, funk, rock, and soul.

Collier’s impressive vocals and stinging saxophone work saw her light up stages as part of Joe Louis Walker’s band in 2012 and 2013.

In 2014, her debut album “Heart Soul & Saxophone” won her accolades as a “Best of 2014 Blues Breaker.” In March 2017, she released her sophomore album “Meeting My Shadow.” Collier’s third album “Honey Up” was released on July 6, 2018.

Collier is primarily a sax player, singer and songwriter but is also well-versed in playing clavinet, flute, electric organ, and percussion.

“When I was little, I really wanted to play piano,” said Collier. “I don’t know why. I started taking piano lessons but didn’t like the teacher, so I quit after six months. I saw someone playing sax on television and fell in love with it. We rented a sax for me when I was in fourth grade. That was in school. Then, I studied with a private instructor for a few years.

“Then, I took lessons with Chris Vadala, who played sax with Chuck Mangione. I studied with him for seven years – classical, jazz and funk. He started me doubling on flute and clarinet. I still play those instruments. Mainly, I play sax — tenor, some soprano and some baritone.”

Collier’s previous album “Honey Up” was released almost two years and was nominated for Blues Music Award (BMA) Contemporary Blues Album of the Year.

“That album did well right from the start,” said Collier. “It was a Top 5 Billboard Blues Album and was well-received by radio deejays.”

Collier was nominated in 2017 for a Blues Music Award in the “Instrumental — Horn Player of the Year” category. She also won first place in the “Lyrics Only” category of the 2017 USA Songwriting Competition. In 2018, Collier was nominated in two categories at the Blues Music Awards – “Contemporary Blues Female Artist of the Year” and “Instrumental — Horn Player of the Year.”

In 2019, she was again nominated in same two categories at the Blues Music Awards – “Contemporary Blues Female Artist of the Year” and “Instrumental – Horn.” She claimed first place in the “Instrumental – Horn” category.

“Honey Up,” which had a three-month residency on Billboard’s “Top Blues Albums Chart,” provides a good look at Collier’s influences.

“With jazz, the first person I was turned on to was Cannonball Adderley,” said Collier. “Other major influences were John Coltrane, Junior Walker, and Maceo Parker. Vocally, I started with Etta James, Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan and that morphed into Norah Jones and Bonnie Raitt.”

Now, Collier is ready for “Heart on the Line” to take off.

“We had recorded the basics for the new album back in February,” said Collier. “I had planned to put the vocals on it during the Midwest tour even though it would have been hectic. When I came home, I had a lot of time. I put vocals on. I put horns on a few tracks. I spent time with the mixing. It took longer than I had planned. Like my previous albums, it’s definitely a mixture – blues, funk, NOLA – but this one goes rootsier.

Collier recorded the album in January at Hearstudios in Camden, Maine and released it on her own label – Phenix Fire Records.

“It’s the same studio I used for ‘Honey Up’,” said Collier. “I used the same engineer – Mark Wessel. He was a professor I had at Berklee for a course in music production. He really captures each instrument as it sounds in the room and is absolutely wonderful to work with.

“Mark has also engineered and/or mixed albums for The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Duke Robillard, and many more. Ben Fox was the assistant engineer for these sessions and was a great addition to the team.

“The scheduled release date was May 15 and it got pushed back to August 21. The Grammys are continuing as planned and I wanted it to be out in time to be Grammy-eligible. I love this record. I was able to put a lot of me into this record. Also, I’m going to be doing another record soon and I didn’t want to be sitting on two albums in the can.”

On her Facebook site, Collier offered insight into the making of “Heart On The Line” —

“I’m so extremely proud of this record and thankful to the wonderful musicians who played on it: Nick Stevens on drums, percussion, and shuitar; CC Ellis, Scot Sutherland, and Cornell Williams on bass; William Gorman on keys; Laura Chavez on guitar; Doug Woolverton on trumpet, and Quinn Carson on trombone.

“It’s hard to put into words how wonderful Laura Chavez is. She’s an incredible guitar player knowing just what to play (and what not to play) in the cracks. Simple, elegant, funky, and one of the baddest guitar players as a rhythm player, and especially amazing when building her solos. I am grateful for her playing which glues the rhythm section together, and perhaps, even more so, for her friendship over the past few years.”

Fortunately for Collier and her fans, Chavez is coming east to tour with her friend.

“I have rotating guitarists,” said Collier. “I always have killer guitarists. Laura is one of the best. Right now, I have Byron Cage on drums and flopping bass players – Brian Quinn and Andrew Crane.

“With my current set list, I’m trying to figure out what works for what kind of venues. I’m trying to have a lot from the new record in my set list.”

Collier also is a music teacher and has been involved in various “Blues in Schools” programs.

“I grew up in Clarksville, Maryland and then graduated from the Berklee College of Music in Boston,” said Collier, who earned a dual degree in performance and music production, and engineering. “Right now, I’m basically just playing and teaching.

“I really like teaching sax – soprano, tenor, alto and baritone. I feel like I have a lot to offer.”

Video link for Vanessa Collier — https://youtu.be/iHsau_hj4FE

The Kennett Rooftop Series show will start at 7 p.m. Tickets are $30.

This will be a big weekend for the Kennett Flash with a trio of Rooftop Series shows featuring highly respected veteran music acts.

Rory Block

The show on July 29 will feature The Hypothetical House Band – Jon Herington and Dennis Espantman. On July 31, the featured act will be blues legend Rory Block.

Block released her first album – “How To Play Blues Guitar” in 1967.  Her most recent releases are “A Woman’s Soul: A Tribute to Bessie Smith,” which came out in 2018, and “Prove It On Me,” which came out last year and is a tribute to groundbreaking “Women of the Blues.”

If music fans want to learn about the history of the genre known as blues music, a great place to start would be Block’s impressive catalog — especially “The Mentor Series” and the “Power Women of the Blues” series.

“‘The Mentor Series’ is six CDs,” said Block, during phone interview from her studio in rural Kentucky.  “It’s dedicated to the rediscovered blues masters who I met in person, those who I spent time with.”

The highly acclaimed blues guitarist/singer not only is a stellar player whose music is steeped in authenticity, she also is a living conduit to blues greats such as Son House, Rev. Gary Davis and Robert Johnson.

One of her albums a decade ago was “Blues Walkin’ Like A Man”, which was a tribute to Son House.

“I have a uniquely personal feeling about this recording (“Blues Walkin’ Like A Man”) because of spending quality time with Son House,” said Block. “People thank me for keeping the old music alive.

“Being able to bring historic music to a current day audience has always been very important to me. I feel that I am on a mission to keep the old music alive- to prevent it from disappearing into the mists of time – and always to mention the names of the original writers, lest we forget.”

When Block was in her early teens, her father was deeply involved in the folk revival scene in the West Village and hosted regular Saturday afternoon jam sessions in his sandal shop. In 1964, Block heard an album called “Really The Country Blues” and immediately became dedicated to learning how to play blues.

“I met my first boyfriend Stefan Grossman when he was playing music at the Sunday afternoon jam sessions in Washington Square Park,” said Block. “He handed me an album called “Really The Country Blues” and I was immediately hooked. All I knew was that it was the most beautiful, soulful, haunting music I had ever heard, and it resonated with what was in my heart.”

The blues came knocking and Block eagerly opened the door.

“Stefan was part of a small, incredibly dedicated group of blues fans- just a handful of aficionados — players like John Hammond, John Fahey, and Jo Ann Kelly — plus record collectors and historians who drove through the South looking to find the original blues players. As they were located, they were brought through New York City to perform. Stefan and I were there and got to meet and play music with them too,” said Block.

Block took full advantage of the opportunity that was presented to her.

“I was extremely fortunate to have been in the right place at the right time,” said Block. “My father’s sandal shop was a musical hub where all kinds of great musicians would gather to jam, and I just happened to be right there in the middle of it.”

Fresh from her latest triumph at the May 2019 Blues Music Awards in Memphis, where she won “Acoustic Blues Artist of the Year” honors, the now six-time BMA winner continues to tour in support of her first “Power Women of the Blues” album series CD, “A Woman’s Soul.” The album is a tribute to the legendary Bessie Smith.

According to Block, “‘Power Women of the Blues’ is a project that has been simmering in my imagination for 54 years. It has been my long standing mission to identify, celebrate and honor the early founders—men and women—of the blues. This series is dedicated to the music of some of my all-time favorite iconic female blues artists, many of whom were shrouded in mystery during the sixties blues revival, while the recordings of others had simply disappeared.”

For a long time, it was a challenge to find records by early blues artists who were male. Finding music by female blues artists was extremely challenging.

“With ‘Power Women of the Blues’” said Block, “I’m reaching into the archives again to celebrate both known and less-known female artists who were among the greatest in the genre. After doing the ‘Mentor Series,’ the ‘Women’s Series’ was a no-brainer. I thought – why not do tributes to my favorite women of the blues. It just felt like it was time.”

While many of the tracks by these musical pioneer women have been covered in recent years and are familiar to listeners, the source of the tracks has been frequently ignored.

“I am determined to celebrate the artists who created this powerful, influential style of music,” said Block. “And I feel ever more inspired to bring the history of the blues to life so that people will again hear the names of the original artists.”

Block first heard Bessie Smith’s life-changing voice in 1964 as a teenager living in New York City.

According to Block, “Filled with grit and incredible vocal prowess, it was the ultimate soulful wail — so compelling, so honest, so rich with meaning and information about the female soul.”

“A Woman’s Soul” was produced by Rory Block and Rob Davis and recorded at Aurora Studios in Chatham, New York. All vocals are by Block, who also played all the guitar and bass parts on her Signature Model Martin Guitars. Additionally, all of the percussion — guitar bongos, hat boxes, plastic storage tubs, oatmeal boxes and wooden spoons – was played by Block.

“Bessie was one of the most successful and influential early blues/jazz performers of her day,” said Block. “I loved her music from the moment I heard her voice. Starting the ‘Power Women Of The Blues’ series with Bessie Smith was an obvious choice. She was always among the strongest inspirations in my career. And there was also always a lot of her music available, which was not the always case with a great many other female

Deciding which Bessie Smith songs to use on the album wasn’t that hard a task for Block.

“I do it by feel,” said Block. “It’s as if the songs just pick themselves. They essentially leap out of the speakers and scream – ‘record me.’ Bessie’s music has a terrific combination of elements that appeal to me. It’s all about energy, drive and drama- all the elements that make music exciting.

“I have always had an overwhelmingly strong connection to early music – to the spirit of it – so I know right away if I can resonate with a specific song.”

Even though Block is touring and has a new album, she is not out on an “album support tour.” Her set list is too comprehensive to overload it with many songs from one project.

“Over time, a musical retrospective has come into focus,” said Block. “It’s really the story of my whole life. And there are now so many songs and recordings – I’ve lost count — probably around 30 albums including compilations. I’ve been recording my whole life so there is just this vast array of material.”

Video link for Rory Block – https://youtu.be/lQ_PKvC4v7k.

The Kennett Rooftop Series show will start at 7 p.m. Tickets are $30.

Ruthie Foster

When Ruthie Foster performs on July 31 the City Winery (990 Filbert Street, Philadelphia, citywinery.com/philadelphia), the sound will be somewhat different than what fans heard on her most recent record.

Foster’s last album, which was released on May 15, 2020, on Blue Corn Music, is “Live at the Paramount.”

“We had 16-17 people on stage that night,” said Foster, during a phone interview Wednesday afternoon as she travelled from New York City to Long Island.

Foster’s show on Wednesday night at The Stephen Talkhouse in Amagansett, New York, was the first of a 10-day, seven-show tour in the Mid-Atlantic/New England region.

“I’m basically dropping and playing,” said Foster, who is based in Texas. “I got on a flight this morning in Austin and now I’m on my way to Long Island.”

“Live at the Paramount” swings back to the days when Ella Fitzgerald sang Duke Ellington songs and Sinatra blasted off with Count Basie and Quincy Jones. Recorded on the night of January 26, 2019 on the 105-year-old stage of Austin’s grand-dame Paramount Theater, it features the Ruthie Foster Big Band — a guitarist, keyboardist, bassist and drummer, plus 10 horn players, three backing vocalists and one conductor.

“We recorded just one show,” said Foster, who has won nine Blues Music Awards. “Knowing that it was being recorded for an album really didn’t put any extra pressure on. We said – let’s just do what we do. Everybody go and relax – just have fun with it. We had a great bandleader – John Mills.

“It was just about having fun – but putting together a set list for that show was a little difficult. There was a different flow with so many instruments. You can’t out-sing a brass section – and they were right behind me.”

At Foster’s show this Saturday, there will be just one instrumentalist – Ruthie Foster.

“I play both acoustic and electric guitars,” said Foster. “Sometimes with travelling, it’s one or the other.

“The show in Philly is a solo show and I’ll be bringing both acoustic and electric guitar. With solo shows, there definitely is a lot more freedom when it comes to the songs that can be played.”

Foster, who has been singing since she was very young, grew up in Gause, a small Texas town with a population of just 400 in the most recent census. It is also the hometown of Bob Wills of Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys fame.

“Gause is right in the middle of Texas – in cotton country,” said Foster. “I started singing in the church, so I have a gospel background.

“My dad is a huge blues fan and he’d be listening to Lightnin’ Hopkins and Howling Wolf. My mother was listening to artists like Mahalia Jackson and Aretha Franklin.

“It was an amalgam of gospel and blues. I also had a piano teacher who was into folk music, so I was listening to Odetta and other songwriters.

“In 1982, I enrolled in college and studied vocal performance and arranging. After I graduated, I went back to school and studied audio engineering.

“Then, I enlisted in the Navy just to take a break from music. I had been performing since I was 12, so I needed a break. In my first year in the Navy, I was doing electronics at a helicopter squadron in San Diego.

“Then, I got sent to Armed Forces Music School in Norfolk, Virginia. I met Dizzy Gillespie there. After that, I got shipped to Charleston, South Carolina and sang with the Navy’s band Pride. We did urban music and pop.”

When her stint in the United States Navy was over, Foster moved to New York City to pursue a career as a singer and songwriter. She got a major label record deal with Atlantic Records, but it didn’t work out the way she wanted.

A deal with a major label would seem to be a dream come true for a budding artist. But the label wanted Foster to hand over her authenticity in exchange for being molded into a pop star.

“The guy Atlantic had working with me wanted to groom me to be another Anita Baker,” said Foster. “That wasn’t what I wanted so I left the label and moved back to Texas. Shortly after I moved to Texas, I put out two albums on my own label.”

Those albums on M.O.D. Records were “Full Circle” in 1997 and “Crossover” in 1999.

“I was going to put out my third album ‘Runaway Soul’ on M.O.D. a few years later,” said Foster. “Then, I ran into Denby Auble, who runs Blue Corn Music. I released ‘Runaway Soul’ on Blue Corn in 2002 and I’ve been with them ever since.”

Foster has recorded nine albums for Blue Corn Music – including “Live at the Paramount,” a 2021 Grammy Award nomination in the Best Contemporary Blues category.

“I’m in the studio right now recording my next album,” said Foster, whose career has included duetting with Bonnie Raitt, or standing onstage with the Allman Brothers at New York’s Beacon Theater and trading verses with Susan Tedeschi.

“I’ve written a lot of songs that are going to be on the album. I’m looking to put it out early next year. With the way things are with the pandemic, I don’t want to release anything this year. Right now, I just want to play live and get back in the groove.”

Video link for Ruthie Foster – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zIlckOdCMl0.

The show at the City Winery on July 31 will start at 8 p.m. Tickets are $25-$38.

The Allman Brothers vibe will also be featured on July 30 when the City Winery hosts Steal Your Peach: Grateful Dead & Allman Brothers Mashup.

Another act with a link to the Allman Brothers – a major link – will be performing in Chester County the same night as Foster is doing her thing onstage in Philly.


“LIVE AT THE FILLMORE: The Definitive Tribute To The Original Allman Brothers Band” will be performing this Saturday, July 31 at 8 p.m. at Uptown! Knauer Performing Arts Center (226 North High Street, West Chester, https://uptownwestchester.org) to kick off the venue’s tribute band series.

“We’ve played at the Uptown every year for the last five years – except for the pandemic year in 2020,” said band leader/founder/guitarist/vocalist Lew Maresca, during a phone interview Wednesday afternoon from his home in Wynnewood. “I think we were the first rock band to play there back in 2017.”

The band’s members have changed some over the years – which is not a surprise to Maresca.

“As time goes by, familiarity breeds contempt,” said Maresca. “There is a lot of ego and narcissism among musicians – a lot of personality conflicts.

“I don’t run LATF as a democracy. It’s more like a monarchy and I’m the king. It’s my band and I maintain very high standards. Anyone who has heard the band play in the last year says that this is the best line-up ever.

“I brought Joe Mass in as the Dickey Betts guitarist and he’s taking it to microscopic levels of exactness. The band also has Don McCormick and Anthony Zinni on drums, Jeff Quattro on Hammond B3, piano, and vocals and Mike Graziola on bass.

Musically and sonically, LATF creates the experience of hearing one of the greatest live bands of all time as they sounded in 1969-1971. Particularly featured are their monumental shows at Bill Graham’s Fillmore East Auditorium in New York City in March and June of 1971.

Live at The Fillmore has become the most popular and best-known tribute to the original Allman Brothers Band. Great attention is paid to recreating the music with an unparalleled degree of authenticity. The band has been chosen as featured performer on the Time Life Southern Rock Cruise. It received rave reviews for their Spring 2017 performance on national TV as part of AXS TV’s “World’s Greatest Tribute Bands.”

“Live at the Fillmore has been around for more than a decade,” said Maresca. “We started back in 2009 because we knew how many Allman Brothers fans there were.

“I saw the Allman Brothers in their original state many, many times including the Fillmore in March 1971 and the very last show they did at the Fillmore on Saturday night June 26, 1971. That was the one the Allman Brothers called ‘The Show.’

“I put a band together in 1971 called Skydog. I was in high school at the time. Skydog was the very first Allman Brothers tribute band. I went to Penn State and played all through college.”

Years went by and Maresca relocated to Philadelphia where he established a career in audio production and custom messaging.

“I’ve been in Philly since I graduated from Penn State,” said Maresca, who originally is from Nutley, New Jersey. “I wanted to put together another Allman Brother attribute band. I was looking for the best guys I could find who could play the music.”

With Live at the Fillmore, fans get Allman Brothers music and nothing else.

“We’re a tribute band at the highest level,” said Maresca. “The hallmark of this band is its authenticity. We’re here to imitate not to innovate. Our physical appearance has never been important. It’s all about the music. When we play, we sound like the original Allman Brothers.”

Video link for “LIVE AT THE FILLMORE: The Definitive Tribute To The Original Allman Brothers Band” – https://youtu.be/vn0nr2WoWmc.

The show at the Uptown on July 31will start at 8 p.m. Tickets are $40.

Allman Brothers fans from around the area can enjoy a full weekend of ABB-influenced music.

Michael Allman

On July 30, Michael Allman is returning to the Sellersville Theater (24 West Temple Avenue, Sellersville, 215-257-5808, www.st94.com) to treat listeners to an evening of straight-ahead rock – with a lot of Southern Rock in its DNA.

Allman is the son of the late Allman Brothers Band guitarist Gregg Allman. The son of the guitar great was destined to be a rocker.

Surprisingly, he didn’t know either until he was six.

Allman was born in 1966 and his mother was Mary Lynn Sutton. In his earliest years, Michael Sean Allman was known as Michael Hendrick, using the name of the man his mother married to legitimize his birth. Sutton and Hendrick never lasted, and she went on to wed Daniel Green, the man Allman originally believed was his father.

“I always wanted to be a pilot,” said Allman, during a phone interview.

“My stepfather was a pilot. He was one of the top Learjet pilots in America. He was moving toward being a pilot for the Blue Angels and an astronaut for NASA.

“But he died in a Learjet plane crash when I was six years old. I was crying about his death and that was when my mom told me who my real dad was – that his name was Gregg Allman.”

It was quite an intense ride on an emotional roller coaster for the young Florida boy – this is your dad…your dad just died…your dad is alive…the guy who died was your stepfather…your dad is one of the most famous rock musicians in the world.

“It took me a long time to figure it all out and accept it – years to make sense out of it,” said Allman. “It really seemed that I had lost my father in a plane crash.”

When Gregg Allman died in May 2017, he left behind five children from different mothers — Michael Sean Allman, with former waitress Mary Lynn Green; Devon Allman, with ex-wife Shelley Kay Winters; Elijah Blue, from his marriage to Cher; daughter Delilah Island Allman, with ex-wife Julie Bindas; and daughter Layla Brooklyn Allman, with girlfriend Shelby Blackburn. Delilah Island Allman is the only one who is not a musician.

“Gregg Allman is my father,” said Allman. “I can guarantee you there are 10 or more people who can say the same thing and be telling the truth. Call him the father of our country – a kid in every state.”

Michael Allman had a rough childhood and ended up in a military academy when he was 15. Two years later, his mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. When she was hospitalized for treatment, Allman moved in with his dad.

After high school, Allman drifted into the music world – working as a bartender, a sound board guy in clubs and a DJ. One gig as a DJ had bad consequences.

“I was working in a club in South Carolina,” said Allman. “Three drunks got thrown out of the bar. They came back and started shooting. I started chasing them and I got knifed. I got stabbed a lot, went to the hospital and needed 300 stitches to patch me up. I was in the hospital for a month.”

Allman also had to deal with testicular cancer in 2002. Surgery was a success, and he is still cancer-free.

In the next musical step in his story, Allman began singing with local bands.

“Steve Perry was my idol – and my inspiration for my vocals,” said Allman. “That was the voice I had for a long time – until I discovered whiskey and cigarettes. I had my own band in the late 80s and most of the 90s. I also had two sons and wanted to have a good married life. So, I left music behind and worked in construction.”

Allman split from his first wife, went back to music, and then remarried. At her insistence, Allman again traded the life of a rocker for the life of a working dad.

“After a while, it was driving me crazy,” said Allman, who lives in New Port Richey, Florida. “I felt trapped – trapped by family life. I gave up music for her. I will never do that again. I stayed with her for 10 years and we never had any kids.

“When she left, I said – nothing is stopping me now. I found my old manager’s phone number. I re-connected with him and soon we were in the studio making a record. The album came out in 2009.”

This show features a six-piece band fronted by Allman and led by John McNutt. It also features Bobby Nolen on drums/percussion and Kevin Smethers on keys.

Video link for Michael Allman – https://youtu.be/CD70M1nQ77Q.

The show at the Sellersville Theater will start at 8 p.m. Tickets are $29.50.

Other upcoming shows at the Sellersville Theater are Steve Earle & The Dukes on July 29, JINGO – The SANTANA Tribute on July 31, Selwyn Birchwood on August 3, and Bettman & Halpin on August 4.

On July 23, Jamey’s House of Music (32 South Lansdowne Avenue, Lansdowne, 215-477-9985, jameyshouseofmusic.com) will host Kerry Kearney on July 30 and the Lonnie Shields Band on July 31.

One of the highlights of this weekend’s live entertainment calendar will take place tonight at 118 North (118 North Wayne Avenue, Wayne, www.118northwayne.com) as part of the venue’s “Tailgate Under The Tent Series.”

On July 30, 118 North will present a show featuring the Jesse Lundy Band with a special “Rolling Stones Tribute.” The popular Philadelphia area band will focus on the Stones’ timeless “Some Girls” album.

Fans of Mick and Keith will have the opportunity to hear powerful interpretations of classic Rolling Stones tunes such as “Beast of Burden,” “Shattered,” “Miss You,” and, of course, “Some Girls.”

The Jesse Lundy Band will perform at 8 p.m. Alright Junior, the opening act, will get the evening of music started at 6 p.m.

The “Tailgate Under The Tent Series” features free live pop-up concerts from under the Wayne Picnic Grove.


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