On Stage: Blues Project is back, celebrating its 60’s roots

By Denny Dyroff, Entertainment Editor, The Times

Steve Katz of Blues Project

The 1960s was a magical time for music in Greenwich Village in New York.

Many acts who went on to be classified as all-time greats were playing in small clubs in the Village – clubs such as Gerde’s Folk City, The Bitter End, Cafe Au Go Go, Cafe Wha?, The Gaslight Cafe and The Bottom Line and acts such as Bob Dylan, Tim Buckley, Dave Van Ronk, Fred Neil, Lenny Bruce, Tim Hardin, Richie Havens, The Fugs, John Hammond and Linda Ronstadt.

One of the best bands from the Village in the mid-60s was the Blues Project – a band featuring Danny Kalb, Steve Katz, Andy Kulberg, Al Kooper and Roy Blumenfeld.

The band dissolved in the late 60s with Katz and Kooper moving on to form another great band – Blood, Sweat & Tears.

Fast forward to 2021 and you’ll find the Blues Project back on the road. On November 13, the Blues Project will be in the area to headline a show at Jamey’s House of Music (32 South Lansdowne Avenue, Lansdowne, 215-477-9985, www.jameyshouseofmusic.com).

The current line-up features two of the band’s founding members – Steve Katz on guitar and Roy Blumenfeld on drums. The new members are Scott Petito on bass, Chris Morrison on guitar and Kenny Clark on keyboards.

“It’s down to Roy and me,” said Katz, during a phone interview Monday morning from his home in Connecticut. “Four of the five are still alive while Andy passed away 20 years ago. Al and Danny are unable to play because of health issues.

“We first got together in 1965. Even since the members went separate ways back in the 60s, we’ve always had reunions. We’ve had reunions since 1980.”

In the fall of 1965, The Blues Project played alongside the likes of Big Joe Williams, Son House, Bukka White, Skip James, John Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters and Otis Spann, to name a few. It was these legendary sold-out performances at the famed Cafe Au Go Go in Greenwich Village that eventually led to the release of their phenomenal debut album, “Live at the Cafe Au Go Go.”

“We started out at the Night Owl Café and then we moved to the Café Au Go Go,” said Katz. “There were so many great shows at the Cafe Au Go Go – so many great musicians.

“We played there a lot. For a long time, we were like the house band. Café Au Go Go was the first gig that started to break us.”

The band began recording its first album live at the Cafe Au Go Go in late November 1965 and then the album was finished with another week of recordings in January 1966.

“On our first album, our lead singer Tommy Flanders left the band after a few songs,” said Katz. “After that, the vocals were done by me, Al and Danny.

“We were a fabulous live band. Our recordings never showed what we could do. They never presented the band the right way. Our label Verve/Folkways didn’t care. They were awful.”

Straight out of New York, the Blues Project soon toured all over North America. Back then, California, was the place to be, with San Francisco and Los Angeles as the two epicenters of the new age of rock and roll. The five New Yorkers played there and conquered the West.

In San Francisco, the birthplace of the hippie counterculture movement and of the psychedelic rock, they achieved the admiration of their local peers. The not-yet famous Grace Slick, for example, dreamed to be the band’s new female singer after sharing the bill with them at the Avalon Ballroom when she was still a member of the Great Society.

Ed Denson, manager of Country Joe and the Fish, who became an instant fan after seeing them at the Matrix, said, “Their stage presence and their performance have an authority which comes from the secure knowledge that they are one of the best groups going. For the three weeks that they were here they were indisputably the best band in the city.”
Kalb, Katz, Blumenfeld, Kulberg and Kooper were all skillful musicians who mastered their instruments. They were so talented and versatile that they set a high standard for other performers of their generation.

Returning to New York, the band recorded their second album “Projections” in the fall of 1966 – a diverse set of songs that spanned genres, including blues, rock, R&B, psychedelia, jazz, folk-rock. Soon after “Projections” was completed, the band began to fall apart. Kooper left the band in the spring of 1967 and the band completed a third album, “Live At Town Hall,” without him.

In 1967, at the peak of their success and after the release of their third album, “Live at Town Hall,” the band appeared at one of their last gigs — the legendary Monterey International Pop Festival. Videos from their set at Monterey showed audience members listening with reverence – mesmerized by what they were hearing from the New York quintet…. especially the Kooper-penned track, “Flute Thing.”

“Most of what we’re playing in our shows now are songs from ‘Projections’ and ‘Live at Café Au Go Go,’” said Katz. “Even though we don’t have a flute player, we still play ‘Flute Thing.’ Our organist plays the flute parts on an ocarina-type instrument.”

Katz, who in 2015 released his memoir book, “Blood, Sweat, and My Rock ‘n Roll Years: Is Steve Katz a Rock Star?,” is no stranger to Jamey’s House of Music.

“I played Jamey’s solo a few years ago,” said Katz. “It’s a really great room with good sound. And Jamey is great to work with.”

The current line-up for the band is multi-generational. Katz and Blumenfeld were making records before the other three were even born but now in 2021, they are all on the same page musically.

“This tour lasts two weeks and that’s enough,” said Katz, who turned 76 in May. “There is a lot of driving around. I’m getting too old to do this, but I’m really loving it.”

So are fans of the Blues Project who have been loving the band’s music for more than 55 years.

Video link for the Blues Project — https://youtu.be/I8Zp-vmAuEg.

Video link for the Blues Project “Flute Thing” live at Monterey – https://youtu.be/1oIE95Ro9Ms.

The show on November 13 at Jamey’s will start at 8 p.m. with

Tickets are $40 in advance and $48 at the door. It is also available via livestream for $20.

Another show at Jamey’s this weekend will feature David Coppa and Scrapple on November 12.

Carl Palmer

Carl Palmer, who will headline a show on November 11 at 2300 Arena (2300 South Swanson Street, Philadelphia, www.2300arena.com), is another major figure in the history of rock music – especially prog rock

Palmer’s music history takes him back to rocking England in the mid-1960s.

After playing for a few small local bands in London in 1966, Palmer was invited to join Chris Farlowe and the Thunderbirds. In 1969, Palmer became the permanent drummer for The Crazy World of Arthur Brown, which was known world-wide for its hit single, “Fire.”

After a stint with Atomic Rooster in 1970, Palmer joined forces with Keith Emerson, who had been the keyboard player with The Nice, and Greg Lake, who had just left King Crimson.

The three British lads formed a band called Emerson, Lake & Palmer which later also was called ELP.

With nine RIAA-certified gold record albums in the US, and an estimated 50 million records sold worldwide, ELP was one of the most popular and commercially successful progressive rock bands in the 1970s.

Palmer is the only surviving member of the trio. Emerson died in March 2016 at his home in Santa Monica, California. In December 2016, cancer claimed Lake’s life.

After ELP disbanded in 1980, Palmer became part of another classic British progressive rock band – Asia.

Of all the bands in which Palmer played a key role, the one with the greatest legacy is Emerson, Lake & Palmer – and Palmer is still keeping that band’s legacy alive with his 2021 World Tour, “Carl Palmer’s ELP Legacy Tour 2021-2022.”

Palmer, guitarist and vocalist Paul Bielatowicz and bassist Simon Fitzpatrick – a.k.a. Carl Palmer’s ELP Legacy — are in the middle of a 14-show U.S. tour that started on November 3 and will conclude on November 21. This tour is a musical celebration of ELP.

After his September 2021 tour (including dates with Alan Parsons Project) was postponed due to COVID concerns, Palmer came back to the states in November live shows since 2019. These shows, which will feature only Palmer and his band, mark the first return to live performances since the onset of the pandemic.

“We had two years off,” said Palmer, during a phone interview Wednesday afternoon from a tour stop in Virginia. “This is the first time we’ve managed to get in. We had to get special permission since Simon and I live in the U.K. Paul lives here in the states. We couldn’t come in until the end of October.”

Palmer, who has homes in the U.K. and Cyprus, was also unable to travel to the island in the Mediterranean.

“Nicosia shut down and England is on Cyprus’ red list,” said Palmer. “They have to wear masks in the streets there. For the last two years, I had to remain in England.”

Now, the door to America is open for Palmer and his mates – much to his delight.

According to Palmer, “Finally! The band and I are very eager to get back on stages in America, and around the rest of world, where possible. The show will have some material we have not played in years, as well as ELP’s best loved material. Visually, we will include footage in the show that reflects the highlights of ELP’s career.”

The current stateside shows mark the beginning of three-year drive to promote the 50th Anniversary and beyond of Emerson, Lake & Palmer. Also planned during the celebration period will be a limited-edition expansive biography of the band; a new Palmer art collection based on the five main ELP studio albums; a documentary; KARN EVIL 9, a major Hollywood film (now in development with Radar Pictures) and a special tour announcement that will reunite Palmer in performance with the late Emerson & Lake through modern technology.

“We’re doing a lot to celebrate ELP’s 50th anniversary,” said Palmer. “We have a live box set that comes in several versions.”

The new set — “Out of This World: Live (1970-1997)” – features five major concerts from the trio’s history on a seven-CD/10-LP set. Encased in special, black, matte slipcase with hot foil finishes, each album has been reimagined with beautiful new designs on deluxe gatefold double LPs.

“We put in recordings of the Isle of Wight show and the concert at Montreal’s Olympic Stadium,” said Palmer. “There is the show from Ontario Speedway and the one from Royal Albert Hall. The Phoenix one (the 1997 Phoenix Union Hall show in Arizona) we had to send for. We found it in Sheffield. We only had one master. We did our very best to get it as good as possible.”

A deluxe coffee table book, “Emerson, Lake & Palmer,” will be released soon. It tells the story of ELP in the members’ own words. Additionally, Radar Pictures is working on a science fiction film based on the “Karn Evil 9” suite from “Brain Salad Surgery” — an album released by ELP in 1973.

“The ELP book is a massive book,” said Palmer. “Everyone in the group tells the story of the first five albums. And the ‘Karn Evil 9’ film should be out in 2024.

“I’m also working on a technical reunion show. Back in 2018, I investigated using holograms. The demos they sent me were O.K. But I won’t be using holograms. I can definitely put this show together without them.

“We had two recordings of concerts at Royal Albert Hall in London with absolute excellent footage and great audio. It’s great live footage of Keith and Greg playing.

“It was the first time Greg was in the middle for two nights. The two of them were playing together and we didn’t usually play like that. Usually, I was in the middle. The technical shows will feature me playing live with the videos. We’re working on it now.”

With nine gold albums by ELP, Palmer is faced with the task of deciding which songs to play in the live shows.

“In America, I look at the radio lists,” said Palmer. “I look at what got played a lot.

“I know what pieces are incredibly important to ELP fans – songs such as ‘Tarkus,’ ‘Pictures at an Exhibition,’ ‘Hoedown,’ ‘Fanfare for the Common Man,’ Carl Orff’s ‘Carmina Burana,’ ‘Lucky Man,’ and ‘Knife Edge.’

“I put an hour and 45 minutes together pretty easily. That’s a good length. An hour-and-a-half or a little longer are the best for these shows.

“I really don’t do any new material. With 18 pieces in the back catalog that everyone wants to hear, the demographic isn’t very keen to new material.”

Video link for Carl Palmer – https://youtu.be/kjLtpSTN8r8.

The show at 2300 Arena will start at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $20, $40 and $60.

Jesse Terry

Veteran singer/songwriter Jesse Terry has performed many memorable shows in this area, including sold-out shows at Burlap and Bean and World Café Live. He also played in Chester County at The Spotlight Concert Series a few years ago and now is making a return appearance.

On November 13, The Spotlight Concert Series at Trinity Presbyterian Church (640 Berwyn Avenue, Berwyn, http://spotlight.trinityberwyn.com) is presenting “On The Road and In The Round” featuring singer/songwriters J.D Malone, Craig Bickhardt, Tom Hampton and Jesse Terry along with drummer Tommy “Thundersticks” Geddes.

Trinity Presbyterian Church started the Trinity Spotlight Concert Series in 2015 to feature artists who perform original music for all generations. The concerts are held in a beautiful sanctuary and are open to the public. Everyone is invited to join for any of our family friendly concerts. There is no charge for admission. A free will offering will be accepted, and the recommended donation ranges from $15-25 per person.

Craig Bickhardt is a critically acclaimed folk/Americana performing songwriter with major writing credits, a poet’s voice, a virtuoso guitar style and a veteran’s experience.

JD Malone is a veteran of the local Philly music scene who writes and sings songs about love and hate, angels and demons and the universal struggle to feel safe under the stars.

Tom Hampton, who played with Poco, is a singer-songwriter and everyone’s favorite sideman and studio musician.

“I played this series twice before,” said Terry, during a phone interview Wednesday afternoon while driving from Connecticut to a gig in Delaware.

“It’s a beautiful space with gorgeous stained glass. This event has great energy – and great musicians. We’re playing in the round, and I know there will be some collaborations.

“I’ve played with Craig before. I’ve met J.D but have never played with him. We will also have Tom Hampton on pedal steel, mandolin and just about any stringed instrument there is, and Tommy Geddes, who is the perfect drummer for singer/songwriters.”

In normal times, Terry plays around 150 shows a year, from Bonnaroo to the Philadelphia Folk Festival, the 30A Songwriters Festival to AmericanaFest.

After graduating from Berklee College of Music he landed a five-year staff writer gig on Nashville’s Music Row penning material for major TV networks. Terry’s lyrical mastery, emotional depth, and soothing voice have often been compared to the likes of Jackson Browne, Jason Isbell, Paul McCartney and James Taylor.

The Grand Prize winner of The John Lennon Songwriting Contest and The CMT/NSAI Song Contest, he has garnered worldwide acclaim including an official endorsement by Stonebridge Guitars International.

Terry is an internationally touring, award-winning singer-songwriter whose intimacy with audiences, sincerity, and approachability has solidified him as a favorite at festivals and live venues nationwide. In addition to several EPs and collaboration records, he has released seven full-length albums – “The Runner,” “Empty Seat on A Plane,” “Stay Here With Me,” “Stargazer,” “Natural,” “Peace,” and “When We Wander.”

He found quite a few ways to stay busy and productive during the pandemic shutdown.

“I made two double albums funded by wonderful fans,” said Terry. “I also wrote a children’s book and signed a publishing deal with Schiffer Publishing.”

Schiffer Publishing Ltd. is a family-owned publisher of nonfiction books founded in 1974. Based here in Chester County in Atglen, its coverage includes children’s books, antiques, architecture and design, arts and crafts, collectibles, lifestyle, regional, and military history.

“The title of the book is ‘If I Were the Moon’ and it’s adapted from my song of the same name which is on my new album, ‘When We Wander’,” said Terry. “I wrote it with my wife Jess and the main character is my daughter Lily.

“I recorded ‘When We Wander’ in Nashville at Skinny Elephant Studio. I used the same producer who had worked on many of my albums — Nielson Hubbard. We recorded it in September 2019. It was recorded live with Liz Longley and Mia Rose Lynne singing harmonies.”

Longley is a Downingtown High grad who lives in Nashville. She has recorded several award-winning albums and is an in-demand session artist for her vocals.

“Recording live, we did two or three takes – usually two,” said Terry. “We had a lot of old friends in Nashville on the record including Will Kimbrough and Eamon Loghlin.

“It was scheduled for a May 2020 release, but it got pushed to 2021. We got it out in May which gave us a chance to play shows in the summer. We started back in June with a lot of outdoor shows. In August, we got to play the Blue Bird Café in Nashville, which is one of my favorite places to perform.”

The other album Terry made during the pandemic was “Forget-Me-Nots Volume 1 and 1.”

“We rented a lake house in Prosperity, South Carolina in March and April this year,” said Terry. “I played everything on click tracks and then sent the tracks to Nielson in Nashville. I did 22 songs. It was six weeks of painstaking work. The album will be released in February 2022.”

Video link for Jesse Terry — https://youtu.be/2Wo60XzPcDM.

The doors will open at 6:30 p.m. and the concert will begin at 7 p.m.

Requirements for Attendance:
1. Eventbrite RSVP Tickets are required.
2. Proof of Vaccination is required.
3. You must properly wear a mask at ALL times while in the church building.

There is no charge for admission, but a free-will offering of $20 per person is recommended.

J.D Malone (jdmalone.com) will also be performing at Avola Kitchen and Bar (625 North Morehall Road, Malvern) on November 11 and 30 Main Bistro (660 Lancaster Avenue, Berwyn) on November 19.


Just like Carl Palmer who was waiting in England for the green light to come to America as soon as pandemic restrictions got lifted, BEYRIES was waiting in Canada for access to America and its music venues.

“You could fly from Canada to the states but couldn’t come by car,” said BEYRIES, during a phone interview Wednesday afternoon from Cambridge, Massachusetts.

“Land travel opened two days ago. I came in yesterday by car at Lacolle. I’ve come for a five-show tour. It’s my first time since the pandemic. It’s pretty exciting.”

One of BEYRIES shows will be in Philadelphia on November 11 at Kung Fu Necktie (1248 North Front Street, Philadelphia, 215-291-4919, kungfunecktie.com).

Amélie Beyries, professionally known as BEYRIES, is a Canadian folk-pop singer and songwriter from Montreal. Her debut album, “Landing,” was released in 2017 and her sophomore album, “Encounter,” came out in in November 2020.

“I recorded ‘Encounter’ in winter 2019/2020,” said BEYRIES. “I recorded it at a studio in Montreal called Studio Alex. It’s owned by Alex McMahon who produced my album.

“We recorded it over months starting in January 2019 and finished it a year after. It was a week here and a week there. We took our time. I finished some lyrics during the lockdown.”

Fortunately for BEYRIES, there were no time constraints in the making of the album.

“It was vital to me to be able to record and then go back,” said BEYRIES. “I couldn’t imagine making a record in three weeks. I need time to reflect on what I’m doing and what I’ve done – time to look back at the lyrics.

“For me, time is my best ally. I don’t like to be pressured. We live in a world that is so fast so it’s important to me to take my time.

“We finally finished the album. Then, with the pandemic, we put away the album’s launch. It was supposed to be August 2020 and it got pushed to November 2020.

“I did a show that was filmed at the Place des Arts in Montreal. And I did an album launch with a live broadcast. I also worked on two separate projects during the pandemic. I’m working on a French album now and then another English album. When I sing in French, it’s another dimension.”

BEYRIES was born and raised in the Montreal neighborhood of Outremont and raised in a bilingual atmosphere. She was also raised in a musical home.

“I’ve always played music,” said BEYRIES. “My mother and my grandmother played music. My grandmother had a 1923 Heintzman & Co. piano.

“I played piano from when I was really young – playing little melodies – and then played in a choir in high school. I wanted to learn guitar on my own –which I did. I’m very proud that I pursued my studies and can do both. When I write songs, I’m bouncing between worlds.”

When BEYRIES was 28 she was diagnosed with breast cancer. While undergoing treatment, she began writing songs to deal with her emotions, and eventually worked with producer Alex McMahon to complete her first album.

“Having breast cancer is the reason I started music,” said BEYRIES. “That was 11 years ago. Treatments went well and I’m cancer-free now. And, I’m still making music.”

Video link for BEYRIES — https://youtu.be/-3su0Oaj7W8.

The show at Kung Fu Necktie on November 11, which also features Shilpa Ray, will start at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets are $17.

Other upcoming acts at Kung Fu Necktie are Planet Booty on November 12, Sponge on November 13, and Unto Others on November 16.

Davy Knowles

Davy Knowles, a singer/songwriter/guitar virtuoso from the Isle of Man, has played venues all around the Delaware Valley for the last decade-and-a-half including the World Café Live, the Grand Opera House, Sellersville Theater, Hard Rock Café and Electric Factory.

On November 12, he will add a new venue to that list when he headlines a show at 118 North (118 North Wayne Avenue, Wayne, www.118northwayne.com)

Knowles is currently touring in support of his new record, “What Happens Next.”

On his aptly titled Provogue Records debut, which was just released on October 22, Knowles boldly steps forward with timeless and cohesive songwriting; sleek modern production; and a lyrical, play-for-the-song guitar approach informed from soul, folk, rock, and blues. The 12-song album is just as influenced by The Black Keys, Fantastic Negrito, Gary Clark Jr., as it is Muddy Waters, Junior Kimbrough, and R.L. Burnside.

Produced by Eric Corne (John Mayall, Joe Walsh, Joe Bonamassa), “What Happens Next” is something of a departure from Knowles’ fired-up and reverent take on blues and Americana. Instead, it features poetic songwriting and soulfully emotive vocals. The 12-song body of work offers forth a peaks-and-valleys album experience winding through brawny riffs, jazzy blues balladry, and vintage soul.

“This is my sixth album not counting the live releases,” said Knowles, during a phone interview Tuesday afternoon from his home in Chicago. “We spent three-and-a-half days in the studio doing the band tracks and another few days doing vocals and overdubs. It was two weeks total to record the 12 tracks.

“We wanted 12 songs for the album, and we knew which 12. I don’t tend to write for a specific project. I write continually and have a lot of songs on the stovetop. For this album, some songs were new, and some were a couple years old.”

One new thing was the absence of focusing on guitar solos.

“This album was more about the songs,” said Knowles. “It wasn’t about guitar solos. There was no emphasis on solos – no hurry to get to them. But I will be stretching the songs out when I play them live.”

The album also featured a change in direction – with regard to geography.

“We were scheduled to go to Horse Latitudes Studio in Los Angeles in March 2020,” said Knowles. “We were playing some shows on the way out and ended way. I got a call from my wife who was distraught because of the pandemic and shutdown. We ended up turning the ship around.

“As awful as the pandemic was, we learned how to navigate it. I didn’t want to do livestream. There is something very impersonal with livestream. Instead, we started ‘Club Quarantine’ with online membership. It was similar to Pledge Music.

“For 100 days, I did a different song every day. It was a lot of work, but it also was a lot of fun. That morphed into ‘Davy Knowles Unlocked.’”

Members of “Davy Knowles Unlocked” get access to a whole world of exclusive entertainment including multiple updates a week (including downloads, videos and more), Zoom meetings with Davy with Q&A’s, and live performances, a members-only store featuring exclusive interactive items not found anywhere else, and regular competitions and giveaways. Additionally, each new member receives a free live album to download.

“I was willing to do anything to keep making music,” said Knowles. “I’m just trying to stay busy and earn money in an honest way.”

Knowles, who grew up in Port St Mary on the Isle of Man, first burst onto the scene at the age of 20 with his band Back Door Slam.

The Isle of Man is located in the Irish Sea between Scotland, England, Ireland and Wales. The island is not part of the United Kingdom or European Union but is a possession of the British Crown with an independent administration.

The Isle of Man, also known simply as Mann, is a self-governing crown dependency. The head of state is Queen Elizabeth II, who holds the title of Lord of Mann.

For the longest time, its sole claim to fame musically was that it was the birthplace of the Gibb Brothers — better known as the Bee Gees.

That changed about 18 years ago with the emergence of Back Door Slam — a young trio that played a scorching style of power-packed blues. The group released its debut album “Roll Away” in the states in 2007. The driving force of the now-disbanded group was vocalist/guitar ace Davy Knowles.

When he was still just a child, Knowles was exposed to blues music through his family’s music collection. Over the years, he has become a die-hard blues fan who has fed himself a diet of music by blues artists such as Albert King, Otis Rush and Muddy Waters – as well as British blues practitioners like Eric Clapton and Rory Gallagher.

Now, guitar-based blues songs are just part of his repertoire.

Knowles will also be playing the Reading Blues Festival on November 20.

Video link for Davy Knowles — https://youtu.be/2WboRlx4kM0.

The show at 118 North on November 12 will start at 8:30 p.m.

Tickets are $25.

Other upcoming shows at 118 North are Dogs in a Pile on November 11, Brown Sugar on November 13, Billy Hector Band on November 14 and Vinny Paolizzi on November 16.

Ally Venable

If you’re a music fan who loves top-flight blues guitar work, you should be aware of Ally Venable.

The native of Kilgore, Texas may be just 22 but already has joined the ranks of the Lone Star State’s stellar guitar gunslingers.

If you’re not aware of Venable, you should be.

And if you listen to her music and want to see her perform live, you have no reason not to.

After just playing a gig at the Santander Arena in Reading earlier this week opening for Buddy Guy, Venable has three shows in this area over the next nine days.

On November 12 and 13, she will have shows supporting Kenny Wayne Shepherd. The show on Friday will be at the Scottish Rite Auditorium (315 White Horse Pike, Collingswood, New Jersey, scottishriteauditorium.com) and the show on Saturday will be here in Chester County at the Colonial Theatre (Bridge Street, Phoenixville, 610- 917-1228, www.thecolonialtheatre.com).

On November 19, Venable will perform at the Keswick Theatre (291 N. Keswick Avenue, Glenside, 215-572-7650, www.keswicktheatre.com) supporting Christone “Kingfish” Ingram.

Venable is a talented guitar player, singer, and songwriter. She is the 2014, 2015 ETX Music Awards female guitar player of the year, and she and her band were the ETX Music Awards blues band of the year in 2015 and 2016.

Venable was just 14 when she released her debut EP, “Wise Man” in 2013. Next was the album, “Puppet Show,” which debuted at No. 7 in the Billboard Blues Albums Chart. Her second album, “No Glass Shoes,” finished at number 16 in the RMR Electric Blues Charts for 2016.

Her 2019 “Texas Honey” album impressed veteran producer Jim Gaines enough that he signed on to produce her most recent album “Heart of Fire.” The album is an 11-song collection of mostly original material – the lone exception being Bill Wither’s “Use Me.”

Now, the Texas blues ace is touring behind “Heart of Fire,” which was released earlier this year on Ruf Records.

Venable sang in church when she was a kid, started performing country music after hearing Miranda Lambert, and turned to the blues once she discovered Stevie Ray Vaughan.

“I discovered who Stevie Ray Vaughan was and I discovered blues guitar,” said Venable, during a phone interview Tuesday afternoon from Reading.

“That’s what got me into playing guitar. I discovered him and then started discovering other blues artists like Buddy Guy. I was 12 when I started playing guitar and I’m 22 now.

“My mom surprised me with Buddy Guy tickets when I was a freshman in high school. I was playing in a tennis match for my high school team. My mom came to the match, brought my clothes and said – we’re going to Dallas.”

The mother-daughter made a two-hour trip west to Dallas to watch Buddy Guy perform at the House of Blues.

“I was just mesmerized,” said Venable. “I had been playing a lot of country music when I started. When I discovered Stevie Ray Vaughan and Buddy Guy, it changed everything.”

Venable has gotten better and more polished with every album and her work on “Heart of Fire” keeps the pattern going.

“I recorded ‘Heart of Fire’ in Tennessee with Jim Gaines,” said Venable. “The studio was in the country – near an Amish community.

“Jim made me feel super comfortable in the studio. And he had a lot of great musicians that he used.”

The album, which was recorded at Bessie Blue Studio in Stantonville, Tennessee, featured guest appearances by Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Devon Allman.

“We did all the music in a week,” said Venable “But I was sick and couldn’t sing. So, we went to Memphis later to do the vocals. That benefitted me because I could take a step back and listen to what we had already done.”

In just 10 years, Venable has gone from an impressionable guitar tyro to an accomplished veteran – from a kid learning about Buddy Guy to a top-flight player opening for Guy and performing with him onstage. The most impressive thing about this is that it’s just the start.

Video link for Ally Venable — https://youtu.be/u0T5iu1Eijw.

The show at the Scottish Rite Auditorium on November 12 will start at 8 p.m.

Tickets are $69.50, $59.50 and $39.50.

The show at the Colonial Theatre on November 13 will start at 8 p.m.

Tickets are $49.50 and $69.50.

The show at the Keswick Theatre on November 19 will start at 8 p.m.

Tickets are $29.50, $39.50 and $49.50.

Tom Rush, one of America’s most revered folksingers, doesn’t rush when it comes to recording and releasing albums.

He released his first album, “Tom Rush at the Unicorn,” in 1962. His most recent album “Voices” will be released in April 2018 via West Chester-based Appleseed Records. His two prior records were also Appleseed releases – “Celebrates 50 Years of Music” in 2013 and “What I Know” in 2009.

Altogether, Rush has put out 26 albums in 56 years – and just eight since the turn of the century.

Fortunately, he is much more active when it comes to live performances. Rush is a consummate performer who always delivers an entertaining show when he takes the stage to perform his songs and choice songs by other artists.

On November 13, Rush will play in the area when the Sellersville Theater (24 West Temple Avenue, Sellersville, 215-257-5808, www.st94.com) hosts “An Evening With Tom Rush Accompanied By Matt Nakoa.”

Rush stayed active during the pandemic via a project he calls “Rockport Sundays.”

“I started ‘Rockport Sundays’ back in December,” said Rush, during a recent phone interview from his home in southern Maine. “It’s a subscription through Patreon. I was living in Rockport and posted a new episode every Sunday at midnight.”

When he was first starting the series, he posted this message on his website –

“I have something I really want to do, and I’m going to need your help to do it. I’m starting a weekly series of online offerings — old songs, new songs, stories, pages from a book I’m working on. Since they’ll be coming out of my studio in Rockport, Mass, I thought I’d call the series “Rockport Sundays”.

  • Every Sunday I’ll send you something special — one week it’ll be a Kitchen Table video recording of an old song, the next week a new song, then a road story from my 50+ years of crazy rambling, then some pages from a book I’m working on.
  • I’m thinking of this as kind of a Backstage Pass to my creative process, my relationship with the songs I love, stories about my adventures (and misadventures) on the road. Now, these won’t be super-slick — there’ll be some rough edges. This is me at home, after all, and believe it or not, my life is not highly polished!
  • You’ll be joining me for some serious fun, AND you’ll be giving me an incentive (an imperative, actually) to keep on creating new work — and to spruce up and finish up the piles of odds and ends I’ve had lying around for years.
  • It’s a monthly subscription that auto-renews and charges your card immediately and then on the first of every month going forward. You can unsubscribe any time you like (but I’ll do my level best to make sure you don’t want to).
  • . If you’re having a good time, please help spread the word — the more the merrier!

Thanks in advance for supporting me, helping me to do what I love!!”

“Basically, it’s me at my kitchen table doing a song or a story every Sunday,” said Rush. “Then, it stays up for eight weeks. It’s been very well-received. It’s a way of communicating with my audience.

“I keep it short. If you do an hour, you lose the audience by the end. It’s been fun and very casual. I work with Mark Steele and the video is very professional.

“My favorite sideman is Matt Nakoa. I just finished three episodes with Jonathan Edwards who sings a couple songs on his own.

“It goes back to February 2020. I had just started my ‘First Annual Farewell Tour’ when everything shut down. I started out doing cell phone videos. I was trying to figure out a way to connect with my audience.”

The audience in Sellersville will be getting much more than a song or two. Rush will be performing a number of songs from “Voices,” an album that has its own special niche in Rush’s long discography.

Over the course of his 50-year-plus career, one of Rush’s defining gifts has been his ear for the faint voices of significant new songs by little-known writers. The New England-based singer-guitarist was among the very first to record future standards by then-fledgling performers Joni Mitchell, James Taylor and Jackson Browne on his 1968 album “The Circle Game.”

Rush brought a later generation of singer-songwriters such as Nanci Griffith and Shawn Colvin to wider audiences as part of his tours. James Taylor and country music superstar Garth Brooks have both named him as a major influence.

Until “Voices,” Rush has been heard only sparingly as a songwriter, with only a few tantalizing handfuls of originals – about 20 – spread out over eleven studio albums.

“Voices” is the first album ever of all-Rush originals – 10 relaxed, warmhearted, amused and sometimes thoughtful songs that perfectly reflect his wry persona.

“A bunch of songs all of a sudden came out,” said Rush. “Our daughter was going away to college, so we were moving from Vermont but didn’t know where. We moved to southern New Hampshire and rented a farmhouse from our friends Bob and Laura a few years ago.

“It was a peaceful countryside exterior, but it was in some ways boring. That’s where the songwriting started. I kept getting ideas for songs.

“Sometimes, songs take a long time for me to write. These songs came rapidly because I didn’t have anything else to go.”

There might have also been another reason and the veteran singer had a theory.

According to Rush, “It might be some musical equivalent of epicormics branching, where a tree that’s stressed or elderly starts putting out shoots in great profusion.”

Whatever the reasons, the results were enough to bring smiles to fans’ faces everywhere.

“I always wrote on guitar,” said Rush. “Every song came differently. A lot of times, it’s a phrase – just a few words that suggest a melody. Sometimes, it starts with a melody. There is no pattern.

“My pattern is to write too much. Each song tended to end up too long. You find that out when you take them in front of a live audience.

“I was taking audio notes on my cell phone. Once I had enough to go in the studio, I’d set up with a mic going into a computer. Then, I’d send what I had recorded to my producer Jim Rooney.

“I had all the songs written before I went in the studio with Jim — and then I wrote one more in the sessions. We were wrapping up and I only had 11 songs. Jim said we needed a 12th track. He insisted on it.

“So, I had to write another in my hotel room, and I wrote ‘If I Never Get Back to Hackensack.’ We recorded the album in May 2017 at The Butcher Shop – a studio in Nashville.

“Jim brought in some really great studio musicians to play on the album – players who are known as ‘Rooney’s Irregulars’ including Matt Nakoa on piano, Sam Bush on mandolin and fiddle along with Kathy Mattea and Suzi Ragsdale on background vocals.”

It has been more than a half-century since Rush made people take notice with one particular song — “Urge for Going,” which was written by Joni Mitchell and recorded by Rush in 1968. It quickly became one of Rush’s signature songs.

“Urge for Going” is something that seems to happen to Rush when November arrives — especially if the destination is the Delaware Valley.

Back in the late 1960s and early 1970s, the veteran singer-songwriter established a tradition of performing a series of shows over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend at the now-defunct Main Point in Bryn Mawr.

“I always played the Main Point at Thanksgiving,” said Rush. “I probably did that at least six years in a row. The first show would be Thursday night and it was always a groggy show. I did two shows a night on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

“I enjoyed those days of doing multiple nights. And the Main Point was a great place to play. Jeannette (Main Point owner Jeanette Campbell) was the patron saint of the Philadelphia folk scene.”

Now, Rush is making a return visit to the Sellersville Theater.

“The Sellersville Theater is a great place,” said Rush. “I love playing there.”

Video link for Tom Rush – https://youtu.be/AWSWUD5soGM.

The show in Sellersville on November 13 will start at 8 p.m.

Tickets are $35.

Other upcoming shows at the Sellersville Theater are Jazz Is Phsh on November 11, The Reagan Years on November 12, Al Di Meola on November 14, Sarah Longfield on November 16 and Darrell Scott on November 17.

VoxAmaDeus has a new program that it is performing twice this weekend – “VIVALDISSIMO.”

The first concert of Antonio Vivaldi’s compositions will be on November 13 at 8 p.m. at Church of St. Martin-in-the-Fields in Chestnut Hill (8000 St. Martin’s Lane, Philadelphia,).

The second concert will be on November 14 at 6:30 p.m. at St Katharine of Siena Church in Wayne (104 S Aberdeen Ave, Wayne).

Tickets are $25 general admission, $20 for seniors and $10 for students.

The program features an array of delightful works by the Venetian master featuring a stellar cast of soloists — four concertos for solo instruments (violin, oboe, trumpet and flute) and two double concertos in varied pairings, among which are familiar gems such as “Autumn” from The Four Seasons, as well as new works, such as the solo flute concerto Il cardellino featuring distinguished flutist Steven Zohn.

The pieces that will be performed are: Violin Concerto in F Major, RV 293; “Autumn” (from The Four Seasons), Oboe Concerto in B-flat Major, RV 464; Trumpet Concerto in C Major, RV 449; Violin Concerto in d minor, RV 240; Flute Concerto in D Major “Il cardellino”, RV 428; Double Violin Concerto in G Major, RV 516; and Concerto for Trumpet and Oboe in D Major, RV 563.

Uptown! Knauer Performing Arts Center (226 North High Street, West Chester, uptownwestchester.org) will present Dueling Pianos on November 11 and The Flying Komorowski Brothers on November 13.

Kennett Flash (102 Sycamore Alley, Kennett Square, 484-732-8295, http://www.kennettflash.org) will present Monika Herzig’s Sherows on November 12 and Dead Flowers on November 13.

The Living Room (35 East Ardmore Avenue, Ardmore, https://thelivingroomat35east.com) will present “Wanderlust: All A View” with Special Guest Suzie Brown on November 12 and Dan Navarro and Laura Mann on November 19.

The Grand Opera House (818 North Market Street, Wilmington, Delaware, 302-652-5577, www.thegrandwilmington.org) will host Vic Dibitetto on November 12 and Kris Allen on November 13.


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