On Stage: Kennett Flash offers three very different shows this weekend

By Denny Dyroff, Entertainment Editor, The Times

Sarah Borges

Variety is the spice of life and you can find musical variety all the time at the Kennett Flash (102 Sycamore Alley, Kennett Square, 484-732-8295, http://www.kennettflash.org).

The Kennett Flash’s schedule for the upcoming week features three shows that cover a wide variety of genres – a hard-rocking female artist with touches of Americana (Sarah Borges), a blues-rock instrumental band that had added a vocalist (L.A.X.) and a legendary folk artist who has been playing music for more than a half-century (Chris Smither).

Borges, is a Boston guitarist/vocalist whose music has been described as “walking that fine line between punk and country.”

When Borges straps on her guitar and starts to sing, she rocks out. There is country, punk, blues and rock in her musical DNA, but it is the rock element that stands out the most.
Borges, who arrived on the national music scene in 2005 as the lead singer of the Broken Singles, has gone from frontwoman to solo act, to frontwoman again. In 2018, Sarah Borges & The Broken Singles released their sixth album – “Love’s Middle Name” — on Blue Corn Music.

“We stayed busy during the pandemic lockdown,” said Borges, during a phone interview en route to Brooklyn to meet up with her bandmates.

“We really have been focused on finishing a new album. We’re working on the mastering and artwork now. It will come out in February 2022.

“I’ve been making the album with Eric “Roscoe” Ambel. We did the recording via computer during the lockdown, so we had a lot of different players that we used. Roscoe has a great group of players he uses so I left it to him.”

Borges’ CV includes an Americana Music Awards nomination, multiple Boston Music Awards, and song credits on TV shows Sons of Anarchy and The Night Shift. The veteran musician, who is a resident of Taunton, Massachusetts, recorded “Love’s Middle Name” with Ambel in Brooklyn.

Ambel is a highly respected performer and producer whose credits include The Bottle Rockets and Steve Earle & the Dukes. He was the founding guitarist for Joan Jett & the Blackhearts.

“The new album has all originals,” said Borges. “Some I co-wrote with Roscoe and some with Keith Voegele, who is my music partner and my life partner.

“Keith and I don’t have a studio. So, when I was writing the songs, I was singing in a closet with a microphone and recording on my cell phone.

“We wrote all through the pandemic. We started making the album in June 2020 and kept going. It was influenced by the pandemic.

“The song ‘Together Alone’ has the feeling that we’re all in this together btu we have to be apart. The songs are about isolation. There was no escape.

“The first song is ‘Wasting My Time.’ It’s about assessing what I’m doing while I’m sitting at home. Another was ‘She’s a Trucker.” I’m a trucker. My other job is an airport courier driver.

“The whole lockdown thing gave us time to write. This is the first time it was a singular project. It was challenging with no-one to give feedback. My opinion was the only one that counted.

“I’d spend a lot of time on the basic track. I’d write a song and bring it to the band to work on it. They’d add more. The final mixing was done by Roscoe at Cowboy Technical Services, which is his studio in Brooklyn.”

One common denominator in Borges’ songs – they all rock hard.
“In my shows now, I’m still going heavy with songs from ‘Love’s Middle Name,’” said Borges. “I am also doing three or four new songs.” Borges’ old songs and new songs are all characterized by musical intensity.

“We love playing good, fast rock songs,” said Borges, who graduated from Emerson College with a degree in radio. “We keep evolving but we also keep playing some of the older songs. With so many songs I’ve recorded, it’s hard putting together a set list.”
Video link for Sarah Borges – https://youtu.be/1cL0p9sC3tA.

The show at Kennett Flash will start at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20.


On December 4, Kennett Flash will host L.A.X. (LaRue, Alexander, Romaine).

L.A.X. is like “Stevie Ray meets the Dregs” – an honor which the duo is proud to uphold. It is the culmination of 25-plus years of playing and writing together. L.A.X. takes the duo in a new direction, featuring a blues rock sound with vocals, in addition to the virtuosity instrumental emphasis for which the two have long been critically acclaimed.

Bassist Dave LaRue has toured and recorded with the Steve Morse Band, Dixie Dregs, Joe Satriani and John Petrucci among others. He has just finished recording the third Flying Colors album for Mascot Records.

Guitarist and lead vocalist Glenn Alexander currently tours with Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes.  He has worked with numerous artists such as the Max Weinberg 7 (Conan O’Brien), Levon Helm, Randy Brecker, Mahavishnu Project and Jan Hammer and many others.

With longtime bandmate drummer Van Romaine, who has played with the Steve Morse Band, Enrique Iglesias, Blood, Sweat & Tears, Kansas, Bernie Worrell, Vinnie Moore, Naughty By Nature and Queen Latifah, the trio produces a sound that is powerful, energetic and fun, all while covering a wide expanse of musical ground.

Video link for L.A.X. — https://youtu.be/L_ym0hTq2Mc.

The show on December 4 will start at 8 p.m. Tickets are $25

Chris Smither

Chris Smither, who is the headliner at Kennett Flash on December 5, is a veteran singer-songwriter who has released more than 25 albums in his long career. His latest LP is the recently released “More from The Levee” album.

“It’s new to the world,” said Smither, during a recent phone interview from his home in Amherst, Massachusetts.

“It’s not new to me. It’s what we had left from the retrospective album we made six years ago in New Orleans.”

In 2014, Smither marked 50 years of songwriting with the release of “Still on the Levee” — a double-CD retrospective. Recorded in New Orleans at the Music Shed, this career-spanning project featured fresh new takes on 24 iconic including the first song he penned on up to several of his most recent originals.

“When we were making the album, we went back to where I’m from,” said Smither. “I said — if we’re going to make a retrospective, let’s go back to where it started. Some of the songs I hadn’t touched in 30 or 40 years. I was gratified because the songs held up pretty well.

“It was interesting. The first song on the album was the first song I wrote back when I was 19. I’d sit there and listen to old recordings. There is sort of as muscle memory that kicks in when playing the old stuff. It was like looking at a box of old pictures. It was good for the most part. There was stuff I wrote over 30 years ago and it still sounds good.

“I think we recorded 42 songs and 39 or 40 have been released now. For the first release, it was a double CD. We could have released it as a triple CD, but we thought it would be overkill. We always knew the other songs would be released sometime. It’s comforting to have an album done.”

“More From the Levee” is the 18th album from Smither, who was deemed “one of the absolute best singer-songwriters in the world” by the Associated Press). The new album is a continuation of Smither’s 50-year retrospective album, “Still On The Levee.”

Smither recorded tracks on both albums with help from some very special guests including the legendary Allen Toussaint and Loudon Wainwright III.

Two weeks with longtime right-hand-man and producer David Goodrich at the helm of the sessions resulted in an over-abundance of songs in the can. “More From The Levee” contains 10 of these extra gems including fan favorites “Drive You Home Again” and “Caveman.”

“Last spring, I was approached by Record Store Day to do an album,” said Smither. “They were looking for something unreleased.

“It worked because we had those songs left over from the 2014 album. The Record Store Day release never happened. COVID killed that.”

The Record Store Day scheduled for April 2020 was cancelled.

“By the time we realized it wasn’t going to happen, we had the whole album already mastered for vinyl,” said Smither. “We even had a cover ready. So, we decided to go ahead with it as a vinyl release on Signature Sounds. It’s also available on other formats now.”

No new recorded material is on the horizon.

“Right now, I’m not in the studio,” said Smither. “I haven’t done any recording lately, but I think I have another album in me. I have five tunes almost done. I think within a year or two, I’ll have a bunch of material ready.

“Mostly, my songs start with guitar parts. I work around and get a progression. Once I get a harmonic rhythm, then I work on the melody. Usually, the lyrics grow organically out of the music.

“My philosophy is that when it’s time to make an album, then it’s time to book the studio and line up musicians. That way, you have a deadline to keep you on track.”

The writing of a song is just one part of the song’s evolution.

“Once you finish writing a song, you never know how it’s going to go until you play it for people,” said Smither. “Sometimes, it’s not until you perform live that you realize a line doesn’t work.”

For now, Smither is just happy to be performing for live audiences again.

“For a long time in the pandemic, I was only doing Livestream shows – and three outdoor shows,” said Smither. “My first indoor show was a little while ago in northern New Hampshire – in a barn and everyone was vaccinated.

“Playing for a live audiences is exhilarating.  It makes me feel young again.”

Video link for Chris Smither – https://youtu.be/oyoVP8dEnOo.

The show at Kennett Flash on December 5 will start at 7 p.m. Tickets are $40

On December 2, it will be time for another edition of Candlelight Comedy Club at the Candlelight Dinner Theatre (2208 Millers Road, Arden, Delaware, 302- 475-2313, www.candlelighttheatredelaware.org).

Joseph Anthony

The show’s headliner will be nationally acclaimed comedian Joseph Anthony. The feature will be Anita Wise with Justin Gonzalez as the emcee.

“I’ve been doing comedy for a long time – 32 years in January,” said Anthony, during a phone interview Tuesday afternoon from his home in Howell, New Jersey. “I was 21 when I started.”

Comedy wasn’t Anthony’s first career choice when he was a young man.

“I wanted to be an actor,” said Anthony “Then, I tried freelance writing. I was always funny when I was in school. I was every teacher’s nightmare.

“I came out of high school and skipped college. I owned a deli and was a partner in a funeral home.”

However, a career in comedy was something that beckoned Anthony.

“I was fascinated with the comedians on the Tonight Show,” said Anthony. “I liked the way they took experiences and made them funny.

“I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. Writing, acting, being funny – I got an answer right away.

“I wanted to go to N.Y.U. (New York University) but they said I had to go to a community college first. So, I went to Staten Island Community College. I didn’t like it there. I left and never came back.

“I asked the professor in my math class if I could be excused to go to the bathroom, He said yes — so I picked up my books….and never came back.”

The educational door closed, and the comedy door opened.

“I started with open mics back when they were more prevalent,” said Anthony. “There were a lot of clubs. It was a different market…. right after the comedy boom.

“At some clubs, I was a headliner right away. Others were more the graduating process — emcee, feature, headliner.

“My first real gig was at Pips Comedy Club in Brooklyn. Then, I moved to the Comic Strip in New York…and also Dangerfield’s.”

Anthony quickly established himself as a natural comedian who was very comfortable in front of a mic.

“I’m more of an autobiographical comic than an observational one,” said Anthony. “My take on things is very personal. It’s based on fact and sometimes gets dark. I can take hardship and pain and make it funny.”

Video link for Joseph Anthony – https://youtu.be/nzWajeFYipM.

Anita Wise

Wise is a Philadelphia native whose comedy show plays just as well in Paris as in New York…just as well in Montreal as in Delaware.

“My mother’s side lives in Paris,” said Wise, during a phone interview Tuesday afternoon from her home in Pennington, New Jersey.

“Everybody on her side in France were performers. My mom was a dancer with the Paris Opera.”

Wise has been featured at the Just for Laughs Festival in Montreal, performing comedy in both English and French.

“I focused on the fact that I could do my show in French when I was applying to be in the festival because I figured it would give me an advantage,” said Wise.

However, Wise’s roots are along the Delaware River rather than the Seine River.

“I grew up in Philadelphia – 19th and Lombard,” said Wise. “I graduated from Girls High in Philly and then majored in animal behavior at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri.

“I started comedy in the 1980s. I was doing it for 15 years and then took a break. I got married and my husband and I had another business…selling lighting to hotels and casinos. Five years ago, he passed away and I went back to comedy.”

Wise spoke about how her career in comedy evolved.

“I met a comic and was very intrigued,” said Wise. “I took a comedy writing class because I wanted to be a writer. But performing was in my family…including me.

“On the last night of the writing course, we performed at a class show in front of people in New York. I just loved it.

“I had been looking for a way to perform. It was ice skating when I was a kid and then ballet in high school and then comedy. When comedy came along, it was natural. I just had to stand there and talk.”

Things were moving along nicely for Wise, the potential comic.

“I took the class again,” said Wise. “After the course concluded, it was enough of class and time for real world.

“I started with open mics and thought – I’m really liking this. For the next six months, I’m going to give it my all.

“After three months, I was on television being interviewed by Bryant Gumbel. The Today Show was looking at three comics – ‘beginners,’ ‘not known’ and ‘established.’ I was the ‘beginner.’

“After that, I auditioned at the three big clubs in New York – Comic Strip, Catch a Rising Star and Improv. I was an emcee for a few years and then a feature. I was doing shows in New Jersey, Philadelphia and Boston. Little-by-little, I started to get more work. Eventually, I moved up to being a headliner.”
Wise’s comedy shows are in English most of the time and are mostly personal.

“It’s first person,” said Wise. “I stay close to home. I talk about me and the things that are going on in my life – aging, dating, living in COVID times…my life.

“Some of my favorite things to talk about are things that are not typically comedy fodder — like dealing with breast cancer and dating again after 25 years.

“It’s about making my life relatable to the audience. I try to consider it a conversation about things that we find interesting.”

Video link for Anita Wise — https://youtu.be/i16I1tyNAbE.

The emcee at the show on December 2 will be Justin Gonzalez.

Here’s a quiz.

Justin Gonzalez

Which is the right answer to the question, “Who is Justin Gonzalez?” – A. a 30-year-old MMA fighter with a 12-0-0 record; B. a politician who is a member of the Arkansas House of Representatives: C. an attorney from Albuquerque who is also a snowboarder and a fifth-degree black belt in Shotokan karate; D. a minister at the Pearland Church of Christ in Pearland, Texas; E. a 36-year-old fitness model, personal trainer, and American WBFF Fitness Model World Champion; F. an internationally touring choral musician, classical soloist, award winning operatic singer, ukulele player, pop singer, and musical theater lead; G. a Customer Advocacy Specialist at Nutrabolt in Austin, Texas.

They all are correct answers. Everyone from A to G is a real Justin Gonzalez.

Which Justin Gonzalez will be the emcee at the Candlelight’s December edition of Candlelight Comedy Club?

The correct answer is “F.”

Gonzalez, who is also a stand-up comedian and magician, is a local Renaissance Man. He is an independent musician based in Philadelphia who travels throughout the tri-state area and beyond.

Gonzalez, who began performing professionally at the age of 11, now performs with a repertoire that includes classical, big band, Broadway and opera. Most recently, he added a new genre when he assumed the role of lead vocalist for “33 1/3 LIVE’s Killer Queen Experience.”

“I’m originally from Northeast Philly,” said Gonzalez. “I went to school in South Philly at GAMP.”

The Girard Academic Music Program (GAMP) is a college preparatory school for students in grades 5 through 12 that provides a unique educational environment, focusing on college and career readiness, while allowing all students to pursue music as a major subject.

“I was at GAMP for eight years,” said Gonzalez. “I studied voice and instruments starting with lower brass. Voice was a large chunk of it. I got my first professional performance in Europe.”

At the age of 13, Gonzalez was asked to join a chorus as a soloist on its two-week tour of Germany and France. On that trip, he had the opportunity to perform in many castles, mansions, and historic houses of worship. The most memorable moment for him was singing in the Cathedral Notre Dame in Paris, France.

“It was amazing,” said Gonzalez. “I was 13 and I was singing at the Cathedral Notre Dame. I was just a poor Puerto Rican kid from North Philly, and I was singing in places like a castle in Germany and a cathedral in Berlin.”

After years of laying the groundwork for a promising career as an opera singer, Gonzalez was diagnosed at the age of 18 with Multiple Sclerosis, an autoimmune disease. One of the symptoms of MS is memory loss. His opera career was over just as quickly as it began.

“It affected my brain’s ability to memorize,” said Gonzalez. “I still sing classically at venues around the East Coast and on Broadway.”

Today, 20 years since that first tour, Gonzalez is still a sought-after classical music soloist. He is also a practitioner of the American Song Book and the music of Broadway. He uses all of this music to entertain, educate, and share his story.

“I also have several music projects,” said Gonzalez. “There is the Little Big Band Lounge Revival, which does lounge and popular standards along with classic love songs, and the Justin Gonzalez Jazz Trio, which is a pop trio that uses classical instruments.

“There is also ‘33 1/3 LIVE’s Killer Queen Experience.’ I leave Friday for Pittsburgh to do a show with them and then I’m back in Philly on Sunday to sing the ‘Messiah’ with the Philadelphia Chorus.”

Can you say – “Justin Gonzalez, Renaissance Man.”

The comedy aspect is the most recent.

“About eight years ago, I was doing a weekly cabaret show with Julia Scotti – ‘Julia Scotti’s Comedy Test Kitchen,’” said Gonzalez. “She said I should tell my stories when performing. That allowed me to just be funny.”

Video link for Justin Gonzalez — https://youtu.be/kNtcF4Z5aqQ.

The show at the Candlelight Theater will start at 7:30 p.m. on December 2. Tickets, which are $30, include complimentary light fare and free parking.

If you’re familiar with Bob Dylan or Americana music, then you surely are familiar with The Band. Unfortunately, The Band lost two members who have gone to the other side and now no longer exists as a band.

In case you’re not familiar with Bob Dylan’s first foray into electric rock music and his performances with The Band, The Weight Band will help you learn this piece of American music history – actually American/Canadian music history.

“The Weight” is a song by The Band. The Weight Band is a band named after The Band’s song “The Weight.” The Weight Band is a music group put together to keep alive the music of The Band.

Scottish Rite Auditorium (315 White Horse Pike, Collingswood, New Jersey, scottishriteauditorium.com) will host The Weight Band on December 3.

The Band was a Canadian-American rock group featuring Rick Danko, Levon Helm, Garth Hudson, Richard Manuel and Robbie Robertson. In 1965, Dylan hired them as his touring band when expanded for a solo folk artist to a folk-rock musician with a group behind him.

After a while, Roberston left to pursue a solo career and then later Manuel died. The remaining three members continued to tour and record albums with a succession of musicians filling the departed members’ roles. The final line-up included Richard Bell, Randy Ciarlante and Jim Weider.

Danko died of heart failure in 1999, after which the group broke up for good. Helm was diagnosed with throat cancer in 1998 and continued to perform until cancer won the battle in 2012. A passing wish of Helm was for the music and spirit of The Band to live on. The Weight was formed to do just that. The Weight came into existence to bring a live performance to fans of The Band — but not as a tribute band.

Replicating the music of The Band is a tall order but interpreting the music of The Band is an art.

Performing songs of The Band, The Weight Band is keeping the spirit and the music alive that helped define an era.  Members of The Weight Band were either actual members in The Band or are directly and deeply connected to its legacy.

The group features Jim Weider from The Band; Brian Mitchell of the Levon Helm Band; Albert Rogers, who shared the stage with Levon Helm and Garth Hudson in The Jim Weider Band; Michael Bram, who played with Jason Mraz; and Matt Zeiner, who was a member of the Dickey Betts Band.

“A few years ago, after we lost Levon, Randy Ciarlante and I put The Weight together with a couple other musicians,” said Weider, during a phone interview from his home in Woodstock. “We did songs of The Band and the shows sold out.

“Then, we got Marty Grebb. We did a few shows and it really started to take off. We added Brian Mitchell and Byron Isaacs. Now, Byron has left the group and we pulled in a new bass player — Albert Rogers. He had played in my band — the Jim Weider Band — in the ’90s.”

The members all have other projects, but it is the music of The Band that binds them together.

“I started playing with Levon in the early ’80s in the Levon Helm Band,” said Weider. “Randy was in the band too. In 1985, when Richard and Garth moved to Woodstock, we toured with Crosby, Stills and Nash. We went out as The Band. That really changed my life.”

The Weight Band has stayed busy during the pandemic and has three live albums to show for it.

“We released ‘Acoustic Live,’ which was recorded at Big Pink’ in June 2021 and ‘Live is a Carnival,’ which came out in June,” said Weider.

“We also have ‘Live in Japan,’ which is a Limited-Edition CD that was recorded at Billboard Live, Tokyo in August 2019.

“The main thing we did during the shutdown was to go in the studio and record a new studio album. “It’s called ‘Shines Like Gold’ and features all originals and one cover. The title track will be a single in January and we’ll have another single a little while later. We recorded the album at Clubhouse Studio in Rhinebeck, New York. We started in December 2020 and finished the mixing and mastering in May and June 2021.

“After we released our last studio album ‘World Gone Mad’ in 2018, we wanted to slowly work on putting together a new album. The COVID pandemic gave me a lot of time to work on new music. All the songs were written during the pandemic. It definitely impacted the record. I wrote about positivity. I tried to look at it as glass half-full. Nobody needed negativity.”

Even with its original music, The Weight Band taps into that down-home style made popular by The Band.

“Our band has that real Americana feel,” said Weider. “The originals go right good with any Band tunes we play.

“At our show Friday night, we’re going to do a few new tunes. We’ve been playing ‘Out of the Wilderness,’ which will probably be the second song from the new album, and ‘Shines Like Gold’ will probably be on the set list. People are going to get a big show – a very diverse show.”

Video link for The Weight Band — https://youtu.be/R2gdtyMyi20.

The show at the Scottish Rite Auditorium will start at 8 p.m. Ticket prices start at $39.50.

Other upcoming shows at the Scottish Rite Auditorium are Will Downing on December 4 and Gordon Lightfoot on December 10.

On December 3 at the Keswick Theater (291 N. Keswick Avenue, Glenside, 215-572-7650, www.keswicktheatre.com) and December 5 at The Queen (500 North Market Street, Wilmington, 202-730-3331, www.thequeenwilmington.com), there will be a show featuring a “Battle of the Bands.”

But it won’t just be any bands – it will be the Beatles and the Rolling Stones (sort of). The show is billed as “Beatles vs. Stones – A Musical Showdown.”

The debate between the Beatles and the Rolling Stones has been going on ever since they first crossed paths on the charts 55 years ago. The argument at the time, and one that still persists, was that the Beatles were a pop group, and the Stones were a rock band.

According to Beatles fans, the Stones had no class. According to Stones fans, the Beatles had no balls.

In a modern-day alternate universe, these two legendary bands will engage in an on-stage musical showdown courtesy of tribute bands Abbey Road and “Satisfaction – The International Rolling Stones Show. “
Taking the side of the Fab Four is Abbey Road, one of the county’s top Beatles tribute bands. With brilliant musicianship and authentic costumes and gear, Abbey Road plays beloved songs spanning the Beatles’ career.

With their tight harmonies, flawless note for note renditions of Beatles hits, custom–tailored costumes, vintage instruments, Liverpudlian dialect and precise attention to every detail, Abbey Road has honed their show to become one of the most musically and visually satisfying Beatle tribute acts in the world.

Abbey Road recreates the magic, music, wit and charm of the Beatles, including the Fab Four’s cheeky personalities, familiar onstage banter and patter between songs.

“Both bands on this show are separate functions entirely,” said Axel Clarke, Abbey Road’s Ringo, during a phone interview Tuesday from his home in Long Beach, California.

“We’re from Southern California. A few years ago, we experimented with a Beatles vs. Stones show but didn’t find what we were looking for here.

“We decided it was a good project. We searched for the best Stones cover band and got this band — Satisfaction – The International Rolling Stones Show – to come to SoCal. Now, we’ve been touring with them for six years.”

“Satisfaction – The International Rolling Stones Show” presents a faithful rendition of the music and style of Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and the bad boys of the British Invasion. This touring tribute show to the Rolling Stones is entering its 19th year in production with more than 3,500 performances to date.

Performing up to 150 shows a year, this music act showcases the most authentic cast and costuming of its kind. The lineup of Stones tribute performers brings a colorful performance to more than 50 years of classic hits. The cast now has four successful projects including “A Symphony For The Devil” and “Beatles vs. Stones-A Musical Showdown.”

The project was put together by Chris LeGrand, who also plays the role of Mick Jagger.
“This is the 21st year for ‘Satisfaction/The International Rolling Stones Tribute Show,’” said LeGrand, during a recent interview.

“I put the show together in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. It took a while to find the right group of musicians. So, it started small as a night club act. Now we do 125-150 shows a year so it’s a very demanding schedule. I never saw a Stones show doing 100-plus shows a year.”

The bands alternate time on stage as the ‘battle’ evolves – each with three mini-sets.

“The Beatles had three distinct eras,” said Clarke. “The first was the Ed Sullivan time up to the ‘Rubber Soul’ album. The second was ‘Sgt. Peppers’ and the third was the era of ‘Abbey Road’ and the ‘White Album.’

“With the pandemic, we’ve had more than a year off, so we’ve updated some songs and worked on our multi-media show.

“It’s still broken into three eras but there is a whole lot of stuff to cover. With the downtime, we’ve tried to mix and match songs. We’ve got some new more things we’re doing – new stuff from each era.

“As a Beatles fan, I think – what would I want to hear. We play hits and deep cuts. We try to strike a balance between what is wanted by hard-core fands and casual fans. Beatles filler is like any other band’s greatest hits.”

“Satisfaction/The International Rolling Stones Tribute Show” looks at the Stones career from the early 1960s to the start of the 1980s.

“Our first set in the 1965 era with Brian Jones in the band,” said LeGrand. “The next set is 1969-1972 – the Mick Taylor years. The third part is the Ron Wood era from 1975-1981.

The show offers fans a chance to travel back in time to London in the 1960s and 1970s. During the two-hour show, the bands perform three sets each, trading places in quick set changes and ending the night with an all-out encore involving both bands.

According to LeGrand, “Music fans never had a chance to see the Beatles and the Rolling Stones perform on the same marquee. Now, music aficionados can watch this debate play out on stage.”

Video link for “Beatles vs. Stones – A Musical Showdown” — https://youtu.be/ibGtk0WbDbY

The show at the Keswick will start at 8 p.m. Ticket prices start at $38.50.

The show at The Queen will start at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $45.

Another upcoming show at the Keswick will be Chris Isaak on December 5.

Other upcoming shows at The Queen are Echoes on December 3, Grayscale on December 5 and Martin Sexton on December 8.

Donna Summer was an American singer, songwriter, and actress who became a major hitmaker in the 1970s.

With hits like “Love to Love You Baby,” “Hot Stuff” and “I Feel Love,” she became known as the “Queen of Disco.”

Unfortunately, Summer died from lung cancer just over nine years ago.

Fortunately, Summer’s legacy has been kept alive through her music catalogue and, recently, through the jukebox musical, “Summer: The Donna Summer Musical.”

Summer was a girl from Boston with a voice from heaven who rose from gospel choir to dance floor diva. Early in her career, Summer risked it all to break through barriers and became the icon of an era and the inspiration for every music diva who followed.

With a score featuring more than 20 of Summer’s classic hits including “She Works Hard for the Money,” “Bad Girls” and “Last Dance,” the lively show “Summer: The Donna Summer Musical” is a moving tribute to the voice of a generation.

The jukebox musical opened on Broadway and is now out on a national tour – a tour that touches down this weekend with matinee shows on December 4 and 5 at The Playhouse on Rodney Square (1007 North Market Street, Wilmington, Delaware, www.thegrandwilmington.org/venues/the-playhouse).

The musical highlights Donna Summer at three stages of her life. Duckling Donna is in her pre-teens, starting out in Boston; Disco Donna, in her late teens and 20s, has her initial success; Diva Donna is in her 50s and at the top of her career.

This production features Amahri Edwards-Jones as Duckling Donna, Charis Gullage as Disco Donna and Brittny Smith as Diva Donna.

“I went to the Governor’s School for the Arts in Norfolk, Virginia,” said Edwards-Jones, during a phone interview Wednesday afternoon from a tour stop in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

“I was in the musical theater program there. After that, I went to Shenandoah University in Winchester, Virginia as a musical theater major. Then, I booked this tour and left school.

“My initial audition for this tour was by video in early July. After that, I got an e-mail to come to New York. I was very excited. The callbacks were July 27 and 28.

“My parents and I went to New York. My 19th birthday was July 26, so we celebrated there. The audition on the 27th was vocal and dance and the final callback was on the 28th.”
Edwards-Jones began singing at an early age.

“I grew up in church – at an A.M.E. church in Virginia,” said Edwards-Jones. “I was in the choir at a really young age. Then, I did sports in school. I ran track from age 7-10. Then, I decided – no track, I want to sing.

“When I was 11, I started community theater at The Hurrah Players in Norfolk. I caught the bug. I stayed with The Hurrah Players until I was 14 and then went to the Governor’s School.”

Donna Summer’s heyday was long before Edwards-Jones was born but her music was still in the air when the young actress was growing up.

“I remember dancing to ‘Last Dance’ at my grandmother’s,” said Edwards-Jones. “And I was familiar with her because Beyonce sampled ‘Love to Love You Baby.’”

Edwards-Jones explained why Donna Summer appealed to her.

“She was this big disco star, but she was always so humble,” said Edwards-Jones. “She also grew up in an A.M.E. congregation.

“To get ready for this tour, I looked at videos of the New York show and listened a lot to the original cast album.

“As the younger Donna Summer, I wanted to sound younger when I sang. It definitely took work so I worked with a vocal coach. It was fun because I got to learn new things about my voice.”

Video link for “Summer: The Donna Summer Musical” — https://youtu.be/084KpjGNBPo?list=PLXg9AG8ifeeTyCAlzmu9C8fuhe2BYveEK.

“Summer: The Donna Summer Musical”

will be presented on December 4 and 5 at 2 p.m. each day.

Ticket prices range from $48-$88.

The Christmas holidays are traditionally a time when people gather together and celebrate the season.

And the Christmas holiday is usually associated with snow and cold weather.

Oddly enough, two musical acts that are performing in the area next week at the World Café Live (3025 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, 215-222-1400, www.worldcafelive.com) made Christmas albums earlier this year – even though the weather cycle eliminated the possibility of snowy days and COVID-19 made it almost impossible to gather together in a celebratory mood.

Hiss Golden Messenger, which is headlining a show at the World Café Live on December 7, recently released “O Come All Ye Faithful.”

We Banjo 3, which is playing WCL on December 8, has its first-ever Christmas album, “A Winter Wonderful,” scheduled for release on December 3.

Hiss Golden Messenger is the musical vehicle for Mike (MC), a singer/songwriter/guitarist from California who relocated to North Carolina.

“With the new album, the pandemic gave me the time and the bandwidth to think about it and arrange it,” said Taylor, during a phone interview Tuesday afternoon from a tour stop in Hershey.

“Being at home gave me the time to work and fantasize about it. I always thought it would be really fun to make a holiday record that would have that certain mode – to make something that was slow and contemplative and spiritually inclined. In normal times, I wouldn’t have had time to work on something like that.”

Taylor wrote a message describing the evolution of “O Come All Ye Faithful” –

“A little backstory: In December of 2020 I went into Target to pick up some wrapping paper and was overwhelmed by the aggro full-tilt Christmas anthems blaring from the tinny overhead speakers. It was a moment of such cognitive dissonance—belligerent holiday music soundtracking a time of such collective confusion, exhaustion and grief—that I actually laughed out loud. When the shopper next to me glanced over in apprehension, I point up towards the music and asked her, “Do you feel like this?”

“The more I thought about the gap between the brash, brassy music that is so often played in public spaces during the holidays and the way that so many people seem to feel around this time of year, the more I felt compelled to make a record specific to this season. Some of my friends thought I was going a little crazy. My go-to holiday record has always been Vince Guaraldi’s soundtrack to “A Charlie Brown Christmas” — a perfect record for any time of year because of the deep emotional places it goes — and I wanted to try to make an album that lived in that universe: Lush, bittersweet, contemplative. Hopeful and sorrowful in equal measure. That’s always been my sweet spot. Maybe I was l looking for an antidote to the chaos that seemed to have enveloped our world, a project that could serve as a meditation.

“And so, in the early months of 2021, I holed up in my studio with a bunch of instruments and holiday records as inspiration — the aforementioned Vince Guaraldi record, Jacob Miller’s “Natty Christmas,” albums by the Waterson family and Shirley Collins, Nashboro’s “Christmas Nativity” compilation — to write and arrange the music that would eventually become “O Come All Ye Faithful.” I was particularly drawn to old hymns like “Silent Night,” “Joy to the World,” and the title track. Other songs, like Spiritualized’s “Shine a Light” and Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “As Long As I Can See the Light,” became seasonal songs by association. Woody Guthrie’s “Hannukah Dance” seemed to be begging to be included. And I wrote several songs that felt thematically consonant with the tunes I was gathering, including “Hung Fire,” “Grace” and “By the Light of St. Stephen,” which draws on the Waterson’s “Joy, Health, Love and Peace.” The idea of light—as something to guide or inspire or pine for—is all over this album. I’m not a churchgoing person; music has always been my way of connecting with the divine. I wanted to be in those deep waters with “O Come All Ye Faithful.” I feel very close to this music.

“Making this record brought me some peace, and I hope you enjoy it enough to let it soundtrack your days, wherever you might be and whomever you might be with. Grace be on us.”

Taylor started the ambitious project at home.

“I have a little studio at home,” said Taylor, who lives in Durham, North Carolina (home to Duke University and one of the best coffee roasters in America – Counter Culture Coffee).

“I did all the writing and arranging there. Then, I went to the studio in Durham I usually use – Overdub Lane. Vince Guraldi’s album was the musical blueprint – joy and sadness.”

Taylor now is finally getting to once again enjoy life on the road.

“This is the first time for the band to be on the road since 2020,” said Taylor. “In the live shows, we’ll be playing songs from all over the catalogue. And we might play a couple Christmas songs.”

Video link for Hiss Golden Messenger — https://youtu.be/3jX8C-TlpUc.

The show on December 7 at World Café Live will start at 8 p.m.

Ticket prices range from $26-$36.

“Celtgrass” is a term used to describe the music of We Banjo 3, an award-winning traditional Irish music quartet. We Banjo 3 feature a seven-time All Ireland fiddle champion and another All Ireland champion on fiddle and bodhran.

The band’s debut album “Roots of The Banjo Tree” was named “Traditional Album Of The Year” by The Irish Times and their most recent studio release “Gather The Good” picked up four “Album Of The Year” awards.

We Banjo 3 blends traditional Irish Music with Americana and Bluegrass to create its hybrid style known as “Celtgrass.” Featuring banjo, fiddle, mandolin, guitar, vocals and percussion, We Banjo 3 make a bold and extraordinary musical statement.  Modern rhythms, traditional melodies, virtuosic technique and innovative arrangements of music and song add up to a blazing live show.

The band includes two sets of brothers, Enda and Fergal Scahill and Martin and David Howley. Collectively they are among the most celebrated and distinguished musicians in Ireland today. They have been at the forefront of Irish banjo and fiddle for more than 20 years.

Martin Howley is a seven-time “All Ireland” Banjo champion while Enda Scahill, who is also an author on Irish banjo techniques, holds four.  Multi-instrumentalist Fergal Scahill is one of the most acclaimed fiddlers in Irish music and an “All Ireland” champion on fiddle and bodhran. Multi-instrumentalist David Howley is the group’s vocalist and also provides the band with its rhythm section.

We Banjo 3 released its sixth album, “Roots To Rise Live,” in July of 2019 in conjunction of the band’s summer and fall 2019 U.S. tours. Recorded at The Ark in Ann Arbor, Michigan, the CD features a mix of original material, traditional compositions, select cover songs, and two previously unreleased tunes. The CD debuted at the beginning of August at # 1 on Billboard’s Bluegrass Albums Chart spending four weeks in the peak position.

This year, the band, which is based in Galway, Ireland, turned its attention to making “A Winter Wonderful” — its first-ever Christmas album.

“We recorded the Christmas album over the summer of 2021,” said Enda Scahill, during a phone interview Wednesday afternoon from a tour stop in Denver, Colorado. “It’s weird making a Christmas album in summer.

“Before we started recording, we made a long list of potential songs. It was also weird listening to Christmas songs on YouTube in the middle of summer. But once you get in the studio in a confined space, it doesn’t matter what’s going on outside.”

The recording sessions were not done the way the band usually works.

“Fergal has a studio and so does David,” said Scahill. “We recorded and mixed it all ourselves.

“In the early sessions, our singer David and our guitar player Fergal were away so they recorded remotely. In the latter stages, Martin was back in the United States where his wife is from. The four of us were never in the studio at the same time.

“Once we got going, it wasn’t hard to select the songs. We made a long list which was split down the middle – lyrics on one side and instrumentals on the other.

“There are a lot of Christmas songs to choose from. One that we really liked and decided to record was John Prine’s ‘Christmas in Prison.’ John was a resident of Galway, so this was a tribute to him.”

Special guests on “A Winter Wonderful” included Scott Mulvahill (double bass), Kiana Howley (fiddle) and Ruth Smith (vocals).

“The final mixing of ‘A Winter Wonderful’ was done by Frank Marchand in Baltimore,” said Scahill.

“He’s our road engineer so he really is familiar with our sound. The mastering was done at The Bakery, a studio in Los Angeles.

“This is our first tour in 21 months so we’re ready to put on a heavy show. We’re going to hit the hit list….and sprinkle in a bit of Christmas magic.”

Video link for We Banjo 3 – https://youtu.be/rNVFNfBvTqM.

The show on December 8 at World Café Live will start at 8 p.m.

Ticket prices range from $25-$35.

Now through January 2, People’s Light (39 Conestoga Road, Malvern, peopleslight.org) is presenting the world premiere of “A Christmas Carol.”

This version of “A Christmas Carol” is adapted from Charles Dickens by Zak Berkman and features original music by Zak Berkman.

Callous Scrooge, shackled Marley, and the haunting spirits of Christmas Past, Present, and Future spring vividly to life in this fresh adaptation of a favorite yuletide ghost story.

Featuring a lively mix of original songs and newly arranged 19th-century English carols, this music-infused retelling captures the magic, joy, and generosity of Dickens’ beloved classic.

Each year, the People’s Light holiday show is a panto that transforms a beloved children’s story into a musical extravaganza filled with outrageous characters, toe-tapping original music, slapstick comedy, and topical humor for both kids and adults.

“A Christmas Carol” is not a panto. But it is music-filled, interactive fun for every age — whether you believe in spirits or not.

Jamey’s House of Music (32 South Lansdowne Avenue, Lansdowne, 215-477-9985,www.jameyshouseofmusic.com) has a weekend schedule featuring Ruper Wates on December 3 and Venom Blues on December 4.

Arden concerts (The Highway, Arden, Delaware, ardenconcerts.com) will host Twisted Pine on December 4 and Marshall Crenshaw on December 11.

The Ardmore Music Hall (23 East Lancaster Avenue, Ardmore, 610-649-8389, www.ardmoremusic.com) will present Darlingside on December 2, Friends of the Brothers and Vanessa Collier on December 3, Jimkkata on December 4, and Blind Boys of Alabama on December 5.

The Living Room (35 East Lancaster Avenue, Ardmore, https://thelivingroomat35east.com) will present a show by Eric Bazilian on December 3 and Ken Kweeder on December 11.

118 North (118 North Wayne Avenue, Wayne, www.118northwayne.com) will host Zendog on December 2,  Neil McGettigan on December 4 and “Lennon and Harrison Live” on December 5.

The Sellersville Theater (24 West Temple Avenue, Sellersville, 215-257-5808, www.st94.com) will host Glengarry Bhoys on December 2, The Association on December 3, A Rat Pack Christmas on December 4, Loudon Wainwright III on December 4, Christmas With The Celts on December 6 and Cherish The Ladies on December 8.

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