On Stage: Red Wanting Blue headlines at City Winery

By Denny Dyroff, Entertainment Editor, The Times 

Red Wanting Blue

Red Wanting Blue has been around for a long time – if you consider more than a quarter century to be a long time. The Ohio-based rock band has played many different venues around the Delaware Valley with the last few shows hosted by the World Café Live.

On January 23, Red Wanting Blue will add another Philly venue to its CV when it headlines a show at the City Winery (990 Filbert Street, Philadelphia, citywinery.com/philadelphia).

Red Wanting Blue is an Ohio band all the way – conceived at Ohio University and later based in Columbus.

Red Wanting Blue formed in 1996 in Athens, Ohio and still features all its original members — Scott Terry on lead vocals, tenor guitar, and ukulele; Mark McCullough on bass, chapman stick, and vocals; Greg Rahm on guitar, keyboards, and vocals; Eric Hall on guitar, lap steel, and vocals; and Dean Anshutz on drums and percussion.

“I formed the band when I was a theater major at Ohio University,” said Terry, during a phone interview Wednesday afternoon from a tour stop in Syracuse, New York.

“It exploded. It did so well so I wanted to pursue it before pursuing my master’s degree in performance. And being a lead singer is like majoring in performance.

“Now, 25 years later, we’re still doing it. It’s a great feeling. When I was younger, my father-in-law and my grandmother believed in the same thing – find something you love to do and keep doing it.”

“I never expected 25 years. It’s always been – just handle what’s in front of you.”

In 1999 the band relocated its headquarters to Columbus, Ohio — the city Red Wanting Blue now calls home.

“Columbus was a place that was right in the middle of the state – and right where the main highways met,” said Terry. “It seemed like a good middle ground. We immediately started doing concentric circle touring.

“That we’ve been on the road as long as we have is impressive. It was great starting in 2001 with 200 shows a year. The last 10 years has been the best for us – until the pandemic. Each tour has a beginning, middle and end – and we give it a name.”

Red Wanting Blue did slow down a little in the few years prior to the arrival of COVID-19.

“We were trying to tour smarter,” said Terry. “We were playing 12-125 shows a year. Band members got married. Our bass player Mark and his wife Bridget had a child. We were learning how to be a rock band with members in their 40’s.”

Red Wanting Blue has released 11 studio albums – starting with “Velveteen” in 1996 and “The Image Trigger” in 1998. The quintet’s most recent album is “The Wanting,” which was released on Blue Élan Records in April 2018.

“We recorded ‘The Wanting’ with Will Hoge as the producer,” said Terry. “We cut the album at Sound Emporium in Nashville. It was amazing to be in such a historic studio where bands like R.E.M. made great records.

“After the album came out, we toured it for a while. Then, COVID hit in spring 2020 and we had to cancel the tour.

“So, we began working on our next record. We’ve been recording at a lot of different places. I’m a man always hunting for inspirations – we’re searching. We might go back down to Sound Emporium and do a few new songs to keep things fresh.”

Red Wanting Blue’s current tour is not a revival of the truncated ‘The Wanting Tour.”

“We call this tour the ‘Hey ’22 Winter Tour,’” said Terry. “It’s – ‘Hello again, everybody.’ We’re playing mostly new songs along with some that have hung around for a long time.”

The tour opened on Tuesday night at Buffalo Iron Works in Buffalo. On Monday, 17.6 inches of snow fell at the National Weather Service Office at the Buffalo Airport.

“This tour has been great,” said Terry. “We had a wonderful turnout in Buffalo despite the weather and tonight in Syracuse should be the same. But we’re bummed that our Canadian fans can’t come down to Buffalo or Syracuse for the shows because they’d have to quarantine for 10 days.

“We’ve found a way to navigate through COVID. We’re masked all the time and there are no meet-and-greets. it’s like a bubble we’re in before, during and after shows. There will always be risks but we’re doing the best we can to stay safe and keep our fans safe.”

The City Winery posted this message on its website – “COVID-19 SAFETY GUIDELINES, Kindly note that due to regulations regarding indoor events, all guests must be fully vaccinated, per the guidelines on our safety page. Masks are required throughout the building and when walking around the premises.”

Video link for Red Wanting Blue — https://youtu.be/INJN1a-bFPY.

The show at the City Winery on January 23 will start at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20.

Other upcoming acts at the City Winery are “Masters of the Telecaster featuring GE Smith and Jim Weider” on January 21, The Aardvark Felon on January 22, Cory Brannan on January 23.

Uptown! Knauer Performing Arts Center (226 North High Street, West Chester, uptownwestchester.org) has established a pattern of presenting shows by top-flight tribute bands.

The pattern continues this weekend when the venue hosts “Beginnings — A Celebration of the Music of Chicago” on January 21.

“Beginnings — A Celebration of the Music of Chicago” is not a tribute to the music of the Windy City. It is a tribute act for the band Chicago, which started in Chicago in 1967 as The Big Thing and morphed into Chicago Transit Authority in 1968.

After an eponymous album as Chicago Transit Authority, the band changed its name to Chicago to avoid legal action being threatened by the long-standing mass transit company of the same name.

Chicago, a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, still tours and still has three original members from the late ’60s –

Robert Lamm, keyboards, vocals; Lee Loughnane, trumpet, flugelhorn, backing vocals; and James Pankow, trombone, backing vocals.

Beginnings captures the vibe of a live Chicago performance and recreates the sound of the original band’s contemporary hits.

Chicago’s history as a band goes back more than five decades. “Beginnings” history as a Chicago tribute band spans two decades.

The band makes its home in the New York City metro area and regularly performs for highly enthusiastic and loyal audiences all over the United States. Beginnings performs accurate versions of Chicago’s classic chart-smashing hits (and even a few rare gems).

Featuring several seasoned performers who have experience working with such legendary recording artists as The Temptations, Aretha Franklin, and Victor Wainright, Beginnings is famous for recreating Chicago’s massive collection of hits, including five of their Platinum albums and 20 of their most popular songs.

They brilliantly rejuvenate Chicago’s with songs such as “Make Me Smile,” “25 or 6 to 4,” “Call On Me,” “Saturday In The Park,” “Old Days,” and “You’re The Inspiration.”

Video link for Beginnings — https://youtu.be/ZTP4gGqF5Vw.

The show on January 21 will start at 8 p.m. Tickets are $40.

Other upcoming shows at Uptown! Knauer Performing Arts Center are Dueling Pianos on January 27, Hollywood Nights on January 29 and Countdown to Ecstasy on February 4.

Lennon & Harrison Live

Kennett Flash (102 Sycamore Alley, Kennett Square, 484-732-8295, http://www.kennettflash.org) is also focusing on tribute bands this weekend with “Lennon & Harrison Live — A Tribute to John Lennon & George Harrison” on January 21 and “Angry Young Band — A Tribute to Billy Joel” on January 22.

“Lennon & Harrison Live – A Tribute to John Lennon & George Harrison” features Scot Michael Arch, the founder of “Beatlemania Now,” appearing as John Lennon on vocals, electric and acoustic guitars, keyboards and harmonica, and Jon Perry
appearing as George Harrison on vocals, electric and acoustic guitars.

Philly-based Billy Joel tribute act Angry Young Band features Joe Trainor on piano and vocals.

Both shows start at 8 p.m. Tickets for Friday are $25 and tickets for Saturday’s show are $20.

Jerry Blavat

The Kimmel Cultural Campus (Broad and Spruce streets, Philadelphia, 215-731-3333, www.kimmelculturalcampus.org) will host Jerry Blavat on January 22, the Philadelphia Orchestra on January 21-23, “IMOMSOHARD: The Getaway Tour” on January 21, Opera Philadelphia on January 21 and 23, and the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia on January 23 and 24,

The Kimmel Cultural Campus is joining performing arts centers across the nation in requiring that all guests 5 years of age or older will be required to show proof of full COVID-19 vaccination.

Adults 18 and older will be required to show photo identification.

Unvaccinated and partially vaccinated children under 5 will be required to show a negative COVID test. All guests are required to wear masks when inside.

118 North (118 North Wayne Avenue, Wayne, www.118northwayne.com) will host Tommy Conwell on January 21, Almost There on January 22 and Wally Smith’s Hammond Organ Trio on January 23.

The Keswick Theater (291 N. Keswick Avenue, Glenside, 215-572-7650, www.keswicktheatre.com) will host Colin Mochrie on January 21 and Citizen Cope on January 22.

The Sellersville Theater (24 West Temple Avenue, Sellersville, 215-257-5808, www.st94.com) will present John Westford on January 21, and “BowieLIVE…The Ultimate David Bowie Tribute” on January 22.

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