On Stage Extra: Candlebox Unplugged at City Winery

By Denny Dyroff, Entertainment Editor, The Times

Candlebox Unplugged

Brian Quinn is a busy musician.

The King of Prussia resident is a talented guitarist who performs solo and duet shows locally on a regular basis – and he is a member of the veteran Seattle-based rock band Candlebox.

Several area venues have hosted shows by Candlebox Unplugged, featuring Quinn, a guitarist originally from Pennsylvania’s Anthracite region, and Kevin Martin, lead vocalist and only remaining founding member of Candlebox.

On May 3, City Winery (990 Filbert Street, Philadelphia, citywinery.com/philadelphia) will host the only area show on the current tour of Candlebox Unplugged.

Candlebox Unplugged does not mean that Candlebox is breaking up – or even slowing down slightly.

“The full band is going out soon,” said Quinn, during a phone interview Wednesday afternoon from a tour stop in Bloomington, Indiana.

“Candlebox has a run of shows in May in Florida. We’re playing in Alaska on June 11. It will be the first time Candlebox has played Alaska since I’ve been in the band.

“Alaska and Florida are my last two states to visit. Hopefully, my wife Denise and I will be able to take a vacation in Hawaii later this year.”

From May through October, Candlebox has shows in Florida, Alaska, Louisiana, Texas, Illinois, Georgia, Ohio, California, New York, Washington and Virginia.

“We’re pretty busy the whole year,” said Quinn. “I’ll have time off in the summer to do some solo acoustic shows and then Candlebox starts up again at the end of August.”

Candlebox is touring in support of its new album, “Wolves.”

“We recorded ‘Wolves’ in September 2019,” said Quinn. “Because of the pandemic, it wasn’t released until September 2021. It was supposed to come out in April 2020, but we had to sit on it.

“We waited until things with COVID started to settle down and touring became available. We started laying live again in August 2021. We played a lot of places and 97 per cent of the shows were well-attended. People were glad to get back out.”

Doing band shows had a special attraction for Quinn, who had performed mostly acoustic shows – seated acoustic shows.

“It felt great to perform standing up,” said Quinn. “We started in August and didn’t finish until November. We got a lot of shows in. It was the longest tour we’ve done since I’ve been in the band.

“This has been an album support tour for ‘Wolves.’ It’s strange because by the time the album came out, it was already old for us. We already had a pile of new ideas before this album was even out. To get ready for the tour, we had to critically listen to the record and look at the album notes.”

Candlebox may be a band from the Pacific Northwest, but Quinn is a Pennsylvania boy all the way.

In the late 1990s, Quinn moved from his hometown of Pittston (PA) to Philadelphia. Soon after arriving, he co-founded the Philadelphia-based rock band Octane (2000-2005). During this time, Quinn was named “Best Guitarist” in the Philadelphia region by the Philadelphia Music Awards in 2001 and 2004.

After five successful years with Octane, Quinn left the band to form a blues-based hard rock band that would later become known as Fosterchild. Then, Quinn joined Candlebox a few years ago when the band needed to replace its guitarist.

“Kevin (Martin) and I were labelmates when I was with Fosterchild,” said Quinn, who now lives in the Philly suburbs.

“We met at a label showcase and stayed in touch after that. I played on two tunes with his side project Le Projet. When personnel changes started with Candlebox, he asked me to join the band. I’ve been with the band since 2015.”

Many of the shows on the Candlebox Unplugged 2022 shows are already sold out.

“For fans who can’t see us live, we’re doing a Livestream show,” said Quinn. “We’re playing live at the Cabot Theater in Beverly, Massachusetts on May 6 and there will be a Livestream of the show in real time.”

Fans can get Livestream information at this link — Candlebox Live Stream Concert – Friday 06 May 2022 – Songkick.

Video link for Candlebox – https://youtu.be/VoqRFt58rck.

The show at City Winery on May 3 will start at 8 p.m.

Other upcoming shows at City Winery are Shelby Lynne and Allison Moorer on April 30, Chrisette Michele on May 1 and Graham Parker on May 4.


For older music fans, LP refers to an album with LP taking its name from “Long Player.” Current music fans, on the other hand, know that LP refers to one of the most dynamic rockers making music today.

LP derives her moniker from her given name – Laura Pergolizzi. That name is also something from the past.

“I don’t do Laura at all,” said LP, during a phone interview Thursday afternoon from a tour stop in Portland, Maine. “It’s not my name anymore.”

LP is now touring in support of her latest album, “Churches,” which was released on December 3, 2021 through SOTA/Dine Alone. It is her sixth studio album.

Produced by Mike Del Rio (Christina Aguilera, X Ambassadors) and including several tracks co-written by Nate Campany (Tove Lo, Carly Rae Jepsen, Martin Garrix), “Churches” is intense, smart, touching and powerful.

“I wrote most of it before the pandemic started,” said LP. “When reactions to the pandemic started getting underway, I just kept writing. Things changed direction here and there. I found the pandemic inspiring.

“I wrote maybe half of the songs pre-pandemic in San José del Cabo, Mexico. Other songs were written all over – Palm Springs, Greece, L.A. I bounced around a lot. I like to change things up.”

LP’s previous albums were “Heart-Shaped Scar” in 2001, “Suburban Sprawl & Alcohol” in 2004, “Forever for Now” in 2014, “Lost on You” in 2016 and “Heart to Mouth” in 2018. She also has released three EPs – “Into the Wild” in 2012 and ‘Spotify Sessions” and “Death Valley” in 2016.

Like most of LP’s previous albums, “Churches” was produced by Del Rio and featured songs co-written with Nate Company. Her debut album was produced by Cracker’s David Lowery.

In a Facebook entry in mid-December, LP wrote, “It’s been over a week that ‘Churches’ is out, and the response has been so overwhelmingly beautiful. I can’t get over all the love for it.

“I’m so so grateful to all the amazing people who lent their extraordinary talents to this endeavor. As with most records, it takes a village, and a lot of time and work goes into it all.

“The man who has to spend the most time other than myself is none other than Mike Del Rio! Thank you, my beautiful friend and co-pilot. I literally couldn’t do it without your multi-instrumental/multi-talented ass — lol.

“The incredible Nate Campany who rounds out “the band” with Mike and me on a ton of songs and made an appearance with a couple of songs with his new amazing production team Valley Girl with Kyle Shearer.”

LP also gave props to the musicians who brought “Churches” to life — Kiara Peirco – Violin/Viola, Dave Weingarten – Guitars, Rob Guariglia – Acoustic Guitars, Ben Romans – Piano, Martin Cooke – Percussion, Sarab Singh – Percussion, Daniel Chae – Acoustic Guitar, Strings, and Synths, John Badamo – Live Drums, and Neal Daniels – Percussion.”

“I tracked a lot of stuff in L.A.,” said LP. “Mike Del Rio has a studio in his house and that’s where we worked. Mike and I are very tight. We definitely have a bond creatively. I also co-wrote many of the songs with Nate Company.

“When it was time to make the album, I had about 30 songs to choose from. Certain songs just go together. I chose songs that I felt like belonged together. It’s like a feeling. The last song I tracked was ‘Churches.’ I just finished the poem at the end.”

The album was originally planned for an October 2020 release. It was later announced for October 6, 2021, then postponed to the following month and finally pushed back to December 3.

“It got put off three or four times,” said LP. “There wasn’t anything I could do about it. I just kept going.

“On this tour, the band is four guys and me. We do about 11 or 12 songs from ‘Churches.’ We probably do 19 songs altogether. I don’t feel there are any older songs I have to play. But people might be sad if I don’t play ‘Lost on You.’”

Video link for LP — https://youtu.be/DKuDnvi81iY.

The show on May 1 will start at 8 p.m. Tickets are $35.

Usually, a band will release a new album and then spend a year or more touring in support of the new record.

COVID-19 revised that model for a lot of bands – including The Rumjacks.

The Rumjacks

The Rumjacks, who will headline a show on May 3 at Kung Fu Necktie (1248 North Front Street, Philadelphia, 215-291-4919, Kung Fu Necktie), released a new album, “Hestia,” and welcomed a new lead singer, Mike Rivkees, right before the pandemic hit. The band’s plans for introducing both were immediately put on hold.

“I joined the band in March 2020 – the worst time historically to join a band,” said Rivkees, during a phone interview Thursday morning from his home in Boston.

“I didn’t get to play any gigs prior to the pandemic. Everything started closing down and we had to cancel a fall tour.”

The Rumjacks are a Celtic-punk band which formed in Sydney, Australia in 2008. The band released its debut EP, “Hung, Drawn & Portered,” in 2009 and followed with five albums – “Gangs of New Holland” (2010), “Sober & Godless” (2015), “Sleepin’ Rough” (2016), “Saints Preserve Us” (2018) and “Hestia” (2021).

One of the band’s best-known songs, “An Irish Pub Song,” became a viral hit and has earned over 75 million views on YouTube.

The Rumjacks also have recorded two other EPs – “Sound as a Pound” in 2009 and the just released “Brass for Gold.”

“I was in a band in Boston called Mickey Rickshaw,” said Rivkees. “We played on the same cruise with The Rumjacks – Flogging Molly’s Salty Dog Cruise.” We come from similar drinking cultures – Boston and Australia.”

Right around that time, The Rumjacks fired their previous singer Frankie McLaughlin. Based on the statements, the band parted ways with McLaughlin because of numerous incidents of violence and abuse dating back 10 years. McLaughlin was convicted in 2012 with two counts of assault occasioning actual bodily harm and one count of common assault against a former partner. since 2013.

“Johnny (The Rumjacks’ bassist Johnny McKelvey) and their manager were in New York at the time of the firing,” said Rivkees. “When they asked me to join, it was a pretty big surprise.”

“Hestia” was Rivkees first recording with The Rumjacks. He then really took over the songwriting on the new EP, “Brass for Gold.”

“I started writing the EP in winter 20/21 when COVID had taken a grip on everybody,” said Rivkees. “The label said they wanted an EP. They asked for four songs, and I gave them eight.

“I have a little studio in my apartment. I’d write completed demos on guitar and send them to the band. I write every song as an acoustic and it can easily be adapted as a band song.

“Our manager owns a studio in Milan (Italy) – Cronos Studio. We got an apartment in Milan and went to the studio every day. We spent three months last summer making the EP and it just came out in March.”

The recording sessions for “Brass for Gold” were the first time the band members united in person post-pandemic.

According to Rivkees, “‘Brass for Gold’ is as much as an EP can possibly offer and still be called an EP. In true Rumjacker fashion, these songs represent a variety of different stories. The topics range from lovesick nostalgia to misfortunate war heroes – with a few lighthearted drinking songs for good measure.”

Now, The Rumjacks have embarked on a very busy year.

“We just finished a tour with Dropkick Murphys,” said Rivkees. “Now, we’re doing a headline tour of the states for a month. “Then, we fly to Milan and start a month tour of Europe. We have three weeks off in the summer and then go back to Europe to play a lot of festivals. It feels great to be playing live onstage again.”

Video link for The Rumjacks – https://youtu.be/FeuLHzotISc.

The show on May 3 at Kung Fu Necktie will start at 7 p.m.

Tickets are $15.

Other upcoming shows at Kung Fu Necktie are Vulturo on April 29, Baddie on April 30 and Jazz Emu on May 4.

Jawn Of The Dead

Jawn Of The Dead is a Philly band centered around the nucleus of guitarists/vocalists Rich Hill and Jim Tauscher.

On May 1, Jawn of the Dead will return to Philly’s Main Line for a show at 118 North (118 North Wayne Avenue, Wayne, www.118northwayne.com).

The Grateful Dead tribute band just celebrated a milestone event for a young music act – its third anniversary.

“We started on March 20, 2019,” said Hill, during a phone interview from his home in nearby Ridley Park. “It was supposed to be a one-off show at The Fainting Goat in Glenolden.

“I play there once a month with my bar band so I asked if I could do a (Grateful Dead) show. I invited some musician friends to get together to play Dead stuff. I took people from different bands, and we rehearsed 30-40 songs.

“We showed up at the club with our gear and the place was packed. Deadheads from around the area got the word and showed up.

“After we played the second set, people were coming up to us saying that they loved it. I said to the guys – I think we have a ‘thing.’ They said — yeah, we do have a ‘thing.’ We didn’t have a name, so we came up with Jawn Of The Dead.”

JOTD’s other band members are Jim Shaflucas (bass/vocals), Dean Sophocles (keyboards) and Drew Gerace (drums).

Time out here for a Philadelphia based etymology lesson.

If you live more than 35-40 miles from Philly, you might not have ever heard the word “jawn.”

“Jawn” is a slang term local to Philadelphia and its metropolitan area. “Jawn” is a context-dependent substitute noun, meaning it is a noun that substitutes for any other noun – and it can be singular or plural.

“Jawn” is a word loved by Philly residents. Because it has no specific meaning, it can be used to mean all sorts of things. One of the only points on which everyone can agree is that “jawn” is a noun – and that now it is part of the name of a Philly area band.

Lesson over!

“We played a handful of shows from March through August 2019,” said Hill, who grew up South Philadelphia and graduated from Neumann High. “Then, we got a call from the World Café Live about its Tuesday Dead Jam. One of the bands canceled and they asked us to play.

“The audience liked it. We kept the band going – playing a few places around Philly. Last February, we played the Boot and Saddle. We figured that if we got 50 people, it would be a good start. We got 170.

“We were just getting started and then we had to shut down because of COVID-19. We played some private events in the summer and then started to play at 118 North in Wayne. We also did a Livestream show from the Kennett Flash.”

Billing themselves as “an energetic tribute to the mystique and musical mayhem of The Grateful Dead,” Jawn Of The Dead posted this message on its website – “The dedication of the band to both the songs of the Grateful Dead and their spirit of musical exploration sets JOTD apart.”

“We’re not a tribute band in the sense that we’re trying to be the people in the Dead,” said Hill, who was a music major at West Chester University.

“Our commitment is to excellence – to playing the music well and to also honor the songwriting. We play a whole catalog of Dead songs along with cover songs the Dead played.”

Jawn Of The Dead has already become a favorite of Philly area Deadheads so the band must be doing something right.

Hill and his mates aren’t looking to conquer the world. Right now, they’re happy just “Playing in the Band.”

Video link for Jawn of the Dead – https://youtu.be/p6qxYa6p20o.

The show at 118 North on May 1 will start at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $12.

Other upcoming shows at 118 North (118 North Wayne Avenue, Wayne, www.118northwayne.com) are DNR on April 29, Reggae Thunder on April 30, and Wally Smith’s Organ Trio on May 1.

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