On Stage: Country stars get together as The Frontmen

By Denny Dyroff, Entertainment Editor, The Times

The Frontmen

When The Frontmen take the stage at the American Music Theatre (2425 Lincoln Highway East, Lancaster, www.AMTshows.com) on June 17, the three singers will be bringing a lot of baggage with them – baggage in the combined total of more than 30 Number One hits, more than 30 million records sold and more than 50 Top 40 hits.

The Frontmen features the dynamic voices of 90’s country legends Richie McDonald (formerly of Lonestar), Larry Stewart (of Restless Heart) and Tim Rushlow (formerly of Little Texas).

They have a chemistry and brotherhood seldom matched, and they have logged the travel miles to prove it, wowing audiences around the globe with their brand of highly successful intimate unplugged shows.

“About 12 years ago, we did a USO Tour together,” said Rushlow, during a phone interview Monday from his home in Nashville.

“It was just the three of us unplugged. We did it in January when nobody’s band was touring. During COVID, we thought about going out on a non-USO tour.”

Between 1991 and 1997, Rushlow was lead vocalist of country music group Little Texas, which recorded four albums and a Greatest Hits package — in addition to charting more than 15 singles on the Billboard country singles charts during Rushlow’s tenure as lead vocalist.

After Little Texas disbanded in 1997, Rushlow began a solo career. Rushlow signed to Atlantic Records, recording one album and charting a Top 10 single on the country charts titled “She Misses Him.”

McDonald was the lead singer of the group Lonestar which recorded seven studio albums on BNA Records during his tenure as lead vocalist from 1998 until his departure in 2007. For the first seven years of the band’s existence, he alternated with then-bassist John Rich as vocalist. McDonald became the sole lead vocalist of Lonestar following Rich’s departure. McDonald co-wrote several of the band’s singles, and sang lead on all but one of them.

Stewart is best known for his role as lead singer of Restless Heart. In 1993, Stewart left the band in pursuit of a solo career, recording four solo albums and charting eight singles on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks before reuniting with Restless Heart in 2002. His highest-charting solo single was “Alright Already,” which peaked at Number 5 in 1993.

“There is a common thread that runs between these three bands,” said Rushlow. “To be playing these songs with a whole new band – it’s refreshing.

“We just finished recording our first six The Frontmen songs and now we’re looking for a major label record deal. We want to have songs for radio. We’re really into test-driving these songs in our upcoming shows.”

Powerhouse hits performed by The Frontmen include: Restless Heart classics, “The Bluest Eyes in Texas,” “That Rock Won’t Roll,” “I’ll Still Be Loving You” and “Why Does It Have to Be (Wrong or Right); Lonestar smashes such as “Amazed,” “Smile,” and “I’m Already There”: and Little Texas hits including “God Blessed Texas,” “Amy’s Back in Austin,” and “What Might Have Been.”

“These songs were a big part of the 90s country movement,” said Rushlow. “People come up to us after the show and say – you just played the soundtrack of my life.

“We really do have a lot of hits in our show. There’s not a song that we do that people don’t know.”

Video link for The Frontmen — https://youtu.be/CIcVGw5B28g.

The show at the American Music Theater will start at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets are $59.

The Zappa Band

The Zappa Band is in the middle of its first-ever headlining tour – a tour that will stop at the Ardmore Music Hall (23 East Lancaster Avenue, Ardmore, 610-649-8389, www.ardmoremusic.com) on June 22.

Frank Zappa was unique (in the true meaning of the word – “one of a kind”).

Zappa was a composer, singer, songwriter, bandleader and musician – guitar, bass, synthesizer, drums, keyboards, percussion, synclavier and piano.

His work was ground-breaking and original to an extreme — characterized by nonconformity, free-form improvisation, sound experiments, musical virtuosity and satire of American culture.

For years, Zappa shook up the establishment with his band The Mothers of Invention. In 2011, he was ranked at No. 22 on the list of the 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time by Rolling Stone magazine.

In 1990, Zappa was diagnosed with terminal prostate cancer. The disease had been developing unnoticed for years and was considered inoperable. Zappa died from the disease on December 4, 1993 — 17 days before his 53rd birthday.

Zappa may have crossed over almost 30 years ago but he lives on through his music.

During his lifetime, Zappa released 62 albums. Since 1994, the Zappa Family Trust has released more than 60 posthumous albums.

Zappa’s music also lives on through live performances of his music by bands formed by alumni of his various group lineups.

One of those bands is The Zappa Band – a group largely composed of former members of Zappa’s bands. And for the first time ever, the group (who had previously opened a string of shows for prog greats King Crimson) will be headlining its own tour for much of June – including a show on June 22 at the Ardmore Music Hall (23 East Lancaster Avenue, Ardmore, 610-649-8389, www.ardmoremusic.com).

“At the start, we were arranging recordings of Frank Zappa and other times played freely,” said Keneally, during a phone interview earlier this month from his home in San Diego.

“We wanted to play shows with just the music. We started doing shows at the Baked Potato. We had a four-month run and each night was different.”

Los Angeles hot spot The Baked Potato Jazz Club, which is located in Studio City, has been the home venue for some of the greatest musicians since 1970.

The Zappa Band’s lineup features Zappa alumni Ray White (lead vocals, guitar), Mike Keneally (guitar, keys, vocals), Scott Thunes (bassist) and Robert Martin (keyboards, sax, vocals), and ZPZ alums Jamie Kime (guitar) and ZAPPA archivist Joe “Vaultmeister” Travers (drums, vocals).

Each musician played in the studio and on the road with Zappa during his career, while three of these alums played on “ZAPPA 88: The Last U.S. Show,” one of the most recent offerings from Zappa Records & Universal Music. The Zappa alums are joined by Joe Travers and Jamie Kime, who are no strangers to FZ’s music, to round out the ensemble.

Keneally was 25 when he joined Zappa’s band in 1987. Since then, he’s played in the bands of Steve Vai, Joe Satriani and Devin Townsend, been a member of Dethklok, composed with Andy Partridge of XTC, written orchestral commissions for Holland’s Metropole Orkest, and made more than 30 solo albums, including many with his band Beer For Dolphins.

White got his first guitar from his brother, Charles, when he was 15 and his first show was two weeks later. After four years in the Air Force, White headed to San Francisco. He played with Eloise Laws, Lee Oskar, Greg Errico and Lady Bianca (who recommended him to Zappa). He played on several albums and tours with Zappa.

Martin, who is the son of two opera singers from Philadelphia, is a powerful singer, multi-instrumentalist and conservatory trained French horn player with an extensive list of top tier artists in his resume — including Zappa, Etta James (on tour with the Rolling Stones), Bette Midler, Stevie Nicks, and Michael McDonald. He has composed for prime time television, and mixed and mastered Top 20 hits in various genres.

Born in L.A. in 1960, Thunes’ musical studies included late 60s and early 70s rock, jazz, fusion,  Zappa’s early Mothers period, and two years of music classes at junior college, allowing him to become ‘fantastic‘ enough to join Zappa’s band in 1981. He played electric bass guitar, synth bass, sang vocals, and became rehearsal director in 1984.

Travers, a Berklee College of Music grad, moved to L.A. in 1992 and joined Dweezil & Ahmet Zappa’s group “Z” in 1993. He’s played with Duran Duran, Lisa Loeb, Rich Robinson, Billy Idol, Zappa Plays Zappa, Eric Johnson and Joe Satriani among others. When not on the road, he spends his time as the “Vaultmeister” for the Zappa Trust archiving and preserving the legacy of legend Frank Zappa and co-producing and supervising future projects.

In addition to working with Zappa Plays Zappa, for which he collected a Grammy Award, Kime has played with Jewel, Dr. John, Frankie Valli, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and Czech National Symphony performing the works of Frank Zappa. He frequently plays The Baked Potato jazz club in Los Angeles and is on the faculty of The Musician’s Institute in Hollywood.

“This band eventually got formed for tour in 2019,” said Keneally. “Then, in 2020, the pandemic hit. We started playing shows post-pandemic last year when we opened for King Crimson for one month.

“Our set list includes songs from ‘Weasels Ripped My Flesh’ and a lot of Zappa’s albums from the 1960s to the 1980s. We try to cover a lot of ground. There are so many songs to choose from – and they’re all so good.

“For Frank Zappa, a song wasn’t just a song. It went through a lot of changes. Frank Zappa’s music is a unique thing in the world. There truly is nothing else like it.”

Video link for The Zappa Band — https://youtu.be/UA8pSwO62qI.

The show at the Ardmore Music Hall on June 22 will start at 8 p.m.

Tickets are $40.

Other upcoming shows at the venue are Guided By Voices on June 17 and Fantastic Negrito on June 21.

Lucy Kaplansky

Lucy Kaplansky, who will headline a show on June 18 at the Bryn Mawr Twilight Concerts (9 South Bryn Mawr Avenue, Bryn Mawr, brynmawrtwilightconcerts.com), has been releasing albums on a regular basis for almost three decades.

Her debut album “The Tide” hit the shelves in 1994 and her pre-pandemic release “Everyday Street” came out in 2018.

Now, Kaplansky has a brand-new album that just came out on June 2 on Lucyricky Records — her ninth solo album which is titled “Last Days of Summer.”

It features Kaplansky well-crafted songs and heartfelt vocals, but it is distinctively different from all her album releases prior to “Everyday Street.”

As with “Everyday Street,” Kaplansky has chosen to make her new album available only through her website and at shows, and not on any streaming services.

She finds this approach more empowering for a musician, affording greater control over the commercial aspect of her work, notwithstanding twelve million Spotify streams of her recording of Roxy Music’s “More Than This.” While streaming services make music widely available, there is virtually no financial compensation for the artist, and Kaplansky believes all people should be paid for their work.

“When the streaming services took over, CDs stopped selling,” said Kaplansky, during a phone interview Tuesday morning from her home in New York City’s Greenwich Village. “For people like me, an entire income source disappeared.

“I only sell it from my website and at my shows. It’s old school and I don’t know anyone else who is doing this. With this way, I’m actually making money. People are buying it. I sold 500 CDs in a couple weeks just online. I’ve already made back my expenses.

“I’m very happy with how people are liking this new album. Bryn Mawr is the first show Where I’m going to have the album for sale, so I’ll be playing a lot of the songs in the show.”

Ranging from folk to rock to bluegrass, the album features a stellar band — Duke Levine (Bonnie Raitt, Mary Chapin Carpenter) on acoustic and electric guitars, National guitar, mandolin and mandola; Mike Rivard (Shawn Colvin, Aimee Mann) on bass; and Lucy’s longtime producer and drummer Ben Wittman (Sting, Paula Cole) on drums and percussion. John Gorka and Richard Shindell add gorgeous harmonies.

“A couple songs are very much inspired by stuff going on during the pandemic,” said Kaplansky. “Two definitely are – ‘Elmhurst Queens Mother’s Day’ and ‘Mary’s Window.’

“Prior to the pandemic, we had just bought a second home in Cape Cod. On March 13, 2020, we left New York and didn’t go back for six months. My husband and daughter were both doing remote. Meanwhile, I had no work for the first time in 25 years. I didn’t know if I’d ever have another gig.

“So, I wrote songs. I wrote every morning. Many of the songs were co-written with my husband Rick Litvin, who is originally from the Philly area. He’s not a musician but he’s a talented writer. He’s a film professor at New York University.”

The songs on “Last Days of Summer” weave themes of family, community, and loss, as well as reflections on our times as reflected in the evolving story of New York City. “Elmhurst Queens Mother’s Day,” is a meditation on the catastrophe that befell New York early on in the pandemic. “Mary’s Window” is a politically charged folk-rock anthem which was completed in the wake of the 2020 presidential election and expresses hope that the pernicious divisions in our country can be overpowered by community and by the goodness of average Americans.

There are also four covers — Jackson Browne’s “These Days,” which Kaplansky sang for the first time at a campfire the previous summer when her friend Rep. Jamie Raskin asked her to sing it; “Ford Econoline” by the late Nanci Griffith, with whom Kaplansky sang many times over the years; A.P. Carter’s “Gold Watch and Chain,” a bluegrass song Kaplansky sang at her wedding: and Nancy Sinatra’s classic hit “These Boots are Made for Walking.”

“When I’m making an album, if I can come up with six songs I think are good then I can add four or five covers,” said Kaplansky, who attended Yeshiva University and eventually got her PhD when she was younger. “The new album has six originals and four covers.”

Video link for Lucy Kaplansky — https://youtu.be/ZipcqL-6Fs0.

The show at Bryn Mawr on June 4 will start at 7 p.m. with Scotty Rovner & Rich Myers as the opening act.

Tickets are $15.

For the last couple of years, sitcom fans have enjoyed a hilarious comedy featuring a quartet of top-flight actors – Grace and Frankie.

For the last couple of years, the under-30 generation has enjoyed music by a top-flight eight-piece pop/soul band — Clyde and Gracie.

Clyde and Gracie features the nucleus of sibling musicians Clyde Lawrence and Gracie Lawrence.

Together, they record and tour as an indie-pop band called Lawrence. On June 18, the brother-and-sister band will visit the area for a show at Franklin Music Hall (421 North Seventh Street, Philadelphia, http://franklin.musichallphiladelphia.org/).

While the pandemic seriously affected most bands and touring shows in a bad way, Lawrence took only a moderate hit. The band was touring its sophomore album, “Living Room,” when the shutdown occurred.

“We were able to finish the ‘Living Room’ support tour said Clyde Lawrence, during a phone interview Wednesday afternoon from a tour stop in Toronto, Ontario.

“Then, we went on tour again – an off-cycle tour. The pandemic hit during that tour, and we were stuck in Fort Collins, Colorado. When were five shows into a 25-show tour.

“We all live in New York City, so we had to find our way back there from Colorado. We thought it was going to be a short postponement. Its two years later and we only recently finished the last make-up show.”

Lawrence used the down time to write and record a new album — “Hotel TV.”

In July 2021, Lawrence released their new album, “Hotel TV,” and became the first band to release music under Beautiful Mind Records, the label of Grammy-winning producer/songwriter/artist Jon Bellion, who co-produced and co-wrote the songs on the album along with Clyde, Gracie and their bandmates Jordan Cohen and Jonny Koh.

The tracks on Hotel TV have garnered tens of millions of streams across all platforms and have had multiple viral moments on Tik Tok and Instagram. Most recently, the album’s lead single, “Don’t Lose Sight,” was featured in an international Microsoft commercial, which propelled it into the Top 20 on the USA Shazam Pop Charts. The single is receiving airplay on Top 40 radio and is playing on over 100 multi-format stations across the country. The band also performed “Don’t Lose Sight” on Jimmy Kimmel Live.

“Some of the songs on the album were pre-pandemic,” said Gracie Lawrence.

“Most of them were started with the initial idea in 2019 but almost none were finished,” said Clyde. “We did release two singles in 2019.”

Grace said, “The pandemic didn’t change any of the songs but some – like ‘Don’t Lose Sight’ – took on a new meaning. It became an uplifting song during that time.”

The New York-based band has its roots in New England.

“With this band, it’s mostly people I met in college when I was studying at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island,” said Clyde. “Our first album was ‘Breakfast,’ which came out in 2016. We went on the road from there. We spent a couple years doing pretty intense touring. Then, we went in the studio to make ‘Living Room.’”

Gracie Lawrence said, “We recorded ‘Living Room’ late 2017 into early 2018. We were always touring and found time in between tours to record.  Whenever we were home, we’d do more recording.”

The band line-up of Lawrence features Clyde Lawrence (Keys, Vocals), Gracie Lawrence (Vocals), Sam Askin (Drums), Sumner Becker (Alto Sax), Jordan Cohen (Tenor Sax), Michael Karsh (Bass), Jonny Koh (Guitar), and Marc Langer (Trumpet).

“We basically record everything in our sax player Jordan’s home studio in Long Island,” said Gracie. “We did most of ‘Living Room’ there and also most of ‘Hotel TV’ there as well.”

Lawrence is versatile but is primarily a pop-soul band.

When Clyde was at Brown University, he started a soul, pop and funk band with drummer Sam Askin, bassist Michael Karsh, guitarist Jonny Koh, trumpeter Marc Langer and saxophonists Sumner Becker and Jordan Cohen. The band naturally found itself immersed in soul music. Gracie, who already was an established actor with film and Broadway credits, joined the band. Lawrence moved forward from there.

Video link for Lawrence – https://youtu.be/VMs-l9Hru-I.

The show, which is a co-bill with MisterWives, will also feature Winnetka Bowling Lage as the opening act.

The show on June 18 will start at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $35.

Other upcoming acts at Franklin Music Hall are Belle and Sebastian on June 17 and Midnight Oil on June 22.

Over the next four days, Jamey’s House of Music (32 South Lansdowne Avenue, Lansdowne, 215-477-9985, www.jameyshouseofmusic.com) offers a quartet of attractive shows starting with jazz on Thursday followed by blues on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

On June 16, it will be time for the “Thursday Night Jazz Jam” featuring Kelly Meashey. The Dave Reiter Trio lays down the backing for some out of this world jazz to happen from 8-10 p.m. every Thursday.

Reiter is a long-time jazz pro and is equally at home on the seven-string guitar, Nord keyboard or our top of the line Hammond organ setup. Bill Marconi, whose name is known to jazz aficionados around the world, is on drums. Holding down the bottom on most nights is first-call Philly bassist, George Livanos.

Jamey’s has started a popular “Guest Singer Series” featuring many of the best singers in the region performing a set from 7-8 p.m. with the backing of the Dave Reiter Trio and occasional guest musicians. The upcoming schedule is: June 16 – Kelly Meashey; June 23 – Lorraine Barrett; June 30 – Geraldine Oliver; July 7 – Lisa Chavous; TBA – Wendy Simon Sinkler; August 18 – Greg Farnese.

Kelly Meashey uses her voice like an instrumentalist creating unique vocal and rhythmic textures in a wide range of styles from Be Bop to R & B. She gives uncompromising attention to the meaning and emotion of a song never playing it safe and letting the music take her where it needs to go.

The concert on June 17 will feature the Jackson Taylor Band.

Taylor is a young, but experienced blues-rock musician based out of the Philadelphia suburbs of New Jersey. The Jackson Taylor Band specializes in rocking blues tunes written by the greats; BB King, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Walter Trout, Joe Bonamassa and classic rock such as Pink Floyd and Lynyrd Skynyrd.

The band has been discovered by the great Walter Trout, who not only has taken them under his wing but is now taking them on his tours as show openers.

On June 18, the headliners will be Blue Heart Records artists Teresa James and Bobby Gentilo. Houston, Texas native, GRAMMY-nominated contemporary blues artist Teresa James delivers soul-drenched vocals and piano, moving easily from Texas-style grease and blues into Memphis soul or New Orleans-flavored grooves and all points in between with fun and abandonment.

James will be joined by international producer, recording artist and performer, Bobby Gentilo. A native of Washington D.C., Gentilo was infected by Go-Go — a blend of funk, soul and blues music unique to the region. Later, many trips to Clarksdale, Mississippi, James’ music was heavily influenced by the raw, deep groove of Delta and Hill Country blues.

The weekend closes out with “Sunday Blues Brunch & Jam” featuring the Philly Blues Kings with Maci Miller on June 19.

Blues lovers and players have made Jamey’s their home away from home and know that this is the best place to come for some really good and inexpensive eats, ales on tap from Crooked Eye Brewery, fresh ground coffee and espresso, great music, and friendly people.

The open mic jam runs from 1-3 p.m. and the smoking hot Philly Blues Kings lays down a set from noon-1 p.m. to get things rolling.

If you want more blues, you’ll get the opportunity in the middle of the week.

Last year, award-winning Texas guitar slinger, singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Carolyn Wonderland, who is sharing a bill with Janiva Maness on June 22 at the Sellersville Theater (24 West Temple Avenue, Sellersville, 215-257-5808, www.st94.com), celebrated the release of her Alligator Records debut album, “Tempting Fate.

The new LP, which is Wonderland’s 11th album, was produced by famed master roots musician Dave Alvin, and features Wonderland’s signature, blistering six-string and lap steel playing, her intense vocals and her original songs melding blues, rock and Americana.

In November 16, tastemaker UK magazine MOJO released its influential Best Blues Albums Of 2021 list and three Alligator Records artists were selected. Christone “Kingfish” Ingram’s “662” topped the list at #1. West Coast bluesman Chris Cain’s “Raisin’ Cain” followed at #3, and Wonderland’s label debut, “Tempting Fate,” earned the #7 position.

Things got even better for Wonderland as she was nominated for two awards in The Blues Foundation’s 43rd Blues Music Awards.

The first BMA nomination was “Song of the Year — “Fragile Peace and Certain War” written and performed by Carolyn Wonderland” and the second was “Contemporary Blues Female Artist.”

“It was cool because I got to play at the awards show,” said Wonderland, during a phone interview Wednesday afternoon. “Everybody – well not everybody – got to go up and do a few songs.’

The 43rd BMAs were be held in Memphis, Tennessee at the Renasant Convention Center on May 5.

According to Wonderland, “It’s quite the honor to be mentioned in the same sentence as my fellow nominees! Holy cow! Checking out all the nominees is a great opportunity to support artists you love, get turned on to new music, and to practice that essential act of voting! Thank you to everyone at the Blues Foundation, Alligator Records, Dave Alvin, and Intrepid Artists!”

A BMA Awards nomination is always a god way for an artist to achieve a higher profile.

“We didn’t win – but it was our first nomination,” said Wonderland. “I don’t think of myself as a ‘Contemporary Blues Female Artist.’ I’m all over the place. I guess it’s under the Americana umbrella. People can call it whatever they want.”

Wonderland has been playing guitar in John Mayall’s band on tour from 2018 until his recent retirement. She also recorded with him on his 2019 Forty Below Records release, “Nobody Told Me.”

“After being in John Mayall’s band for a couple years, I decided it was time to do some recording on my own,” said Wonderland, during a phone interview Wednesday morning.

“I was in Woodstock with my friend Cindy Cashdollar, who is a great lap steel player. She asked me who I’d like to do the album with, and I said – Dave Alvin. She called him and he said yeah.”

Wonderland and her band — Kevin Lance and Bobby Perkins – tracked the album in their hometown of Austin, Texas at Stuart Sullivan’s Wire Recording with Dave Alvin producing.

“I’ve been a fan of Dave Alvin since I was a kid,” said Wonderland. “I’m a huge fan. I love him.

“We made the album at Wire Recording in January 2020. We just captured the joy in less than a week.”

The album featured a lot of top-flight guests.

According to Wonderland, “We were super lucky to have Dave, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Red Young, Cindy Cashdollar, Marcia Ball, Shelley King, and Jan Flemming all lend their extreme talents in the studio.”

The timing was right.

“The magic trick was that it was January when most of these musicians weren’t on tour. Even Cindy (Cashdollar) was in town.”

Wonderland, who was born Carolyn Bradford in Houston, has been making music her whole life.

“When I was a kid, music was the only thing that would hold my attention,” said Wonderland. “My mom had a guitar, and my aunt had a trumpet. I learned to play and then started doing shows. My first gig was in Houston when I was 14 or 15.

“I played Sellersville Theater in John Mayall’s band. For this show, I’m being joined by Shelley King on guitar and vocals. I went from a trio to a quartet. My bass player is Naj and my drummer is Nooch.”

Video link for Carolyn Wonderland — www.youtube.com/watch?v=GTh-rlPIpSY.

The show at the Sellersville Theater (24 West Temple Avenue, Sellersville, 215-257-5808, www.st94.com) on June 22 is a co-headline show featuring Carolyn Wonderland and Janiva Maness.

The concert will start at 8 p.m.

Tickets are $29.50 and $45.

Other upcoming shows at the Sellersville Theater (24 West Temple Avenue, Sellersville, 215-257-5808, www.st94.com) are Quinn Sullivan on June 16, Eileen Ivers on June 17, Boney James on June 18, Peter Asher and Jeremy Clyde on June 19, Black Sabbitch on June 20, and Malpass Brothers on June 21.

The Candlelight Theatre (2208 Millers Road, Arden, Delaware, 302- 475-2313, www.candlelighttheatredelaware.org) is in the penultimate weekend of its third production run of 2022. “Clue On Stage” is running now through June 26.

“Clue: On Stage” is adapted from the Paramount Pictures film written by Jonathan Lynn and the board game from Hasbro, Inc. written by Sandy Rustin.

It’s a dark and stormy night, and you’ve been invited to a very unusual dinner party.

Each of the guests has an alias, the butler offers a variety of weapons, and the host is, well . . . dead. When their host turns up dead, they all become suspects. Led by Wadsworth the butler, Miss Scarlett, Professor Plum, Mrs. White, Mr. Green, Mrs. Peacock, and Colonel Mustard race to find the killer as the body count stacks up.

The play is a hilarious farce-meets-murder mystery that will leave both cult-fans and newcomers in stitches as they try to figure out…WHO did it, WHERE, and with WHAT!”

“Clue On Stage” is a madcap comedy that will keep audiences guessing until the final twist.

“Clue On Stage” is running now through June 26 at the Candlelight Theatre. Tickets, which include dinner, beverages and dessert, are $65.50 for adults and $33 for children (ages 4-12).

On June 16, the theater will host its monthly edition of the Candlelight Comedy Club at 7:30 p.m.

The headline act for the June show will be Chris Monty and the feature will be LaTice.

In his stand-up, Monty channels a refreshing and unique style of the 1960’s cool funnyman mixed with a modern chic. His unique take on current topics and storytelling are reminiscent of the comics that would keep The Rat Pack in stitches for weeks. He spans generations in that older crowds love his cool, retro style and younger crowds see a cadence that they haven’t seen on stage. I

His stand-up comedy special titled “Just Be Happy” can be found on Drybarcomedy.com and “What’s the Worst That Could Happen” (Amazon Prime). He has also had many television & film appearances such as Vinyl (HBO), Red Oaks (Amazon Prime), Paul Bart: Mall Cop 2 (Sony Pictures), Kevin Can Wait (CBS), and Orange is the New Black (Netflix).

Two-and-a-half years ago, HumblemanBand, one of the Philadelphia area’s longest-running rock bands, released its most recent album, “Beautiful Day.” The album officially dropped with a “HumblemanBand CD Release Party” at Rittenhouse Soundworks in November 2018.

On November 2019, HumblemanBand played a special area show at its favorite local haunt — the Mermaid Inn in Germantown. Little did they know it was to be their last show for an extended period of time.

Now, after a long layoff caused by COVID-19, HumblemanBand is hitting the stage again. On June 18, the band is headlining a show at Dawson Street Pub (100 Dawson Street, Philadelphia,www.dawsonstreetpub.com.)

“The HumblemanBand was formed in 1999,” said guitarist/songwriter/vocalist/founding member Charlie Cooper, during a phone interview from his home in Germantown. “I was in a band with our drummer Buck Buchanan. Three of us were living near each other in South Philly and we gradually picked up people.

“The third guy was bassist Bruce Koch, who just died two years ago from a stroke. That was a real loss – as a friend and as a bandmate. We weren’t sure we were going to pick up the pieces. We were using hired hands to fill in. We then added a permanent bass player – Boz Heinly, who lives in Plymouth Meeting.

“Now, there are five of us in the band and we get along really well musically and as friends. We have a lot of respect for each other.”

The band also has had respect for COVID-19.

“When COVID shut down things, we shut down,” said Cooper. “I was just laying low – playing guitar. We started up again in September 2021, but that didn’t last long because of omicron.

“I went through a dry period during lockdown. Then I got introduced to ‘The Artist’s Way.’ You have to do writing exercises every day and it helped. I ended up writing three new songs.”

“The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity” is a 1992 self-help book by American author Julia Cameron. The book was written to help people with artistic creative recovery, which teaches techniques and exercises to assist people in gaining self-confidence in harnessing their creative talents and skills. The program is focused on supporting relationships in removing artistic blocks and fostering confidence.

“Things were chugging along and then our previous vocalist Kim Epson decided she wanted to do things elsewhere,” said Cooper. “So, we got a new singer.”

The band’s current lineup includes Wain Ballard on guitar, Katie Tuner Drake on vocals, Heinly on bass, Buchanan on drums and Cooper on vocals and guitar.

“We seem to have a cycle of putting out an album every five years,” said Cooper.  “We put out an album a few years ago called ‘Least Bad of Humbleman 1984-2009.’ That album was a 25-year compilation starting with our days in 1984 as a punk band called The Proles.

“Our most recent previous album was ‘Late Bloom’ in fall 2015 was self-produced – and mostly D.I.Y. “‘Beautiful Day’ was also self-produced – and also mostly D.I.Y. We recorded the album ourselves in our rhythm practice space and then did solos and vocals in my living room. For our previous album, we used CakeWalk. This time, we used REAPER.”

REAPER is a complete digital audio production application for computers, offering a full multitrack audio and MIDI recording, editing, processing, mixing and mastering toolset.

“We spent most of this year making the new album,” said Cooper. “After finishing recording it ourselves, we sent it out for the mixing. We had Scoops Dardaris do it. We were extremely happy with the mixing.

“We mastered it at Rittenhouse Soundworks in Germantown. Jim Hamilton, a percussionist and tap dancer from the Kensington area of Philly who toured with Boyz II Men, put the studio together. He’s a terrific talent – and he knows an amazing amount of people in the music world.”

HumblemanBand, a rock quintet that is socially conscious, features songs that band members have written and arranged – songs with lyrics inspired by current events.

“We went out to Standing Rock (Indian Reservation) in North Dakota,” said Cooper. “That inspired a brand-new song – ‘AIM ’21.’ The title stands for ‘American Indian in the 21st century.’

“On ‘Beautiful Day,’ Kim wrote two songs, we did two covers, and I wrote the rest. The two covers were songs by the late Gil Scott-Heron – ‘Lady Day and John Coltrane’ and ‘Alien.’ Gil Scott-Heron was a very influential voice in music and activism and most-known for his song ‘The Revolution Will Not Be Televised’ and his poetry.

HumblemanBand, like Scott-Heron, has consistently delivered social commentary and positive messages, often with humor and a light touch, using spoken word lyrics, and generally delivered with dance beat arrangement. His influence upon the band has been strong.

Video link for Humbleman Band – https://youtu.be/01Clk69MaAU.

The show at the Dawson Street Pub, which is a co-bill with Reverend Chris, will start at 9 p.m.

There is a $10 cover at the door.

Uptown! Knauer Performing Arts Center (226 North High Street, West Chester, www.uptownwestchester.org) is presenting Live at the Fillmore on June 25.

Kennett Flash (102 Sycamore Alley, Kennett Square, 484-732-8295, http://www.kennettflash.org) is hosting The Levin Brothers on June 23 and Sharon Bousquet on June 24.

118 North (118 North Wayne Avenue, Wayne, www.118northwayne.com) will host T Friends of Jerry on June 16, Joe Louis Walker on June 17, Avi Wisnia on June 18, Joey Harkum Band on June 18, Wally Smith Hammond Organ Trio on June 19, Reggae Thunder on June 19, Boulevards on June 22, Jason’s Children on June 23, Melt With You on June 25, Baked Shrimp on June 26, Wally Smith Hammond Organ Trio on June Blues Uprising on June 29 and Shred Is Dead on June 30.

The Keswick Theater (291 N. Keswick Avenue, Glenside, 215-572-7650, www.keswicktheatre.com) will host Get the Led Out on June 17 and 18, Blippi the Musical on June 19 and George Thorogood on June 22.

Mann Music Center (Mann Center, 5201 N. Parkside Avenue, Philadelphia, 215-566-7900, http://manncenter.org) is presenting Rebelution on June 17 and the Disco Biscuits on June 18 and 19.

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