John Oates Shares His Secrets for Longevity and Success Ahead of Upcoming Charleston Show

Read More
Daryl Hall and John Oates May 29, 2017 Hoagie Nation Festival Philadelphia, PA ?Stuart M Berg Daryl Hall - Guitars, Keyboards, Vocals John Oates - Guitars, Vocals Charels DeChant - Saxophone, percussion, Keyboards, Vocals Eliot Lewis - Keyboards, Vocals Klyde Jones - Bass, Vocals Shane Theriot - Guitars, Vocals Porter Carroll Jr - Percussion, Vocals Brian Dunne - Drums

By Mary Kiser and Mark A. Leon

On Saturday, September 30, one of the most successful pop rock duos in music history, Daryl Hall and John Oates will be bringing their legendary songbook to the North Charleston Coliseum.? When you think about pairings of rock royalty, a few names consistently come to mind. Lennon and McCartney, Jagger and Richards, Townshend and Daltrey and Hall and Oates.? From the #1 1977 Billboard smash ‘Rich Girl’ to the millennial re-boot of ‘You Make My Dreams’ featured in the 2009 film 500 Days of Summer, the music of Daryl Hall and John Oates continues to be featured on song lists around the world. ?Their staying power is legendary and their sound timeless including fifteen top ten Billboard hits (six number #1 singles) and an estimated 40 million albums sold.

Both men have brought a unique creative spirit to the duo and that has continued as both have pursued solo efforts.

While Daryl settled in Millerton, New York, John moved to Nashville about fifteen years ago to launch solo projects including a new collaboration album project entitled ‘Arkansas’ and the recent release of his memoirs ‘Change of Seasons’ recalling stories of the 1970’s and 80’s from his partnership with John to their groundbreaking success.

We spent a few minutes talking to John about his book, current project and upcoming visit to Charleston.

John just completed recording the studio tracks for ‘Arkansas’ a personal project focused on a collaboration of the early years of popular American music from the 1920’s and 1930’s including Delta Blues, Ragtime and Swing in Nashville.? With a great band, he will be touring this concept album of personal discovery with a 2018 album release and tour.? John explains that his move to Nashville and his solo career have been a personal re-birth and one that has fueled a new level creativity.

In its purest essence, a musician is a storyteller, relying on lyrics, harmony and rhythm to draw human emotion and share a personal experience.? This is the basis of the many stories John shares in his new book ‘Change of Seasons’ and for choosing to develop an album focused on Americana and the human spirit.

Inspiration behind lyrics

Almost every song has a basis of reality, but not every song is what it seems, as John explained.? He spent time really helping us and the fans understand that not every song’s lyrics are as simple as they seem.? Throughout the memoirs, John gets into detail on the events that led to many of the songs we all know and love.? Here is a little snap shot of some of his cherished stories:

Picture, 3:30 AM on a cold December night in New York City circa mid 1970’s and John is sitting in a soul food restaurant on Bleeker Street in Greenwich Village and an attractive girl with a red tutu and cowboy boots walks in.? Two lonely souls in the West Village share a moment.? John’s asks her out for New Year’s and then gets stood up.? On New Year’s Day, John begins to pen lyrics.? Later joined by Daryl, the classic ‘She’s Gone’ is born.

How often do you meet that sexy, hot girl that just uses men and spits them out?? For most of us, that is the story of Maneater.? For John and Daryl, that was only the inspiration.? ‘Maneater’ is a metaphor for New York City.? In the 1970’s and 80’s New York City was wrought with government corruption, racial tensions, limited employment opportunities, the local economy in turmoil, rampant crime and subways cars were used as canvases for street artists.? Living in this time, was a force of inspired creativity for many artists, writers and musicians and for John and Darryl, this was no exception.

In the Chapter Road Trip (Page 203) of ‘Change of Seasons’, not only does he describe the pilgrimage to Los Angeles to work on a new album, but the vivid details of his storytelling put you in the backseat.? When they hit the Arizona border on Route 53, John wrote, “140 miles an hour through Indian Country!? Down the empty road I coaxed the revs up in fourth gear and shut down only to crest a rise blindly.? From there on it was 100/110 for 40 or 50 miles”? There was an essence of Jack Kerouac and the spirit of the road emulated in these recollections.

Staying grounded as a celebrity all these years

John was raised with good parents in a middle class setting with a solid sense of values and common sense.? This level headed upbringing, along with a strong foundation of friends and collaborators, has kept John focused on the important things.? There were moments, like all of us face, that try a man’s spirit.? On the cusp of losing millions due to poor management, John felt his world crashing, but looking back, he saw this event as the greatest moment of his life.

As John described, “It woke me up from my pop star coma”? It forced him to re-evaluate his life and principles.? It was then he sold his possessions and moved to Colorado where he met his future wife.? With a beautiful family, fans around the world, a creative renaissance of new music and ideas, John is clearly in the right state of mind.

During our talk, John explained that the book made him truly realize that so many unique things happened in his life that any one could have changed the course of history.? If he had chosen one of three other schools other than Temple, he may never have met Daryl.? If his first aired record in 1967 wasn’t on the same time as Daryl’s the idea of partnership may have never been planted.? If the financial worries never came to light, he would never have moved to Colorado and met his wife.

These are the stories shared throughout the book.? For fans of music, travel, free spirit, dreams and hope, there is so much to offer through John’s words.

Knowing how many devoted fans are in Charleston we asked John, “What are your thoughts about coming to Charleston, South Carolina?”

“We have an amazing band.? I love playing with Daryl after all these years. We still have a great relationship. I know Daryl has an affinity for Charleston.? He loves it there.? We have an incredible band and have been on tour since May.? The band is well oiled, we put on a pretty good show and I am excited for it.” explained John.

Spending time with John really helped us understand the man behind the guitar.? He is impassioned with a soul for music, a love for the creative process and a genuine appreciation for the fans.

In his own words, “Honestly, what I care about is my music.? I care about creating, I care about writing, I care about writing the next best song, working with an inspiring person, making another record, playing a great show in a place perhaps a place I have never been; these are the things that matter to me more than anything else.”

We want to thank John for his generous time and for John and Daryl for bringing their duo of magic to Charleston.

A few tickets are still available for Saturday’s (September 30th) show – Click here for ticket information

Order Change of Seasons by John Oates

*Article Header Photo Credit:? Stuart Berg

Kenny George Band Brings Rock and Americana to Charleston – Interview

By Mark A. Leon

The essence of music is found in the soul of the songwriter.? The ability to harness emotion, derive an engaging composition and share that vulnerability to an audience is the true spirit of lyrical and musical poetry.? Artists enter into this world for various reasons; fame, fortune, girls, boys, but a rare few are born with a spirit to sore beyond the material images behind musicians and expose us to the human side of existence where life, music, art and emotion come together as one.? A little band from Aiken possess just those rare traits, Kenny George Band.

I had an opportunity to sit with lead singer Kenny George last weekend, ahead of their appearance at The Royal American on April 29th, and what he shared reinforced my own personal passion for music.

Now 31, Kenny began playing his first instrument at age 8.? Taking up the violin, because it was one of only two instrument taught in his small Southern school.? Now, 24 years later, Kenny and his band are playing 180 shows a year, about to release a new album and on the cusp of a breakout.

Along with Kenny, Bucky Brown, Center Ely, Brooks Andrews and Scott Rankin comprise this Southern rock and acoustic band who has been winning audiences over for years and we are excited to join the fan base and fortunate enough to learn more about Kenny and the band.

Inspired by the Americana sound and Southern California music scene, Kenny has been influenced by some of the greatest artists of our generation including Whiskeytown, Wilco, Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, George Jones, Kris Kristofferson, Jackson Browne and The Eagles. ?This fusion of influences coupled by a band who combines acoustic and rock, makes for a symphony of music and lyrics that derive a memorable live music experience.

In my research, I found the tune “Hard to Think About”, a moving song of heartbreak with a message of hope.? I asked Kenny about this tune.? “It is written about an ex that I had back home in Aiken.? I wrote it very hung over on my couch after we broke up.? It is one of those ones that came out easily and quickly.? We have been working to bring it back into the shows. The steel part is so pretty.”

This started to paint a picture of my head.? Often-times, we romanticize a song expecting a grand fantasy of a story to compliment the lyrics, but when we learn the story behind the song, we soon realize, musicians are human like each of us, but they use music as their outlet.? It was this realism that shows the raw courage of this band.

When we sat down and got comfortable, Kenny got candid and here is a little of our conversation:

CD: “How do you mentally prepare for such a physically rigorous tour schedule each year given that you have done over 240 shows in the last two years.”

KG: “In honesty, we fell into it.? I don’t think too much about it.? We try to buckle down.? The more we get to know the venues, the easier it gets.? We want to make sure we are well rehearsed.? It soon becomes second nature.? The hard part is missing home.? It can be emotionally exhausting.? Sometimes, when you finally get a weekend off you don’t know what to do because you are so accustomed to performing every night.”

CD: “What will fans expect from the new album ‘Borrowed Trouble’ that they may not have heard in Gunshy?”

KG: “There are a lot of changes to the new album.? This record is more like a rock record with a country sound to it (instrumentation).? Gunshy was written over a period of 5 or 6 years.? These songs, I wrote all together.? It is a road record with love songs written into it.? Gunshy was more acoustic based.

We also worked with Shawn Gess (producer) to make a more-beefy sounding record.? We wanted a more united and cohesive sound.? Tried more rhythm to create a more live sound.

We use Studio DigitalHalo in Aiken.? I’ve been working with Shawn almost 15 years.? We are so well connected at this point.?? Shawn worked on my very first single.? The current band members have been together for almost 10 years now.? The band glues together well on stage now and they have a strong tight sound.”

CD: “Do you feel the Southeast is enough to draw inspiration or is there more of the world you need to see to harness your sound?”

KG: “I think where we live in the Southeast you could live for 80 years and be able to write something new, even live here forever and be inspired.? Though, I really want to grow the band and its market and range and experiences.? I haven’t done a lot of major traveling outside of the band.? We have gone to St Louis and Jersey and seen a lot of cool stuff, but I would like to get out more and grow the fan base.? This last album is influenced heavily by the road and our experiences over the last few years.”

CD: “Much like the iconic Bruce Springsteen, you are using your live performances to connect with your fans.? What do you want your fans to take away from your shows?”

KG: “Running on Empty album was a huge influence.? I probably have 3 copies next to me.? That entire album is about life and how the road treats you.? I want everyone to have a really good time listening to something they can connect to.? I am bad at talking about this stuff.? I want to make an emotional connection through the lyrics, tone and performance.? I want them to feel better after a live show.? When you talk to them and get to know them from town to town, you hear personal stories.? Little things like that mean a lot to me.

We got an email last week from a girl and her boyfriend who saw us five years ago when they first developed feelings for each other. and now five years later, they are coming again and wanted a signed copy of the album.? Personal stories like that are so important to us.”

CD: “Tell me about the roots of the band.? How did you all come to be?”

KG: “My father was a really talented dude.? One of his buddies played music.? When I started playing electric guitar, his buddy asked if they could sit in during the practice space.? That was the first time with Bucky Brown (drummer).? I sat in on a couple of shows.? It was sweet they let me watch.? They did covers and had fun with me being the 16-year old kid on stage.? That was 17 years ago.? I started a few high school and college bands with different folks.? When I moved home at 22, I knew I wanted to do my own project, so I called Bucky.? He brought in a petal steel guitar player.? Center Ely.? We also brought in a bass player named Charles, but we couldn’t buckle down on a bass player.? In fact, went through 6 or 7 bass players for the first 3 or 4 years.

I found my drummer, while buying drum heads at a shop in Augusta.? Brooks Andrews was the little brother of the cashier at the music store.? We got introduced and the rest is history.? Now, he is the best guitar player in the band.

Scott came in a year and a half later.? He called me to fill in for his band.? We had met, but never played together.? It seemed seamless when we played this 4-hour gig.? We just clicked.

We started doing acoustic shows together and then added Scott permanently to the band.? Scott brought in a full sound on vocals and extra meat on rhythm guitar.

I love acoustic, so getting into electric was a big transition for me.

We all had various experiences on the road so had a lot to share as we came together.

Scott brought the business side together.? He has brought a lot out of us.”

As the interview started to wind down, we got into a discussion about the upcoming tour.

“I am excited about the entire tour coming up.” Kenny exclaimed.?? They are opening with a big alley show in their hometown of Aiken, supported by the mayor who is also a bass player.? As Kenny put it, “we want to put on a big show for the hometown fans.”? What a way to motivate a big tour on the road.

“Royal American show will be amazing.? We have played there twice and excited to get back there.? It was a blast with a great crowd.”

“For the first leg, we wanted to pick places we knew we would get the crowd we wanted.? We want to create an atmosphere.? We have rehearsals in the next few weeks to make sure we are tight.? I have new songs I am working on we will perform.”

On April 29th, you can catch the Kenny George Band bring rock, Americana and a steel guitar to the stage as they belt out new tunes and old favorites.

 

 

Amazing Charlotte Female Americana Duo, Henry River Honey Brings their Sound to Charleston, SC

Press Release:? Henry River Honey is a female Americana Duo from Charotte,NC consisting of:

Tracy Horton (guitar, foot percussion, and vocals)
Shealee Cousino (violin, mandolin, and vocals)

We will be in the Charleston area playing a few shows: July 27 at Awendaw Green, July 28 showcase at the Roasting Room in Bluffton,SC and July 29 Morgan Creek Grill in Isle of Palms.

We would love a write up in the Charleston Daily if there is room to feature Henry River Honey, the shows we have coming up and our recent Carolina Music Award nomination.

Our website is www.henryriverhoney.com
You can read our bio listen to our EP and find more information on the site.

Here are some links to our Youtube channel:

Saigon – Live at The Double Door Inn – August 22, 2015
By My Name – WBTV News Spot – November 14, 2015
Devil Made Me Do It- Live at the Double Door Inn – January 16, 2016

“This Charlotte-based Americana duo – Shealee Cousino and Tracy Horton – plays a variety of instruments as they trade off vocals. Foot percussion’s kicked around while the ladies play guitar, fiddle, mandolin or focus on their harmonies. Solid songwriting that can bounce between heart-wrenching and foot tapping keeps HRH’s audience focused” – Jeff Hahne, Creative Loafing

 

 

Come for Weezer, Stay for Panic! At The Disco

20160619_194121-1-01 (2)
By, Minta Pavliscsak

The sleepy little town of Daniel Island, South Carolina was rocked to life Sunday evening when the sounds of Panic! At The Disco and Weezer came streaming from the rows of hanging speakers at the Volvo Car Stadium.

In unison, the crowd jumped to their feet with excitement as “Miserlou,” more notably known as the theme song from Pulp Fiction, suddenly started pumping through the speakers as the outline of a red car appeared, racing across the stage screen. Next entered 29 year old, Vegas grown Brendon Urie, and so it began.

I remember Panic! At The Disco when they first emerged onto the music scene. They showed promise, but then they seemed to fade only to return with what I though was a more mainstream sound, so honestly I lost interest. I am here to 20160619_203226-01 (2)tell you, Mr. Urie proved me completely wrong in every sense of the word this past Sunday night!

Between the bold sounds of the band, Brendon’s unbelievable vocal range -the kind of range that could only come from a deal with the Devil himself- and the energy coming from both the stage and the crowd, feeding off of one another, you had what made for a perfect opening set. I have never seen SO much pure, raw energy on stage, and Brendon even did a couple of -rather impressive- backflips!

The highlights of their set were definitely when Brendon took to his drum set, side of drummer Dan Pawlovich, for a dual drum solo/dueling drums/kick-ass this-is-what-we-do moment, and equally as kick-ass, their tribute to Queen with a crowd pleasing “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

Among the playlist was “Death of A Bachelor,” “Emperor’s New Clothes,” “Hallelujah,” “Girls/Girls/Boys,” “Miss Jackson,” “Crazy = Genius” and “Nine In The Afternoon.”

Thank you Panic! At The Disco for a fantastic performance!

The set change was a bit on the long side. However, it was well worth the wait, and sitting under an almost full moon on the eve of the first day of summer with a cool breeze, enjoying a tasty beverage, how could one complain?! Finally it happened –what we had all came there for– the lights went out and that was our cue to once again jump to our feet, scream as loudly as we could, and welcome to the stage the one, and only Weezer.

I feel that it is important to mention?20160619_222505here that Weezer is what we would refer to as an “old school”
band. That’s not a bad thing by any means! In a lot of ways, it is has its advantages, bonuses even. Their debut album, The Blue Album was released in May of 1994. I was in 5th grade at the time, and have been a fan ever since. {Thank you to my awesomely cool parents who never attempted to censor my musical choices!} I have been to many concerts of artists who fall under this same category – The Rolling Stones, Tom Petty, Green Day, just to name a few. When going to these shows, you are excited for whatever they give you, but you always hope to hear your favorite classics, the ones that made you fall in love with the band in the first pla20160619_213749ce. Weezer did not disappoint! They got straight to the point, opening with “Hash Pipe” then tossing out giant beach balls to the crowd with “My Name Is Jonas.”

It only got better from there!

Of course they played some of their new stuff which, holding true to Weezer form, was awesome, but it was peppered with their classics as well. A few we were graced with were “Beverly Hills,” “Pork and Beans,” “Everybody Get Dangerous,” “(If You’re Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To,” “Say It Ain’t So,” “Buddy Holly,” and “Undone – The Sweater Song.” Weezer wasted no time with a bunch of talking, only doing what they do best, rocking out.

As they said goodnight and walked off stage, the entire stadium chanted their name “WEEZER, WEEZER, WEEZER,” begging for their return. Showing sincere appreciation for their fans, they complied and returned for a couple more jams. My longtime dream had come true. Truly a magical night of musical greatness.

Weezer, you rock.

 

20160619_194730-02 (2)