Also in this week’s Scott Tady column: A new single from local blues standout Bobby Thompson; a fun tribute show last week in Beaver Falls; and your Beaver County Times getting love from a CBS drama.
You might be wondering: Is the B.E. Taylor alumni band playing another Christmas show in Beaver Falls?
Well, not this year.
But wait, there’s still good news.
The Beaver Falls charitable organization Tiger Pause has announced it will provide bus transportation to New Castle on Dec. 14 to see the band’s “Feel The Love: Celebrating a B.E. Taylor Christmas Show" at the Scottish Rite Cathedral. The concert stars longtime Taylor bandmates like guitarist Rick Witkowski, keyboardist Hermie Granati, bassist-vocalist Jeff Jimerson and Taylor’s son, B.C., on drums
The bus trip is part of a fundraiser by the Tiger Pause youth ministry that will include a dinner in their new after-school facility (Reach Church in downtown Beaver Falls) at 5:30 p.m. before the bus heads to the concert.
Tickets for the fundraiser dinner, transportation and top-notch seats for the concert are $100 at tigerpause.net or 724-843-2384.
If you’d rather drive to New Castle yourself, regular tickets are $25 to $55 at the box office.
Reprising the magic of the longtime popular Christmas shows by the late Taylor, an Aliquippa native, the alumni band with its multimedia stage show also will headline Heinz Hall in Pittsburgh on Dec. 16-17.
Rock yinz like a hurricane
This past Friday, Beaver County’s fast-rising blues band Bobby Thompson & The Groove released a single, “Hurricane.”
The reigning champs in the Blues Society of Western Pennsylvania Blues Challenge pay homage to blues traditions during the song, sprinkling in lyrical references to a train, a hurricane, and someone headed down South while on the run.
Rich Mannion layers in soulful keyboard sounds and Rob Sinchak and Cody Fritzley keep the bass and drums sturdy, as frontman Thompson pulls out cool guitar tricks and licks, heightening the drama before suddenly zooming off into high gear at about the 2:30 mark.
“Hurricane” reminds us why many music scene observers anointed Thompson, of Hopewell Township, as a chosen one to help spearhead a new generation of blues acts regionally. One of the old guard greats, Norm Nardini, saw a Bobby Thompson & The Groove gig recently and posted on Facebook how impressed he was.
Thompson & The Groove opened for English blues-rock stalwarts Savoy Brown last weekend at the venerable Moondog’s blues bar in Blawnox.
Thompson never tires, with another busy weekend of gigs this weekend culminating with time in the studio planned for today, cutting tunes with another group he’s in, the country-rock-minded Justin Wade Band.
On Tuesday, the BTG makes its debut at downtown Pittsburgh hipster spot, Wolfie’s Pub.
By the time they got to B-Falls
In the midst of touring the nation with his Glen Campbell tribute show, Jeff Dayton made sure to learn a special song last Tuesday before his first-ever Beaver Falls concert.
Dayton and his four-man backing band tried out a bit of the theme song from “Norwood,” a 1970 film pairing country-western star Campbell with victorious Super Bowl III quarterback and Beaver Falls native Joe Namath.
“Sing along if you know the words,” Dayton said, assured that practically nobody in the Beaver Falls Middle School auditorium did. “That movie laid an egg at the box office,” he said with a smile.
Campbell readily admitted he wasn’t a great actor said Dayton, his longtime band leader, recounting another story about Campbell joking it was his mediocre performance in “True Grit” that made John Wayne’s deemed Oscar-worthy by comparison.
Through songs and personal stories, Dayton shined a compelling light on the career of Campbell, painting a picture of a good-humored but fiercely competitive artist, rightfully proud of both his guitar strumming and his golf swing.
Dayton started the show’s two-song set with “Galveston” and quickly got to other Campbell gems like “Gentle on My Mind.” Crisp piano and tasty, twangy guitar set the tone, as Dayton also did a few tunes from Campbell’s buddies Merle Haggard and Roger Miller. And yes, the Beaver Falls crowd sang along loudly to Miller’s classic “King of The Road.”
Dayton launched the show’s second act alone on stage strumming an acoustic. He reminded/informed the crowd that before his ex-boss Campbell became a famed solo star, he had been part of The Wrecking Crew, a young buck group of ace studio musicians who played on a plethora of hits.
You’re hearing Campbell’s guitar work on everything from The Monkees’ “Last Train to Clarksville” to Frank Sinatra’s “Strangers in the Night;” and the Beach Boys’ “Good Vibrations” to the Mamas and The Papas’ “California Dreamin’,” Dayton said.
Embedded in the studio, Dayton first got wind of “Dreams of the Everyday Housewife,” releasing the song to decent success before its original target, Gary Puckett, could. Though it all balanced out, as Campbell passed on the song “Woman, Woman,” which became a million-seller for Puckett and his band, The Union Gap.
I learned a lot and enjoyed the performance from Dayton.
Kudos to the Beaver Valley Community Concert Association for booking such a worthwhile show.
Local bands heard on The X
OK, local alt-rock bands, here’s your chance to get steady airtime on 105.9-The X.
Pittsburgh’s alternative-rock station has brought back its “Hometown for the Holidays” contest, where 10 regional bands will get one of their songs placed into regular rotation on The X for the entire month of December.
Deadline is the end of the week. To enter, visit 1059thex.iheart.com.
I’ll be one of the judges again, sitting in a room with musicians, music journalists, deejays and concert promoters, listening to the submitted contestants without knowing their identity.
Times time on TV
“S.W.A.T.” star Lina Esco noticeably wore a Beaver County Times T-shirt in the Oct. 30 episode of the CBS drama.
It looked very good on her, I must say.
I haven’t unearthed why she chose The Times, though CBS shows have a longstanding history of featuring random Pittsburgh scenery.
Whatever the reason, on behalf of my Times colleagues, we thank you “S.W.A.T.”
Scott Tady is entertainment editor at the Beaver County Times and easy to reach at email@example.com.