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Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Karrin Allyson


      I had an opportunity to attend the Karrin Allyson show this past Thursday night at The Fox Theater. Those in attendance got a special treat as the Hutchinson Community College Jazz Ensemble performed first to open the show. What a treat!


     The jazz group, Badinage from HCC, sang four songs which included an opening jazz classic by  Duke Ellington and ended with an Eddie Jefferson tune, Jeannine, a spirited tune with a 70's feel to it. I went online to listen to the original version of the song, and Badinage's version of the song, plus seeing it performed live with all that high energy, it just wasn't the same. Badinage did it better than the original performance. So much energy and soul on that stage. Just seeing this group in action was worth the price of admission. Badinage was polished and professional as they come.


     After a brief change out, Karrin Allyson, a native of Great Bend, Kansas who now resides in New York, took to the stage. She brought along her band who hails from such far off points as Topeka and Kansas City, Missouri. After introducing her band the group began to play and Allyson began singing some of the most polished vocals ever heard. Her rendition of the Billy Joel song: And So It Goes, nearly brought me to tears. It was beautifully done.

     Her voice has a rich timbre to it which has been honed by years of singing these powerful jazz standards, as well as a variety of other music. She sang a couple of songs from Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Oklahoma" that I found unique and lovely in a way that I never had before. I'll never think of them any other way after hearing Allyson's performance.

     Truly a feast for the ears, hearing Badinage followed by Karrin Allyson. Check out Allyson's website: http://www.karrin.com/. There's music to listen too on the site. If you missed this show, you missed a couple of amazing performances. The Historic Fox Theatre serves up terrific musical fare and if you haven't attended a show there, you need to check it out. Check out The Fox Theatre's website for upcoming shows: http://www.hutchinsonfox.com/





Thursday, November 10, 2016

Marshall Matthews and The Memphis Kings

     The Historic Fox Theatre in Hutchinson played host to a rockin' evening of Elvis music this past Saturday night. This show was, also, a fund raiser for First Call For Help.


     Brian Lee Dunning, Oklahoma native and national recording artist, opened the show with a block of eight songs, four Elvis hits and a couple of Johnny Cash tunes. I love to watch this guy on stage. He has so much fun up there. Dunning literally seems to have no bones. The guy can bend and contort in ways I've never seen before. He was super polished and professional. Not only does he deliver an appealing visual experience but he can really sing.


     Then the Memphis Kings took to the stage. They played their signature theme song which shines a light on everyone in the band. Truly amazing talent and great to listen too. Also very polished and professional. These guys do a great job of backing up Marshall Matthews as Elvis.


     Marshall Matthews took to the stage as the Memphis Kings wound down their signature song and started off his set with the likes of Heartbreak Hotel, Hound Dog, and All Shook Up. It was one fast paced song after another. The energy on the stage was electrifying. Matthews performance has improved one hundred percent from the last time I saw him in concert. He blew me away! Obviously he's had a lot of bookings and plenty of practice. I overheard someone in the crowd say that he sounded as though he'd just come from Vegas, he was that good. He can hold his own up against any Elvis impersonator.

     During his first set Matthews introduced the audience to the sponsors for the evening; The Double Mint Twins, originally from Caldwell, Kansas who now reside in Hutchinson. These two lovely ladies appeared as The Doublemint Twins in Wrigley's Gum commercials.

    At intermission, Kathy Davis from First Call For Help took to the stage to explain about her organization and how they help within the Hutchinson Community. Recently First Call was able to help a veteran in his 70's who was homeless. With the help of a local landlord who was willing to work with this fella he was able to secure a place to live but his furniture consisted of a lawn chair. First Call was able to pull together resources to furnish the home and provide all the necessities of life, including dishes, a bed, etc.

     Also at intermission, two other performers took to the stage. John Mendoza made his vocal debut singing three hits that included Chantilly Lace. Then Curtis Kuhn was center stage singing a variety of Vince Gill songs.

     After the break, Matthews returned with the Memphis Kings and the crowd began rocking and rolling and what not. The show had everything from a laser light show, to incredible sound, a wonderful MC, polished and professional vocalists, an amazing band, special guests, and it benefited a local helping agency. A good time was had by all!

     Check out Matthews website: http://www.marshallandmemphiskings.com/ to learn more about the group. And if you'd like to know more about First Call For Help or would like to donate your time, talent, supplies or money, check out First Call's website: http://www.firstcallreno.com/

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Paxico Blues Festival

     I've attended a lot of live music events and the one I attended over the weekend in Paxico Kansas was quite unique.

     Here is this little town, near Topeka, with roughly 300 people living there. On the third Saturday of September there's this amazing blues festival. One stage, five performers, and the festival runs from 11:00 am to 6:00 pm. This year the headliner was Hamilton Loomis, who I saw perform in Salina, a few years back. The other groups I hadn't heard of before this festival, but I believe they are all up and comers.


     First up were The Santiago Brothers. What a sound. I got to the festival near the end of their set. This group was excellent and I hate it that I missed most of their time on stage. They ended their set with an uplifting gospel song that apparently I forgot to write down the name. Oops! Check out their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/people/Santiago-Brothers/100009340197410


     Next up was Kalo. She was there with her full band. She played a great set and bantered back and forth with the audience. Clearly she was a fan favorite. She's just this little bit of a thing with this super powerful voice. When Kalo was bantering back and forth with the audience, I got a Michael Jackson vibe. I don't know why. If you read this Kalo, I mean that as a compliment. She was terrific.
Check out her website: http://www.kaloband.com/



     Then came Hector Anchondo. It was getting quite hot out by the time his set came up but you wouldn't know it. Hector and his band played their hearts out. He did a blues rift version of Black Magic Woman that blew me away. I will never be able to listen to that song the same ever again. I walked away from his set, later in the evening still humming Anchondo's version of that song.Wow!
Check out his website: http://hectoranchondo.com/


     Josh Hoyer and Soul Colossal were up next. This group was good. I'm not sure if the heat was getting to me at this point or I was just tired but this wasn't as much to my liking as some of the earlier groups. I was in the minority. The dance floor was crowded with dancers in front of the stage all jumpin' and jivin' to the beat. Pretty amazing because it was hot and the sun was beating down in front of the stage. A crowd favorite to say the least. Check out the website: http://www.joshhoyer.com/


     And then came the headliner, Hamilton Loomis. Always a class act. He's super accessible and loves the fans. He was having some issues with the sound throughout his set. Loomis wants it right and wants to make sure the fans get a quality show. It's hard when you've got the equipment outside all day and every band has different requirements. In the end, it's all about the music. Check out the website: http://www.hamiltonloomis.com/

     Not only was their music, but there was food. Several food trucks provided catering if you hadn't brought your own food and beverages. There was a wide variety of hotdogs, brats, chicken legs, pulled pork sandwiches, nachos, pretzels, and of course, bar-b-que. Oh almost forgot, the pulled pork tacos which were to die for, so yummy.

    On the sign advertising the blues festival there was an ad for the meatloaf festival which is the last Saturday in June. Who knew there was a meatloaf festival. May have to check that out next year.

     For those who wanted a little shopping with their music and food, there were antique stores and street vendors. The woman from Wichita that was selling the hand dyed hats was doing a brisk business. These hats were colorful and unique.

     It was a great festival. If sure to check out the festival next year. It's worth the trip. Here's a link to the website: http://www.paxicobluesfest.com/

*****There are hundreds of photos from the blues festival and I'll get those up as soon as I can. They'll be on my Flikr page and I'll let you know when they are available to view. It will be sometime this week.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Kelley Hunt

     Kelley Hunt returned to The McPherson Opera House this past Friday night. She brought along her full band from Chicago with her this time.


     Hunt was promoting her Beautiful Bones CD. Many of the songs were familiar ones from her last jaunt through McPherson. She also played a selection of tunes from her earlier CD's. Hunt has this beautiful melodic quality to her voice whether she's singing the blues or something with a bit more of a rock-n-roll vibe to it.

     While on stage, she becomes one with the music and I think this helps to transport her audience to the same place. Proof of this was the folks who got up to dance during the concert. They were lost in the music, had become one with the tunes in the air, and simply couldn't stay seated. Meanwhile the rest of the audience was bee bopping in there seats to this truly memorable music.

     Kelley Hunt is always a hit in McPherson. She played a new tune during the encore, "Stand Up". No word yet when it will be coming out with others on a new CD but I know that plans are in the works for a new CD in the near future.

     Hunt's next stop after McPherson was Kansas City on Saturday night at The Crossroads Music Festival, then it's on to Greensburg, KS on Friday, September 30th at The Twilight Theatre. So if you were unable to attend the McPherson show, you can check out Kelley Hunt in Greensburg. Truly a memorable evening of music and song.

   

Thursday, September 1, 2016

CFTC-South Hutchinson

     Concerts For The Cause held an event this past Saturday in South Hutchinson to benefit the Nickerson Trap Club. This is a new organization that is just starting up and were in need of a fundraiser to get the organization going.


     The event was held at the community center. Performing were The Soapbox Troubadors, from Hutchinson and The Calm, from Wichita. The venue couldn't have been better. Avenue A Park has a few issues with the lack of a ceiling in the gazebo which causes the sound to be lost on occasion, and the performers having to stare into the sun as it sets during the summer. While there weren't the lovely large trees and grass at the community center, although that is on the way soon; there was plenty of shade for the audience to place their chairs, the sound was just excellent, and the bands didn't have to stare into the sun as they performed.


     If you've missed the outdoor concerts this year, this was a good time to relive those past summers. There were hot dogs, pop, and water, as well as popcorn available for purchase, It was a beautiful night with a gentle breeze. And don't forget some of the best music you will ever hear anywhere. The Soapbox Troubadors played all those well-known songs the Concerts For The Cause crowds have come to know and love. They were followed by The Calm who played terrific songs with amazing beats. The crowd couldn't sit still.

     Concerts For The Cause may be bringing the summer concert series back this next summer to South Hutchinson. Keep watching The Bee for more information next year in early spring on this possible development. The concert was a great success.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

CFTC-McPherson

     Unfortunately the fundraiser for The McPherson Dog Park was cancelled due to rain a few weeks ago and so this past Thursday, Concerts For The Cause held a make up event for The Dog Park.This was the final event for the 2016 McPherson Summer Season.


     The evenings music was provided by Cody Marceau, along with his friends Kylie and Cheyenne.  I don't know if it was stage jitters or the group just wasn't very prepared, but the first two songs were not good. Cody's guitar playing was terrific. The lyrics to the songs, however, started out strong and then got lost, finally it was just Cody playing the guitar. It was hard to tell if this was due to lack of preparation or jitters or if something else was going on.


      A cover tune of Ho Hey a tune made popular by the group The Lumineers was the first song of the night. The audience was familiar with the lyrics so not a good one to forget the words too. Marceau and the ladies persevered and as the evening wore on, the group all finally got on the same page, harmonizing well together, singing all the lyrics to each song they performed.

      I'm happy to report that The McPherson Dog Park was able to finally get their fencing in place and announced at the event that they would be stretching it on Saturday, inviting the crowd to come and help them anchor it in place.


     At the end of the concert, the summer season in McPherson drew to a close. Time to purchase that final sno cone and bag of popcorn as we say good-bye to summer. Don't forget, Concerts For The Cause-McPherson will be back next year, beginning with All Schools Day Weekend. I've heard talk of another street dance and some exciting plans are already being made for next year.

   

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Creedence Clearwater Revisited


     Founding members of CCR, Stu Cook and Doug "Cosmo" Clifford have put together a rocking good group of musicians for this new project of theirs: Creedence Clearwater Revisited.


     The band sounded amazing and true to all the classics that this group has produced. The rhythm section with Cook and Clifford kept the group cohesive. The additional members of the group add just the right finishing touch. If you close your eyes, you'd swear this was the original Creedence Clearwater Revival. It's truly a testament to Cook and Clifford that they were able to find the right mix of musicians that believe in the music, and have the ability to recreate it in its true form. I walked out of there still singing along with all the music that I'd heard earlier in the evening.  The Stiefel Theatre provided just the right acoustics to put the band's sound over the top. Truly a memorable night.