February 22nd, 2012 by Ghost Writer
Over 300 invited guests will attend the first annual Tri
State Indie Music Awards on Sunday, February 26, 2012 from 6 to 10 p.m. at World Café Live, located at 3025 Walnut Street in Philadelphia. There are currently a very limited number of tickets available to the public for purchase to this exclusive industry event through World Café Live’s website
Tri State Indie will celebrate the best of the best with an award ceremony like no other. This rock and roll, red carpet affair will host an evening of stellar live performances from local and regional bands while attendees, bands, and industry professionals mix and mingle to witness their favorite indie bands, festivals and venues receive honors on stage. Over 30 different music industry gurus will serve as award presenters on stage, announcing winners in over 22 different categories, including artist of the year for different indie genres, best venue, best festival, and much more.
The TSI Music Awards live performances from local and regional bands will include:
· Kuf Knotz – MC/Host & LP Stiles as house band
· Bellflur – (BALT/DC)
· Darry Miller & The Veil (CNTL PA)
· Kalob Griffin Band – (PHL)
· Lost In Society (NJ)
· Creepoid (PHL)
All attendees will receive gift bags with freebees from the event’s
partners and sponsors and there will also be numerous free giveaways
throughout the night, including a Ultimate Ears 7 Pro Custom In-Ear
TSI Music Awards partners and sponsors
88.5 WXPN, The Sheraton University City, Optical Disc Solutions
Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka, FireBall Cinnamon Whiskey, Dr McGillicuddy’s, The Tower Theater, The TLA, VitaminWater, Ultimate Ears, Campus Philly, UTZ Snacks, Philly Weekly, KIND Snacks.
Tickets are $15 (all ages) and can be purchased through World Café
Live’s website or at the box office.
For more information, please visit www.tristateindie.com.
February 22nd, 2012 by Brenda Hillegas
“Time disappears when musicians find a common groove.”
Steve Weisberg said that in the bio on his website. Go ahead, click the link…admit you never heard of the guy before. I’ll admit to it. A few months ago, a friend in Virginia told me about him and the band he performs in- a John Denver tribute band lead by Denver look a like, Ted Vigil. The band is playing Sellersville Theatre on March 3rd, but tickets are no longer available. My friend told me how interesting Steve was to talk to when she met the band at the Birchmere in Virginia and that I should interview him. Unfortunately, the Sellersville show sold out so quickly that I can’t even encourage anyone reading this right now to go check out the show. I mean, you could call the theatre and beg, but I doubt it will work. So for now, enjoy the Q&A and keep the guy in mind for the next time he tours the area. This dude has a pretty great history in music and even if you aren’t a fan of folk or country, Steve is a kick-ass guitarist and someone worth checking out. Did I mention he used to play lead guitar for the REAL John Denver, too? Steve was lovely enough to talk to me about John Denver, touring and recording in the 70s, jamming with Steve Martin, and advice on starting a tribute band.
BH: How did you meet John Denver and did you feel that your musical style and his would mesh well?
SW: I actually moved from Austin to Aspen in 1972, to be discovered by John. I was under the impression he didn’t have a lead guitarist. That was not the case, but the misinformation served me well. When we played together, it meshed beautifully and very naturally; I never rehearsed any of his songs before we sat down to play at my interviews. I’d listened and listened, but never played them until we sat down in my living room. I knew it would be a great musical match. He hired me because he felt the same. Our two styles dovetailed very beautifully. Both of our styles are very simple and melody-driven.
BH: What was the recording process like back in the 70′s?
SW: That depended entirely on the choice of the artist, his producer, and their budget. With John, we flew through the albums, replete with mistakes that nobody held against us, or possibly never heard. On about a third of the songs on the records that are now historically his biggest, the band had only been shown the song a few minutes before what was to be ‘the take’. Later, on the road, we’d hone those songs. It was really pretty funny how it worked, and that it actually did work. It’s also worth mentioning that with all his power and clarity of purpose, he never once told me what to play. He just let me do what I felt would work at that moment.
BH: Ted Vigil looks/sounds a hell of a lot like John Denver. Aside from that, how are they alike?
SW: Looks aside, they are two different personalities. It’s funny, people compare Ted’s voice to John’s, but I don’t hear it at all. But I’ve noticed the same audience response with all the tribute artists I’ve accompanied. As far as Ted’s similarities to John, aside from the strong facial resemblance….. I see very few. Ted’s as laid back as the day is long. John was the most driven human being I have ever known. Like a fine racing machine with soul. John was really a one-of-a-kind.
BH: Now that you are touring with Vigil, do you sometimes forget who you are actually on stage with?
SW: No, never, although sometimes I do disappear into the song, into the music. Music’s always been my magic carpet. It’s that way for every one I’ve ever met in the industry.
BH: What did you do after you left the Denver’s band?
SW: I stayed in Aspen for a few years, playing ‘under the radar’, then moved back to my native Texas.
BH: How did you end up in a John Denver tribute band?
SW: The phone rang sometime after John’s death, and I was asked how much it would take to fly me to Aspen to play guitar. I was suddenly back in the music business; this time as ‘The Real McCoy Guitarist’, being hired by various tribute artists.
BH: What was it like being on the Johnny Carson show?
SW: The studio was small; tiny compared to the venues we’d been playing. It was a little underwhelming, as I had no sense of being watched by millions of TV viewers. I was just playing guitar. Like I always did, but with a little more care that my shirt was ironed.
BH: What was your favorite venue to play?
SW: Red Rocks, outside of Denver. Last time I played there, Sting had played the week before and pronounced it the best venue in the country. That had always been my feeling. I’ll get to play there this summer for the 3rd time in the last 4 years. I’m a lucky dog.
BH: There are so many tribute bands, what’s your advice to someone wanting to start one?
SW: Hmmm. I’ve always looked at music in general; not specifically through the eyes of tribute bands, which are a relatively new species. I suppose I’d say there are two things that have to exist: you have to like what you’re playing, and you have to remember why the original artist got big enough that you’re paying tribute (you have to try to capture the essence of what made all those people come out to see the original artist). For some bands, it’s all music. For John, there’s an essential honesty and accessibility that I think need to accompany the songs. John was a self-professed ‘populist artist’, so we have to go onstage just being…..regular people. Leave the attitude to the KISS tribute bands.
BH: Steve Martin used to sit in and play banjo with you? What was he like?
SW: He was very quiet offstage, until that inner madman came unleashed. When he sat in, he literally never spoke into the mike. Not a syllable. He just wanted to play banjo.. And he was (and is) a killer banjo player. One night John had a handful of guys up to the house. We started playing pool on John’s mint condition 1938 Brunswick table. Steve was losing, until he got tired of that; so he started delivering very fast jokes on the other players’ backstrokes…. We couldn’t shoot. We were crying with laughter; afraid of ripping the felt!
BH: Why didn’t he ever join Denver’s band?
SW: We never asked him to join. Actually, it was very clear that he was destined to be a superstar among comedians. Lately, he’s got a band that goes on tour playing to packed houses. He made a lot of money being funny, and in movies. I think he owns the other musicians. I’m annoyed he never tried to buy me.
BH: Have you ever played the Philadelphia area before? When/Where?
SW: Oh yeah, we played The Spectrum several times. Back in the 70’s. I remember those particular shows. As much as a musician can remember things from the 70’s.
“The most satisfying aspect of being with John was him recording some of my songs. All these years later, that’s the high mark of my career. John Denver chose to record some Steve Weisberg songs.”
February 8th, 2012 by Brenda Hillegas
I love all music…well, I’ll give all music a chance and then I’ll decide what I love. But there are two things I feel very strongly about. The first, supporting local musicians or bands who travel a thousand miles in a van that’s about to fall apart just to play for one night. The second, giving back- doing something for the greater good and not for yourself. When I pitch events for Philadelphia Weekly, I always try to look for something involving charities or non profits.
If you’ve read a lot of the articles I wrote for Origivation before I was trusted with this new editor job, you’ll know that I’m madly in love with Celtic/Folk music and I’m always running off to Irish and Scottish festivals to spend a weekend in a kilt. Last year, at the area’s largest and greatest festival (The Midwinter Scottish and Irish Festival ), I got to know Debbi Shaffer. She’s from Virginia but travels all over to support musicians and festivals. We had crossed paths a bunch of times before, but when the power went out at this festival for a few hours and she begged for some of the coffee I was able to get a hold of before chaos began, we became friends.
Debbi is a co-founder of Audacious Divas, a team who raises money for breast cancer research and awareness. So far, they’ve raised over $40,000, an amazing amount. But Debbi wanted to do something more and she called on all of our friends in the various bands we’ve met over the years to help out.
Celtic Pink Ribbon is a multi-disc compilation album that will be released this month. There’s a very good chance you’ve heard of some of these bands- many play in this area and travel an incredible distance to get here. Albannach comes from Scotland, Brother from the East Coast, Searson, Enter the Haggis and The Glengarry Bhoys from Canada. Scythian plays around here, a lot, too. Look at the list below…I know everyone reading this must have seen one of these bands before. And one is more than enough of a reason to pick up this awesome soundtrack for a cure.
The idea was born while Debbi was selling merchandise for Seven Nations, another band who shows up in the Philadelphia area many times a year. She ran her idea by one of the band members.
“He was very supportive and encouraging. I know quite a few of the bands, so I started with who I knew and branched out from there. I traveled to a dozen different festivals last year talking to different bands about the project and the support was overwhelming. Every band I approached wanted to participate . The difficult part was deciding on the songs, getting the files and legal releases together.”
I know that a lot of Origivation’s followers aren’t necessarily into this type of music, but if you’re willing to take a chance and listen to some of these artists, this CD set is a great start. You’ll be surprised. I was, too, ten years ago when I accidentally met Brother at a bookstore performance. And if it weren’t for that run in, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I would not be your editor at this magazine. There are a hundred or more bands I got to know and experience because of that one bookstore visit. Broaden your tastes and experiences in music. Do it now by taking a listen and reaching out to help cure something. You’ll feel good…after all, Valentine’s Day is coming up and whether you have someone to share the day with or not, it’s still a great time to spread some love.
Thanks for all your hard work, Debbi. More people should take a chance like you did. See ya at Midwinter! And if someone who regularly follows this blog happens to like what they hear, make sure you introduce yourself to Debbi and I at the festival in March! A few of the bands on the CD will be playing there.