Reading Bluesfest: back to the roots

blues-fest-logo-white.jpgGoing back to my roots. On November 18th I’ll be performing at Grill then Chill as part of the Reading BluesFest. Grill then Chill is at 400 Woodward Street, Reading PA 19601.

I’ll be performing with Lamont Bates (bass), Roger Harris (guitar), and David Williams (drums). Also performing with me will be Angie of the Honeybees, and the fabulous Maria Damore.

Starts at 2pm on Sunday, Nov. 18th


Can’t wait to do this performance. Its’ been a long time coming!

Who’s who

The Divas

Angie Ezell began fronting cover bands at the age of 17 before diving into the rewarding experience of writing and performing music with two of the areas most memorable original bands, Frozen Poet and Big Beat Tornado.  More recently, she has been exploring the Classic sounds of the great Jazz, Blues and Soul singers in a project called the “HoneyBeez.” This experience has allowed her to work with some talented local artists including Lars Potteiger and Andy Burasz. Angie & the HoneyBeez have been featured in last year’s Blues Fest as well as the last few years Boscov’s Jazz Fest in Reading.

Maria Damore is one of the most versatile singers in Berks County. She has a fabulous voice and was one of the actors in Reading Theater Project’s 2016 Da Ponte opera about the life and times of Lorenzo Da Ponte, the librettist for Mozart’s best operas. She is noted for her strong, clear vocals and versatile style in covering pop, jazz, soft rock, 50s-60s-70s music, standards, Broadway, classical, and Greek folk music. She’s a featured singer in Sue Lange’s short film, Traffic Opera. Her daughter Olivia and son Jimmy are also featured.

Sue Lange is a writer, singer, and flautist. She played her unique blues-rock style of music throughout the 90s in New York City. She’s been on hiatus since the turn of the new century, but now is back with a vengeance.

The Boys in the Band

Lamont Bates (bass): After hearing stories of his father’s experiences playing as a professional drummer on the road and seeing his hero Thomas Jenkins play the bass, Lamont decided he was going to be a bass guitar. He started lessons at the age of nine and played in the school band on the Acoustic Bass. After being away from music during high school and after while serving three years in the Army, he picked the bass back up. After listening to such bass guitar heroes as Bennie Sims, Victor Bailey, John Pattitucci, and Stanley Clark perform on albums and at live shows he got inspired to start playing the Electric Bass. Since then he’s been performing in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Florida for 25 years. For thirteen of those years he’s been with the Uptown Band. Performances include stints at CNBC studio in Times Square, New York city, the Philadelphia Convention Center in Philadelphia, and the Berks Jazz Festival.

Roger Harris (guitar) played variety roadshows full time from the early seventies  through the mid nineties as vocalist, guitarist and electric violinist, for acts including the David Grayson Show, Kaleidoscope, and Roger Harris and Diamond. Music has taken him through most of the US, parts of Canada, and Puerto Rico. He spent much of the eighties in Atlantic City and the Poconos resort areas both as a featured vocalist/instrumentalist and as a solo act. After leaving the road, he moved to Reading PA to settle with his wife Cynthia, whom he met during her stint as a professional costumer for many of the Atlantic City casino bands. Since moving here he has worked steadily both solo and with area acts like Neil Wright, Erich Cawalla’s Uptown Band, and Josh Squared, (Josh Tindall and Josh Duma), as well as Hershey-based Wave and his own trio, LunaCity Jazz. Throughout his eclectic career, Roger has played pop, blues, jazz, rock, and country, as well as broadway and big band, and has done session work on east and west coasts.

David E. Williams (drums) has been playing drums for many years. He co-started the Coatesville based G2 band and also played with The Blind Date Band. He is currently the Musical Director for Doxa ensemble of Reading Pa. His group has opened up for various artists such as Grammy award winner John Legend, the legendary Patti Labelle, and a variety of gospel recording artists. He’s played with many musicians in the Berks, Delaware, and Chester county areas. He feels being humble and listening makes him a better drummer and collaborating with other musicians.

The best dream of my dreams of heaven

UpToHeavenI often dream of heaven. Not of heaven so much as me going to heaven. It’s always a sunny day when I start. I can fly, of course, and so I do I fly up through a beautiful bank of cumulus clouds, piles upon piles of them. I’m very optimistic and excited. But then I enter the bank and claustrophobia sets in. I wonder if there’s no turning back even if God doesn’t like me.

There’s no one around in that bank, just more and fluffier white. I can feel the presence, though, of beings. Angels,  no doubt. They are not all benevolent as you know. Some of them are welcoming. They seem to be in my corner and shore me up. Others, though, put thoughts in my head about what do I think I’m doing here. I rarely make it past this stage, but once in a while…

One time I found myself in an abandoned two-story house. One of those places that you see from the road and wonder what tragedy happened here. What person died here in childhood, what kind of incest was perpetrated here? The house was weathered gray and rickety. A hole in the roof let the foyer fill with leaves. Cracked window panes, stained walls, sinking floor. No one was about, but I could hear voices. Again some were encouraging, but others implied rape or impalement on a spike if I didn’t leave.

I left.

Another dream was fantastic. Bright as day. It was a science fiction dream. I was in an open-air jet, flying through a narrow trough on either side of which were stone and cement apartment buildings, one on top of the other. No greenery anywhere, just architecture. Someone was in my jet egging me on. The apartments had balconies and people were out partying, waving to me, cheering me on. I just knew that if I hopped off the jet at any of these balconies, I would be welcomed inside to share lemons, salt and top-shelf tequila.

SteepleInFogI didn’t stay there either.

In my favorite dream of heaven I was myself an angel. A guardian angel. I lived in a lovely cottage on a cliff. My charges, the humanity living down in my neighborhood, would often visit me and ask me for advice. That was my job: to help people with problems. Sometimes I had sex in my cottage. It was very warm and bright with orange wall-paper.

One day I told God I was bored and, as you may have guessed, he became very angry. He told me if  my job was too easy, he would show me what it was like to be a human. The next thing I knew I was in the screened-in porch of a messy house on the edge of desperate town. Overturned tables, stacks of pornography, machine parts were everywhere. I had been kidnapped by an unshaven red neck and his half-wit son. They’d sewn me into a burlap sack with plans to have their way with me, which is to say, cook me for dinner.

Oddly enough I was not scared, but I knew the situation was not going to end well. I fought my way out of the bag and then away from the man and his son despite the fact that they had guns (they were not very bright) and flew quickly back to my perch on the cliff hundreds of miles away, apologizing to God the entire time, and promising to never be bored again.

When I woke up, I wrote a song about my world on the cliff.


You can hear it here:

Short Film Review: Now and Then

Very nicely done little film brought to you by the folks at the New Zealand Film Academy, written by Josh Allen, and directed by Cassidy Presland-White and Matthew Dawson. Well acted. Great little screenplay. Good illustration of what makes a good short film: simple script, uncomplicated setting, small cast, single location, great premise. Can’t say enough about this nice little film illustrating time travel paradox and asking the question if you could change the future, would you. Or maybe: should you?

Nothing better than spec fic!