Rising from the ashes of The Famous Lees of Krumville, The Ben Rounds Band have existed in their own right for just over 3 years, with greater success each year. Their first year, they played around 40 shows. The second year they upped that figure to 60, and this year, they’re on track for 100 shows, showing remarkably steady growth in a tough economy and when most bands are bemoaning the lack of places to play, these guys are out there doing it.
The band consists of Ben, of course, on guitar and vocals, longtime drummer, Bob Schnitzer, who also sings, and newest member, Jim Wegrzyn on bass and vocals (with a tip of the hat to recently departed bassist, Dennis Swauger). The new configuration gives the band more versatility, as everyone sings and there are ample opportunities to display their lovely 3 part harmonies, something that IMHO, separates the men from the boys musically.
The band’s roots are in rock n roll and old school country with an emphasis on danceability. Their set lists are an eclectic mix of those genres, drawing from obscure and well known covers and original songs. Amazingly, Ben is also a square dance caller, which gives this band a diversity not found in many modern bands. Their shows are a 3 hour vacation from the troubles of life, while you listen to the troubles of others, forgetting your own for a time.
The Ben Rounds Band is currently recording a CD of original songs which will draw from the driving energy of Chuck Berry and the emotional intensity of Hank Williams, Sr. More info at www.benrounds.com.
This week’s live music picks are as follows:
Tonight, Thursday, April 21, 2 original members of THE FLAMING GROOVIES, ROY LONEY and CYRIL JORDAN, bring their brand of high energy rock n roll to The Bell House in Brooklyn. I know it’s a drive, but this is their only US gig this year, and it will be worth it, as anyone who was at Roy’s sold out gig at Market Market in Rosendale knows. The Groovies combined the energy of punk with the roots of 50’s rock n roll and 60’s British pop, were way ahead of their time, and have become a most legendary band. There are also 3 other bands on the bill who look promising, and admission is only $15. This is easily my PICK OF THE WEEK.
Friday, April 22, you’ve got a difficult choice. At the beautiful Club Helsinki in Hudson, we’ve got the hottest local reggae band, THE BIG TAKEOVER. These guys are authentic and have been steadily increasing their visibility for the past year. Definitely worth checking out. But, the same night, we’ve got THE ALEXIS P. SUTER BAND, at The Falcon in Marlboro, which, I’ve heard, is also a beautiful spot for music, and with no cover (donation requested however). Alexis and her great band are veterans of countless Midnight Rambles, so that should give you an idea of their credibility and talent. However, Alexis brings her band into Club Helsinki the following night, Saturday, April 23, so it might be fun to make it a CLUB HELSINKI weekend, with The Big Takeover Friday and Alexis Suter Saturday. Hudson’s a beautiful town, and it’s not far, so get there early and do some shopping and sight seeing.
For those of you who want to stay closer to home, The Bearsville Theater presents SHAWN MULLINS on Saturday, April 23rd. Shawn writes catchy, melodic songs that, I have to admit, are infectious and hard to get out of your head once you’ve heard them. They just keep growing on you. If you like Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers, you’ll like Shawn.
Also on Saturday, April 23rd, The AVONDALE AIRFORCE appears at Market Market in Rosendale. Now, I have not heard this band, but I know their singer, Peter Aaron, and I respect his taste in music, so they’re probably gonna be good. Peter seems to show up at most of the events I go to. Don’t know if that’s because he’s a music writer for just about every publication in Ulster County, or we just like the same bands, but either way, Avondale Airforce is probably worth checking out.
Closing out the week on Wednesday, April 27, is my second PICK OF THE WEEK, JOHN PRINE at UPAC in Kingston. John is one of America’s (and the world’s) finest songwriters and has not appeared in the Hudson Valley for a long time. Highly recommended!
Enjoy your week and the warm weather that’s been rolling in. See you here next week.