On Saturday night, the excitement of those inside of a packed Musikfest Cafe was unmistakable, as the sold-out crowd came through to hear Billy Bauer Band pay tribute to one of its biggest influences — and one of the most successful touring artists of all time — Dave Matthews Band.
There’s still almost a week to go until the 18th Annual Lehigh Valley Music Awards Ceremony takes place at the ArtsQuest Center at SteelStacks, but there is already a buzz in the air.
Photo credit: Wikipedia
Some might know George Hrab as the drummer who provides the backbone for Philadelphia Funk Authority, one of the most renowned and versatile party bands this side of the Mississippi. Others may know him as the host of the Geologic Podcast, a true variety show which celebrates its 500th episode this Saturday; a 500-minute extravaganza to be broadcast on Facebook Live.
On Sunday, March 5th, those in attendance at the Lehigh Valley Music Awards will know George Hrab for one more reason: he will be honored as a 20 Year Veteran of our local music scene.
Photo credit: BananaFactory.org
ArtsQuest’s SouthSide Arts & Music Festival is getting a makeover.
Now that the nominations have been collected, you might be wondering when you can cast your vote for the 18th Annual Lehigh Valley Music Awards, taking place Sunday, March 5 at the Musikfest Café.
The answer? You won’t have to wait much longer.
Scott Marshall returns to the Musikfest Cafe Friday night.
You were wondering where your Can’t-Miss Shows were this week, weren’t you?
Admittedly, I wanted to take a few days off before hitting the scene during Musikfest. After all, there’s going to be so much music around these parts for the next ten days, that we’re going to have our hands full covering all of it.
I also must admit that we may not get to EVERY. SINGLE. SHOW. at Musikfest over the course of the next ten days. However, we will try our best to hit as many as possible (and if you want us to get to yours in particular, please let us know).
Either way, we WILL come at you each day of the festival with a brand-new…
Musikfest Five-Point Preview
Day 1 – Aug. 5, 2016
Alex Radus Trio | 5 p.m.
Stage: Hotel Bethlehem Platz (North)
Description: Mixing folk, jazz, Americana, and more, the diverse trio kicks off the second year of the iconic hotel’s official Musikfest stage.
Opening Ceremonies | 6 p.m.
Stage: Festplatz (North)
Description: Ring in a brand-new ‘Fest, back where it all started!
X Ambassadors ft. Rachel Platten & Jukebox the Ghost | 7 p.m.
Stage: Sands Steel Stage (South)
Description: The band that brought you “Renegades” kicks off the main stage action. LVU will have a review on Saturday!
Scott Marshall & Marshall’s Highway | 8 p.m.
Stage: PNC Series at Musikfest Café (South)
Description: One of the Valley’s most popular acts returns to the scene of its April heroin awareness benefit.
The Rare Occasions | 11 p.m.
Stage: TD Community Stage on Air Products Townsquare (South)
Description: The party continues deep into the night with the Providence-based alt-rockers.
There’s more where that came from! Check in with DustinSchoof.com every morning throughout Musikfest for a full free stage lineup!
I find it hard to believe that tomorrow marks six months since the official launch of Lehigh Valley Underground. I say that, not necessarily because time has flown, but because doing this has since become so ingrained in my daily life, that I could swear I’ve been doing it for years.
Those six months started humbly enough. I was just starting to become immersed in the local music scene in our region, and I remember actively having to go out and poke around for something – anything – that would qualify as local, music-related, and newsworthy. As time went on – namely, after one particular piece in March that blew this thing wide open – I found myself developing relationships with the folks who make this scene what it is. I found myself actively on the scene, sometimes multiple nights a week, and loving every minute of it.
Since then, we’ve covered festivals. We’ve developed relationships with publications like The Valley Ledger. We’ve covered major shows at the Sands Bethlehem Event Center and Musikfest Café, while never losing our Underground roots. We’ve reviewed albums, delivered news, recorded podcasts, and have done it all with the intention of #BuildingBetter across our region for local musicians.
There’s no way of telling what the next six months will hold. However, I believe (and know on good authority, in some cases) that we’re built for big things leading up to our first birthday. Lehigh Valley Underground will continue to add an important voice – your voice – to the musical landscape, and we will create more opportunities than ever for folks like us who refuse to give up on their dreams and passions.
Thank you for joining the ride so far. It’s only just beginning.
On Wednesday night, we were back at the Musikfest Cafe on the third floor of the ArtsQuest Center at SteelStacks. This time, it was to experience RiverJazz through the sounds of multi-time Grammy winner and six-decade music veteran, Delbert McClinton.
McClinton, who was supported by an outstanding opening set from singer-songwriter Brian Dunne, took the stage with his band to play their patented uplifting blues rock in front of a packed house.
On Saturday night, local mainstay Scott Marshall brought his band, Marshall’s Highway, to the stage of the ArtsQuest Center’s Musikfest Cafe in Bethlehem with a very important mission: to raise awareness and stop the use of heroin in our region.
Marshall, his band, and a few hundred of their closest friends went the distance — about three-and-a-half hours — for this cause, on an evening highlighted by great music, as well as stories from parents and addiction survivors. It was a night that was as emotional as it was unifying. Those in attendance drew strength and inspiration from each other.
Local contributor Lisa Robinson captured the event on behalf of Lehigh Valley Underground. Enjoy the shots!
When you encounter Scott Marshall, it quickly becomes clear how passionate he is about his craft. The singer-songwriter has worked hard to become a local mainstay, and is well-known across the Valley for his work with his two bands, Marshall’s Highway and The Hillbilly Souls. A veteran of the Lehigh Valley music scene, Scott added to his many accolades this March, going home with nine Lehigh Valley Music Awards for 2016.
Through it all, Scott has remained humble, grateful, and willing at a moment’s notice to give back to his community. Tonight, Marshall’s Highway will take the stage at Bethlehem’s Musikfest Café to present “Sounding Out Against Heroin,” a benefit concert featuring special guests to raise awareness of the addiction problems plaguing our society. Doors open for dinner at 6 p.m., with showtime at 7:30.
Scott sat down to answer some questions from Lehigh Valley Underground, and his answers were what you would expect: genuine, down-to-earth, and with his community always in mind.
Tell us about some of the work you’ve done in the past with ArtsQuest.
It’s kind of a funny, fairytale story. My work with ArtsQuest began at Musikfest a few years back, writing and playing my songs wherever I could find work. I had been playing and paying dues for years throughout the Valley and beyond, and I was always a big fan and patron of Musikfest for all the obvious reasons, but I had never played there. After putting a band together around a new batch of material I had written and recorded, we were seeing positive results from audiences. So, we submitted to perform at the festival. We heard back, and they told us they were adding a new stage to the festival called The Main Street Stage. They asked us if we wanted to perform a two-hour block. We were very excited and honored, so of course, we said yes. Like we still do, we all began promoting the show very hard to all of our friends and fans.
On the second night of the festival, we began receiving messages from friends and fans telling us that the stage was in a great location, just down from one of my favorite stages behind The Sun Inn. However, they told us that it was very small. Of course, I had plans to go visit the festival prior to our performance, so I checked out this brand-new stage myself. Sure enough, it was small. Regardless, I was just as excited as I was the day they asked us to play, because there were hundreds of people throughout the streets, and a great little three-piece Americana band doing their thing, with two hanging floodlights for lights. I still had every intention of taking my six-piece band there and doing what we do. We wanted to make this show a memorable one, because this was a great opportunity for a local, original singer-songwriter. So, in my mind it was still like Madison Square Garden. *laughs*
On the night of the show, we had a great turnout. Halfway through the performance, several hundred people were gathered in front of that stage. The response was overwhelming. A lot of them had never heard us, but had no choice to stop and listen because the street was blocked both ways. It was very humbling and satisfying, if you know what I mean.
We received tons of messages from folks in the following days and months. The following year, ArtsQuest offered us one of the largest stages. Since then, we’ve played various stages and events for them. Whenever they feel what I have to offer might be suitable for something, they reach out. *laughs*
I’m truly grateful for that first opportunity they gave me, and for the opportunities they continue to give. It’s a relationship that’s working for both of us and, most importantly, the fans. The fans are everything in this business, at every level, and ArtsQuest has played a significant role in cultivating and growing me as a local artist. That’s something I’m just as thankful for as the fans are.
How did Sounding Out Against Heroin come to fruition?
It’s a very sad story, but one that has motivated me to continue Sounding Out as I’ve been. Last year, a lifelong friend and former bandmate, David (Dave) Arey, lost his 18-year-old son, Shane David Arey, to addiction and an overdose. After the funeral, he, his ex-wife, and I discussed putting a benefit concert together to help them and another family bury their children and raise awareness. We recruited other folks to help us organize and, with the help of many other wonderful folks, we did just that. It was very successful on many levels.
I made a promise to both of them to continue to be a voice on the matter at all of my shows. The response I get time and time again is overwhelming. People tell me their stories and thank me for talking about it so openly. Awareness has been my mission from day one. I want to get and keep people talking, and use all the opportunities that are given to me as a singer, songwriter and entertainer. I don’t care where I’m at or who I’m performing for, because this crisis knows no class or race boundaries.
At the beginning of this year, ArtsQuest and I discussed my own night headlining the one and only Musikfest Café. When we agreed on the date, I was reminded of last year’s awareness event, and I knew what I wanted to do with this amazing opportunity. I had not heard any talk about putting on another event like last year’s, so I decided to reach out to my former bandmate once again with my intentions. He was very happy. My heart confirmed it was the right decision, when more than a month later in February, we lost more local kids to this terrible drug.
We’re using this show to continue paying it forward, like we always try to do with the different charities we support. We’re making this an awareness concert event. Guest performers are joining me and the band, and guest speakers from various organizations throughout the Valley who try to help those suffering with addiction problems are will be our guests. We’ve invited some of the families who have lost loved ones to addiction.
What does this cause mean to you?
After answering the last question, I hope you know just how much this cause means to me. Over the years, I’ve lost other friends to addiction, and could certainly tell you quite a few stories. From time to time, I’ve shared some pretty personal experiences on social media. It’s something I’ve seen and dealt with first-hand on the front lines, from the street, to the stage, and everywhere in between.
In the last few years, it’s gotten even more personal for me. I’ve done my fair share of research, and see lots of variables at work. Enough is enough, and that’s it. Again, awareness in its various forms is and will continue to be my contribution and battle cry, my song.
Tell us about some of the special guests appearing that night.
I decided to invite other local musicians to join us and play a few songs with my band. I want to show my fans and the music community in general that we all care about this cause. My lifelong friend and singer-songwriter David Perkin also knows what it’s like to lose friends over addiction. Our friends Tony and Joel from The Bombs will be sitting in with my brothers and bandmates from a successful band I was in during the 90’s called Sweet Tequila. Dave, who lost his son last year, was our guitar player. A guitar-pickin’ bluesman and Bethlehem Police Officer, Don Hoffman, will join us, and The Godfather himself, Mr. John Cannavo, will be playing his heart out as well.
What can people expect that night from Marshall’s Highway?
I really tried to put together a 3-hour show that definitely caters to the cause, shares a message and embraces all of the emotions and musical genres I’ve become known for. People will hear rock, country, blues, a little bluegrass, Motown, Gospel and who knows what else?
I get really excited when I’m able to go out with the full nine- or ten-piece version of The Highway. I’m so blessed to have such an amazing group of talented musicians I’m able to call brothers and bandmates. We really hope to give them an experience, with each song an opportunity to once again get to know me and the guys through our music.
Any additional comments?
Thank you for this opportunity to share with all of your readers and music fans, and for all that you do to support and promote our music scene and all of us artists. I thank God for the gifts and talents he’s given me, and for all of the opportunities to use them to serve everyone this way. Thank all of you, who continue to embrace and support my contributions to such a thriving music scene full of so many fantastic artists and musicians.