On Stage (Extra): The Unlikely Candidates dodge rain in Camden

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By Denny Dyroff, Staff Writer, The Times

The Unlikely Candidates

May 14 is the day to get in family mode – the day to celebrate Mother’s Day.

May 13, on the other hand, is a day to get in music mode — a day to enjoy live music…a day with plenty of good options for listening pleasure.

Whether you’re a fan of Southern Rock or the music of David Bowie — whether you’re a fan of punchy indie rock music or of folk music and singer/songwriters – there is a show in the area to suit your taste.

There are two shows that might have a damper put on them by rainy weather – the Marshall Tucker Band in Lancaster and The Unlikely Candidates in Camden.

Watching an outdoor show in a baseball stadium or sitting on the lawn for an indoor/outdoor show at Camden’s partially-covered venue can really take a hit if the skies open up.

On May 13, the Marshall Tucker Band will bring its time-tested brand of Southern Rock, blues and boogie to the Lancaster Barnstormers’ Clipper Magazine Stadium.

Another hot show on May 13 will feature The Unlikely Candidates performing as part of the “104.5 Birthday Bash” at the BB&T Pavilion (2 Riverside Drive, Camden, New Jersey) along with Kings Of Leon, Bastille, Empire of the Sun, 1975, and Fitz & the Tantrums.

The Unlikely Candidates — Kyle Morris – Lead Vocals; Cole Male – Guitar; Brenton Carney – Lead Guitar; Kevin Goddard – Drums; Jared Hornbeek – Bass Guitar — are an indie rock band from Fort Worth, Texas.

They trace their roots back to 2008 when childhood friends Morris and Male joined together as an acoustic duo. Evolution brought three new members and a more expansive sound.

The Unlikely Candidates released their debut EP “Follow My Feet in 2013 on Atlantic Records and followed with the “Bed of Liars” EP in 2016.

At the end of March, The Unlikely Candidates released the video for their song “Ringer.”

The video represents a massive global effort by the band which wanted to have people from all over the world participate in playing out all their interesting and weird ideas.

With the help of Fiverr, the world’s largest marketplace for creative and digital services for entrepreneurs and small businesses, the band achieved a first-of-its-kind creation.

“I just really wanted to do something different,” said Morris, during a phone interview Tuesday afternoon as the band travelled through Rhode Island to a show in Providence.

“I didn’t want to make typical music video like the ones I’ve seen so many times. We wanted it to be different. We wanted to see out unusual ideas come to life.

“I wanted to have people around the world make these videos – based on ‘Ringer’ or not. Then, we found out about Fiverr.”

According to Morris, “When we heard about Fiverr, we reached out to them.  They loved the idea so much that they wanted to be a part of it. We could not have turned our vision into reality without Fiverr.”

Since Fiverr’s community is global and consists of a diverse talent pool from 190 countries, the band could tap into those resources resulting in submissions from over 27 countries, including some as far reaching as Macedonia, Sri Lanka, Egypt and Mozambique.

Other submissions that made it into the video were from the US, France, Jamaica, South Africa, India, Australia, Germany, Philippines, Ukraine, Serbia, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, Russia, Venezuela, Haiti, Japan, Korea, Switzerland, UK, Ireland, Argentina, and Greece.

“With Fiverr, freelancers from around the world can put in their submissions” said Morris. “I was working with people from every time zone. Seeing how people worked through this was interesting.

“Most of these people went to great lengths to be a part of the project. I would go back and forth for weeks with some of them trying to get the right shot.

“For example, I needed somebody to hold a picture – a cutout of Jared – in front of the Taj Mahal. Sometimes this was difficult because of the language barrier, but everyone was extremely understanding.

“Making it was a lot more effort than I wanted to put into it. It took more than 200 hours over two-and-a- half months putting it together with director Adam VillaSenor. It was extremely intensive.”

“Ringer” is the latest single off the “Bed of Liars” EP.

“The EP is a patchwork of songs from different eras,” said Morris. “Some of the songs are two-and-a-half years old and some were a year old. It’s a collection of different eras.

“We had been with Atlantic Records but they weren’t going to release anything more. Our song ‘Follow My Feet’ fell behind other hit singles on Atlantic so we were pushed to the back of the oat. We left Atlantic on good terms two years ago. They wanted ‘Ringer’ but couldn’t settle on a date. Fortunately, they gave us back all our stuff.”

Video link for The Unlikely Candidates – https://youtu.be/JFayTHyufs8.

The show at the at the BB&T Pavilion will start at 1 p.m. Tickets start at $20.

The Marshall Tucker Band

On May 13, the Marshall Tucker Band will be one of the headliners at the Keystone Country Jam at Clipper Magazine Stadium (650 North Prince Street, Lancaster,keystonecountryjam.com).

MTB is on the first leg of its “45th Live in Concert” tour.  The legendary southern rock group has more than 30 concert dates on the books with many others to be added throughout the year.

The Marshall Tucker Band is an American Southern rock/country rock band originally from Spartanburg, South Carolina. The band’s blend of rock, rhythm and blues, jazz, country, and gospel helped establish the Southern rock genre in the early 1970s.

The original lineup of the Marshall Tucker Band, formed in 1972, included lead guitarist, vocalist, and primary songwriter Toy Caldwell; lead vocalist Doug Gray; keyboard player, saxophone player, and flautist Jerry Eubanks; rhythm guitarist George McCorkle; drummer Paul Riddle; and bassist Tommy Caldwell. They signed with Capricorn Records and in 1973 released their first LP, “The Marshall Tucker Band.”

“Back then, there was no way in the world any of us thought the Marshall Tucker Band would be around more than 40 years later,” said Gray, during a phone interview Wednesday morning from his home in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

“Toy and I went to Vietnam, came back and started making music together again. Toy wrote some great songs. Now, younger bands are talking about being influenced by the Marshall Tucker Band.”

“Our intention was to come back from Vietnam and play music. We worked during the day and rehearsed at night. Back then, there weren’t many places to play.

“But, the first eight or nine years, MTB created a lot of memories. We were going out on the road with the Allman Brothers and Lynyrd Skynyrd.”

Back then, the Marshall Tucker Band was also creating hits such as “Can’t You See,” “Heard It in A Love Song,” “Fire On The Mountain,” and “24 Hours At A Time.”

The five-time-gold and three-time-platinum band has sold millions of albums worldwide and has had songs featured in major motion picture films and television shows such as “Breaking Bad,” “Half Nelson,” “My Name Is Earl,” and “Cold Case Files.”

CMT (Country Music Television) named the MTB’s “Can’t You See” as the Number 4 Greatest Southern Rock Song.

“We were never considered a country band,” said Gray. “But, country is more accepting and respectful now. They’re playing our music. Even to this day, Zac Brown is playing one of our songs.”

The Marshall Tucker Band has released more than 25 albums since its eponymous debut LP in 1973. The most recent was “Next Adventure” 10 years ago and there is no new album on the horizon.

“With regard to a new studio album, there is no reason in putting out something that doesn’t stand the test of time,” said Gray, who is 68 and the last original member in the band.

“When Toy left the band in 1983, he came up and shook my hand and said – run with it.

“We’ve recorded most of our shows. We have over 3,000 shows on tape. That’s why every so often we put out a live album from years ago. Some are so good – they’re unbelievable.

“We never play the same show every night. We’re not going to stop playing until I stop playing. I put my heart into it every night. The band members are 20 years younger but they respect the music.”

Video link for the Marshall Tucker Band – https://youtu.be/C4a40FjB_sM.

The Keystone Country Jam featuring Montgomery Gentry, the Marshall Tucker Band, Deana Carter will start at 1 p.m. at Clipper Magazine Stadium. Tickets are $49 for field ticket and $35 for stadium seating.

If you drive to the Sellersville Theater (24 West Temple Avenue, Sellersville, 215-257-5808, www.st94.com) from many areas around the Delaware Valley, the ride can take such a long time that it seems like you’re heading to another planet.

Life on Mars

If you make the drive to the Sellersville Theater on May 13, you will have a planetary destination – a journey to find out what life on Mars is all about.

More specifically, you’ll be treated to an evening of music by “Life on Mars: Inspired by The Sound & Vision Of David Bowie.”

Based in Toronto, “Life on Mars: Inspired by The Sound & Vision Of David Bowie” is billed as “Canada’s Premiere David Bowie Revue” and described as “not a tribute but an emulation — an embodiment of David Bowie’s moves, moods, music and mystique.”

Established in 2004, Life on Mars (LoM) — Kevin Connelly, Jon James, Chuck Brown, Tanya Godinho, Sascha Tukatsch, Rob Cooper — presents the genius of Bowie across the decades. Maintaining the integrity of the music, note-for-note, LoM presents a two-hour retrospect — a musical reinvention of classic Bowie hits that have been uniquely arranged.

“I have been a Canadian singer of note for decades,” said Connelly, during a phone interview Tuesday evening from his home in Toronto.

“About 15 years ago, Jon (James), my friend and bass player invited my wife and me over for a cookout. That night, Jon said we should do a Bowie project.

“We put together a Bowie greatest hits package and assembled a band with players we had worked with. We started to play small clubs and then bigger clubs. We’ve even played the CNE (Canadian National Exhibition).

“Now, we’re playing our first tour of America. We kept building our reputation. Right now, we have 55 Bowie songs – and we’ve increased the costumes too.”

Life on Mars is not a band that creates shows around a specific album.

“We started as a greatest hits band.,” said Connelly, a veteran Canadian singer/songwriter, actor and musical theatre writer.

“After ‘Earthling’ came out, we played three songs from that album. We still have them in our repertoire. We’ve never wanted to narrow our focus. We’ve always been shaping and re-shaping.

“We’ve been bringing in B-sides and doing different takes on A-sides. Chuck Brown, our guitar player, is a big, big Bowie fan – especially the early Bowie era.”

Many bands take on the serious challenge of doing Bowie covers well — but few succeed. Life on Mars is different. The band approaches Bowie’s music with respect.

“It’s been integrity from Day One,” said Connelly, who was the founding member of the Toronto new-wave band New Regime. “It started off simple with greatest hits package.

“We played as close to the originals as possible. Our intention is to get to the root of the song. We don’t go to the commercial side. We lean to the integrity.”

Video link for Life on Mars – https://youtu.be/PWQ2MmFuLVQ.

The show at Sellersville will start at 8 p.m. Tickets are $29.50 and $45.

Mary Bragg

Anyone who listens to Mary Bragg’s music and then — based on what was heard — tries to guess what she majored in at the University of Georgia most likely will come up with a wrong answer.

Bragg’s music is a mix of blues, country and folk delivered in a vocal style that is raw, natural and melodic – all at the same time.

She just released her new album “Lucky Strike” on May 5 and is now on tour in support of the album – a tour that brings her to the area for a show on May 13 at Burlap & Bean Coffeehouse (204 South Newtown Street Road, Newtown Square, 484-427-4547, www.burlapandbean.com).

“I’ve always been into music,” said Bragg, as she was filling her gas tank in Tennessee on the way to D.C. and eventually New York City.

“Singing – I couldn’t help myself when I was a kid. I always thought that maybe it would be something I’m good at. Eventually, I started writing songs when I was 16. I would say the music was folk-country. I didn’t know about Americana yet.

“The first Americana record that got to me was Lucinda Williams’ ‘Car Wheels on a Gravel Road’ – that and Patti Griffin’s ‘Living with Ghosts.’ They got me to listen in a way I hadn’t listened before. That was back around 2001.”

That was what originally led Bragg to Nashville – the city that she no calls home.

“When I was 18 and 19, I spent two summers – before and after my freshman year — in Nashville,” said Bragg, who was born and raised in Swainsboro, Georgia.

“I was an intern at a music management company. It was an introduction to what it takes to make it in the music business. A woman there told me the way to go was writing.

“I was attending the University of Georgia in Athens and was majoring in classical voice performance.”

It didn’t take much for Bragg to realize that it was the Opry rather than the opera that was her calling.

“After a while at college, I knew that classical vocal wasn’t what I wanted,” said Bragg, who won the MerleFest Chris Austin Songwriter Contest in the country category for her song “Lucky Strike.”

“I finished school but not in music. I got my degree in journalism. Then, I went to New York. I was eager to learn. I knew I was missing something. I knew that New York was the place I would find it – and I did.

“I worked in administration for an investment bank for 10 years. I met my husband in New York. He’s a professional upright bass player and we worked together as much as we could. After a while, we had an ‘aha’ moment and realized Nashville was where we belonged.

“I recorded ‘Lucky Strike,’ which is my fourth album, at Eastwood Studios in East Nashville. I had been building up the songs for about 18 months.”

Bragg wrote most of the songs and also co-wrote some. The song “Wildfire” was co-written with Liz Longley, a Downingtown native who is now one of Nashville’s rising young talents.

“There are a lot of studios in East Nashville that are home-made,” said Bragg. “Eastwood is not fancy. It’s super D.I.Y. The album was produced by Jim Reilly and the engineer was Eric Fritsch, who is a one-man machine. I was only in the studio four days.”

Video link for Mary Bragg – https://youtu.be/A8gV1Xw6QCM.

The show at Burlap and Bean, which also features Anna Spackman, will start at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10.

On May 25, the World Café Live at the Queen (500 North Market Street, Wilmington, 302- 994-1400, www.worldcafelive.com) will turn out the lights one last time and then shutter its doors.

Mary Fahl

Mary Fahl, who has performed quite a few memorable shows at the venue in downtown Wilmington, will return to the club for a final performance on May 13.

The last time Fahl played the area was a solo on New Year’s Eve at the Tin Angel in Philadelphia. A few months earlier, she performed at the Sellersville Theater with a full band.

“For this show, it will just be me and my guitar,” said Fahl, during a phone interview Wednesday afternoon from her home in Upper Bucks County.

“I’m doing songs from my whole career – with maybe a surprise or two. Right now, I’m working on something for a possible TV series — fingers crossed.’

Fahl is a singer, a guitarist and a songwriter. More than anything, Fahl is a performer.

“Performing is my primary form of self-expression,” said Fahl. “When I do a show, I want to take you on a complete journey. I want to transform you.”

Fahl has been delivering transformative shows for years — ever since her days with the band October Project starting in the early 1990s.

Once you’ve heard Fahl sing, from that point on when you hear a song by Fahl, you immediately know who is singing.

“I’ve been working on a new record,” said Fahl. “It’s a folky, ambient classical record. It has a lot of ambient guitar, cello and a little me on guitar.”

Many of Fahl’s fans have been with her ever since her time with October Project which lasted from 1991-1996.

“October Project had a large body of work and I still perform some of those songs in my live show,” said Fahl. “If I don’t do some of those songs, fans get upset. I also like doing interesting covers.”

Fahl has written and performed songs for several major motion pictures, including the lead song (“Going Home”) for the Civil War epic “Gods and Generals.” Her music can also be found on the original soundtrack of the 2003 movie “The Guys.”

In 2011, Fahl recorded her own version of one of rock’s all-time classics — Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon.” Fahl re-interpreted the songs on an album she titled “From the Dark Side of the Moon.

For many artists, the task of re-inventing songs from an album as iconic as “Dark Side of the Moon” could have been too much of a challenge. Not so for Fahl who crafted a disc that honored its roots but established an identity all its own.

“After making the Sony classical album (“Classics for a New Century”), I wanted to do something that was fun,” said Fahl. “An independent filmmaker I knew wanted to use me in a performance piece. I wanted to do something that I didn’t have the ability to write.

“That’s when I decided to do the ‘Dark Side’ recording. It’s like a classical piece of music. I did not intend to make a cover record. It’s my version and it doesn’t sound at all like Pink Floyd’s version.”

As always, Fahl has a lot of activities running concurrently.

“Now, I’m just working on the TV thing and doing a lot of shows. I’m taking little break after this to get my garden in order because, when fall comes, I’m working all the time.

“I’m getting back on the horse again. I do have a lot of stuff in the works. I’m booking a lot of orchestral dates – one-and-a-half to two years in the future. My goal is doing something more orchestral.”

Video link for Mary Fahl — https://youtu.be/VBuDLBYgeWI.

The show at World Café Live at the Queen will start at 8 p.m. Tickets are $27.

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