On Stage: Emily Drinker brings diverse music stylings to Media

Pin It
By Denny Dyroff, Entertainment Editor, The Times

Emily Drinker

Emily Drinker is a singer/songwriter/guitarist who wears many musical hats. Her music blends elements of rock, folk, jazz, pop and R&B.

Drinker has her own band that performs regularly at venues around the Delaware Valley — and she also performs as a guest artist with a variety of Philly bands.
On May 23, she will bring the Emily Drinker Band to Delaware County for a show at Shere-E-Punjab (210 West State Street, Media, shere-e-punjab.com).
Drinker is an independent, award-winning singer-songwriter from Philadelphia. Her soulful brand of folk, pop, and rock touches listeners– whether she’s performing with her powerhouse band, the Funky T, or in a more intimate format incorporating live looping. She is an artist who has found a way to do what she does using every weapon in her considerable arsenal.

Drinker has been featured by NPR Music, Philadelphia’s WXPN, and played at many regional festivals including Firefly, Musikfest, and the Philadelphia Folk Festival. In addition to a busy performance schedule in Philly and its surrounding areas, Drinker works as a session vocalist doing sync work for national TV shows. She also hosts a festival — CINNAMiN Fest — in her Roxborough backyard with her band/housemates.
The Emily Drinker Band features Ethan Cain – electric guitar, Mykk Hoffman – electric guitar, Eric Cooper – bass, and Josh Steingard – drums.
“I’ve had my band together for a while,” said Drinker, during a phone interview Tuesday evening from her home in Roxborough. “A bunch of us worked on cruise ships together. I met them in Philly and brought them to the ship with me.
“I played in party bands on longer cruises on Royal Caribbean’s Celebrity Cruises. We travelled all over Europe and the Pacific. It was great to be able to visit Australia and New Zealand as well as European cities such as St. Petersburg (Russia) and Bergen (Norway).
“I hadn’t been in a band before that. It was a good job. But my job as a songwriter is to write music that resonates with people.”
Drinker grew up in Conshohocken and went to high school at William Penn Charter School.
It was fitting that Drinker went to a Quaker institute of higher education. The Drinker family has a long history in the Philadelphia Quaker society.
The journal of Philadelphia Quaker, Elizabeth Sandwith Drinker (1735–1807), is perhaps the single most significant personal record of 18th-century life in America from a woman’s perspective.
Henry Drinker, a prominent Quaker merchant in Philadelphia, was the son of Henry and Mary Gottier Drinker. Drinker is perhaps best known for his exile with other Quaker pacifists to Winchester, Virginia, during 1777-1778.
Emily Drinker built a solid music foundation when she attended Columbia University and graduated with a degree in ethnomusicology.
“When I was a student at Columbia, I wrote a 65-page paper in 2012 about the 50th anniversary of the Philadelphia Folk Festival,” said Drinker. “Our band has also played many times at the Philadelphia Folk Festival.
“After a break, the Philadelphia Folk Festival is coming back this summer and hopefully we’ll be performing there. We will be playing at the Wayne Music Festival on June 8 and the Media Arts Council’s outdoor music festival in June 15.”
The Emily Drinker Band is equally at home at rock venues. On June 6, the band will be at Philly’s legendary rock club Johnny Brenda’s kicking things off for Kyle Sparkman’s album release show.
“For an indie artist, there is a great music community in Philly – and the fans really want to be part of it,” said Drinker.
“The guys in my band also have their own band – The Funky T. Punk rock is their thing. In addition to my band, I perform with a bunch of different local bands.
“Prior to working on cruise ships, I was in music for a long time. I was doing theater when I was really young and was in an acapella group in high school.
“Now, with my band, I’ve played a lot of different venues. I opened for Pat Benatar at Univest Performance Center in Quakertown and Rufus Wainwright in Phoenixville.”
Drinker’s debut recording in 2017 was an EP titled, “Run the Race.” Her first album was “Starting to Feel,” which was released in 2022.
“We’re working on a new album now,” said Drinker. “We’re recording at our home studio here in Philly.
“I play original music. I have a really eclectic style – folk, rock, jazz. My songs are about self-compassion, compassion for others and taking care of each other.”
Drinker will be playing some of the new tunes at Thursday night’s show in Media.
“I love it there at Shere-E-Punjab,” said Drinker. “It’s got a nice stage and good sound. And, it has great food.”
Video link for the Emily Drinker Band – https://youtu.be/9BAchRgrBgY.
Doors open at 7 p.m. at Shere-E-Punjab on May 23. The show features free admission.
Another hot show in the area is also scheduled for May 23.

Christone ‘Kingfish’ Ingram

Grammy Award-winning guitarist, vocalist and songwriter Christone “Kingfish” Ingram will headline the opening night of the 2024 Concerts Under the Stars series in King of Prussia, which is returning for its 38th season.

Presented and produced by Rising Sun Presents, the team behind the Philly suburbs’ premier music venues Ardmore Music Hall and 118 North in Wayne, the summer-long series will again take place at the scenic Upper Merion Township Building Park (175 West Valley Forge Road, King of Prussia, www.concertsunderthestarskop.com) and will include a mix of ticketed and free concerts.
Ingram celebrated his third Alligator Records release, “Live In London,” with a live performance at Brooklyn Bowl in Philadelphia back in October.
The album was recorded on June 6, 2023, in front of a sweaty, sold-out, standing-room-only crowd at the famous U.K. club, The Garage. “Live In London” is the guitar-driven live album Ingram’s diehard fans around the world have been clamoring for since they first watched him perform as a teenager on YouTube.
According to Ingram, “This album is a short lifetime in the making. I’ve long had an interest in recording a live album and I finally felt the timing was right. Not only do I have a deeper catalog of music to choose from, but I also have been extensively touring with my band, both of which truly made recording a live album seamless. Sprinkle in the opportunity to perform in a city I love, it’s all a no-brainer and something that makes me deeply proud.”
Throughout the concert, Ingram’s command over his instrument is more than impressive. He remains in the moment, at times raining down incendiary solos, other times picking poignant, blues-drenched licks, but always playing deeply from his heart. Along with his versatile, tight-knit band – bassist Paul Rogers, drummer Christopher Black and keyboardist Deshawn Alexander – he brings intensity and honesty to each song, moving the audience from hushed disbelief to spontaneous, extended ovations.
“Live In London” features the internationally recognized guitar prodigy and vocalist performing 17 songs, with tracks including material from both of his previous studio albums, 2019’s GRAMMY-nominated debut, “Kingfish,” and 2021’s GRAMMY-winning “662.” Live In London also includes two potent, new original songs, “Midnight Heat” and “Mississippi Night,” as well as a blistering version of Michael “Iron Man” Burks’ “Empty Promises.”
When Ingram played Upper Merion Concerts Under the Stars series in June 2023, he was still touring in support of “662.”
The tour — “Christone “Kingfish” Ingram Presents 662: Juke Joint Live” – took the 25-year-old guitarist, vocalist and songwriter across the U.S. and Europe.
Many blues guitarists have been playing for decades. Ingram’s guitar playing gives listeners the impression that he too has been at it for decades. In reality, he is barely two decades old. He was born in Mississippi in January 1999 and has been exposed to the blues since he was a toddler.
In addition to the Grammy nomination (his second in two years), “662” was named the #1 Best Blues Album of 2021 by UK tastemaker magazine, MOJO. Rolling Stone declared, “Kingfish is one of the most exciting young guitarists in years, with a sound that encompasses B.B. King, Jimi Hendrix and Prince.”
Upon its July 2021 release, “662” debuted at #1 on the Billboard Blues Chart, and it’s remained on the chart ever since. “662” was recorded in Nashville and co-written and produced by Grammy-winner Tom Hambridge. It features 13 songs (and one previously released bonus track) displaying many sides of Ingram’s personality, as well as his one-of-a-kind guitar and vocal skills. Ingram’s debut, “Kingfish,” was named the #1 Best Blues Album of 2019.
“I’ve been out here on the road for a while,” said Ingram, during a phone interview “Everything is going great. I’ve been selling out shows everywhere.”
Ingram describes “662” (the number is northern Mississippi’s telephone area code) as “a presentation of my life in and away from the Delta.” The album overflows with hard-hitting original songs, jaw-dropping guitar work and deep, soul-possessed vocals. Ingram recently won the 2021 Living Blues Award for Most Outstanding Musician (Guitar).
He also won two 2021 Blues Music Awards (for Guitarist of The Year and Contemporary Blues Male Artist of The Year) in addition to the five he won last year. In February 2021, Ingram guest hosted Spotify’s popular “In The Name Of The Blues” playlist, which featured him talking about and sharing some of his favorite songs.
“662” was co-written and produced by Grammy-winner Tom Hambridge. It features 13 songs displaying many sides of Ingram’s dynamic personality, as well as his one-of-a-kind guitar and vocal skills.
“I actually recorded ‘662’ during the pandemic,” said Ingram. “We spent a full week at Ocean Way Studio in Nashville, which was the same studio I used for my first album. We had writing sessions on Zoom from May through September and then went in the studio two weeks later.
“It went pretty smooth. I learned a lot from making my first record. It helped having Tom produce both of my albums. He knows how to pull things out of me. The new album shows my growth. It was two years since my first record, and I had a lot of things happen in my life. My mom passed away. Then there was COVID.
“I wanted to make a personal record. I wanted to show a different side. People know me for edgy and hardness, but I also have a soul and R&B vibe. We had 20 songs going into the studio and recorded them all. We used 13 and we’ll use the other songs later.”
Ingram grew up with the blues.
“I come from Clarksdale, Mississippi – the Mecca of blues,” said Ingram. “I remember seeing the PBS documentary on Muddy Waters when I was pretty young. And I lived next door to a blues band. I was exposed to the blues a lot as a young child. I actually started as a bass player. My first paid gig playing bass was with the All Night Long Blues Band. I was 11 at the time.”
It didn’t take long for Ingram to switch from bass to lead guitar.
“I was playing bass, but I always wanted to play guitar,” said Ingram. “But, when I was young, my fingers were too big for guitar. I started with a cheap Sears & Roebuck guitar. An Epiphone 335 was my first real guitar. I got it for Christmas when I was in middle school.
“When I was 14-15, I played guitar for a local band. I just wanted to do something different. I wanted to put my own thing together. I wanted to play guitar. Playing guitar was original.”
Ingram explained the origin of his nickname.
“My mentor from the Delta Museum gave kids nicknames,” said Ingram. “He called me Kingfish. He said Kingfish who was a character on the ‘Amos‘n’Andy Show.’
“My biggest influences were Albert King, Little Milton, B.B. King, Son House, Freddie King and Skip James. I was also influenced by Ernie Isley, Jimi Hendrix, Prince and George Benson.
“Even though I was influenced by Jimi and Prince, I never had an actual intent to merge rock and blues. I just want to experiment and see what I come up with. I just like to create stuff.
“Making the guitar sing – that’s when playing with substance comes into play. I love playing originals.”
“Live In London” is available at all streaming and download services and can be experienced in Spatial Audio with Dolby Atmos at Apple Music, Amazon Music, Tidal and Qobuz. The album was released as a 2-CD set and a 2-LP set on October 13. Both the CD and LP include encore performances as bonus tracks.
Video link for Christone “Kingfish” Ingram – https://youtu.be/1JKTwgujXlA
The Concerts Under the Stars show on May 23 will start at 7 p.m.
Tickets are $40.
The Candlelight Theatre (2208 Millers Road, Arden, Delaware, 302- 475-2313, www.candlelighttheatredelaware.org) has a new mainstage production, “Moon Over Buffalo.” The play opened on May 11 and is running through June 16.
“Moon Over Buffalo” is a 1995 comic play by Ken Ludwig set in Buffalo, New York in 1953. This play marked the return of Carol Burnett to the Broadway stage after a 30-year absence.
This madcap comedy by Ken Ludwig centers on George and Charlotte Hay, fading stars of the 1950s playing Private Lives and Cyrano de Bergerac in rep in Buffalo, New York. On the brink of a disastrous split-up caused by George’s dalliance with a young ingénue, they receive word that they might just have one last shot at stardom.
Frank Capra is coming to town to see their matinee, and if he likes what he sees, he might cast them in his movie remake of The Scarlet Pimpernel.
“Moon Over Buffalo” relies heavily on situation comedy for its humor, as well as some sexual innuendo and a little slapstick. The actor who plays George, in particular, must be able to deliver a highly physical performance. George engages in a mock fencing match with Charlotte, a wrestling match with Howard, and a stunt fall into the orchestra pit.
The action and dialogue are fast paced, as the characters are constantly bickering or frantically trying to resolve some confusion. It bears numerous similarities to Ludwig’s previous farce, “Lend Me A Tenor” — period time frame, Northeastern city, drinking-and-womanizing male star, justifiably jealous wife, young stage manager desperately trying to keep things together, important person(s) in the audience, at least one character who has passed out and is believed missing, non-actors forced to go onstage, etc.
Performances are Friday and Saturday evenings (doors 6 p.m./show, 8 p.m.) and Sunday afternoons (doors, 1 p.m./show, 3 p.m.).
Tickets, which include dinner and show, are $70.50 for adults and $35 for children (ages 4-12).
Kennett Flash (102 Sycamore Alley, Kennett Square, 484-732-8295, http://www.kennettflash.org) will host Dan & Joe & Friends with special guests El Dingo and Bread and Butter on May 25.
Jamey’s House of Music (32 South Lansdowne Avenue, Lansdowne, 215-477-9985,www.jameyshouseofmusic.com) will host The Nick Moss Band featuring Dennis Gruenling on May 24.
The show at Jamey’s House of Music on Friday will start at 8 p.m.
Tickets are $30 in advance and $35 at the door.
The show will also be available as a pay-per-view at $15 each.
“Jazz at Jamey’s” will be presented every second and fourth Thursday, and “Anything Goes” every first, third and fifth Thursday.
Every Sunday, Jamey’s presents “SUNDAY BLUES BRUNCH & JAM” featuring the Philly Blues Kings. On the second Sunday each month, the featured act is the Girke-Davis Project which features club owner Jamey Reilly, Roger Girke, Glenn Bickel, Fred Berman and Colgan-Davis.
The Grand (818 North Market Street, Wilmington, Delaware, www.thegrandwilmington.org) will present ““1964” …The Tribute” on May 24.
Elkton Music Hall (107 North Street, Elkton, Maryland, www.elktonmusichall.com) will host Countdown to Ecstasy: A Tribute to Steely Dan
On May 24 and Smile Empty Soul: The Rhythm Of The War Drum Tour on May 25.

Share this post:

Leave a Comment