Y&T to return to the Narrows Center in Fall River on May 2

Best known for hits that include “Meanstreak,” “Don’t Stop Runnin’,” and “Summertime Girls,” hard rockers Y&T return to the Narrows Center in Fall River, Mass., on May 2, 2017. Purchase tickets HERE.

Formed in the early 1970s, Y&T is one of the San Francisco Bay Area’s own innovators of the hard rock sound, influence bands such as Ratt, Motley Crue and Metallica. With over a dozen studio albums that have sold in excess of four million copies, Y&T always deliver. In fact, whether performing to a festival crowd of 50,000 or in an intimate venue like the Narrows Center, Y&T’s high-energy set and passionate performances still captivate legions of fans around the globe, proving Y&T’s music timeless.

For the band’s performance at the Narrows, Y&T will play songs that span the band’s over 40-year career, including all the hits and fan favorites for a show that will last two hours. If you were at last year’s show, you know this band rocks. It’s one show not to miss!

The Narrows Center is located at 16 Anawan Street in Fall River, Mass. Tickets are available online by clicking HERE or by calling the box office at 508-324-1926. Parking is free.

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Sinners Inc. to open for Black ‘N Blue at Narrows Center in Fall River

BY JULIA CIRIGNANO

photo-sinner-inc-kathy-silvia-aka-mama-ballz
Sinners Inc. (PHOTO BY KATHY SILVIA (A.K.A. MAMA BALLZ), SUBMITTED BY MATT SINNER)

Are you excited for the Black ‘N Blue show on July 20th at the Narrows Center for the Arts in Fall River, Mass.? Well, it’s time to get even more pumped because JKB Entertainment Group has just announced that Sinners Inc. is the support act for the show! Purchase tickets HERE.

Sinners Inc. perfects the combination of both classic and modern rock music. The band has been inspired by classic rock bands such as Ozzy Osbourne, Black Sabbath, KISS, Van Halen, ZZ Top, Metallica, Anthrax, and Iron Maiden. They cover many of these bands and popular rock bands, pulling off exceptional covers of songs by The Pretty Reckless.

While they have accomplished this goal and draw audiences to their shows with both their skills and charisma, they now hope to push the limit of rock even farther by creating their own modern rock n’ roll music.

Limelight Magazine recently spoke with one of the band’s guitarists Matt Sinner about this amazing opportunity they have to open up for Black ‘N Blue’s first New England appearance in over 30 years.

“It is such an honor to be picked to open up for Black ‘N Blue,” Sinner said. “They’ve always been one of my favorite bands, so you can see it’s kind of a dream come true. I’m talking about ‘Hold On To Eighteen’, ‘Autoblast’, ‘Chains Around Heaven.’ Those songs are great and this should be a great show. I’m excited just talking about it!!”

This show will be Sinners Inc.’s first time performing at the Narrows Center.

“It’s very cool to be playing The Narrows Center,” Sinner said. “I’ve heard a lot of good things about the venue. I see there is a lot of top notch bands that have graced that stage, so it will be great to rock it. Sinners Inc. have been fortunate enough to play some of New England’s best venues including The Cannery in Southbridge, Mass., and the very popular JR’s Fastlane in Cranston, R.I., where a lot of our good friends and fans love to go.”

Sinners Inc. originated in Groton, CT. The band has been playing together for over three years and focuses on creating modern rock music. Besides Sinner, band members include Ally Gatcomb, William Spettman, Justin Grimm and new member Jake Perry who will make his live debut at JR‘s Fastlane in Cranston, R.I., on March 31st.

“Sinners Inc. was formed out of our love to do something different,” Sinner explained. “The covers we do are cutting edge and from modern bands like The Pretty Reckless, Halestorm, In this Moment, Shinedown, and Pop Evil. Our originals are a direct reflection of what’s new and modern sounding.”

While Sinners Inc. prefers to play their original, modern rock tunes they also enjoy playing covers from some of their favorite bands.

“In a perfect world we would be playing all original music but doing the cover thing has really helped us get into some great clubs and venues, then we sneak our original stuff into the set,” Sinner said.

Sinners Inc. has been inspired by classic rock and metal bands yet as a modern rock band, Sinners Inc. hopes to follow in these legendary band’s footsteps while still creating original music.

“I do believe we’re in touch with what’s new and fresh coming out today,” Sinner explained. “It’s quite exciting to be the first to do this stuff and a lot of fun to play.”

Because of the band’s dedication to candid covers along with their original music, Sinners Inc. refers to themselves both as a rock band and a cover/tribute band.

“Maybe we are a tribute to the modern hard and heavy and I don’t mind that at all,” Sinner said.

No matter what music they’re rocking, Sinners Inc. is a performance driven band.

“Our band just has such a great chemistry when we perform,” Sinner said. “We’re all such great friends and you can really tell we enjoy what we do and have a fun time doing it.”

Throughout the past three years they have been playing together, Sinner mentioned some of his personal favorite shows they’ve played.

“In September we played the Stafford Palace in Stafford, CT, with Metal Queen Doro Pesch,” he explained. “That was definitely a blast and to get some great compliments was priceless. A lot of our friends came out to support us which made it even better.”

Sinners Inc. also has big plans for the future. In their spirit of stepping out of the box and creating unique rock music, the band is currently working on recording a new album.

“We are currently recording a new CD that we should have done late spring or early summer,” Sinner said. “It’s new fresh modern music that I know will go over well everywhere we play.”

Sinners Inc. is beyond excited to open up for Black ‘N Blue on July 20th and would like to thank JKB Entertainment Group/Limelight Magazine for making it happen.

“Last I would personally like to thank [the co-owners of JKB Entertainment Group] Jay and Katie for hooking this up for us and all of you at the legendary Limelight Magazine,” Sinner said. “It has been so awesome working with you all and I hope this is the beginning of a great relationship. I would also like to give a shout out to my band mates Ally Gatcomb, Justin Grimm, Jake Perry and Will Spettman. I love you guys and it’s such a pleasure to share this with you.”

The Narrows Center is located at 16 Anawan Street in Fall River, Mass. Tickets to this show can be purchased by clicking HERE or by calling the box office at 508-324-1926. For those wanting to purchase tickets in person, box office hours are Wednesday through Saturday, 12 noon to 5 p.m.

Exit 18 aims high

BY JULIA CIRIGNANO

Exit 18 is the love child of Paramore and The Pretty Reckless. The band consists of Julia Perry, lead vocals and occasional pianist, and her brother Dylan Perry on drums. Perry also twitches off lead vocals with Sean Leahy who also plays guitar. In addition, Doug Mears plays guitar and Darren Muise plays bass.

Julia Perry encompasses the sexy rage of Taylor Momsen creating a perfect contrast between Leahy’s vocals while the band carries roaring instrumentals. Whether Perry is rocking pigtails or black lace, her songs carry the same emotion driven sensibility contrasting with attitude and pure rock n’ roll.

Exit 18’s music deals with relatable topics such as relationships, pain, femininity, masculinity, and everything in between. For example, one of the band’s most popular songs titled “Seventeen” is a trippy coming of age rock tune. Check out this video of Exit 18 performing the song at The Hard Rock Cafe in Boston by clicking HERE.

All originating from Beverly, Mass., (right off exit 18 on Route 128) these five musicians are far more talented than their age may suggest. Julia Perry and Leahy are 18, Mears and Muise are 19, and Dylan Perry is 21. Age occasionally restricts the band from playing at specific venues or playing later shows. Besides that, the band has chosen to use their age to their advantage.

“I wouldn’t know if my age affects how I perform,” Julia Perry said. “I can’t possibly get an objective perspective on that. If anything my age is a force of passion for me, everyone loves to patronize the baby. I feed on that. It riles me up.”

All five members of Exit 18 have known each over for several years. Julia Perry, Muise, and Mears first formed a band called One Track Mind with other musicians that eventually morphed into Exit 18, replacing the members they lost with Leahy and Dylan Perry. Muise shifted from playing drums to playing bass and Dylan Perry picked up drums.

“We all were members of ‘rock school,’ which was a music program that brought local kids together to play rock and roll run by our now manager Randy Leventhal,” Julia Perry said. “We played covers back then [of songs by] Velvet Revolver, Foo Fighters, Talking Heads, Audioslave, My Chemical Romance, etc. It was liberating.”

Loving what they do and hoping to expand, the band reached a turning point in the spring of 2016 which Julia Perry considers the first day of their musical career.

“In the spring of 2016 we met Bryan LaMontagne or BL the Hook Slaya, as we call him,” Julia Perry said. “He was a prominent hip hop producer, who by some incredible twist of fate moved his studio next to The Music Connection, which had always been our lifelong practice space. He heard us through the walls and felt something. That was the first day of our career.”

Since Exit 18 plays many gigs in Beverly, Mass and surround towns, they have the support of many friends and locals music fans.

“It’s so surreal to feel this kind of support so close to home,” Julia Perry said. “Playing your own music in front of people comes with such a sense of vulnerability, to be validated in that kind of expression is just the best feeling. The fact that people seem to give a shit about the words we have to say? Since when! Y’know?”

Julia Perry and the entire band have grown and learned to love the thrill of performing. One of the biggest shows for this band was when they played at The Hard Rock Cafe in Boston in 2014. They had a great time at the show and have played at this venue three times since then. Another one of Julia Perry’s favorite shows took place in May 2016.

“The first show we played with Dylan at Pickled Onion last May was hype,” Julia Perry said. “He brought this shot of energy that just permeated through the whole band. We also played a movie gala last summer for a book called No Backing Down, we walked the red carpet, met a few NFL players; it felt like the beginning of something real to be honest.”

The entire band is full of youthful energy, especially Julia Perry who, when she gets on stage, transforms to an angry rocker with both grace and sass. Through her music and especially her performances, Julia Perry is able to transform into the woman she wants to be and the superhero that her fans look up to.

“I pour everything I have to offer into the music that I write and performing it is just beyond cathartic,” she explained. “In school, kids are always taught to sit down, shut up and listen. It’s brainwashing! But on stage, I am allowed to share my thoughts and ideas unapologetically. It’s the freedom of expression that feels so good. It’s like performing brings me back to my body when I’m so swept away in meaningless bullshit. I can become this version of myself who is just free and wild and present, I feel limitless, it’s electrifying.”

Exit 18 is managed by Randy Leventhal, both a fellow musician and mentor whom the whole band has known for many years.

“We’ve been with our boy since ‘nam,” Leahy said about Leventhal. “He practically raised us. I can’t think of anyone I have more respect for. He set the precedent of what it means to be a rock band real early for us. Truly our best friend.”

Exit 18 has recently been recording a full length album at Hook Slaya Recording Studios in Danvers, Mass., with Leventhal and LaMontagne.

“We have a plethora of songs ready to go!” Dylan Perry said. “We’re fortunate to have two unbelievable singer/songwriters in the band. Julia’s dynamics are demonstrated by her powerful and sensual vocals and lyrics that still exemplify her innate vulnerability. She draws inspiration from The Deftones and Portishead, which provide our band with some darker undertones. On the other hand, Sean has gift for writing infectious rock songs with pop sensibilities. His riffs reflect Green Day, supplemented with Beatles like complex harmonies. The dichotomy of Sean and Julia’s respective style form a surprisingly cohesive sound. They balance each other out. The world’s not ready to hear it.”

The band is currently putting all of their energy into both the music and logistics of this new album. The band is both working hard and dreaming big.

“Goal number 1 is to make our record sound unbelievable,” Mears said. “Chris Gehringer of New York City’s Sterling Sound (who already mastered a seven song demo for us) is the industry’s best master engineer and has agreed to master our full album. We gotta make sure our mixes are ripping for him. With Grammy nominated producer BL The Hook Slaya [Bryan LaMontagne] that shouldn’t be a problem. Goal number 2 is to release our first full-length debut album with label support. New York City entertainment layer Wallace Collins currently represents us. He has represented some of the industry’s top artists. We are fortunate to have him shopping our project and generating interest from multiple major labels. With that being said, we believe it is within our realm to tour the world and single-handedly save rock and roll.”

Look out for a Exit 18 remix coming soon!

“The number one Latin producers in the world Alcover & Xtassy are remixing our forthcoming single,” said Muise. “Danza Kuduro anyone?”

Exit 18 will be playing The Hard Rock Cafe in Boston this Saturday, February 11. They will be joined by Flight of Fire (who are filming a live music video), A Simple Complex, Soundstreet and Sons Lunaris. The band will also be playing at The Spotlight in Beverly in May, as well as a few shows in Amherst where Dylan Perry goes to school.

“Like” their page on Facebook by clicking HERE for updates on the band!

Exit 18 (PHOTO BY DYLAN STAID, SUBMITTED BY DYLAN PERRY)
Exit 18 (PHOTO BY DYLAN STAID, SUBMITTED BY DYLAN PERRY)

Shanna Jackman: Practicing the art of giving through music

BY JULIA CIRIGNANO

Shanna Jackman (PHOTO BY JUSTIN MAYOTTE PHOTOGRAPHY, SUBMITTED BY SHANNA JACKMAN)
Shanna Jackman (PHOTO BY JUSTIN MAYOTTE PHOTOGRAPHY, SUBMITTED BY SHANNA JACKMAN)

Shanna Jackman is the United States military’s biggest fan and you should be hers. Raised by both a musical and military family, it’s no surprise that she has pursued a career as a singer/songwriter with her main focus being military support. Jackman is a true American country artist with a passion for singing the National Anthem, riding her motorcycle, and dedicating her life to the men and women who have dedicated theirs to our country.

Jackman’s love for music started during her early childhood. Although she didn’t start taking music lessons until she was 12 years old, her household has always been full of music.

“My mother would sing to my sister and I growing up, so she loved all types of music too,” Jackman said. “I grew up listening to Patsy Cline, Barbara Streisand, to Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin. As I grew older I was inspired from Broadway music (because I also love theater) and artists like Mariah Carey, Alicia Keys, Celine Dion, Alanis Morrisette, Jewel, Martina McBride and Faith Hill. These artists are just a few that shaped me and helped me to find my own style.”

As a lover of music with obvious talent, Jackman continued playing music during her adolescence, teenage years, and throughout college. After college, she wrote and recorded music with several different bands.

“I’ve worked with bands called ZeroDrift, Shanna Jackman Band, From Within (did one show haha), Not in Kansas and then back to Shanna Jackman Band,” she said. “Now I am working on a new project. I will be working with the incredible singer and musician, Adam Fox, and we are working on an acoustic duo band called Whiskey & Wine.”

Through Jackman’s experimental years playing with different bands, she learned who she is as an artist. With each experience, she gained the skills which were put towards the release of her self-titled debut EP in 2013.

“I started writing pop/indie/folk music when I returned from college and started working with Jim Ligor from ZeroDrift (local band),” Jackman explained. “When I then realized country music is my comfort zone and where I feel best suits my voice I formed the band Not in Kansas. We played for years together as a cover band but I knew that I wanted to show my fans that I can do more than play other people’s music.”

Although Jackman had some success with Not in Kansas, she pushed herself to write original music and release a solo EP.

“I was connected to the great artist/songwriter Nancy Beaudette and her friend Connie Mims,” Jackman explained. “They made it their mission to work with me so that I can produce my first EP. Over many Google hangout (video chat) sessions, we wrote six songs that were later recorded on my first EP in Nashville in 2013. All of which was funded via Kickstarter by my friends, family, fans and even strangers!”

Since the release of her debut EP, Jackman hasn’t stopped working and looking towards the future. She is currently working on putting together an acoustic duo band with Adam Fox called Whiskey & Wine. Jackman and Fox met coincidentally but it turned out to be fate.

“A couple of years ago I was performing at Loretta’s in Boston and a group of gentleman came up to me and asked if their friend (who was having his Bachelor’s party) could sing a tune for us,” Jackman said. “I said ‘absolutely’ and he took the stage and rocked it. His name was Adam Fox. A few months ago, Adam reached out to me on Facebook and asked if I remembered him and was looking to start a duo and asked if I was interested. Of course I couldn’t forget that voice of his and his British accent when he spoke, so I quickly agreed to meet with him and sign him up for a show I had that September!”

Although Jackman is a true country singer now, the first music she recorded was covers of songs by non-country artists such as Mariah Carey, Jewel, Alanis Morrisette and Amy Grant. Jackman has explored different genres of music but deep down country music has always been in her blood.

“My maternal grandmother was a huge country fan,” Jackman said. “She even looked like Patsy Cline, they would say. She always had country playing in the house when my mother was growing up. My grandmother passed away when I was young but her love for country music transcended generations. My mother and aunts always had country playing and it was always fond memories for me whenever I heard it playing! My father’s family is very much into bluegrass music. Growing up I got to see another side of country music that is truly enjoyable to watch and listen too!”

Jackman herself has a many favorite country musicians, not only because of their music but also because of their military support which is very important to her.

“Lee Greenwoods song ‘God Bless the USA’ was played at every opening and closing ceremony during my participation in the Skills USA state competitions in high school,” Jackman said. “I remember hearing that song and being so proud of my country and our military that I feel that really set the foundation for my passion to give back. Many people are familiar with Toby Keith and his patriotic songs but artists like Trace Atkins, Johnny Cash (“Ragged Old Flag” is amazing), Darryl Worley, and also my friend and local artist Ayla Brown.”

“I Drive Your Truck” by Lee Brice is one of Jackman’s favorite patriotic songs.

“It has a special place in my heart, mainly because I have come to know the family of SFC Jared C Monti, a Raynham native who lost his life in June of 2006 in Afghanistan while trying to save one of his own,” she said. “SFC Monti is a Medal of Honor recipient and his father Paul still drives Jared’s truck every day. I’ve had the honor to drive in the truck as well and have Paul and Jared’s truck in my military tribute music video for my song ‘We’ve Got Your Back’.”

Jackman has had the honor of opening up for some of country’s biggest names such as Ronnie Dunn, Blake Shelton, Sara Evans, Gretchen Wilson, Dierks Bentley, Alan Jackson, Darryl Worley, Lee Brice, Little Big Town, Collin Raye, Jo-Dee Messina, and Steve Azar.

“What a truly amazing experience to have the opportunity to open up for these artist and play for their fans,” Jackman said. “I have been fortunate enough to meet many of them as well, which was also very special. Lee Brice stood out for me because he was the most welcoming, kind hearted person. He even played a song he was working on for me in his dressing room and gave my mom a hug.”

With many country artists paving the way and inspiring Jackman, she has turned into quite a talented songwriter. Her songs are authentic since she writes about real events that happened to her.

“All the songs I have written I have experienced (good or bad),” she said. “It’s the only way I know how to write. Even when I would choose cover songs to perform, I had to be able to connect to that song in some way because if the passion is not there, then it’s not worth singing.”

On April 16, 2016, Jackman was awarded the Unsung Hero Award by Limelight Magazine. The Unsung Hero Award was given to Jackman since she has made a significant contribution to many local military organizations without asking for anything in return. She has made it her mission to never forget the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. She has used her music to support the military in many ways, most recently with her video for the song “We’ve Got Your Back.”

“I was shocked, speechless, to say the least,” Jackman said. “I was grateful to Limelight for recognizing artists that do more than perform on a stage.”

Jackman was honored to receive this award but also felt shocked and somewhat uncomfortable because she was not expecting recognition for the military work she does.

“I don’t give back in order to receive anything in return,” Jackman explained. “I feel it’s my duty as an artist, as an American and as a human being. I didn’t grow up with a lot of money but I grew up with love and faith and the meaning and importance in helping others. I felt I had a purpose to give back to those that risk it all for our freedom and our country. It’s the least I could do.”

Jackman has always been passionate and appreciative of the military forces and has used her platform as a musician to support of the military is any way she could.

“I’ve always had a passion for my country but I think that when I made it my mission to give back was when I began to perform the National Anthem in police uniform,” Jackman explained. “I was a reserve police officer for some time and began performing the Anthem locally representing my town. I was honored to represent my department and sing my country’s Anthem but it was the feedback I would receive especially from those in our military after I sang that began overwhelming for me.”

Jackman’s connection with many personnel from the military sparked her passion to support them.

“I began to hear their stories and learn what it meant to be a Gold Star parent,” Jackman said. “It was so important to me to be able to perform the Anthem in a manner that was respectable in hopes to thank those who served under what that song represents and to give the passion the song so rightfully deserves. In performing it, I hope I gave inspiration, hope and passion for our country and our Military, and made Americans feel proud to be American.”

Jackman has been inspired by many soldier’s stories but she also comes from a military family herself.

“I actually do have members of my family that were in the military but I was actually unaware of that until just these past few years,” Jackman explained. “I knew my father served but other than that no one in my family talked about it. I began creating my family tree on ancestry.com and have come to know a very long line of military members. I have family members that served in Revolutionary War, WWI and WWII, Korean War, Desert Storm, during peacetime and so much more. I learned that my maternal grandmother even sang for the troops!!”

Jackman has succeeded in supporting the military by performing patriotic songs and being part of patriotic events and charities.

“I hope that I am able to continue to perform the National Anthem and my song ‘We’ve Got Your Back’,” Jackman said. “I am working on more patriotic songs to add but whether it is singing or riding my motorcycle in a charity ride to honor veterans, I will continue to give back any way I can.”

Jackman’s passion for the National Anthem is evident when she is performing it so she has been asked to sing the song many times for the Boston Bruins, Red Sox, Celtics, Revolution and many other charity events.

“I can’t explain what it feels to perform our country’s Anthem and have sport fans sing along with you,” Jackman said. “Someone said to me that I have a great gift when it comes to having the honor to perform this song for others, because in that moment we are all focused on one thing: our country. It brings me so much pride to have that opportunity and part of me also hopes that if I sing it with enough passion that maybe the players will win that game for us too!”

While her military support will always be her number one focus, Jackman does plan on recording more music.

“I am heading back down to Nashville in December to record a new single,” she said. “I am very excited about this next song as it represents the line of work I do as a public safety dispatcher and to all my brothers and sisters in law enforcement and our first responders. I wrote the song with Lance Carpenter and Ayla Brown. I hope to record a music video for it after it is completed as well.”

With new music on the horizon, Jackman focuses on the message the wants to present, the people she wants to inspire, and the stories she wants to tell.

“I just hope to continue to write about my story, my experiences in hopes to reach others that have felt the same, and/or to inspire them in the process,” said Jackman “I want my new music to show all sides of my style while providing my fans with what they know and expect from me. The beauty of music and the lyrics of a song is that it can transcend generations, races, cultures etc., it can bring people together and connect in a way that I am not sure what else can. I feel so blessed that I have an opportunity to do that.”

Jackman hopes to inspire others with her passion not only music but also her support of the military because it is a cause that she finds extremely important.

“Just want to thank you for talking with me especially about my passion for giving back to our military and their families and I hope that others can and will do the same,” Jackman said. “Sometimes it just takes a simple smile and thank you to someone you see in uniform. On Veteran’s Day or any day, it’s important for them to know they are not forgotten.”

Shaun Hague pays homage to Eric Clapton

BY JULIA CIRIGNANO

Shaun Hague of Journeyman - A Tribute to Eric Clapton (PHOTO BY ERIC SCHMIDT, SUBMITTED BY SHAUN HAGUE).
Shaun Hague of Journeyman – A Tribute to Eric Clapton (PHOTO BY ERIC SCHMIDT, SUBMITTED BY SHAUN HAGUE).

There are a lot of similarities between former Kenny Wayne Shepherd and John Waite guitarist Shaun Hague and the legendary Eric Clapton. Hague has recently made a name for himself as a proficient blues guitarist and has gained enormous success from his band Journeyman: A Tribute to Eric Clapton. Although Hague currently lives in Chicago, Illinois, he will be returning to southeastern Massachusetts with his band on March 30, 2017, with a gig at the Narrows Center for the Arts in Fall River, Mass. Purchase tickets HERE.

Hague, who was originally from Somerset, Mass., started playing music at a young age. He has been inspired by some of the greats, including his top three favorites – Eric Clapton, The Beatles, and Bruce Springsteen. Hague talked about how Journeyman: A Tribute to Eric Clapton, fell together.

“Everyone has that main influence, and Eric became mine…I had every Clapton record, and I was learning all of them,” he said. “And then I became such a huge fan, and I knew all of his songs inside and out. And now with my guitar techniques that were somewhat like his and my vocals; I just happen to have a bluesy, raspy voice. So it just seemed like a good fit, and it was always something I’ve wanted to do.”

Hague attributes both his success and his passion for music to Clapton, saying that he may have never fought and worked so hard to be such an incredible guitar player if it wasn’t for Clapton. Hague also talked how he was affected by the presence of The Beatles and Springsteen when he was growing up.

“[The Beatles] really turned me onto music,” he said. “Bruce Springsteen kind of showed me what an entertainer is, songwriter, you know he’s just kind of the ultimate package of musicianship, live entertainment, and stage presence.”

Now that we know how Journeyman formed, how did the journey men come together? Hague talked about the creation of The Journeyman featuring Robert Monroe (keys/vocals), Andy Taylor (drums) and Sheldon Dukes (bass).

“After moving to Chicago a few years ago from LA, I befriended musicians,” he said. “There were a couple of guys I knew in town and then after that we just became friends and I said, ‘Hey I’ve got this idea,’ and they were totally into it.”

Hague explained that the tribute band is named after one of his favorite Clapton albums, “It has a lot of great hits and a lot of great non-hits too.”

Hague also mentioned his top three favorite Clapton songs which are “Pretending,” “Bell Bottom Blues,” and “The Core”.

Hague talked about the success he has gained from Journeyman, attracting a multitude of fans — with growing success that even Hague hadn’t expected.

“I went into this hoping for the best and it’s been more than I expected,” he said. “The first show we did was kind of hush hush. It was done here in Chicago. 130 people showed up or something and our second show was in Iowa.”

Even though the first show was low key, they had instantly caught the attention of many fans. This led to a sold out show in Iowa and many more people were turned down at the door. From there, Journeyman rocked a number of stages, attracting their largest audience to date at the Wildey Theatre in Edwardsville, IL, on Nov. 25, 2016, in which 315 attended.

Hague was surprised at the immediate success of Journeyman and at how fast tickets for future shows are selling out.

As he tries to understand his own success, Hague has come to the conclusion that Journeyman has become a favorite out of all the Clapton tribute bands for two reasons. The first, they are willing to travel and play just about anywhere. Second, they are younger than the other bands. Hague reminds people of a young Clapton, one they might have seen before, instead of an older version.

Hague jokingly questioned if he and Clapton are related somewhere down the line, then added, “I look like him from the 70’s.”

Although Hague’s main focus nowadays is covers, he has somehow managed to make a name for himself as a blues guitarist. Hague said it all started in 2001 when he was 17. He had never performed in front of anyone before, but he was chosen to play at the House of Blues in Boston and was named “The Best Young Blues Guitarist”.

“I love the blues. Always been influenced by it,” he said. “I think everyone does at some point in their life. But I understand it and connect with it.”

Along with Hague’s passion and skills, the Narrow Center for the Arts helped kick start his career. Hague has a great relationship with The Narrows and started his career there playing open mics. He is looking forward to returning in the spring to headline the Journeyman show.

“I love The Narrows, I love [Narrows Executive Director] Patrick [Norton]. I go all the way back to the Narrows Center when it was in a different spot,” he said. “It was this little art gallery and downstairs there was this kind of makeshift music venue. There were tables and chairs and a stage that wasn’t very high off the ground [with] very minimal lighting [and] minimal sound equipment. And they had open mics. Occasionally they would book a small show.”

After winning the contest at the House of Blues, Norton called Hague and invited him to play at one of their open mics.

“So I went down and sat in with Patrick. I played the blues or something, and I kept going back every week or every other week or something. And then I was in a little cover band. So we would show up and sit in on the cover nights and play,” said Hague.

Since 2001, The Narrows and Hague have grown both separately and together. Hague has played at The Narrows many times, both at The Narrows old location and their present location. Hague will be back at the Narrows Center as a headliner on March 30th (which also happens to be Eric Clapton’s birthday). Hague talked about why this show will be better than any show he’s ever played at The Narrows before.

“The first time I played The Narrows it was all acoustic. That was just the setup that was there. Last time, I came through with my band, the band I had. It was kind of unrehearsed. It was a good show though. Everyone’s always wanted me to play guitar, play blues, and the last two times I was in there, that’s not what I was doing. So, next time around, it’s going to be all about guitar work and my vocals and stuff. The band I have now is absolutely amazing. Each guy is super proficient with his instrument.”

Since Hague grew up in Massachusetts, many of his friends and fans are anticipating his return to Fall River. Hague is also looking forward to being back, especially coming back a new, more successful man. He is proud to have done what he set out to do when he lived there, “which was do music for a living. A lot of people laughed at me when I was 16, 17, but I’m proud to go back there and headline this venue that overlooks the town I grew up in.”

Hague also talked about growing up in Massachusetts, “I remember myself as a kid, being over in Somerset, playing my guitar in my room non-stop. The neighbors called the cops on me at night. Being a kid from a small town, I didn’t have many friends. I just spent all my time playing guitar,” he said.

Hague is proud of his success. He took a risk by not going to college and playing music instead. Yet, it’s obvious, that this risk paid off for him. He has had success playing original music, but prefers to play Clapton’s songs.

“To be honest with you, I feel more freedom and I feel more comfortable playing Clapton’s music because I’ve been doing it so long,” he said. “I feel much more comfortable playing his stuff than my own original music. You know it’s a bit more naked when you’re out there…so playing his music I feel more free. I play better than I’ve played in years. I sing better than I’ve sang in years. These songs have been in my head since I was 14, 15 years old. So for twenty plus years I’ve been listening to Eric Clapton non-stop.”

Hague acknowledged that he’s also managed to be creative within his tribute band.

“The original part we’re playing, in the tribute, obviously the vocals are word for word. The main guitar riffs are note for note,” he said. “But when I go solo or my keyboard player goes to solo, it’s not always the exact solo that was there, sometimes. So we’re getting to show what we can do through his music. I get the opportunity to showcase my skills, the piano player’s skills, even my drummer gets a solo on a song, so does my bass player, he gets a solo too.”

The Narrows Center is located at 16 Anawan Street. Tickets to the Journeyman show can be purchased online HERE or by calling the box office at 508-324-1926. For those wanting to purchase tickets in person, box office hours are Wednesday through Saturday, 12 noon to 5 p.m.

Black ‘N Blue to make first New England appearance in over 30 years

BY JULIA CIRIGNANO

Black 'N Blue's Jaime St. James (PHOTO BY JOE SCHAEFFER, SUBMITTED BY JAIME ST. JAMES)
Black ‘N Blue’s Jaime St. James (PHOTO BY JOE SCHAEFFER PHOTORAPHY, SUBMITTED BY JAIME ST. JAMES)

Hard rockers Black ‘N Blue are coming back to New England for the first time in over 30 years! The band will be making a stop at the Narrows Center for the Arts in Fall River, Mass., on July 20th. Local rock band Sinners Inc. will open the show. Click HERE for tickets!

“We haven’t been to the Northeast since the Asylum tour with KISS in 1985,” said original vocalist Jamie St. James. “Believe it or not, we’ve never played in Canada even though we recorded our second record Without Love in Vancouver BC. So, this is going to be great for a lot of people who might never have seen us live.”

While the original members of Black ‘N Blue have been playing music together on and off since 1981, they are always eager to perform on stage for their loyal fans.

“We have our original bass player Patrick Young and drummer Pete Holmes and, of course, me. In addition we have Brandon Cook and Bobby Capka on guitars,” St. James said. “The band is still sounding great and we play all the old tunes from the four Geffen records and maybe a song off the 2011 release Hell Yeah!. We rock hard and loud!”

Black ‘N Blue toured with the notorious KISS in the mid-80s and St. James recalled their tour with them.

“We had a blast!” St. James said. “The year before we were out with Aerosmith and it was KISS next so that was crazy for me as I was a huge fan of both those bands. I used to sit in the arenas and watch the KISS sound checks. Paul [Stanley] would ask me what I wanted to hear and I would call out old KISS tunes. They’d play em for me!!! Last show of the tour Paul said ‘check this out’ and they played our song ‘Without Love’!!!”

Gene Simmons of KISS ended up producing two Black ‘N Blue albums after touring together: Nasty Nasty (1986) and In Heat (1988). St. James talked about what Simmons was like as a producer.

“He was and probably still is a great producer,” St. James said. “He let us be ourselves and really dug in with us during pre-production and writing. Of course he kept a damn tight budget. We had a hell of a lot of laughs as well. It was a great time in my life.”

Black ‘N Blue is also associated with KISS because their former guitarist Tommy Thayer replaced Ace Frehley in KISS in 2002. Thayer and St. James founded Black ‘N Blue together in 1981. Although Thayer made the decision to play for KISS instead, he is still on good terms with the remaining members of Black ‘N Blue and the door is always open for his return.

“Tommy is welcome on stage with us anytime he wants,” St. James said. “He and I started the band in 1981 and we played in bands together even before that. He is and always will be a great friend of mine and ours. Tommy and I wrote most everything Black ‘N Blue did so he has a big place in his heart for our music. He’s got a pretty good gig though right now.”

With a vast history in rock ‘n roll, Black ‘N Blue hasn’t released any new music since 2011 when they released Hell Yeah!. When asked about future recordings, St. James said, “There are no plans at this time. I love being in the studio and creating new music but it’s a different world now. Never say never.”

Looking back on the band’s five studio albums, St. James likes them all but does have a favorite.

“I like them all for different reasons but I think my favorite is Without Love,” he said. “It should have been huge.”

In 2013, guitarist Brandon Cook joined the band, replacing Jeff “Woop” Warner. Cook has managed to fit into the chemistry of the band family perfectly and will be premiering his skills on tour this summer.

“He fits very well. He brings lots of energy to the group and his personality fits well.” St. James said about Cook. “That’s just as important as being a killer player. You gotta deal with bandmates like family members at times only we get to choose them…the three original members just happen to be allergic to assholes!”

Since co-founding Black N’ Blue in 1981, St. James appreciates his success over the years and has a ton of amazing memories.

“The creativity, the fun, the live performances, the friends we have made along the way and being able to look back on all that I have achieved since this kid of 13 years old decided he just had to play music and rock,” he explained.

The Narrows Center is located at 16 Anawan Street in Fall River, Mass. Tickets are available online by clicking HERE or by calling the box office at 508-324-1926. Parking is free.

Sarah Barrios moves beyond the singer competitions

BY JULIA CIRIGNANO

Sarah Barrios (PHOTO BY DAWN KINGSTON PHOTOGRAPHY, SUBMITTED BY SARAH BARRIOS)
Sarah Barrios (PHOTO BY DAWN KINGSTON PHOTOGRAPHY, SUBMITTED BY SARAH BARRIOS)

While Sarah Barrios auditioned for some of television’s biggest singer competitions, such as American Idol, X-Factor, and The Voice, she only made it to the judges table on American Idol. Never one to shy away from a challenge, she is determined to make a name for herself on her own without any of these shows.

“Apart from American Idol, I did not make it to the judges table for any of the shows,” explained the Connecticut singer-songwriter. “For American Idol, I did make it in front of the judges but I did not make it any further. I wasn’t too upset about not getting through for any of them. I know that they’re really looking for a certain vibe and I just didn’t fit that, which is fine. I’m never opposed to opportunities that arise but I don’t really think the music competitions are my thing.”

Barrios has performed with many artists who competed on the above mentioned shows as well as America’s Got Talent. On March 13, 2016, she opened for a musician from The Voice, Christina Grimmie, at The Space in Hamden, CT.

“The show was amazing,” Barrios said. “She was just such a warm and inviting person, not to mention she had some insane vocal talent, I mean she could really sing anything. I remember listening to her set with my mouth open for most of it because whether she was singing a ballad or an upbeat tune, you could really feel the emotion in it and I really appreciate that in an artist. After the show, I went to thank her for having me. She complimented me and thanked me for being part of the night and, while that doesn’t seem like a big deal, not every headliner does that and does it so genuinely, so that was very touching.”

Nearly three months later, on June 10, 2016, Grimmie died of target gunshot wounds after her concert in Orlando, FL. Barrios said her untimely and unfortunate death had a big impact on her.

“Her passing had an effect on really everyone both in the business and not,” Barrios said. “She was such a kindhearted soul, who really put her heart and soul into her music, projects, fans and family. After seeing her just a few months prior, it was very surreal to hear that she had passed. Concerts are a place where musicians and fans alike go to feel at home and safe, to let go of your worries and feel comforted amongst friends and peers. So, as a fellow musician, it was really shocking, scary and heartbreaking to hear that the music family had lost someone so special and dear to us.”

Although she’s no stranger to the New England music scene now, Barrios’ story started when she started writing music at only 13 years old.

“I had seen a documentary on Taylor Swift and I remember thinking to myself, ‘wow this girl wrote songs when she was thirteen,’ maybe I can too.” So, I sat down and wrote my first song right then and there,” Barrios said.

In tune with her admiration for Swift, Barrios is also greatly inspired by one of Swift’s good friends Ed Sheeran and fellow musician Allen Stone due to their unique songwriting.

“I find Ed Sheeran’s writings to be extremely descriptive and in-depth, whilst also being quite catchy so I try to incorporate that into my own writings and really tell a story through the words,” Barrios explained. “Allen Stone tends to do the same thing but I find that his concepts are not the ones typically used in music today. He’s writing about social issues and topics other than love, though when he does write about love, he tends to write it in such a creative way that it makes the concept unique and I try to remember that when writing my own songs.”

With years of songwriting experience under her belt, Barrios released her first self-titled EP in 2014. Barrios has always written for herself and continues to do so. Instead of writing specifically for the EP, when Barrios was presented with the opportunity to record an EP, she simply picked the best from the songs she had written over the years. Barrios talked about how she chose the three songs featured on the EP.

“I guess the songs themselves were ones that I felt had strong stories that people could connect to,” she said. “With all three of those songs, I had what I call ‘blackout writing’ which is basically where I start to write a song and I get so into it, I really don’t remember how the songs even came about. It was like I sat down on the floor (my usual writing spot) and next thing I know there’s a finished song in front of me. It’s like getting musically blackout drunk. You remember the before and the after but nothing in the middle.”

“All three were really strong lyrically and musically showed a few different sides of myself,” she continued. “I really didn’t know what my style was and I wanted to be honest as possible with it, so I chose to have three songs that had very different vibes because that’s what I was writing at the time.”

Since Barrios’ EP was released in 2014, she hasn’t officially released any more music. Although, she has been consistently posting YouTube videos of original music such has her latest, a catchy, acoustic tune titled “Black Willow Woods”.

Barrios is currently saving up to record and release more music. She talked about what songs she would feature on a new collection of music.

“As for what songs will be featured, I’m not quite sure yet,” Barrios said. “I can be a very indecisive person, so I think the choosing process will be difficult but I’m looking forward to it. Thanks to the usage of social media, I can ask those who enjoy my music their opinion as well.”

Along with Barrios’ original music on YouTube, she also has various cover songs.

“I think the best part is getting to find ways to make the tunes my own,” Barrios said. “If I’m going to cover an Ariana Grande tune, I want to make it at least a little different from the original. There’s already an Ariana Grande, she’s already sang it her way, so I just find it fun to change it up a little so that when people hear my cover, it’s familiar, yet it sets me apart from the original and makes it feel almost like a brand new song.”

Barrios also started posting weekly video blogs on YouTube. These videos exhibit her hilarious, quirky personality, satin purple hair, and addiction to coffee. They feature her mother, friends, and a rendition of “The Hills Are Alive” from The Sound of Music.   

“I personally watch a lot of vlogs on YouTube, so I just thought ‘hey, maybe I should give them a try!’ I might not be doing anything super crazy but I think it gives people a little insight as to what I do for my music career and also what I like to do for fun,” Barrios said. “It gives me an opportunity to show off more of my personality so people can get to know me a little better from those. It’s just something that I honestly really enjoy doing. I guess it’s half for everyone else to see and half for me to have memories documented so that I can look back on them.”

After years of trying out for music competitions, Barrios finally made it when she was recently one of the top 5 out of over 14,000 artists to be named to Guitar Center’s National Singer Songwriter Grand Finale. She was then flown to L.A. to perform at the legendary Troubadour in West Hollywood.

“It was really the first time I was going to L.A. on my own and, as someone who deals with anxiety, it was such a great learning experience for me and really has helped me with my anxiety when traveling going forward,” Barrios said. “The competition itself was amazing. It really didn’t feel like a competition. Everyone from the crew to the other four contenders were so unbelievably kind and just genuinely good people. It was really like making a bunch of friends and bonding over music. The staff and crew for Guitar Center were so so amazing, as was the competition itself.”

“I’m from Connecticut, so getting flown across the U.S. to play at a venue as legendary as the Troubadour was just surreal for me,” she continued. “The experience was mind blowing, the sound and the crowd that night were insane. I have nothing but love for the people who were apart of it and who made it possible. I’m not one for music competitions, but that competition was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. I highly recommend entering to any and every musician out there because it’s such a great opportunity. I really can’t say enough.”

Barrios has won other music awards such as the New England Music Awards “Best New Act of the Year 2014”. Barrios is surprised by her own success, especially since she has only officially released three songs.

“I have been very, very lucky to have such a loving, loyal and patient group of supporters,” Barrios said. “Apart from my family, they have really been the ones to push my career forward. I would have never won an award like that without the votes from those who have supported me so I really owe everything to them. As cliché as it sounds, I really would not be where I am without their diligence so I am very appreciative and honored to have them in my life.”

High off her recent success, Barrios has plans to channel her youthful energy and songwriting skills and record more music.

“I definitely hope to get some recorded music out soon,” she said. “I’m working towards that and just playing more shows and trying to reach as many people as I can with my music. The ultimate goal is to get a record deal so I’m hoping that comes along when the time is right.”

To keep up with Barrios, follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Music and entertainment coverage since October 2006!