All posts by limelightmagazine

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.

A brief look at what goes into booking a show

BY JULIA CIRIGNANO

jkblogoentgroupKatie Botelho Bielatowicz is the co-founder of JKB Management and Booking where she works hand and hand with her business partner to book local artists (bands, comedians and even psychics) at local venues throughout New England. Bielatowicz also co-owns Limelight Magazine where she works together with her business partner to promote and support local bands, films, and various entertainment related companies through their online and sometimes print articles.

To coincide with the sixth anniversary of JKB, Bielatowicz recently sat down with staff writer Julia Cirignano to talk about her business. She talked about the pros and cons that come with booking a concert. She also talked about some of her favorite moments so far and her goals for the company’s future.

Bielatowicz, who moved to Dartmouth, Mass., when she was in elementary school, attended college at UMass Dartmouth to pursue a degree in marketing. She uses many of the marketing skills she gained at school in her current position as co-owner of JKB.

“I went to school for marketing, so it definitely fits in with what I’m doing now,” she said. “The whole business is pretty much marketing and promotions.”

Bielatowicz discussed the different stages of booking a concert.

“Usually a booking agent will contact us or we’ll contact them if there’s an artist we’re interested in,” she said. “We will then put an offer together and find a venue to rent that’s suitable for that artist. If the agent accepts our offer, then it’s our responsibility from there on out. It’s basically our show and we provide everything that the artist will need for that show.”

Contrary to what one might think, Bielatowicz and her business partner seldom ever get to see the acts they book because they are too busy making things run smoothly at the venue.

“I think there’s a misconception of what goes on when booking a show,” said Bielatowicz. “We don’t just show up when doors open and call it a night. It’s an all day event that includes load in, setting up hospitality, running errands for the artist, selling merchandise if it’s needed and load out. Most of the time it’s a 12 hour day of running around, but luckily we work with some great venues that make it easier for us.”

When booking a show, Bielatowicz and her business partner split up the work to highlight each of their strengths. They are sure to keep up good communication so they can split up the responsibilities fairly.

“We split things up accordingly,” she said. “At our weekly meetings, we’ll decide who’s going to do what for the week and for a particular show.”

Bielatowicz has been faced with many challenges while booking shows such as picky artists and tricky personalities. She talked about the number one biggest challenge that she is faced with when booking a show.

“The biggest challenge is trying to figure out what show to book,” she said. “It’s hard picking something that will appeal to a vast majority of people. Also, getting shows period can be a challenge since we don’t have our own venue [and there is a lot of competition in the marketplace.”

Bielatowicz has learned a lot and grown as a business woman since booking her first show with Uriah Heep in 2011 at Tupelo Music Hall in Londonderry, N.H. Since then, Bielatowicz has booked, planned, and hosted many shows within different musical genres and even some comedians. One of Bielatowicz’s favorite shows that she has ever hosted wasn’t even a musician, she was a translator of the spirit world — a so-called psychic medium.

“My favorite show so far has been Kim Russo,” she said. “I know it has nothing to do with music but it was something different and I liked that about it.”

Bielatowicz talked about the joys of being self-employed and having so much freedom within her job.

“My favorite part will have to be that it’s not a typical 9 to 5 job,” she said. “We make our own hours as we go and don’t have to worry about answering to higher management. It makes working less stressful and life more enjoyable.”

Bielatowicz truly believes in the mission behind JKB and hopes to see the business grow in the future.

“I’m hoping that JKB will continue to grow and we’ll be able to book bigger shows that will really get our name out there,” she said.

JKB has been very successful so far and hopefully the attention it has gained will grow. JKB will continue to expand their geographical and genre based limitations. In the future, Bielatowicz said, “I would really like to book an illusionist, no one in particular, I just think it would make for a great show!”

Upcoming shows by JKB include Candlebox Acoustic on March 25, Vanilla Fudge with Paul Bielatowicz on April 5, Y&T on May 2, Stryper’s Michael Sweet with Louis St. August & Gene D’Itria (of MASS) on June 2, and Black ‘N Blue with Sinners Inc. on July 20. All shows are at the Narrows Center for the Arts, located at 16 Anawan Street in Fall River, Mass.

Official statement about Limelight Magazine Music Awards

cropped-limelight-anniversary-logo-website.jpg

While January is normally the time of year Limelight Magazine begins accepting nominations for its annual Music Awards, we have decided we will NOT hold an awards ceremony in 2017. Each year this event is a major undertaking and takes a considerable amount of time to plan. After organizing eight awards ceremonies, we would like to use this year to self-evaluate this event while taking into account the feedback we have received from local musicians and our readers over the past few years.

Last October, Limelight Magazine celebrated its 10th anniversary. We consider this an amazing achievement as many publications that cover music, movies, and pop culture have either folded or scaled back their content. In response to this void, we have actually increased our coverage of the local and national music scene throughout 2016 (click HERE to see what we covered). We will maintain this coverage throughout 2017 and continue to bring national touring acts to New England with six acts – Candlebox (3/25), Tom Rush (4/1), Vanilla Fudge (4/5), Y&T (5/2), Michael Sweet (6/2), & Black ‘N Blue (7/20) already booked and selling well at either the Narrows Center for the Arts in Fall River, MA, or Spire Center for Performing Arts in Plymouth, MA. Please continue to follow us on Facebook or Twitter for the most up-to-date information about our interviews, coverage of events, and shows we’ve booked.

In the meantime, we’d like to congratulate all the past nominees and winners at our Limelight Magazine Music Awards. A complete list of all the winners for the past eight years appears below.

 

8th Limelight Magazine Music Awards

@ Spire Center for Performing Arts, Plymouth, MA

Saturday, April 16, 2016

 

Unsung Hero Award

Shanna Jackman

Band of the Year

Flight of Fire

Live Artist of the Year

The Shana Stack Band

Album of the Year (Group)

21st Century Fugitives – Losing Time

Album of the Year (Solo Artist)

Carissa Johnson – For Now

Male Vocalist of the Year

Rob Pagnano

Female Vocalist of the Year

Amy Marie

Tribute Band of the Year

Heartbreaker – A Tribute to Led Zeppelin

Metal/Hardcore Act of the Year

Death wish

Debut Album of the Year

Matt York – Boston, Texas

 Breakthrough Artist of the Year

Bad Marriage

Young Performer of the Year

Sarah Deanna

Singer/Songwriter of the Year

Michael Spaulding

Country Artist of the Year

Timmy Brown and Black Diamond

Video of the Year (Group)

Red Evans – “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”

Video of the Year (Solo)

Matthew Neves – “Today Is The Day”

Song of the Year

The Aldous Collins Band – “Bernadette”

 

7th Limelight Magazine Music Awards

@ Spire Center for Performing Arts, Plymouth, MA

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Legend Award

New England

 Unsung Hero Award

Robin Lane

Band of the Year

The House on Cliff

Live Artist of the Year

Marianne Toilet and The Runs

Album of the Year (Group)
Dan Lawson Band – Soldiers of Fortune (tie)

The Quins – A Tale of Love and Evil (tie)

Album of the Year (Solo)

Susan Cattaneo – Haunted Heart

Male Vocalist of the Year

Walter Barlow

Female Vocalist of the Year

Jenna Lotti

Tribute Band of the Year

Beatles for Sale – Tribute to The Beatles

Metal/Hardcore Act of the Year

Along Came the Flood

Breakthrough Artist of the Year

The Dust Ruffles

 Young Performer of the Year

Emily Hodges

Singer-Songwriter of the Year

Amy Fairchild

Country Artist of the Year

Shana Stack Band

 Video of the Year (Group)

Singlecast – “Running to You”

Video of the Year (Solo)

Boston Catalano – “Stronger” (tie)

Joe Merrick – “Kiss Me Like It’s New Year’s Eve” (tie)

Song of the Year

The October Accord – “Better Off Without You”

6th Limelight Magazine Music Awards

@ South Shore Music, Quincy, MA

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Legend Award

Extreme

 Unsung Hero Award

Ayla Brown

 Service Award

Jessica Botelho

Band of the Year

Grace Morrison and the RSO

Live Artist of the Year

Bigtalkahh

Album of the Year (Group)

Beyond Blonde – Purple Rose

Album of the Year (Solo)

Jamie Lynn Hart – Live At Tupelo

 Male Vocalist of the Year

Joe Merrick

 Female Vocalist of the Year

Brianna Grace

 Tribute Band of the Year

Forever Young (Neil Young)

Metal/Hardcore Act of the Year

Hellspeak

Breakthrough Artist of the Year

Closer Than We Appear

Young Performer of the Year

21st Century Fugitives

Singer/Songwriter of the Year

Krista Baroni

Country Artist of the Year

Britt Hill

Video of the Year (Group)

The Devil’s Twins – “Love and War”

Video of the Year (Solo)

Jamie Lynn Hart – “Down”

Song of the Year

Kiley Evans & Joe Merrick – “We’d Be Lying”

           

5th Limelight Magazine Music Awards

@ Rock Junction, Coventry, RI

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Legend Award

BOSTON

Unsung Hero Award

Lisa Guyer

 DJ Most Supportive of the Local Music Scene

Lisa Azizian & John Shea

 Band of the Year

Lisa Markovich & Beyond Blonde

Live Artist of the Year

Awesome Express

 Album of the Year (Group)

Closer Than We Appear – Evaluating Expressions

 Album of the Year (Solo)

Sarah Swain – Every Little Bird

 Male Vocalist of the Year

Jesse Liam

Female Vocalist of the Year

Jessica Prouty

 Tribute Band of the Year

The Great Escape: Tribute to Journey

Metal/Harcore Act of the Year

Bigtalkahh

Breakthrough Artist of the Year

popALERT

 Singer/Songwriter of the Year

Amanda McCarthy

 Country Artist of the Year

Ashley Jordan

Video of the Year

Krista Angelucci – “C R E E P” (tie)

Birch Hill Dam – “Fathom’s Below” (tie)

Song of the Year

“Wicked” by Sara Leketa

 

4th Limelight Magazine Music Awards

@ Firehouse 13, Providence, RI

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Legend Award

The Fools

DJ Most Supportive of the Local Music Scene

Cat Wilson

Band of the Year

Beautiful Tuesday (tie)

Jessica Prouty Band (tie)

Live Artist of the Year

Beautiful Tuesday

Album/EP of the Year (Group)

Lisa Markovich & Beyond Blonde – Showing My Roots

Album/EP of the Year (Solo)

Ray Cooke – Good Life

Male Vocalist of the Year

Louis St. August

Female Vocalist of the Year

Jamie Lynn Hart

Tribute Band of the Year

Aerochix – Tribute to Aerosmith

Metal/Hardcore Act of the Year

I For An Eye

New Artist of the Year

The Vinyl Grooves

Singer/Songwriter of the Year

Jamie Lynn Hart

Song of the Year

Kiley Evans – “Johnny Depp”

3rd Limelight Magazine Music Awards

@ Club Hell, Providence, RI

March 12, 2011

Legend Award

MAS

Band of the Year

Varsity Girls

Live Artist of the Year

York

Album/EP of the Year

Shryne – Here and Now

Male Vocalist of the Year

Craig DeMelo

Female Vocalist of the Year

Elle Gallo

Tribute Band of the Year

Ornament – A Tribute to Trans-Siberian Orchestra

Metal/Hardcore Act of the Year

Structure Fails

New Artist of the Year

The Alarming Sound

Song of the Year

Jessica Prouty Band – “Escape”

2nd Limelight Magazine Music Awards

@ Club Hell, Providence, RI

January 31, 2010

 

DJ Most Supportive of the Local Music Scene

Jim Stearns

Band of the Year

Shryne

Live Artist of the Year (Major)

Sarah Borges and the Broken Singles

Live Artist of the Year (Indie)

Route .44 (tie)

The Candace Brooks band (tie)

SexCoffee (tie)

Album of the Year (Group Major)

Joe Perry – Have Guitar Will Travel

Album of the Year (Group Indie)

The Candace Brooks Band – The Chase

Album of the Year (Solo)

Terry Kitchen – Summer to Snowflakes

Male Vocalist of the Year

Jon Brennan

Female Vocalist of the Year

Sarah Kollett

Tribute Band of the Year

Bon Jersey – A Tribute to Bon Jovi

1st Limelight Magazine Music Awards

@ Narrows Center for the Arts in Fall River, MA

January 25, 2009

 

Band of the Year

The Candace Brooks Band

Live Artist of the Year (Major)

MASS

Live Artist of the Year (Indie)

Shryne

Album of the Year (Group Major)

MASS – Crack of Dawn

Album of the Year (Group Indie)

Hello Mahalo – Dawning Days

Album of the Year (Solo)

Charlie Farren – Old & Young

Male Vocalist of the Year

Justin Joyce

Female Vocalist of the Year

Candace Brooks

Tribute Band of the Year

The Great Escape: Tribute to Journey

Guitarist of the Year

Joe Grananta (tie)

Jack Lynx (tie)

Bassist of the Year

Lou Spagnola

Drummer of the Year

Todd Salpietro

Keyboardist of the Year

Steve Baker

Metal singer Leather Leone recording new solo album with her ‘boys from Brazil’

BY JULIA CIRIGNANO & JAY KENNEY

Leather Leone promises big things in 2017. (PHOTO BY JIM SCHUMACHER, SUBMITTED BY LEATHER LEONE)
Leather Leone promises big things in 2017. (PHOTO BY JIM SCHUMACHER, SUBMITTED BY LEATHER LEONE)

When legendary heavy metal vocalist Ronnie James Dio died on May 16, 2010, it sent shock waves throughout the hard rock and metal community. As sad as his death was for so many people, it motivated vocalist Leather Leone to return to the heavy metal music scene after being away from it for nearly two decades. Since then, she has released a studio album with The Sledge/Leather Project, reunited with the band she originally fronted, Chastain, for two stellar recordings (Surrender To No One and We Bleed Metal), and is currently in the process of recording her first solo album since 1989 with a stellar band in Brazil. 2017 promises to be the year of Leather!

“The loss of Ronnie Dio changed me as much as when I had spent time with him,” said Leone in an exclusive interview with Limelight Magazine. “It took my breath away, as it did for many. I had to say and do something…the only way I knew was through song. He had always told me I had a gift. I simply gave it back to him. I think of him always when I write and record. He has always been my vocal reason. I thank him for any note that I sing.”

Leone said that her 20 year hiatus from music wasn’t planned but it just happened.

“After Chastain, the offers were comprising and uninteresting,” she admitted. “I would and will not try to be something I am not…I had other paths that called to me.”

Leather Leone is working on her first solo album since "Shock Waves" in 1989.
Leather Leone is working on her first solo album since “Shock Waves” in 1989.

While Leone’s path took her on a road away from the music industry, she is now back stronger than ever with a new solo album in the works with a lineup of musicians that includes Daemon Ross (guitar), Braulio Drummond (drums), Thiago Velasquez (bass) and Vinnie Tex (guitar).

“I call them my boys from Brazil,” Leone said. “They are a well-kept secret that I have the privilege of working with. They have done their share of working with much bigger names than me. I had met Daemon Ross on my first jaunt to Brazil in 2014. We had stayed in touch hoping it would evolve in some way. Vinnie, Braulio and Thiago I met for the first time in September. For me it was magic. We fit together very well.”

Although many years have passed, Leone feels like she’s the same rocker she has always been with the opportunity to become even better than ever.

“I can’t tell you how empowering and life changing this new project is for me,” Leone said. “The band that my promoter/manager Rodrigo Scelza had found for me is a wall of inspiration. I am basically writing with Vinnie Tex via email. I have gone through his and Daemon Ross’s ideas and chose what I think will work with my lyrical ideas…then Vinnie and I start doing demos back and forth. It is working very well. I have found a sense of sameness with them.”

Leone and her “boys from Brazil” are recording this new album in South America due to the unique opportunity she has working with these musicians.

“The guys are all situated there,” she said. “It is easier for me to go to them and it is important for me to be there with them. The energy I get from South America is indescribable.”

The new album doesn’t have a title yet but Leone did mention that it will be released sometime in 2017 “Dio willing,” she said, in commemoration of Ronnie James Dio.

While Leone is the same hard rocker she has always been, she said the music industry around her has drastically changed over the years.

“I find social media crazy,” she said. “Anyone can make music. All music can be downloaded and found for free. There are so many bands, it’s hard to find your place. That is what I’ve noticed, but I am still blessed to be able to make music so I have no complaints.”

"Mystery of Ilusion" is the debut studio album by Chastain which featured Leather Leone on vocals.
“Mystery of Illusion”(1985)  is the debut studio album by Chastain which featured Leather Leone on vocals.

Leone recorded her first album ever in 1985 with the band Chastain called Mystery of Illusion. They released music for five years before Leone departed the band in 1991. Over the past several years, Leone returned to Chastain and recorded two studio albums, Surrender To No One (2013) and We Bleed Metal (2015). [Check out the music videos for “Evil Awaits Us” and “I Am Sin” from Surrender To No One by clicking on the song title.]

“Working with Chastain is like riding a bike,” Leone explained. “You always remember and it comes back to you. Our relationship hasn’t changed. It was very cool to be back in the studio with him (David T. Chastain). At this time I see no plans for another record but weirder situations have come to be.”

Although Leone worked with Chastain in the studio again, they hadn’t shared a stage in over 25 years until they performed together on October 8, 2016, at Bogart’s in Cincinnati, Ohio.

“The live show with Chastain was cool,” Leone said. “I had always known it would happen eventually. It made me realize how thankful I was to have come from there and how lucky I was to move forward with my boys.”

Leone hopes to play some shows in the states again, possibly even with her “boys from Brazil.”

“My world with this band is wide open,” she said. “I am starting again with a fireball of talent beside me. There is interest and possibility. I hope to play in the states again.”

As Leone cements her return to the music scene, she is now accompanied by many more female rockers than before. When Leone first started making music, she was playing with the boys and being compared to male metal singers such as Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson and Judas Priest’s Rob Halford. Although Leone is proud to have been a pioneer female vocalist and rocker, she has also struggled with this label.

“I have always said I have a hard time with the female label,” Leone explained. “I understand looking back that we were few but still that label is so boring. I feel blessed, of course, to be spoken in the same conversations as the big guns but why is gender an issue?”

Leone is thankful for everyone who has supported her throughout her career.

“Thank you to everyone who has stuck by me with love and belief,” she said. “My new band will blow your mind as they do mine every day.”

Keep up with Leone and get band updates at leatherleone.com.

Leather Leone (PHOTO BY JIM SCHUMACHER, SUBMITTED BY LEATHER LEONE)
Leather Leone (PHOTO BY JIM SCHUMACHER, SUBMITTED BY LEATHER LEONE)

Limelight Magazine’s top 10 most read stories of 2016

We’d like to take a moment and recap the content Limelight Magazine covered in 2016 and post our top 10 most read stories. We renewed our coverage of the local music scene in New England and did feature stories on Jimmy Bez, Liz Bills (of Analog Heart), blindspot, Erinn Brown, Nikki Coogan (of The Devil’s Twins), Flight of Fire, Girls, Guns and Glory, Ashley Jordan, Jenna Lotti, Martin and Kelly, Dan Masterson, MB Padfield and Matt York. We interviewed national acts, including Paul Bielatowicz, MASS, Motion Device, Joan Osborne, Trevor Rabin, and Robert Reed. We featured a number of businesses and non-profits, including Cable Car Cinema and Café, Coolidge Corner Theatre’s After Midnight Program, Dark Delicacies, Fright Rags, Hudson Horror Show, Mouradian Guitar Company, Purchase Street Records, Narrows Center for the Arts, The Time Capsule, and TJ’s Music All Star Band Program. We interviewed director Justin Mayoh’s about his film “Tales of Rocky Point Park” and author J. Blake Fichera about his book “Scored to Death.” We did a number of themed stories, including musicians (Erin Ollis, Amy Marie, Amanda McCarthy) and a fitness trainer (Nina McGoff) sharing their stories about health and fitness, record store owners (Burlington Records, Cheapo Records, In Your Year Records, Joe’s Albums, Music Connection, Nuggets Records, Round Again Records, Skele-tone Records, Spun Records and Sunset Records) discussing the resurgence of vinyl, musicians (Sarah Barrios, Emil Belisle, Paul Horton, John MacFee, Hailey Magee, Brian KcKenzie, Jennifer Mitchell, Moment of Clarity, Christopher Ruiz, Allison Sigrist) sharing their most memorable gigs, musicians (Emil Belisle, Nikki Coogan, April Cushman, Mike LaRoche, Ken Macy, Stan Matthews, Ryan Stark, Arline Urquhart, Mark Vinciguerra) sharing what their tattoos mean. We also interviewed JKB Entertainment Group/Limelight Magazine co-owner Katie Botelho-Bielatowicz about nail art designs and paid tribute to Bruce Coburn of “Rockline” by interviewing Ian Anderson (of Jethro Tull), Rik Emmett (of Triumph) Shaun Hague (of Journeyman – A Tribute to Eric Clapton) and a number of our loyal readers. As you can see, we were very busy in 2016. Thanks for another great year!

As to our top 10 most read stories of 2016, here’s the list.

  1. Purchase Street Records: Vintage record store to open in downtown New Bedford
  2. Mouradian Guitar Company: Have guitar?…Mouradian Guitar Company will fix it
  3. Local musicians  (Erin Ollis, Amy Marie, Amanda McCarthy) and fitness trainer (Nina McGoff) share their inspirational stories about health and fitness
  4. Narrows Center for the Arts celebrates 15 years of art and music in Fall River
  5. MB Padfield’s Bedazzled Road to Recovery
  6. Erinn Brown: Hard work pays off
  7. Trevor Rabin ‘talks’ about his newly formed ‘union’ with Jon Anderson & Rick Wakeman
  8. Jenna Lotti: The good girls with ‘Bad Habits
  9. Robert Reed finds his ‘Sanctuary’ in paying homage to Mike Oldfield
  10. Motion Device ‘eternalizes” heavy metal music

Local musicians look back on 2016 and make resolutions for 2017

BY JULIA CIRIGNANO

To coincide with the end of 2016 and the start of a fresh, new year, Limelight Magazine spoke with ten local musicians about what they were most grateful for in 2016 and their New Year’s resolutions for 2017 both within their personal lives and their music careers. We’d like to thank each of them for participating in our short survey. We’d also like to wish our readers a very happy, healthy, safe, and prosperous 2017!

What were you most grateful for in 2016?

Sarah Barrios

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

“I think I’m feeling most grateful for my friends, family, and the endless support from those who follow my career. 2016 has been a year of real self-reflecting for me. I’ve learned a lot about myself as an artist, who I want to be, what kinds of music I want to make, what topics to write about and I think that’s given me a new perspective of my career and how I want to move forward. I started making consistent YouTube videos twice a week and it’s really helped me connect even more so with the lovely people who help support my music. Without them, I truly would not be where I am today. I can’t imagine doing anything else, so the fact that I have the opportunity to pursue my dreams is something that I am very grateful for.

On a more personal note, I have always been someone who enjoys to be alone, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes you need your space, but for the past few years, I just couldn’t be bothered to really put myself out there…until now. I have made and strengthened such incredible friendships this past year and I can’t even begin to describe what it feels like to be surrounded by truly kind, talented and inspiring people. As for my family, they are my rock and my home and I have learned that no matter how annoying your brothers may get or how frustrating your parents can be, your family will always be there to support you at any stage of your life and I am very lucky to have the fun and loving family that I do.”

Liz Bills (of Analog Heart)

Liz Bills (center) with Analog Heart (PHOTO BY SHIVOHN FLEMING PHOTOGARPHY, SUBMITTED BY LIZ BILLS)
Liz Bills (center) with Analog Heart (PHOTO BY SHIVOHN FLEMING PHOTOGARPHY, SUBMITTED BY LIZ BILLS)

“I have so many things to be grateful for! Here are a few. I am grateful for my loving and supportive boyfriend. The health of my family and friends. My own physical and mental health. My wonderful band Analog Heart who have stuck with me through thick and thin. The freedom to express myself and to shoot for the stars. My amazing students who teach me more and more about myself and give me purpose and balance in my life. The love that surrounds me.”

Shaun Hague (of Journeyman – A Tribute to Eric Clapton)

Shaun Hague
Shaun Hague (PHOTO BY ERIC SCHMIDT, SUBMITTED BY SHAUN HAGUE)

“I am most grateful for two things in 2016. My beautiful family which grew even bigger this year as we welcomed our second daughter into the world. Everyone is healthy, happy and doing well. I am also grateful for the amount of professional booking and touring work that landed on my plate this year from lots of hard work, with even more coming in 2017 and beyond!”

Ashley Jordan

Ashley Jordan (SUBMITTED PHOTO BY ASHLEY JORDAN)
Ashley Jordan (SUBMITTED PHOTO BY ASHLEY JORDAN)

“I am most grateful for my family. They are wonderful, loving and supportive and I can’t imagine my crazy life without them!! It will be nice to spend some extra time with my family over the holiday season!!”

Jenna Lotti

Jenna Lotti (PHOTO BY KIERA SLYE PHOTOGRAPHY, SUBMITTED BYJENNA LOTTI)
Jenna Lotti (PHOTO BY KIERA SLYE PHOTOGRAPHY, SUBMITTED BYJENNA LOTTI)

“I’m grateful to be a part of the Boston music community.”

Dan Masterson

Dan Masterson and his band after winning The Last Band Standing Competition. From left, Jamie Howell, Alec Gaston, Dan Masterson, & Matthew Silva. (PHOTO BY PATRICK CREAN, SUBMITTED BY HAILEY MAGEE)
Dan Masterson and his band after winning The Last Band Standing Competition. From left, Jamie Howell, Alec Gaston, Dan Masterson, & Matthew Silva. (PHOTO BY PATRICK CREAN, SUBMITTED BY HAILEY MAGEE)

“I’m most grateful for getting out my bed-bug ridden apartment and moving into a new place in Brighton without going completely broke or insane. I never take a good night’s sleep for granted. I’m also grateful for discovering EBASS (Emerging Boston Area Singer Songwriters) which has been an incredible community and source of support as a performer and I’m thankful to the New England Music Awards and all my friends and fans who came out and propelled us to a win at this year’s Last Band Standing in New England Competition.”

Erin Ollis (of Thirty 6 Red)

Erin Ollis ( (PHOTO BY SYDNEY ROSE PHOTOGRAPHY, SUBMITTED BY ERIN OLLIS)
Erin Ollis ( (PHOTO BY SYDNEY ROSE PHOTOGRAPHY, SUBMITTED BY ERIN OLLIS)

“2016 has been one of the best years thus far. I’ve been very grateful to be part of a wonderful band, Thirty 6 Red, who I can also call a second family. We’ve performed at so many wonderful events this past year and we’ve been so fortunate to have the support of family, friends and fans. We ended this year by performing at Gillette Stadium on Christmas Eve before the Patriots took the field…We were also lucky enough to choose a fan to join us for the entire day and invite them to watch the Patriots game afterwards with us.”

Louis St. August (of MASS)

Louis St. August (of MASS) (PHOTO BY MICAH GUMMEL FOR NEW ENGLAND CONCERT REVIEWS, SUBMITTED BY LOUIS ST. AUGUST)
Louis St. August (of MASS) (PHOTO BY MICAH GUMMEL FOR NEW ENGLAND CONCERT REVIEWS, SUBMITTED BY LOUIS ST. AUGUST)

“I didn’t have to give this one too much thought because I am so grateful for many things in 2016. Mostly for my family who have always been supportive in all that I do and understand that there may be times when our family plans may need to be altered. I’m very grateful for their love and understanding. Secondly, I’m very grateful that most, if not all, of my family and friends have stayed relatively healthy and happy in 2016. I’m also very grateful for our amazing fans that continue to support me and MASS music over the many years. I’ve been blessed to still have the passion and desire to create and perform the music that still burns in my heart and soul.”

Matt York

Matt York (PHOTO BY MEG MAKEIJ, SUBMITTED BY MATT YORK)
Matt York (PHOTO BY MEG MAKEIJ, SUBMITTED BY MATT YORK)

“I’m most grateful for my wife because honestly, that’s never not the right answer. However, in this case it’s actually true. I’ve had a pretty wild year musically and got to travel to some cool spots, experience some cool things and none of that would have been possible without her support. We have two young daughters and trying to coordinate the schedules of two people who both work full-time along with all the things that come along with parenting could be challenging but we’ve made it work.”

What are your resolutions for 2017?

Sarah Barrios

“I don’t think I’ve ever made a New Year’s resolution but like they say, ‘there’s a first time for everything.’ One of my resolutions for this coming year is to take more risks. I tend to let my fears, many being ones that have been created purely from my own imagination, control my life and the decisions I make. I’ve let these fears rule over me because I was more comfortable not taking risks and complaining about it, than taking the risk and seeing where the journey took me. While that wasn’t a huge deal when I was younger, I’m now pursuing a career that requires you to really step outside the box and out of your comfort zone. Maybe it’s because I’ve reflected over it or maybe it’s because I’m getting older but I’ve grown tired of feeling caged in by walls that I’ve put up all on my own. I want to step outside of my comfort zone and create without fear. To make content that is unapologetically honest, to travel more, make new friends, strengthen my musical abilities, make videos that are different from my current content. I want this year to be the year that I get out of my own way and start to live less for my fears and more for my dreams.”

Liz Bills (of Analog Heart)

“I don’t like to do New Year’s resolutions but if I had to have one it would be to continue to always learn and grow and expand. To strive for balance and happiness and to have the wisdom to stay calm and patient in times when I am sad, angry, sick or in pain.”

Shaun Hague (of Journeyman – A Tribute to Eric Clapton)

“My New Year’s resolution is to get things done and not leave them for another day. I do that too often whether it’s work related or even a house chore. I have had two ballerina prints sitting in my office for my oldest daughter’s room that should have been in there months ago. Lazy dad! Well not really lazy, I just have so much going on family/work wise and I’m not prioritizing my time well enough this year.”

Ashley Jordan

“My New Year’s resolution for 2017 is to officially release my newest album He’s Crazy and to get it out there in a new and unique way. I also want to do some music videos for my songs on my new album.”

Jenna Lotti

“I don’t really have a specific resolution but I have a goal of making 2017 my best year yet, music wise. I’ve been working on new music that is very different from anything I’ve put out yet and I’m very excited for people to hear it! I’m going to work as hard as I possibly can in 2017.”

Dan Masterson

“My first and most important resolution this year is to do anything and everything possible to defend and support my LGBTQ friends, friends of color, and female/non-binary friends — and to not be silent when I see any kind of intimidation directed toward folks simply for who they are or how they look. I feel strongly that this is a resolution that I must commit to without exception.”

Erin Ollis (of Thirty 6 Red)

“I’m sure 2017 will be jammed packed with more music and exciting memories. One of my New Year’s resolutions is to take more risks. I want to expand my music repertoire and create more original music to showcase to the public.”

Louis St. August (of MASS)

“My resolution is simply to try and be the very best human being possibly and to spread the word of hope and love through my daily actions and of course through song.”

Matt York

“For 2017, one of things I really want to do is work more to support local artists. I think with the way the landscape has changed in recent years, it’s harder for musicians to find an audience, sell merchandise and so on. So, if I can help that, even in a tiny way, by seeing more shows, buying more CDs and letting people know about acts that really impress me, I’d like think that could help a little bit.”