If you’ve attended a show by JKB Entertainment Group/Limelight Magazine, there is a good chance that Brad Stevens was in the audience. In fact, Stevens has attended over 3,000 concerts in his lifetime and continues to be an avid concert goer.
Stevens said that his favorite thing about going to concerts is seeing the bands perform live. He loves the energy and being part of the excitement.
“I just like live music,” Stevens said. “I like the crowd and seeing the bands perform the songs live.”
The first concert Stevens ever attended was Van Halen and Black Sabbath at the Cape Cod Coliseum in 1978. Black Sabbath has continued to be Stevens favorite band to see in concert, seeing them 33 times and he has never been disappointed
While Black Sabbath will always be Stevens first love and favorite band to see in concert, he mentioned some of his other favorites.
“The Who, Deep Purple, UFO and Saxon,” Stevens said.
Stevens has many crazy concert stories and chose to share one with us.
“I went to see Black Label Society in Hartford, Connecticut,” he began. “I stayed with my brother-in-law who lives in a housing development in Hartford. To park on one side of the parking lot you needed a permit and the other side was for guests. So, we got back from the concert and all the guest spots were taken and the permits were open so he said ‘park in the permit’. Then, I’m laying in bed at like four in the morning and I wake up and I can see a bright light shining through his window and I look out and the guy’s towing my car. I throw my clothes on real quick and ran out there. It had just rained and I fell in a big mud puddle. I was covered from head to toe. He didn’t tow my car. I ran over and told him my story.”
Although Stevens has attended many concerts, he wishes he’d seen Led Zeppelin.
“I haven’t seen Led Zeppelin,” he said. “I wanna cry.”
Stevens also wished he’d seen several deceased musicians such as Jimi Hendrix, John Lennon, John Bonham, and Jim Morrison.
Stevens said that his favorite venue is the Narrows Center for the Arts, located in Fall River, Mass.
“The Narrows is great,” he said. “It’s small and intimate with friendly people and staff. You’re close to the stage and the sound is excellent.”
Stevens has seen many concerts at the Narrows Center. One of his favorites was Y&T which was booked by JKB Entertainment Group. He also enjoyed The Yardbirds, which was also booked by JKB, and Ian Hunter.
Stevens talked about the worst venue he’s ever been to located in Worcester, Mass.
“The worst venue is The Palladium,” he said. “The sound is horrible. The security is like Nazi’s. It’s horrible. It’s cold, like a dungeon, and dirty.”
Stevens does admit though that he sometimes goes to The Palladium as a last resort because they book a very specific type of music that that he enjoys called European Power Metal.
Stevens also talked about the tickets he already has for shows this year.
“UFO and Saxon (at Brighton Music Hall), Blue Oyster Cult (at Stadium Theatre), just got them today,” he said. “Also, Mack Sabbath, they sound good, they sound like Black Sabbath.”
He’s also purchased tickets to several events booked at the Narrows Center booked by JKB Entertainment Group, including Candlebox Acoustic (on March 25th), Vanilla Fudge with Paul Bielatowicz (on April 5th), Y&T (on May 2) and Stryper’s Michael Sweet (on June 2). He planned to purchased tickets to Black ‘N Blue on July 20th but had already bought tickets to see Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers that night in Boston.
Stevens said that there haven’t been many musicians that he saw that he was greatly disappointed with although he doesn’t like when bands get political.
“Bands like Pearl Jam, Bruce Springsteen, Roger Waters, they get political and I don’t like that,” he said. “Back in the 80’s, U2 had a political cause for what was going on in Ireland. Now it’s either the Trump of Hilary thing. I don’t care about your political cause or what your politics are. You like who you like, we all like who we like. Everybody’s different. I don’t know, I don’t like your influence. Just play your music.”
Stevens also has another concert pet peeve: when musicians don’t play for very long.
“I went to see ZZ Top. I paid $115 for the ticket and they played 65 minutes,” he said. “You know, you expect someone to play at least 100 minutes. That was disappointing. I would never go see them again.”
Stevens enjoys seeing bands like Rush who play for nearly three hours.
“Rush is fantastic,” he said. “I paid $170 for them and that’s worth the money.”
While Stevens believes that some bands are worth the money, he is outraged at how much concerts cost nowadays.
“That’s another disappointment: the price of these concerts now,” he said. “How can an average fan really afford that? The first time I saw Rush in 1980 I paid $8. Same thing with Black Sabbath, $7.50. Now it’s $200.”
Stevens said his favorite new album is Preludes & Etudes by Paul Bielatowicz. He has also seen him perform solo (with Simon Fitzpatrick) three years in a row at the Narrows Center.
“I like that instrumental type of music,” Stevens said.
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!
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.”
EDITOR’S NOTE: This concert was cancelled due to a scheduling conflict. (5/4/17)
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!
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.”
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.
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.”
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.”
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.”
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?
“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)
“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)
“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!”
“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!!”
“I’m grateful to be a part of the Boston music community.”
“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)
“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)
“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.”
“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?
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
Music and entertainment coverage since October 2006!