Getting lucky with Jon Anderson

By JESSICA A. BOTELHO

St. Patrick’s Day is next Saturday and so is Jon Anderson’s sold out show at the Narrows Center for the Arts in Fall River. As part of a solo tour of the U.S., the former front man for progressive rock icons, Yes, said he’ll be performing classic tunes, as well as a few songs from his 2010 studio album, Survival & Other Stories, which was made in collaboration with musicians from around the world that he discovered by placing an ad on his website.

“I’m doing old songs, new songs, all sorts of songs, telling stories and having a good time,” said Anderson.

He got the idea to create the album when he learned he had the ability to compose with others by sending and receiving MP3s of recorded music. Now, he has about 25 people he regularly works with.

“It was like opening a Pandora’s box because there are so many talented people out there with so many different kinds of music,” Anderson said.

Not only has he partnered with strangers, he also recently reunited with former Yes keyboardist Rick Wakeman. The two joined forces for a month-long U.S. tour last year.

After spending time apart, Anderson said it felt as if they didn’t miss a beat-literally.

“It’s like riding a bicycle,” he said. “It’s just one of those things where we played new songs and classic songs we wrote together with Yes. He’s a fun guy to be around and we get on very well.”

In fact, they will be working together again in the near future, as they are planning a west coast, 20-show tour for early 2013. At the moment, Anderson is writing music with his son, Damion.

“We’ve been writing for the last couple of months and finishing up a new one,” said Anderson. “It sounds really cool. He’s a little like me because he tries everything.”

Speaking of family, Anderson’s wife of 18 years, Jane, accompanies him on the road. She also manages the entire tour.

“We love being together and have a great time,” he said. “We’re very blessed and we just want to enjoy life.”

For Anderson, doing a solo tour gives him the opportunity to relax more often. He feels it takes pressure off him.

“I’m nearly 70-years-old and I’m doing different things now,” he said. “I was in a band for 35 years and that was enough.”

But, performing solo isn’t the only way he decompresses. In his spare time, he likes to paint watercolors.

“I think it’s more of a meditative thing for me,” said Anderson.
However, don’t expect to see his artwork featured at his shows or sold online.

“I give them away,” he said. “I just sent one to a fan the other day. He has kidney problems, so I sent him a painting and a signed photograph to cheer him up.”

After this tour ends, Anderson will be gearing up for shows in Europe and Brazil this summer. He said he hopes to put out new music later this year.

“I haven’t decided exactly when but I have a lot going on and I’m very happy with what I’m doing,” said Anderson.

In a career that spans almost five decades, he said the best part of being a musician is “the next gig.”

“It’s my life and I love it,” Anderson said. “I don’t just do it for the money. Having fun is what it’s all about.”

RI Music Hall of Fame brings joy to all ages

By JESSICA A. BOTELHO

For Rhode Islander Brenda Bennett, who toured as a vocalist with Ken Lyon and the Tombstone Blues Band in the 1970s, as well as nine-year old Nolan Leite, of Pawtucket, Sunday night’s Rhode Island Hall of Fame ceremony was a thrilling, emotional event.

The show, which took place at The MET in Pawtucket’s Hope Artiste Village, welcomed a sold out crowd of 515. The state’s most acclaimed artists, including John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band, Roomful of Blues, Ken Lyon, as well as five other acts, were inducted into the Hall of Fame.

“It’s exciting to see every one of the inductees be recognized for the contributions they made to the music industry,” said Bennett, who was known as Brenda Mosher in the 1970s and also performed with Prince. “I think it’s a wonderful thing and it’s certainly been a long time coming.”

In addition to Beaver Brown, Roomful and Lyon, acts such as Gerry Granahan, Anders & Poncia, Oliver Shaw, Eileen Farrell, and Dave McKenna were also inducted. For Bennett, seeing Lyon inducted was special.

But, she said witnessing Thom Enright honored as MVP of the evening was touching because she was a close friend of his and toured with him in the past.

Sadly, Enright, who battled brain cancer for four years, died last week. However, he was a triple inductee, as he played guitar for Beaver Brown Band, Roomful of Blues and Tombstone.

“I’m sorry to see it happened after he passed away but still pleased he was recognized as the most valuable player,” she said. “I just wish that he could have been here to see it.”

Bennett said she met Enright a couple years before she entered the music scene. She lived with him and a few other friends in an apartment on Beacon Street in Boston, not far from Fenway Park.

“He was so tall and had this huge Afro,” she said. “I used to laugh and say, ‘You’re a giant and your hair makes you seven feet tall. Those are some good memories. It was quite an amazing time.”

In the 1970s, Bennett toured nationally with Lyon’s band and got the opportunity to open for legendary acts like Aerosmith, Queen and Mott the Hoople, to name a few. These days, after taking a 15-year hiatus from the music industry to raise her son, she is making her way back into the business.

Recently, she released an album A Capella, and hopes to book shows in Rhode Island during the late spring or early summer to promote it. Right now, Bennett said, booking performances are in the infant stages.

Influenced by Patsy Cline, Keith Urban, Vince Gill, Joni Mitchell, even Ray Charles, Bennett described the album as an eclectic mix of music, including country, folk and jazz.

“I’ve done a lot of writing and recording but this is the first time I’ve done it totally by myself,” she said. “To be able to have your hands on the wheel and make the decisions yourself was a double-edged sword. It was pretty exciting but it was daunting task because I’ve never done it myself and I didn’t know if it was going to work.”

Like Bennett, Leite, a third grader at Nathanael Greene Elementary School in Pawtucket who plays guitar, bass, drums and piano, loves music and enjoyed the Hall of Fame ceremony. For him, seeing Roomful of Blues inducted was a treat.

“My mom and dad went to their concert and gave my parents a CD to give to me,” he said of his mother and father, Brenda and Daniel.

Each Sunday, Leite performs at the MET in open jam sessions. With each week, he said he gets the chance to improve his skills.

“People say I’m getting better every week and I’m not as shy anymore,” said Leite, who first picked up a guitar when her was five and formed a band, Steel Dragon, with his friends. His parents get a kick out of seeing him play for crowds.

“I’ve had tears in my eyes just watching him,” Daniel said. “People rush to the stage with cameras just to take his picture.”

He said the best part of playing guitar is “learning different things about where to put your fingers to play certain songs” and feels as if he’s teaching others that, “you have a lot of talent and you should never give up.”

Both Leite and Bennett said the Hall of Fame show, which was put together by a board of nearly 20 members, was a great time. They feel it’s important to tribute the artists because they help make Rhode Island more well-known.

“Being such a small state, Rhode Island has kind of always been on the back burner of a lot of peoples’ consciousness, but once you start scratching the surface there are a lot of artist here that have done great things and have made a name for themselves on a national, and sometimes international, level,” Bennett said. “I’m glad to see this has been created to give them that recognition.”

Sunday’s event included performances by the Dave McKenna Tribute, Roomful of Blues, and the Beaver Brown Band.

For more information about the Rhode Island Music Hall of Fame, visit rhodeislandmusichalloffame.com.

Nolan Leite

Limelight to hold 4th annual music awards

You’ve read about some of the best bands in New England during the past year in Limelight Magazine. Now, you have the opportunity to see some of them perform and be rewarded for their accomplishments.

Firehouse 13, located at 41 Central Street in Providence, RI, will host the fourth annual Limelight Magazine Music Awards ceremony on Saturday, March 10, from 7 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. The live music event will honor the best bands and musicians from New England that were selected by readers of the magazine in an online poll.

Co-hosting the event will be Limelight Magazine co-owner Katie Botelho and managing editor Jessica Botelho.

Among the performers are: Steve Allain, Awesome Express, Beautiful Tuesdsay, Andrea Belanger, By All Means, Ray Cooke, Lisa Couto, Fall and Bounce, Jillian Jensen and the Jessica Prouty Band.

“I’m honored to be apart of something so special,” said Botelho, who became co-owner of Limelight August of 2011. “I see how happy it makes these bands to be recognized for their hard work, and that in itself makes everything all worth it.”

“There are so many talented musicians throughout New England and we’re looking forward to honoring them at this event,” added Jay Kenney, who founded the magazine in 2006. “We wish all of the bands who were nominated the best of luck. We know our readers had some difficult choices to make, but the awards ceremony will be an enjoyable time for everyone.”

Tickets for the awards show are $10 each ($12 day of show) and can be purchased through BrownPaperTickets.com.

Limelight Magazine started out as a quarterly publication, but has moved its operations online last year, with the exception of an annual summer issue that comes out each year in June. Visit their website at www.limelightmagazine.com. You can also like them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/limelightmagazine.

For more information about the event, contact Limelight Magazine by e-mail at limelightmagazine@gmail.com.

The complete list of nominations:

N.E. Tribute Band of the Year

*Aerochix – Tribute to Aerosmith

*Bon Jersey – Tribute to Bon Jovi

*Distant Early Warning – Tribute to Rush

*Diver Down – Tribute to Van Halen

*Living on a Bad Name – Tribute to Bon Jovi

*Primal Scream – Tribute to Motley Crue

*Scarab – Tribute to Journey

Live Artist of the Year

*Amil Byleckie Band

*Beautiful Tuesday

*Fifth Freedom

*Highway Ghosts

*Jessica Prouty Band

*Tim Charron

*The Tower and the Fool

Female Vocalist of the Year

*Abbie Barrett

*Malyssa BellaRosa

*Lisa Couto

*Jamie Lynn Hart

*Morgan Lee Hefler

*Jessica Prouty

*Page Rayner

Male Vocalist of the Year

*Kyle Andree

*Louis St. August

*Tim Charron

*Ray Cooke

*Greg Knight

*Brian McKenzie

*Josh White

Album/EP of the Year by Group

*Awesome Express – Self Titled

*Beautiful Tuesday – The Breakdown

*The Furiousity – All The Rage

*Kanerko – Delusions of Grandeur

*Lisa Markovich & Beyond Blonde – Showing My Roots

*Jessica Prouty Band – My Way

*Watts – On the Dial

Metal/Hardcore Act of the Year

*Another Failure

*Convulsions

*Gut Bucket

*I For An Eye

*Kanerko

*Name In Vain

*She Rides

New Artist of the Year

*By All Means

*Celadour

*Fall & Bounce

*Kenzie

*Anthony Mattera

*Sepsiss

*The Vinyl Grooves

Song of the Year

*Beautiful Tuesday – “(I’ll Prove You) Something More”

*Andrea Belanger – “Up All Night”

*Fall & Bounce – “Controlled Tension Time Bomb”

*Jamie Lynn Hart – “Bound to Burn”

*Kiley Evans – “Johnny Depp”

*Tony Jones & the Cretin 3 – “Lady Frankenstein”

*Amanda McCarthy – “Sticks and Stones”

Album/EP of the Year by Solo Act

*Steve Allain – Thirteen

*Andrea Belanger – Light in the Dark

*Malyssa Bellarosa – Open Up

*Dan Cloutier – Blind Willies Lighthouse

*Ray Cooke – Good Life

*Jamie Lynn Hart – Anticipate

*Anthony Mattera – Songs

Singer/Songwriter of the Year

*Steve Allain

*Andrea Belanger

*Sarah Blacker

*Kiley Evans

*Adam Ezra

*Jamie Lynn Hart

*Amanda McCarthy

Band of the Year

*Awesome Express

*Amil Byleckie Band

*Beautiful Tuesday

*Tony Jones & The Cretin 3

*Jessica Prouty Band

*Six Star General

*Vary Lumar

Peter Frampton bassist comes alive after 35 years

By JESSICA A. BOTELHO

Bassist Stanley Sheldon, who toured with English rocker Peter Frampton and appeared on the 1976 double live album, Frampton Comes Alive!, said he is looking forward to showing his New Bedford fans the way, as the two have reunited to celebrate the 35th anniversary of one of the best-selling live albums of all time.

They will be gigging at the Zeiterion Performing Arts Center on Feb. 14th and playing the album in its entirety as part of a two-set, three-hour performance.

During a phone interview last week, Sheldon said they fondly reminisced about the experience on a bus ride from Nashville to Philadelphia.

“We were getting a little antsy on the bus and Peter pulled out this film that his father took 35 years ago that none of us had seen and we watched footage of ourselves playing,” he said. “It really brought back some great memories at that tour and to be out here doing it again is surreal. It never gets old.”

Originally, Sheldon said he opposed the idea of recording a live album. At the time, he felt that a live album would not have been a good move because Frampton was getting a lot of recognition for his studio work.

“That record took everybody involved by surprise,” he said. “We played it not knowing it was going to become so huge. How could you know? But, he recorded a live album with [his former band] Humble Pie so he knew what he was doing.”

While Sheldon and Frampton hadn’t performed together for more than 20 years, they re-connected in 2006 for Frampton’s Grammy Award-winning album, Fingerprints, as Sheldon collaborated with him for a song.

After drummer John Siomos and keyboardist and guitarist Bob Mayo, their Frampton Comes Alive! counterparts,  passed away in 2004,  Sheldon said there was talk about reuniting at that time but they decided to hold off since Frampton already had a steady bassist.

“It makes sense now because it’s the 35th anniversary,” Sheldon said. “When he asked me, I didn’t hesitate.”

Recorded in San Francisco, Frampton Comes Alive! reached number one on the Billboard 200 a few months after it was released and stayed in the top slot for 10 weeks. It remained on the chart for 97 weeks and was the best-selling album of 1976, selling more than six million copies in the United States. Further, it was named “Album of the Year” in Rolling Stone’s 1976 reader’s poll.

“Peter and I have gone through so much in that amount of time,” Sheldon said. “But, it’s wonderful and feels really great. There’s a lot of affection between Peter and I and we express it more. You can see it when we’re on stage.”

In addition to performing with Frampton, Sheldon also played bass for Delbert McClinton, an American blues artist, in 2008.  He toured with McClinton, who he described as “awesome,” for more than a year.

“Playing with them was a feather in my cap,” Sheldon said. “I had been retired from music when he asked me to play, but he’s got one of the greatest bands out there.”

Also, Sheldon is credited as being one of the earlier adopters of the fretless bass in rock music. In fact, his expertise of the instrument led to his audition with Frampton and influenced the sound of Frampton Comes Alive!

“It’s like a violin or cello,” Sheldon said. “I played it very understated and straight and got the essence of the voice-like sound, which is unique. Bass players knew I was playing a fretless bass but hardly anybody else did.”

When he’s not playing music, Sheldon enjoys studying it. In fact, he spent the 1990s committed to Latin American Studies at the University of Kansas and traveled throughout Latin America. His focus included slave society of the nineteenth century in Latin countries and how its influence on the music continues to impact world music today.

“I was very interested in the Caribbean culture, especially Cape Verde, Puerto Rico and Brazil,” he said. “Those are my favorite regions so I wanted to go to those places and study the music of the societies that first introduced those rhythms. Traveling has been great. It’s nice to be able to take advantage of that.”

Stanley Sheldon

Paul Bielatowicz: A man with diverse talents

By JESSICA A. BOTELHO

When he’s not playing guitar for the Carl Palmer Band or touring with Neal Morse, Paul Bielatowicz spends his time writing. In fact, he is a columnist for two British magazines, Guitar and Guitar Techniques, and has two guitar instruction books scheduled for release this year.

He said the first book charts the evolution of electric guitar playing, while providing tips on how to emulate their styles. Many of the guitarists featured are legendary artists who inspired him through the years, including Eric Clapton, Eddie Van Halen and Nuno Bettencourt. Bielatowicz shows how they influenced each other, with each chapter charting one player to the next.

“It’s kind of like a rock guitarists’ family tree,” he said. “The second book, which is coming out later in the year, is based around the same idea but uses the evolution of technique rather than style.”’

Bielatowicz, who taught guitar at Brighton Institute of Modern Music in the U.K. but gave up teaching the summer of 2010 when touring and recording began to dominate his life, dedicated the last chapter of both books to his readers, as he feels they are an additional link in the chain of guitar evolution. The point, he said, is for readers to take ideas from other guitarists and use it to create their own voice on the instrument.

Moreover, Bielatowicz also kept an online blog when The Carl Palmer Band did a U.S. tour in the summer of 2006.

“It helps me remember the experience and allows me to share a glimpse of ‘behind the scenes life’ with fans,” he said. “Two-thousand eleven was the first U.S. tour I didn’t keep a diary for, and I was surprised by how many people said they really missed it. I had no idea people had enjoyed it so much. Knowing that, I’ll definitely be doing it again.”

Bielatowicz became a member of Palmer’s band in 2003 when Palmer was on the prowl for a guitarist. Palmer asked friends for a few suggestions and guitarist Guthrie Govan recommended Bielatowicz.

But, before he hit the road with Palmer, he needed to learn guitar parts that were contrived from Keith Emerson’s keyboard arrangements, as much of the music was recreations of Emerson, Lake and Palmer material. Palmer gave him copies of the band’s live CDs and a three-month learning process began.

“It was probably the most intense study period I’ve ever had,” Bielatowicz said. “I remember transcribing stuff on Christmas day – that’s how much the pressure was on. Since then, I’ve done all the arranging of new tunes myself, and that’s actually been a lot easier for me because it’s meant that I’ve been able to arrange everything in a way that plays to my strengths as a guitarist. As every artist knows, that is the secret to sounding good.”

Through touring with Palmer, Bielatowicz got the opportunity to play guitar for Neal Morse, a multi-instrumentalist and progressive rock composer, who is also known for his Christian-rock background. Bielatowicz said Morse is one of his heroes and he was surprised and honored when the composer asked him to join him on tour.

“I couldn’t believe my luck,” said Bielatowicz. “Playing with him is amazing. I don’t say this lightly, but Neal is a genius. I’ve never worked with anyone like him. He just eats, sleeps and breathes music. No matter how many times I play with him, I’m always in awe.”

While Bielatowicz said he doesn’t share Morse’s faith, he respects him for it. He described Morse as one of the most “emotionally open” people he’s ever met and is impressed he is able to translate that feeling into music.

“He never holds back when he’s performing,” said Bielatowicz. “I’ve done rock festivals with him, playing to audiences of the meanest looking metal heads, and I’ve seen them reduced to tears through the music. That is really quite something. Those moments are some of the most moving I’ve ever experienced.”

When gigging with Morse, Bielatowicz said his role is very different to the role he plays with Palmer’s band. With Morse, he feels like he’s a “smaller ingredient” in a bigger recipe.

For example, on Morse’s last tour, Bielatowicz was part of an eight-piece band, which he said encourages him to play differently than he plays in Palmer’s trio.

“In Carl’s band, I’m the one playing all the melodies, as well as the harmonies, whenever possible,” he said. “A lot of the time, the challenge is to try to play as much as possible in order to fill out the sound. After all, I’m trying to replicate 10 fingers of a keyboard player. In Neal’s band, I’m trying to play as little as possible so I don’t intrude on anyone else’s sonic space.”

As if his resume isn’t impressive enough, Bielatowicz played with guitarist Les Paul, who established the development of the solid-body electric guitar in the 1940s. The two met while he was gigging in New York, as Palmer’s manager, Bruce Pilato, knew Paul and took Bielatowicz to a jazz club where Paul was performing.

“We ended up going into his dressing room before the show to meet him,” Bielatowicz said. “He was in his 90s then, but was still just as sharp and witty as anyone I’ve ever met. As soon as I met him, he told me that I was going to get up and play with him during his show. That was my introduction to New York and I’ve loved it ever since.”

Overall, Bielatowicz enjoys the East Coast. In fact, he said the highlights of last year’s U.S. tour with Palmer were at the Tupelo Music Hall in Londonderry, New Hampshire, and The Narrows Center for the Arts in Fall River, Massachusetts, two shows the band set up with Limelight Magazine’s publisher, JKB Management and Booking.

“I’ve worked with literally hundreds of promoters and booking agents all over the world, but you guys on the East Coast have got something really special with JKB,” said Bielatowicz. “It’s rare I get to meet people who do such a good job and put such care, attention and love into what they do.”

Before he became a successful guitarist, Bielatowicz was interested in something entirely different: gymnastics. When he was five, he said the sport was his “obsession” and he participated in several competitions.

But, he got to a point where he was training four times a week and his body couldn’t handle the stress, as he sustained many injuries. Faced with the choice of either cutting back on training or giving up, he decided put aside gymnastics by the time he was 11, turning to guitar.

“I’d already played around on the guitar since I was seven, but it wasn’t until I gave up gymnastics that I made the conscious decision to really go for it,” Bielatowicz said. “Everyone expected me to be really upset, but instead I just threw all my energy into the guitar and never looked back.”

These days, Bielatowicz plans on writing a solo album, which will focus on playing classical pieces on guitar. He hopes the album will make them sound as if they were written for guitar, while maintaining their originality and integrity.

“I’m using a very simple gear setup-one guitar going directly into an old 70s valve amp with the gain turned down low-in order to give as much of the pure sound of the guitar as possible,” he said. “That’s as back-to-basics as you can possibly get with an electric guitar and that’s the way a classical musician would approach recording.”

He’s also thinking about having a string quartet appear on some of the pieces, yet nothing has been finalized. Further, he’s been discussing different options with a producer.

When he’s not “having tea and scones,” as he resides in Brighton, England, which he described as an “amazing seaside town,” Bielatowicz likes to spend free time running along the seafront.  He said he looks forward to time alone.

“It’s just me, the wind, the sea and my iPod,” he said. “It’s great head space and gives me both a mental and physical workout. I’m not sure anybody actually enjoys the pain and discomfort of a morning run, but I find the feeling of pushing yourself on and resisting the urge to stop, fuels determination for achieving everything else in life.”

At the moment, Bielatowicz is proud to be part of Palmer’s band. He’s reveling in the thrill of it all.

“It’s a great honor,” he said. “He’s given me the opportunity to travel the world playing music, which any rock guitarist would dream of. I consider myself very lucky.”

 

Paul Bielatowicz

Jensen says success is the best revenge

By JESSICA A. BOTELHO

“Music is my life,” said singer/songwriter Jillian Jensen, 19, who in February is set to release a three-song demo, which she said features some of her most personal compositions.

She will also perform acoustic versions of her new material at the fifth annual Limelight Magazine Music Award Show at Firehouse 13 in Providence on March 10.

“Getting to play is so cool and I’m excited that I get to be there with a bunch of talented artists,” she said. “I like being able to listen to their stories.”

But Jensen has a story of her own to tell and said she’s thinking about releasing a single this month, “From the Outside.” The song offers an intimate glimpse of a time she was bullied at school during her younger years.

When she was in junior high, she said she witnessed a schoolmate make a “bad choice” that was harmful to him and those around him. Wanting to help, she informed school officials. Shortly after, prank phone calls, cyber bullying and verbal harassment ensued.

“I was tortured and called, ‘tattletale,’ and ‘snitch,’”  Jensen said. “I was so confused and used to cry myself to sleep. I didn’t know how to cope.”

Not wanting to worry them, Jensen didn’t tell her parents of the situation. Through it all, she said she kept a smile on her face and pretended everything was fine.

“I guess that was the pageant side of me,” said Jensen, who began competing in beauty pageants as a toddler and won the title of Little Miss Talent New England before she turned two.

Nevertheless, her parents found out about the tormenting and transferred her to another school, as they noticed their daughter was depressed and isolated. She said getting away from it helped her grow.

“I learned that you can’t stop what every one else is saying but you can change how you deal with it,” said Jensen. “Now, I’m more vocal about it.”

Because of the experience, Jensen wants to support children and teens struggling with feeling alone and under attack. Through her music and website at jillianjensen.weebly.com, she hopes to lend her wisdom on the topic to others and help them overcome the abuse, teaching them to turn negatives to positives.

“People can contact me privately so they can talk and hear firsthand from someone that’s been through it,” she said.

Oddly, Jensen said some of the people who bullied her often attempt to add her as a “friend” on Facebook and other social media networks. She simply ignores them and believes “success is the greatest revenge.”

“Instead of worrying about what people think of you, you should be thinking about how to better yourself,” said Jensen. “If you get to where you want to be it doesn’t matter what anyone thinks.”

Not only does Jensen hope to help people with her music, she also wants to entertain them. When onstage, there’s no place she’d rather be.

“I feel at home onstage and putting a smile on someone’s face keeps me going,” she said. “I want people to feel my music so much that they can’t help but smile or cry because they just get it.”

It’s no surprise Jensen is at ease when performing, as she participated in several pageants through the years and won the contest for Miss Massachusetts Teen America 2007; the South Coast Idol winner 2006; and the Burt Wood Idol in 2006 and 2004.

Additionally, she was chosen out of 3,700 applicants as one of 150 to compete in the U.S.A. Talent Show Case in Las Vegas, Nevada in 2004. There, she earned first place in acting and placed in the top 20 best performers.

These days, she no longer takes part in pageants but is grateful for the opportunity.

“I had to be very proper and meticulous and that’s exactly what I didn’t want to be,” said Jensen. “But they are awesome outlets for people to gain scholarships and make friends. I enjoyed the community service aspect of them, too.”

She also got an education in performing when at the age of 16 she auditioned for American Idol, a reality television singing show that began airing on FOX in 2002. In August, she also performed on the morning talk and variety show, ABC’s LIVE! with Regis and Kelly, as one of two backup singers for former leader of the Pussycat Dolls, Nicole Scherzinger, who serves as a judge for FOX’s X-Factor, a show similar to American Idol.

Further, Jensen learned a lot about being a team player when she sang with the Varsity Girls, a Mattapoisett-based teen girl group.

“It taught me how to give my input and how to listen to others,” she said. “Being solo, I get to do my own music and it’s a good feeling because it’s my own. I know what I was feeling when I wrote it and I don’t have to create emotion for it. Instead, it comes naturally.”

But Jensen is also sharing her musical knowledge, too, as she teaches music composition, guitar and piano. While she first picked up guitar before her second birthday, she began dabbling on piano when she was six.

“I would take anything I heard and learn it from ear,” she said. “It was something that just came naturally to me.”

Now, she also plays bass, drums, violin, saxophone and ukulele, most of which will be featured in her new music. She described her style as a mix of “everything” and is looking forward to releasing the album.

“I’m really excited about it,” said Jensen.

Jillian Jensen

Personal reflection on JKB’s first year in business

By Katie F. Botelho

Looking back on this past year, 2011 has been one of the greatest years of my life. I went from working part-time, not knowing what my future was going to hold after graduating, to becoming a business woman with a blink of an eye. Talk about a life changing experience. I’ve always enjoyed music, ever since I was a little child, but I never expected music would be such an important part of who I am and what I do.

Once JKB Management and Booking started, it didn’t seem real to me that I actually co-owned my own business. It only struck me when we were driving to our first show which was Uriah Heep at Tupelo Music Hall in Londonderry, NH, on June 28. The feeling was unlike anything I’ve ever felt. I actually felt important because I was doing something great with my life. Never in a million years did I think I would be working with talented artists who have been around for years and are still performing great music today. After leaving the show, I thought to myself, “wow, this is really happening.” The whole experience has been so surreal to me and I’m very fortunate to be where I am today.

Along with Uriah Heep, we also booked the Carl Palmer Band at Tupelo Music Hall (on Oct. 20) and the Narrows Center for the Arts in Fall River, MA, (on Oct. 22). I must say that was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. Booking two shows back-to-back gave us the opportunity to really get to know everyone in the band and build a relationship that’s unlike any other. Besides having two amazing sold out shows, we left knowing we had met some great people. The Carl Palmer Band was a great way to end 2011, as it gave us the confidence and encouragement to make 2012 even better!

Meanwhile, if that wasn’t good enough, in August, I became co-owner of Limelight Magazine as well, making JKB Management and Booking and Limelight Magazine the best it has ever been. Not only are both businesses doing great, but we also have the best staff. Everybody works so well together and that’s what a business should be all about. Without a good staff, you have nothing.

Looking ahead to the future, we have two shows in March of 2012, being Jon Anderson, former lead vocalist of YES, on March 17 and Comedian Paula Poundstone on March 31. Both shows are at the Narrows Center for the Arts. But those aren’t the only shows New England has to look forward to. We plan to book even more acts in 2012 that you won’t want to miss. Who would’ve thought we could book such great shows right in our own backyard. I’m proud to be part of such a great business and happy that I can bring entertainment and laughter to the lives of others.

JKB has done so well in its first year of business, and we don’t plan on stopping there. Our goals are to book as many local shows as we possibly can so you don’t have to drive long distances to have a nice night out. With these shows, we will make a bigger name for ourselves and, of course, our main concern is to make our patrons and those around us happy. We have worked so hard and it certainly has paid off. Cheers to 2012 and to a successful year filled with laughter, music and love!

Katie F. Botelho

Music and entertainment coverage since October 2006!