On Stage: Fuchs delivers the real thing

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By Denny Dyroff, Entertainment Editor, The Times

Dana Fuchs

It’s pretty obvious where Dana Fuchs is coming from musically. With a foundation in blues, rock and R&B and a voice soulful and powerful enough to command attention even in an overly-noisy rock club, Fuchs delivers the real thing.

Fuchs released her first album “Lonely for a Lifetime” in 2003 and has been delivering soulful, rocking albums and high-powered live performances ever since.

Earlier this year, she released her new album “Love Lives On” on Get Along Records. Now, she is on tour to support the album – a tour that brings her to the Sellersville Theater (24 West Temple Avenue, Sellersville, 215-257-5808, www.st94.com) on May 24.

‘We recorded the album last May – a year ago this week,” said Fuchs, during a phone interview last week.

“I started writing the songs a few months before we were in the studio.

“I had just had a baby and wasn’t sure what I’d be able to do. I didn’t know what would happen. I started writing in January 2017. The baby was four or five months old when I started writing. I went to Europe to tour for a couple weeks. I brought the baby with me and that went well. And, the writing went smoothly. Every song was written between February and May.”

Emotional turmoil and family tragedies swirled around Fuchs at the time and were a catalyst for the appropriately-named album.

“I had just lost both parents and a third sibling,”: said Fuchs. “It was a time to let the emotions out. My son came a few months after my mom died.

“I didn’t know what to do. I lost my family and had a kid. Then, all of a sudden, I was in Memphis making a record.”

“Love Lives On” was produced, engineered and mixed by Kevin Houston and co-produced by Fuchs and Jon Diamond at Music +Arts, Ward Archer Studios in Memphis in 11 days

The recordings featurtes top-notch session players like the Rev. Charles Hodges (organ), whose magical notes filled the Al Green songbook; Steve Potts (drums), the soul backbone of Stax Records; Gregg Allman and Booker T. — with Kirk Smothers (saxophone) and Marc Franklin (trumpet) contributing horns of plenty. Along with Diamond, other favorite musicians Fuchs has worked with on previous albums returned — including Lenny Kravitz and Joss Stone band members Jack Daley (bass) and Glenn Patscha (piano, Wurlitzer).

“I knew I wanted to go back to the music that inspired me when I started,” said Fuchs. “Otis Redding was a big influence. I wanted to go to Memphis and immerse myself in the style and influence of that era. My dad was a fan of ‘Ring of Fire’ so I did that song as an ode to my father.”

Fuchs was able to successfully capture the Memphis vibe.

According to Fuchs, “My songs, my past albums, have all been dark, hard-luck sort of tunes. And, of course, that’s in these songs. But it’s the first album I’ve ever written that has some happy songs on it. The message is really just hope.”

Making the album was a cathartic experience for Fuchs.

“There was death and then I was pregnant,” said Fuchs. “Having a child resulted in ‘Love Lives On.’ My mom helped me name my son before she died. It was a tough time in my life. It was also a more hopeful and redemptive time.”

Video link for Dana Fuchs – https://youtu.be/1JRFWcZeHto.

The show at the Sellersville Theater will start at 8 p.m.

Tickets are $29.50 and $45.

Other upcoming shows at the venue are Johnny A. on May 25, The Security Project on May 26, and The Trashcan Sinatras on May 27.

Beta Radio

When you’re talking about an Americana-folk band – a band from the Carolinas with country roots – adjectives such as “ethereal” and “dream-like” don’t usually enter the conversation – that is unless you’re talking about Beta Radio.

Beta Radio’s most recent studio album, “Colony of Bees,” is a layered and ethereal offering that treads into new territory while at the same time managing to effortlessly keep one foot firmly rooted in the Americana-folk arena that the band has called home for many years. The Huffington Post described “Colony of Bees” as “sonically lovely.”

Beta Radio released “Colony of Bees” in November 2014 and is still touring the album. On May 24, the Wilmington, North Carolina-based band will return to Philly for a show at Boot and Saddle (1131 South Broad Street, Philadelphia, 215-639-4528, www.bootandsaddlephilly.com).

Beta Radio features Benjamin Mabry (vocals, guitar, Rhodes, piano, glockenspiel, and harmonium) and Brent Holloman (guitar, vocals, banjo, Rhodes, piano, glockenspiel, and bass).

“We’re both from Wilmington and we met at a summer camp when we were in high school,” said Mabry, during a phone interview Wednesday afternoon. “I heard Brent playing ‘Stairway to Heaven’ on his guitar and said – I need to know this guy. We became friends and started to write together.

“Then, we went to different colleges. Brent went to an art college and I went to Appalachian State. We kept playing together but didn’t get serious until 2010.

“We recorded our debut album ‘Seven Sisters’ with $1,000. We had no aspirations. But, the album got traction and that gave us the financial means to make another album. After a while, we realized we could make a living from playing music. We released ‘Colony of Bees’ on our own. We just put it out online.

Beat Radio’s fans have been waiting for a new album for a long time. Fortunately for them, the wait is almost over.

“We’ve finished writing for the next album,” said Mary. “The new album is done. We spent about two years in the studio – every day. It was like punching a tine clock and working – like we had done for so many years in our day jobs.

“’Colony of Bees’ was successful enough that we were able to quit our day jobs. We have our own studio that we built in Wilmington. This us an official studio – not a home studio.

“A big part of the sound on the new album is the ribbon mic we have. It makes the vocals more present. We also use condenser microphones.”

A ribbon microphone is a type of microphone that uses a thin aluminum, duraluminum or nanofilm of electrically conductive ribbon placed between the poles of a magnet to produce a voltage by electromagnetic induction. Ribbon microphones are typically bidirectional, meaning that they pick up sounds equally well from either side of the microphone.

“We record digital mostly,” said Mabry. “Then, it gets converted to analog to give it that warm, gooey sound. After that, it gets converted back to digital for the internet. For vinyl albums, we take it back to analog again – digital to analog to digital to analog.

“The album generally is just us playing. The only other people we used much were Brent’s wife Amanda Holloman on vocals and Amanda Hinson on flute. On some songs, we used Rob Moose on strings and Theo Milojevich on drums.

“We don’t have a permanent title for trhe album yet. It’s totally done. Now, it’s up to our label – Nettwerk Reecrds – to decide when they want to release it. The first single off the album is a song called “Our Remains.” It’s been doing pretty well – close to a million plays on Spotify.”

Fans will be able to hear a preview of many of the songs from the new album at his weekend’s show in Philly.

Video link for Beta Radio — https://youtu.be/4aE7FzcpdXo.

The show at Boot and Saddle, which also features Handsome Ghost, will start at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $13.

Other upcoming shoes at Boot and Saddle are Suuns on May 25, Laura Veirs on May 26 and Haley Heynderickx on May 30.

THE WLDLFE

Another band whose members just recently were able to quit their day jobs and become musicians full-time and 100 per cent is THE WLDLFE. The band will be in the area on May 24 for a show at Creep Records (1050 North Hancock Street, Philadelphia, 267-239-2037, www.creeprecords.com).

THE WLDLFE is an indie/alt/pop from Indianapolis, Indiana. The quintet of musicians from the Midwest — Jansen Hogan, Carson Hogan, Jason Boucouras, Jack Crane, Geoff Jones – just released a single titled “I Don’t Mind.” It is the first track issued from the band’s soon-to-be-released debut full-length album.

“We’ve been a band since January 2016,” said Jansen Hogan, during a phone interview Wednesday afternoon as the band travelled from Washington, D.C. to a gig in Boston, Massachusetts.

“Me and my brother Carson are from Chicago. Geoff is from Indianapolis white Jason and Jack are from other towns in Indiana.

“We all met at Anderson University, which is in Anderson, Indiana—about 45 minutes north of Indianapolis. Me and Jack and Geoff all graduated with entertainment/music business degrees. Jason was a marketing major and Carson is about to graduate from high school.

“When we first started, it was me and Geoff sand Jason for a while. A couple months later, we added Jack. Carson officially joined the band is winter. He graduates in June and I just graduated from Anderson. The other three graduated last year.”

Freed from the shackles of school responsibilities like attending classes, writing papers and taking exams, THE WLDLFE is ready to take things to a new level.

“It’s been a challenge to balance both,” said Hogan. “Fortunately, our teachers have been very co-operative.

“This spring, we played gigs all over the place – Dallas, Florida, Atlanta,” said Hogan. “We played abbot 30 shows in the spring. Last year, we had about 50 shows the entire year. We are definitely gigging quite a bit. We played Philly last winter – a show at the Barbary.

“Up to this point, we have two full EPs – ‘New’ in 2016 and ‘ILY’ in 207 with a single -called ‘Text Me’ in between.

“We’re about 95 per cent done with the recording process for the album. We have half the record mastered already. The album is 80-85 per cent done. Our producer Jonatan Class also graduated from Anderson. He’s mixed and produced all our records. He’s definitely our guy.

“It’s been eight months since we started recording the album. It will probably be the end of June until we’re completely done.

“In our live shows now, we play everything. We do songs from both EPs, tracks from the new album and the songs we’ve released as singles. We’re looking forward to coming back to Philadelphia.”

Video link for THE WLDLFE — https://youtu.be/0ut7Wth_eCg.

The show at Creep Records, which also features Morningbird and FV, will start at 8 p.m. Tickets are $8.

Kennett Flash (102 Sycamore Alley, Kennett Square, 484-732-8295, http://www.kennettflash.org)

Twisted Pine

Twisted Pine (EP Release Show) & Upstate Rubdown on May 24, and Chloe Likes Olivia / Sandboxing/ The World Without Us on May 25.

The Steel City Coffee House (203 Bridge Street, Phoenixville, 610-933-4043, www.steelcitycoffeehouse.com) will host Irish Mythen on May 30.

The Ardmore Music Hall (23 East Lancaster Avenue, Ardmore, 610-649-8389, www.ardmoremusic.com) will present The 16th Annual Bob Dylan Birthday Bash on May 24, Crosstown Traffic: Greg Davis, Wally Smith, Chico Huff, and Ronny Crawford on may 25,  and Fade To Black (Metallica Tribute) + Flannel (A 90s Grunge Revival) on may 26,

Burlap & Bean Coffeehouse (204 South Newtown Street Road, Newtown Square, 484-427-4547, www.burlapandbean.com) will present

Robby Hecht and Caroline Spence on May 25.

The Keswick Theater (291 N. Keswick Avenue, Glenside, 215-572-7650, www.keswicktheatre.com) presents Curious George on May 30.

The Queen (500 North Market Street, Wilmington, 202-730-3331, www.thequeenwilmington.com) will have Rodney Crowell on May 24, St. Vincent on May 25, and Fitz & the Tantrums on May 27.

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