On Stage: Laugh it up with Jim McCue tonight

By Denny Dyroff, Entertainment Editor, The Times

Jim McCue

If things go as planned on the evening of July 27, they’ll be laughing in the aisles at the Uptown! Knauer Performing Arts Center (226 North High Street, West Chester, UptownWestChester.org).

On Saturday night, the theater in downtown West Chester will be presenting an evening of comedy with Boston’s stand-up veteran Jim McCue.

A mixture of witty “A-list material” and his ability to work off-script has earned McCue the title “Boston’s King of Crowd Work!” McCue is definitely not a comedian of the “stick-to-the-script” variety.

He blends thought-provoking material and uncanny improv skills with a style that encourages audience participation and keeps them on their toes. No two shows are ever the same.

McCue has been featured on Comedy Central, Comcast Comedy Spotlight, NBC’s “Last Comic Standing,” RedEye on Fox news, Live at Gotham AXS TV and “Roughing It” on NESN in his native New England. He works in top comedy clubs in Boston, Las Vegas, New York, Dublin, Montreal and Edinburgh.

Since 2000, McCue has also entertained U.S. troops at more than 100 bases around the world. An account of his experiences performing for the troops is the basis for his book, “Embedded Comedian” which he describes as a “field manual for comedians in a war zone.” He also founded and currently runs The Boston Comedy Festival, now celebrating its 20th year as one of the top comedy events in the country.

This year, McCue’s internet comedy special “Nothing Personal” has gone viral with more than 500,000 views in its first month. He is also putting the finishing touches on his graphic novel “Sketchy Facts,” which is based on his funny facts, tweets, stories and observations from more than 25 years of doing stand-up comedy.

Video link for Jim McCue — https://youtu.be/_-KTS63pvJ4.

The show at Uptown! Knauer Performing Arts Center, which has Joey Carroll as the opening act, will start at 8 p.m. Tickets are $25.

The Uptown! Knauer Performing Arts Center will also present “Dueling Pianos” on July 25 from 7:30-10 p.m.

Dueling Pianos at Uptown! features a new duo every month at the Univest Room, at the Uptown! Knauer Performing Arts Center.

Future dates for “Dueling Pianos” are August 22, September 26, October 24, November 14 and December 12.

Todd Snider

On July 27, Todd Snider will bring his songs and stories to the area when he headlines a show at the Sellersville Theater (24 West Temple Avenue, Sellersville, 215-257-5808, www.st94.com).

Snider belongs in the ranks of troubadours and griots — travelling performers who tell stories and make music…moving from town-to-town entertaining and enlightening listeners with their musical narratives.

“I’m touring all this year – and next year too,” said Snider, during a phone interview from his home in Hendersonville, Tennessee. “But it’s pretty easy – especially alone. Next year, I’ll do the same tour with my band – the Hardworking Americans.”

Snider is touring in support of his recently released album “Cash Cabin Sessions, Vol 3.” “Cash Cabin” is the Cash Cabin Studio in Hendersonville.

The Cash Cabin Studio is a private recording studio with an astounding history. Not only did Johnny and June Carter Cash record most of their later music there, but many other talented musicians and famous entertainers recorded albums in the historic studio.

Johnny Cash built the original cabin in 1978. The studio is now owned and operated by John Carter Cash. It sits on 40 acres of woods and fields. There is also a large fishing pond stocked with largemouth bass, bream and catfish.

“Cash Cabin is out here near my house,” said Snider. “I could go there by boat. I’ve gotten to be good friends with John Carter Cash. It’s a really nice studio with great analog gear and a lot of old instruments including some of Johnny Cash’s guitars. The studio is way out in the woods – kind of creepy in a way.

“With the new album, it took a long time to figure out what I wanted. Once I got in the studio, it only took a few days. I’m always working on songs. I wake up, drink coffee, smoke weed and write songs. At night, I like to be in places where songs might happen.

“It had been a really long time since my last studio album. That was ‘Eastside Bulldog’ in 2016 which was like garage rock. The new one feels a little more like a folk album.”

As usual, the album showcases Snider’s storytelling expertise.

My writing is word-driven,” said Snider. “The topic comes first. Once I realize the point of the song – if it has one – I’ll keep working on it. I keep very little – one song for every six I write. I just make up songs all day – and throw out most of them.

“If I write songs that are melody-driven, people don’t like them as much. A lot of times, the stories are not about me but rather a story I heard. Anything can get a song going.

“In my live set on this tour, at least half the show is new songs. And, I go all the way back to my very early albums. I play them all. I still know them all, so I play them and give the fans what they want.”

Video link for Todd Snider – https://youtu.be/BBydsvJX8vM.

The show at the Sellersville Theater, which has Molly Thomas as the opener, will start at 8 p.m. Ticket prices range from $35-$49.50.

Other upcoming shows at the venue are BeauSoleil Avec Michael Doucet on July 25,  and BoDeans on July 28.

Joyous Wolf

Joyous Wolf is a hard rock band from Southern California that has been around for four years and is now slamming its career into high gear.

The band just released its debut EP earlier this year and is on several high-profile tours this summer. Joyous Wolf is just finishing a run as opener on the “Slash Ft. Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators 2019.” In a few weeks, the quartet will be on the road opening for Deep Purple.

On July 27, Joyous Wolf — vocalist Nick Reese, guitarist Blake Allard, bassist Greg Braccio, and drummer Robert Sodaro — will perform at the Theatre of the Living Arts (334 South Street, Philadelphia, 215-222-1011, http://www.lnphilly.com) as the opening act for Buckcherry.

“We’re on the road almost all of the time,” said Reese, during a phone interview Thursday from a tour stop in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

“We’ve been a band for four years. I’ve known two of the guys for six years and I’ve been friends with Robert, the drummer, since childhood. Robert and I always wanted to do something with music.

“I was going to college at Cal. State Fullerton and dropped out. I called a dude I met at a guitar center and Robert knew a guy who was a good bass player.”

Reese and Sodaro met on their first day of sixth grade during student orientation. They went to different high schools in Tustin where Sodaro met Braccio. During that time Reese, by chance, met Allard in the acoustic room at Guitar Center where they would jam CCR’s “Born on the Bayou.”.

“We put the band together in November 2015 and had our first show in February 2016,” said Reese. “We had no idea what we were doing. Blake asked me what kind of music the band would play, and I said – I don’t know…maybe hard rock.

“I still don’t know. We’re able to play anything. Fans are hungry for original music and that’s been a big motivator for me and the band.”

While the band’s influences might take a while to list, it’s obvious who Reese’s influences were – James Brown, Jim Morrison, Robert Plant, Eddie Vedder and Joe Cocker. In other words, Reese is a very animated front man.

“When I was young, my mother and I watched the movie of ‘The T.A.M.I Show.’ When James Brown came out on stage, I was blown away with his singing and dancing. He was an amazing performer.”

Roadrunner Records signed the band in 2017 and recently released the band’s first EP, “Place in Time.”

“We released our debut EP in April,” said Reese. “We cut it in L.A. at Sunset Sound and West Valley Studio. It was produced by Howard Benson, who is a great producer. We were looking for a producer and he approached us.”

One of Joyous Wolf’s standout recordings is a solid cover of Mountain’s classic monster hit “Mississippi Queen.”

“We treated it with respect,” said Reese. “If you listen to our version, it becomes pretty obvious. I knew that we could do it right.”

Video link for Joyous Wolf – https://youtu.be/A5pDm0cdna8

The show at the TLA with Joyous Wolf opening for Buckcherry will start at 8 p.m. Tickets are $28.

Deadbeat Beat

Deadbeat Beat will officially release its new album “How Far” on August 2 on Arrowhawk Records and Crystal Palace. Arrowhawk Records is handling the digital release while Crystal Palace handles the distribution of the vinyl editions. Prior to the album’s release, the rocking trio from the Midwest will visit the area for a show on July 29 at Ortlieb’s (847 North Third Street, Philadelphia, 267- 324-3348, https://www.ortliebsphilly.com)

Detroit’s Deadbeat Beat – drummer/vocalist Maria Nuccilli, guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Alex Glendening, bassist Zak Frieling – had been working on the soon-to-be-released LP for a long time.

“We recorded it in a few sessions in 2016 and 2017,” said Glendening, during a phone interview Thursday morning.

“We cut it with producer Jeff Else at his studio in the North End of Detroit. We tracked more songs than ended up on the record.

“One old song made it on the record while the majority of the songs were ones I wrote during one period in 2016.”

Nuccilli said, “Alex usually has a riff or a melody or a whole song. He usually writes on acoustic guitar or piano, so the stuff changes a lot when he brings it to the band.”

Glendening said, “With my songwriting, usually the vibe happens first and then I have a melody or a lyric idea. With these songs, it was pretty easy to pick the 10 songs for the record.”

Niccilli said, “We tracked the record and then picked the order of the songs.”

It was an easy process with just one request from the guitarist.

“The only requirement I had was for the song ‘Baphomet’ to be the first song on the album,” said Glendening. “

“That song is about reacting to personal negativity and other negativity created by the political scene. When I was writing it, I was in a bad mental place because of a breakup. I was influenced by Joni Mitchell’s ‘Blue.’

“This is our second full-length. Our first album was ‘When I Talk to You,’ which we made in 2011.”

Deadbeat Beat slowly took shape as the natural extension of a friendship begun in high school by Nuccilli and Glendening. Always at shows, hanging out, killing time and absorbing music, the two moved through early projects and various members coming and going.

Frieling grew up in the Flint area and taught himself to play by playing along to records by the Stooges and the Ramones.

“Alex and I met in seventh grade,” said Nuccilli. “We had our first band when we were going to high school at Grosse Pointe South. We had another band when we were going to college at Wayne State University in Detroit. That’s where we met our bass player.

“In our live shows, it’s just the three of us. We’re playing all the songs from the new album and an interesting cover song – ‘Mannequin,’, a song by Wire.”

Video link for Deadbeat Beat – https://youtu.be/8Kab2l-Q2eM.

The show at Ortlieb’s, which also features Burnt Nurse and Zinske, will start at 8:30 p.m.

Other upcoming shows at Ortlieb’s are Heatmap, Goldenaire and Desperate Living on July 27, David Israel on July 28, and Brujas del Sol, Canyon and Violet Haze on July 31.

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