On Stage: Jefferson Berry displays folk roots in new tour

By Denny Dyroff, Entertainment Editor, The Times

Jefferson Berry

Jamey’s House of Music (32 South Lansdowne Avenue, Lansdowne, 215-477-9985, www.jameyshouseofmusic.com) is one of those venues where music fans know there will be great music every weekend. It doesn’t matter who is playing, the evening will feature top-flight acts performing in a comfortable venue with a great sound system.

This weekend is no different.

On May 13, Jefferson Berry will headline at Jamey’s House of Music.

In the past, Berry has gone out as Jefferson Berry & the Urban Acoustic Coalition with a full band.

For Friday’s show, it will be Jefferson Berry & the UA3, which is billed as, “Pennsylvania’s answer to the socially active folk groups of the 50’s and 60’s, hippied up and delivered to 2022 with great musicianship and meaningful lyrics.”

“It will be a project similar to UAC but as a folk project. It will be a three-piece featuring singer/songwriters including Bud Burroughs on Mandolin and Mike Damora on bass.

“It’s urban storytelling – like an acoustic UAC with three members instead of seven. Bud and I have been together forever. Mike has been on the last two albums. He’s a serious pro.”

Jefferson Berry & the UAC released its fourth studio album, “Soon!” on April 16, 2021. The LP’s first single, “We’ll Soon Be Together” premiered via Americana Highways and received serious airplay.

The band’s previous albums were “Guitar on the River” (2016), “The Habit” (2018) and “Double Deadbolt Logic” (2020).

Berry’s other career was a high school economics and government teacher at the Philadelphia School District’s Excel South Academy in Northeast Philly.

“COVID ended my teaching career,” said Berry, during a phone interview Wednesday afternoon. “It’s been tough even keeping a band together. “We used remote software to rehearse. But a certain magic is missing when it’s not face-to-face. I did Livestream shows every week. It’s been fun but it’s not like playing live for an audience.”

While Berry surely doesn’t miss having to deal with the Philadelphia School Board, he will miss parts of the educational job.

“I write about urban living,” said Berry. “I was very informed by my inner-city students. On the song ‘Shattered Glass’ on my last album ‘Double Deadbolt Logic,’ I got a lot of info from my class – like how to boost and strip a car.

“Because of COVID, I didn’t have enough time to tour in support of “Soon!” The song “We’ll Soon Be Together” received a lot of acclaim because it was about being quarantined and separated from loved ones.

“The new album was all pretty much written during the pandemic. There are nine songs on the album. We went into production with 14 songs – some pre-pandemic but most during the pandemic.

“I put it into internet software called Soundtrap and then I’d put it out to the band. Then, we’d go into the studio with bass, drums and me. A lot of the stuff really came together when I had them in individually.

“We recorded the album at Kawari Studio in Wyncote with Matt Muir, who is a great engineer. We started summer 2020 and wrapped up in November. Then, we got it mastered and set a release date. In January, when we were planning the release, I picked May – Memorial Day. I figured the pandemic should be under control by then.”

Berry grew up in Southern California and is a graduate of University of California Santa Cruz, a school whose sports teams are nicknamed, “Banana Slugs.” He eventually landed in the Philadelphia area where he became part of Philly’s folk/rock/Americana scene.

Berry’s website presented the history behind UAC:

“In 2006, at around 3 a.m. at the Falcon Ridge Festival, Jefferson and his banjo playing brother Hank were playing a Hillbilly version of “White Room” by Cream. In fest-jam fashion, each vocal verse was separated by an instrumental-lead verse. Out and of the shadows and into the light of the campfire came this guy with a mandolin and long red hair, playing the song’s iconic Clapton lead pretty much verbatim.

“As the sun was coming up, Jefferson asked Bud Burroughs if he wanted to start a band and Hippies and Hillbillies was born. The album Drumless America was recorded in Bud’s living room: a quirky mix of covers ranging from Robert Earl Keen and Townes Van Zandt to Neil Young and U2, the show and CD was fun for some, but considered blasphemous at the bluegrass festivals the band played.

“Bud and Jefferson’s next venture involved Jefferson’s daughter.  Briana Berry and her sister were raised at the summer festivals—Kerrville, Falcon Ridge, XFS and Philly. The Berry’s 2009 album, Fairmount Station featured songs written by Briana and her Dad. It was promoted nationally to radio by Powderfinger Promotions and charted fairly high for an independent release on the folk charts. The band played X-Fest and the Philadelphia Folk Festival that year.

“The Urban Acoustic Coalition came to be in 2014 with the release of Guitar on the River. Again, Bud Burroughs served as the music director for a collection of Jefferson’s city-themed songs. Recorded at MelodyVision by Rodney Whittenberg, the album’s sessions grew the band. Jefferson Berry and the Urban Acoustic Coalition (a mouthful) played the Camp Stage at the Philadelphia Folk Festival that year with a Coalition of players from Boris Garcia, Bad Sister and Beaufort.

“This was an example of the “coalition” aspect of the band, an ethic that allowed players to keep their other projects alive while clearing dates with the UAC periodically. While bass players (Billy Hyatt, Dean McNulty) and female vocalists (Irene Lambrou, Emily Drinker) have cycled in and out of the band to pursue their own projects, the core of the coalition for the past six years has been Jefferson, Bud, Marky B! Berkowitz (on harmonica), Dave Brown (on banjo, guitar, keys and anything else needed), David Rapoport (on drums).

“Bud and Jefferson’s next venture involved Jefferson’s daughter.  Briana Berry and her sister were raised at the summer festivals—Kerrville, Falcon Ridge, XFS and Philly. The Berry’s 2009 album, Fairmount Station featured songs written by Briana and her dad. It was promoted nationally to radio by Powderfinger Promotions and charted fairly high for an independent release on the folk charts. The band played X-Fest and the Philadelphia Folk Festival that year.”

Berry and his band will be returning to the Philadelphia Folk Festival this year.

“We’re also playing the Xtreme Folk Festival this summer in Montgomery County at Country Creek Winery,” said Berry. “We’re starting to book a lot of shows for this year.

“With the show at Jamey’s, I figured an all-acoustic show would be better. We’re going to be doing a lot of house concerts with more intimacy.

“At Jamey’s, we’ll do two 50-minute sets structured around an idea – thematically where I can talk about urban living. It’s acoustic rock. Basically, I’m an urban storyteller.”

Video link for Jefferson Berry and UAC – https://youtu.be/Z-AdzAbRxoo.

The show at Jamey’s on May 13 will start at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door.

Steve Katz

Berry and Steve Katz are both making return engagements at Jamey’s. Just like Berry, Katz is returning to the stage with a different format.

When Katz played Jamey’s last November, it was with his and the Blues Project. The show this weekend will be a solo performance.

“I’ve played Jamey’s both solo and with the Blues Project,” said Katz during a phone interview Wednesday afternoon from his home in Connecticut. “This time, it’s solo and I’m going to do it later as Blues Project in October. I’m doing two or three gigs a month.”

The 1960s was a magical time for music in Greenwich Village in New York.

Many acts who went on to be classified as all-time greats were playing in small clubs in the Village – clubs such as Gerde’s Folk City, The Bitter End, Cafe Au Go Go, Cafe Wha?, The Gaslight Cafe and The Bottom Line and acts such as Bob Dylan, Tim Buckley, Dave Van Ronk, Fred Neil, Lenny Bruce, Tim Hardin, Richie Havens, The Fugs, John Hammond and Linda Ronstadt.

As a part of the Greenwich Village culture during this time, Katz, along with Grossman, Maria Muldaur, John Sebastian and David Grisman became interested in jug band music – the music of Cannon’s Jug Stompers and The Memphis Jug Band. They and other friends formed the Even Dozen Jug Band and recorded an album in 1964 for Elektra Records. Katz played washboard in the band.

One of the best bands from the Village in the mid-60s was the Blues Project – a band featuring Danny Kalb, Steve Katz, Andy Kulberg, Al Kooper and Roy Blumenfeld.

The band dissolved in the late 60s with Katz and Kooper moving on to form another great band – Blood, Sweat & Tears.

Fast forward to 2021 and you’ll find the Blues Project back on the road. The current line-up still features two of the band’s founding members – Steve Katz on guitar and Roy Blumenfeld on drums. The new members are Scott Petito on bass, Chris Morrison on guitar and Kenny Clark on keyboards.

“It’s down to Roy and me,” said Katz. “Four of the five are still alive while Andy passed away 20 years ago. Al and Danny are unable to play because of health issues.

“We first got together in 1965. Even since the members went separate ways back in the 60s, we’ve always had reunions. We’ve had reunions since 1980.”

In the fall of 1965, The Blues Project played alongside the likes of Big Joe Williams, Son House, Bukka White, Skip James, John Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters and Otis Spann, to name a few. It was these legendary sold-out performances at the famed Cafe Au Go Go in Greenwich Village that eventually led to the release of their phenomenal debut album, “Live at the Cafe Au Go Go.”

“We started out at the Night Owl Café and then we moved to the Café Au Go Go,” said Katz. “There were so many great shows at the Cafe Au Go Go – so many great musicians.

“We played there a lot. For a long time, we were like the house band. Café Au Go Go was the first gig that started to break us.”

The band began recording its first album live at the Cafe Au Go Go in late November 1965 and then the album was finished with another week of recordings in January 1966.

“On our first album, our lead singer Tommy Flanders left the band after a few songs,” said Katz. “After that, the vocals were done by me, Al and Danny.

“We were a fabulous live band. Our recordings never showed what we could do. They never presented the band the right way. Our label Verve/Folkways didn’t care. They were awful.”

Straight out of New York, the Blues Project soon toured all over North America. Back then, California, was the place to be, with San Francisco and Los Angeles as the two epicenters of the new age of rock and roll. The five New Yorkers played there and conquered the West.

In San Francisco, the birthplace of the hippie counterculture movement and of the psychedelic rock, they achieved the admiration of their local peers. The not-yet famous Grace Slick, for example, dreamed to be the band’s new female singer after sharing the bill with them at the Avalon Ballroom when she was still a member of the Great Society.

Ed Denson, manager of Country Joe and the Fish, who became an instant fan after seeing them at the Matrix, said, “Their stage presence and their performance have an authority which comes from the secure knowledge that they are one of the best groups going. For the three weeks that they were here they were indisputably the best band in the city.”
Kalb, Katz, Blumenfeld, Kulberg and Kooper were all skillful musicians who mastered their instruments. They were so talented and versatile that they set a high standard for other performers of their generation.

Returning to New York, the band recorded their second album “Projections” in the fall of 1966 – a diverse set of songs that spanned genres, including blues, rock, R&B, psychedelia, jazz, folk-rock. Soon after “Projections” was completed, the band began to fall apart. Kooper left the band in the spring of 1967 and the band completed a third album, “Live At Town Hall,” without him.

In 1967, at the peak of their success and after the release of their third album, “Live at Town Hall,” the band appeared at one of their last gigs — the legendary Monterey International Pop Festival. Videos from their set at Monterey showed audience members listening with reverence – mesmerized by what they were hearing from the New York quintet…. especially the Kooper-penned track, “Flute Thing.”

“My solo show is a career retrospective – Even Dozen Jug Band, Blues Project, and Blood, Sweat & Tears,” said Katz. “I even play one song from American Flyer.”

American Flyer was an American folk-rock supergroup in the late 1970s. It featured Craig Fuller (Pure Prairie League), Eric Kaz (Blues Magoos), and Doug Yule (Velvet Underground).

“I also do a slide show with my playing – like a power point presentation,” said Katz. “It’s an hour-and-a-half set. I’ll do about 12 songs but there is also a lot of storytelling. Since I started with folk music, the first part of the show is about the beginning of my career – like getting guitar lessons from Rev. Gary Davis. I talk about being in Greenwich Village in the early 60s. Then, I play songs from Blues Project and Blood, Sweat & Tears years. It’s 50/50 talk and music.”

Video link for Steve Katz — https://youtu.be/ESLHz-P5AgI.

The show at Jamey’s on May 14 will start at 8 p.m. Tickets are $30 in advance and $36 at the door.

This week at Jamey’s, music will start on May 12 with the “THURSDAY NIGHT JAZZ JAM featuring the Dave Reiter Trio” and conclude on May 15 with “SUNDAY BLUES BRUNCH & JAM featuring the Philly Blues Kings with Maci Miller.”

More jazz will be provided over the next week by the Jazz Sanctuary.

The Jazz Sanctuary

The Jazz Sanctuary (thejazzsanctuary.com) will be performing at Trinity Episcopal Church in Buckingham on Thursday, May 12 at 7:30 p.m. featuring Bruce Kaminsky & Friends, a combo from The Jazz Sanctuary led by noted bass musician Bruce Kaminsky. Admission to this event is free of charge, however, reservations are required, and can be made via e-mail at gogina317@gmail.com.

On May 15, The Alan Segal Quintet performs at The Jazz Sanctuary’s event at St. Augustine of Hippo Episcopal Church in Norristown. The quintet includes James Dell’Orefice (piano), Leon Jordan Sr. (drums), Randy Sutin (vibes/percussion), Ed Etkins (saxophone) and Segal (bass). The performance, which is free of charge, begins at 4 p.m.

Main Line Unitarian Church in Devon hosts The Jazz Sanctuary with another evening of “Jazz & Joe” on Wednesday, May 25 at 7:30 p.m., with a performance by The Alan Segal Quintet featuring includes Dell’Orefice (piano), Grant MacAvoy (drums), Sutin (vibes/percussion), Etkins (saxophone) and Segal (bass). Admission to this performance is free of charge.

May’s performance schedule for The Jazz Sanctuary concludes on Thursday, May 26 at Philadelphia’s historic Gloria Dei (Old Swedes’) Episcopal Church with an evening of “Jazz & Joe” featuring The Alan Segal Quintet, which includes Dell’Orefice (piano), Jordan Sr. (drums), Sutin (vibes/percussion), Etkins (saxophone) and Segal (bass). Admission to this performance, which begins at 7:30 p.m., is free of charge.

The Jazz Sanctuary, Philadelphia’s most innovative music organization bringing live jazz music to performing arts and events spaces throughout the Greater Philadelphia region, has begun its second decade in style with more than 30 events already on the slate for its 11th anniversary year.

Since its founding in 2011 by Alan Segal, The Jazz Sanctuary has brought more than  live performances to people throughout Philadelphia and the neighboring Pennsylvania and New Jersey suburbs. In addition, the organization brings their music to healthcare facilities, including regular performances for the Council on Brain Injury and others in the region.

From its humble beginning, The Jazz Sanctuary has become a Philadelphia music institution.

“We just finished our 642nd event,” said Segal, who grew up in West Philadelphia and graduated from Philly’s highly acclaimed Central High School.

“Our group has been together longer than any other jazz group in the Philly area. This year, we’ll have played more than 60 shows. The most was in 2019 when we had 88 events.

“We have a huge repertoire. My iPad has more than 1,500 songs. We all read music and our sax player puts together the set.

“Jazz is an extension of the blues. Gospel to blues to jazz is a straight line – no deviations.”

Events by The Jazz Sanctuary are always free.

“I do everything pro bono,” said Segal. “I take no money. I’m not trying to make a profit. We generate a lot of money for charitable organizations.”

Video link for the Jazz Sanctuary – https://youtu.be/zLhskbzVIQQ.

Matt Andersen

The list of live music offerings on May 12 also includes a blues-influenced singer/songwriter from Canada – Matt Andersen; an Americana singer/songwriter from Nashville – Cristina Vane; and a legendary roots band from Woodstock — Professor Louie & The Crowmatix.

Andersen, a native of Perth Andover in New Brunswick, who will play the City Winery (990 Filbert Street, Philadelphia, citywinery.com/Philadelphia, has just started a tour in support of his new album, “House to House,” which just came out in March on Sonic Records.

On the recording, the prolific singer/songwriter shifts the raw power he has become known for in his electric live performances into a stripped-down acoustic effort.

“The band right now is just me,” said Andersen, during a phone interview Tuersday morning from a tour stop in Fairfield, Connecticut. “Lately, I’ve been doing mostly solo stuff – just me and my guitar.

“During the pandemic, I couldn’t tour so I built a home studio at my home in Wolfville (Nova Scotia). I recorded the album there in October. I built my own studio with ProTools – 16 channels and no board. It’s a great place to be creative. It’s like sitting at the kitchen table. It feels good to have a space to go into.

“At the beginning of the pandemic, it took me six or seven months to even pick up a guitar. Then, I got back into it and had a fresh vibe. It definitely helps to have my own studio right here if I have an urge. It’s also great for collaborating. I did collaborating via Zoom when I was recording the album.”

“House to House” displays a new direction for Andersen, who has earned many accolades and a dedicated fanbase in Canada. He has received numerous European Blues Awards, Maple Blues Awards and various other honors. Here he seamlessly takes his distinctive, mighty blues chops and moves into gospel, folk and softer ballads, offering a more intimate side of the performer and writer.

“‘House to House’ came out a few months ago,” said Andersen. “It was just me and my guitar and the studio. I haven’t done an album like that since I first started making albums a long time ago.

“Now, I’ve got another album with a full band in the can. We recorded it at Sonic Temple in Halifax last April. It’s mixed and mastered and ready to go.”

A powerhouse performer with a giant, soul-filled voice and commanding stage presence, Andersen has built a formidable following the old-fashioned way — touring worldwide and letting his audiences spread the good word of his righteous tunes. As a result, he has amassed more than 18 million views on YouTube.

In addition to headlining major festivals, clubs and theatres throughout North America, Europe and Australia, Andersen has shared the stage and toured with Bo Diddley, Buddy Guy, Greg Allman, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Randy Bachman, Little Feat, Jonny Lang, Serena Ryder, and more.

The Nova Scotia resident won the 2013 and 2016 European Blues Award for Best Solo/Acoustic Act, three Maple Blues Awards in 2012, and was the first ever Canadian to take home top honors in the solo/duo category at the 2010 International Blues Challenge in Memphis.

“Everything I write, I write on acoustic guitar,” said Andersen. “I have a band in the back of my mind, but it always starts acoustic.”

Andersen is known as one of Canada’s hardest-working musicians, averaging around 200 live performances per year. Specializing in an earthy blend of blue-collar folk, electric blues, and roots rock, the New Brunswick native began his musical career in 2002 with the group Flat Top.

He issued his solo debut, “Second Time Around,” in 2007, followed in 2008 by “Something in Between” and in 2009 by “Piggyback,” the latter of which was a collaboration with acclaimed harmonica player Mike Stevens.

That same year he issued his first concert album, “Live from the Phoenix Theatre,” and later his first collection of holiday music, “Christmas Time.” A pair of studio albums, “Push Record” (with Mike Stevens) and “Coal Miner Blues,” followed in 2011.

Weightless,” which was produced by Los Lobos’ Steve Berlin, was released in 2014 and was his debut long-player for the True North label. It earned Andersen a Juno nomination for Roots & Traditional Album of the Year.

For his follow-up, he traveled to New York, working with producer Commissioner Gordon (Amy Winehouse, Joss Stone) to record 2016’s “Honest Man.” The concert album “Live at Olympic Hall” appeared in 2018, and featured Andersen backed by his band the Mellotones at the historic Halifax, Nova Scotia venue.

“I got into the blues just from hearing it,” said Andersen. “My brother had Eric Clapton’s ‘Unplugged’ album and that got me started with an interest in blues.

“Then, I got into musicians like B.B. King, Sonny Terry and Roy Buchanan. I also liked Creedence Clearwater Revival and the Allman Brothers because they were influenced by the blues. As time went on, I got more into acoustic folk and blues. I grew up with an acoustic guitar. My parents wouldn’t get me an electric guitar.”

As a result, Andersen is equally comfortable playing a solo acoustic set or performing with a band.

Video link for Matt Andersen — https://youtu.be/iC47rfCoIxs.

The show at City Winery on May 12, which has Terra Lightfoot as the opening act, will start at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20, $22 and $24.

Other upcoming acts at City Winery are Vivian Green on May 12, Howard Hewett on May 13 and 14, Starman City on May 13, Pat McGee on May 14, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band on May 15, Smokey Suarez on May 17 and Bilal City on May 18.

Vane, who will be performing May 12 at 118 North (118 North Wayne Avenue, Wayne, www.118northwayne.com), is a musician who, despite her young age, has world-wide life experiences and a wide variety of musical influences.

Born in Italy to a Sicilian-American father and a Guatemalan mother, Vane grew up between England, France, and Italy, and was fluent in four languages by the time she moved to her father’s native United States to attend Princeton University when she was 18. She graduated and promptly moved to Los Angeles to pursue music where she got a job in a guitar shop.

“I love learning and Princeton is a good place to do it,” said Vane, during a phone interview Monday afternoon. “I got my degree in comparative literature.”

Vane and music go way back.

“I’ve always loved music,” said Vane. “I used to sing to myself in the crib. I started studying piano in first grade. I found flute in middle school and started studying flute. I started writing songs in high school. Then, I discovered steel guitar in college through a good music teacher. After Princeton, I got into resonator. I just thought it sounded interesting. I taught myself how to play slide guitar. Then, I got into resonators and wanted to get a National Steel.”

After graduating from Princeton with a degree in Comparative Literature, Vane moved to Los Angeles where she worked at McCabe’s Guitar Shop. She studied fingerstyle guitar with mentor Pete Steinberg and spent every free moment working on her music. Those years pushed her to explore country-blues picking and old folk guitar styles.

“I got my own National and started pursuing a music career,” said Vane. “I was living in Venice Beach and working five or six jobs to support my music career.”
Vane credits Skip James, Robert Johnson, and Blind Willie Johnson, as well as Rory Block as some of her greatest influences. Vane is also very proficient on the clawhammer banjo and uses it to accompany herself as she sings her original bluegrass songs.

Vane relocated to Nashville four years ago. Her debut release, “Nowhere Sounds Lovely” was produced by Grammy-award-winning drummer and producer Cactus Moser. Moser also played drums on the record. The album was engineered by Rodney Dawson, and also features bass player Dow Tomlin, fiddle player Nate Leath, and pedal steel player Tommy Hannum.

“For a while, I was into folk music but not in the traditional sense,” said Vane. “I’ve also played the blues for a long time. Now, I see myself more Americana because I play the clawhammer banjo.”

Video link for Cristina Vane – https://youtu.be/4lLoR7GndOk.

The show at 118 North on May 12, which also features Arlo McKinley, will start at 8 p.m. Tickets are $18.

Other upcoming shows at 118 North are Arlo McKinley on May 12, The Commission on May 14, Wally Smith’s Hammond Trio on May 15, Lauren Hart on May 15 and Glen David Andrews on May 18.

The joint will be rockin’ on May 12 when the Sellersville Theater (24 West Temple Avenue, Sellersville, 215-257-5808, www.st94.com) presents “Music Of The Band Performed By Professor Louie & The Crowmatix With The Woodstock Horns.”

Professor Louie & The Crowmatix began as the studio backing band for Aaron “Professor Louie” Hurwitz’s musical productions for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees, The Band. Rick Danko christened him “Professor Louie” because of his work and friendship with The Band.

Professor Louie & The Crowmatix are touring in support of their new album “Strike Up The Band,” which was released on January 7, 2022. The album has nine songs written by Professor Louie and one co-written with Miss Marie and John Platania — songs that reflect a unique vision of relationships and thoughts about this tumultuous world and the times we live in.

“The new CD is hitting the charts,” said Hurwitz, during a phone interview Tuesday afternoon from his home in Woodstock, New York. “It’s our 16th studio album in 22 years.

“This is an all-original album – not a covers album or a concept album. L love playing new stuff because it’s fresh for the band – and fans get to hear new stuff.”

Such was not the case with the band’s previous album release.

When Professor Louie & The Crowmatix released their previous album, the timing of the music was impeccable — Professor Louie is a master in the recording studio – but the timing of the LP’s release was not so good.

“Miles of Blues,” the 15th release from Professor Louie & The Crowmatix, dropped in August 2019. Plans were for the Woodstock, NY-based band to tour extensively across the United States and Canada in support of the new disc. Then, COVID-19 came along and disrupted everybody’s plans.

“‘Miles of Blues’ was our last blues record and it did well,” said Hurwitz. “Before the calamity hit, we had scheduled six-to-seven months of shows. We were going to be driving across the country to South Dakota and then to western Canada for the Salmon River Blues Festival in British Columbia. We have a lot of fans in that part of North America.

“Instead, we just played the East Coast and New England for most of last year. We tried to stay three-to-four hours from home. We went down to South Carolina and North Carolina. We’re just trying to keep the band going.”

Professor Louie has been more than successful at keeping the band going. The blues-based group is now entering its third decade.

Professor Louie has emerged over his five decades in the music industry as the torch bearer of the true spirit of American Roots music. Seasoned live performer, prolific recording artist and versatile multi-instrumentalist (Hammond B3 organ, piano/keyboards, accordion, vocals), Professor Louie also is an award-winning recording producer and engineer, capturing the talents of some of the world’s premier musicians including The Band.

This Grammy-Nominated band usually plays 150 shows a year in the US and worldwide. They have performed at the Thunder Bay, London & Windsor Festivals in Canada, The Tondor Festival, Falcon Ridge Festival, The Sellersville Theater, BB Kings in NYC, The House of Blues in LA and The Bearsville Theater in Woodstock.

Professor Louie & The Crowmatix have a repertoire that is steeped in rock-and-roll, blues, gospel and American roots music. They have a huge discography that features 15 studio albums on The Woodstock Records label.

The band’s lineup features Professor Louie (Keys, Accordion, Vocals), John Platania (Guitar, Vocals), Gary Burke (Drums), Miss Marie (Vocals, Percussionist, Keys) and Frank Campbell (Bass, Vocals).

Professor Louie collaborated with The Band for more than 16 years and produced the group’s three comeback albums in the 90’s – “Jericho.” “High on The Hog” and “Jubilation.” Louie has produced and performed with such artists as Graham Parker, Commander Cody, Guy Davis, Buckwheat Zydeco, and New Riders of The Purple Sage.

Platania is a session musician, guitarist and record producer known for his work with Van Morrison for more than 30 years. He also has performed and recorded with Chip Taylor, Randy Neuman, Bonnie Raitt, Natalie Merchant, Don Mc Lean, and Judy Collins. Burke is a drummer and percussionist with The Radio City Music Hall Orchestra He has performed with Bob Dylan’s The Rolling Thunder Review and recorded and toured extensively with Joe Jackson.

Miss Marie has performed and recorded with Levon Helm, Rick Danko, Garth Hudson and The Commander Cody Band and was an integral part of Mercury Rev’s gold album “Deserters Song.” Campbell (Bass-Vocals) was Levon Helm’s Music Director with the Woodstock All-Stars. He also has performed and recorded with Steve Forbert.

“The current lineup has been the same for the last 16 years,” said Louie. “We’ve had the nucleus of the same five for quite a while. We’re also a good recording band. So, people use us a lot when they record. They hire us to be their studio musicians.”

Professor Louie & The Crowmatix have established a truly international reputation.

In 2007, they recorded their song “Melody of Peace” with the Czech Symphony in Prague that was released on the 2007 ERM Media CD “Holidays of The New Era Vol.2”. Professor Louie’s documentary “Woodstock – Siberia Blues Express” was filmed in Russia and featured in the Woodstock Film Festival in 2007.

“We have a good following in Russia,” said Louie. “We’ve toured there seven times. We’ve played a lot of shows in Novosibirsk and other Siberian cities.”

For now, Russia and Ukraine appear to be good countries to omit from any upcoming international tour itineraries.

Video link for Professor Louie & The Crowmatix — https://youtu.be/nqkwgv3jzNY.

The show at the Sellersville Theater on May 12 will start at 8 p.m. Tickets range from $21.50-$30.

Other upcoming shows at the Sellersville Theater (24 West Temple Avenue, Sellersville, 215-257-5808, www.st94.com) are John Cafferty on May 13, John Cassidy on May 14, Chris Smither on May 14, Leo Kottke on May 15, and Texas Hill on May 16.

Kennett Flash (102 Sycamore Alley, Kennett Square, 484-732-8295, http://www.kennettflash.org) is hosting Beyond the Pale on May 14.

The Kimmel Cultural Campus (Broad and Spruce streets, Philadelphia, 215-731-3333, www.kimmelculturalcampus.org) will present

Neil Gaiman on May 12, Daniel Tiger Neighborhood on May 14, “Hairspray” from May 17-22, Ryan Adams on May 17, and Philly Jazz Divas on May 18.

The Ardmore Music Hall (23 East Lancaster Avenue, Ardmore, 610-649-8389, www.ardmoremusic.com) will present Van Halen Nation on May 12, Kermit Ruffins on May 13, Victor Wooten on May 14, Kurt Elling on May 15, Brett Young on May17 and 18 Eric Gales on May 18.

The Keswick Theater (291 N. Keswick Avenue, Glenside, 215-572-7650, www.keswicktheatre.com) will host Jesse James Decker on May 12, Ace Frehley on May 12, and Joan Osborne and Madeleine Peyroux on May 14.

Brooklyn Bowl (1009 Canal Street, Philadelphia, www.brooklynbowl.com/philadelphia) will present Agnostic Front on May 12, Eric Krasno on May 13, and Sinkane on May 18.

PhilaMOCA (531 North 12th Street, Philadelphia, 267-519-9651, www.philamoca.org) will present Snoozer on May 12, Tomberlin on May 14, The Sloppy Boys on May 15, Sascha & the Valentines on May 17 and Izzy True on May 18.

The Queen (500 North Market Street, Wilmington, 202-730-3331, www.thequeenwilmington.com) will have Evolfo on May 12, Mystery Skulls on May 13, Ace Frehley on May 14 and The Waterboys on May 15.

The Met (858 North Broad Street, Philadelphia, http://themetphilly.com) will host Interpol on May 13 and Deftones on May 18.

Theatre of the Living Arts (334 South Street, Philadelphia, 215-222-1011, http://www.lnphilly.com) will present Gang of Youths on May 12, Don Broco on May 13, Bakar. on May 16, Fivio Foreign on May 17 and 070 Shake on May 18.

Johnny Brenda’s (1201 North Frankford Avenue, Philadelphia, 215-739-9684,

www.johnnybrendas.com) will host Sadurn on May 12, Papooz on May 13, Cosmic Cult on May 14, Golden Apples on May 15, High Pulp on May 16, Bob Log III on May 17 and Alex Cameron on May 18 and 19.

Union Transfer (1026 Spring Garden Street, Philadelphia, 215-232-2100, www.utphilly.com) will present Lotus on May 13 and 14, Dean Lewis on May 16 and Kikagaku Moyo on May 18.

Franklin Music Hall (421 North Seventh Street, Philadelphia, http://franklin.musichallphiladelphia.org/) presents The Menzingers on May 14 and The Dollops on May 15.

MilkBoy Philly (1100 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, 215- 925-6455, www.milkboyphilly.com) will present G-nome Project on May 12,

Corey Bernhard on May 13, Donovan Melero on May 15, Joe Sumner on May 16, Great Blue on May 17 and Joe Kaplow on May 18.

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