292 Twins

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With vocals fit mainly for Pop and R&B, 292 is a twin singer/songwriter duo from Louisiana. Both members, Alex Koncrete and Muzyk, traveled a good portion of their teenage lives living in parts of Arizona, Texas, New Mexico, and eventually settling in Louisiana. While realizing they both could sing at an early age it wasn’t until college that they truly fell in love with music. Thus began the journey. Incorporating influences such as Drake, The Weeknd, Luke James, and Chris Brown, they formed the group 292 in 2014 but disbanded soon after as Muzyk stepped away and solely studied engineering while Alex continued writing and pursuing other solo endeavors. It wasn’t until 2017 that Alex and Muzyk decided to come back as 292 and create their single “You’re Mine,” released in December 2017.

 

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Mark Senger

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Growing up in a home where he was inspired by his father, an accomplished jazz guitarist, Mark began teaching himself to play guitar at 7 years old. His early musical influences were Eddie Van Halen, Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Jeff Beck, and U2.

 

In his late teens, Mark became a songwriter and the guitarist for The Generics. Represented by Network Entertainment, The Generics played venues throughout southeast for 6 years. During that time, the group jammed with Molly Hatchet and opened for such notable bands as Drivin n’ Cryin, Guadalcanal Diary, and Dreams So Real.

 

Now, Mark’s music resume credits include songwriter, musician, music producer and recording engineer. He currently resides in Atlanta, GA.

 

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Mike Longhelt

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Mike Longhelt is a Producer/DJ/Vocalist based out of the Washington, DC region. His work has been featured on top radio stations as well as TV networks such as the MTV, VH1, Fox Sports, ESPN, Oxygen Network and Discovery Channel.

 

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DeLissana

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Discuss your existence.

We are sisters who were first inspired to sing and perform during our childhood when we LOVED and continually sang and performed together.  Our mom, an accomplished opera singer, her brother a doctor of music, our aunt another doctor of music, and cousins are all either musicians, singers or dancers.  It is in our blood.  Diana, a classically trained musician (a College of Wooster Grad with a Degree in Music & Vocal Performance) played the piano and accompanied Elissa’s many instrumental, vocal and dance solos. We both studied piano under the late, great concert pianist Marianne Mastics.  Our childhood living room was our very first stage as we amused ourselves for hours performing along with recordings and television variety shows.  Little did we know that through the years, and summers performing at The Cleveland Playhouse, Oberlin College Summer Opera Theatre (Elissa was accepted at the age of 9, and Diana accepted as a teen), and Cleveland Institute of Music opera productions, we’d develop our own unique interpretive style.

As life would have it, and the years passed, we never thought we would be performing professionally.  However, about 6 years ago, we sang 3 songs at a wedding, including “The Prayer”.  When we sang our last note, the entire congregation stopped the wedding ceremony by standing up and giving us a standing ovation!  After the ceremony, countless people came up to us and asked where they could purchase our CD.  Now, we were quite surprised (deer in headlights) at that request, since we thought of ourselves as simply sisters singing at a wedding.  That’s when we realized and said to ourselves, “I guess people like us! And maybe we should pursue our singing further!”  And as luck would have it, Elissa’s friend’s husband, Pablo “Chino” Nunez, (JanMar Productions, Inc.) happened to be a Grammy Award Winning music producer, musician and arranger.  When he heard that we sang, he wanted to hear us for himself.  After listening to our rendition of The Prayer on-line (which is rarely sung by 2 women), he asked us to come down to his recording studio in West Palm Beach.  He wanted to meet us and hear us live, because little did we know he was interested in producing our debut album.  So we hopped on a plane and flew down to audition for him.  We stood in front of him (about 4 feet away) in his office from 10 in the morning until about 4 in the afternoon singing practically every song we knew.  He just sat in his chair and listened, and kept telling to “sing another one!” When we sang “The Prayer”, he had tears in his eyes.  He was blown away.  He said our harmonies (since we are siblings) are unbelievably tight, and we sound like the same person.  He could not tell who was singing which part!  He was so inspired, that he wrote an arrangement of “The Prayer” just for us to record on our album.

He signed us to a record deal on the spot, but the catch was…we would have to write 5 original songs for our album.  Needless to say, the thought was a little daunting, but very exciting! So, on the plane while flying back home to Cleveland, we wrote the lyrics to “Daddy Hold My Hand”, the first track on our Album (Embrace Abrazo Abbraccio).  (The album title is the word Embrace in English, Spanish and Italian).  “Daddy Hold My Hand” (video: YouTube) is about our father who passed away at a young age.  Dad was our biggest fan, so he was a huge inspiration.  Our first public performance had our audience in tears by the time we got to the refrain.  What a feeling!

After we wrote “Daddy Hold My Hand”, the flood gates opened! We couldn’t stop writing, and Christmas Garland (“Merry Christmas” in 6 languages with 2 simultaneous melodies) was the love child of Diana.  Elissa thought, “What a great idea!”  The languages wrap around the world, just as garland wraps around a Christmas tree. Then, we decided to produce a music video, and Elissa added, “We should wear the clothes native to the countries we represent in the song: United States, Italy, Spain, Germany, Serbia and France!”  So, you will see, the video is fun and somewhat goofy, which is us being us.  We have always been goofy sisters “acting” and joking around…and that is what you will see in the video:  YouTube

After recording our album, Chino, a Grammy Board Member, felt it was worthy of submitting to The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS) for a shot at a Grammy.  Lo and behold; we got nominated! We were voted onto the Grammy Pre-nomination list right out of the gate! Chino told us artists can wait well over 20 years to get on this list.  Wow.

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State your favorite genre of music and your reason.

This is a very difficult task.  We were raised primarily on classical and ethnic music.  But as we grew into teenagers, we were exposed to many different types of music, i.e., folk, rock, jazz, country, acoustic and easy listening.  We find the beauty in, and respect all of them.  That is why our album has so many different genres.  We also enjoy singing in foreign languages, as you will see on our album.  We adore music sung by artists such as Il Divo.  But we love and respect them all!

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Tell us the theme of your song.

“Daddy Hold My Hand” invokes emotion, loss, yearning for the past and nostalgia for another time with a loved one.  It also uplifts and reinforces the wonderful memories and lessons we’ve learned from that special person.  We do not know anyone who has NOT lost someone close to them.  That is why people relate to this song, and why “Daddy Hold My Hand” has been a favorite at our performances.  We see our audience members well up with tears and smiles at the same time.  Plus, it is a true story about our dad.  The theme…missing a loved one, but we can live on cherishing their memory and feeling gratitude for having them in our lives.

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Name the people behind your success and thank them on this platform.

Well…given our story in “Daddy Hold My Hand”, our dad was the one who told us daily, “Do you girls know how much talent you have? And how much talent is under one roof here in our home?”  He was so proud of us growing up and knowing we could do whatever we wanted.  Our mom reinforced this feeling by singing with us, and making sure we had piano, flute and dance lessons, even though our parents could not afford them.  Our parents sacrificed so much so we could pursue our dreams.  Unfortunately, our dad passed at a young age, which moved our paths in different directions until a few years ago when we started back on the path we felt was our destiny.  We also have some amazing friends who have believed in us from the start.  Even though we are a very different type of singing group, our friends and family continually tell us there is definitely an audience for us.

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Tell us your future goals.

This is our conundrum. We are always researching and looking for new opportunities and gigs, and are currently in the process of exploring the idea of performing at House Concerts as well.  We feel if we are heard by the “right” people, and if we had proper representation and/or an agent who believes in us, we would definitely find our niche and be successful.  We are fearless and will sing for anyone. We are not kids, so we are focused on our passion.  Like so many musicians, we run into roadblocks every day, but we are not giving up.  To have our original songs placed in a movie or in a television commercial or series would be a dream come true.  And a European tour is definitely on our bucket list.  We saw Il Divo’s televised concert in Spain, and were awestruck.  We looked at each other and said, “We can do that! We are good enough!”  But to be totally candid, the fact that we are mature women is a fact that most MIPs do not respond to.  HOWEVER, WE FEEL IS IT OUR STRENGTH.  It is a novel and original idea.  We will always remain true to ourselves and to who we are.  Look at Susan Boyle.  (And she does not write original music.)  If she can do it…so can we!

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Share your press release and review with us.

 

Chronicle Telegram Article

 

Press release from PR.com

 

Article from Mimi Vanderhaven

 

Article from American Srbobran

 

Article #1 from Cleveland.com

 

Article #2 from Cleveland.com

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Elaborate on how you think your music is inspiring your fans.

Since we are mature women, we have been approached by so many fans at our concerts who tell us how inspiring it is to see performers who are not 20 years old.  They are really pleasantly surprised.  And much of our humor relates to that as well.  We do get the laughs. We also know each other so well, that we can perform a song in different rooms and still be totally synchronized.  And due to the fact that we are siblings, our blend is spot-on.  The fact that we write our own songs is always received well by our audiences as well.

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Analyze the transformations you have discovered so far in the music industry.

We believe a huge transformation is due to the internet.  Access to all types of music is only a click away.   This in itself is a great benefit.  But, the music industry requires the artist to self-promote and self-record which is very costly.  Years ago, if an artist was not educated in the industry practices and accepted procedures, (and many were not), they would/could hire an agent/manager to handle the “business end” of everything.  Currently, obtaining a producer, agent, backer, supporter, etc. is very difficult.  The primary responsibility falls on the artist for all aspects of their trade, unless they have a manager/agent to help guide their career.  In many ways this is a good thing, and in many ways it is not.  Then and now, an artist could move too quickly which could be very detrimental to their career.  Artists basically learn as they go.  But nowadays, artists have tons of information at their fingertips (literally!).

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State the artists you cherish most and your reason.

We love Il Divo, Celine Dion, Andrea Bocelli, Josh Groban, David Foster, Yani, Chicago, Doobie Brothers, Martina McBride, Trishia Yearwood, Celtic Woman, Christina Aguilera and Patsy Cline.  But this list only touches the service of the artists we cherish.  Their talent is inborn and their mastery of their craft gushes at every performance.  We are totally engrossed in their performances.  We love to sing in different languages as do many of them.  We have studied them and enjoyed their music for years.

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Give us the links to your social network and stores.

Website

 

@Delissana1 / Google Play / Facebook

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Elaborate on how you develop your lyrics.

We start with a theme or specific subject and basically write/develop a poem about it.  The music comes later. We like to write about real life and topics that everyone can relate to.  We prefer writing uplifting and “happy” songs.

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Tell us if you enjoy collaborating with other artists or just singing as a solo artist.

We would revel in collaborating with other artists.  Give us a chance to sing with Il Divo and Wahoo! We have not had much opportunity to do so however, but that is definitely something we would enjoy.

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Brief us on your opinion of making music that makes people dance or making the music with a genuine message that inspires them.

Making people want to stand up and dance is rewarding and a wonderful feeling.  Our song, “Life is Good” is about Diana’s friend from Colombia, S.A. with a wonderful Latin beat and fun lyrics.  We also enjoy conveying a genuine message like “Daddy Hold My Hand”, or our other uplifting song, “Life Goes On”.

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Explain copyright.

Copyright is a form of protection provided by the government for “original works”, including literary, dramatic, musical, architectural, cartographic, choreographic, pantomimic, pictorial, graphic, sculptural, and audiovisual creations. Copyright literally means “the right to copy” but has become the body of exclusive rights granted by law to copyright owners for protection of their work.

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Discuss the impact of a Performance Rights Organization.

PROs protect the artist(s) in that they provide intermediary services, particularly collection of royalties, between the copyright holders and any parties who want to use the artists’ copyrighted works publicly.  It is comforting for the artist to know these types of organizations exist for their protection.

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Elaborate on how you develop your melody and instrumentation.

When presented with the opportunity to compose original songs, we draw on the emotion and inspiration of a particular event or topic, thought, dream, whether they are mutually shared or individually experienced.  Typically, we write the lyrics first.  Then we “live” with them for however long it takes to come up with a melody that serves as a chorus, for example.  Interestingly (and sometimes miraculously!), the verse melody seems to fall into place once the chorus is created.  Along the way we usually tweak the lyrics and melody to make the song flow.  Yet, there have been times when we compose a melody line and then write lyrics which are a good fit with the music.  The special aspect of our composing lyrics and music together as sisters allows us to draw on the help and talents of each other.  When one of us, let’s say, has a mental block (like writers sometimes get), the other often takes the lead and suggests a solution.  We then “try it on for size” to see if it works.  It’s a huge advantage for each of us to have the other to “bounce things off of” especially when we work through a snag.  As for the instrumentation, we have left a good deal of that to the imagination of our magnificent producer/arranger.  But, yes, we have thoughts about specific instruments in certain songs that suit the feelings of the songs we want to be conveyed.

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Go into detail on the recording of this song.

Recording “Daddy Hold My Hand” was probably the easiest part of the entire process.  When we heard Chino’s arrangement of “Daddy Hold My Hand” for the first time, we knew he “got it”.  He felt the lyrics and understood our story on a personal level.  We couldn’t wait to get into the studio.  And Chino remembered that we told him Diana had a toy piano when she was very young, so he incorporated the playing and sounds of a toy piano at the very end of the song.  Diana and I had sung it so many times together, that when we entered the studio, put on our headphones and began singing, it only took a few takes and it was a wrap!  What a feeling to hear the playback of your own story with Chino’s beautiful arrangement…

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Discuss your music performance.

We are siblings who love singing together and it shows.  We also have a goofy sense of humor, so we can engage our audiences and make them laugh.  When we use humor, we have our audiences’ full attention, and we know they are having fun.  Then when we start singing, our audiences cry tears of joy.  They are surprised that such beautiful music comes out of such goofy women.  They are engrossed in our song(s).  Case in point, our producer cried the first time he heard us sing “The Prayer”.  Everyone does!  Being able to touch our audiences in such diverse ways is extremely rewarding.  We want them to “feel” and experience the love and passion we feel for our music, our audience and each other.  After every performance, we are on a huge “high” for days afterward.

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State the official date of release.

Single: Christmas Garland, December 2013

Album: March 2014

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State your artist’s name and elaborate on it. 

DeLissana is a combination of our names: Diana and Elissa.  “Elissa” is hidden in the middle of the word “D[eLissa]na”, and Diana is spread out from the front and at the end.  It’s like you gently placed “Elissa” on top of “Diana” and Diana got spread out a little.

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State the title of the song and the meaning.

Daddy Hold My Hand – About our dad, or any dad.  Daddies hold their children’s hand for many reasons: safety, comfort, direction, understanding, security, support and as a gesture of love.

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State the title of the album and the reason for choosing the title.

“Embrace Abrazo Abbraccio” – It is the word “Embrace” in English, Spanish and Italian.  We hope our music embraces our audiences, gives them a hug and conveys that meaning in the languages in which we sing most often.

Jon Spear Band

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ARTIST NAME:   JON SPEAR BAND

 

SONG TITLE:   Geographical Cure

 

ALBUM TITLE:   Hot Sauce

 

RELEASE DATE:   July 2017

 

GENRE:  ROCK / POP / BLUES

 

 

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www.jonspearband.com

 

 

Share your press release and reviews with us.

JON SPEAR BAND REVIEWS

” Hot Sauce is one of the finest albums I have heard in a while.  Well-rooted in the blues, and never straying far from those roots, Spear and the guys lay down solid music, whether it is straight blues, blues with a Latin flair, rockabilly, slow-burnin’ R&B or somewhere in between.  The tunes, all penned by Spear and the other band members, are exceptionally well-written and performed with a level of passion not often heard these days.  Spear is also developing into one of the finest storytellers I’ve encountered…straight to the point, these stories are absolutely believable and incredibly powerful…  The more I hear from Jon and the band, the more impressed I become.  This is 100% the real deal…This is perhaps their best work to date.

– Bill Wilson, Reflections in Blues (July 2017)

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“I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Hot Sauce, by Jon Spear Band and I quite like it. Opening with Bottom of the Bottle, Jon Spear Band gets into a really nice groove somewhat like Come and Go Blues but with more texture, cooler guitar riffs and better vocals for my taste. With Dara James on guitar, harp and vocal, Jon Spear on guitar and vocal Andy Burdetsky on bass and vocal John Stubblefield on drums and vocals, this is a super opener.”

– Bman’s Blues Report, August 11, 2017

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“The Jon Spear Band is the band that said, “Live music is better,” and they took over the Tin Pan’s spacious stage and filled it with some of the best music I’ve heard in quite a while. With only four pieces in the band, Dara James on lead guitar and vocals; Jon Spear on rhythm guitar and vocals, Andy Burdetsky on bass and backing vocals; and John Stubblefield on drums, they managed to create the sound of a much larger group.  James is a guitar wizard who can move from playing a standard lead to delivering a blistering break that could actually cause the audience to break into applause before he even finished playing. Spear is a helluva player as well, great on the vocals, and writes most of the band’s material.  . Burdetsky is a very animated bass player who made several songs come to life and Stubblefield is a very underrated drummer who threw in some great fills throughout the night.  Together, the four of them dropped some great blues in support of their latest album Hot Sauce, and mixed up a very spicy meal.”

– Professor Johnny P’s Juke Joint (July 2017)

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“Hot Sauce is a solid collection of blues tunes . . . And there is a little something for everybody in it.  It is nice to see a band put the time and effort into writing and working out an entire disc of new music, and fortunately it has very good production too.

– Blues Blast Magazine (July 28, 2017)

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With the Jon Spear Band, you can always bet your last money that the music will be excellent, and the songs built either for the dance floor or to make you think. Everything goes good with “Hot Sauce!”

– Don & Sheryl’s Blues Blog (July 23, 2017)

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“This new disc from the Jon Spear Band is their best yet! Plenty of great playing on a dozen original songs that span a variety styles.”

Professor Bebop WTJU FM (July 11, 2017)

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“Welcome back Jon Spear Band, you have done it again! You have created another masterpiece that encompasses so many elements of roots music and not just blues. The light and shade of this album is stunning and weaves an intricate story that is so very entertaining. The Jon Spear Band have created an album ‘their’ way and not a clone of somebody else.”

– Peter Merrett, PBS106.7, Melbourne, Australia.

 

 

HOT SAUCE

​★ “a well-played collection of rootsy rock originals …the recording features a clean stripped-down sound and deep, in-the-pocket grooves that result when a band develops into a tight-knit unit from extensive live gigs.”

–  Living Blues Magazine

 

★ “Hot Sauce gives further proof to the fact that The Jon Spear Band is one of the most talented bands playing the blues right now. They show an amazing versatility with their music, mixing blues, soul, and rock in equal measures. The two-headed vocal/guitar attack with Spear and James is highly effective and the rhythm section is most righteous. Add a highly unique songwriting approach that includes entertaining party songs, interesting story songs, and other thought-provoking fare, and you’ve got a disc that deserves to heard and heard again”

– Graham Clarke, Blues Bytes

 

★ “With the Jon Spear Band, you can always bet your last money that the music will be excellent, and the songs built either for the dance floor or to make you think.”

– DonandSherylsBluesBlog.

 

LIVE MUSIC IS BETTER
★ “This is the real deal…blues as it was meant to be played”.

– Bill Wilson “Reflections in Blue”

 

★ “Four superbly talented musicians plus stellar guests have produced an album that epitomizes how live Blues should be played.”

 Peter Merrett, PBS 106.7FM Melbourne

 

★ “This CD would make a welcome addition to any blues lovers collection”

– Professor Johnny P’s Juke Joint (AKA John Porter) 

 

★  “Live Music Is Better is a rock solid set that gives fans and newcomers a nice summary of how good a band the Jon Spear Band really is, especially on stage.”

– Graham Clarke, Blues Bytes Magazine

 

★  “Virginia-based singer/guitarist Spear and his talented band released their debut, Old Soul, in 2015, an album which finished in the Top 25 of the Roots Music Report’s Top Contemporary Blues Albums.  Spear’s been around since the early 60’s, but recently connected with a phenomenal young talent, singer/guitarist Dara James, who is a blues star in the making……a gifted guitarist, singer, and songwriter whose style works perfectly with Spear’s…. Live Music Is Better provides a great look at one of the most underrated bands currently practicing.

– Friday Blues Fix

 

★ “We had two favorites – the fellows lay down a sweet Chicago-styled blues groove as Jon takes lead vocal and Dara blows some serious harp on “Shake Your Boogie!”  And, the highlight of the set, for us, belonged to Dara James and his slow-burnin’ blues guitar lines on the classic “Have You Ever Loved A Woman.”

– Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society

© Alan Grossman

 

 

OLD SOUL

★  “[The Jon Spear Band’s] debut release, “Old Soul”, is a stunning reminder to all and sundry that skill, practice and years of live performing enables you to shine like a true glittering star without reliance upon vacuous tinsel twinkling internet driven media videos.  Across the ten numbers here, is an atmosphere of relaxed confidence, combined with second nature playing all wrapped up in invitingly assured arrangements whether they have forays into soul, blues, country, rock R&B, funk, swing, or even a little salsa, it is all delivered with enticing aplomb.”

– Bluesinthenorthwest.com (July, 2015)

 

★ “Spear and company put into words and music what all of us know and have experienced but might not have the ability to express. Running as smoothly as a well-oiled machine, this band operates as a single unit…each member doing their part. The result is a work of absolute beauty. The guitar work and vocals on this piece are absolutely sublime…and the rhythm section is right on the money. Adding an assist from Ron Halloway on sax on “Old Soul” and Nate Brown on congas on “Mean Mean Woman” and “Can’t Help Myself” is just the icing on the cake… ‘Nuff said…this is good stuff.” – Bill Wilson, “Reflections in Blue,”  

★  “The Jon Spear Band is a talented quartet with more than enough experience and creativity to get the job done.  Jon Spear is the leader and main songwriter for the band, and on this record he provides guitar and vocals.  He was joined in the studio by Dara James (also on vocals and lead guitar), John Stubblefield on the skins, and Andy Burdetsky on bass.  For a small group they have a big sound, and you will like what they have to offer on this collection of nine originals and one awesome cover tune.  Besides their more obvious talents, they also give back to the art and are active participants in the Central Virginia Blues Society.   This is a strong debut from the Jon Spear Band, and throughout all ten tracks they present top-shelf musicianship, mature songwriting, and a most importantly, a good time for the listener.

– ” Blues Blast Magazine, June 2015

 

★ “[The Devil’s Highway] is one of those kind of songs that lyrically and musically could fit nicely into several music genres. It’s blues, it’s rock and give it to Toby Keith and it’s a number one country hit. Well written, well sung and well performed.”

– Peter “Blewzzman” Lauro. Blues Editor @

 

★ “Old Soul is a highly enjoyable set of blues and soul that features some impressive original tunes. The veteran Spear, the rock-solid rhythm section, and the gifted young James proves to be a winning combination on this release.”

– Graham Clarke. Blues Bytes Magazine

 

★ “Forever Home is a laid back country blues track with strong radio appeal. A light slide guitar riff behind the clear vocals of James makes this track an absolute pop standout. With its jazzy attack and nice harp work, this track is the most well rounded track on the release.”

– Bman’s Blues Report

 

★ “The Jon Spear Band bring excellent musicianship, strong lyrics, and a rising star in young Dara James.  ‘Old Soul’ is a fine debut from some of Virginia’s finest!”

– Sheryl and Don Crow donandsherylsbluesblog.

 

★ “This central Virginia band has a definite old soul when it comes to their heartfelt nod to blues and soul, running a gamut of delectable styles. Some very intelligent songwriting, excellent musicianship and lyrics that delve into deep recesses one second and speak plainly the next flavor this debut with vibrant life and listenability”

– Mark E. Waterbury Music Morsels Reviews

 

★ “Not many groups can boast two virtuoso guitarists as The Jon Spear Band does and few can match the writing skill of [Jon] Spear and [Dara] James.”

– Peter Merrett of PBS 106.7 FM, Melbourne Australia

 

 

 

Tell us your history.

The band was first organized in 2012 through the Central Virginia Blues Society, which organizes blues-related activities and jams on a regular basis.  We enjoyed our playing and improvising, and decided to attempt a more serious collaboration.  After a few gigs and a very positive crowd response, the Jon Spear Band was born and is now in its 7th year with just a few personnel changes.  The current lineup includes Dara James (guitar, vocals and harmonica), Andy Burdetsky (bass), John Stubblefield (drums), and Jon Spear (guitar and vocals).

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Describe yourself as an artist.

The artistry of the band arises from our success at combining multiple influences.  Jon, the oldest member, started playing in the ‘50s and was heavily influenced by the rockabilly, jump and swing hits of that time, as well as the social upheaval of the ‘60s.  The youngest member, Dara, is a modern electric blues guitarist who also sings and plays harp, and compares favorably to Eric Clapton and Joe Bonamassa.  Andy is a funk-loving bassman who coaxes a lot of notes out of just a few strings.  And drummer John Stubblefield is a straight-ahead rocker who learned his trade during the British invasion.  When we first joined up, we openly wondered if we could successfully blend all those different styles and influences, and worried that all the music would simply fall to the lowest common denominator.  Instead, we found synergies in our varied styles and combined that with writing original songs, and that’s given us a sound that’s unique and immediately-recognizable.

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Tell us the genre of your music.

Our music is best described as blues rock, or blues-influenced rock with a bit of an old school flavor.  That said, we’re not purists and if we hear something we like, we’ll play it even if it may fall outside the blue or rock category.   Geographical Cure was written with a slightly Latin or calypso feel which together with congas by guest artist Nate Brown, gives it a feeling of inviting new places.

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Tell us the story behind your song.

This song started life over 20 years ago when Spear was involved in writing a rock opera based on the parable of the Prodigal Son.  The project was never completed and the song stayed on the shelf until Spear dusted it off a few years ago for the band which liked it enough to include it on the 2017 “Hot Sauce” CD.   The idea behind the song is that sometimes a fresh start in a new location can be the best way to deal with issues.  So, if things aren’t going well for you, you’re not a tree – you can move!

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Tell us the problems you are facing as a musician.

The major problem faced by musicians today is keeping pace with technological changes that are driving a music industry transition from CDs to downloading to streaming as the main way people purchase and listen to music.  This has forced many musicians to focus on promotion and touring to replace the revenue that used to be created by record sales.  This is tough for musicians who would prefer to spend their time in the creative process of writing and recording music rather than on the road or pushing social media campaigns.  The Hot Sauce album itself was financed through a Kickstarter campaign and we are very grateful to all our friends and fans who contributed to offset the cost of the CD and all the related expenses.

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Discuss the recording and production of the song.

The entire Hot Sauce CD was recorded at Ravensworth Studios in Scottsville VA with our producer, Andy Waldeck.  Andy is a great mentor and the studio location, on 23 wooded acres, is very conducive to creative work.  While our previous albums were mostly songs we’d been performing in public for a while, the Hot Sauce CD is comprised entirely of newly written material.  That meant we had to do a lot arranging and rewriting in the studio.  After the songs were mixed down by Waldeck, the final mastering was done at UE Nastasi of Sterling Sound in New York City.

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Elaborate on your music career, experience and future goals.   The band’s members have a combined total of over 150 years’ experience in making music, but we don’t have 150 years’ worth of income to show for it.  That can only mean one thing – we do it because we love it, not because we expect to make a lot of money from it.  So, we all have day jobs along with family obligations and balancing those competing demands is always a challenge. That said, the people in our band have an inborn love of music and will continue to forge ahead.  The future will very likely see us release some more new music in the next few years while building our presence on the touring circuit.

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Brief us what inspires you to write, compose and sing.

Bono said “Music can change the world, because it can change people.”  That pretty much sums our inspiration as musicians.  If we can use our music to make people happier, more loving, more thoughtful, more accepting of others, and find more joy in life, we will consider ourselves wildly successful.  We’ve had several people tell us that our song “I Love My Skin” has changed their life. Can you imagine that?  A song we created has changed lives.  What more could we ask for?

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Brief us the top-secret behind making a hit song. 

If we knew this for sure, we’d bottle and sell it!  We strongly suspect it takes a lot of hard work and maybe a little talent along with some serendipity – and having a memorable and enjoyable song can’t hurt either!

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Tell the advice you will give to an upcoming artist.

Pursue a career in music because you love it, not because you’re counting on success. That way, you’ll be happy no matter what happens. Also, be prepared to stick with it for as long as it takes to get a break.  Some artists may appear to be overnight successes but if you study their careers, you’ll find out they’ve been working for years, and some never make it at all to the big time.  The important thing is to enjoy the journey and don’t get too preoccupied with the destination.  Finally, don’t try to be someone else.  If you do achieve wider success, it will be because you are unique and entertaining, not because you’ve copied someone else.

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Discuss at length your music careers, albums, songs, tours, recognition or awards you might have received. 

Recent highlights include:

Blues Blast Magazine nominee for Best Live Blues Recording of 2016.

 

Opened for nationally touring acts including Debbie Davies, Delbert McClinton, Anson Funderburgh, the Iguanas, the Chris Duarte Group, Memphis Gold, and more.

 

Selected to compete at the 31st and 33rd International Blues Challenge in Memphis, TN.

 

2017 IBC Finalist for “lLive Music is Better” for Blues Foundation Best Self-Produced CD award.

 

Released three critically acclaimed CDs all of which charted in the US, UK, France, and Australia.

 

2016 WAMMIE nominee for best Blues/Traditional R&B Recording (Washington Area Music Association).

 

Extensive airplay on over 100 stations worldwide, including SiriusXM Bluesville Rack of Blues “Picks  to Click” (May 2016).

 

Favorable reviews from numerous publications including Living Blues Magazine and Blues Blast Magazine.

 

The members are:

JON SPEAR – Award-winning singer-songwriter and guitarist Jon Spear doesn’t admit how long he’s been performing but here’s a hint: Jon was in a band that opened for the Isley Brothers at the Capital Theatre in Port Chester NY when Twist and Shout was top-40 hit.  Since then, Jon has performed with numerous bands from New York on down through DC and Virginia, playing a wide range of styles including swing, rockabilly, classic rock and blues. His electric playing has been influenced by such guitar greats as Hollywood Fats and Debbie Davies

 

DARA JAMES – Dara James is an amazing young talent with outstanding vocal, guitar and harmonica skills far beyond his years. Dara’s grandfather gave him his first harmonica when he was about 5 and he joined his first band with his father – Upland Express – at the age of 11, and stayed with them for 10 years playing regularly around central Virginia.  He started playing guitar in the band when he was 14. Since then Dara has pursued a number of solo, band and recording projects.  Dara has also won several songwriting awards.

 

ANDY BURDETSKY – Bassist Andy Burdetsky has been playing bass since his junior high school days back in the mid 70’s. Andy was born and raised in the D.C. area where he was influenced by such great musicians as the Nighthawks, Danny Gatton and Charlie Byrd. Andy has shared the stage and/or sat in with such musical greats as Koko Taylor, NRBQ, Nighthawks, Roy Buchanan, Nils Lofgren, Stephen Stills and has had the honor of being Big Bill and Mud Morganfield’s bass player on several occasions when they have played in town.

 

JOHN STUBBLEFIELD – Drummer John Stubblefield started playing drums around the time the Beatles made their US debut. His dad owned radio stations and he grew up loving all styles of music. In college he played with The Charlottesville Blues Allstars (later called just The Allstars). During those years he opened often for the Nighthawks playing clubs in Virginia and DC.  In addition to the Jon Spear Band, John currently plays swing and blues with Bluzonia and original folk rock with the Eric Heinsohn Band. John has been building drums for 10 years and has drummers all over gigging and recording with his custom drums.

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Tell us how you write your lyrics, compose, sing and record in the studio. 

No two songs are written the same way.  Some arise organically with the words and lyrics coming together at the same time. Our song “Forever Home” was written at the request of a local animal shelter that wanted to encourage pet adoption.  “Wintertime” was prompted by our producer’s suggestion that we needed a slow song for our CD and that a hard luck story might be the right choice.  Hot Sauce grew out of bassist Andy Burdetsky’s appreciation of hot chili peppers.  Dara and Jon found the initial inspiration for Natchez Burning in an airline magazine squib about tourist destinations in Mississippi.  Once in the studio, our producer Andy Waldeck has a chance to listen to our songs with fresh ears and suggest changes based on his many years of music industry experience.

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Name your favourite artists for collaboration.

Among our favorites are saxophonist Ron Holloway who guested on two of our CDs.  We appreciate that because Ron’s talents are in great demand as he has played with the Allman Brothers Band, Susan Tedeschi, Dizzy Gillespie, Gil Scott-Heron, Root Boy Slim and Warren Haynes.   Another of our favorites is keyboardist Butch Taylor who appeared with Dave Matthews Band from 1997 to 2008, performing both on tour and studio albums.  To complement the work of our own talented drummer, John Stubblefield, we often turn to Nate Brown who is Publisher and Editor-In-Chief of OnlineDrummer.com, Alfred Publishing author and Drum! Magazine Groove Analysis video instructor.   One of the band’s mentors is bassist, producer and songwriter Andy Waldeck whose band Earth To Andy toured nationally with Stone Temple Pilots, Fuel and Tonic.  Andy’s songwriting has landed him notable cuts with artists such as Daughtry, David Cook, and others.

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Tell us how you will spend a million dollars. 

We would underwrite a European tour.

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Discuss music promotion and how you are boosting your fan base. 

Promotion requires a band to walk a thin line between staying in touch with fans without being too pushy or self-serving.  We use an email list and Facebook along with our website, Instagram and Twitter to let people know about our upcoming gigs and share interesting developments. We trying to avoid puffery and instead build our following through steady gigging and lots of personal contact.

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Tell us how you manage other activities with your music career.

The band schedules activities in a way that assures everyone has free time for the personal things that are important, especially day-jobs, vacations, friends and family.  This sometimes means we have to decline a high-profile gig but we think preserving personal sanity and relationships are more important.  Many years from now the band will be ancient history but hopefully our loved ones will still be around us, so they have to come first.

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State your artist’s name and elaborate on it.   

We chose Jon Spear Band because it’s short and not likely to be confused with other band names.  Although Jon Spear has his name on the band, we all have an equal say on all band decisions.

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State the title of the album and the reason for choosing the title.

We usually name our CDs after one of the tracks and in this case, we thought “Hot Sauce” was a good all-round name.

 

Benjamin Ingrosso

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Benjamin Ingrosso ‘Dance You Off’

A self-taught musician, Benjamin grew up with melodies. Playing shows all over his home country of Sweden from a very young age, it was always clear to him that he was going to be an artist of some kind – be it a songwriter or performer. Just turned 20 years old, Benjamin’s early influences would come by way of his parents – The Bee Gees, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder all instilling in him a natural ear for melody and that superlative Quincey Jones-era of future pop.

For a couple of years, however, Benjamin decided to focus solely on his songwriting, growing disillusioned with the showbiz side of the industry and briefly considering going full-time as a songwriter. However, following an extended period of time crafting alone in the studio, the young artist signed to TEN Music Group (Icona Pop, Zara Larsson), who convinced him to come back to being a bonafide performer in his own right.

What followed was the kind of vindication you can’t prepare for – his first three singles “Good Lovin’”, “Fall In Love” and “Love You Again”, immediately going gold and platinum respectively; unprecedented hype and now with the release of his latest track “Dance You Off”.

To mention personal maturity in the same sentence as “emerging artist” seems a contradiction, but the simple age that Benjamin started performing puts him on Mickey Mouse Club levels of precocious talent: Benjamin has hit peaks and troughs that belie his age as much as it defines this new direction of slick, R&B pop that echoes the compulsion and melodic artistry of artist like Tom Misch and Isaac Waddington.

With his anticipated debut album set to drop, it’s looking like Benjamin Ingrosso is going to be a name the wider world is going to get used to very soon.

 

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Alyssa Sequoia

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James Sklar is a music manager, musician, producer and certified yoga teacher.

 

 

Alyssa Grew up in Westchter County NY – She was deeply inspired by the music found in her family record collection with its extreme diversity from Simon and Garfunkle to Sarah Vaughn to stand-up comics and so much more it became her world. With no formal music education Alyssa’s earliest memories are of writing songs. She began singing her originals and jazz standards in cafes and clubs in NYC when she was nineteen and began to explore her sound – an eclectic mix of jazz, folk, rap, world and soul. Alyssa has continued preforming in NY and beyond and still exploring her sound today – She has recorded 2 full length albums “~within~”, “Queen Annes Lace”, and two five songs albums, “Flow With Me” and “Alyssa Live” along with various singles and re-mixes. Alyssa’s music can be heard on radio stations across the country and Europe.

 

 

 

 

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Benny and the sparrows

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ARTIST NAME

Benny and the sparrows

 

SONG TITLE

Give Me A Chance

 

RELEASE DATE

2016

 

GENRE

Pub music/Pop

 

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Tell us your view on old and new school music in terms of preference.

Accepting a new piece of music is just like falling in love, it’s very personal.

Some new kids like old school and some old kids love new school, like I’ve said, it’s very personal.

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Tell us your most memorable day as an artist.

33 years ago I had a chance to do a playback tour with a couple of guys in my hometown. It was in about 20 places through all of Europe with Germaine Jackson and Pia Zadora, after the movie ”When The Rain Begins To Fall”. Quite exciting, we were to be backstage with the best with what we used to see on TV.

Drinking with Phill Lynot, snacking with Matt Bianco, you get the picture.

We were young and easily impressed.

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Tell us how you protect your singing voice.

Apple all ways works.

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Tell us the major reason you are into music.

Born with the thing and I can’t get rid of it.

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Discuss creativity and originality in music.

All ways follow your heart, you can never go wrong.

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Tell us your plans pertaining music.

I keep on following my heart till I die.

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Tell us the secret of success.

Apart from some local TVs in Maastricht I never had success, so I surely can’t tell you any secrets there.

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Tell us how you become a musician.

Again, I was born with it, so it grows on you, you eventually meet some people and you discover the rest.

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Tell us what makes you happy and sad on this project.

Happy I’ll become when I listen to it and can sing along, sad I’ll become when the record is finished.

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Tell us your point of view on rape and sexual harassment, and how to eradicate it.

I only like to give someone pleasure when that person gives it on a base of free will.

Eradicate this in another person is only possible by giving the good example.

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List the people that assisted in making this song.

Sorry, I wrote, produced and performed it myself. Although I like to thank my best friend Louise who bought me the sound studio to record it with.

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Tell us how you get financial support to run your music career.

I don’t. The person who bought me the studio died 8 years ago.

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Tell us the genre of your music and the reason you went for this genre.

It grows like this because in my hometown we have carnival season with sing along music. I guess that’s the base of my style.

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Tell us if you prefer to write your own songs or you prefer to write with professional songwriters.

Up till now I’ve written on my own. In the past I’ve tried to write with others but they’ve never taken it so seriously.

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Tell us if you prefer to produce your songs or you prefer to work with reputable producers.

Producing with professionals would be a dream come true.

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Tell us the story behind this song.

I write out of my fantasy. Sometimes I’m triggered by a dream. This song started with a dream, I’ve heard a melody in that dream and went along with that after I woke up.

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Tell us your favourite brand of microphone.

Shure.

Doxter S

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Addicted by Doxter S is an upbeat love song with an electro-island beat in the Hip Hop style sung by a female vocalist with 2 backup singers.

 

Doxter S has started another productive year with publication of Divas for a total of 49 original songs. These original compositions all share common features including catchy melodies and clever, sometimes surprising lyrics. Doxter S sings the male leads joined by a variety of female lead and backing vocals. Doxter S was a finalist in the 2016 Mid Atlantic Song Contest for his original song “Sleep”, and was present for this honor at the 33rd MASC Gala held at Jammin’ Java in Vienna, VA.

 

Doxter S has written original Lyrics and Music for 50 original songs starting in 2012. Each song is unique in style, theme, genre, and performance. Over the last few years a natural evolution to more upbeat and emotional music has been generating wider audiences and more airplay, with many more followers on various social media sites. “Addicted” by Doxter S is the latest successful translation of popular culture into original music.

 

RELEASE DATE: April 15th, 2018

GENRE: R&B, Pop

 

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