Music & Culture Ambassador of Mississippi, Steve Azar is a hit songwriter, recording artist, music producer, golfer and philanthropist. Steve likes to call his own breed of music “Delta Soul,” a mixture of country, rock and blues.
His debut album Waitin’ On Joe was released in 2001. The title track went to #1 on CMT and featured Academy award-winning actor Morgan Freeman. From the same album the hit single “I Don’t Have To Be Me, Til Monday” received three Million-Air awards from BMI and is one of the top five most played songs of the past decade on country radio. Turn on the radio today, and you’ll likely hear it. Taylor Swift told People Magazine in 2010 that her favorite song of the year was Steve Azar’s “Sunshine.” Slide On Over Here, featuring the hit single “Sunshine,” was spotlighted in Oprah’s O Magazine in her Oprah’s Favorite Things edition in 2011. “Sunshine” was also featured in US Weekly Magazine in June 2012 as one of the most popular celebrity wedding songs. Steve has written, and recorded songs for film and has been the music supervisor for a number of movies. “Doin’ It Right” (Delta Mix) off of the latest release Delta Soul Volume One, was the feature track for Sony Pictures 2013 movie Here Comes The Boom starring Kevin James and Salma Hayek. As a songwriter, Reba McEntire among many others has cut his songs. In 2007, Azar was personally chosen by Bob Seger to perform 46 shows on what has been rated the #1 Tour in America by Pollstar Magazine.
In April of 2016, Steve became the first artist to record a full-length studio album at the legendary Mississippi landmark, Club Ebony. A long time in the making, and his first record in 5 years, Steve cut 13 new original tracks. The club, now belonging to the BB King Museum, was turned into a recording studio capturing the rich history and vibe of the room and in turn inspiring incredible performances on the record. The album was made with the participation of The Kings Men, a group of musicians who backed BB King, Elvis Presley, and other musical kings. The combination of Steve’s Delta songwriting approach and the band's musical background has created a unique and soulful sound that audiences will be hearing in the later part of 2017. Steve Azar & The Kings Men made their live debut headlining 2016’s BB King Homecoming Festival. The band headlined both the Mississippi Night At The GRAMMY’s in Los Angeles during February 2017 and the Mississippi Bicentennial Celebration in Jackson in December of 2017. The new record is accompanied by a full-length feature documentary combining the making of the record with the musical trajectory of The Kings Men and the Mississippi Delta’s important musical influence on the world music scene. The film, titled Something In The Water, is slated for release in the last quarter of 2017.
Chances are, if you have heard us on tour, it has been as a trio with Stephan Crump on acoustic bass and Jamie Fox on electric guitar. This is my core group, where my music is most comfortable, flexible, intimate and alive. I love playing and traveling with these guys — they make it so easy, even when it’s hard!
I talk a little about my connection with Stephan, whose groove, musicianship and passion are a daily inspiration, on the “family” page here, and you can hear and learn more about his own music at www.stephancrump.com. Jamie has been contributing his elegant, tasteful ideas (not to say that he doesn’t get dirty when necessary) to my tunes since 2000, and I am so grateful for the generosity with which he has continued to pitch in. He has a cool site up as well, at www.jamiefoxguitar.com.
In 2006, Stephan released a gorgeous album of his own compositions called Rosetta. The recording highlighted the amazing interaction between Stephan, Jamie, and the singular Liberty Ellman on acoustic guitar, and the Rosetta Trio was born, following up with 2010’s Reclamation and their newest effort, Thwirl, released September 2013. On my 2008 CD/DVD Light of Mine, I enlisted the Rosetta Trio magic directly, and with the addition of the formidable Dan Rieser on drums for my new album Reckoning, the vitality of this unit continues to serve as the foundation for my sound
Rumourz - The Fleetwood Mac Experience, two time winner of the Buffalo Night Life Music Award for Best Tribute Band brings to the stage the live show energy and raw vocal harmony that made Fleetwood Mac famous during it's heyday.
The members of Rumourz brings many years of friendship and musical chemistry to each song portraying the essence of emotion that Fleetwood Mac has been able to maintain for decades.
An evening with Rumourz brings you back to that classic concert era where rock ruled the stage and left the crowds wanting more!
O Sole Trio's show, Bravissimo Broadway, combines classic show tunes from the most beloved Broadway musicals, with their own breathtaking and unique arrangements.
The performance includes highlights from shows such as Les Misérables, West Side Story, and Phantom of the Opera, mixed with outstanding original arrangements, such as the hauntingly beautiful Edelweiss from The Sound of Music, in three-part harmony, and a gorgeous ‘mash-up’ of Ghost:the Musical’s ‘With You’ with Ghost:the Movie’s ‘Unchained Melody’.
The show will take you on a thrilling 70+ year adventure of the best songs and behind-the-scene stories Broadway musicals have to offer.
[NOTE: This show was commissioned by Hillary McAndrew Plate (Director of Programming at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts) for the David Rubenstein Atrium at New York’s Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.]
“Incredible fun!" and "A true tour de force", O Sole Trio takes the audience on a musical journey, revealing how Italian Americans influenced the American popular music scene throughout the decades. From humorous storytelling to their innovative and unique arrangements, this trio breathes new life into songs made famous by such legendary singers as Enrico Caruso, Louis Prima, Frank Sinatra, Connie Francis and Andrea Bocelli, combining virtuosic musical feats with an accessible and engaging program of well-known classics to create a show that's "fast-paced, funny and touching, with two stellar voices and commanding accompaniment."
Music, as defined by urban dictionary: "is not only something you hear but what you feel. It is something your soul can reach out and touch!" O Sole Trio's new show takes that principle to heart, re-imagining well-known favorites that transcend the universal themes of love and passion; songs that will make your heart sing and your soul fly!
A reinvented take on some of the most beloved Christmas songs with arrangements ranging from catchy, sing-a-long fun to hauntingly beautiful. Hear classics such as White Christmas, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, Gesu Bambino and O Holy Night that will put you in the Christmas spirit and get you ready for some holiday cheer!
Rob Paravonian is a standup comedian known the world over for his Pachelbel Rant and viral videos which have been viewed millions of times. Using music to get the laughs, Rob has opened for George Carlin and Lily Tomlin, has appeared on Comedy Central and VH1, and has toured everywhere from Alaska to Afghanistan. His intelligent material and likeable demeanor get audiences laughing at everything from classical music to themselves. With wit and charm, this “polite smart ass” mixes music and comedy as well as he mixes his Midwestern friendliness with big city edginess. A veteran comic and a solid musician, Rob Paravonian is a unique comedian who has brought laughs to people the world over.
You don’t have to be from the south to feel a deep connection with country music. We learn from its stories and its musicianship inspires us with its earthiness and dazzling technicality.
Shotgun Wedding isn’t from the South. They’re two of New York City’s finest professional musicians who got together out of reverence for country music’s lineage and out of a desire to further the tradition. On Shotgun Wedding’s debut release, South Of Somewhere, the duo reimagines country’s genre geography with swaggering musicianship and honest accounts of city living.
“You don’t have to be from the South to love country,” confirms Shotgun Wedding’s hotshot guitarist-vocalist, Dennis DelGaudio. “Catherine grew up in Carmel, NY and I grew up on the south shore on Long Island…both are south of somewhere. No matter where you live, we’re all south of somewhere.”
Shotgun Wedding is Dennis DelGaudio, guitar/vocals and Catherine Porter, vocals. The duo has the rare distinction of being full-time acclaimed musicians with impressive resumes pursuing a passion project out of sheer love of the music, their chemistry as a creative unit, and the deep bond of friendship they share. They draw from a wellspring of country, Americana, alt-country and rock n’ roll. With reverent intentions and restless creativity, the duo has boldly settled its own authentic homestead.
Dennis DelGaudio held guitar duties for the entire run of the Broadway smash hit Movin’ Out, was the musical director for the London production of Movin’ Out, and he has the rare distinction of being tapped to play Billy Joel’s historic “Last Play at Shea concerts.” After those epic nights, he became a touring member of Billy Joel’s band. Most recently, he performed with EDM artist Kygo on The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon. He’s an eclectic virtuoso on guitar, and a warmly expressive vocalist with a hint of twang. Sultry vocalist Catherine Porter has an astounding range of creativity to pull from. She can conjure mountainous emotionality, down home sass, and slow-burn subtlety. She’s toured and performed with the likes of Brian May (supporting Guns-n-Roses), Queen, Chaka Khan, Sam Moore, Mel B and Kiki Dee, among others. She’s also a captivating performer with resume that includes her starring opposite Michael Crawford in the Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Hugh Jackman in Sunset Boulevard. She also was the lead in the Tony Award-winning musical, Next to Normal.
South Of Somewhere is a country album like no other. It’s slick, chops heavy, refreshingly eclectic, and yet it retains hallmarks of classic country such as everyman, everywoman narratives, fiery twang, artful songcraft, and breathtaking harmonies. “We come from the suburbs and big cities so there’s an immediacy to our sound,” figures Catherine. “But one sure thing we share with country is the earnestness of our stories. Our everyday life is life in the city and contains the bustle of that--that’s what we write about.”
Standouts like the rollicking, “City Boy” and the album title track snapshot Northern living with the panache and warmth of classic country. There’s an inviting feeling to these tracks that melts away preconceptions. The title track’s chorus anthemically spells it out: We're from the South, south of somewhere/City country, common ground/I'm from the South, south of somewhere/I live up North on the Southside of town. “City Hall” boasts classic, almost swing-like harmony singing and zingy lyrics about big city shotgun weddings (Bring your passport and your MetroCard). The achingly beautiful ballad, “Hurtin’ Songs” conjures Willie Nelson’s “Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain,” but offers a feeling of redemption. Here Catherine sings: I used to sing poor, poor pitiful me/I'm so lonesome I could cry/I couldn't make you love me/But don't think twice, it's alright Cuz, I'm moving on now.
In closing, Dennis says: “When I listen to the record and look back on the couple of years it took to make it, I think “Wow, look at what we did!’ I had an affirmative feeling from day one, I was determined, but this is music I’ve cherished since I was a kid, and this collaboration reminds me of that feeling I had as a kid when I first started playing music. I’m so passionate about this and can’t wait to support it with upcoming live shows.”
Note-for-note, harmonies and riffs– every song is played live with nothing pre-recorded and to the standard set by McCartney himself in the early 1970s. Below is a look at the talent behind the world's premier McCartney concert experience.
Yuri Pool as Paul McCartney (Lead vocals, bass, guitar, piano)
Having undergone a complete retooling in the last year, Yuri has made The McCartney Years a period-true, technically stunning and sonically explosive show. His work in building TMY has been praised by Beatles promoter Sid Bernstein as “the best on the scene today...” Whether he’s playing a real McCartney-era Höfner or emulating the same wardrobe from the “Wings over America” mid-70s tour, Yuri is true to Sir Paul in his vocal stylings and presentation on tracks like ‘Live and Let Die’, ‘Let it Be’, ‘The Long and Winding Road’ and ‘Jet’. His commitment to 100% live and accurate reproductions of McCartney’s concert experience started way back in his native Holland, continued through his stint as Paul McCartney in one of the bigger travelling Beatles shows in the UK and has set the standard for all who might follow in this significant body of work.
Laura Gagnon as Linda McCartney (Backing vocals, keyboards, percussion)
Laura, born in rural Ontario Canada, started her music career at a young age singing at talent competitions and studying at the Royal Conservatory of Music. After graduating, she moved to writing and recording her own material which grew and flourished throughout her high school years. Laura had the honour to call Elaine Overholt her private voice and performance coach (Overholt taught the Cast of Chicago & Hairspray), and took writing classes with Chad Irschick, a gold and platinum songwriter and recording engineer. At the ripe age of just 19, she recorded her very first full-length album. The album was received with great anticipation and sold well, and within years she penned her second record that subsequently earned her 'Best Pop Artist Of The Year' at the nationally acclaimed 'London Music Awards'. The release of her second album was followed up with a tour that at the same time kicked off her solo career. Laura now performs alongside Yuri in the role of Linda McCartney.
David Usselman as Denny Laine (Backing vocals, bass, guitar)
During his teen years, David explored many different styles of music and expanded his instrumental palette, and, realizing it would enable him to connive his way into more bands, picked up bass guitar and began singing outside of the safety of his shower. In keeping with his broad appreciation of music, David graduated Fanshawe College’s Radio Broadcasting program in 2008, and its Music Industry Arts program in 2010. Both times he managed to accrue Academic Honours, as well as awards for Best Producer, and Best Performance. David currently teaches students how to turn their amps up to 11 at Walter’s Music School in London, Ontario. He also writes, records and performs his own original music, having shared the stage with acts such as ‘A Friend In London’, ‘Teenage Kicks’, and ‘Sarah Smith’.
Braden DeCooman as Jimmy McCullough (Backing vocals, guitar, percussion)
Norwich, Ontario native Braden DeCooman started playing guitar in 1999 after receiving an antique guitar as a gift. Following progress in learning songs by ear off of the radio, he enrolled in weekly lessons to perfect the basics of the instrument for the next year. However, sticking to learning by ear and not being able to comprehend standard written music forced his high school music teacher to issue a failing grade in grade 11. In high school, he began jamming with classmates after school in the music room and co-founded the rock band ‘The Red Party Pirates’. After winning their first battle of the bands he started composing music for and with the band on a regular basis and the band gained a local following. Over the years the band welcomed the opportunity to open for such acts as The Joys, April Wine, Grady, My Darkest Days and Sloan. In January of 2010 the band recorded and released their debut album entitled ‘With a Bang’. The McCartney Years are thrilled to have him now.
Dean McKey as Joe English (Drums)
Dean, originally from Sault Ste. Marie, began performing and writing music early in life. These passions eventually led him to the Music Industry Arts program at London, Canada’s Fanshawe College. In 2010, he graduated on the President's Honour Roll, receiving the Best Audio in Video award as well as the CARAS MusiCounts Scholarship. Shortly after, he began playing drums for the Juno-nominated band Neverending White Lights. With this band, Dean has shared stages with some of the biggest names in Canadian music, including: Sloan, The Trews, Colin James, Treble Charger, Ron Sexsmith, Andy Kim, Mat Joly (Mobile), and Todd Clark (Pilate). In addition, with Neverending White Lights, Dean has performed live on Much Music, had a #1 music video, and won a Much Music Video Award (Best Independent Video in 2011). His drumming can also be heard on releases by acts including Bed of Stars, David Usselman, and Jessica Allossery. Dean’s excitement and very excited to be playing with The McCartney Years and is looking forward to performing Sir Paul's impressive repertoire for fans around the world!
Hubert Orlowski (Backing vocals, keyboards)
Born to two rockers in Warsaw Poland, Hubert's exposure to music started in the cradle. Having been treated regularly to all sorts of music courtesy of his parents, he decided on a musical career at the age of just 4. Soon enough he performed and recorded tracks for commercial use in radio and television. After a little over a decade dedicated to training classically in piano, Hubert dedicated his high school and university years to exploring Jazz and other styles of music; while picking up proficiency in a few other instruments along the way. Next to The McCartney Years, Hubert teaches groups of bright young minds along the brilliant staff of Sound in Motion Music in London Ontario. During the little time Hubert is not on tour with The McCartney Years, he spends his time developing original material drawing from.