Was it real or just a one-hit wonder?
That age old question could apply to matters of the heart, or popular music, or even community events, according to the organizers of Summer Music Showcase, the multi-genre concert and charity raffle set for the Benedum Civic Center in Bridgeport, West Virginia, on Saturday, August 3.
The event is being presented by Decon Blues, a musical project started by Bridgeport drummer, Bob Workman, and saxophonist, Karen Greene, a Harrison County native now based in Atlanta.
The band served as host band for the Concert of the Decade last April 7 in the Bridgeport Conference Center for the 10th anniversary celebration of the West Virginia Jazz Society. Thirty different artists participated with three bands that played throughout the evening in varying formats and styles.
“The diverse music format and the buffet, together with some cool raffle prizes, turned out to be a big hit,” said Workman, drummer and spokesperson for Decon Blues. “So we thought we’d do the same thing on August 3. If this Summer Music Showcase works well, we may have something we can do regularly.”
Plans are to sell $35 raffle tickets that include the drawing for prizes, the concert and a buffet with proceeds to support educational initiatives of the West Virginia Jazz Society, Inc.
Workman said the concert will feature ‘artists both new and familiar’ performing a variety of music styles from country to blues to rock to jazz.
The evening’s music fare begins with a “young country diva” from Elkins, Gracie Metheny, who will play guitar and sing solo for an opening set. Metheny is a discovery of music entrepreneur and performer, Seth Maynard, who has been helping Metheny record and prepare for auditions for a national promoter.
“Gracie is someone special,” said Maynard from Seth 1 Productions, his Elkins, West Virginia studio. “The minute you hear her, you will know why I consider her a genuine phenomenal talent.”
Two stellar jazz guitarists will follow Matheny with a 45-minute set of jazz, blues and popular American music. Vince Lewis, Greenbrier Resort guitarist, will join Dan Baker, a Western Pennsylvania-based artist, classically trained and adept in many genres, including bluegrass.
“Vince and Dan are first call artists for the West Virginia Jazz Society,” said Workman. “We are looking forward to an artistic collaboration of the highest order. They played together for the first time at the Concert of the Decade, and the axe man chemistry was immediate.”
Wrapping up the evening will be Decon Blues with Karen Greene joining them thanks to a convenient schedule that will allow them a rehearsal gig in Elkins the night before for the Elkins Jazz Walk.
The Decon Blues lineup is Workman (drums), Davin Seamon (keyboards), Terry Hotsinpiller (percussion/vocals), Phil Wyatt (sax/vocals), Seth Maynard (guitar/vocals), and Chris McGraw (bass). Matheny, Lewis and Baker will be asked to sit in at times during the Decon Blues set.
“We’re leaving lots of room for improvisation, of course,” added Workman. “This is billed as a concert but it seems to be turning into more of a great summertime community party.”
The South Texas Barbecue Company, owned and operated by Tina and Victoria Abrego, experienced specialists in sweet barbecue, will serve the buffet from 6:30pm to 8pm. Included are pull pork and chicken prepared on the mobile smoker that accompanies each catering job. Salads, desserts and coffee/tea/water are also included.
Donation for the raffle is $35 and includes reserved seating for the buffet and show. To purchase tickets, message Eric Spelsberg at 304-517-9813 or email to: WVJazzSociety@aol.com. Tickets are also available directly through members of the band.
As of this release, the raffle prizes are: 1. A collection of vintage jazz LPs with a portable turntable, 2. copy of The Jazz Standards (a history of hundreds of jazz songs that can be used as a reference volume), 3. a West Virginia Jazz Society Gold Pass, and 4. gift certificates from local merchants.
The Summer Music Showcase is made possible by generous sponsorship from the Barbara B. Highland Fund, Dominion Energy Charitable Foundation, MVB Bank, The Media Man LLC, the Bridgeport Arts & Heritage Foundation and the West Virginia Jazz Society, Inc.