All posts by Amber Jennings

19th Annual Summer Camp

Summer Camp 2018
19th Annual Summer Camp
Chillicothe, IL
Photographer/Writer: Tyler Muir

The unofficial kick off to summer is Summer Camp Music Festival. After it’s 19th year Summer Camp has solidified its name as the premier festival in the Midwest and continues to grow. Having ten stages with music being played on them nearly twenty hours a day, Summer Camp has become a music festival buffet that has something for everyone. Who says you have to be a kid to go to camp?

The unofficial camp counselors of Summer Camp are the boys from Umphrey’s McGee. From stage time to organizing the festival’s kickball game, the band has earned all possible camp badges at this point. Their Friday night set showed why the band has come to the forefront of jam scene. Starting off with, “Maybe Someday” they let everyone know they are not afraid of heights. “All in Time” seemed to have a little extra magic sprinkled on it sounding like an anthem being played across the festival grounds. “Booth Love” had support from Ryan Zoldis and Eric “Benny” Bloom of Lettuce with all the juices flowing everyone ended set one in fourth gear with “Call to Arms”, from the infamous Sturgill Simpson.

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Back to Normal & Beyond – Album Review

April 24, 2018; Fair Lawn, NJ: Renowned live concert photographer Vernon Webb, whose countless images of rock stars have been prized for decades, is coming out from behind the camera to center stage as he is set to release his own compilation of original songs. What fans are quickly learning is that Vernon Webb is so much more than an accomplished live music photog but he is also a Singer/Songwriter with over 20 years of original material waiting to be heard. Webb’s initial work, “Back To Normal & Beyond,” is five songs, and features the musicality of an all star group of Vernon’s long time friends. The musicians helping him launch his career as a solo artist include:

Michael Falzarono (New Riders of the Purple Sage, Hot Tuna) on guitar,
Ronnie Penque (New Riders of the Purple Sage, Melvin Seals & JGB) on bass guitar,
Anastasia René; backing vocals,
Sandra Williams (Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings); backing vocals,
Ben Wilson (Blues Traveler) on keyboards,
World famous banjo player Tony Trischka,
Aaron Comes (Spin Doctors) on drums
Peter Roberts on bass,
Mike Flynn on lead and slide,
Pappy Biondo (Cabinet) on banjo,
Vin Warner on upright bass,
Sean Schulich on flute,
Kind Bud Johnson on acoustic guitar,
AJ Santana on Cajun and drums, and
Wes Fahringer on bass
Webb says “As a music photographer I got to meet many of my musical idols and thought, how cool would it be to have some of them playing on my tracks? I threw caution to the wind and reached out and was blown away by the support I received. I am more than honored for each and every one that has helped me in this endeavor.”

The songs are great, and from the soulful country ballad “Every Now & Then,” to the Americana tracks and the frolicking rocker “Got 2 Reasons”, “Back To Normal & Beyond” covers lots of musical ground. The strong vocals, powerful lyrics, and inspired guitar of Webb are well known to attendees of his solo acoustic concerts,and are mightily added to by Vernon’s cast of friends in a recording environment.

“These songs have been with me for a long time. Most were written over the past twenty years. I have seen them as my children and they are now all grown and ready to go out into the world on their own.”

Although Vernon is well known as a photographer, and his best contacts are rock idols and now musical collaborators, there is a unique plan to market “Back To Normal & Beyond.” A song per month will be released through Vernon’s website, starting end April ‘18. Those that sign up for his newsletter will receive free downloads of individual tracks. The entire CD is currently scheduled to be released and available for purchase October 2018.

Watch out for many more Vernon Webb original recordings, and to always be in the know as to where you can see his solo acoustic sets sign up for his e-mail list here: And don’t rule out some friends from joining in!!


Light of Day/Dark of Night – Album Review

Light of Day/Dark of Night
Pat Ferguson
Writer: Amber Jennings

With musicians coast to coast dipping their toes in American Roots music and dosing the airwaves with an onslaught of hipsters sporting acoustic guitars and crooning out their fractured melodies it can be arduous to find an artist who digs deeper into their being to pull out something greater than a whimsical tune played at the local coffee chain. Pat Ferguson (The Smokin’ Bandits) is that rare light shining through the darkness of generic Americano. The Wisconsin based performer has emerged as a renowned and nationally recognized solo artist and released this first full-length solo effort, “Light of Day/Dark of Night” on LoHi Records and it is brilliant.

The album produced by Adam Greuel of Horseshoes & Hand Grenades features guest appearances by Jacob Jolliff (Yonder Mountain String Band), Kyle Keegan (Ben Howard), Kenny Leiser (Wheelhouse), Chad Staehly (Hard Working Americans & Great American Taxi), Sarah Vos (Dead Horses) and Samual Odin (Horseshoes & Hand Grenades).

As you dive into the “Intro” and submerge into, “Howl” you know you have found something amazing. The spacious auroric sound of Odin on the bowed bass sweeps through Leiser’s violin and strings. The reflection of the vulnerability of human connection is beautifully woven with Ferguson and Vos on vocals.

“The Night”, shivers into the landscape of an amalgam of Appalachian and American Roots it is a kaleidoscope of folk music featuring Jolliff (mandolin), Greuel (vocals, boots and hands), Leiser (fiddle, vocals, boots and hands) and Odin (upright bass, boots and hands).

The warm sensation burrowing into the mind of summer twilight fluttering between bowed bass and violin in “From Me to You” is breathtaking. The compilation of artistry colors ones memories with beauty. Staehly adds an extra dimension on piano.

“Part II” baths you in light, the bowed bass blends gently with fiddle letting the space become an invitation to get lost in the magnificent sound. Ferguson intertwines lyrics into an ethos of Americano that is untouched.

The gentle pulsing intro of “Fuel the Tide”, spins a tapestry of lyrics and instruments before pitching you into a rather honky-tonk number, “Blind”.

The final song, “I Won’t Forget You”, is linear and sparse braiding with just Ferguson, Leiser and Odin seamlessly together.

Ferguson kicks off his summer tour on May 16, 2018 in Madison, Wisconsin. For additional tour dates please click here.

Intro – P. Ferguson

Howl – Pat Ferguson (Acoustic Guitars, Vocals); Kenny Leiser (Violin, Strings); Samual Odin (Bowed & Upright Bass); Sarah Vos (Vocals)

The Night – Pat Ferguson (Acoustic Guitars, Vocals, Boots & Hands); Adam Greuel (Vocals, Boots & Hands); Jacob Jolliff (Mandolin); Kenny Leiser (Fiddle, Vocals, Boots & Hands); Samual Odin (Upright Bass, Boots & Hands)

From Me to You – Pat Ferguson (Acoustic Guitar, Vocals); Kenny Leiser (Violin, Strings);
Samual Odin (Upright and Bowed Bass, Strings); Chad Staehly (Piano); Sara Vos (Vocals)

Part II – Pat Ferguson (Acoustic Guitars, Vocals); Adam Greuel (Vocals); Jacob Jolliff (Mandolin); Kenny Leiser (Fiddle, Vocals, Strings); Samual Odin (Upright and Bowed Bass, Strings); Sarah Vos (Vocals)

Fuel The Tide – Pat Ferguson (Acoustic Guitars, Vocals); Kenny Leiser (Fiddle, Vocals);
Samual Odin (Upright Bass)

Blind – Pat Ferguson (Acoustic and Electric Guitars, Vocals); Adam Greuel (Vocals); Kyle Keegan (Drums); Kenny Leiser (Fiddle, Vocals); Samual Odin (Upright Bass); Chad Staehly (Piano and Organ)

I Won’t Forget You – Pat Ferguson (Acoustic Guitar, Vocals); Kenny Leiser (Violin, Strings, Vocals); Samual Odin (Bowed Bass, Strings)

Please Be With Me (digital only)

Balsam Range with special guest John Driskell Hopkins from the Zac Brown Band

Balsam Range with special guest John Driskell Hopkins from the Zac Brown Band
Red Clay Theatre, Duluth, GA
February 17, 2018
Photographer: Michael Podrid

The Wood Brothers at The Jefferson Theater

The Wood Brothers at The Jefferson Theater
Charlottesville, VA
January 25, 2018
Writer/Photographer: Bob Adamek

The Wood Brothers opened up an extensive tour to support their upcoming album “One Drop Of Truth”, which will be released nationwide on February 2nd, at The Jefferson Theater in Charlottesville VA. The tour has them running pretty hard through April at this point, with dates already showing up in May and June. On this night the band was clearly ready to go back to work.

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David Grisman and Tommy Emmanuel

David Grisman and Tommy Emmanuel
Sandler Center for the Arts
Photographer/Writer: Mark Robbins

Dave Grisman can not be pigeon-holed; bluegrass, jazz, folk, composer, producer, session player, leader, the list is endless. Jerry Garcia nicknamed him “Dawg” and what he played was “Dawg Music”. Tommy Emmanuel was given is first guitar at age 4 and by 6 he was playing in the family band, The Emmanuel Quartet. He never learned to read or write music but Chet Atkins designated him a C.G.P. – Certified Guitar Player – one of only 5 musicians to receive that title from Atkins. At home with blues, jazz, folk, Spanish traditional, Emmanuel is at times a one man band playing melody, chords and bass all at once. So, when Grisman and Emmanuel appear together, as they did at the Sandler Center for the Performing Arts, they are a category 5 hurricane, F5 tornado, and a tropical cyclone let loose on the stage. Playing heavily but not exclusively from their album “Pickin” the pair performed a 2 hour high energy show that no one wanted to end. Continue reading David Grisman and Tommy Emmanuel

Dustbowl Revival and Sammy Miller and the Congregation

Dustbowl Revival and Sammy Miller and the Congregation
The Hamilton, Washington D.C.
November 17, 2017
Photographer/Writer: Bob Adamek

The nearly sold out crowd at Washington D.C.’s The Hamilton Live was treated to the kind of night that made you wish you were in a band, could share such a focused vision, and enjoy the people you worked with as much as the two bands seen on this night. The crowd was loaded for the headliner, The Dustbowl Revival, an 8 piece-touring powerhouse from Los Angeles, California, and they got everything Dustbowl famously delivers and much more.

For starters, the opening act, Sammy Miller and the Congregation, put on a clinic in winning over a crowd that was for the most part, unfamiliar with them. Drummer and bandleader Sammy Miller has created an ambitious project that succeeds by virtue of his band mates buying in all the way. It is part early swing band and part comic production. They are comprised of piano, upright bass, drums, sax, trumpet and trombone, and they have vocals good enough that the band sometimes goes a cappella. Continue reading Dustbowl Revival and Sammy Miller and the Congregation

Buddy Guy and the Damn Right Blues Band Heat Up a Hot Summer Night at the Sandler Center

Buddy Guy and the Damn Right Blues Band Heat Up a Hot Summer Night at the Sandler Center
Virginia Beach, VA
August 22, 2017
Photographer/Writer: Mark Robbins

When 81 years old Buddy Guy walked from stage left to the the microphone center stage of the Sandler Center the audience was already on it’s feet. That’s how it’s been for the past 50 plus years, whether sharing the stage with Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Jimi Hendrix and others or, like Tuesday night, just him backed by the Damn Right Blues Band.

Continue reading Buddy Guy and the Damn Right Blues Band Heat Up a Hot Summer Night at the Sandler Center