This weekend, Akronís own tenacious and tenaciously cute couple at the heart of the Strange Familiar ó singer/pianist Kira Leyden and guitarist/vocalist Jeff Andrea ó along with bassist Frank Freeman and drummer Nicholas Sainato, are once again returning to Musica to celebrate the release of its ďdebutĒ full-length album, Chasing Shadows.
If youíre a regular viewer of the sexy bloodsucker show The Vampire Diaries you may have already heard the string-laden piano ballad Redemption that was featured in a sex scene during the April 19 episode (or maybe you didnít notice).
The band of Cuyahoga Fallsians (Fallsites?) is back from its L.A. sojourn but is considering a move to Nashville, which is apparently THE city to which Summit County-based musicians migrate (both Black Keys members, Patrick Sweany, Ryan Humbert and a few more). But right now, the quartet is right here and after doing it all ó booking, managing, record label, etc. ó itself for about a decade, the band started the year by signing with NYC-based indie Krian Music Group label, which got it its first working trip to South By Southwest where the band played four shows and ate good barbecue.
Krian, whom Leyden describes as ďpassionate about our musicĒ hooked the band up with a PR firm, which explains why its previous debut album, This Is Gravity from 2009, is being ignored as PR firms often want to start a campaign from scratch with indie artists. The next big step, at least traditionally, is to secure a booker to help the band put together a tour.
But the Strange Familiar has already shown the benefits of being on your grind and navigating the multiple platforms for getting your music to the people. Without the benefit of a marketing/label team, the Strange Familiarís music has been seen and heard on Americaís Got Talent, the Secret Life of the American Teenager, Jane by Design, Switched at Birth, Brothers and Sisters, the Biggest Loser, Degrassi and the Lifetime Movie The 19th Wife.
Additionally, the bandís latest video, the purposely simple but effective Being Me, won a Freshman Challenge on mtvU, giving the video some weeks in rotation.
For the Musica show, the band will be joined by Katianne Timko, Burning Down Broadway and Ryan Robinette for an action- packed evening of hummable melodies.
Veteran artists en route
Itís a good week for fans of classic rock and pop with some still-going veteran artists coming to the area.
On Friday, the Kent Stage welcomes back singer/songwriter Leon Redbone, who hasnít released a record of new tunes in more than a decade. He has a pretty heavy cult following that enjoys his droll, understated humor, and since much of his original music sounds like it was written before the 1940s (and a lot of the blues, jazz and Tin Pan Alley songs he performs were), new music isnít all that important.
On Saturday, singer/songwriter Judy Collins comes to the Kent Stage just five days before her 73rd birthday. Collins does have a recent album, Bohemian, which was timed to coincide with her memoirs, Suite Judy Blue Eyes. The album is a very sparse, quiet affair with most songs featuring only the septuagenarianís lovely soprano voice still strong and clear on a few new Collins-penned tunes and some covers, including an ethereal take on Pure Imagination from Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory.
Also on Friday night, the Tangier in Akron welcomes blues-rock guitarist Johnny Winter. Winterís new album, Roots, features Winter and a gaggle of guests including Warren Haynes, John Popper, Vince Gill, Susan Tedeschi, his brother Edgar Winter, Derek Trucks, John Medeski, and a bunch more. Itís been hailed as a fine return to the blues music that influenced him as a young hot shot guitar picker in the late í60s.
If you go to the show you may find yourself as part of the cast of an upcoming documentary about Winter that is being shot by Greg Olliver, who filmed Motorhead bassist/frontman Lemmy for his 2010 documentary Lemmy.
Speaking of rockumentaries, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum will host a special free screening of Martin Scorseseís George Harrison: Living in the Material World on May 9.
The documentary, released last year, has already won the Criticís Choice Award for Best Documentary Feature and made the short list for the British Academy of Film and Television Arts Award for Best Documentary Film. Iím telling you about it now because to gain entrance youíll need to make reservations as the screening will take place in the museumís relatively small (with great sound) Foster Theatre.
If you want tickets, youíll need to point your web groping machine to https://tickets.rockhall.com, go to the rock hall box office or call 216-515-8426.
Malcolm Abram can be reached at 330-996-3758 or by email at email@example.com. He is also on Facebook and Twitter and he will soon be available as a fully functioning hologram.