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Curt Towne Band Rocks Fans in Jacksonville

Curt Towne Band Show Review

Hello RARA’s Farm Magazine Fans, Happy Jack is back with another concert review. It’s Halloween night in downtown Jacksonville, and the city is alive with excitement.

Make sure you Like our Facebook at the top of our site for more rock music coverage and to see photos from this show.

This night featured the “World’s Biggest Cocktail Party” – the annual Florida Gator and Georgia Bulldog game at the Gator Bowl; and the city is swarming with all of the Florida & Georgia fans here for the game. Florida Georgia Line, the Country duo, is also in concert just a couple of blocks away. But the real story is a special group of guys playing on a double-billed show, opening for Southern Rockers Molly Hatchet. Our hometown favorite, The Curt Towne Band is definitely the band to see this year.

Fans can relate to everything these guys do, as they are very experienced in many genres of rock music: Southern Rock, Outlaw Country, Classic Rock n Roll, and more. They were raised under the wings of great artists, learning the styles and building on that foundation.

Let’s talk about the band: Curt Towne, Lead Guitar/Vocals; James Aaron, Lead Vocals/Rhythm Guitar; Mike “the Sultan” Cansler, Drums; and Stewart “Doc” Dalrymple, Bass/Vocals

towne1 (800x532)

See more photos from the show on our Facebook page: Curt Towne Band Album

Curt Towne, Guitar
Towering over six feet with sleek long blonde hair, he instantly reminds you of a young Duane Allman. He was dressed in flared jeans and a cool shirt that fit in well with his persona. Playing the hardest leads, he flashed his amazing ability to find the right note with every tempo or song change-up, I was instantly a fan.

I could tell this was no ordinary run-of-the-mill guitarist. He made everyone pay attention to his passionate playing, and we were happy to see him do it live in concert. Most lead guitarists sound redundant after a while, as we already know what they’ll be playing, and how they’ll be playing it — not with Curt, he really puts the heart into his work, taking the time to have patience with every note and knowing what the note is worth to the music that he is playing.

Not just settling in for the basic generic note, he finds chords that really push the song to outstanding heights – a diamond guitarist! Towne has the ability to reel you in with his mesmerizing chords, taking you on a journey, through every emotion of every song.

James Aaron, Lead Vocals/Rhythm Guitar
As soon as the band arrived onstage you hear this voice; this voice that sounds like a bluesy outlaw seemingly grabbing your thoughts from you. His voice made you feel like you knew him for years. The songs that were written and performed this might in Jacksonville were mostly crafted from this wonderful singer-song writer with amazing vocals. He looked to be enjoying every note and he sung his heart out.

Aaron also played rhythm guitar and the chords changes were astounding. He did not settle for basic chords on the bridges in the songs, going instead to higher planes. They have the perfect singer with enough gusto to take them even further in 2015.

Mike “The Sultan” Cansler, Drums
Looking cool with a tight vested leather hat and goatee, he is steady on the drums. Delivering a swampy beat that makes you tap your feet, he played very well on all the drum breaks and ending hits. Bass drum was solid all night.

I asked him after the show how long he has been playing – over 30 years now! I myself have been playing over 30 years, and I have to tell the truth, I went directly home after the show and popped the Cd in my stereo. I grabbed my drumsticks and jumped behind my Ludwigs, and then played right along with Mike on the first song from their new CD. I was smiling when I was done knowing we had the same beat.

Mike really made this band sound like they came straight from the studio, which they did, recently wrapping up the new songs for the new EP CD.

Stewart “Doc” Dalrymple, Bass/Vocals
This is the most solid bassist rock n roll. I watched Dalrymple play a bass with such perfection that I smiled all night. I kept thinking that he must be playing with a special pedal that makes him sound wide. He knew exactly when to pluck that string and when to pick that string. It was almost like I was hearing six guitars in one bass and he made it all look easy.

His fingers reaching for bass chords that are almost impossible to figure out. I was so thrilled to finally see him play in person. The Bass is important to us.

His stage presence was obvious and the large crowd loved it.

The fans did not want to see this band leave the stage tonight, and thankfully they came back out and did another wonderful song “Long Live My Country.” The house went wild, this song was our LONG AWAITED ANTHEM! Every hand was in the air, all ages waving with the tempo to this heartfelt song. We have been waiting years for these type of songs, you gotta get this CD.

Here’s the single on iTunes: Long Live My Country – Single

The Curt Towne Band took the time to make some diehard Southern Rock fans happy tonight with new music that has so much to offer. The band’s playlist was perfect. The songs were fresh and executed in proper order; songs that seemed like old friends, even though you never heard them before.

Townes, you could tell, enjoyed the heavy crowd in attendance and between songs thanked them all for supporting Southern Rock music. Seeing a person like Curt Towne is so refreshing; the energy, the talent and the commitment to his fans. I suddenly realized I was watching history, an important new face in Southern Rock Music. You can see them yourself when they play Freebird Cafe in two weeks, and I’ll have that review also.

They will also be part of history again, sailing with Skynyrd on the Simple Man Cruise. We have been waiting many years for someone to step up and take the reigns and now we have them – The Curt Towne Band. 2015 will be a big year for the talented band with a new tour being booked while the band also finishes the master tapes for a soon to be released EP.

If you buy anything this year – get this band’s New CD. You’ll be thanking me for the CD you’ll never take off the playlist. This music is just that strong.

Next article is an interview with questions and answers for the band.

Until then – I’m jamming on drums with Curt Towne Band new CD! And as always you can catch me on WJXR 92.1FM

Rock On!
Happy Jack

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Great White takes a bite out of Jacksonville!

Great White Concert Review

HappyJack is back with another RARA’s Farm concert review.

Minutes after finishing my afternoon radio show here in Jacksonville,¬†I grabbed my gear and headed downtown to the Jacksonville Fair;¬†where on this rain soaked evening, the band had a show to do; live in front of thousands of fair go-er’s. A nice way to branch your music to others of all music genres.

Great White in Jacksonville
Great White in Jacksonville. Photo: Leon Jonjock

Now, I was born here in Jacksonville back in the Kennedy era – and we have always¬†had a festival or fair for as long as I can remember. And this big Southern town –¬†home of many music superstars and hall of fame artists – knows how to throw a party!

And when they chose artists for the annual “Jacksonville Fair” they wanted the best musical artists – acts with songs always on the radio –¬†songs we always hear and sing along to. ¬†This year’s line-up featured Great White, a popular band on classic rock radio stations.¬†This band has came a long way from the beginning. Founding member and lead guitarist extraordinaire,¬†Mark Kendall, was a rock music fan from his early days – always jamming to rock legends – his vision of a cool band was evolving. After a few years and a few bands, he got a group that seemed to sound like what he really wanted and put together the band we all know today as Great White.

Back then, MTV promoted bands of rock n roll on T.V. , not this hip hop junk they show today.  And, this band had some catchy hooks and more than one hit song .

In Jacksonville in the misty rain, on a cool black night – the thunder was loud¬†and wind was starting to swirl in all directions, a great setting for rock ‘n roll.¬†I was standing in my normal stage position to get a few photos – stage right, on the floor, right in front of the artist.¬†While adjusting my cameras, I felt a chill in my bones, like something out of the normal was going to happen.¬†Then with all the wind blowing and amplifiers humming, lighting bolts flashed across the Jacksonville skies, and we heard the first ominous notes from Jaws. With a powerful build up,¬†the lights came up to a very energetic and happy to be here in Jacksonville band: Great White.

From the moment they came onstage, they smiled with everyone, and to each other. The guitars sounded crisp and the bass was super-smooth; the drums steady and loud! And then the guys from Great White:

  • Terry Ilous: Vocals, Background Vocals, very nice guy , happy to see us
  • Mark Kendall: Lead Guitars, Background Vocals,- Sunglasses at night – maniac guitarist
  • Michael Lardie: Guitar, Keyboards, Background Vocals, smiles and Harmonica
  • Audie Desbrow: Drums, Percussion, lots of energy and big sticks
  • Scott Snyder – Bass,Background Vocals, and a¬†bass playing style that reminds me of Motley Crue’s Nikki Sixx

Read Cretin’s Interview with the band here: Great White Interview

They had the crowd dancing and singing to every song.  Then when vocalist Ilous spoke to the Jacksonville crowd, the hometown fans came alive, swinging their fists, (and beer cans) to the band in perfect timing.

He was a very good singer with a voice that sounded like a seasoned veteran. He stopped between songs to tell the story line of the band and little gems of knowledge Рwhich we all love to hear. Then every song they played was like they were playing in front of 12,000 screaming fans acting like they were fresh out the box instead of seasoned veterans like they are.

High energy, non-stop smiles, lots of hit songs. One highlight was their newest hit , an Ilous penned balled – “Hard to Say Goodbye.” It was top ten chart material and left the crowd with their lighters in the air.¬†Then Kendall played solo that had the crowd jumping.¬†The fingers were fast and the effect he had was cool and hot at the same time.

Great White in Jacksonville
Great White’s Mark Kendall in Jacksonville. Photo: Leon Jonjock

The band played an hour and a half to a very receptive Jacksonville crowd. Took their bows and exited the stage.¬†I just wondered how they timed the lighting flashes in our Southern skies at the same time their biggest hits were being played?¬†This show will be another great show in my rock and roll lifetime of memories. With cool night time visual effects you can’t buy – lighting flashes, wind gusts and total bliss ¬†– what a show!

While getting my gear together to meet the band backstage I could overhear fans saying that the new singer was better than Jack Russell, their former front-man. And that this new guy is a great addition to the band; my thoughts exactly.

Backstage, my assistant, Kathleen and I took a few minutes to talk to the band.¬†I first said “hello” to Micheal Lardie , a guy who gets second looks,¬†because he looks a bit like Jack Russell, Nice guy, he mentioned that they are working with Vince Neil and making plans for other tour dates, including the Monsters of Rock Cruise.

Then we spoke to Terry Ilous and he was also refreshing to talk to. He came over and spoke to us a few times. ¬†While speaking to him and listening to his visions of the future, the band, the ups and downs, the humbleness, the family man he is, the positive attitude the band has with each other – made me feel like I was his friend; and damn it, I am.¬†I felt his compassion for this industry that seems to fade each year with the new crop of hip hoppers and glorified gang banger’s who steal the fans away to another culture; music with no value, just programmed beats and no guitars.

He was soft spoken, and charismatic, preaching that life is one moment at a time Рtake your time and learn from it. He was cool to chat with, not brushing us aside, and really wanted YOU FANS to know РGreat White is back!

These guys have their heads on straight and their appreciation for their fans was not a put on. When they come to Jacksonville,¬†we’ll all be back to see them jam!¬†So, when they come to your town – go see a band that gives back to the fans 100%.

Great White – We all were bitten in Jacksonville!

Thanks again to RARAs Farm for supporting the Florida rock scene, the great Southern town of Jacksonville Florida, The Jacksonville Fair, Management of Great White, and especially new vocalist Terry Ilous , and the band “Great White”.

Thank God for California Rock!

(Like Us on Facebook, or check there soon for more photos from the show.)

Until next show…


Kansas Headlines St. Augustine’s “Old City Music Fest”

Kansas in St. Augustine. Photo: Leon Jonjock
Kansas in St. Augustine. Photo: Leon Jonjock

Kansas Show Review at Old City Music Fest

Hello fans – HappyJack is back with another concert review.

I saw on my schedule, a wonderful event known around Florida as St. Augustine’s “Old City Music Fest.”¬† I was quickly impressed that the line-up consisted of a wide range of music, including Uncle Kracker, John Anderson, Bush Hawg, Angie Johnson and Morgan Frazier – Music for everyone, plus a D.J. spinning his wax during band breakdowns.

But, I requested this show for my next review¬†because of the headliners, classic rockers, Kansas. Five professional progressive members of Kansas , the garage band from Topeka, are on their 40th anniversary tour. I was particularity excited because way back in 1975, a little kid known as HappyJack, got to go his first rock ‘n roll concert in the old Jacksonville’s Veteran Arena¬†(now a new Auditorium has been built), where I saw Bob Seger open up for Kansas.

Back in ’75, this was a special show for me; I bought a neon necklace for $1 and stood in front of the stage. Soon after Seger’s act was done with their high energy set, Kansas came on with a blast of steam. I was mesmerized; this guy on the stage was dancing and kicking his legs high whenever he banged on his giant overshadowing steam organ. I had heard their songs on the radio and was glad to get the chance to see them perform live.

Flash forward to 2013 – I am standing in front of the stage again – this time with my cameras at the ready as I watch these guys get into their own playing. They played aggressively smooth and with subtle overtones¬†– perfect for their style of music.¬†¬†The fans were happy to see these legends live, and so was I. It’s been a few years since they were around , but it seemed like yesterday.

From “Carry On My Wayward Son” to “Dust In the Wind” and all of the other hits, we all sang and raised our glasses to this band from the heartland. 40 years of music experience, and it showed. The double bass drumming, powerful guitar solos and pounding bass lines, along with a piano and a fiddle player was such a sucess – and it sounded¬†cool. They perfectly blended with each other, coming in at out at different times to showcase the instruments, a musical vision to behold!

The crowd reached ten thousand for the festival and there were thousands for the headliners.  Everyone danced all day long, not one fight, nor bottle thrown Рeveryone naturally respected the families in attendance that came to see the all star line up, and the headliners Kansas.

Kansas in St. Augustine. Photo: Leon Jonjock
Kansas in St. Augustine. Photo: Leon Jonjock

I met the band’s manager and he gave me a set of all three of the bands guitar picks.¬†I took a few good photos which we will post soon.¬†I’ll love to look at them¬†again – many years later, and still enjoy every precious memory while looking forward to seeing them again soon.

St. Augustine’s OLD CITY MUSIC FEST was a blast – I was there for over 10 hours, and I’m already making plans to return in 2014.¬† I highly recommend that you see a festival when there is one in St. Augustine.¬†Next year’s Old City Music Fest will be booking three days worth of acts to be held on November 7, 8 and 9.¬† Camping spots for next year’s event will be available beginning next week. Get in early for¬†their version of a Southern Woodstock with all big time acts. Are you ready?¬†Pack those sleeping bags,¬†I’ll see ya at the stage! Visit their Facebook Page for more info.

Thanks to St. Augustine Flea Market , and the town of St. Augustine, Florida for having us! And a special thank you to Kansas Management team and Old City Music Fest for the media passes, you guys rocked North Florida!

And, thanks to the fans that keep us busy at Rarasfarm.com. HappyJack will be attending another show soon Рuntil then Рpost  a comment!

Do you remember seeing Kansas?