Tag Archives: Guitarist

Martin Barre – A Rock ‘n Roll Soul

Legendary Jethro Tull Guitarist Martin Barre

My Freshman year of high school sucked.  It was my only year at the snooty regional Catholic school. I didn’t fit in, and I was saddled with long bus rides every day.  But there was a silver lining, my stoner bus driver Walt, introduced us to Progressive Rock, and all of the magic that was Jethro Tull.  As a skinny tied, skinny runt, I fell in love with the guitar of Tull’s Martin Barre, and this week, I had a chance to pick the brain of a legend who continues to tour prolifically.

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Vans Warped Tour Interviews: State Champs

“I feel like the art of being a DJ is dead; no one cares anymore.” Tyler Szalkowski, State Champs

At this year’s Orlando Vans Warped Tour stop, we snuck backstage long enough to snag a few interviews with this year’s most compelling bands.  Over the next five days, we’ll feature a different band from those sessions, starting with the red hot State Champs from Albany, NY.

State Champs' Tyler Szalkowski at Vans Warped Tour
State Champs’ Tyler Szalkowski at Vans Warped Tour

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Reckless Serenade Prepare For Warped Tour

“We’re stoked to come back and hope we can see some familiar faces from Backbooth!”

The Vans Warped Tour kicks off in Dallas in just a few days. Today I had a chance to chat with guitarist Mark Neidhardt from the popular New York band Reckless Serenade for his thoughts on the tour and a few other things.

Vans Warped Tour 2016 Logo

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The Curt Towne Band plays Killer Acoustic Show

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The Curt Towne Band

Welcome Southern Rock Music fans, HappyJack is back with another article on one of the South’s favorite new Southern Rock bands.

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I was born here and I still live here in Jacksonville, Florida, home to many popular artists, particularly Southern rockers. Many bands and artists in this town are connected – like family – to each other, because of the music and the friendship this genre brings.

This is the hometown of Lynyrd Skynyrd, .38 Special, Blackfoot, Molly Hatchet, The Curt Towne Band and many more great artists.

I was raised on the West Side of Jacksonville, where most of these bands were formed, and I ran into members of these bands all the time. When I  was 16, I actually bagged groceries at Winn Dixie each week for Lacy Van Zant, father of Ronnie, Donnie and Johnny Van Zant.

I remember running into Larry Junstrum (.38 Special ) every month at a local restaurant on Normandy Blvd. and running into Donnie Van Zant at a Grainger’s Lumber store and Johnny Van Zant at another grocery store in the same area. For a Southern rock fan, life is great in this town of Jacksonville.  Seeing these guys around town, not hiding themselves, and acting like normal people was so cool.

And, there are plenty of others who were raised with Skynyrd connections, like local rocker Curt Towne.

Curt has enjoyed the friendship with members of Skynyrd since he was knee high, as he lived just a couple of doors from Allen Collins, and he was able to talk and become friends with him, along with other members and many other bands.  Growing up with these Southern Rock Music Legends, the personal journey of Curt Towne is seen deeply in his new band, The Curt Towne Band, with every song they play.

And of course, this band has opened recently for the best in the industry – Montgomery Gentry – along with a benefit show with hometown heroes of Southern Rock, Molly Hatchet (Bobby Ingram, Tim Lindsey, Dave Hulbek). The Curt Towne Band has been busy recording new tracks in between concert dates – getting down the final touches on the new CD.

I had the chance to catch up with them again recently backstage on tour with Montgomery Gentry and I was surprised to see them announce a special intimate acoustic show to showcase the talents of each member of The Curt Towne Band.

As I stood backstage, I also ran into Bobby Ingram (Molly Hatchet) and his wife who were also there to support The Curt Towne Band and witness the history the band was making tonight in front of 6,000 fans who came from many miles away to see the band and hear the music that has been missing from real Southern Rock. A fantastic double bill show, The Curt Towne Band and Montgomery Gentry, which was a sell out.

The band starts off the show with a great upbeat song instantly bringing fans up out of their seats to dance to the music. The crowd was wonderful with so many in attendance tonight wearing a limited edition black tee-shirts. These black shirts were purchased at earlier shows and no longer in print; seeing all of those shirts showed all in attendance that this band has a following long before the major acts started calling them to open their shows.

We saw hundreds in attendance wearing the black shirts and then watched new fans grabbing everything they could from the merchandise table. The band offered CD’s, shirts, and other great items – while fans stood in line patiently waiting their turn to order, this band gave the headliner a run for the money on total tee shirt sales.

Meanwhile – the band itself is playing song after song from their debut EP, and also added in new unreleased material into the mix, instantly gratifying everyone in attendance. The music was outstanding, in full acoustic sound, with all of the songs that this band has recorded, along with a few new ones – a treat!

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Lead Singer / Songwriter / Guitarist – James Aaron has such a good voice, like a young Bob Seger. He boasts a perfect range with a rough balance. Watching him, you see how passionate he feels about his work, belting out verses that hooks you and grab your attention. He has the ability to put it on the line with a powerhouse voice. The fans listened and when each song is over they all instantly raised there hands in appreciation. It feels so good to be witnessing the beginnings for this much sought after band tonight.

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Lead Rhythm Guitars – Curt Towne, the man with all the experience, all the chords, all the hooks that make this band rock. I’ve met him a few times and he is one of the nicest guys, always receptive, always caring about your conversation with him. He instantly proves his roots with the first song, a dedication to the Southern Rock music genre as he follows in the footsteps of his industry elders. Ronnie Van Zant would be proud of his songwriting, and the fans have made it clear, they love every song he performs with his hard working band. The ability to play chords and change the feelings in each song is simply amazing to see and hear. This band’s music reminds me of the “Nuthin’ Fancy” era recordings of Lynyrd Skynyrd – All classics, all heartfelt. The Curt Towne Band will be around for a long time.

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Bass Guitars – Greg Wilson Thompson is as versatile as you can get. Greg plays heavy bass and has experienced playing and touring with many bands including a band called THE LESLIE HAWKINS BAND formed by one of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s back-up singers. The solid foundation he plays today at this event makes the band stand out as a contender in the highest regard for a new Southern Rock music era.

The band closes with “Long Live My Country”, a must hear tribute song to the beliefs of this band: freedom, religion, gun rights and life.

This song means so much to many people already. It is their anthem, the type of song that any band would want to have as a closer. This song grabs everyone that hears it and brings them in closer. It builds with excitement on every verse and ends with a feeling of being blessed.

I was blessed myself to be part of it all.  I can’t wait for the new album and another great tour from this band.

Thank you to The Curt Towne Band for standing out in this showcase concert for the fans tonight, and the industry reps in attendance.

I’ll be back again with another great story from the band soon, in the meantime look for their music on iTunes and other fine retailers.

HappyJackthe insider on what’s happening in music in Northeast Florida every month right here!
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Scott Verville making Festival Fans Happy!


Scott Verville

Hello music fans, it’s Springtime – which means Festival time, and Happyjack is back with another great review of a Florida Solo Artist. It takes a lot to get attention from magazines, and this guy caught ours.

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Today, we’ll introduce you to Scott Verville. Who is this guy you say? He’s a multi-talented musician who perfected his craft in the Navy, and is currently playing festivals, and occasionally singing the National Anthem at major events.

Scott is a well-educated man unbeatable dedication to his craft. He has earned attention in the music industry by hard schooling and he now holds a Bachelors Degree in Music Education and a Masters Degree in Jazz Composition and Arranging. The story doesn’t stop here. He is multi talented, and comfortable crossing over genres.

Scott performed in many different rock and top 40 bands in Orlando as he worked his way through school. Here’s where he honed his skills as a guitarist, singer and composer. He has many fans from all of those bands today, and has also performed at Disney World and Sea World.

After finishing grad school, the Army Band also used him for 4 years as a musician. In the rock bands, Scott sang lead vocals and played guitar, while in the jazz bands, he played solo and featured trumpet. With the Military he performed for Presidents Clinton and Bush, along with many other high-ranking government officials. Scott has performed with or opened for Blood Sweat and Tears, and for country legend Lee Greenwood.

Scott Verville. Photo by Kristen Parisi used by permission from Scott.


He is a hotshot guitarist and singer with 2 critically Acclaimed CDs, VERVILLE and the very cool RED-n-VERV. These two CD’s can be found at iTunes, CD Baby, eMusic, Napster and Amazon just to name a few. Scott is also an endorsed artist with US Masters Guitar Works, SIT Strings, JH Audio and Italia Guitar Straps. He is a Master Musician – versatile in all areas of music.

Catch him on Tour this year, and grab the CD – You’ll be pleasantly surprised, I was! I listened to many of his songs and could not believe how good the production and writing was on the album. You are gonna have to check this guy out, he plays it all. If you want a great CD, or a great show from a passionate person, check out Scott Verville.

Scott will be opening festivals in Florida and has many fans waiting to see him. Verville has a calendar posted when you visit his website at www.verville-music.com. YOu can also listen to some sample tracks and much more on his website.

We thank Scott and his manager Tracy Cain for the story. Thanks everyone for stopping by to check us out on rarasfarm.com.

Happyjack will be back soon with another great story about your favorite artists. Right here every week on Rarasfarm.com – Your Rock n Roll Magazine!

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Okay, well if you made it this far in the article, you are obviously a rock music fanatic like the Rock And Roll Animals at RARAsFarm. Do us a big favor and like our Facebook page for future updates, rock news and photos. Thanks and please spread the word to other intelligent, creative, beautiful music fans like you 🙂