Monthly Archives: September 2009

Super Swamp Heroes’ Steve Senes Wins Guitar Player Magazine’s “Guitar Player of 2009” Contest

Steve SenseSteve Senes wowed the crowd at the Bankhead Theater in Livermore, CA. (From Guitar Player Magazine’s website)

By Brian M. Howle

One of the coolest, neatest things about being a music junkie is that from time to time, one gets to savor the moment of realization that you have just witnessed or listened to one of the truly, exceptionally gifted musicians of our time – and that person is a local. It is, in an odd way for someone like me who loves to verbally interpret the sounds I hear, difficult to convey to non-audiophiles how satisfying the discovery can be.

So, when one of those discoveries up and wins Guitar Player Magazine’s “Guitar Player of 2009” contest, you’ll have for forgive me for reminding folks, “I knew that boy was gonna make the big time!”

And Murrells Inlet’s resident guitar laureate Steve Senes did, indeed, make the big time, as he stood above nine other of the best guitarists on the planet to take the prestigious title in San Francisco, CA, on Sept. 12, 20009.

Here’s some background info from Steve’s website:

Steve is currently lead guitrist for his homespun band, Super Swam[p Heroes. Having played with various bands over the years, Steve Senes has amassed quite a large variety of styles ranging from Rock, Metal, Country to Funk, R&B and Soul. Every band Steve has played with has left a mark on his playing and writing style. This diversity is especially evident on Steve’s soon to be released solo instrumental CD, “dE-eVolution oF thEorY”.

So who is this guy? Imagine if you will the soulful, melodic catchiness of Joe Satriani, Eric Johnson and George Lynch; the sneaky, rhythmic quickness of old school Eddie Van Halen and Nuno Bettencourt; the harmonic complexity of Steve Vai and Jason Becker; the insane shred of Yngwie Malmsteen and Paul Gilbert. Now add the drum and bass-heavy crunch of Metallica; the brutal grooviness of Pantera, Disturbed and Sevendust. Toss in a cool Latin journey ala Carlos Santana; even take a trip back to the 70’s on a Starsky and Hutch vibe.

Since discovering the music of KISS at the age of 7, loud pounding Rock-n-Roll has played a central roll in Steveʼs life. Growing up in a rural town fifty miles south of Washington, D.C., out of range of most radio stations (no MTV), exposure to new music wasnʼt easy to come by. Being content with the escape provided through the music of such bands as KISS, Iron Maiden, AC/DC, Van Halen and Ozzy (to name but a few), Steve didn’t actually start playing seriously until the age of 15, after hearing the insane playing of Yngwie Malmsteen.

According to Steve, “I was at a party and my friend Dave said “hey check this out”, and puts on the live Alcatrazz album. As soon as I heard Yngwie’s playing, I committed myself to becoming the best player I could be, right there on the spot!”

Solely self-taught, Steve quickly began building a name for himself, pulling off Randy Rhoads and Van Halen solos by ear, only mere weeks after picking up the guitar. Cutting his teeth playing the local scene, Steve learned early on to love the stage. Driven by this, Steve retreated into an almost unimaginable practice regimen. On days when he actually went to school, Steve was playing guitar 12 to 14 hours a day, sometimes more.

All the heavy practicing began to pay off early as Steve started entering and winning every guitar contest within driving range (including one judged by the legendary Steve Vai). Local gigs grew into regional shows and soon Steve caught the attention of such notable figures as Eric Johnson, Paul Reed Smith, “Dimebag” Daryl Abbot and others. After years of constant touring in pickup trucks, dealing with a withering metal scene, Steve got a wild hair to move to South Carolina and play Country music. Yee Haw!

The Country thing only lasted a few months, but liking his new surroundings, Steve decided to stay. Spending the next decade-plus playing with a wide variety of cover bands, provided Steve with an expansive range of additional influences; a collection far too extensive to list here.
Several years of 300+ gigs a year with various local/regional acts has further transformed Steve, from a guy who just loves to play, to an artist who craves the stage seven nights a week. Through all this, Steve has continued writing music. Over the years this wide range of influences has really begun to show in Steveʼs songwriting. Although heavy grooves and riffs still make up a good number of Steveʼs songs, youʼll notice the huge array of influences.

Steve is currently endorsed by Voodoo Amplification and Keeley Electronics.

Steve is a busy guy, so he also plays in an acoustic band called Pale Horse. You can catch them on Wednesdays thru October at Bully’s in North Myrtle Beach.

You can read firsthand about his win at

To view a video of Steve’s original composition, “The Swami” (which he performed live in winning “Guitar Player of 2009”) go to

And of course, to learn just about everything you need to know about the man, visit Steve’s site at

Note: Look for my Sept. 21 interview with Steve soon (to be added to this article), and also in the next issue of Alternatives NewsMagazine (Oct. 8, 2009) and then online at

My personal congratulations to a truly gifted musician, made even sweeter by being a local whom I and countless others have supported and patronized by attending live shows all over the Strand and Low Country. Remember – it’s not what kind of music that counts; what counts is that you keep live music live.


Tags: , , , , ,

B.B. King To Hold Court At House Of Blues October 3

B.B. King, the master of the blues, getting' it done at HOB for an enthusiastic gathering of his most fervent fans.

B.B. King, the master of the blues, getting’ it done at HOB for an enthusiastic gathering of his most fervent fans.

By Brian M. Howle

Rarely will you ever hear me proselytize about the need for everyone to hear this one artist at least one time in your individual lifetimes. Music, much like life, tends to be both abject and objective. So when I think of an artist who bridges all genres, all generations, all boundaries real or imagined – I can only find one, storied name.

And I don’t think you’ll be too surprised to know my choice for this title is B.B. King, which is made even more delectable by the fact that the legendary bluesman will bring his merry band of compatriots to House Of Blues in North Myrtle Beach, SC on Saturday, October 3, 2009.

I’ve attended every show that B.B. has performed at HOB since it opened in 1999, and each one remains ensconced atop my considerably extensive concert attendance record as the most enjoyable – by both the audience and the artist.

Here’s a little of the history of this true icon, from his official website:

B.B. coaxes some sweet, sweet blues out of Lucille, to the delight of the masses at House Of Blues Myrtle Beach.

B.B. coaxes some sweet, sweet blues out of Lucille, to the delight of the masses at House Of Blues Myrtle Beach.

His reign as King of the Blues has been as long as that of any monarch on earth. Yet B.B. King continues to wear his crown well. At age 84 (his birthday was Sept. 16), he is still light on his feet, singing and playing the blues with relentless passion. Time has no apparent effect on B.B., other than to make him more popular, more cherished, more relevant than ever. Don’t look for him in some kind of semi-retirement; look for him out on the road, playing for people, popping up in a myriad of T.V. commercials, or laying down tracks for his next album. B.B. King is as alive as the music he plays, and a grateful world can’t get enough of him.

For more than half a century, Riley B. King – better known as B.B. King – has defined the blues for a worldwide audience. Since he started recording in the 1940s, he has released over fifty albums, many of them classics. He was born September 16, 1925, on a plantation in Itta Bena, Mississippi, near Indianola. In his youth, he played on street corners for dimes, and would sometimes play in as many as four towns a night. In 1947, he hitchhiked to Memphis, TN, to pursue his music career. Memphis was where every important musician of the South gravitated, and which supported a large musical community where every style of African American music could be found. B.B. stayed with his cousin Bukka White, one of the most celebrated blues performers of his time, who schooled B.B. further in the art of the blues.

Giving me the eye after tossing a pick to me that stuck between my eye and my viewfinder; he seems to take particular delight in accomplishing that small feat, as he then pointed to me and laughed very hard, looking back at his stage manager and pointing to me again.

Giving me the eye after tossing a pick to me that stuck between my eye and my viewfinder; he seems to take particular delight in accomplishing that small feat, as he then pointed to me and laughed very hard, looking back at his stage manager and pointing to me again.

B.B.’s first big break came in 1948 when he performed on Sonny Boy Williamson’s radio program on KWEM out of West Memphis. This led to steady engagements at the Sixteenth Avenue Grill in West Memphis, and later to a ten-minute spot on black-staffed and managed Memphis radio station WDIA. “King’s Spot,” became so popular, it was expanded and became the “Sepia Swing Club.” Soon B.B. needed a catchy radio name. What started out as Beale Street Blues Boy was shortened to Blues Boy King, and eventually B.B. King.

In the mid-1950s, while B.B. was performing at a dance in Twist, Arkansas, a few fans became unruly. Two men got into a fight and knocked over a kerosene stove, setting fire to the hall. B.B. raced outdoors to safety with everyone else, then realized that he left his beloved $30 acoustic guitar inside, so he rushed back inside the burning building to retrieve it, narrowly escaping death. When he later found out that the fight had been over a woman named Lucille, he decided to give the name to his guitar to remind him never to do a crazy thing like fight over a woman. Ever since, each one of B.B.’s trademark Gibson guitars has been called Lucille.

Soon after his number one hit, “Three O’Clock Blues,” B.B. began touring nationally. In 1956, B.B. and his band played an astonishing 342 one-night stands. From the chitlin circuit with its small-town cafes, juke joints, and country dance halls to rock palaces, symphony concert halls, universities, resort hotels and amphitheaters, nationally and internationally, B.B. has become the most renowned blues musician of the past 40 years.

1-Lucille BB 7-8-2013

The ever-present, ever-faithful “Lucille,” perhaps the most recognized guitar in the world – a Gibson ES-355 signature model that now bears her name and is forever entwined with him after he ran back into a building fire to retrieve his beloved guitar while putting his own life in peril. Many replications come off the assembly line at the Gibson Memphis plant and are immediately loved and treasured by the lucky few who purchase them, but there is – and only will ever be – one, true “Lucille.”

Over the years, B.B. has developed one of the world’s most identifiable guitar styles. He borrowed from Blind Lemon Jefferson, T-Bone Walker and others, integrating his precise and complex vocal-like string bends and his left hand vibrato, both of which have become indispensable components of rock guitarist’s vocabulary. His economy, his every-note-counts phrasing, has been a model for thousands of players, from Eric Clapton and George Harrison to Jeff Beck. B.B. has mixed traditional blues, jazz, swing, mainstream pop and jump into a unique sound. In B.B.’s words, “When I sing, I play in my mind; the minute I stop singing orally, I start to sing by playing Lucille.”

B.B. continues to tour extensively, averaging over 250 concerts per year around the world. Classics such as “Payin’ The Cost To Be The Boss,” “The Thrill Is Gone,” How Blue Can You Get,” “Everyday I Have The Blues,” and “Why I Sing The Blues” are concert (and fan) staples. Over the years, the Grammy Award-winner has had two #1 R&B hits, 1951’s “Three O’Clock Blues,” and 1952’s “You Don’t Know Me,” and four #2 R&B hits, 1953’s “Please Love Me,” 1954’s “You Upset Me Baby,” 1960’s “Sweet Sixteen, Part I,” and 1966’s “Don’t Answer The Door, Part I.” B.B.’s most popular crossover hit, 1970’s “The Thrill Is Gone,” went to #15 pop.

I know, it almost writes itself .. but come hear the thrill before it’s gone, when B.B. King leaves his legacy at House Of Blues in N. Myrtle Beach, SC on Saturday, October 3, 2009. Doors open 7:00pm. For ticket info call 843-272-3000 or Ticketmaster 843-679-9333; or visit or
This was originally published at:


Tags: , ,

Jason Michael Carroll Will Have ‘Em Swoonin’ At House Of Blues On September 26

Jason Michael Carroll

Jason Michael Carroll

By Brian M. Howle

Now, when your daddy is a conservative Christian minister who takes a very dim view of any secular music – much less country music – well, one would think it tends to make the odds of you becoming a big-time, everybody-loves-you country music star pretty slim, huh?

Not so when you enter a local singing contest (after getting some positive input from mom), and then when the manager of Hootie & The Blowfish discovers you, life only gets better. And for the short answer to the man behind the riddle, well, my friends, come say hello to Jason Michael Carroll when he takes the stage at House Of Blues in N. Myrtle Beach, SC on Saturday, September 26, 2009.

Here’s a mix of info from his official website and Wikipedia:

The accomplishments are impressive enough for any new artist – Waitin’ in the Country, a chart-topping debut album nearing a half-million in sales, three hit singles from that album (all of which he wrote or co-wrote), a Gold ringtone certification, and opening spots on some of country’s hottest tours. The key to Jason Michael Carroll’s success is evident in every note he sings – live or in the studio – and it lies in his authenticity. Whether it’s the empathy brought to bear on the tragedy of “Alyssa Lies,” the pure passion of “Livin’ Our Love Song” or the youthful exuberance of “I Can Sleep When I’m Dead,” Carroll knows how to connect with fans, and together with hard work, undeniable talent, and good looks, that connection has launched one of country’s most impressive young careers.
Born on June 13, 1978, Carroll grew up in a religious household in Raleigh, North Carolina. It’s a career whose music aptly depicts Carroll as country’s Gen-Y family man, reflecting his generation’s transition from party to parenthood, and able to fully express the joys inherent in both worlds and the tensions that can come in moving from unencumbered freedom to the responsibilities of home and hearth. As a husband and father of four, Carroll sings eloquently about both sides of the equation in songs that recognize the firm foundation that country roots and a sense of community provide in a fast-moving world.
Now, with the April 2009 release of his sophomore album, Growing Up Is Getting Old (Arista Nashville), he fulfills the promise of his first record and takes his career a big step forward. The first single, “Where I’m From,” could have come from the pages of his life, and yet paradoxically enough, given his strengths as a songwriter, it’s one he didn’t write.
“People ask me, ‘Do you only record songs you wrote?’ My answer is always, ‘No, if I believe in a song I didn’t write more than a song I did, I’d record it first,’” Carroll says, “and here I kind of had the chance to put my money where my mouth is.” The tale of two men from seemingly opposite worlds who meet by chance explores the similarities that lie beneath most of our differences.
“No matter where life carries you, and it carries us in all different directions, if you boil it down to the nuts and bolts of it, most of us are really the same,” he says. The song is filled with points that hit home, from the seat he occupied in his father’s church and the fact that his son bears part of his grandfather’s name to the affect cancer has had on those close to him. Its authenticity is ideal to an album that finds Carroll digging deeper creatively and solidifying his place in country music.
“You have a responsibility to your fans,” he says, “not only to record songs that are hits but also to record songs that mean something to you and convey to your fans who you are.”
Those songs are all over Growing Up Is Getting Old. A Carolina-born preacher’s son raised in a strict household, Carroll threw himself whole-heartedly into life and music when he got the chance. The resulting tension between experience and responsibility, and the hard-won wisdom that grows out of the maturing process have always infused the music he makes.
Growing Up Is Getting Old found Jason Michael once again working with producer Don Gehman, known for his work with Hootie and the Blowfish, John Mellencamp, Tracy Chapman, and R.E.M.
“We collaborate really well together,” Carroll says. “Now, we butt heads really well together, too,” he adds with a laugh, “but I think that’s part of a great relationship when you have two people with really creative sides who can find a way to get both their influences into what they’re working on.”

The creative tension behind the teamwork produced an album that showcases both the passion and sincerity in his voice and the talent that brought Jason Michael from the Carolina nightspots where he honed his craft to national attention.

He quickly learned how his music could truly affect lives, with fans regularly approaching him with stories of the impact that “Alyssa Lies” or “Livin’ Our Love Song” had on them.
“My songs speak so much to so many people,” he says. “I really can’t take for granted what I’m doing, and I thank God every day I have the chance to keep doing it.”
But through it all, he remains a young man who has not lost touch with his roots, and it’s obvious he’s embraced the wisdom he received from a superstar touring partner.
“I was hanging out with Brooks & Dunn on the road, and Ronnie Dunn said, ‘Jason, don’t let anything change you. Be who you are. That’s what got you here.’ It’s great advice.”

Naw, he ain’t gonna go change on you, kids. He is gonna stop by and show you where the path has taken him, though, as Jason Michael Carroll takes command of House Of Blues in N. Myrtle Beach, SC on Saturday, September 26, 2009. Doors open 7:30pm. For ticket info call 843-272-3000 or Ticketmaster 843-679-9333; or visit or
The previous article also appears under “Nightlife & Entertainment” in Alternatives NewsMagazine, Sept. 10, 2009, at


Flat Rock Music Festival Set For Sept. 25-27

Awendaw's Danielle Howle will perform at the Flat Rock Music Festival.

Awendaw's Danielle Howle will perform at the Flat Rock Music Festival.

By Brian M. Howle

An Emerging Songwriter’s Contest and Showcase and a unique and remarkable musical lineup are the hallmarks of the Flat Rock Music Festival, to be held Sept. 25-27 in scenic Flat Rock, N.C.

The Emerging Songwriter’s Contest and Showcase at Flat Rock is the perfect opportunity for songwriters that desire exposure at a top music festival and are capable of performing on a festival main stage. Festival Music Director, Bob Sinclair, says. “The Finalists at our contest rival anything you will see anywhere in the US – It is always a coming out party for great new talent”. With festival and venue promoters, professional songwriters, studio personnel and other members of the music industry as our judging panel, Emerging Songwriter finalists will have the chance to perform for influential members in the regional and national music scene. In addition, studio and recording time from “In House Recording Studios” and “Four Seasons Records” will be awarded to the the top 2 winners.

The festival features Americana music at three venues, musical and songwriting workshops, open mikes, jams, Kids Village with crafts, children’s parade, food and other vendors, plus camping, boating and swimming.

Artists Scheduled to Perform:
GRAMMY Winner: Jim Lauderdale; GRAMMY Nominee: Lisa Haley and the Zydekats; Lake Street Dive; Now You See Them; Pale Young Gentlemen; The Claire Lynch Band; Hobex; Carrie Rodriquez w/her band; Sam Quinn and Japan Ten (formerly with everybodyfields); Jonathan Scales Fourchestra; Tropic Culture; Michael Reno Harrell; Rhythm Angels; Grayson Capps and The Stumpknockers; Parkington Sisters; Danielle Howle; Dirty Rug Band; Thunderdrums; Drive South; Melanie MacNeil and Asheville Hoops; and Kort McCumber – 2008 Emerging Songwriter Contestant Winner!

Back by Popular Demand: Sunday filled with festival favorites from the past….”Old Home Day!!”: 17 South; The Smokey Joe Show; Moon Shine Babies; Sam Anderson; Anon Dixon Day; Rock Killough; Jerry’s Jam; Gove Scrivenor; and Grammy Nominee Stanley C. Adkins and Low Tide Louie.

The Flat Rock Music Festival is held in the fall each year at 365-acre Camp Ton-a-Wandah, a family–owned summer girls’ residential camp in its 74th year, in historic Flat Rock, N.C. Located just off I-26 at Exit 53 (Upward Road) to Hwy. 25. Featuring musical and songwriting workshops, open mikes, jams, Kids Village with crafts, children’s parade, food and other vendors, chapel service, plus camping, boating and swimming, it is open to all ages.

For info ago to
The previous article also appears under “Nightlife & Entertainment” at


The Incredible Sandwich To Perform At Droopy’s Sept. 23


By Jennifer Gibson

The Incredible Sandwich is an eclectic quartet hailing from Athens, Ga.Their music is a creative, intelligent blend of musical styles such as Latin, jazz, funk and rock, with unexpected educated improv jams that take the listener on a surprising musical journey.

The band is rapidly amassing a strong fan base throughout the Southeast and recently won the award for Best Upstart Band in the Flagpole Magazine’s annual music awards. The Incredible Sandwich will be performing at Droopy’s in Myrtle Beach on Wednesday, September, 23. Show time is 11 p.m.. Cover charge is $2. Ages 21+ welcome.

“The Sandwich,” as they are known to their fans, features Matt McKinney on lead guitar and vocals, Kevin Juneau on bass guitar, Damian Kapcala on keyboards, and Rackley Davis on drums and vocals. It’s all about the live show with this band. The energy generated during their live shows through McKinney’s powerful command of the guitar combined with the thumping rhythm section of Juneau, the intricate percussion of Davis, all accentuated by Kapcala on Hammond B3 and moog synthesizer, continues to convert more and more fans with each performance.

The group released a five-song self-titled EP on the Athens-based Mule Train Records on April 25.

Here’s what the press is saying about this new group:

“After seeing Athens quartet The Incredible Sandwich kick out the jams at the Georgia Theatre, I saw a glimmer of something great, a Southern spaced-out kind of psychedelic prog rock. Sure, Phish, Jerry Garcia and Widespread Panic touchstones were there, but beyond the jam, there were Wilco noodles and Radiohead-tinged space rock abstractions.” – The Red & Black

“The Incredible Sandwich has made quick progress with its friendly and familiar blend of rock, funk, jazz, Latin and jam-band sensibilities.” – Athens Banner

“With a sound that ranges from melodic to psychedelic, The Incredible Sandwich often infuses elements of funk and Latin grooves into itshigh-energy fusion.” – The Flagpole
The previous article also appears in Alternatives NewsMagazine, August 28, 2009.


QRock Radio Presents The Rock 102 Radio Reunion Concert Featuring Nantucket Sept. 25

Where it all began ... the control board of the original WKZQ studio circa early 1970s, with Station Manager Bill Hennecy stylin’ & profilin’ (right).

Where it all began ... the control board of the original WKZQ studio circa early 1970s, with Station Manager Bill Hennecy stylin’ & profilin’ (right).

The legendary rock band, Nantucket will be headlining the upcoming Rock 102 Radio Reunion Concert on Friday, September 25th. The Paul Grimshaw Band and Billy Wright & Steve Marino will also be appearing. The concert starts at 7:00 PM at Celebrity Square at Broadway at the Beach. Tickets are available online now at

For a $15 donation, fans receive a ticket for preferred seating at the show plus 5 tickets for prize drawings during the evening. Additional tickets will be available for purchase at the concert. The grand prize will be a Hagstrom Viking II cherry red electric jazz guitar donated by Star Music of Myrtle Beach. All proceeds from the event will benefit, South by Southeast, a local non-profit organization which assists local music education programs.

Nantucket is a hard rock band that formed in Jacksonville, North Carolina in 1969. Originally known as beach music band Stax of Gold and later Nantucket Sleighride (after the song by Mountain), the six-member group — Tommy Redd, Larry Uzzell, Mike Uzzell, Eddie Blair, Kenny Soule, and Mark Downing — eventually became a powerful and tenacious sensation, amassing numerous fans across the southeastern United States well before its first release – best known for singles like, “Heartbreaker” (if you had a band, you covered this song or you needn’t bother trying to get a booking), “Hiding From Love” and a version of “It’s A Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock ‘N’ Roll)”. Bob Scarborough, one of the driving forces behind Q Rock Radio says, “Having Nantucket headline our reunion concert is just icing on the cake. We’ve billed our online radio station as a place where listeners can relive the greatest summer of their lives. Nantucket provided the music for a lot of those memories for so many in the Carolinas during the ‘70s and ‘80s. It’s going to be a great night.” Again, tickets are available online at

For the record, Q Rock Radio launched during Memorial Day weekend earlier this year from studios located at Broadway at the Beach. The station features just about every hit song recorded between the years of ‘68 to ‘88. Q Rock is also known for its all-star lineup of radio personalities including Freakin’ Deacon, John Van Pelt, Pat Milan, Bob Scarborough, Banana Jack Murphy and others.

Q Rock Radio Partners LLC, parent company of Q Rock organized The Rock 102 Reunion Weekend, scheduled September 24-27, 2009. In addition to the benefit concert, the four day event will feature a golf tournament, a dinner and other activiites. Radio announcers, newscasters, sportscasters, sales reps, practically anyone who ever walked the halls at Grand Strand Broadcasting between 1973 and 1997 will be taking part in this reunion.

The Reunion Weekend will benefit South by Southeast, a non-profit/charitable organization formed in 2003 by music lovers and educators. South by Southeast’s mission is to provide assistance and support to local music education programs. The group helps offset some of the costs associated with the musical education of young people in our area. More information on this organization can be found at

Information regarding Q Rock Radio can be found at Studio Location: Broadway at the Beach, Heroes Harbor, Unit 308. On Site Contact: Bob Scarborough 843-222-9189.
The previous article also appears in Alternatives NewsMagazsine, Sept. 10, 2009, under “Nightlife & Entertainment” at


Rocky Fretz & Will Ackerman In Concert At Litchfield Beach & Golf Resort Sept. 12

By Brian M. Howle

Rocky's newest CD

Rocky's newest CD

In the world of music, there are literally millions of players. And there are just so many incredibly talented, exceptional folks out there, all vying for recognition and fame. Having the good luck and fortune to stumble across the best of the best is the consumate listener’s Holy Grail. Well, cue the announcer with the WCW intro voice …

“Let’s get ready to stummmmmbbbllllllllllle!”

Do yourself a favor – find out what it’s like to discover a handful of such gifted people in your own back yard. I absolutely guarantee you, each and every one of you … you will not find any better folks at what they do, than the folks I’m about to introduce to you. And I doubt you will ever enjoy a live performance more than this one.

Local musicians extraordinaire, bassist Patrick O’Leary, percussionist Bobby Gabriele and violinist Robert Napier join special guest Grammy Winning Guitarist and Founder of Windham Hill Records, Will Ackerman to perform live in concert with local contemporary music concert pianist, Rocky Fretz. This will be Will Ackerman’s debut performance on the Grand Strand.

The concert is in honor of and to celebrate the release of Rocky’s new CD, The Path Ahead…and steps then taken. an original, new acoustic, piano music CD produced by Will Ackerman in Imaginary Road Recording Studios, Windham County, Vermont. A “first” for both Rocky and Mr. Ackerman.

Rocky’s CD Release Concert is on September 12, 2009 in the beautifully, intimate Tara Theater in Litchfield Beach and Golf Resort in Pawleys Island, SC. The doors open at 5:30 PM, concert beginning at 6:30 PM. This venue hosts both Rocky and Will for the first time.

Rocky Fretz has been a pianist/composer and dynamic, energetic performer for more than thirty years. Interestingly, Rocky’s solo music career, starting after his 17 year tenure as feature pianist for The Carolina Opry from 1986 when he began as an original cast member, feature pianist and vocal director through 2003 when he retired that full time position, is just now beginning to gain momentum as Rocky’s music and piano concert performances become more globally known.

Will Ackerman performing at Guitar Fest.

Will Ackerman performing at Guitar Fest.

Will Ackerman is universally recognized as the preeminent pioneer in the new age music movement, and the founder of Windham Hill Records, Will Ackerman’s career spans more than three decades of remarkable vision, single-minded determination, fervent business savvy, and “a thorough love of the mystery of making music.”

Will comments on Rocky’s performance saying, “I think this story says a lot….I was performing a concert about a year ago along with a handful of some pretty talented people. I invited Rocky Fretz up to do a piece and the audience just went nuts. I’d always thought Rocky was brilliant, but seeing the reaction of the audience went a long way to convince me that the world sees him in the same way.”

On the subject of Rocky’s music Will says…”Rocky moves between heartbreaking gentle beauty and driving rhythm with utter grace, somehow merging these worlds seamlessly in his composition. He is as gifted a pianist as I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with.” This comes from the industry icon who discovered George Winston, Liz Story, Michael Hedges and countless other instrumental music greats.

Another newsworthy note…Rocky’s CD, The Path Ahead…and steps then taken, has been submitted for consideration for a 2010 Grammy Award nomination in the new age category. A definite first for Rocky.

To purchase tickets to the concert or copies of Rocky’s new CD or both visit or email or call 1-843-314-4699. Adult tickets have been reduced to $27.00, and children tickets are $13.00. Joining Rocky’s mailing list at entitles the member to an introductory $10.00 CD sales price.
The previous article was originally published at

%d bloggers like this: