The wealth of talented acts in the Mahoning Valley makes it easy for music lovers to “listen local.”
Here’s what a baker’s dozen of area artists and acts with local ties have planned for 2023.
While live performances have more or less returned to normal, everything below is subject to change, and plans can be derailed by countless issues beyond highly contagious viruses.
The Youngstown band had plenty to celebrate in 2022 — its first West Coast tour, the vinyl release of its second full-length studio album “Bugs,” back-to-back sellouts at Cleveland’s Music Box Supper Club, another headlining show at the Youngstown Foundation Amphitheatre.
It’s also was a year of transition with both longtime drummer Ed Davis and bass player Matt Jackson leaving the band.
For the new year, the band has a few things it can talk about … and other plans Jackie Popovec, lead vocals and guitar; John Anthony, guitar; and Rick Deak, guitar, have to be coy about.
A couple of big March shows already are set. The Vindys will be part of the Donnie Iris 80th Birthday Party concert along with The Clarks on March 11 at UPMC Events Center in Moon Township, Pa.
The following week the band will perform with the Canton Symphony at Umstattd Hall. Unlike the symphony’s Divergent Sound Series, where local contemporary acts play with a small ensemble of symphony members, The Vindys will be backed by the full orchestra on March 18.
Other concert plans are more vague. The band is “scheduled to perform on a few major music festivals within the region.” No names just yet, but considering the support the band has received in the past from festival promoter The Elevation Group, it would be a surprise if The Vindys aren’t part of the lineup for at least one of the four festivals in three states Elevation has planned this year.
A second West Coast trip is a possibility in the fall, and fans could hear some new music in the coming year. The band members have been playing new songs live and hope to get in the studio in 2023.
The Los Angeles-based but Mahoning Valley born duo of K808 (Hubbard native Katianne Timko) and Khaledzou (Austintown native Khaled Tabbara) released in late October “honest,” a single and video that already has about 185,000 views on YouTube and more than 120,000 spins on Spotify.
But that wasn’t MUNNYCAT’s biggest news in 2022 — the longtime couple got married in August.
Their musical coupling will continue in 2023.
“honest” is one of the tracks on the band’s upcoming album, “age of the scorpio,” which was mastered at Abbey Road Studios in London. The duo is aiming for a late summer / early fall release.
The next single, “giddy up,” is set for released Jan. 12. Like “honest,” the accompanying video was directed by Liberty native Jenna Pace.
According to Tabbara, ” Inspired by 1970s cinema like ‘A Clockwork Orange,’ the video was a creative collaboration between childhood friends who bond over making art together.”
Outside of the occasional gig at Cedars Lounge (and more recently, Cedars West End), it’s been nearly 20 years since Infidels had news to share with those who used to see the rock / punk / power pop band regularly in the 1980s.
Infidels — Pete Drivere, guitar and vocals; John Hlumyk, bass and vocals; John Koury, drums and vocals; and David Lisko, guitar and vocals — played at Cedars West End the night before Thanksgiving and also played Cleveland and Pittsburgh that weekend with The Cynics.
Four new songs made the setlist at Cedars, and the band’s first album since 2003’s “All for Nothing” is expected sometime in 2023.
Koury said the final song selection hasn’t been made, but at least a dozen tracks have been recorded at Drivere’s Ampreon Recorder. Most of those are mixed and ready to go, and the band even has shot videos for two of them, “When The Clock Strikes Twelve” and “Evil Change Of Seasons.”
“We will be playing shows in support of the album but have nothing set in stone yet,” Koury said.
Fans of the Labra Brothers — Adrian Labra, lead guitar and vocals; Cristian Labra, bass and vocals; David Labra, guitar, sax and vocals; Antonio Labra, percussion and vocals; Danny Svenson, keyboards; and Matt Hayes, drums — got an EP of new material in 2022 with “Waiting”
Look for twice as much in 2023.
According to Adrian Labra, “No hard dates yet, but we will be releasing at least two new original EPs in 2023 containing more than 10 new original tunes. It’s safe to expect that the first of these projects will drop in the spring.”
The new tracks have the band searching for “our sound” and exploring its blues-influenced Latin rock roots.
“The search continues, and we’re loving every second of it,” Adrian Labra said. “We’re excited to share another volume of TLB material.”
As for live show plans, he said there’s nothing specific that he can talk about now, but he teased, “We are planning some live appearances in 2023 that will be unlike anything we’ve ever done before.”
The Canfield singer-songwriter plans to continue to tour in support of his 2022 EP “Majesto Sessions” and its accompanying novel, “The Lights Along Majesto.”
That said, he also has new songs he plans to release throughout 2023, as well as a project called “Sunday Songs” that he started this year and will continue when the calendar turns.
“It’s a new live video each month that features cover requests, new arrangements of older songs and more. It’s been a really fun way to stay connected with everyone and do more with my band,” he said.
Those videos can be found at www.jdeicher.com.
RED WANTING BLUE / DEAN ANSHUTZ
The Columbus-based rock band isn’t finished with 2022 yet — the band will play a New Year’s Eve concert at Akron’s Goodyear Theater on Saturday — but 2023 should see the release of its next album.
Drummer Dean Anshutz, who lives in Youngstown, said the album is essentially done (the first single “Hey ’84” was released earlier this year), and he expects more touring once the album is released.
That’s not the only recording project involving Anshutz. He and Anthony LaMarca (of The War on Drugs) continue to mine the archives of Peppermint Recording Studio for unreleased gems. Physical copies (LP, CD and cassette) of their first release, “Peppermint Presents … RAT RACE!,” arrived earlier this month. In addition to the album’s 12 tracks, Anshutz and LaMarca have posted additional songs by the featured acts on the streaming services.
Anshutz said they will continue to add to the amount of music available online in 2023; however, they’re waiting to commit on another physical release until they gauge the commercial response to “RAT RACE!”
Michael Rutushin is promising a mix of old and new as the band works toward a follow-up to its 2019 album “I Get Sentimental.”
Rutushin described trying to book shows post-pandemic as a “quite precarious affair” with its share of chaos and uncertainty.
“We tend to embrace and cuddle that chaos like a nice big pillow on a cold day, but at times it just tends to get a little bit too hectic even for us,” he said. “So after many lessons learned over the last few years, we are currently trying our best to knock out these demos at the beginning of 2023 and proceed with recording our follow-up record (set for a very hopeful 2024 release).
“You can expect some more back porch, old-school country music butting up into heavy New Orleans-influenced back-pocket grooves with booming horns and staggering vocal tracks that might just turn dark and dirty by the end of it all.”
Other projects will arrive quicker. The band recorded an EP of New Orleans favorites called “King Cake” during the pandemic that was created as an ode to the Mardi Gras celebration wiped out by COVID-19. Rutushin said they plan to add a couple of more songs to that collection for release in time for this Mardi Gras.
Songs by Rutushin’s former band, The Squid, also were found, and those tracks will be reworked, remixed and remastered for release as soon as possible.
“We do intend to do more recording than performing in 2023, but you never know how these things will unfold,” he said. “We are quite malleable and just love being on stage as much as possible.”
The Struthers country-pop singer released her debut album, “Goodie Two Shoes Girl,” last fall, so many of her 2023 plans involve getting as much exposure for that release as she can.
An Akron-area CD release show is planned Jan. 27 at the Rialto with Davey Squires and The Shoehorns opening, and she’ll do a Studio C session for the The Summit radio station on Feb. 28.
“We are planning to take this world by storm and perform as many shows in as many venues as we can to get the word on ‘Goodie Two Shoes Girl’ out there,” Campana said. “I’ll also have new music videos to release.”
Campana said she’s always working on new songs and already has started thinking about which songs she’d like to include on a second album. And she also wants to do Christmas music for 2023, but it’s too early to tell whether that will be one song or an album’s worth of holiday fare.
Poobah’s debut album, “Let Me In,” is highly sought by record collectors, who’ve paid four figures to get an original copy of the 1972 release.
Original lead guitar player Jim Gustafson plans to have some some new music to lure record buyers in 2023.
Ripple Music, the California-based label that reissued “Let Me In,” will release “Burning in the Rain” this summer. The two-LP, single-CD release includes tracks from 11 different Poobah releases spanning 50 years. Many of the songs will be appearing on vinyl for the first time.
One of those older Poobah songs getting renewed attention is “Mr. Destroyer,” which was covered by the band Monster Magnet and included on its 2021 album “A Better Dystopia.”
Gustafson, a Youngstown native, calls West Virginia home these days, but he still brings the band back to the Valley. Poobah will play Jan. 21 at Steel Valley Brew Works in Boardman.
Listeners won’t have to wait long for new music from the vocal powerhouse. Her next single, “Do What You Love” is slated for release at the end of January.
“It’s a throwback soul-filled, horn-blazing, vocal-jumping feel-good song and I can’t wait for everyone to hear it,” Binder said. “I have taken a more soul / R&B feel to my writing and am very excited to continue down that path. I just love what adding a horn section to my sound has done to the overall feel of the music.”
Her last single, “Little Bitta,” has been getting airplay on The Summit and Cornel Bogdan’s “Tangled Up in Blues” show.
In addition to writing for herself, Binder also has been working on songs for others with her Nashville producer Lee Turner. A track she described as “a big pop vocal ballad” will be released by a new New-York based female singer in early 2023.
Binder usually has a busy schedule of local gigs, but she’s looking forward to a return trip to the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Fest this spring and singing backing vocals with Youngstown rock legends Left End for its reunion concert March 11 at Packard Music Hall in Warren.
Drummer Dave Hope said the ’80s-influenced metal act has hit its share of speedbumps in working on a follow-up to its 2016 release “Redemption Volume I.”
Hope and the rest of the band — Robert Kane, lead vocals and guitar; Mike Nagy, bass and vocals; and Sean Magee, lead guitar and vocals — have recorded two tracks so far at Mindrocket Studios in West Middlesex, Pa. Best-case scenario is the record will be out at the end of 2023, Hope said.
One obstacle that could keep the musicians from meeting that deadline is they need to find a second guitar player to support the record live because Magee has limited availability.
One good problem to have is a couple of smaller labels have expressed an interest in hearing the completed album, which could slow down the process if the band has to wait on whether it can get a distribution deal instead of releasing the album on its own.
Thomas started 2022 by releasing “Autumn Road,” his first CD of original songs. The 73-year-old singer doesn’t plan to waste time before doing a follow up.
“I’ll be working with Mike Talanca at Tune Town Studio on a new album of original material throughout the spring and summer,” he said.
Several other bands will keep him busy this year. Thomas sings with the Chicago tribute Brass Metropolis, which will play the Robins Theatre in Warren and the DeYor Performing Arts Center in Youngstown in 2023.
He also sings the hits of Joe Cocker in Cocker and the Salute to Divas featuring Memphis Soul Brew, the Cleveland band Backtraxx and the trio RTR with Dominic Reto and JR Richley.
THE STAGE OF DREAMS / LOUD HAILER
The melodic classic metal band Stage of Dreams, fronted by lead singer Daniel Butch, got to play the Viper Room on L.A.’s Sunset Strip this year as it made it to the finals of the Wacken Metal Battle USA.
Butch said the band plans to build on that success as it puts the finishing touches on its heavy metal rock opera.
“The script is written, the production is nearing completion and hints of just what The Stage of Dreams is transforming into are present at our various live shows,” he said.
Loud Hailer, the band Butch started with his son, Caden, during the pandemic, has a new rhythm section with bassist Kevin Link and drummer Lorne Moskal.
The band hopes to record its debut album in 2023.
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