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Shows begin at 7 p.m. Preshow music 6:15-6:45 p.m. unless noted otherwise.

 
Nicole Atkins - June 6
Nicole Atkins
Alt-Indie-Pop
Hear the music: Official Website / You Tube

That voice. Yes, that voice.

Not too long ago, the essence of Nicole Atkins, that voice, came from the radio, 91.3 WYEP to be precise, into a certain set of ears. Next thing you know, she's going to open the 2014 SummerSounds season. Deservedly so.

Coming to us from Brooklyn (and hailing from Neptune City, New Jersey), she'll draw you to in with her voice and hold you close with a songwriting sensibility that women will identify with and men will adore.

Like a lot of contemporary pop artists, she's always evolving her sound, she's called everything from electro-pop, to Roy Orbison-operatic balladry, to power-driven dream music, to her very own characterization, pop noir. There's something very, very New York City about Ms. Atkins that will abide quite well with her Greensburg audience.

Go to YouTube and treat yourself to the video of Nicole on David Letterman doing "The Way It Is," and look for the way Letterman refuses to let go of her hand after her set--that's the way you'll feel when you hear that voice.

Preshow music by Gerard Rohlf

Gedeon Luke & The People - June 13
Gedeon Luke & The People
R&B-Funk
Hear the music: Official Website / Fleming Artists

Gedeon Luke McKinney first came to our attention as a seventeen-year-old contestant on the fifth season of American Idol (the best season of Idol, ever). Even competing with season five's incredible lineup of talent (Taylor Hicks, Katharine McPhee, Elliott Yamin, Chris Daughtry, Ace Young, Kellie Pickler), Gedeon Luke more than held his own.

Unlike his counterparts, fame and success has been hard to come by, but he's one of the hardest working people in show business, constantly honing his R&B chops through endless touring.

Since Idol, Gedeon Luke has grown up a lot and grown into an artist that's keeping the faith with his soul roots. Hip-hop and rap have eroded their most elemental cousin, soul, trading in their melodies for the often thoughtless beats and callous rhymes of rap.

But, Gedeon Luke and his band, The People, stand strong for soul music.

Gedeon Luke and The People continue in the tradition of Al Green, Sly Stone, and all who have gone before, with the soulful, romantic, inspirational themes of love and harmony. Only one question: are we ready to get down on it?

Preshow music by Laurie Shea

Sponsored by Rotary Club of Greensburg

Cello Fury w/ Joy Ike - June 20
Cello Fury with Joy Ike
String Rock Fusion
Hear the music: Cello Fury / Joy Ike

Consider the cello, a most sensual musical instrument, characterized by a delicate feminine form and a powerful masculine sound.

Consider Cello Fury: three cellos and one drum kit, a singular sound dubbed cello rock or rock classic or string fusion or hair classical.

In Cello Fury, the cellos are front and center and the fury is immediate. The band makes for a powerful presentation featuring hard core attacks on the fret boards and strings accompanied by rhythmic headbobbing that would put the many heavy metal headbangers to shame. These are great musicians totally immersed in their talent and vision, totally directed towards bringing an audience to their music.

The fusion of Cello Fury will be paired with singer-songwriter Joy Ike. Ike's mesmerizing lyrics match her voice; a voice soars and lilts and reminds listeners of Norah Jones, Fiona Apple and Laura Nyro. Together, she and Cello Fury will bring an unusual combination of difference to delight that's guaranteed move you.

Preshow music by Steve Gallo

Sponsored by Trib Total Media

Leroy Justice - June 27
Leroy Justice
Rock
Hear the music: Official Website

Remember classic rock 'n' roll? Remember stadiums full of fans raised on rock radio, cheering for Zeppelin, the Allmans, Skynyrd? Remember vocals meant to outstrip vocal chords, guitar riffs that gave you an ice cream headache (so sweet, so cool, so hard), and thumping bass and drums that led even the most rhythmically challenged to the dance floor?

Introducing Leroy Justice, 2014's cure-all for the lack of classic rock 'n' roll in our lives. They've got a frontman with a rockin' voice and a way with a mic stand, a real organ, a lead guitar to die for, and a powerful, insistent rhythm section. They definitely know what they're doing with this rock thing.

Get yer ya-ya's out, Leroy Justice is on its way!

Preshow music by Mo Nelson

Sponsored by Toyota & Scion of Greensburg

The Idol Kings - July 4
The Idol Kings
Rock Tribute
Hear the music: Official Website

It's quite an assignment being a tribute band. You have to emulate the sound (and sometimes the looks) of much-loved musical icons, playing songs that are etched into the memories of fans. One false note and you're toast.

So what do The Idol Kings do? Instead of impersonating one act--trying to nail down the qualities that allowed one legendary act to sell over 40 million recordings--they do two. (Actually, three, but we can't afford to have them do Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers, too, this time through.)

The Fourth of July, for one night only, John Cougar Mellencamp and Journey are coming to Greensburg in the form of one, fantastic tribute band! This Independence Day, from the comfort of our very own St. Clair Park, we'll hear "Jack & Diane," "Pink Houses," "Hurts So Good," "Don't Stop Believin'," "Separate Ways," and "Who's Cryin' Now," crammed into one, two-set concert.

What could be more American, more red, white, and blue, than this double dose of good old rock 'n' roll?

Preshow music by Frankie Lee (R. Franken)

Sponsored by Southwest Immunization Coalition

Hollis Brown - July 11
Hollis Brown
Rock/Roots
Hear the music: Official Website / New Frontier Touring

Southern rock, that bastion of The Allman Brothers Band, The Marshall Tucker Band, and Drive-By Truckers, is not limited by geography. After all, you know that quintessential southern rock band, the one that started it all, Creedence Clearwater Revival? CCR hails from El Cerrito, California, just outside San Francisco.

Enter Hollis Brown, a band whose name derives from "The Ballad of Hollis Brown," a Dylan original about a devastated farmer. Hollis Brown is Southern rock made new again, straight out of Brooklyn. They've got all of the swampyness, grittiness, and bluesiness of their namesake's creator, and the hooks and heart endemic to any good southern sound.

Don't let anyone tell you that it ain't southern fried if it ain't created within spitting distance of Memphis or Macon. Hollis Brown is the genuine article. Don't look at a map, listen to the music.

Preshow music by Sue Gartland

Sponsored by United Way of Westmoreland County

Beau Soleil avec Michael Doucet - July 18
Beau Soleil avec Michael Doucet
Cajun
Hear the music: Official Website / Fleming Artists

Grammy-winning BeauSoleil (French for "Beautiful Sun") is named after the hero of the Acadian (Cajun) resistance to the British-forced deportation of French-speaking Canadiens from Nova Scotia, circa 1755, Joseph dit Beausoleil. After the failure of the resistance, he led 193 exiles to New Orleans, forever enhancing the culture of La Louisiane.

While primarily Cajun in its musical origins, BeauSoleil's sound derives just as much from zydeco, jazz, bluegrass and rock, and most recently the music of Mali. Led by fiddler/vocalist Michael Doucet, they play music intended to cause the whole lot of us to dance, continuously. Their two-stepped blend of fiddle, accordion, guitar, frottoir (that washboard/armor thing) and percussion will introduce a kind of swamp polka to Western Pennsylvania. We all know how to polka, don't we?

Laissez le bons temps rouler!

Preshow by Greg Wojo

Sponsored by Mignogna Collison Center

The Glenn Miller Orchestra - July 25
The Glenn Miller Orchestra
Big Band
Hear the music: Official Website

During his lifetime, Glenn Miller and the orchestra recorded over 50 top-ten hits in less than five years, a whirlwind of success rivaled only by Elvis Presley and The Beatles. And then, after selflessly enlisting and forming a service orchestra, entertaining troops throughout the European theater, Miller was lost during a flight over the English Channel. His music, including the classics "Tuxedo Junction," "Pennsylvania 6-5000," "Chattanooga Choo-Choo," "In The Mood," and "Moonlight Serenade" and his legend live on in his namesake band.

Surprisingly, Miller's first attempt as a big band leader was an abject failure. After reconfiguring his sound, he made 1939 the most important year of his life. Seemingly playing nearly everywhere and nearly every night, he made his way to Greensburg on November 14, 1939, appearing at The Coliseum (located where Pershing Square now stands). The Orchestra has also played The Palace Theatre in 2009.

Several incarnations of the "ghost band," as it's been called, have existed, but after the release of "The Glenn Miller Story" in 1953, the Orchestra reformed in 1956, and it is this group that continues to tour today, utilizing Miller's arrangements and his reed-based signature sound to continue the musical largesse. Don't miss the return of the legendary Glenn Miller Orchestra on a night that's certain to be chock-full of nostalgia and good, clean fun.

Preshow by Alex Meleshenko

Sponsored by Redstone Highlands

The Duhks - August 1
The Duhks
New Grass - Americana
Hear the music: Official Website / Myriad Artists

In an all-too obvious attempt to avoid the wrath of the Disney legal department, Leonard Podolak named his first band Scruj MacDuhk, after Donald's stingy uncle (say it out loud and you'll get it). Then came the more generic The Duhks, a wonderful collective that I've been listening to and (coveting for SummerSounds) for years.

A few years, much to my disappointment, The Duhks were suddenly were no longer available; on hiatus--often the sign of the demise of another great band.

Miracle alert! The hiatus is over and The Duhks are back! We're all in for a great evening of Duhk music, fusions derived from folk, gospel, samba, country string, zydeco, celtic and anything else they decide to sprinkle in. Oh, and also a great rendition of "Whole Lotta Love," taught to them by John Paul Jones (no big deal, he produced one of their records).

Banjo picker Podolak, fiddler/vocalist Tania Elizabeth, and vocalist Jesse Havey, originals all, are joined by percussionists Kevin Garcia and Scott Senior and guitarist Andy Stack. Together they'll bring the swirling, building, driving, trademark sound of The Duhks to our fair city.

Preshow by Bruce Hoffman

Sponsored by LECOM

The Horse Flies - August 8
The Horse Flies
Trancegrass
Hear the music: Official Website / Myriad Artists

The Horse Flies, by genre, have been described as somewhere between New Wave and New Weird, hypnotic, trance-like, Yankee-Gothic and Northern Appalachian, Motown-meets-Uncle Dave Macon, Prog-Goth, trancegrass, a hoe-down in a physics lab.

The Horse Flies, by style, are said to make music of astonishing centrifugal force, breathtaking, richly textured, magnetic and moving, with gravity and grace.

I would say that you'd have to listen and describe it for yourself. Or why describe it at all? Why not just hear what you hear, dance if you will and enjoy a thoroughly different evening of music from a band that's been at it since the late '70s. They're from up in that part of upstate New York that's also given us Donna the Buffalo and 10,000 Maniacs. There must be something in the water.

Come one, come all and get your own weird on.

Preshow by Haley Rohlf

Chris Smither - August 15
Chris Smither
Acoustic Blues
Hear the music: Official Website / Mongrel Music

How one man with one 6-string guitar can make such a joyful and/or mournful noise is something more easily witnessed than described. Chris Smither starts his sets perching on the edge of one of the smallest chairs in the world; he quickly sets up his beat board and tunes his acoustic.

And then he looses the philosophy of life, love, loss and bananas upon his always rapt and attentive audience.

A Chris Smither concert is a return to the elemental nature of the delta blues. If this is your first Chris Smither concert, you'll soon find yourself initiated into his cult of personality (it's not a bad place to be).

Obviously, he's been rode hard and put away wet, generally of his own doing. He's had his ups and downs (mostly downs), but he's learned a lot about life and about the laughter that must come when you've lived as many years as he has.

He's come into his later years more intact and insightful than ever. He's celebrating his 70th year on this Earth and is in rare form, with all the right words to explain it all. Don't miss the fourth great visit of a true music icon.

Preshow by John Hayes

Sponsored by Dollar Bank

Birds of Chicago - August 22
Birds of Chicago
Americana
Hear the music: Official Website / YouTube

Vocal duos, the harmonic convergence of the vocals of two, once made popular by Lennon/McCartney, The Everly Brothers, Tom and Jerry (aka Simon & Garfunkel), are all the rage again. Think The Swell Season, The Civil Wars, The Milk Carton Kids, Lucius.

One of the latest, Birds of Chicago, fly into Greensburg, having converged from separate projects, Po' Girl and JT Nero and The Clouds.

It was "The Sound of Silence" that caused a young Jeremy Lindsay (Nero) to veer away from hip-hop, while Canadien Alison Russell grew up in a family that only listened to classical music. She abandoned a budding medical career, moved to Vancouver and into its burgeoning folk scene, and formed Po' Girl. Ultimately their paths crossed in Chicago, and they've melded their two sounds into one, an amalgam of styles and influences. He's the guitar, she's the ukulele, banjo, clarinet; he's the rasp and she's the soaring tone. The mix is something that even John James Audubon would have loved.

Preshow by Marty Zundel

Sponsored by McDowell Associates Insurance

Alternate Routes - August 29
Alternate Routes
Roots / College Rock
Hear the music: Official Website / You Tube / Fleming Artists

How many bands owe their transport, and thus their existence, to the Ford Econoline van? There should be a special room just for the Econoline at the Rock 'n' roll Hall of Fame.

Tim Warren and Eric Donnelly, the core of The Alternate Routes, have been navigating that van throughout the world of music for over ten years, pursuing one of the hardest professions out there. Their sound is ever-changing and versatile, their strength and their curse in a business that employs the cookie cutter as one of its main tools. Nevertheless, they've created a place for themselves through perseverance.

If there is any sure way to describe we'll leave it to Donnelly. "Tim has a big voice and I play a big guitar." What they deliver is a great show, from wherever their van will carry them.

Preshow music by Dennis Malley

Sponsored by Seton Hill University

See you at the park !!!