Wednesday, September 30, 2009

September 30, 2009 – Journey’s End review, Paris of Appalachia, and Free and Legal Downloads

When I first started venangago-go, I envisioned a lot less of me and a lot more of contributors stopping by to tell us what they found was cool.  It hasn’t worked out that way.  But, when I found out that one of my favorite bands, Newmen, would be heading to the Journey’s End Music Festival, I shot Crystal Proper a line asking if she would be willing to jot down a few lines and take a few shots.  And, to my amazement, she did!  Sort of, Crystal was actually feeling under the weather, but Jesse Proper, the driving force behind Newmen, stepped in and provides us with a band’s eye view of the fest:


What promised to be an activity filled weekend of live music and outdoor adventures in the sunny hills of West Virginia, proved to be a battle against the elements for the hardy musicians who weathered the weekend event. 

Friday evening hosted a line up of talented solo acoustic acts from as far away as Michigan and Illinois. A local band, 3 Legged Dog, closed out the first day, sending raucous classic rock cover tunes over the gentle hills until midnight. The audience seemed to consist mainly of musicians from the weekend line up who slowly made their way back to the tents as the weather deteriorated.

Morning broke to the sound of rain pelting the tarps and tents dotting the grassy ridge. An enthused local guide and friend of the event host led the stiff-legged and rain-soaked stragglers in a prayer and a stretch before the day’s activities were set to begin.  As torrential downpours, high winds, and plummeting temperatures ensued, all hope of a local turnout seem to vanish.  Musicians and friends huddled around the sputtering fire pit or under the pavilion waiting for a turn in the weather.  Around six that evening, a simple but filling meal was served and the sound checks were under way.

The first band Bruce Squared from Seneca, PA began their set with folk style homespun songs about family and memories and finished strongly with a traditional Scottish anti-war ballad complete with mournful violin stirring choruses and pounding kettle drums.


Next up was a solo artist named John McGrail from Cleveland, OH whose story-like songs seemed to paint landscapes full of cautious introspection and religious imagery.  His guitar work accompanied the lyrics effortlessly with textures of rhythmic drones and complex melodies.

After a heart-felt warm welcoming from Gwen Khaler, the event coordinator, she thanked the bands and friends for enduring such harsh conditions for the sake of music.  The wind continued ripping through the tarp covered shelter as Newmen took the stage, hoping to maintain the intimate feel of the evening.  The mood seemed to brighten as the the electro-pop beats and familiar melodies filled the dark cold evening.


newmenA line up change occurred due to a fatigued pregnant member of the band SoulMobile,  so the duo slammed out an energy packed mini set.  stirring up the audience with over-head clapping and catchy falsetto sing-a-longs they left the audience wanting more, but understanding in regards to the situation.

Another solo artist named Charity armed with an accordion and a powerful alto voice began her set.  As each song ended another member was added to the line up building like a crescendo comprised of members from The Factorye and The Psalters.

The Factorye

The final act of the night was a band named Pow.  Lauren, a singer/songwriter from Philadelphia, and a multitalented accompanist, affectionately called Timmy, continued to draw out emotion from the cold, tired listeners.  Lauren apologized song after song promising “a happy song somewhere on the set list”, but no one complained as each song explored another facet of longing and frustration.

powwithThe FactorysCharitySunday arrived with more rain after night of cold air.  There was still a sense of adventure and camaraderie in the air as the bands tore down and the last of the small, but attentive, audience broke apart and the event came to calming close.


Jesse Proper is part of the band Newmen.  You can (and should) buy their discs here.  He’s also the properiter of Queen City Sounds studio.  Crystal Proper is a fantastic artist, who is currently on vacvation, but usually sells her wares here.

Laura Tsaggaris plays Robert W. Rhoades Center, Clarion University–Venango Campus, Oil City PA (map) Friday from 7pm – 9pm.  Free and open to the public.

Willard Spiegelman—editor-in-chief of The Southwest Review, the third oldest continuously published literary quarterly in the United States—will read from his works on Thursday, Oct. 1 at 8 p.m. in Quigley Hall auditorium on the Allegheny College campus. The program, which is free and open to the public, is part of the college’s Single Voice Reading Series.

For more information about the Single Voice Reading Series, contact Associate Professor of English Christopher Bakken at

Icons Of American Photography: A Century Of Photographs From The Cleveland Museum Of Art opens Saturday at the Frick Art & Historical Center  For more information, call (412) 371-0600.


I’ve heard Pittsburgh called a lot of things, but I like The Paris of Appalachia the best so far...


Patrick Curley, a native of Sligo, Ireland, is serving as artist-in-residence at Meadville’s Academy Theatre where he plans to conduct a number of workshops in addition to starring as Antonio Salieri during a three-week run of “Amadeus.” Performances will be Oct. 9 through 11, and 16 through 18 at the Academy Theatre; and Oct. 23 through 25 at Christ Episcopal Church on the city’s Diamond.

Free and Legal Downloads:

  Verve Vault Presents: Rhythm, Strings and Cool Breezy Jazz Sampler

  The Utne Reader Sampler

  David Bazan - “Daytrotter Sessions”

1 comment:

Joann Wheeler said...

When I read your opening sentence, combined with the words Journey's End in the header, I though No-no-no-he can't be closing down the blog!!?
And you're not! whew. you had me scared!