This year’s lineup showcases the best in blues and roots music from around the country, with Friday’s featured artist Bernard Allison and weekend headliners Dr. John and JJ Grey & Mofro. What’s more, you’ll hear the best in local blues talent like Norm Nardini & the Pittsburgh All-Stars, Jill Simmons & Friends, Jill West & the Blues Attack, and more.
On tax day during a rainy full moon lunar eclipse........ Kevin Costner's Band Rocked Annapolis by Marci Lynn McGuinness
Teddy Morgan, lead guitarist, writer and producer, played blues in Austin's Antone's, has albums of his own and a music studio. Larry Cobb, drummer, traveled with several rock bands including Coinman's. He produces local song-writers in his Southwest Musicians Cooperative. Park Chisolm joined the band in 2008 after Teddy Morgan produced his album. He grew up picking up deals on pawn-shop guitars, touring with bands, and did a three-year stint in the Jeff Foxworthy Show house band.
Several fiddle players join the band when they can, and on this particular night we had a special treat. Lilly Costner, Kevin's daughter, was the opening act. She has a voice I will not soon forget. She covered one of her father's early tunes, “The Porch Song,” and told her audience that when she and her brother were young and their folks went out, they practiced the song all evening. All that practice was evident by her performance.
Oftentimes, when I mention Modern West to people, they say, “I didn't know Kevin Costner had a band.” My thought is always that I need to get them to come to Pittsburgh. Steeler fans would love the band's genuine, strong, heartfelt, fun songs, “Alive in the City,” “Let Me Be the One,” “Cleo's at the Wheel,” and “We're the Lucky Ones”and get behind them like no other fans can.
Annapolis is one of my favorite cities, so I really looked forward to seeing Kevin Costner and Modern West there. I requested and got approval for a meeting with Costner for this article. As Lilly sang, I spoke with John Coinman in the lobby and then, Costner, on his tour bus. When I met his public relations agent in the lobby, two others joined us, Bonnie and Eric, who had won a “Meet & Greet” with Costner from a Facebook contest. A few minutes later, Bonnie, Eric and I were ushered onto Costner's bus. Costner stood smiling in the aisle. I shook his hand, introduced myself, and thank him for his time and for making music. We chatted, and Glenn Miller, the Rams Head photographer, took photos, as did Eric. I had a new camera which I had not learned how to use yet. “Push the button,” Costner told me. Oh, the memories! Costner was as I expected a man interested in history, acting and music to be; funny, humble, intelligent, talented, pleasant and patient. We left the bus just before his appearance onstage. Before we departed I gifted him my Speedway Book collection and Bonnie gave him a handful of guitar picks. It was a moment I thank him for.
But on with the concert! Seating only 300, Rams Head On Stage offers a wonderfully intimate concert experience. Although the band does play large venues, Costner enjoys playing in smaller clubs so he can share the music and interact with fans. At my table sat with six women, including me. One was having a birthday, and three brought a banner that said, “Let us be your Bodyguard.” Having told Coinman about the banner earlier, I helped them hold it up throughout the show. During the concert, I was able to stand and dance. Costner twice asked the management to turn on the lights so he could see the audience. He talked to the audience and made everyone laugh countless times. Then he said, “I hope you don't mind if I sing a song with my daughter. She is here on her own. Won't hear of taking help. Tended bar. Does this on her own. I am proud of her.” And so are we, his fans, and now hers. At the end of the evening, the band covered “Mr. Tambourine Man,” during which time he asked us to stand, stretch, and sing along. We did. This is one fun band.
Having worked in Annapolis at Spin Sheet Magazine, I was familiar with the lodging and made a reservation at the Scotlaur Inn. It is one block from Ram's Head and above one of my favorite diners, Chick & Ruth's Delly. I went into the tavern after the show and listened to more live music while enjoying a Fordham Baltimore beer. As I headed out the doors to the street, Costner's buses started up, and I gave thanks for a memorable tax day. "If you are a Kevin Costner fan, you will love his band. "Like" them at www.facebook.com/kevincostnerandmodernwest ~ Mention this article and ask him to come to Pittsburgh!"
Listen to Kevin Costner and Modern West and check their schedule at:
www.kevincostnermodernwest.com . Like them at: www.facebook.com/kevincostnerandmodernwest
Marci McGuinness is the author of 31 books and hundreds of articles. She resides on the Monongahela River in Southwestern Pennsylvania, specializing in local history early board-track racing, and murder mysteries. www.uniontownspeedway.com ~ www.facebook.com/marcimcguinness
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