BEST BETS: Coffield takes detour with Bad Avenue

Local blues band Bad Avenue will play Friday night at The Green Stinger and then on Thursday night as part of the Dover Concert on the Green series. (Submitted photo)

Craig Coffield is enjoying the second chapter of his life — a lot.

Taking up the guitar just five years ago, Mr. Coffield, 56, is the lead singer and guitarist of Bad Avenue, a blues band that has gained increasing popularity throughout the area in only in the last two years.

Kent County music fans have two chances to catch Bad Avenue in the coming week. The quartet plays the Green Stinger in Woodside tonight starting at 8:30 and then Dover’s Concert on The Green series Thursday night at 7.

Always a blues fan growing up in West Virginia, Mr. Coffield picked up a guitar at 18 but didn’t do much with it.

“I diddled with it a little bit back then but never really picked it back up until a few years ago,” said Mr. Coffield, who doubles as the director of golf for Jonathan’s Landing in Magnolia and six years ago, founded the Central Delaware Blues Society, which has its jams and performances at the Magnolia facility.

“I started the blues society to supplement the golf course and picked the guitar back up one day. I then became addicted and would get up and practice at 5 a.m. before I had to get to the golf course,” he said.

Mostly self taught, he did get a few pointers from some Stevie Ray Vaughn videos, which taught the basics of Texas blues.

The idea of starting a band came about as he and a few others backed Elvis impersonator Robert Lutz.

Shortly after, Charlie Rickner of local blues band Barrelhouse overheard them talking and put them on stage at his annual Blues for the Cure concert in Middletown.

“We just told him we were playing in our basement and we didn’t even have a name yet. We decided we wouldn’t tell anyone we were doing it. When we showed up, people said ‘Hey, you’re early.’ We said, ‘We’re the opening band,’” Mr. Coffield said with a laugh.

The name Bad Avenue comes from a cover song performed by Albert Castiglia on one of his albums. Mr. Castiglia was the first national act Mr. Coffield booked for the blues society at Jonathan’s Landing.

Their first paying gig was at Lewinsky’s in Delaware City in July 2016. Since then, they have been booked solid almost every weekend. After tonight’s gig, Bad Avenue is set to play a benefit show Saturday night in Mr. Coffield’s home state of West Virginia.

“I was shocked when we starting getting more and more gigs. I think not coming from a music background, I didn’t even care about being turned down. I just figured all people could do is say no. But it’s really grown from the beginning and it’s all been a pleasant surprise,” he said.

Mr. Rickner thinks their growing reputation is well earned.

“Craig and the guys have worked really hard to make Bad Avenue the solid band that it is today. They challenge themselves to keep a tightness the translates well to their audience,” he said.

“Every band, if together long enough, will find its own style and voice. I think Bad Avenue has done just that.”

Mr. Coffield, who plays the guitar and is the band’s lead singer, is joined by Ellis Neal on guitar, Mike Deely on bass and Ian Greaves on drums.

“I think the only reason I’m the lead singer is by the lack of the other three not wanting to do it. I don’t really call myself a singer,” he joked.

But he can call himself a musician who gets paid for doing what he loves. So does he have any regrets for not doing this a little earlier in life?

“You always think about if I had started younger, what could I have done? But then you realize that life just gets in the way. I know I’m not the youngest out there but I’m really having fun,” he said.

Thursday night’s free Concert on the Green is a highlight for him. This will be third time Bad Avenue has played there. They did it for the first time last year and filled in at the last minute for a cancellation earlier this summer.

“It’s one of the greatest experiences I’ve had,” he said.

“You’re playing on that big stage in the heart of downtown. You play in front of all kinds of people who come down every Thursday to hear whoever is playing that week. But then when you find someone who hears you and likes you and then starts to follow the band, that’s a blessing. I’m super excited about that one.”

Dover’s Amillon the Poet will hold a screening of his documentary “Road to Firefly” Sunday at AMC Theatres in the Dover Mall. (Submitted photo)

Road to Firefly

Earlier this summer, Dover’s Amillion the Poet got to live a longtime dream with an appearance on the main stage at the Firefly Music Festival.

The local hip hop and spoken word artist has documented that experience with a 35-minute short film entitled “Road to Firefly.”

The movie will have a showing Sunday night at AMC Theatres in the Dover Mall. It contains behind the scenes footage, performance highlights and music by Amillion.

The evening will also be a giveback to the community with school supplies and giveaways for adults as well.

Senior Spree

The 2018 Senior Spree — The Connection to Active Adult Living at Noble’s Pond in Dover, is set for today from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

This event is designed to offer active seniors an array of activities to get involved in, shopping at a variety of vendors offering on-site sales, plus a selection of personalized services and resources.

As part of the event, Noble’s Pond will offer guided home tours of their 55-plus community. There will also be a variety of demonstrations, both informational as well as interactive. Bonz Restaurant & Lounge, from Harrington Raceway and Casino, will be returning with their cooking demonstrations throughout the day in the kitchen area.

The Modern Maturity Center Stepping Seniors is new to the Senior Spree this year.

There will also be giveaway items and door prizes will be awarded throughout the day.

Admission is free. The event is presented by the Delaware State News in partnership with Noble’s Pond.

More information can be found on the Delaware State News Facebook page at www.Facebook.com/DelawareStateNews/events.

Festival fervor

Changes are in the works for The Delaware Beer & Wine Festival as it will now be called The Delaware Beer, Wine & Spirits Festival.

A change in venue is also in order as it will go back to The Delaware Agricultural Museum and Village in Dover where it was held for many years before moving to the Delaware State Fairgrounds in Harrington.

The event celebrates its ninth year on Oct. 13 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and is the only statewide festival for this industry.

The event features beer, wine and spirits tastings, meet the brewer opportunities, special demonstrations, food trucks, live music, outdoor games, special exhibits, guided tours of the museum, and an event store for alcohol-makers to sell collectables and products for home consumption.

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.debeerwinespirits.com.

Another fall festival not to be missed is Fordham & Dominion Brewery’s Cheesetoberfest on Oct. 13 from 1 to 5 p.m. at the brewery off Horsepond Lane in Dover.

The event pits area restaurants in a competition to see who makes the best grilled cheese sandwich and macaroni and cheese in the land for the right to be called the Grand Cheezmo. This year there will be no official judges and only the public will decide the winner of the People’s Choice award. An award of $500 will be given in both categories.

It also features, Fordham & Dominion beer, live music and more.

Tickets for the all-weather event can be purchased at www.cheesetoberfest.com.

VIP tickets are $60. They entitle you to 12:30 p.m. early entrance, a bottomless beer stein and a T-shirt.

A $30 general admission ticket includes three beer vouchers and a beer stein and a $20 designated driver ticket is good for unlimited pours of Fordham & Dominion soda.

All tickets get you cheese and lots of it.

Bike tour deadline

Preregistration for this year’s Amish Country Bike Tour is fast approaching.

Hosted by Kent County Tourism and Bike Delaware, the event will take place Saturday, Sept. 8, starting and stopping at the Delaware Agricultural Museum & Village.

Preregistration is available until Sept. 4 at www.AmishCountryBikeTour.com. By taking advantage of preregistration, cyclists can save $10 off the day of registration price. Riders can avoid the registration line the day of the bike tour by picking up their bib packet information a day early, Friday, Sept. 7, at Grotto Pizza, 1159 N DuPont Highway, Dover, from 5 to 7 p.m. Registration price is $60 for adults and $20 for attendees ages 5-16 until Sept. 4. Day-of registration will increase to $70 per adult and the price for ages 5-16 will stay $20. Participants under 5 are free.

The Amish Country Bike Tour is suited for people of all ages and abilities. It includes routes of either 16-, 25-, 50-, 63- or 100-mile loops that wind through the Amish countryside of Kent County.

Riders get a detailed map, food and can stop at multiple rest stops including the famous “pie stop” at the Amish Schoolhouse. After the ride, riders will enjoy a well-deserved catered picnic at the Delaware Agricultural Museum, with the option to purchase wine or beer as well or tour the museum at a discounted entrance fee of $3.

Last year, Amish Country Bike Tour included almost 1,500 cyclists from around the Mid-Atlantic Region and beyond.

For more information and/or to register, visit www.AmishCountryBikeTour.com.

Now showing

New this weekend in theaters is the family action/adventure film “A.X.L.,” the drama “Beautifully Broken” and the Melissa McCarthy adult puppet comedy “The Happytime Murders.”

On DVD and download starting Tuesday is the Jane Fonda-Diane Keaton comedy “Book Club,” the comedy “Tag” and the Ruth Bader Ginsburg documentary “RBG.”

Reach features editor Craig Horleman at chorl@newszap.com

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