Best Bets: Country’s Calvert tuning up Delaware State Fair

Country singer/songwriter Adam Calvert performs at the Delaware State Fair daily at 2, 4, 6 and 8 p.m. at the Hertrich Plaza. The fair in Harrington wraps up on Saturday. (Delaware State News/Marc Clery)

Adam Calvert loves to perform — especially these days.

Like most artists, the up-and-coming Ohio-born country singer/songwriter has had a slew of gigs canceled the last few months due to the coronavirus pandemic. So when the Delaware State Fair remained on the schedule, he was more than happy to come do his shows.

He has been performing every day on the Hertrich Plaza at 2, 4, 6 and 8 p.m. where he will wind up things today and Saturday.

“It’s been so cool because we’re in a pandemic and they were able to make it happen safely, smoothly and comfortably. But besides that, it’s just a really cool fair. My girlfriend and I walked through (Monday) night and were taking a look at all the rides and all the different food vendors and the different games, and they’re just all unbelievably cool. They are the best of the best.

“I grew up performing in a small county fair and I’ve played other tons and tons of fairs and festivals and we were just astounded by all of the different selections of food and games and just how cool they looked. But it’s definitely been hot.”

Mr. Calvert, backed by a three-piece band, has been performing those four-half hour shows for fairgoers, sharing the stage with fair mainstays Vocal Trash, who are performing at 3, 5, 7 and 9 p.m.

He said it’s been an intricate feat to pull off each day.

“They are a great group of people who we pretty much work with all day long. We’ve gotten the chance to know them. But it’s definitely been a challenge doing four shows a day, making sure our equipment is out of the way for their equipment and vice versa. There’s only a half hour in between our shows. So that’s all we get to get myself out of their way, and for them to get out of our way.

“But we’ve gotten into the groove of it. The guys and I are all living on the bus for the week. And we’ve got a cleanup room over at the hotel and all that but we’ve really gotten into a fun groove, doing the shows and all hanging out after the show and then crashing and doing it all over again.”

Originally, before the pandemic hit, Mr. Calvert and his band were supposed to do two shows a day for an hour each. They then were asked to do four shows for a half hour and they were happy to make the change.

Mr. Calvert had a role on the second season of MTV’s “Taking The Stage.”

‘Normally a show can be like maybe 90 minutes and then due to wanting to split people up, which I can’t say enough about the fair doing an amazing job with the cleaning stations and all that kind of stuff, but to break up the crowd, we’re doing for 30-minute shows. It’s definitely tougher than doing like one or two shows a night,” he said.

“We’ve done it without any kind of technical difficulties. Everything’s worked appropriately and we’ve been able to put on a great production for each crowd that comes, whether it’s bigger or smaller and more spread out. Vocal Trash puts on a high-quality fantastic show no matter who is out there and their equipment works great. It’s definitely a treat for the ones that can make it out. It is hot and you got to wear
a mask. But for the people who can make it out, they’re not gonna be disappointed. There’s some great entertainment here, great food, great games. It’s awesome.”

Singing and performing since he was about 5 years old, Mr. Calvert, 28, got his professional start in a country music revue at the age of 12 in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.

“As a young kid you know from the age of 12 to 15 years old, we probably did 1,200 shows in three years. Sometimes it was two shows a day — mostly one show a day — but that definitely prepared me for something like this where you’re just singing every day and you have to keep your chops up every day,” he said.

He learned a lot of about the older country stars and the music itself performing in that show.

“I learned about Patsy Cline and George Jones, the older artists. I sang Conway Twitty in that show when I was like 13 years old and I remember that the producer told me ‘you’re going to sing a pretty grown-up song but it’s gonna go over really well’ and it was ‘Hello Darlin,” he recalled.

“A lot of the cast was like, ‘How can a little kid sing that song?’ and was like ‘just watch.’ And I went out there the first time, the lights were all dark and the spotlight fell on me and I came out there and said ‘Hello Darlin.’ The crowd laughed and it was funny to hear a little kid say that but I learned a lot from those years.”

He later graduated from the School for the Creative and Performing Arts in Cincinnati, Ohio, as a vocal and piano major. This resulted in him being featured on the hit MTV show “Taking The Stage” in the second season.

He has opened for several major recording artists such as Parmalee, Canaan Smith, Phil Vassar, Martina McBride, Marty Haggard, James Otto, B.J. Thomas and Marty Stuart, as well as being the headliner for many other events. He plays several instruments including the guitar, piano and the violin.

“The TV show definitely helped me get a lot of exposure. And I got offers from cruise ships and to play Branson, Missouri. I turned them all down to build the brand I have now,” he said.

“I wouldn’t be at this fair right now if I would have made that decision because we just took years to find the right musicians. I went through so many musicians already. A lot of them fall into that stereotype where they like to womanize and party.

“But I’m just into it to make music and to make the audience happy. I don’t have an agenda except for cool music and good times and, I finally got a group of guys behind me that want to promote the same thing. They love the music and want to keep the audience happy.”

For more information on the state fair, which runs through Saturday, visit DelawareStateFair.com.

June Jam moved again

This year’s June Jam is determined to go on, even if it’s a little later this year. Originally moved from June to Aug. 15, the charity music festival will now be held on Oct. 10 at G&R Campground in Houston.

A note on their Facebook page Thursday said the festival could not get the mandatory insurance and “state approval looked bleak. Plus it’s too darn hot!”

Tickets are nonrefundable but admission and camping will both rollover to the new date.

The lineup of bands is still the same, including Damn the Torpedoes, a tribute to Tom Petty; Jason Morton and the Chesapeake Sons; Delaware’s own Johnny Neel; a reunion of the band Hotwire; lower case blues; Petting Hendrix; Nothin But Trouble; and Tenfold Trouble.

For more information, visit JuneJam.com.

Archives program online

Due to current coronavirus restrictions the Delaware Public Archives will be presenting its August First Saturday program in an online format only.

Titled “Left Newport … Before Daylight and March’d to Chadds Ford,” the program focuses on archaeology found at the site of the Revolutionary War Battle of Brandywine.

Presented by Wade P. Catts, the program will be available Saturday at 3 p.m. on the Delaware Public Archives website https://archives.delaware.gov/.

Almost 250 years ago, prior to the battle, the American and British armies maneuvered across a landscape familiar to many Delawareans and Pennsylvanians. Today a suburban and rural landscape, in the days before the battle, this portion of New Castle County and neighboring Chester County was a landscape of conflict — a militarized landscape.

This illustrated presentation will focus on the movements of both armies from the early morning hours of Sept. 9 to dawn of Sept. 11, 1777, the day of the battle. Using new information uncovered by a recent study funded by the American Battlefield Protection Program, historical archaeologist Mr. Catts will explore the movements made by both the American and British forces to see which army would eventually triumph in what would be the largest battle of the American Revolution.

For more information, contact Tom Summers (302) 744-5047 or e-mail thomas.summers@delaware.govthomas.summers@delaware.gov.

Black is Beautiful beer

Dogfish Head’s Rehoboth Beach brewpub joins the more than 1,000 breweries worldwide participating in the Black Is Beautiful Initiative and collaboration brew, a collective effort to raise awareness of systemic racial injustice.

Releasing Saturday, Dogfish Head’s iteration of Black Is Beautiful features caramel malt, kiln coffee malt, chocolate malt, black malt, roasted barley and organic dark brown sugar to create an Imperial Stout with a range of flavors and aromas.

Releasing Saturday, Dogfish Head’s iteration of Black Is Beautiful features caramel malt, kiln coffee malt, chocolate malt, black malt, roasted barley and organic dark brown sugar to create an Imperial Stout with a range of flavors and aromas. (Submitted photo)

Priced at $22 per four 16-ounce cans, this 10% ABV tipple will be available for curbside pickup from Dogfish Head’s Off-Centered EmPOURium, with 100% of proceeds benefiting the Southern Delaware Alliance For Racial Justice.

“We got involved with the Black Is Beautiful Initiative because we proudly stand with our Black co-workers, customers and community members,” said Sam Calagione, Dogfish Head founder and brewer.

“We acknowledge the crucial work necessary to fight racial injustice, and we are committed to being part of the solution. We don’t have the answers, but we will not be complicit through silence, and participating in the Black Is Beautiful collaboration brew is one small way we can lend our voices to help foster change.”

Developed by Weathered Souls Brewing Company, the Black Is Beautiful Initiative urges brewers around the globe to develop their own versions of Weathered Souls’ 10% ABV Imperial Stout, Black Is Beautiful. While each participating brewery is encouraged to put its own unique twist on the beer’s originally formulated recipe, there are a couple of stipulations every Black Is Beautiful brew must meet — the beer must maintain the style and ABV set forth in the original recipe; the beer’s ingredients should showcase the many different shades of black and brown within humanity; and 100% of the proceeds from sales of the beer must be donated to a local foundation supporting racial equality and reform.

Additional four-pack releases are scheduled for Aug. 8, 22 and 29.

For more information on the beer, visit www.dogfish.com. To learn more about the Black Is Beautiful Initiative, check out blackisbeautiful.beer.