BEST BETS: Filasky to light up Sunroom Songwriters Series

Milton’s Jason Filasky will perform at Saturday’s Sunroom Songwriters Series house concert in Dover. (Submitted photo)

After 20 years of serving the country mainly as a combat engineer in the U.S. Air Force and “with more time than I knew what to do with,” Jason Filasky has taken his retirement in a quite unexpected direction.

Mr. Filasky, 45, a native of Middletown now living in Milton, has become a troubadour of sorts, writing his own songs that cover a broad range of topics, from veterans suicide to Sussex County to just plain having fun.

He’ll perform Saturday at the Sunroom Songwriters House Concert Series in Dover starting at 7 p.m. Doors open at 6:30.

Coming from a family of farmers, music was always in the forefront.

“I took piano lessons when I was real young. I played saxophone in the school band and started messing around on the guitar when I was in junior high,” he said.

“But it was always just a hobby, more of a stress relief.”

A guitar and his music became key for him when he joined the military. Serving in faraway places, he could always count on his “hobby” for relaxation.

“I didn’t realize how much it made a difference until I look back on it,” he said.

“It brings me joy and gives me goals to fulfill. I had to have a spinal fusion as I neared retirement (in 2011) and it really cut down on my ability to do the stuff that I liked to do — to live the active lifestyle I was accustomed to.

“And music gave me the option that I needed. It still makes me feel good and gives me something to strive toward.”

While on different missions, he couldn’t have his own guitar with him due to limitations of what he could carry. So he had to rely on whatever was on hand.

“For a lot of deployments we weren’t necessarily living in harsh conditions but there were still things we couldn’t have. I remember once finding an old beat-up guitar that someone had donated and passing it around to anyone who knew how to play,”

“Fortunately (Morale, Welfare and Recreation) would donate guitars quite a bit.”

Once fully retired, he and his wife moved to Texas where he continued to write songs and sing — but only privately.

“Friends would come over and we would sit around and play but never real publicly,” he said.

It wasn’t until he moved back to Delaware and settled in Milton that an open mic changed things for him .

“I got up and got a good response. I had no idea and was really surprised,” he said.

“It grew so fast. I went from playing to my dogs to playing to people in a hurry.”

Although most of his songs have a carefree touch to them, a song called “22” about veterans suicide has attracted attention. The 22 refers to the number of veterans who commit suicide every day in America.

“I was sitting around on Veterans Day and it came to me. The topic hits very close to home,” he said.

Since he says music is his “happy place,” a song like “22” is a rare one in his repertoire.

“I don’t like to write sad songs. I think there are enough sad songs for people to listen to,” he said.

“I try to bring a happy note and write about fun things like the beach and drinking beer and all that good stuff.”

Sunroom host Nancy Maliwesky met Mr. Filasky during an open mic at Abbott’s Grill in Milford where she was performing with her husband.

She said she was instantly taken with his music.

“He played a few originals and I loved how genuine he was. If I remember correctly, one of his songs was about fishing with his wife. The song was well crafted, sweet and funny and memorable. I loved his point of view and have come to think of it as representing Delaware, like Sol Knopf’s originals,” she said.

“Jason comes across as talented and humble, someone you can instantly relate to and someone you would like to have as your neighbor. I’m so excited that he has really been making his mark this year with his music. He’s really getting some terrific traction, playing all over the place, and it’s very well deserved. We are really looking forward to this concert.”

The intimacy of a house concert will be a first for Mr. Filasky. He performs quite frequently around the Sussex area as part of a duo called The Brews Brothers, mainly singing covers.

“I don’t do a lot of my originals normally. This is a whole different thing when you’re up close and personal like this,” he said.

Mr. Filasky said he’ll also throw in some cover tunes from some of his favorites Saturday night.

Although he grew up listening to the singer-songwriters of the day such as Bob Dylan and James Taylor and is greatly influenced by them, he says he enjoys quite a range of music.

“I listen to everything from classic rock to reggae to country to folk. I grew up listening to all that stuff,” he said.

“I like to keep it diverse and not limit myself to one genre. One song may be more rock and another may be more of a ballad. When I write, I never want my music to fit into one box.”

The suggested donation for Saturday’s concert is $10 to $15. Light refreshments will be served. RSVP to nmaliwes@icloud.com for directions and reservations.

Blue Oyster Cult

As we told you last week, Blue Oyster Cult will perform at Dover Downs Hotel & Casino’s Rollins Center tonight at 9.

Tickets can be purchased by visiting doverdowns.com. Prices range from $30-$50.

Blue Oyster Cult comes to Dover Downs’ Rollins Center tonight. (Submitted photo)

The band’s top singles include “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper,” “Godzilla,” “Burnin’ For You,” “Cities on Flame with Rock and Roll,” “Then Came the Last Days of May,” “I Love the Night,” “In Thee,” “Veteran of the Psychic Wars,” “Dominance and Submission,” “Astronomy,” “Black Blade,” and “Shooting Shark.”

Blue Oyster Cult, which was listed in VH1’s countdown of the greatest hard rock bands of all time and performs at dozens of venues per year, includes original members Donald “Buck Dharma” Roeser (vocalist/lead guitarist) and Eric Bloom (vocalist/rhythm guitarist) as well as longtime members Richie Castellano (guitar/keyboards), Danny Miranda (bass guitarist) and Jules Radino (drummer).

Sip & Savor

Meals On Wheels Delaware’s Sip & Savor, Kent County’s end of summer party, is set for Saturday at Dover Downs.

The casual party atmosphere will this year feature a Mardi Gras in the fall theme with tastings from interactive chef stations, craft beers and wines and spirits. There will also be live music, dancing, and a live auction.

This is a strictly 21-and-over event. No babies or strollers will be admitted.

VIP admission begins at 5:30 p.m. General and group ticket admission begins at 6 p.m. Casual dress with a Mardi Gras theme is encouraged.

For tickets, find the event on Eventbrite.com.

‘Night of the Living Dead’

Second Street Players in Milford will present “Night Of The Living Dead” based upon the classic film by George Romero and John Russo adapted for the stage with new scenes by John Carroll.

The show starts tonight through Sunday and Sept. 14-16. Curtain is at 7 p.m. for the Friday and Saturday shows and 2 p.m. for the Sunday shows. All performances will be held at The Riverfront Theater, 2 S. Walnut St.

Tickets are $20 and can be purchased at brownpapertickets.com or by calling the box office at 800-838-3006. For more information, visit secondstreetplayers.com

In the play, a disparate group of individuals takes refuge in an abandoned house when corpses begin to leave the graveyard in search of fresh human bodies to devour.

Sandcastle contest

Down at the beach, the Rehoboth Beach-Dewey Beach Chamber of Commerce will hold the 40th Annual Sandcastle Contest on Saturday.

Andy West built this sandcastle during a past sandcastle contest. The 40th annual Sandcastle Contest is set for Saturday in Rehoboth Beach. (Submitted photo)

Teams and individuals will express their artistic flair in the sand. The contest will again be held just off the boardwalk on the beach in front of Funland between Delaware and Laurel avenues in Rehoboth Beach.

The contest is open to both adults and children, all skill levels are welcome. Registration is free and participants may sign up under the blue chamber tent between 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Sand sculptures may be started at any time on the day of competition but must be completed for judging by 3 p.m.

The public is invited to participate in the People’s Choice Voting which will be held between 3 and 4 p.m. on the day of the competition. Vote for your favorite adult, youth and business division creation by completing an event evaluation.

Winners will be announced at approximately 4:30 p.m. Trophies will be awarded to the top eight People’s Choice Favorites in both the adult and youth divisions and one trophy in the business division. Children ages 6 and under will receive a souvenir squirt toy while supplies last.

For more information, visit the Rehoboth Beach-Dewey Beach Chamber of Commerce’s website at www.beach-fun.com.

Now showing

New in theaters today is the suspense/thriller “Peppermint,” the horror film “The Nun” and the faith-based drama “God Bless the Broken Road.”

On DVD and download starting Tuesday is “Ocean’s 8” and the remake of “Superfly.”

Reach features editor Craig Horleman at chorl@newszap.com

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