BEST BETS: Nothin’ But Trouble going big at Smyrna Opera House

Local blues band Nothin’ But Trouble will play a special show Saturday night at the Smyrna Opera House with keyboard player Wes Lanich and the Handcuffed Horns section. Band members are, from left, drummer Bruce Benson, guitarists Chris McAfee and Joey Fulkerson and Steve Taylor on bass. (Submitted photo)

The quartet, which has entertained throughout the area for the last 12 years, will play the Smyrna Opera House backed by Wes Lanich on keyboard along with the Handcuffed Horns featuring Rob and David Kershner.

“It’s a rare occurrence when we get to play with other guys and it’s hard to find a venue where you get to do that,” said band vocalist and guitar player Joey Fulkerson.

Mr. Fulkerson is joined in the group by guitarist Chris McAfee, Steve Taylor on bass and Bruce Benson on drums.

The theater setting spurred Nothin’ But Trouble to add extra members for what the band hopes to be a memorable evening.

“We play a lot of shows around here but it’s mostly in clubs. We wanted to do something that people don’t see for free. If they’re going to pay an admission price, we wanted to put on a bigger show,” said Mr. Fulkerson.

Those familiar with the group’s two previous recordings have heard Mr. Lanich and the four-piece horn section before as they played on both albums. They’ve all had just one rehearsal together but Mr. Fulkerson says they’re ready to go.

“The core band is always good. Wes is a prodigy. Ever since he was a kid, he was a monster who could sit down with anybody,” Mr. Fulkerson said.

“Dave is musical director for the horn section and he’s putting a book together of all the songs we’re going to do. If we do these shows again, which I’d love to do, any proficient horn player can use the book and they’ll have it together.”

Although they only had the one rehearsal, Mr. Fulkerson said it went very well.

“It’s like riding a freight train when everything is kicking in. It’s so powerful, it’s unbelievable. We were all jacked up after practice, saying ‘Yeah this is awesome.’ It does sound great,” he said.

The idea to have Nothin’ But Trouble play the Smyrna Opera House came from two local performers who have been on that

Joey Fulkerson will bring Nothin’ But Trouble to Smyrna Saturday night. (Delaware State News/Marc Clery)

stage before.

Smyrna’s Sol Knopf has had a few of his Songwriters & Storytellers shows at the venue and Judy Mangini of Judy Sings the Blues has played there as well.

“They both suggested us to the Smyrna Opera House, saying ‘you should really get these guys in here.’ We finally got the ball rolling and picked a date,” Mr. Fulkerson said.

“We could have easily just done a four-piece thing there. I’m the only one (in the band) who has been to the venue before and I said let’s talk about doing something bigger. And just like that, we had Wes and a four-piece horn section coming in.”

The theater setting also gives the band a chance to slow down at times.

“When you’re in a club environment you’re kind of compelled to play dance music. That’s the ballgame — dancing and having fun,” Mr. Fulkerson said.

“A listening environment enables us to present more of our original material. We have a lot of fast songs but we have slower songs as well. And with the added keyboard, it takes those songs to a different level.

“With that said, they do have a bar in the back and I have seen a couple of shows where people have busted out of their chairs and started dancing. We have no problem with them shaking a leg either.”

Twelve years for a local band is pretty impressive. They have had some changes. Out of the four musicians Mr. Fulkerson and Mr. McAfee are the two original members.

But Mr. Fulkerson says the group is a brotherhood.

“We all have kind of the same mindset. Like a lot of things, it’s built on how much you want to work and the mutual respect we have for each other. And it’s just plain fun. I’ve been in bands where I was just not happy,” said the veteran musician.

“But here we all have a similar sense of humor and a similar taste in music and we’re able to joke around with each other. It’s not a chore to go do it.”

He also credits the band’s longtime fans.

“There are people who come out to see us all of the time. They are loyal. And we feed on the energy when the band is kicking in and the people are really digging it. It all feeds on itself and gets rolling in a ball that’s hard to stop,” Mr. Fulkerson said.

The band’s last album, “Dead End Street” was recorded in 2009. Since then, Mr. Fulkerson said he’s tried to get another one recorded without much success. So he’s decided to take matters into his own hands and make a solo project out of the songs he’s written for it.

“It’s taken a little bit of time. But I’m tired of waiting on everybody else. It won’t fall into the category of a band album. We do these songs out on a regular basis,” he said.

A live album recorded by the group at various venues is on the way, however.

“We’re going through the process of listening to them and breaking them down. It’s kind of a cool thing. It’s hard to capture the band’s energy in a studio and all of the interaction between the guitars and different parts. There’s a lot of stuff that goes on that in a sterile environment is hard to recreate,” he said.

“It’s hard to get that energy from the crowd as well. You need a live CD to capture that energy.”

Tickets for Saturday’s 7 p.m. show are $16 for general admission; $14 for Smyrna Opera House members, senior citizens 65 and over and military; and $8 for children 12 and under.

They can be purchased at SmyrnaOperaHouse.org, by calling 653-4236 or at the box office at 7 W. South St.

New Clifford Keith album

News came this week of another local music act.

The Milton-based Clifford Keith Band will celebrate the release of their first full-length Nashville recording, “Coastal Hwy” tonight at the Crooked Hammock near Lewes. The full band will be performing the album live and be available afterwards to chat with friends, fans and family about what the future holds for the group that calls Delaware home.

Clifford Keith, right, is pictured with Nashville producer Larry Beaird. (Submitted photo)

“Coastal Hwy” was recorded and produced in Nashville at Beaird Music Group. The group started working with Larry Beaird following their first trip to Music City after playing some showcases featuring singer-songwriters.

“This is our first studio album and we could not be more excited,” said Mr. Keith. “We’ve been humbled by the support and positive reactions we’ve received from Nashville to Milton and everywhere in between.”

The album is called “Coastal Hwy” as an homage to the Del. 1 stretch of road the group travels the most in between shows.

“Delmarva has really been great to us. The exposure and opportunity we’ve been given over the past few years has really taken this dream further than I thought was possible,” added Mr. Keith.

The show starts at 8 p.m. and fans can buy the album before the official release date of Tuesday when “Coastal Hwy” will be available in local record stores and iTunes.

Smyrna heritage event

In commemoration of Smyrna’s 250th birthday, “A Celebration of Smyrna’s Heritage: Songs of the American Revolution and a Tribute to Patriot Allan McLane” will take place at First Presbyterian Church of Smyrna, 118 W. Commerce St., Smyrna, Sunday from 7 to 9:30 p.m.

Admission is free, but a ticket is required due to limited seating. Call 242-9717 for tickets and more information.

‘Meet Us at the Fair’

Tickets are still available for the Modern Maturity Center Dinner Theater production of “Meet Us at the Fair”

The show also features popular patriotic songs and a tribute to our armed forces. Show dates are Tuesday through Thursday. A buffet dinner is served at 6 p.m. followed by the show.

Directed by Carolyn Fredricks, all the performers are volunteers for the event, which benefits programs for older adults.

Those interested in purchasing tickets may contact the Modern Maturity Center at 734-1200 Ext. 167. Cost is $35 per person for the dinner and show. Advance ticket sales only. No tickets will be sold at the door.

The Modern Maturity Center is located at 1121 Forrest Ave., Dover.

Firefly fodder

Actor Terry Crews attended the Firefly Music Festival representing Panera Bread. (Submitted photo)

A couple of leftover notes from last weekend’s big Firefly Music Festival in Dover.

Your eyes weren’t deceiving you if you think you saw actor Terry Crews at Firefly.

Mr. Crews, best known for his work in the TV shows “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” and the movies “The Expendables” and “The Longest Yard” was in town as part of a promotion with Panera Bread.

He surprised hundreds of campers at the festival with tent-to-tent deliveries of bacon mac & cheese in recognition of Panera Bread launching delivery service nationwide.

Also, earlier this month we told you about a record-breaking attempt to have the most people shower at once during Firefly weekend.

Last Friday, music fans and festival campers got dirty before lathering up to help Irish Spring break the Guinness World Record title for the Most People Showering Simultaneously (Single Venue).

Festival goers gathered in a custom-built shower as water sprayed down from overhead while DJ Jim Pierson spun tunes. They were also joined by Shawn Booth of “The Bachelorette.”

The record was ultimately broken at 10 a.m. with 396 participants showering simultaneously for five consecutive minutes — exceeding the previous mark by 65 people.

Now Showing

New in theaters this weekend is the highly anticipated “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” and the suspense thriller “Distorted.”

On DVD and download starting Tuesday is “Tyler Perry’s Acrimony.”

Reach features editor Craig Horleman at chorl@newszap.com

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