BEST BETS: “Snarky Dave” Brenton comes full circle

Dave Brenton, right, and Joey Fulkerson, left, will take part in a Songwriters’ Circle tonight at Dover’s Patchwork Playhouse. (Submitted photo/Stephanie Seeman)

Dave Brenton is on a mission.

Currently in the studio recording the second album from his group Snarky Dave and the Prickly Bluesman, Mr. Brenton is doing his best to preserve a legacy.

His keyboard player Ricky Beck died last year at the age of 58 with the record “Snark at the World” about 60 percent done. He’s been trying to finish it ever since.

“I kind of feel like we owe it to the dude,” said Mr. Brenton, the lead singer and guitarist, aka “Snarky Dave” himself, for the blues-based band that has been around since 2012.

“We’re doing the best we can to preserve the quality of the record. He could do it all — keyboards, guitar, you name it. We called him ‘Little Bird’ because he could sing like a bird,” said Mr. Brenton of Mr. Beck, who also hosted an internet program “The Ricky Rockit Launch Show,” which promoted local artists.

“There is a song on the album called ‘Time’ and it’s about not wasting time because you don’t know what life has in store and the poor guy died helping to record it.

“But we know we have an obligation to make it sound great. It will be worth the wait.”

Mr. Brenton, of Townsend, will sing some of the songs off of the forthcoming album and tell a few stories when he joins well-known local musicians Joey Fulkerson and Jim Rezac for a Songwriters’ Circle tonight at 7 at Kent County Theatre Guild’s Patchwork Playhouse in Dover.

He says the new songs are hard to classify.

“I’ll be doing acoustic bare bones versions of these songs (tonight). But some of it sounds bluesy but it’s not really blues. Some of it is a bit funky. I’m not comparing my band to Little Feat but they could never be plugged into any one genre so it’s sort of like that,” Mr. Brenton said.

As was the case on the group’s 2013 album “Big Snark,” Mr. Fulkerson is serving as producer for the new disc being recorded at Digital Street Studio in Dover.

“He is an outstanding musician. I needed someone to tell me ‘Pencil’s down. You’re done’ with these songs. Sometimes you can’t see the forest for the trees. Joey came on board with the first album and that was it. He has a great knack for knowing when you’ve got something,” he said.

He recalls playing with Mr. Fulkerson’s late brother Steve in the 1970s and seeing the younger Joey sitting at their feet watching every move

“And then he developed into this great talent and went off to play with Chubby Checker. He’s really amazing,” Mr. Brenton said.

His other partner in tonight’s show, Mr. Rezac, is someone who Mr. Brenton doesn’t have a whole lot of experience playing with but is equally effusive.

“He has a guitar school and I took my three small kids there. He has such a talent for teaching and getting through to young people who are all motivated differently,” he said.

“He’s also a great writer and extremely talented with a tune.”

Mr. Brenton came to Delaware from Boston in the 1960s to take a job at General Foods. He is also a former pilot and

Jim Rezac will also participate in tonight’s Songwriter’s Circle. (Submitted photo/Stephanie Seeman)

owns the private air strip Dragonfly Air Ranch in Townsend where he has hosted jam sessions with local musicians playing their original music, which is his focus.

“I’m not interested in the cover bar band scene anymore. We’ll do some festivals each year but we stick to our own stuff or originals by other people in the area,” he said.

He said he got a case of the blues when he was 13 years old.

“When you start out, you play what you can play — not what you want to play and you focus on that,” he said.

“But then you really start to feel it and it becomes something that you’re born with.”

While not born with the name, he has had the moniker “Snarky Dave” for a bunch of years.

“For quite a while I tried to fight it. People would call me ‘snarky’ and all that and I tried to resist it. But then when I would go back to Boston and visit family, I realized everyone was like that and I embraced it. But I still try not to offend too many people,” he joked.

At 63, Mr. Brenton is happy to live life on his air strip and write songs to share.

“When you’re writing music, so much of it comes from your own personal life that it’s hard to bare it to other people and you’re afraid of their reaction.” he said.

“But getting great feedback gives me more freedom to feel like I can keep writing and recording and hopefully get my songs heard so the kids can get some royalties.”

Doors open at 6 today for the 7 p.m. show. Tickets are $10 at the door and there will be a cash bar.

The Patchwork Playhouse is at 140 Roosevelt Ave.

Steely Dan tribute

The music continues Saturday night as Technicolor Motorhome presents a tribute to Steely Dan at Dover’s Schwartz Center for the Arts.

The 10-piece band pays homage to the recent touring versions of Steely Dan by playing material from every album as well as songs from solo efforts by Walter Becker and Donald Fagen.

Named Best Tribute Band in Baltimore by Baltimore Magazine, Technicolor Motorhome is led by Crack The Sky’s keyboardist Glenn Workman.

Tickets are $20-$25 and can be purchased at schwartzcenter.com by calling 678-5152 or stopping by the box office at 226 S. State St.

Dover Symphony Orchestra

To finish out your Dover Days weekend, the Dover Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Donald Buxton, will conclude its 2016-2017 season on Sunday at 3 p.m. at Dover Downs’ Rollins Center.

The orchestra will perform “Spirit of America” with a variety of selections that celebrate America. Patrons are encouraged to wear their service-related uniforms.

Valet parking will be offered. Additionally there will be free shuttle service throughout the parking lots. Sweet treats will continue to be offered at the bake sale.

Admission prices are adults $20, seniors/students/military/first responders $15. Young people under 18 are free with a paying adult.

First responders includes all police, fire, EMT, ambulance, corrections and animal rescue personnel in the area.

For ticket sales log on to www.doversymphony.org or call 302-270-1903. Tickets will also be sold at the door. For further information check out the DSO website at www.doversymphony.org.

‘Nunsense: A-Men!’

In Milford, Second Street Players will present “Nunsense: A-Men!” by Dan Goggin today through Sunday and May 12-14. Friday and Saturday curtain is at 8 p.m. and Sunday curtain is 3. All performances will be held at The Riverfront Theater, 2 S. Walnut St., Milford. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased at brownpapertickets.com or by calling the box office at 800-838-3006.

“Nunsense A-Men!” is basically the original “Nunsense” show with all of the characters being portrayed by male musical comedy performers.

The fun begins when the Little Sisters of Hoboken discover that their cook, Sister Julia, Child of God, has accidentally poisoned 52 of the sisters, and they are in dire need of funds for the burials. The sisters decide that the best way to raise the money is to put on a variety show, so they take over the school auditorium, which is currently set up for the eighth-grade production of “Grease.”

Here we meet Reverend Mother Regina, a former circus performer; Sister Mary Hubert, the Mistress of Novices; a streetwise nun from Brooklyn named Sister Robert Anne; Sister Mary Leo, a novice who is a wannabe ballerina; and the delightfully wacky Sister Mary Amnesia, the nun who lost her memory when a crucifix fell on her head.

This version of “Nunsense” premiered in New York in 1998.

The show is directed by Steven Haber.

VSA Delaware performance

Finally, VSA Delaware will hold a Celebration of Creativity 2017 performance, “Systems in Sync” Saturday at 2 p.m. at the Theater of the Education & Humanities Building at Delaware State University, Dover.

The performance is the culminating event of a performing arts residency for transitional-aged students taught by residency artist, Stefanie Jaye, and starring the Transitional Players (students from John S. Charlton School and Kent County Community School) and community performers.

The inclusive residency program allowed students to develop transitional skills along with theater and performing arts competency. “Systems in Sync,” the final performance, will allow students to share their newly acquired skills and residency experiences with the community at large.

VSA Delaware is an arts and disability organization whose purpose is to help create a society where people with disabilities can learn through, participate in and enjoy the arts.

For more information, contact Jennifer Gunther at jennifer@VSADelaware.org or at 302-857-6699.

Now showing

New in theaters this weekend are “Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 3D” and the action-adventure drama “Sleight.”

On DVD and download starting Tuesday is the sequel “Fifty Shades Darker” and the Brad Pitt war drama “Allied.”

Reach features editor Craig Horleman at chorl@newszap.com

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