Blues benefit to help Clark’s band get to Memphis

CDBS local IBC 2015 winners Swamp Dog (002) by .

Anthony “Swamp Dog” Clark holds a sign indicated he and his band are off to Memphis’ famed Beale Street for next year’s International Blues Challenge. His Maryland-based group won October’s Battle of the Blues Bands sponsored by the Central Delaware Blues Society. (Submitted photo)

Anthony “Swamp Dog” Clark  says he was born to play the blues.

“I was at a parade with my mother when I was 5 years old. As the drumline came past, I told her ‘I want to do that.’ So she got me drums and years of lessons. Later on when I was about 12, I took up the harmonica and I’ve been playing music ever since,” said the York, Pennsylvania native now living in Largo, Maryland.

His Anthony “Swamp Dog” Clark Band is getting a boost from the Central Delaware Blues Society as the band was picked in October during the society’s annual Battle of the Blues competition to go to the International Blues Challenge (IBC) in downtown Memphis, Tennessee Jan. 26-30.

Best Bets logo CLEAR copyTo help them get there, the society will hold its second annual IBC fundraiser at Jonathan’s Landing in Magnolia Dec. 13. Doors open at 11 a.m. with the music starting at noon.

Proceeds from the event, which will feature seven bands, food and drink, a silent auction and a 50/50 raffle, will go toward the guaranteed $1,500 the winning band receives from the society. Additionally, the society will provide a matching contribution of up to $500 for any independent fundraiser the band holds.

Mr. Clark’s group, for which he plays the harmonica and sings, went to the IBC in 2011 after winning the Washington, D.C. Battle of the Blues, making it to the semifinals.

“For a blues musician, it’s heaven,” Mr. Clark said. “I’d love to move down there but my wife says she’d become a blues widow. I said ‘Yes, you would.’”

Musicians compete for cash, prizes and recognition.

“The last time we went down, I was like a child. This time, I think we’ll treat it more like a competition while still concentrating on the entertainment aspect of it. We’re going down with the hopes of winning it. That’s what it’s all about,” he said.

Mr. Clark, who got the nickname “Swamp Dog” from a fellow musician who said he played the harmonica like a swamp dog, got the blues bug from his grandmother, who played recordings of greats like Big Walter Horton, Paul Butterfield and Sonny Boy Williamson.

“It was just so soulful. That’s what grabbed me the most,” he said.

The 64-year-old musician said his love of the harmonica initially came from watching old Westerns.

“Whenever you saw cowboys and Indians on TV, the cowboys would always have a harmonica as they rode the

BENEFIT SCHEULE Noon–12:45 p.m.: Bad Ave 1–1:45 p.m.: Barrelhouse 2 – 2:45 p.m.: The Teletones 3 – 3:45 p.m.: Nothin But Trouble 4 – 4:45 p.m.: The Billy Pierce Band 5 – 5:45 p.m.: lower case blues 6 – 7 p.m.: The Anthony “Swamp Dog” Clark Band

BENEFIT SCHEULE
Noon–12:45 p.m.: Bad Ave
1–1:45 p.m.: Barrelhouse
2 – 2:45 p.m.: The Teletones
3 – 3:45 p.m.: Nothin But Trouble
4 – 4:45 p.m.: The Billy Pierce Band
5 – 5:45 p.m.: lower case blues
6 – 7 p.m.: The Anthony “Swamp Dog” Clark Band

range. That really piqued my interest,” he said.

The retired IT professional has performed in bands off and on for the last 40 years, appearing up and down the East Coast in festivals, clubs and theaters.

He’s billed as playing “blues with a funk edge.”

“My way of playing is a little bit different than straight ahead blues. I try to make it a little funkier. Not as many people seem to be attracted to the blues as they once were, in my opinion, so I think I provide a more danceable, contemporary sound,” he said.

His CD “Raw” has been featured on many college and Internet radio stations.

Mr. Clark is joined in the band by Barry Brady on keyboard, Charles Adkins (bass), Ken Sparks (guitar) and John Chandler (drums). For the trip to Memphis, Mr. Brady will be replaced by David Gorozdos.

In winning the Central Delaware contest, the band competed against two other groups, The Billy Pierce Band and The Georgie Bonds Band.

The judges — well-known local blues musician Joey Fulkerson, Virgina music radio host Diane Bolten and Philadelphia blues musician John Dorchester — ranked the bands on blues content, vocals, talent, originality and stage content.

Mr. Clark said he thought all of the bands got a fair shake.

“It was a good competition. All of the judges were separated and everyone had a fair chance and were judged on their own merit,” he said.

Mr. Clark says he loves entertaining the local crowd.

“They are an excellent group to work with. They are extremely supportive and their president Barry Pugh is very forthcoming and positive,” he said.

“And the crowd loves to party and shake a leg. I like that.”

Along with Mr. Clark’s band, the Dec. 13 event will also feature Bad Avenue, Barrelhouse, The Teletones, Mr. Fulkerson’s quartet Nothin’ But Trouble, The Billy Pierce Band and lower case blues, last year’s society’s selection to the IBC.

A highlight of the day will be a drawing for a PRS guitar donated and autographed by manufacturer Paul Reed Smith.

Admission is $15 for nonmembers, and $10 for CDBS members. Doors open at 11 a.m.

For more information or to become a member, visit www.centraldelawareblues.com.

Muppets at Schwartz tonight

After a full day of Black Friday shopping, why not take in a movie and help a good cause as well?

Dover’s Schwartz Center for the Arts will show “The Muppet Christmas Carol” tonight at 7.

Admission is a donation of an unwrapped toy for Toys for Tots or a donation of $5 that will go toward the organization.

The Schwartz Center is at 226 S. State St.

‘A Christmas Story’ in Milford

XMAS by .

From left, Thom Harris, Colby Crawford and Janice Hall are in “A Christmas Story.” (Submitted photo)

The Second Street Players get into the holiday spirit starting tonight as they present “A Christmas Story” today

through Sunday and Dec. 4 and 5. The Dec. 6 show is sold out.

Friday and Saturday curtain times are 8 p.m. and Sunday is 3 p.m.

All performances will be held at the Riverfront Theater, 2 S. Walnut St., Milford. Tickets are $17 and can be purchased at brownpapertickets.com or by calling the box office at 800-838-3006.

Based on the Christmas favorite movie, humorist Mr. Shepherd’s memoir of growing up in the Midwest in the 1940s follows 9-year-old Ralphie Parker in his quest to get a genuine Red Ryder BB gun under the tree for Christmas. Ralphie pleads his case before his mother, his teacher and even Santa Claus himself, at Higbee’s Department Store.

Orchestra to present concert

Continuing the weekend holiday festivities, the Dover Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Donald Buxton, will perform the second concert of its 2015-2016 season on Sunday at 3 p.m. at Dover Downs’ Rollins Center.

“Ringing in the Holiday Season” features an array of seasonal music. Displays of the work of a number of Central Delaware artists and artisans will open at 1:30. Sweet treats will be available at the bake sale.

Valet parking will be offered at $4. Additionally there will be free shuttle service throughout the parking lots.

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

For ticket sales visit www.doversymphony.org or call 302-270-1903. Tickets will also be sold at the door.

Corbin visits Dover Downs

As we told you last week, country singer Easton Corbin hits the Rollins Center for a performance tonight at 9.

Mr. Corbin’s third album, “About to Get Real,” was released in July and became his first No. 1 on Billboard’s Top

Easton Corbin photo 2 by .

Country singer Easton Corbin will perform at Dover Downs Hotel and Casino’s Rollins Center tonight at 9. (Submitted photo)

Country Albums chart. The album’s success is led by the hit single “Baby Be My Love Song.”

In his still-young career, the accolades have rolled in for Mr. Corbin, who is the first country male artist in 17 years to have his first two consecutive singles – “A Little More Country Than That” and “Roll With It” – reach No. 1.

In a six-month period, he received 13 country music award nominations and won three country music trophies. He received three nominations from the Academy of Country Music Awards and won every breakthrough artist category at the 2011 American Country Music Awards (Artist of the Year, Single of the Year and Music Video). He tied with Lady Antebellum to earn the most nominations, garnering seven.

Billboard named him the Top New Country Artist of 2010 and “Roll With It” the No. 6 Hot Country Song of the Year, while “A Little More Country Than That” was ranked No. 19.

Ticket prices range from $45 to $85, based on location, and can be obtained by visiting doverdowns.com or calling 1-800-711-5882.

Now showing

New this weekend in theaters is the animated film “The Good Dinosaur,” a continuation of the “Rocky” saga, “Creed” and the horror film “Victor Frankenstein.”

On DVD and download starting Tuesday is the faith-based film “90 Minutes in Heaven,” the romantic comedy “Some Kind of Beautiful” and the horror film “Goodnight Mommy.”

Reach features editor Craig Horleman at chorl@newszap.com

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