Poco player Sundrud to tell stories in Smyrna

Jack Sundrud is a prolific songwriter who has penned tunes for Kenny Rogers, The Judds, The Persuasions and Ty Herndon.

But the songs he writes are all him and reflect who he is.

“For me personally, to try and write for other people, I usually miss the mark. I have to write from my own perspective rather than writing directly for another person,” he said.

“Any success I’ve had writing for other people has been very few and far between. I write the song and then the publisher looks at the material. If they feel strongly it would fit Kenny Rogers, then they bring it to him.”

Mr. Sundrud, who is also the bass player and vocalist for the venerable country-rock band Poco, will bring that singular perspective to the Smyrna Opera House Nov. 17 as part of the popular Songwriters and Storytellers concert series.

Smyrna resident and Dover native Sol Knopf has been organizing these events where musicians play and talk about their work for stages from Milton to Dover over the last few years.

Mr. Sundrud and Mr. Knopf will be joined by hit country songwriter Craig Bickhardt, Nashville instrumentalist Tom Hampton, who has toured with The Marshall Tucker Band and Poco, and drummer Tommy Geddes.

Starting with Poco in 1985, Mr. Sundrud has toured and recorded consistently with the band, known for hits such as “Crazy Love,” “Heat of the Night” and “Call it Love,” since 2000.

Established in 1968, Poco will celebrate its 50th anniversary next year. Mr. Sundrud said the band is busier than ever these days.

“This year has been a bit different,” he said Tuesday afternoon by phone from Denver where Poco was scheduled to perform Wednesday night.

“(Co-founder) Rusty Young has his first solo album out and he’s been with us promoting that. We have our 50th anniversary coming up so there are things in store in for that,” he said.

He and the band are grateful that people are still coming out to hear their music.

“A lot of the fans have been around for many years but we’re seeing new fans too. We’ve doing a lot of the new music from the last few years. We put out a new album three years ago called “All Fired Up” and we’ve been doing quite a bit from it,” he said.

“We’re doing stuff from Rusty’s album along with the classics from that period as well. It’s been nice.”

Jack Sundrud, bassist and vocalist for the country rock band Poco, will join Sol Knopf, Craig Bickhardt and others Nov. 17 at the Smyrna Opera House. (Submitted photo/Charles Hudson)

Mr. Sundrud co-produced Mr. Young’s album “Waitin’ for the Sun.”

“The nice thing about that record is that he used the current lineup of Poco. I think we really gelled as a unit,” he said.

Along with Poco, Mr. Sundrud, a Northern Minnesota native now living in Nashville, has been a part of the duo Idlewheel with Mr. Bickhardt, who has written songs for Johnny Cash, B.B. King, Martina McBride and Ray Charles.

The two started off as songwriting partners, penning Mr. Herndon’s No. 1 hit “It Must Be Love” in 1998 and went on to sing together.

They met when Mr. Sundrud was in the band Great Plains.

“Brent Maher, who produced The Judds also produced Great Plains and he was friends with Craig and thought we would be good songwriting partners,” Mr. Sundrud said.

“We went on to write the song for Ty Herndon and the first single for Great Plains. He became a good friend and a regular music partner. In Nashville, where you tend to do a lot of moving around, it’s nice to have someone like him. We’ve attained quite a backlog with Idlewheel now.”

Audience members at the Smyrna show can expect to hear the two team on some of those tunes.

“With Craig up there, I’m sure we’ll do a few things together,” he said of Mr. Bickhardt, who is a frequent contributor to Mr. Knopf’s Songwriters and Storytellers concerts.

Tickets for the 7 p.m. show are $16, $14 for Smyrna Opera House members, senior citizens and military members 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., Smyrna.

Busy Bubniak

John Bubniak, a Caesar Rodney High grad and Dover native, has been acting in New York City and Hollywood over the last few years in TV shows such as “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Girls” and has more to report.

He will be the new face of Spider-Man/Peter Parker for the new PlayStation video game “Marvel’s Spider-Man” due in 2018.

He also just finished shooting a supporting role in the new Godzilla movie “Godzilla: King of Monsters,” which will be released in 2019.

In January, he will play Bill Hader’s son on the new HBO comedy “Barry,” which stars Mr. Hader as a low-rent hitman from the Midwest who moves to Los Angeles and gets involved in the arts scene.

He is now going into production for another movie that will be shooting through Christmas and is appearing in a Wal-Mart holiday commercial that is airing nationwide.

Firefly fan feedback

Firefly Music Festival officials announced recently a month-long campaign to celebrate their fans. The initiative stems from their emphasis on embracing fan feedback and utilizing it to curate everything from the lineup to the on-site experience at the annual festival in June in Dover.

Each week this month, Firefly organizers will launch a new survey to engage with fans through voting on various aspects of the festival including artists, on-site attractions and themes, food and drink, and more. Additionally, fans will have the opportunity to be featured on Firefly’s social media channels and enter contests with the chance to win passes to the 2018 festival, set for June 14-17.

“We loved implementing fan-favorites at Firefly last year,” said Stephanie Mezzano, chief operating officer at Firefly Music Festival.

“Our team is looking forward to seeing what our fans vote on for the 2018 festival and we’re excited to celebrate the Firefly community throughout the entire month of November.”

To join in on voting and stay up-to-date with Firefly’s Fan Appreciation Month, follow Firefly on Facebook and Instagram and create a profile through FireflyFestival.com.

Free Range at State House

Tonight, Delaware Friends of Folk will present the next event in their 2017-18 Old State House concert series, inside the Old State House on The Green in Dover. The series is produced in cooperation with the First State Heritage Park and is supported by a grant from the Kent County Fund for the Arts.

This month’s free 7:30 p.m. show features Free Range, an acoustic ensemble group based in Caroline County on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

It is comprised of Ali Reed Quillen on guitar and vocals, Steve Quillen on fiddle and vocals, Curt Fox on banjo and vocals and Phyllis Dodd on doghouse bass.

Their sound is primarily traditional bluegrass seasoned with a bit of old time, Irish and folk.

On Saturday from 1 to 4 p.m., the Friends of Folk will hold a pick-in at the Blue Earl Brewery at 210 Artisan Drive in Smyrna.

The pick-in is an acoustic jam session where members sit in a circle and take turns leading a song (you can just play along and not take the lead, if you’d like).

The event is for musicians of any skill level and listeners are welcome.

Veterans’ musical tribute

Epworth United Methodist Church will hold a musical tribute to veterans on Saturday in the style of the World War II-era Stage Door Canteen.

Carolyn Cattafi will sing standards backed by Doug Yetter on piano, Bruce Chappelle on bass, Ken Schleifer on drums, Glenn Leudtke on trumpet and Cody Leavel on saxophone and clarinet.

Mr. Leavel recently returned to the area after a four-year world tour with the Glenn Miller Orchestra.

Tickets are available online at eumcrb.org/canteen or at the door: for $10. Proceeds from the event will go toward Epworth’s music ministries. Beverages, snacks, and dessert will be available for purchase.

Epworth United Methodist Church is at 19285 Holland Glade Road, just north of Rehoboth Beach off of Del. 1.

Now showing

New in theaters is the comedic sequel “Daddy’s Home 2” and the all-star Agatha Christie mystery remake “Murder on the Orient Express.”

On DVD and download starting Tuesday is Charlize Theron in “Atomic Blonde,” Jeremy Renner in “Wind River” and the animated “The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature.”

Reach features editor Craig Horleman at chorl@newszap.com

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