Schwartz shows pays tribute to music of Amy Winehouse

Su Teears fronts the Philadelphia-based Amy Winehouse tribute band, Back to Amy, which will perform Sept. 10 at 7:30 p.m. at Dover’s Schwartz Center for the Arts. Keyboard player and vocalist Kevin Burk is pictured at left. (Submitted photo/David Yarnall)

Su Teears fronts the Philadelphia-based Amy Winehouse tribute band, Back to Amy, which will perform Sept. 10 at 7:30 p.m. at Dover’s Schwartz Center for the Arts. Keyboard player and vocalist Kevin Burk is pictured at left. (Submitted photo/David Yarnall)

The musical legacy of Amy Winehouse will live on Sept. 10 as the Schwartz Center for the Arts presents the Philadelphia area-based band Back to Amy.

The show covers material from the late singer’s Grammy-winning “Back to Black” album, lesser-known favorites and ’60s hits Ms. Winehouse was fond of covering in concert.

“I’ve been an Amy fan for years and years, well before ‘Back to Black’ came out (in 2006),” said Su Teears, lead singer of Back to Amy.

“Her rise to fame was so quick for a lot of people who are only familiar with the one album and she was gone so soon. For them, it was like ‘We had this great thing and then we just lost it.’ ”

The British chanteuse who mixed genres such as blue-eyed soul, jazz and rhythm and blues died at age 27 in 2011, having recorded just two full-length albums. Aside from “Back to Black,” her debut record “Frank,” released in 2003, was a critical success in the UK.

“I had been living with her stuff for quite a while and after she died, I wanted to do something to honor her work but nothing quite came to fruition,” Ms. Teears said.

Best Bets logo -NEWThat was until earlier this year when musicians she had been working with for a few years decided to do a tribute show for her.

“That tribute show turned into a band. We immediately jelled with this material,” she said.

“Everybody has really been digging the product and it has become more of a pet project than we thought it was going to be.”

The band comprises 10 members including backup singers, a three-piece horn section and other musicians who closely mimic Ms. Winehouse’s group of live entertainers.

Ms. Teears said the response has been beyond belief.

“I knew that a lot of people that I was friends with and especially musicians were fans of hers but I didn’t realize how her music really spans the ages,” she said.

“We have people coming out to the shows who are 14, 20, 40 years old, 60 years old. People are really drawn to her and the way people have reacted is just overwhelming.”

Ms. Teears, who dresses and resembles Ms. Winehouse during the performances, thinks the fact that the singer toured America just twice, in 2001 and 2007, adds an extra element to the show.

“They are able to experience her music live for the first time for many of them. I never had the opportunity. I think for a lot of us, we think ‘you have time, see her next time.’ This is almost the best thing for them. I’ve had people come up to me teary-eyed. It’s all very unexpected.”

To copy the look, Ms. Teears says it takes a great deal of work.

“I personally don’t think I resemble her so becoming Amy is a long process,” she said.

“I’ve meticulously redone her hairstyle by sewing together four or five wigs as close to her hair as possible. It’s gone through a couple of incarnations until I finally found what works best. I get the tattoos from the UK and I’ve had dresses made for me after I researched her fashion style. She is quite an undertaking.”

More importantly, aside from the look, Ms. Teears says the band tries to emulate her recordings as close as possible. The songs from the albums are there for anyone to hear but the cover songs that she loved to do in concert were a little harder to find but are available to view on the Internet and elsewhere.

Ms. Teears said the Schwartz audience will hear cover tunes from the likes of Carole King, Lesley Gore and The Beatles as well as jazz standards and reggae.

“She was big fan of reggae and had a jazz background. She had a jazz sensibility. Most people don’t get that right away but musicians do. They can pick out the jazz chords and the jazz lines,” said Ms. Teears who has a jazz background of her own, performing in Philadelphia-area jazz groups as well as other duos and groups.

The Sept. 10 show, which starts at 7:30 p.m., was originally suppose to also include the documentary “Amy,” but that has been shelved and instead another set has been added to the night.

“We’re pleased to be able to bring the full show,” Ms. Teears said.

Ms. Winehouse died at the age of 27 due to alcohol poisoning. It marked the end of a tragic life bedeviled by addiction.

“She was addicted to heroin, alcohol, crack cocaine. She had an addictive personality. I think we watched her with bated breath to see if she could save herself but she couldn’t be saved,” Ms. Teears said.

Had she lived on, Ms. Teears thinks Ms. Winehouse would have continued with the jazz stream.

“She would have expanded her jazz repertoire I think. Her last recording was ‘Body and Soul’ with Tony Bennett,” she said.

“She had such raw talent. I think wherever she would have gone, it would have been spectacular.”

Tickets for the show are $13-$15 and available at schwartzcenter.com, by calling 678-5152 or visiting the box office at 226 S. State St., Dover.

Those who purchased the original higher-priced tickets with the movie will have the difference refunded.

Folk festival lineup

Plans for the 25th Delmarva Folk Festival were recently unveiled.

Delaware Friends of Folk will hold the special edition of the downstate tradition Friday and Saturday, Sept. 23 and 26 on the festival grounds, Downs Chapel Road near Hartly.

Friday will feature the finals of the 10th annual Delmarva Folk Heroes contest and Saturday provides a lineup of folk, blues, bluegrass, old-time and Celtic music, along with workshops, special kids’ activities, and craft and food vendors featuring beer from Blue Earl Brewing in Smyrna. Weekend tent and RV sites will be available too.

This year’s headliner, singer-songwriter-storytelling-bluesman Roy Book Binder, has been traveling the world for the past 45 years. His musical repertoire includes blues, country tunes, bluegrass, folk and popular songs that originated on Tin Pan Alley. He traveled with the legendary Rev. Gary Davis in the late ’60s and recorded his first solo acoustic blues album in the’ 70s. In the late ’80s he was part of Bonnie Raitt’s East Coast Tour that included an appearance on The Grand Old Opry.

Before his 9 p.m. Saturday show, a host of local and regional artists will take the stage, beginning at noon with the Delmarva Folk Hero winner from the night before.

Others playing throughout the day include local favorites Joey Fulkerson, Crabmeat Thompson, Celtic Harvest and Sand Creek. Charter Friends of Folk members John and Vicky Lecroy will return from Tennessee. From southeast Pennsylvania, festival newcomers Butter Queen Sister will deliver up-tempo bluegrass while fest veteran Bob Beach will recall the songs and styles of DC Fitzgerald.

Advance tickets can be purchased in person at the Delaware Store in Dover, B & B Music in Camden and Tip Top Trim Shop in Camden, or at www.delfolk.org.

Before Sept. 23, tickets are $15 for members of Delaware Friends of Folk and $20 for nonmembers. Tickets at the gate on Saturday will be $30 for everyone and admission for the Friday night Folk Heroes contest will be $7.

Sensory-friendly films

For many families, going to see a movie is an entertaining way to spend time together. But for some children, the traditional movie experience can be overwhelming. The loud sounds and the dark auditorium are off-putting and the need to watch silently can be challenging.

Starting Sept. 10, Kent County Public Library offers sensory friendly films to bring a unique movie experience to the community at 10 a.m., on the second Saturday of each month. As part of the program, the film showings have their lights turned up and the sound turned down. Participants can get up, move around and sing or call out.

For this program series only, the library welcomes sensory blankets, seating brought by participants, snacks (to accommodate dietary considerations), drinks (in non-tip/no-spill containers). The library will have on hand PECS (Picture Exchange Card System), First and Then Schedule Board, bottled water and popcorn. A sign language interpreter will be available for some, but not all, screenings.

Pre-register at tinyurl.com/KCP­Levents or call (302) 744-1919.

The movie schedule is as follows:

Sept. 10: “Minions”

Oct. 8: “The Boxtrolls”

Nov. 12: “The Good Dinosaur”

Dec. 10: “The Secret Life of Pets”

Jan. 21: The 1977 original “Pete’s Dragon”

Feb. 11: “Inside Out”

March 11: “Zootopia”

April 8: “Kung Fu Panda 3”

May 13: “The Lego Movie”

The new year will bring a larger screen to the library.

In the event that a screening is canceled due to inclement weather, an announcement will be posted on the Kent County Public Library’s Facebook page. Staff will also attempt to contact pre-registered participants via email or telephone.

The library is at 497 S. Red Haven Lane, Dover, off of U.S. 13.

Now showing

New this weekend in theaters is the sci-fi thriller “Morgan” and “Hands of Stone,” the story of boxer Roberto Duran.

On DVD and download starting Tuesday is “Now You See Me 2” and Julia Roberts and George Clooney in the thriller “Money Monster.”

Reach features editor Craig Horleman at chorl@newszap.com

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