fourth Friday music series
at University Plaza
Four fun bands plus good food and drink! Be sure to wear your dancing shoes! FREE ADMISSION!
University Plaza, 50 W. Washington Street
May 22, 5-8 pm
Kelly Bell Band
J Berd and DJ Jon Daily opening
Blues Revue Magazine describes the Kelly Bell Band as “Among the most genre-expanding acts on today’s blues scene. Who else can combine elements of hip-hop, funk, and blues-electrified here.” Originally formed as the back-up band for rock and roll pioneer, Bo Diddley, KBB has been touring the world ever since entertaining fans in Japan, Spain, Italy, Greece, Cuba, Germany and more. The band has won two prestigious Maryland Music Awards, including “Best Blues Band.” In 2018 they were been nominated for “Music Icon.” KBB has been voted “Best Blues Band” in the Mid Atlantic Region (12 years in a row), and was recently named “Best Band” by Baltimore Style Magazine.
“The Kelly Bell Band is exactly the kind of genre-bending, rule-breaking, and color-smearing group the music scene desperately needs. The Kelly Bell Band lives outside of all the lines and freely mixes blues, funk, rock, metal, hip-hop, and more into a compelling fusion of musical styles.” (Mike O’Cull, Rock And Blues Muse) Their debut album, ‘Phat Blues Music’ remains one of the best selling releases in Mid-Atlantic region history. Kelly Bell, known as ‘The Bluesman’, is joined by vocalist Rahsaan “Wordslave” Eldridge, Ryan Fowler and Eric Robinson (guitar), Frankie Hernandez (bass), John Robert Buell (drums) and Dane Paul Russell (harmonica).
J Berd is an incredible rhyme slinger from Frederick, MD. He is an independent artist who has bounced back and forth between DC and Baltimore performing locally starting in the late 90’s. He has appeared at venues in New York, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., opening for Biz Markie, Brand Nubian, Souls of Mischief, Boot Camp Click, The Pharcyde, Blu, A.Z., Raekwon, Slick Rick, and many others. He has played at festivals such as Artscape in Baltimore, In the Streets, Bless the Woods, and Artomatic. A veteran with over 20 years of experience, J Berd brings originality and style to traditional boom bap hip hop music. A wizard of wordplay with a penchant for patterns, his flows play like an instrument over a variety of beat selections. J Berd has appeared on mixtapes, albums, compilations, and singles as a solo artist. He has also been a part of the groups, Realistics, Grand Skeme, Makeshift Deluxe, Action Figures, and Anonymous Conglomerate.
June 26, 5-8 pm
The Amish Outlaws
Chaquis Maliq, opening
It is a little-known fact that most Amish practice a tradition, similar to the Christian "Confirmation" and Jewish "Bar Mitzvah," called "Rumspringa" (literal translation: "running around") in which Amish children at the age of 16 have an opportunity to live free of the strict Amish code of conduct before deciding if they want to come back and be baptized into the Amish church. Surprisingly, virtually all of the youths return.
But sometimes they don't.
Four out of the original six of the members of The Amish Outlaws were born and raised in Lancaster, PA and had a strict Amish upbringing. No electricity from land lines, no alcohol, no musical instruments, but their spirits were too wild for the Amish lifestyle. Once they trampled in the Devil's Playground, there was no turning back. In the years since Rumspringa, the members of the Amish Outlaws have become very well acclimated to the pleasures and vices of the modern world... music, most of all.
It was this mutual love of music that brought the Outlaws together in a chance meeting at the 2002 Pocono Vacation Park "Rock and Roll Hootenanny." While their appearance drew snickers and stares from most of the crowd, they sat down together and the Brothers were soon like brothers, sharing not only the bond of having left the Amish life behind, but also the deep mutual love of music. Together they delved deeply into the 16 years of American culture they missed, watching endless hours of classic MTV, listening to the radio, CDs, records, tapes... anything they could get their hands on. But just listening and watching was not enough... the Brothers soon decided to form a band that combined their love of the modern world and their traditional upbringing.
They met some non-Amish friends out in the world ("English" as we call the non-Amish), making them "honorary Amish" when they joined the band. Thus, with a bold lust for life and a fire for music and performance that can only come from 16 years of repression, The Amish Outlaws were unleashed upon the world. There is no "typical" Amish Outlaws show, but the average crowd can expect to see men in full Amish garb releasing all of their pent up energy with an infectious joy. With a set that is always evolving as the Brothers discover more and more music and culture, The Amish Outlaws constantly surprise the audience and keep them guessing as to what they could possibly play next, from Johnny Cash to Jay Z, Lady Gaga to Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre, Pitbull to Elvis Presley, Luke Bryan to Dropkick Murphys, to theme songs from the TV shows they have come to know. Throughout, The Outlaws spin yarns about the Brothers' upbringing and adventures since Rumpspringa. Amish Outlaw gigs are less performances than they are initiations into the life of an Amish Outlaw and parties celebrating the Brothers' new found freedom.
Singer, Songwriter, International EccentroSoul 1 Woman Band, and Producer, are just some of the labels to describe Chaquis Maliq (Sha-Kees Mah-Leek). ArtsQuest calls her “Beauty, Brains, and Power of Soul.” NPR Music gracefully refers to Maliq as “Soulful, slightly Prince-Like.” Representing the new breed of women artists taking ownership of their musical paths by leading the songwriting and production of their musical creations, Maliq is redefining the playing field as a multi-talented creator. Before this San Francisco native could even fathom engineering and producing her first two albums, she was first a poet and theatrical spoken word artist, with piano playing background. It wasn’t until she relocated to the DMV area that all her musical avenues dispersed from her heart and mind. She transformed in 2011 when she decided to pick up the guitar. Her journey took a surprising turn in 2014, when The EccentroSoul 1 Woman Band was created, displaying authentic vocals with original music, strumming the guitar, with pocket rhythmic expression delivered by the cajon and foot instruments; simultaneously, defining the EccentroSoul 1 Woman Band. Following her 1 Woman Band debut and successful tour from 2014 - 2016, Chaquis was hand-picked by NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert 2017, as the opener for Tank and the Bangas. Although Maliq is a solo artist, festival stages are no stranger to her. In 2018, the EccentroSoul 1 Woman Band made her international debut at Festival of Friends, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. In 2019, Maliq gained the attention of Grammy -nominated producer-songwriting duo, Louis York, and yhe trio, The Shindellas, as an opener for their 2019 “The Love Take Over Tour.” Chaquis Maliq’s EccentroSoul 1 Woman Band compliments her cozy expansive sound by giving the audience a full band experience you’ll never forget.
July 24, 5-8 pm
Skyla Burrell Band
The Plate Scrapers opening
Vizztone Label Recording artists The Skyla Burrell Band is a full time, hardworking, traveling blues band known for its high-energy original electric blues. Band members don’t just lay it down; they knock it down and kick it. It’s blues, it’s rock, it’s swinging good time get down and boogie music.
Skyla Burrell was born in Los Angeles and raised in Orange County, California. She formed her first band at the age of 13 and has been a working musician ever since.
"The Skyla Burrell Band is tight. They don’t just lay it down; they knock it down and kick it. It’s blues, it’s rock, it’s swinging good time Saturday night fist fight low down hoe down get down and boogie music. They fill the songs with hot licks, sweet tones, impassioned vocals, and undeniable spirit. Between Skyla’s tremendous voice, twin blazing guitars and deeply grooving rhythm section you have a recipe for all night boogie marathons that are guaranteed to leave a few Blues Scars behind." (Blues Biscuits)
"Skyla has one of those perfect, whisky-soaked-with-honey voices that is full of the passion and conviction that it takes to be a great blueswoman." (Nashville Blues Society)
"Skyla Burrell is one of those people that was born to sing and play the blues." (Cashbox)
The Plate Scrapers originated in 2014 in western Maryland the way any good bluegrass band does: from a bunch of fellers pickin’ around in a circle, surrounded by delicious plates of food, strong libations, and good friends. The traditional spirit of The Plate Scrapers is still innately intact nearly half a decade later, though they have evolved into far more than your average bluegrass band. Through diverse backgrounds and influences ranging from jazz, to hard rock, to funk, the band has taken their music to an eclectic new level.
The Plate Scrapers’ songwriting is the identifying characteristic of the band. Complimenting writing styles from multiple members offer a tasteful balance and refreshing diversity to their sound, a diversity which they have become known for. Folksy lyrics of songs like “Shoes” or “Moonlight” call to a time of friendship, nostalgia and adventure, while songs like “Trucker’s Aspirin” or “Easy Way Out” are darker tales, gritty in nature.
Crafted musicianship and creative chemistry on stage guarantees that each performance is a new experience. More recently, the band has been known to take advantage of modern FX to enhance their traditional folk instruments, venturing over the borders of traditional Bluegrass into the rapidly growing genre of Jamgrass. Fans and critics alike agree that things are moving in a promising direction for The Plate Scrapers.
August 28, 5-8 pm
Josh Morningstar (full band)
A reflection on Funkstown native Josh Morningstar.
Last night, the blue light reflected off of the cement in a tiny listening lounge in St. Charles, Iowa. A conformed church housed a bar in the front full of rogue townies, and a lounge in the back.
"Turn your phones off," the host of the lounge barked into the microphone. "Turn them off, sit back, and pay attention. This guy is quiet, and he's going to tell you some stories."
And my eyebrows raised when his hoarse voice breathed life into a quiet, rapt crowd. With his eyes closed, he sang songs - chunks of him offered up to a willing mass.
"I'm not a singer," he said eventually, looking down at his guitar. I leaned in to listen harder. "I'm not a guitarist. I'm a song writer."
In his songs were stories and in his stories were words pushed together that took my breath away, and in his stories were words that oozed the Blood from the Before, and in his stories were ripped edges. I wanted to know it all. I wanted to know the names of the chunks and I wanted to inspect the hole in his chest and I wanted to know where those melodies come from and I wanted to know how he chooses the words. I wanted to know what he has written on the scraps of paper in his wallet and I wanted to know if his handwriting changes when he knows it's a good one. It was a listening lounge, and we were supposed to be quiet and listen, but he played a song we all knew. And we sang the words with him. We couldn't help it - not one single person. A crooked grin formed behind the microphone and I'm fairly certain that's why he does what he does. Not for the lights. Not for the cheers. For sure not for the money. He does it for the people that hear the story and say, "Yes. Me, too. I have been there, too."
In a town out in the middle of the cornfields of Iowa, a group of people sang the words back to him that he had written. A melody chunked out of one disaster from his life, and sewn together with a rhyme, and maybe that's how you heal the hurt.
Vulnerability. Standing up on a stage when you'd rather be holding a pen. Sure looks an awful lot like courage.
- Rebecca Cooper, Author