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April 13, 2021 - 3:37pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Dianna Spiotta, music, arts, entertainment, batavia, news.

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Batavia native Deanna Spiotta moved to Nashville, Tenn., in 2013 to try and make it as a recording artist but found, she said, that she was unprepared for the music business and felt alone in trying to navigate it.

But that experience didn't diminish her drive nor dampen the dream of making music her career.

She returned to Western New York in 2015 and started renewing and building connections locally and as a result, this week released her first EP, "The In Between," a collection of six songs she wrote and arranged.

It was produced by Dave Drago in Macedon. Spiotta sings and plays guitar and piano on the tracks. She is joined by Drago on bass, electric guitar, and backing vocals, Alex Northup on keyboards, and Javi Torres on drums.

"It is my hope to share this music with our community and that it will resonate with people and help them feel through difficult emotions," Spiotta said.

This is Spiotta's debut release. She said it was tough making connections in Nashville without any professional recordings under her belt. She hopes the EP is a step toward realizing her dream of writing and performing music for a living.

Her influences include, she said, The Beatles, Shawn Colvin, Miranda Lambert, and Leslie Odom Jr.

She provided a Spotify link to music that inspired and influenced her.

"I'm also inspired by Motown, which makes sense as The Beatles and Shawn Colvin were heavily influenced by Motown artists and Black artists who founded rock 'n' roll and country music," she said.

"Miranda Lambert was very influential to me at the beginning of my career about 10 years ago, and now I find myself growing from her style to create my own. Leslie Odom Jr.'s album, Mr, serves as a big inspiration to me.

"Our sounds don't sound anything alike, but I love that he fuses many different styles, genres and sounds to make something unique. I find it fascinating to fuse all of the musical experiences in my life into my own unique sound."

Her EP is available on Apple Music, Spotify, and her own website, DeannaSpiotta.com.

Photos by Taylor Rambo Photography. All rights reserved. Used with permission of Deanna Spiotta.

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March 9, 2021 - 6:41pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Downs, arts, music, news, video.
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Press release:

Batavia Downs Gaming & Hotel has announced the lineup for their fourth Rockin’ the Downs concert series, which will take place outside on the racetrack, with eight Friday dates, starting in June and running into August.

Kicking off the series on Friday, June 25th is former Journey frontman Steve Augeri. Steve returns after playing one of the most enjoyable concerts from 2019’s series. The lead vocalist for the rock group from 1998-2006, Steve headlined an eight-year tenure that included three albums, and will perform hits such as "Don’t Stop Believin’," "Separate Ways," "Wheel in the Sky," "Faithfully," and "Anyway You Want It."

Next up, on Friday, July 2nd, Batavia Downs welcomes Southern Rock legends Molly Hatchet. Originating in Jacksonville, Fla., in 1978, the band has gone on to release 14 studio albums. They’ll be performing hits such as "Flirtin’ with Disaster," "Dreams I’ll Never See" and "Whiskey Man" among others.

Friday, July 9th will see Don Felder, formerly of The Eagles, perform at the Downs. As a renowned former lead guitarist of The Eagles, one of the most popular and influential rock groups of our time, Don has helped write and perform many iconic classics. His 2008 memoir was a New York Times bestseller. Don will perform solo and Eagles’ hits during his set including " Heavy Metal (Takin’ a Ride)," "Hotel California," "Life in the Fast Lane," "The Long Run" and "Tequila Sunrise."

Performing on Friday, July 16th is Tommy James and the Shondells. Hailing from Niles, Mich., Tommy rose to stardom after his song "Hanky Panky" went to #1 in Pittsburgh. Other hits in his catalog include "I Think We’re Alone Now," "Mony Mony," "Crimson and Clover," "Sweet Cherry Wine" and "Crystal Blue Persuasion."

Rocking the stage on Friday, July 23rd is Heavy Metal Rockers Skid Row. After forming in New Jersey in 1986, the band has performed all over the world with hard guitars and a unique songwriting style. They’ll be performing their hits "In a Darkened Room," "We Are the Damned," "Youth Gone Wild," "18 And Life," and many more.

Legendary Rock Band The Sweet performs on Friday, July 30th. Hailing from London, the band has sold more than 35 million albums worldwide since forming in 1968. Original member Andy Scott handles lead vocals on such hits as "Little Willy," "Ballroom Blitz," "Fox On The Run" and "Love Is Like Oxygen."

America’s top Pink Floyd Show, The Machine hits the stage on Friday, Aug. 6th. Over 30 years they have extended the legacy of Pink Floyd while creating another legacy all their own. Over the years, The Machine has touched the hearts and souls of many with its stellar musicianship, dramatic lighting, and video performances.

Closing out the series on Friday, Aug. 13th is rock band Queensrÿche. With more than 30 million albums sold worldwide, Queensrÿche continues to tour the globe to sold-out audiences. The band has earned multiple Grammy Award nominations and won the MTV “viewer’s choice” award for the #1 chart-topping hit "Silent Lucidity." Even with 11 gold and platinum plaques and several Top 10 hard rock anthems under their belt, Queensrÿche consistently delivers high-octane live shows combining the hungry fire of a new band with the tempered experience of master showmen. 

Tickets for all eight concerts will be available at www.BataviaConcerts.com beginning sometime in late March or April. Tickets will also be available for purchase at Batavia Downs Gaming & Hotel at the Lucky Treasures Gift Shop located in the lobby. 

“Preliminarily we’ll be looking to have a “POD” setup, which has been utilized in many other locations. It allows patrons to be with those in their circle and socially distanced from other concertgoers," said Henry Wojtaszek, president and CEO of Batavia Downs Gaming & Hotel.

“If restrictions are lifted, then we will adapt as necessary with our concert setup. Tickets will go on sale once we have more guidance from the state about how we can safely conduct these events.”

Debuting this year will be a chair rental option. There will be 500 chairs available for rental for $5 each. All net proceeds for chair rental will benefit Make-A-Wish Western New York. Volunteers from Make-A-Wish will also be distributing foam drink holders in return for a donation.

“We are eager to welcome music lovers back to the facility,” said Ryan Hasenauer, director of Marketing for Batavia Downs Gaming & Hotel. “We’re looking forward to bringing musical icons back to Batavia Downs for all to enjoy.

"After not having shows last summer, we’re excited to finally launch our partnership with Make-A-Wish Western New York to help raise funds to help them transform lives.”

Other concerts will also be announced outside of the Fridays mentioned above. Ticket prices will vary based on concert and capacity. Each concert ticket is also redeemable once at Player’s Club in the three days following the concert for $10 Free Play to be used on one of Batavia Downs Gaming’s 800+ gaming machines.

Concerts are held rain or shine. Additional information may be found at www.BataviaDownsGaming.com.

March 6, 2021 - 3:32pm
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The Batavian Sessions Live: Evan Anstey and James Robert Kibby

You can find their latest release on Amazon, Spotify, Apple Music, and Bandcamp.

February 27, 2021 - 3:35pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in the batavian sessions, music, arts, entertainment, livestream, video.
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This afternoon, we're featuring WNY musician and songwriter Tom Mullen. He's from Buffalo and his wife is from Le Roy.

Here's some background:

Tom Mullen has been making music for over 30 years. During the 1990s, he was lead singer, guitarist, and principle songwriter for The Skeptics, an alternative power pop band that enjoyed regional acclaim and CMJ charting. Tom has opened shows for national acts The Tubes and 10,000 Maniacs and appeared twice on A.M. Buffalo with The Skeptics, as well as Nickel City Scene. He released his 2nd solo CD, Unfamiliar Ground, in 2018.

Tom’s music has been compared to Elvis Costello, R.E.M., The Wallflowers, and Fountains of Wayne. His influences include Buddy Holly, The Beatles, Elvis Costello, R.E.M., and much more.

Tom's new full-length CD, Into the Twilight, is receiving significant airplay and is climbing the College Radio Charts. He has released a music video for the lead single off the album, “Invisible Hand.”

More information can be found at www.skepticsongs.com.

Tom is originally a native of Buffalo and a graduate of Canisius College. He earned a master’s degree in English from Buffalo State College. He lives with his family in Western New York.

December 7, 2020 - 12:32pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in justin williams, Le Roy, music, arts, entertainment.

Le Roy musician Justin Williams has been spending his free pandemic time writing and recording new material. Here's his latest release, "Back in a Hard Place."

November 25, 2020 - 9:34pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Upton Monument, news, video, music, arts, entertainment.
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Two days ago, I happened across Dan Sprague jamming on a little death metal on his way to band practice. Sprague said he's a member of three bands, including the folk-rock band he was practicing with that day.

November 14, 2020 - 5:52pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in music, batavia, arts, entertainment.

This is "So Beautifully" written by John Del Plato and recently recorded by Sage Melcher and The Laura Dubin Trio of Rochester. Carmen Del Plato said The Laura Dubin Trio is a regular performer regularly performs at the Rochester International Jazz Festival.

October 3, 2020 - 7:02pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in music, Old Hippies.

September 13, 2020 - 3:12pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in elba, news, Elba Betterment Committee, music, arts, entertainment.

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The Old Hippies and What About Jane teamed up Saturday for an evening of memorable music as part of a summer concert series sponsored by the Elba Betterment Committee in the Elba Village Park.

Food venders included Dubby's Wood Fired Pizza (pictured below), Los Compadres, Lori's Delectable Edibles (desserts), and Bubble Tea.

The final concert of the season will be Wednesday featuring the Corfu Pembroke Community Band in an All-American-themed evening that will include the Betterment Committee hot dogs and hamburgs and serving Mom's apple pie. And, of course, there will be ice cream. Showtime is 7 p.m.

Photos by Kelly Dudley. 

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September 12, 2020 - 4:55pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in music, elba, Old Hippies, what about jane.

WIth What About Jane and the Old Hippies

September 10, 2020 - 9:37am
posted by Howard B. Owens in elba, music, the batavian sessions, what about jane, news.
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We made this video in August when What About Jane performed in the Elba Village Park as part of the Elba Betterment Committee's summer concert series. The band will be back this Saturday with the Old Hippies for a double-bill End of Summer concert starting at 4 p.m.

There will be an FM radio broadcast (92.7) so concertgoers can sit in their cars, to help maintain social distancing, and listen to the show. It will also be livestreamed.

Food trucks will include Dubby's Wood Fired Pizza, Los Compadres, Lori's Delectable Edibles (desserts), and Bubble Tea.

Donations for the bands will be accepted. The event has been approved by the Health Department.

September 5, 2020 - 9:53am

The Old Hippies and What About Jane are teaming up for a special concert, sponsored by the Elba Betterment Committee, in Elba from 4 to 7 p.m. on Sept. 12.

The concert will be livestreamed and it will also be broadcast on FM radio so people can come to the park and site in their vehicle. Erakare Productions will record the entire concert for future release.

There will be food trucks at the Village Park. 

Bill McDonald, of the Old Hippies, said the Health Department has approved the plans for the concert.

"There will be plenty of spacing for parking and sitting for this end-of-summer event for many to enjoy in a number of ways," McDonald said.

The video below of What About Jane playing "Girls Just Want to Have Fun." 

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September 4, 2020 - 3:35pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in the batavian sessions, music, Eli Fish Brewing Company, video.
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Recorded at Eli Fish, Feb. 15, 2020

August 15, 2020 - 7:08pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in the batavian sessions, elba, music, video.
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The Elba Betterment Committee hosted another night of live music in the Village Park, this time featuring What About Jane, an Albion-based band.

The next show is Thursday, featuring the Old Hippies.

July 25, 2020 - 2:09pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Dave's Ice Cream, news, video, batavia, music, arts, entertainment.
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In the age of COVID, when many indoor activities are curtailed and we're supposed to keep our distance outside, Debra Webster decided she could use the park-like area behind her business, Dave's Ice Cream, on West Main Street, as a place to give people something to do.

This week, she kicked off a summer concert series featuring Austin Wahl, a guitar performance student at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester.

Webster plans free concerts from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Thursday nights during the summer.

July 21, 2020 - 2:57pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in music, arts, entertainment, news, Le Roy.

With no live gigs to play, Le Roy's Justin Williams has been using his time at home to write some instrumental tracks. Today he released "July Morning."

The song was mixed by Joe Lambert, of Batavia.

Williams said the song is inspired by the need to have a bright spot in our daily lives in these times.

"I've written several instrumentals during these strange times," Williams said. "It just felt natural during these divisive times to let the music do the talking. The video was fun to make as well. More on the way. Just gonna keep releasing as singles for now. May put out as an EP at the end of the year."

Williams is a singer/songwriter/lead guitarist and he has released music with Butterscotch, Exit 47, and a pair of solo EPs, as well as playing on other artists' albums (BC Psychos, JJ Lang Band, among others). Additionally, he has written music for advertising (Ryan Heating and Plumbing, The YNGodess Shop, among others). Typically, he can be found performing with Justin Williams & Forward Progress, The Shaking Bones, as a solo acoustic performer, and occasionally with The BC Psychos.

Since we are currently not in ordinary times, you can find Justin and Laura Williams performing on Tuesday evenings at 7 on the Justin Williams and Forward Progress Facebook page.

July 16, 2020 - 1:37pm
posted by Billie Owens in Dave's Ice Cream, news, music, guitarist Justin Wahl.

Starting next Wednesday, July 22, Dave's Ice Cream will host live music outdoors -- in back of the ice cream parlor, located at 3872 W. Main Street Road, Town of Batavia.

Come on down and bring a chair! Music starts at 6:30 p.m.

At the debut event, the talents of guitarist Austin Wahl will delight listeners.

About Austin Wahl

He is a guitarist of many skills. Currently pursuing his master's degree at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, where he also earned a bachelor's degree and Performers' Certificate, Wahl has played classical guitar since age 5.

He is also a skilled bluegrass and rock guitarist, equally at home in all three genres.

(UPDATED July 25: the owner has decided that subsequent concert this season will be on Thursdays, same time -- 6:30 p.m.)

Submitted photo and information from Debra Webster.

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