Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Patti Spadaro Band

patti spadaro
Patti Spadaro

Patti Spadaro took a round-about route to the Steel City: the Philly native went to the opposite coast, lived and worked in LA for 10 years, and then moseyed back across the country to Amwell Township in Washington County.

No, she didn't have kin around, but in a reversal from the norm, she relocated here after her hubby John found a job in the area. Spadaro settled in nicely, and started a family. Her daughters Alison, and Kaylee are now in school, freeing up the time for mama Spadaro to get back into the swing of the local music scene.

Spadaro started playing at age 11 and has been performing since age 13. She left Philly armed with a physics degree from Drexel University, but she wasn't going to LA to expand on Newton and Einstein's brainchildren; she was more interested in Jerry Garcia's work.

She played with a couple of local indie rock bands, did session work, and taught guitar.

Starting out with the Mystrals, Spadaro recorded on their CD "A Step Down From Luxury" and toured the southwest with the group.

Then she spent the next several years as the lead guitarist for the Zookeepers, a highly regarded West Coast band. They cut two CDs while she was with them, "The Zookeepers", and "Set Me Free," both big regional sellers. They gigged from San Diego to Seattle, and performed on area TV.

Spadaro also recorded and performed in Los Angeles with singer/songwriter and producer Sherby, along with singer/songwriter Roger Len Smith. She's a graduate of the Musician's Institue in Hollywood, where she studied with jazz/fusion guitarist Scott Henderson and blues/roots-rock guitarist Keith Wyatt.

She organized a benefit concert for Free Arts for Abused Children at the El Rey Theatre in LA with Little Feat as the headliners and the Smith/Spadaro Band opening the show.

In 2001, just before her baby boom and move to Western PA, Spadaro released the CD "Short Stay," recorded and mixed in Laguna Hills. It holds a six-song set of bluesy and jammin' Spadaro-written tunes. She played the lead guitar for all the tracks, and was the featured vocalist for two cuts (the others were sung by Stefana Dadas).

Then it was off to Amwell and the family life. Spadaro didn't entirely stay on the straight and narrow mommy track. She strayed enough to sit in with other bands every so often, hit some jam/open mike nights, and did some writing. In 2007, she did some solo acoustic sets and sat in with theCAUSE, and in 2008, the Patti Spadara Band joined the area's music scene.

The band introduced itself around town in a hurry. Spadara has performed with locals like theCAUSE, Jill West, the Mystic Knights, Tom Breiding, Bill Toms, The Sweaty Betty Blues Band, Women On Top and Craig King. She and the band have played at Moondogs, The Thunderbird CafĂ©, P.D.’s Pub (now Frankie and George's), Cefalo’s, Club Cafe, the Pittsburgh Blues Festival, JamBaloosa Music & Arts Festival, Jamband Festival, Westmoreland Arts & Heritage Fest, pUNKapalooza, Carnegie Music Hall, Southside Works, and Blues Go Pink.

The Patti Spadaro Band features bluesy jam-rock originals and cover songs ranging from soulful to Americana. The players are kinda like a Chinese menu; you have several columns to pick from. The main players around Spadaro, vocalist and lead guitarist, are:

Eric Kurtzrock on drums: He's worked in NY, LA and San Fransisco as a session drummer and has gigged with Eddie Henderson (of The Headhunters), Chipito Ayeres (Santana), Michelle Shocked, David Byrne, Boz Scaggs and many others. You could see Kurt Steinle (from Billy Price & the Rhythm Kings) behind the kit. Or for that matter, Davis Raborn, an acoustic drummer who's played for theimprovproject, Sonic Pulsar and Project Creation, could be poundin' out the beat.

Janelle Burdell was the original drummer; she's worked with Mickey Hart of the Dead and done programming for Planet Drum and The Other Ones and still sits in every so often. Former long-time Rusted Roots drummer Jim Donovan laid down four tracks on the CD, and as a friend of Spadaro's helped her get the band members in place.

Jeff Rosenthal on keyboards: He plays with Erin Burkett and was a member of The Usual Suspects; Denny Karl from the Mandrake Project also sits in on keys. Skip Sanders of The Clarks, Bill Deasy and Good Brother Earl recorded on the CD.

Ken Lamison on bass: He teaches and also plays with Bahama Breeze and Jumboband. Scooter Tamulinas of Bill Deasy and Bill Toms fame played on the CD.

The CD those guys played on is "Bringing Me Back," just released yesterday with a party at Frankie and George's (the old PD's Pub) on Forward Avenue in Squirrel Hill.

It was mastered at Swissvale's Sofa King Studios by Sean McDonald, who has worked with The Clarks, Aretha Franklin, Wynton Marsalis, Sinead O'Connor, and Soul Asylum. Some of the album was recorded at the McMurray studio of local musician Tom Breiding, and Jill Simmons and Cherylann Hawk lent the voices to the project.

The music is cataloged as jam-band American rock, ala Dave Matthews and the Grateful Dead. Songs from the CD, particularly "Live Out Loud," have gotten some airplay on WYEP-FM and local college stations. Spadaro is hoping the CD will help her and the band break out, at least regionally.

Until then, look for the Patti Spadaro Band dates in the paper, or for a stage with Patti doing an acoustic set. You'll get a bluesy jam-rock set with a solid groove and dancin' vibe; they love to get a room - and you - rockin'.

Patti Spadora Band - "Turn On Your Love Light"

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