Weekend of local rock volume 76

Subtitled: The long-awaited return!

You know, I never really thought I would go almost 2 1/2 years between WLR volumes 75 and 76. But thanks to some irresponsible (or sinister) technicians in a Chinese lab, we had this pandemic from what some call COVID-19. I call it the CCP virus; regardless, it put a real damper on live music for the better part of a year and a half, including two summers. This fall we are finally beginning to see a recovery back to normal and one thing that sealed the deal for us going to the Unify Delaware Festival last month was the opportunity to see some live performances.

You may recall that in the past I’ve done a lot of multiband shows where I basically have space for the photo and a short overview. This time, though, I really have a bit of room to stretch my legs, as it were. The Unify Delaware Festival had three acts scheduled, and I caught the latter two: Jovon Newman and Trent and the Trainwreck. (The band I missed was Lincoln City.)

The second act, who played when the largest number was present, was local singer Jovon Newman.

Newman presents a unique story and, it can be argued, is a product of new technology that allows easier integration of a instrumental backing track. (I have a social media friend several states away who does the same thing, but specializes in Frank Sinatra songs and others in that vein.) I certainly won’t argue that Jovon doesn’t put his own stamp on things, though – one song with a twist I enjoyed is a tune that should be in his wheelhouse, Wagon Wheel.

Jovon wasn’t afraid to engage with the audience, such that it was when he began. It’s an advantage of his performing genre.

In reading his story, I can see just how he got his stage presence and demeanor. Jovon looked like he was having a good time and as the show moved along the crowd warmed up to him. His song mix was a pleasing combination that drew from both country and pop, so he was working in that crossover appeal with an audience that was most likely to lean in that direction.

Newman, though, only did about a 50-minute set, which left sort of a blank space that didn’t get filled by the DJ immediately. (You can see the next band was already pretty much set up in the photos.) It may be a product of him primarily playing on social media rather than a stage, but as he fills out his repertoire a little bit (he’s put out two singles in recent months) Jovon could get enough to be a headliner. If not, he has a valuable daytime job with the Delaware Air National Guard, which allows him to make music a hobby he can really devote himself to. (Sort of like writing for me, I guess.)

After that long pause, we were treated to Trent and the Trainwreck. As they describe it, they play “Southern Rock, Country, Red Dirt, originals, and everything in between.” Based on what they played: check, check, check, check, and check. (Okay, I’m assuming they did “Red Dirt” since that’s a description I’d not heard before. But I think they played it since they covered the rest.)

Closing the festivities for the day were the country-rockers Trent and the Trainwreck.

As opposed to Jovon Newman, who primarily “plays” online, Trent and the Trainwreck have done a fairly full complement of shows in various configurations: over the last few months they have played venues all over the coastal regions of slower lower Delaware like Lewes, Milton, and Rehoboth, venturing as far as Ocean City once, and in looking at social media they are already lining up shows for 2022. (One intriguing show: it looks like they’re playing the hopefully-resurrected Blessing of the Combines in Snow Hill, Maryland next August.)

So these guys had fun. As an example: the second song in, as I’m downing a great burger, was Folsom Prison Blues. All right, good choice for the crowd. But then it suddenly morphed into a song I wasn’t familiar with but somehow fit: I Don’t Even Know Your Name by Alan Jackson. Interesting, since I was today years old when I learned what the song was called – I just remember the lyric about marrying the waitress. Then back to Folsom Prison we went.

Throw in a couple originals of theirs, and you get the idea. I always have a thing for bands unafraid to play their own stuff – it may not be great or even that good, but to me (as someone who, admittedly, can’t carry a tune in a bucket) that’s how you grow as a musician. I think doing the originals will also help them shape the cover songs to their style better since they didn’t always quite to seem (to my ear) to match a complementary vocal style to the cover song. But maybe that’s the Red Dirt style coming out? (Just kidding.)

I think I’ll put up a few more pictures of the band that Kim took now…

My apologies to the drummer – if I had known Kim was taking these I would have gotten a close-up. They always get the short end of the (drum)stick.

Okay, I’ll show myself out. Let’s just hope I don’t have to wait 2 1/2 years to do the next volume of Weekend of Local Rock (and my first as a Delaware resident.)

Unify Delaware 2021 in pictures and text

Well, the stars aligned just so as the family obligation I thought was yesterday turned out to be next Saturday and my balky knees didn’t balk so walking around wasn’t too unpleasant. So Kim and I took the 45-minute drive across slower lower to Hudson Fields over Milton way to check out the first (hopefully first annual) Unify Delaware Festival.

Veterans of this site know how this works now: the photos get their own caption and help tell the story, although I may write a little more to move the narrative along. Fair warning: it’s a long post alert because I picked out 29 pictures.

Hudson Fields is probably better known as an outdoor concert venue, but the place provided plenty of room for the UDF. Photo by Kim Corkran.
Entering the Unify Delaware Festival it didn’t look like much, but it turned out well nonetheless.
For a first-time effort, the event had an impressive and broad list of sponsors.
Given the Patriots for Delaware slogan “Freedom in Unity” it’s no surprise that was the chosen theme.

Let me talk a moment about the sponsor. I saw some scuttlebutt planted by certain political operatives on social media questioning the motives and principles of Patriots for Delaware, with the scare quotes about them being an “anti-vax” and “anti-mask” group. Does “my body, my choice” only apply in situations when government coercion isn’t present? There were a few there in masks, and that was fine because it was their choice. Let’s work from that happy medium, shall we?

I’m going to move on with the post. In any event like this where one is present, the first place I go is to the car show. They had one – but when we got there, someone else was dropping in to check things out.

After the National Anthem was sung at noon, we had a skydiver drop in. They ended up auctioning off the flags later. Photo by Kim Corkran.
Want. I bet it’s a cool way to flatten stuff (besides pavement.)

Oh, they had more than cars there. Lots of construction implements, this above being one sample. Now we’ll do the cars, beginning with the overview below and then focusing on some beauties.

There were probably 40-50 cars in the show, which was pretty good turnout to me.
Of the group, this was probably my favorite – a first-generation Chevy Monte Carlo.
There were several Camaros there, but I always thought the Pontiac Firebird was a little cooler – even with the flames.
It’s almost Halloween, so why not have a designated driver? Better than the hearse on display down the line.
If there’s a little red truck, my wife will find it. It’s the same model year I am, but in a LOT better shape. Photo by Kim Corkran.
What is this thing?

It’s a Thing.

Yeah, I know it’s a thing, but what’s the car called?

I told you, it’s a Thing!

The Laurel and Hardy-type references can go on and on with this one. Thanks, Volkswagen. Someone also had a nice Karmann Ghia there.
If that wasn’t bad enough, we had cars in character. You can’t see the Darth Vader on the hood. Pity. Photo by Kim Corkran.
This guy wasn’t part of the car show, but the window was worthy of inclusion.
You’ll have to trust me because I try to avoid photographing kids, but we had the trifecta there: planes, trains (the little tram running around), and automobiles. I think they were taking very brave people up in this plane.

Thanks for indulging me on that one. There was a lot of other stuff going on, and I have a nose for finding certain people and groups.

This group is seeking a Convention of States to address term limits, a balanced budget, and government overreach. Problem is getting 34 states in our (supposedly) federalist republic to agree that’s a bug and not a feature.
They clustered the political groups together so people could stay away. (Just kidding – sort of.)

A little scoop about the Julianne Murray tent – according to the volunteer in her tent, Murray was not present because she was fundraising upstate. Part of the reason: she will have a primary opponent (read: stalking horse.)

There were quite a few vendors there. It wasn’t an overly expensive event to set up for (having done Good Beer Festival and Autumn Wine Festival in the past, by comparison this one was really affordable) so it was a strong showing for a first-time event.
A prime example of unity: tie-dye shirts. Or maybe my wife just liked them. Photo by Kim Corkran.
Sure, these were vendors, but the flags were placed in a sweet spot for photos.
This HAD to be a big seller. Photo by Kim Corkran.
Blessing or a curse? An event that drew hundreds of people only had two food vendors. I will say the Blue Ribbon Burger that came from SmashMouth (on the right) was a smash with me! Probably in my top 20 I’ve ever had, it was that good. The taco place (Tacos Mexigo) on the left looked like it had good stuff too, but they ran out of burritos and I like them better than tacos.
The kids had their own place to play as well. Bet there were a lot of tired little ones.
As predicted, I did not participate in the loosely organized cornhole tournament.
And if I can’t accurately toss a bean bag…well, are you kidding?
The organizers had their own space with information and various other ways to attract those dollars from your wallet. My finger was not part of it.
If you liked this sign, it was yours for the low price of $10.
It was a modest silent auction, but decent for a first-time event.
Later on, there was a live auction for several larger items. This design was one of the boards they used in the cornhole tournament.

You notice the stage there? Well, I have some good news: I get two posts out of this! After a extremely way too long hiatus, the Unify Delaware Festival provided me the occasion to bring back Weekend of Local Rock next week! So look for more pictures and text, and maybe some suggestions for their prospective repeat performance next fall – right in the middle of campaign season. Should be fun like this one was.

And to all the naysayers: you really, truly missed an opportunity to unify with a bunch of good people.

The prospect of unifying

I used to do this more often, but still there’s once in awhile I’ll promote an upcoming event even if my prospects for attendance are limited.

Saturday looks like a nice day weatherwise, with a high in the upper 60s. What is most likely to keep me away is the possibility of a family obligation.

What piqued my interest in this event is the sponsor (Patriots for Delaware) and the idea that it’s billed as a family-friendly event. That’s not to say there won’t be hot and cold running politicians there – after all, $10 a person is pocket change for most of them – but it’s not the focus of the proceedings. I would be scoping out the silent auction and maybe dropping a coin or two on the 50/50 raffles while checking out the car show and the bands.

(I like to play cornhole, but my time in the cornhole tournament would be limited to the amount of time it takes for my opponent to throw a half-dozen bean bags in the hole. This is based on experience.)

Of course, this is a busy time of year for everyone as fall sports are in full swing, families begin to get ready for Halloween, and a lot of other church and school-sponsored fall festivals dot the calendar on October Saturdays. The weather is generally cool and that brings people outside, too. So their prediction of thousands may or may not be optimistic – I would consider Unify Delaware a smashing success with 5,000 people. Having worked on the Autumn Wine Festivals for several years, I know it draws about that many during a two-day run – granted, it has a higher price point but they serve alcohol, which Unify Delaware won’t do. Unify Delaware will have more space, too. So I think attendance of 5,000 is very doable, and as a fundraiser it could reach six digits.

So if the family and the old arthritic knees are willing, I may see you there Saturday. Sounds like fun for an afternoon.