SHENANDOAH JUNCTION — Moorea Masa & the Mood kicked off the Levitt Amp Music Series summer series at The Amp at Sam Michaels Park last Thursday.
Despite cooler temperatures, people traveled with their children to enjoy the start of summer’s musical fun. The 10-week free concert series is scheduled every Thursday until July 28. Doors open at 6 p.m. each night and the headliner takes the stage at 7 p.m.
The Park Department is able to bring the concerts to the public thanks to a grant from the Mortimer & Mimi Levitt Foundation, a private foundation that enables cities and towns across America to transform underutilized public spaces into thriving destinations, through the power of free live music. .
This is the second season that The Amp at Sam Michaels will host a Levitt series. After winning the grant in 2020, through the efforts of a public vote, the series was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Concerts were presented with the funds in 2021, however, and then the Levitt Foundation graciously extended the grant through 2022.
“Last summer was our first, and The Amp and JCPRC are thrilled to once again bring the series to the community,” said Becki Zaglifa, community development coordinator for the parks system.
The series of concerts continues as on June 2, when The Woodshedders take the stage. An Indie Roots band, the group boasts four all-original albums and studio performances and hundreds of festivals and shows. Featured are Dwayne Brooke on guitar and vocals, Dave VanDeventer on fiddle, Jesse Schultazaberger on drums, Jacob Smith on saxophone and keyboards, and Randy Ball on bass. They bring lyricism and musicality to fun, danceable shows that stray from honky-tonk, gypsy, Appalachian and vintage rock n’ roll, often all in the same song.
Curly Taylor and the Zydeco Trouble are set for June 9, bringing Taylor’s soulful vocals and the group’s driving beat, creating high-energy dance music for all audiences. The music is true to its Zydeco and blues roots, yet contemporary enough to appeal to a wide range of music lovers.
West Virginia native Dawn Renae Rix will bring her powerful voice to the stage on June 16. In a sea of sounding potential performers flooding contemporary country music, Rix is the most refreshing artist to hit Music Row in a long run.
June 23 sees the return of the Kelly Bell Band, the only artist to perform for the second time on The Amp’s Levitt series. The group was a huge hit on the 2021 lineup, bringing elements of hip-hop, funk and blues to the stage.
Kipyn Martin, an emerging independent folk artist whose roots go deep into the banks of the Shenandoah River, will bring her talents to the stage on June 30. She performs at festivals, concert halls, coffeehouses and house gigs from New England to Texas, and has received honors including multiple Gold Awards at the Mid-Atlantic Song Contest and the Washington Area Music WAMMIE Award. Association for the new artist of the year.
Martinsburg native Christian Lopez will light up the stage on July 7. Lopez, who was drawn to music from an early age, caught the eye of Nashville’s top talent scouts in his late teens. Faced with the Christian Lopez Band, who drew inspiration from the Avett Brothers and the bluegrass music of his home country, Lopez traveled to Nashville and caught the eye of producer Dave Cobb, who steered him towards modern country writing.
Wildermiss, an indie rock band from Denver, Colorado, is scheduled to appear on July 14. Emma Cole sings and plays synthesizer, Joshua Hester plays guitar, and Caleb Thoemke plays drums in the band that has sold out every hometown show since 2017 and has grown nationwide, with multiple tours and festivals.
On July 21, The Claudettes will be welcomed to The Amp stage, bringing the blues of Chicago piano, with the full-throttle energy of rockabilly and punk and the sensuality of 60s soul. alongside vocalist Berit Ulseth, bassist/guitarist/vocalist Zach Verfoorn and drummer Michael Caskey.
The concert series concludes on July 28 with Tall Tall Trees, which is the pseudonym of songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Mike Savino. Aspiring to be a bassist in New York’s vibrant jazz and experimental music scene, Savino soon turned to banjo and songwriting. He pioneered a world of psychedelic electric banjo music, captivating audiences with his endless one-man shows.
For more information about the Levitt organization, visit www.levitt.org.