The Foothill Flyers and Earles of Newtown
Saturday, November 8, 8pm, Tickets $20
Nevada Theater, 401 Broad Street, Nevada City
The Foothill Flyers and the Earls of Newtown will collaborate for an evening of Jazz, Swing and Country to close out this years Nevada City Live concert series. The show will be broadcast live on KVMR FM Nevada City.
Paul Emery and Ray Mann were The Foothill Flyers – disco-folk pioneers emerging from homemade mobile homes to serenade mountain folk of Northern California and the Pacific Northwest in the mid ‘70s.
In 1979 and 1980 Paul teamed up with Anni McCann forming an acoustic duo, playing California, the Midwest and Europe.
Backwoods Jazz grew from projects involving Paul Emery, Tom Schmidt, Anni McCann and Ray Mann. Paul & Tom worked together in the ‘60s and early ‘70 as founders of the notorious Carmichael Traveling Street Band, heard at Sweets Mill and Berkeley Folk Festivals along with early gigs at the historic Nevada Theatre in Nevada City.
Tom joined to form Emery, Schmidt & McCann, whose ’81 album Backwoods Jazz launched tours of Europe and the West. The addition of Ray created the Backwoods Jazz Quartet, releasing an album by the same name in 1982. The group’s quintet sound is due to Ray’s facility on bass and drums – he plays them simultaneously.
The group continued to tour and record through the ‘80s with their album Whatever Happened to the Tango being released in 1986. In ’86 and ’87 John Girton joined as featured instrumentalist playing both guitar and clarinet. The “dueling clarinets” of Girton and Schmidt became a signature part of their show.
Joining the Foothill Flyers for this reunion concert will be Tom Schmidt, John Girton and some-time Flyer guitarist Bob Woods.
The Earles of Newtown swing and sway through a time machine of American dance music ranging through Dixieland jazz, classic ragtime, country swing, wailing blues and genre-defying originals. This multigenerational band appeals to an equally multigenerational audience. If you like to dance, you’re going to love this band no matter what your age.
The eight-piece ensemble features two vocalists, three lead instrumentalists and a backup/rhythm section that generates a gotta-dance vibe.
Musical director J. Earle Ford leads the band with a deceptively laid-back, jazzy vocal style and a hot trumpet. Just to keep things interesting, he also mixes it up with an alto horn, trombone and the occasional kazoo.
Front man Chad Conner Crow shares vocals with Ford. He keeps the energy up on washboard and showmanship reminiscent of musical legends like Cab Calloway. Jim Trefethen jazzes it up with flashy solos on soprano and alto saxophone. Bob Woods brings it on with a blazing country rock guitar.
The backup/rhythm section provides a wall of sound with Joe Fajen on trombone, “Texas” Dave Wilcox on tenor banjo and guitar, Doug Bianchi on stand-up bass, and Karl Chelette on drums.
On most songs, the band showcases the lead performers trading off virtuoso solos, but when the whole band kicks in, they blast the audience back a few inches with a tsunami of jazz rock power.