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RIP bassist and long time Philly music scene contributor Steve Demarest

demarest We’re extremely saddened to hear the news that bassist and long time Philly music scene musical contributor Steve Demarest passed away yesterday from complications from an aortic dissection yesterday (October 6th). In a message to the e-mail list of folk-rock band John Train, singer and vocalist Jon Houlon wrote:

Steve lost consciousness between John Train sets at Fergie’s on Friday night. He was rushed by ambulance to Jefferson Hospital. He went down and never came back up. “Aortic dissection” led to various complications that could not be reversed. There was no sign, no nothing. It just suddenly occurred. Steve’s exit was fast, painless, and peaceful. The last thing he did was the thing he enjoyed most: playing music. The last song we played together was Butch Hancock’s “Boxcars.”

Demarest, born in 1953 in Camden, New Jersey, was a long time player and contributor in the Philly music scene. Over the years, he performed with the Hens, the Leisure Kings, played with Rodney Anonymous in Burn Witch Burn, and in 1999 Steve joined Slo-Mo featuring Mic Wrecka. Steve has been the bassist for John Train since the band formed in 1996.

The band’s regular performances at Fergie’s Pub were some of the best acoustic music sessions this town had on a regular basis, and over the years, Steve had a quiet, but powerful influence on the creative energy of the local music scene here. Our condolences and thoughts go out to his family, friends and fans, and anyone he touched when hearing the music he was involved with. A tribute to Steve will be held on Friday, October 18th at Fergie’s Pub at 6PM, the time when John Train would be performed their weekly two set show. They’ll be more information about the memorial on the John Train web site here shortly.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: XPN welcomes Charles Bradley to Union Transfer, Morning River Band at MilkBoy, XPN welcomes Mary Chapin Carpenter to the Keswick Theatre, MAD Dragon Anniversary Concert at The Trocadero

charles bradley

XPN welcomes Charles Bradley to Union Transfer tonight.  The “Screaming Eagle of Soul” entertained the crowd during a recent Free at Noon performance with his exuberant showmanship and knock-out funk / R&B songs.  Following up his 2011 full-length debut, the 64-year-old crooner released Victim of Love earlier this year.  Tickets and information for tonight’s show with Paul & the Tall Trees can be found here.  Watch the former James Brown impersonator perform “Why Is It So Hard?” live on the Public Radio Rocks stage at SXSW below.

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Listen to “Lefty’s Last Blues” from Morning River Band’s new LP (playing MilkBoy on 5/17)

morning river band Building up the anticipation for their forthcoming record To Suzie, local country outfit Morning River Band have made lead single “Lefty’s Last Blues” available for streaming.  With sauntering, strummy acoustic guitars and twangy pedal steel guitars backing up some down-home, porch-swinging vocals, the initial summery sound of the track hides the seriousness of its message, namely the consequences of alcoholism.  Morning River Band will release To Suzie on May 21st and will celebrate with a show at MilkBoy Philly on May 17th with John Train and The Miners.  Tickets and information for the 21+ show can be found here.  Stream “Lefty’s Last Blues” below.

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The 65th Annual Pastorius Park Free Summer Concert Series returns to Chestnut Hill

Cheers Elephant at Pastorius Park, 2011
Cheers Elephant at Pastorius Park, 2011

The Chestnut Hill Community Association has released details for their annual free concert series, kicking off on June 19th with Suzie Brown and running through July 31st with John Train.  The shows will happen every Wednesday evenings and will feature top local acts in indie rock, Americana, jazz and more.  The full schedule is listed below; go here for more information.  Check out a photo recap of Cheers Elephant’s appearance at the park in 2011 here and watch Suzie Brown on NBC’s 10! Show below.

June 19 Suzie Brown
June 26 The John Byrne Band
July 03  The Dukes of Destiny
July 10  Aaron & The Spell
July 17  Cheers Elephant
July 24  Phyllis Chapell & SIORA
July 31  John Train

For more information on the Pastorius Park Free Summer Concert go here.