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Concert Review at Vinyl Revival: Jonathan J Bower and The Manatawany Creek Ramblers Dec 27
 
  by: JoeS - Springfield, PA
started: 01/01/14 1:47 pm | updated: 01/01/14 1:54 pm
 
The Vault at Vinyl Revival is a unique place to see and hear live music. The concert venue coupled with the record shop is unusual but natural. Combinations like chocolate and peanut butter at frist seem unusual but we all know are wonderful! Well so is this shop! Having about 50 seats is both a limitation and a major advantage. The seating is in the vein of a very small stadium setup with the first row being individual seats and the back seat of an old station wagon. I want to mention this place has real character; how many places do you know have old car seats as audience seating? Adding to the milieu are its two neighbors: a coffee shop and the Lansdowne Theater.

On Friday night Dec. the 27th, I attended a concert. Arriving about a 45 minutes early, I had the opportunity to talk with both of the acts as well as browse the album inventory and just shoot the breeze with the owners and guests. To understand how welcoming this place is, there are always cookies/candy and some drinks supplied by owners Greg and Andrea.

First up was Jonathan J. Bower, a local Lansdowne guy, who moved to Alaska as an adventure and stayed. As he said a couple of times, Alaska gets its tentacles in you. While visiting relativse and friends for the holidays, we were lucky enough to have him to do some songs. He is sort of a troubadour, a restless soul who sings of life, love gained and lost, hope and resilience. He did about 6 or so songs. He had a rough authentic voice and interesting phraseology. His lyrics have lots of hooks and pauses that give you pause to think about your own life situation. I thought “Tough” was a self portrait of love lost, painted with sorrow and at the end resignation. On the other side of the aisle was “Rodin's Hands” which lasered in on the building and creating side of life and relationships. A fitting way to move into the second act that is fronted by his brother Daniel Bower, lead singer of the Manatawany Creek Ramblers.

The Ramblers are really a loose group of folks who get together to perform and record. They are pure bluegrass and roots music. On this night we had Daniel Bower on lead vocals, guitar and mandolin; Michael Beackly played banjo; Bob Beach played harmonica; and John Scuerman played the upright bass. The harmonica player was just exceptional. He played like he was part of a symphony. He was a maestro of his instrument in the vein of Sonny Terry and Allen ”Blue Owl” Wilson. I did not get a set list and really did not write down most of the titles. The vocals were passionate and very tight, the rapport with the audience sincere, and the performance was both enjoyable and top drawer.

The Manatawny Creek Ramblers performed 10 or so songs, most blue grass, however, they did a Neil Young cover of “Are There Anymore Real Cowboys.” The harmony was 2 and 3 part while everyone took a turn at lead, all did a fine job. I bought a CD and they gave me another. After listening to the CD, I recognized they also performed “Manatawny,” and “Moonlight Moon.” The band hails from Fleetwood, Berks County, Pa. They are a down home group of folks who live and breathe music. They listen to Lou Reed and John Prine, sort of a interesting mix of styles that they bring to their performances.

The Vault is located within the Vinyl Revival record shop. You can see what concerts the shop is offering as well as buy albums from their websites www.vinylrevivalrecords.com. You can follow the performers via their websites, Jonathan J Bower at www.jonathanjbower.com and the Manatawany Creek Ramblers at www.manatawanycreekramblers.com. Both have upcoming concerts and music available for purchase, give them a look!
 
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(2) responses

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 by: JoeS - Springfield, PA | responded: 01/01 1:50 pm
 
The Vault


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 by: JoeS - Springfield, PA | responded: 01/01 1:54 pm
 
Jonathan Bower and The Manatawny Creek Ramblers

 

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