| || |
Area Musicians Making Their Mark
June 25, 2009 - Jim Price
In recent weeks, several local and regional bands have been helping to put the area and state’s music scenes on the map.
As reported previously in my blog, local blues-rocking favorites Felix & the Hurricanes punched their ticket to compete in next February’s International Blues Challenge in Memphis. The group recently won the finals of the Pittsburgh Blues Challenge, presented by the Blues Society of Western Pennsylvania. The group will represent western Pennsylvania in the International Blues Challenge.
In late April, Halestorm – a band who cut their teeth and paid their dues with frequent gigs in the Altoona area – released their first studio album on Atlantic Records. The first single off the album, “I Get Off,” is receiving nationwide rock radio airplay. And Halestorm is presently involved with the “Stimulate This” concert tour, performing on bills with Shinedown, Staind, Saving Abel and others.
In early June, Indiana heavy rockers Solegion announced their advancement to the big leagues. Solegion has signed with Mortal Music, the label owned by Tim King of Soil and Rob Such of Twelfth Gate. Solegion travels to Chicago in July to record at Dope Factory Studios, owned by Edsel Dope of the band Dope. The album will be engineered by Justin Wilk, who has worked with Staind, Finger Eleven and other groups. The CD should be released nationwide in early November.
And Altoona’s Chris Vipond and the Stanley Street Band have been advancing in online voting for the Mid Atlantic Band Competition, vying with other groups for the opportunity to perform at Bethlehem’s prestigious annual music festival, Musikfest, in early August. The group made it into the top ten most voted-for bands; four groups will be selected to perform at this year’s Musikfest, and one grand prize winner will receive a guaranteed performance slot at Musikfest 2010, a cash prize and a professional video shoot of their Musikfest performance.
These are all bands that have logged time playing on Altoona area stages over the past few years. It’s another fun aspect of supporting and exploring the names and faces that frequent the local music scene, because you never know when a band you see on a Friday or Saturday night might punch their ticket to that next level in their career, and perhaps someday become a household word.
Felix & the Hurricanes, entertaining festival goers during the pre-dawn hours at Cosmic Jam, staged earlier this month at Lincoln Caverns Amphitheater near Huntingdon.