Buckeye Music Magazine
Covering the Music Scene in the Buckeye State

Jimmy’s Mother Earth Day Festival
by Jimmy Cummings
Jimmy's Mother Earth Day Festival 
May is the time we celebrate this big planet we call home and Jimmy’s 2011 Mother Earth Day Festival promised to be a great way to lift our voices in appreciation for Mother Earth. And with a line-up that featured acts from around the Miami Valley, even the threat of rain could not dampen the spirits of those in attendance. Once again Jimmy Hamden put together an array of music that was sure to satisfy. The bands scheduled to perform were: Blue Moon Soup, Kris Hanson, Romeo Champagne, Magic Jackson, The John Mullins Band, Tony Herdman, and the Phish tribute band Oh Kee Pa.
The festivities started around 2:00 when Jimmy took the stage to welcome campers, vendors and the bands to the show. First on the stage were the bluegrass melodies of Blue Moon Soup from Yellow Springs, Ohio. The band took the stage and wasted no time getting the crowd going, setting the stage for a great evening of music. Influenced by the likes of Jerry Garcia, David Grissman, and the Yonder Mountain String Band, the band: Ben Clonch (Guitar, Vocals), Robbie Marion (Fiddle, Vocals), and Jon Bauman (Bass, Vocals) have etch out a sound all their own. Being the opening act for a festival can be a daunting task for some bands. With all the commotion of campers arriving and putting the final touches on the lighting for the evening there can be many distractions.  However the guys from Blue moon Soup were focused on the task at hand (getting the party started). They did just that with tunes like Stealin and one of my favorite tunes, Southbound. These guys are great musicians and they know how to get your feet moving. They were also kind enough to provide campers with music between acts in a separate stage they set-up not far from the main stage. 
Blue Moon Soup@Jimmy's Mother Earth Day Festival   Blue Moon Soup@Jimmy's Mother Earth Day Festival  
Next to perform was Kris Hanson from Dayton, Ohio. Kris took the stage, (barefoot and guitar strapped to his back) and opened his set with Rain and offered a great mix that included a melody of Make Love to You/See You at the Show/Shakedown Street, (my favorite Dead song). For a solo act, Kris is able to create a tremendous sound. He is able to simulate the sound of a full band; playing the guitar, bass, and keyboards. Kris did have some help on a few tunes; Tracy Sax Lakes brought his talents and his saxophone to the stage. Perhaps the crowd’s favorite was Kris’s cover of Pink Floyd’s Another Brick in the Wall. Kris gave a great encore that consisted of Scarlet Begonias and the Dead’s version of Fire on the Mountain. Kris is an amazing musician and his “one man band” performance was incredible.
   Kris Hanson@Jimmy's Mother Earth Day Festival   Kris Hanson@Jimmy's Mother Earth Day Festival
The audience was pumped as Jimmy announced the next band, Romeo Champagne. Also from the Gem City, Romeo Champagne brought their brand of rock/jazz/funk fusion to the campgrounds and things began to heat up, even as the temperatures began to fall. The band, Chris Coalt (Guitar/Vocals), Josh Johnson (Drums/Vocals), Danny "Taxi-Sax" Sauers (Sax/Vocals), and Andrew Scorti (Bass/Vocals) have tremendous chemistry that resonates with the audience. First up was a song called Toad in the Box followed by Check out Mind and Chevy. At one point Robby Marion from Blue Moon Soup and Rob Brockman the drummer for Oh Kee Pah sat in with the band that added even more fire power. Influenced by a variety of music, (Rock, Jazz, Funk, and Reggae), the band has forged a sound that is unique and all Romeo Champagne. The tight vocals and spot on timing of the band make for a very enjoyable set of great music. They finished their set with Rattlesnake, Lil Pocket Hercules, and a song called Boogie City that almost brought down the shelter.
     Romeo Champagne@Jimmy's Mother Earth Day Festival   Romeo Champagne@Jimmy's Mother Earth Day Festival
Another of Dayton’s finest was on tap next; Magic Jackson took the stage with their usual swagger and furry. You could feel the energy as the band took control of the stage, and take control they did! Nathan and the guys took the stage and party was in full throttle. The band line-up was a little different this time around with the addition of John Gentry Jr. (Guitar/Vocals), and Rob Brockman (Drums/vocals). They join Mike McKewen (Bass/Vocals), Nathan Lewis (Guitar//Vocals) to make Magic Jackson an even stronger force than ever before.
The band blasted out my favorite Magic Jackson song, My Name Is Money as well as the rocking tunes, Stage Freight and Psychobabble; they even invited Danny Sauers from Romeo Champagne to set in. The night also included some new material, one of which featured a more laid back sound called Do You Right. By the end of the set, the crowd was a little subdued, (perhaps in anticipation to the rain that was coming, and it was coming). Before their encore Jimmy stepped up on stage and strongly encouraged the audience to show the band the love they just showed them. The place lit up like a Christmas tree and you could feel the vibe as they finished their night as strong as they started, giving the crowd a great show like always.
 Magic Jackson@Jimmy's Mother Earth Day Festival    Magic Jackson@Jimmy's Mother Earth Day Festival   
The John Mullins Band was next to the stage. The crowd was primed and ready, even as the rain began to pour. Mullins, (formally of ekoostik hookah) is a fan favorite and it showed. The rain was relentless but the shelter was full as the band took the stage. John put together a great band for the festival; Sam Collis (bass), Chris Connor (guitar), Steve Frye (Drums), Nate Hollman (Keyboards), and Mullins on (Guitar/Vocals). The campground exploded when the band broke out favorites like Washboard Annie, and Bats in the Belfry. One of the highlights for me was when John showed his love of Pink Floyd and played Pigs from Floyd’s Animals album. The rain was pounding and the light show, provided by Chad McCarty from High Voltage Stage Lighting was amazing, adding to the ambiance. John seemed to be relaxed and the rest of the band followed suit, offering the audience a great experience. The band came out for their encore and played their version of the song Viper. By the end of the set it was clear why the John Mullins Band is a festival favorite.
 John Mullins Band@Jimmy's Mother Earth Day Festival   John Mullins Band@Jimmy's Mother Earth Day Festival
Following the John Mullins Band was Tony Herdman from Dayton. Some acts may have been intimidated playing after a performance like Mullins and his band put on, they were impressive. But Tony confidently took the stage and fed off the energy of the crowd; he opened his set with the Bob Marley’s Redemption Song and smoothly transitioned into the crowd favorite Burn One Down. Tony then invited saxophonist Tracy Lakes to the stage for a couple of tunes. The chemistry between the two was evident, as they rocked the campgrounds. Tony then summoned guitarist Keith Cost and performed the Who’s hit Behind Blue Eyes. Tony then got help from Dino Dimitroleus and Rob Brockman of the Tony Red Band and Oh Kee Pah.  In addition to being a great musician, Tony is one of the nicest guys I have ever met. Tony cranked out a memorable performance and was poised to announce the final band of the night, Oh Kee Pah, the Phish tribute band.
 Tony Herdman@Jimmy's Mother Earth Day Festival    Tony Herdman@Jimmy's Mother Earth Day Festival
There are many “tribute” bands out there these days, but very few great ones that are actually good enough to pay a true “tribute” to the original band; Oh Kee Pah is one of those great bands. Tony Herdman warned the audience that they would not believe the talent that we were about to witness, and he was right. Oh Kee Pah is from Dayton and consist of band mates; Jeremy Armstrong (Guitar, Vocals), Rob Brockman (Drums, Vocals), Dino Dimitroleus (Bass, Vocals), Nathan Springhart- (Keyboards, Vocals). The band was the talk of the festival all day, as everyone was waiting in anticipation of what Dino and Rob, (of the group The Maji) had in store. I can see why, these guys took the stage with musicianship that you expect to hear from national and global bands, but rarely do. Every song seemed to be precise and spot-on Phish. I overheard a friend of mine say, “they sound as much like Phish as Phish does”. Now that’s the ultimate compliment for a “tribute” band. No one wanted the music to end when Oh Kee Pah finished their set around 4am, but what a way to end a GREAT day of music.
 Oh Kee Pah@Jimmy's Mother Earth Day Festival   Oh Kee Pah@Jimmy's Mother Earth Day Festival   
One of the most interesting things about the entire weekend was how much camaraderie there was between the all the members of the bands and even the campers. You hear all the time about the huge egos of some musicians, but you didn’t see that here. All these guys came to the campgrounds for one reason, for the love of the music. In fact, everyone in attendance that day was the same way; we were all there to have a good time with friends and listen to some great music. As always, Jimmy provided a great atmosphere and a terrific line-up. Thanks to all the people who made this event possible including Chubby and Kim Howard who videoed the entire day of music. Most of all, thanks to Jimmy Hamden and his wife for organizing an amazing festival. Can’t wait for next year!
Magic Jackson@Jimmy's Mother Earth Day Festival 
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Contact Information
Chubby Howard: chubby@buckeyemusicmagazine.com
Jimmy Cummings: jimmy@buckeyemusicmagazine.com
Kim Howard: kim@buckeyemusicmagazine.com
Lisa Cummings: lisa@buckeyemusicmagazine.com
© All photos, videos, and content by Chubby Howard, Jimmy Cummings, Kim Howard, Lisa Cummings, and Buckeye Music Magazine unless noted
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