Buckeye Music Magazine
Covering the Music Scene in the Buckeye State

  Wham Bam Thank You Jam

Written by Jimmy Cummings

The weekend of August 19th & 20th promised to be one to remember. Our travels this week took us to the Wham Bam Thank You Jam at beautiful Hannon’s Camp America near Hueston Woods State Park. This was my first trip to Camp America but Hueston Woods is one of my favorite places to be, so I knew Lisa and I were in for the time of our lives. Tracy “Sax” Lakes was in charge of the weekend’s line-up and he did a great job putting together a variety of music from around the Buckeye State like Under the Sun, Boogie Matrix, Aliver Hall, Oh Kee Pa, and many more; as well as a band from Alabama called Happy Lemmy. We were greeted by Peggy Wilson who was running the gate; she made us feel welcome as soon as we arrived. We were a little late but we were able to get to the stage in time to see Kris Hanson along with Tracy Lakes on sax. As soon as I get to the stage Tracy reaches down and gives me a GIANT hug; that was pretty much the vibe of the entire weekend, lots of love and good friends. It was awesome!


Friday evening Kris Hanson gave the audience a glimpse of his mastery; he was also scheduled to perform on Saturday as well; can’t ever get too much Hanson! Kris will joke that he does not have the best voice or be the most talented musician, but he is being modest. In my opinion Kris Hanson is one of the most underrated musicians in the area. Hanson is always entertaining and ALWAYS brings a crowd to the stage; isn’t that what you want in a musician? Kris was followed by Tony Herdman who had some very special guest join him to the stage. Tony’s sister Nicci was kind enough to accompany Tony and Tracy joined him on Sax along with Bassist J. Bass. Acoustic Guitar, Sax, and Bass; an unusual combination, but they made it work, the guys sounded was great together! Brown Street Breakdown came to Camp America with some great Blues and Classic Rock; the band features Fast Eddie Miller on Bass and the guys took it up a notch with songs like “The More I Love Women.”At one point in the set Danny Sauer joined the band and added his groove to an already great band.

Romeo Champagne were the next performers to take the stage. I was stoked when I saw the guy’s coming up the hill to prepare for their set; it has been awhile since I’ve seen Danny Sauers and the guys so I was more than ready to get my groove on with some Romeo. Chris Coalt was a monster on Guitar that night, as a matter of fact; the entire band was as tight as I have ever seen them. Josh Johnson is an incredible Drummer and his voice was made for Romeo Champagne. Combine that with Andrew Scorti tearing up the Bass and Danny on Sax, this band draws quite a crowd under the night time sky. Happy Lemmy from Alabama followed Romeo for one of their two weekend sets; more on these guys later. The Enablers from Dayton came to the stage and rocked the campgrounds with some great Classic Rock. The guys played plenty of great tunes like the Hendrix hits "Red House" and "Are You Experienced." I really enjoyed these guys! The next group to the Stage was Boogie Matrix from Toledo. Boogie always draws a crowd, hell their “Crush Team” makes sure of that. Johnny Kuntz and Boogie Matrix Mechanism have quite a following and it is cool see the devotion of their fans. One of the highlights of their set was when Danny Sauers joined Boogie on stage. Talk about tight, that was crazy! The guys of Boogie are: Johnny Kuntz (Guitar, Vocals), Ben Durham (Bass/vocals), Bob Maltby (Guitar), Jim Kahmann (Keys), and Seth Kafoure (Drums).


I woke up early Saturday morning to drive Lisa back home, (sorry that she had to go to work) and then back to Camp America. As hard as I tried I couldn’t make it back in time for Kris Hanson, sorry Kris. I did make it in time for Brian Henke; one of the performers I was looking forward to seeing for the first time this weekend. Henke is a classical Guitar master by trade and Brian showcased his talent on Saturday. The backdrop was perfect, Mother Nature’s splendor and Brian’s beautiful acoustic set made for one of those “Zen” moments. I was fortunate to catch up with Brian for awhile after his set and enjoyed hearing about all the wonderful musicians he has had the opportunity to play with over the years as well as his annual benefit concert for the homeless called “The Woodchoppers Ball.” Brian is the Founder and Promoter of the event that benefits the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless. The Woodchoppers Ball is held every December and features many of the world’s best acoustic guitarists. It was cool watching Brian’s eyes light up while talking about the event; you can tell the project is near to his heart. Brian was followed by another solo act; Alec Delphenich. Alec is a singer/songwriter from Dayton and has a smooth and soothing style was a great follow-up to Brian’s ser. Just being around Alec will make you smile and he has a great since of humor as was evident when his buddy Tony Herdman harassed him about his phobia of cardboard cutouts.
After three great acoustic sets it was time to wake up those still incoherent from the festivities the night before. Gild the Lilly, (another band from the Gem City) took the stage and began their attack on the Wham Bam audience. Our buddy Kris Cook plays Keys for the band that describes their sound as Psychedelic Rock. Along with band mates Jason Doherty (Drums), Jason Rhodes (Guitar), and Bill Kosins (Bass), Gild the Lilly got the campgrounds stirring and the blood pumping with songs like “Not in My House.” These put on a great show and Doherty is a lot of fun to watch on Drums; catch them if you can! Up next was Happy Lemmy, these guys kind of surprised the Wham Bam crowd the day night before. Little was known about these rockers from Hayden, Alabama until they took Wham Bam by storm; the three piece band consist of Joel Smith (Lead Vocals, Guitar), Michael Callahan (Bass, Vocals), and Eric Fulgham (Drums). These guys brought so much energy to the stage it was sick; I mean Smith is a Wildman on Guitar and Callahan thumps one of the coolest Bass Guitars I have ever seen. Combined with the destruction Fulgham displays on Drums and you have one powerful Rock & Roll show. By the end of the weekend everyone was well aware of Happy Lemmy, I can’t wait to hear these guys again!
I have had the pleasure of seeing the next band a couple of times over the past month; Nine False Suns from Dayton. The guys seemed refreshed when they took the stage despite the heat, which was a good thing because they had to follow Happy Lemmy who just tore up the campgrounds. But Rich Reuter and the guys were more than ready to show why they are a regular on the festival scene. The band combines a variety of influences into an original sound that makes you stand up and take notice. The band is Reuter on (Guitar, Lead vocals), Chris Lee (Guitar), Greg Lewis (Bass), Justin Moore (Drums), and Erich Reith (Percussion). Nine False Suns are more than capable to share the stage with anyone and they proved it on Saturday with an awesome set. The band called Tyrohill was next to the stage. I have heard a lot of great things about this band and for good reason, these guys ROCK. Their set began with Alex Hall (Aliver Hall) joining the guys on stage and progressed into one of the best sets of the weekend. Talk about energy, these have it to spare and they destroyed every tune.  The dueling Guitars of Goodnight and Tauscher give the band a riff filled sound that will satisfy the rocker in all of us. Tyrohill is Jim Garibaldi (Bass, Vocals), David Nees (Drums), Ian Goodnight (Lead Guitar), and Jim Tauscher (Guitar, Vocals).

The band called Hood Hound was next to the stage. The five piece band came armed with a variety of sounds that included Rock, Funk, and Blues. The guys were a good fit for the festival and the fans seemed to think so too. Hood Hound gave way to the group Prophets Mire from Dayton. To introduce the band was who we referred to as “Butterfly Girl” at least I think she introduced them; I was trying to be professional and make sure I didn’t miss the shot so my eyes were glued to the stage.These guys have a great sound that is a little Rock, a little Blues, and Southern Rock; in fact the song “Gallows” reminds me a lot of the group Dire Straits. Prophets Mire is James Cavender (Vocals, Guitar), Dale Lutz (Lead Guitar, Mandolin), Mike Gregg (Drums) and Mark Satterfield (Bass). Hope to see these guys again real soon! The weekend even had a Wham Bam wedding. Randy Williams and Kathy Weinel became Mr. and Mrs. on Saturday and the Wham Bam Fest made for one hell of a reception.
After a beautiful wedding and the sun had set, it was time to light the bonfire. This was no ordinary bonfire; this thing was like 25 to 30 feet tall before it was lit. This fire was amazing, illuminating the entire campground/stage area. It was cool to be behind the stage jamming on some Aliver Hall and seeing all the folks enjoying the HUGE flames; and then the fireworks go off. I get cold chills just thinking about it; it was unbelievable. Fireworks, bonfires, fire spinners, and folks dancing everywhere; I think the guys from Aliver Hall were somewhat inspired by the show happening in front of them because the guys from Akron lit up the stage. Alex Hall (Guitar, Vocals) is one of those guys you just like being around and what a performer. Along with Jim Tauscher (Guitar, Vocals), Matt "Bones" Johnson (Drums), Spencer Cutlip (Bass), and Paulie Silvidi  (Keyboards), Aliver Hall is a band you have to see live. As is the next band to perform, Oh Kee Pa. On the bands Facebook page it reads, “Oh Kee Pa (A Celebration of Phish), but I should read “A Celebration of Talent.” Oh my God these guys are absurd! The combination of Jeremy Armstrong (Guitar, Vocals), Rob Brockman (Drums, Vocals), Dino Dimitrouleas (Bass, Vocals), and Nathan Springhart (Keyboards, Organ, and Vocals) is more than a tribute; Oh Kee Pa brings Phish to life.
The Ohms from Cincinnati have been an Ohio favorite for over a decade. The three piece band was at Wham Bam warming up for their annual fest called Ohmstead held this year right here at Camp America. I witnessed The Ohms for the first time at Summer Shakedown II and the guys blew me away so I figured there was no way they could duplicate that performance. Boy was I wrong. Many consider The Ohms a Reggae band; well if this is the direction of Reggae, “I’m all in.” David Danforth (Lead Vocals, Guitar), Chet Johnson (Drums), and Psycho D (Bass, Vocals) put on a “Rock Show” that I will remember long after the festival season is over. The next band to rock Wham Bam was Magic Jackson from Dayton. These guys have been tearing up the festival scene hot and heavy all summer. I’ve seen this band several times over the summer and I can tell you they are gaining steam and popularity with every performance. It is kind of cool to watch as new fans jump onto the Magic Jackson train. There is a reason for the excitement, Nathan Lewis (Guitar, Vocals), Rob Brockman (Drums, Vocals), John Gentry Jr. (Guitar), and Mike McKewen (Bass, Vocals) are mastering their craft and it shows with each performance. And I have to just throw this out there; Gentry is one of the best Guitarists in the region. These guys made photographing them very difficult that night; it’s hard to take pics when you can’t keep still. I strongly suggest that you check these guys out and get on board because “this train is unstoppable.”
My first fest of the summer was Peace Fest hosted by the next band Under the Sun; boy do they know how to throw a party. The band that calls Columbus home is one of my favorites; there is something about their sound that adds to the atmosphere on a dark summer night. Jack Lewis (Guitars), Danny Shuttleworth (Lead Vocals), Chase Williams (Guitar), Jeff Kassner (Bass), Steven Bustos (Drums), and Tyler Austin (Keys) offer up a mixture of Rock, Jazz, Funk, and Psychedelic grooves that fans flock too. The band that had the unfavorable task of following so many great performances was the Dayton band M87. My first encounter with these guys was a week earlier at the Miami Valley Music Fest and the band blew me away, so I knew the guys were up to the task. I first compared the band to Porcupine Tree but the more I listen to them, I hear a band that is forging their own identity into a unique sound that is quickly gain respect in the music community. Tim Hobbs (Lead Vocals, Guitar, Drums, Keyboards), John Yanity (Guitar, Drums, Keyboards), Colin Moore (Bass, Backing Vocals), and Josh Johnson (Guitar) make up M87 (em-ate-seven). At one point in the show Hobbs gives up his Guitar and Yanity his skins as the pair switch instruments; and neither miss a beat, it’s pretty cool to watch. M87, remember the name and don’t miss these guys if you get the chance to see them.

The Wham Bam Thank You Jam was an amazing festival and offered something for everyone; bonfires, body painting, good friends, and great music. There are so many people to thank I am afraid I will leave someone out; if I do I apologize. First I would like to thank Tracy Lakes and Abigail Axe (glad we finally met) for allowing Buckeye Music Magazine to be a part of this great festival; all your hard work was worth it and much appreciated. Thanks to Peggy Wilson and her enthusiastic welcome and continued support of BMM, you are awesome! Thanks to the good people at Hannon’s Camp America, you have a beautiful facility, thanks for sharing. Thanks to all the bands who allow me to be all up in their business to get my shots, if I’m ever in your way just give me the boot! Thanks to all the vendors and all the guys in the VIP area for keeping us all fed and hydrated, as well as Ryan and Chad Rothermel for letting us invade their space. And the biggest thanks goes out to the fans, you guys made Wham Bam Thank You Jam a lot of fun. See ya next year!

Disclaimer: These are the events as I recall them. If my timeline is different than the one that occurred please forgive me. I told you I had fun!




Wham Bam Thank You Jam Fun



Aliver Hall@Wham Bam Thank You Jam
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Romeo Champagne@Wham Bam Thank You Jam
Happy Lemmy
Happy Lemmy@Wham Bam Thank You Jam
Oh Kee Pa@Wham Bam Thank You Jam
Oh Kee Pa@Wham Bam Thank You Jam 
Magic Jackson@Wham Bam Thank You Jam
Brian Henke
Brian Henke@Wham Bam Thank You Jam
Boogie Matrix Mechanism@Wham Bam Thank You Jam 
Brown Street Breakdown@Wham Bam Thank You Jam 
Nine False Suns@Wham Bam Thank You Jam
M87@Wham Bam Thank You Jam
Under the Sun@Wham Bam Thank You Jam
Kris Hanson@Wham Bam Thank You Jam

Alec Delphenich@Wham Bam Thank You Jam 
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Tony Herdman@Wham Bam Thank You Jam
Prophets Mire@Wham Bam Thank You Jam
Click Here To View Band Page
The Enablers@Wham Bam Thank You Jam
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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
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