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Fall Into the Blues Fundraiser

In addition to cooler weather, and beautiful colors, the “fall season”, to the Billtown Blues Association, BBA, means “generosity!”

Fall Into the Blues, the non-profit’s annual fundraiser, is meaningful in many ways. Most importantly it brings together a group of talented and highly regarded local and regional musicians, who have made a devoted effort to perform blues music – and to perform it well.

This year’s annual event returns to the Garden Terrace Room of the Genetti Hotel in downtown Williamsport, Saturday November 4th with a 4 p.m. start time and doors opening at 3:30 p.m. Pricing for the general public is $15, and BBA current members pay $10.

All of the performing musicians on the bill contribute their time and talent to support the ongoing work of the Billtown Blues Association, especially in their effort to financially support The Twin Sinners, the Jeff Fetterman Band, and the Uptown Music Collective’s 3rd St Blues Band as they all trek to Memphis TN in Jan 2018 to participate in the 34th Annual International Blues Challenge, IBC, joining nearly 1200 other musicians from around the world.

A special addition to this year’s concert is the return of Ruf Records, recording artist, Vanessa Collier. Vanessa won the local BBA Audition concert in 2015, went on to the IBC in 2016 and advanced to the semi finals. Her performances did not go unnoticed as industry people in Memphis started following the buzz and paying attention. Her career has taken off like a rocket.

While in Williamsport, Vanessa will be supported by a slate of Billtown’s most accomplished musicians, Bill Stetz on bass, Joel Vincent on drums, Sean Farley on guitar, Greg Burgess on piano and lead by Doug McMinn on reeds and guitar. This will be an amazing set! Also on the bill is the newly formed traditional blues trio Mystery Trayne featuring Cheryl Miller, Jack Reed and Jay Short.

Fall Into the Blues will also offer its 2nd annual, very popular and successful Silent Auction. The Genetti Tap House will be open for eat-in or take-out dinners, and $1 drafts will be on tap in the Garden Terrace Room. Free parking will be available until 6pm in The Genetti Hotel parking Lot.

The Billtown Blues Association is now in their 29th consecutive year of producing events in Lycoming County, celebrating America’s homegrown music, providing performance opportunities for local and regional artists, and supporting the arts in the Susquehanna Valley. Plans are now underway for the 29th Annual Billtown Blues Festival slated for Sunday June 10th at the Lycoming County Fairgrounds in Hughesville.

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THE TWIN SINNERS: Allan Combs II and Stacia Abernatha are working musicians in Central Pennsylvania. Some of their combined musical influences include The Beatles, Susan Tedeschi, and Robert Johnson, plus both are devoted songwriters. Allan hails from Bloomsburg, PA and loves his life as a full time musician, playing over one hundred gigs in the last year! His first solo album, I Get My Kicks For Free, was released this summer, and he’s currently recording his sophomore album. Stacia, a Williamsport native, has been performing as a singer, dancer and multi-instrumentalist since early childhood. She is currently involved in multiple local recording and live performance projects. The Twin Sinners are excited about their upcoming trip to Memphis, they are currently working out their performance repertoire. The Twin Sinners are sure to get noticed with their combined powerful vocals, their instrumentation prowess which in concert sounds like a full orchestra, and their superior harmonies.

The 3rd STREET BLUES BAND: The Uptown Music Collective’s blues community performance group, the 3rd Street Blues Band, brings their collective talents together serving up their own renditions of classic hits by top female blues artists from the 1960’s intermixed with modern day, blues and r&b by great artists such as Bonnie Raitt, Susan Tedeschi, Etta James, Janis Joplin and more. Ranging in ages from 15-17 this 6-piece band hits the stage running with power, energy and instrumental and vocal finesse many older musicians only dream about. Alexis Carnavale on vocals, Cade Palmatier and Justin Warrender on guitar, Shayne Williams on vocals and bass, Izzy Brumbaugh on piano, and Tate Berkey on drums will make Billtown proud as they travel to Memphis in January to participate in the International Blues Challenge Youth Showcase.

MYSTERY TRAYNE: Mystery Trayne is a new acoustic trio in the Williamsport area but two of the trio’s members, Cheryl, “Miz Ida” Miller and Jay “Bone” Short, have been fixtures of the area blues scene for decades. Cheryl’s rich sultry voice has long been heard throughout the Susquehanna Valley, first as a member of Mo’ Blues then Blues and Gasoline and most recently fronting Miz Ida & the All-Nightas. Jay’s soulful vocals and slicing slide guitar are well known too, having been an integral part of bands such as Blue Willie and the Billtown Jukes, Blues and Gasoline and many others. When it comes to the blues they are the real deal. They’ve lived it and played it and share a rich history of making music together since the early days of the burgeoning Billtown blues scene. They are joined by Jack Reed, a Liberty based multi instrumentalist, songwriter and recording engineer. Jack who has a quirky sense of humor and a friendly demeanor has a lot of road miles under his belt having traveled with various show bands for years. You will normally find him perched behind his upright bass or guitar adding just the right amount of harmony vocals at just the right time or singing a song about drinking moonshine and howling at the moon. Together their music is a gumbo of Delta blues, twang and swing. Cheryl has her own name for it however….FUN!! “We really enjoy playing together,” she said. “ I think that’s obvious to people who come to our shows. They have a good time because we are having a good time”.

JEFF FETTERMAN: Bradford native, blues-rocker, Jeff Fetterman plays with an aggressive style while at the same time capable of delivering a unique sensitivity and heart-felt passion when needed. Jeff attacks every note played with purpose. Jeff’s vocals are solid and serve his songs with honest intention. Jeff has worked all angles of the music business with major league endorsements, publishing deals, film and television placements, and supporting roles with notables such as Kenny Wayne Shepard, Anthony Gomes, Gary Moore, and Van Morrison to mention a few. National awards have followed such as Best Up and Coming Blues Artist by Ohio radio station WREO, and capturing a studio awards scholarship from ASCAP. Armed with unrelenting determination Jeff and his band mates John McQuire and Ralph Reitinger III, after three years of auditioning for the Billtown Blues Association membership judges, finally broke through and are headed to the International Blues Challenge in the Billtown Blues Band category.

VANESSA COLLIER, featuring Doug McMinn and the Billtown Blues All Stars: If anyone ever wonders what all the fuss is about, winning the annual Billtown Blues Audition concert and traveling to Memphis TN to participate in the International Blues Challenge, ask Vanessa Collier. Vanessa submitted an application to the BBA in 2015, and came to Billtown a total unknown. Her audition performance showcasing her impeccable talents on alto sax, vocals, and songwriting, were highlighted even more by her crowd-pleasing entertainment skills and non-stop energy. While in Memphis Vanessa advanced to the semi-finals – the town “was a buzzin’” – new-made fans, fellow musicians, and important industry personnel to “check her out” packed the room. Fast forward a year later Vanessa lands a recording contract with well-known indie label Ruf Records, is now touring the world, and having the time of her life. At the time of this writing Vanessa is in Sweden, on to Brazil, then the Legendary Rhythm and Blues Cruise, before hustling to Billtown for a gratis concert to help others on their opportunity in Memphis. Backing Vanessa’s performance will be the Susquehanna’s most senior musicians lead by Doug McMinn on horns and guitar, Sean Farley on guitar, Greg Burgess on piano, and the dynamo rhythm section of veterans Joel Vincent and Bill Stetz. You will not want to miss this sure to be memorable set!

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