Local Access with Keith Wilkins
Christopher "JC" Dwight, lead singer of the Arcadia rock band Nine Mile Drive, passed away in January following his battle with brain and spinal cancer. A benefit concert was held for his family on February 25 at the State Theatre in St. Petersburg. The event featured performances by Nine Mile Drive (with special guest vocalists), Dark Summer, Sunshine & Bullets, By His Stripes, The Dood, and Polar Summer.
Popular 1980’s Tampa Bay rock band, Argus, reunited last month for a special performance at the Tampa Bay Music Network’s 9th Annual Musicians Appreciation Party, which was held at Quaker Steak & Lube on January 8.
St. Petersburg singer/songwriter, Amber Lynn Nicol, released her newest album, “Endless Summer,” last month. “Endless Summer” is Nicol’s sixth studio album to date. Nicol celebrated the release of her latest album by holding a CD release party on February 12 at Coconuts Comedy Club in St. Pete Beach.
Land O’ Lakes rock band, Stonegrey, released their new album titled “Voice of Reason” on February 3. The band celebrated their newest release by holding a CD release party at the Seminole Hard Rock Café that same night.
St. Petersburg metal band, Murder the Crow, will release their new EP in April. The band will celebrate by holding an EP release party on April 29 at The Local 662 in St. Petersburg. The event will feature performances by Sunshine & Bullets, A Brilliant Lie, Polar Summer, A Lucid Interval, and Murder the Crow. Formed in late 2015, Murder the Crow consists of Lance Balch, Sven Couture, David "the Dave" Scott, and Tyler Luce.
“A Celebration of the Life of Earl Brown” concert was held on February 19 at the Caribbean Bay Bar in Winter Haven. A longtime veteran singer & guitarist in the Tampa Bay area, Earl Brown played in such local bands as Threat, Triple Threat, and Earl Brown’s Roxx Boyz. Brown passed away on March 29, 2016. “A Celebration of the Life of Earl Brown” concert will feature Michael Caruso, Will Stern and John Kudla (of the band Rockem Sockem Robots) performing Brown’s original songs.
THIS MONTH IN TAMPA BAY MUSIC HISTORY:
It was 34 years ago this month on February 23rd, 1983 when Avatar released their demo, "Living For The Night," on Par Records. Avatar would eventually change their name to Savatage.
It was 22 years ago this month on February 7th, 1995 when veteran Tampa Bay musician, Billy Jones (The Outlaws), passed away at the age of 45.
21 years ago this month on February 1st, 1996, Gregg Billings announced that he would be leaving Stranger after 16 years as their lead singer. Billings gave the band until April 1st to find a new front man. One month later on March 1st, Billings would announce that he had changed his mind, and plans to continue on as Stranger’s lead singer. However, following a band meeting held on March 7th, the other members of Stranger decide to hold Billings’ to his original decision and officially part ways with the singer.