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Joe D’Urso

As founder of Rockland-Bergen Music Festival, I am thrilled to announce the Rockland County Music Awards (RCMA’s). I grew up in Rockland but have been fortunate to perform in 27 countries. Wherever I traveled, I felt the musicians I experienced in Rockland were some of the best anywhere. It’s time we start to look at our original music history: past, present and future. Historically, our live music venues tended to book “cover bands” over original

artists. We in the music business understand the “dance and drink” mentality of venues. That is one of the reasons I started the Rockland-Bergen Music Festival and now, the RCMA’s. The Award, nicknamed “Rocky,” is in keeping with Oscar, Emmy, Tony. I feel it’s appropriate as Rockland has been an underdog to Bergen and Westchester counties, and of course New York City, when it comes to capturing the attention of music lovers. It is my honor to present Billy Roues, Steve Roues, Pat Keating, Annika Bennett and John McAvoy who have all been instrumental in launching the RCMA this year.

The Roues Brothers

Chris Marksbury

Billy and Steven “Muddy” Roues have been making music together since they were kids growing up in the Bensonhurst section of Brooklyn and in rural Pennsylvania. Journeymen in the music business, having crossed paths with some of the greats of Blues, Rockabilly, Rock’n’Roll, Country, Soul, Folk, Jazz and Rhythm and Blues, including: B.B. King, John Lee Hooker, Carl Perkins, Bo Diddley, Howlin’ Wolf, Bob Dylan, Ben E. King, Pinetop Perkins, Lonnie Mack, Vassar Clemens, Lenny Kaye, David Bromberg, Pete Seeger, Johnny Johnson, Chuck Berry and many more. The experience of working with these artists, left an indelible mark on the music the Roues Brothers have made. Their partial history of original Rockland bands: The Roues, Finn and The Sharks, The Broadcasters, UpSouth Twisters, Lucky 7, Big Jim Wheeler and Wheels of Fire, Lisa Best Blues Band, Thieves and Bluesjumpers. Their History of Blues to Rock shows have been gathering an enthusiastic following over the last few years.

Pat Keating

The summer of 1963: my brother took me to see the Kingston Trio, Joan Baez and a young Bob Dylan at Forest Hills Tennis Stadium. What a night! My dear mom bought me a Sears and Roebuck guitar and banjo. Within three years I was playing “hoot” nights at Gerde’s Folk City and the Back Fence on Bleecker Street. The “Village” was great training. Four years in the Navy, then back to playing. I opened for Roy Buchanan thanks to the late Jerry Donnellan, Vietnam Vet and later was stage manager for Sinatra. Pat Keating

I never became a rock star but played many clubs in Rockland. The Interlude, Turning Point and currently Growler & Gill and Maureen’s Jazz Cellar. The real payoff, at 71 years old, is to still play music with folks like Tim O’Donohue, Compton Maddox and Caroline Zegart. Life has slowed down, now with my best pal Linda, two cats, three chickens and a dog that always looks at me funny. Best advice I can pass on: if you play music, share it with your friends, sing a song and you’re not alone. Or as Pete Seeger used to say, “take it easy, but take it.” / 83

Profile for Rivertown Magazine

Rivertown Magazine June 2019  

Rivertown Magazine's June issue is the best way to get a jump start on summer. Get to know the latest local news heading into the warmer mo...

Rivertown Magazine June 2019  

Rivertown Magazine's June issue is the best way to get a jump start on summer. Get to know the latest local news heading into the warmer mo...