NITE Back in the groove Soul band slates showcases
Local music news & events
By Michael Witthaus
By Michael Witthaus
• Big time: Up and coming country singer-songwriter Kane Brown is a headliner for the first time in his career, touring behind the breakthrough success of his new album Experiment, which debuted at the top of the Billboard charts and spawned three consecutive No. 1 hits. Over the past couple of years Brown has garnered a billion-plus audio and video streams of his songs. Thursday, Feb. 21, 7 p.m., SNHU Arena, 555 Elm St., Manchester. Tickets $29.50 to $49.50 at ticketmaster.com. • Local lights: The second in a showcase concert series stars Derek Russell Fimble, with openers Justin Cohn and the duo of Paul Driscoll & Gardner Berry. Enjoy original songs in a listening room environment away from the noisy bar scene. Fimble made the duo album The Company You’re Keeping with Vanessa Hale in 2017. Cohn has a solo LP and is a member of Rocking Horse Music Club. Saturday, Feb. 23, 8 p.m., Amato Center, 56 Mont Vernon St., Milford. Tickets $12 at eventbrite.com. • Variety night: Four comics provide the laughs in downtown Concord, with music from pop singer Kamryn Richard. Headliner Kevin Lee offers juggling, fire and sword-swallowing in his act. Mark Scalia is a veteran of Comedy Central, while Pat Napoli has opened for Howie Mandel and Gabe Kaplan. Drew Dunn won the 2017 Boston Comedy Festival, and a similar contest in Seattle last year. Saturday, Feb. 23, 8 p.m. Capitol Center for the Arts, 44 S. Main St., Concord. Tickets $19 to $23 at ccanh. com. • Afternoon jazz: Watch and learn at Jazz on 8 as guitarist Mike Stockbridge performs with saxophone player Charlie Jennison and percussionist George Robinson, followed by a discussion about the use of extended-range guitar in jazz and an educational clinic. The event includes a set of live music led by the talented Stockbridge. Sunday, Feb. 24, 3 p.m., Main Street BookEnds, 16 E Main St, Warner. The all-ages gathering is free to the general public; RSVP to email@example.com.
Few are as ubiquitous on the regional music scene as Yamica Peterson. The soulful singer and keyboard player is known by many as Mica, pronounced mee-kuh. With a voice that can lift crowds from their chairs onto the dance floor, she is out playing solo and in duos — with her father Pete Peterson in Family Affair, with Don Severance in The Mica-Sev Project, and with guitarist Chris O’Neill — almost every night of the week. Rising above those efforts is Mica’s Groove Train. Long dormant, the fivepiece funk fusion powerhouse is now back and busier than ever, with showcase gigs ahead and plans to make its first ever album in the spring. “I’m hoping to be throwing a CD release party by the summer or fall,” Peterson said recently. “It’s gonna be all my stuff. There are songs that no one has ever heard before, and some that we’ve been playing out.” In the early 2010s, the band lit up clubs all over New Hampshire, and were bound for even bigger stages. Then tragedy struck when bass player Chad Owens died just a few months before they were set to play the 2013 Granite State Music Festival. Though they did that show and met their immediate obligations, Mica’s Groove Train soon ground to a halt. “Chad’s passing hit me hard, so I stopped doing it altogether,” Peterson said. She relocated to Tucson, Arizona, but the move didn’t end her musical urges. Within months, she was performing again, after seeing a local band that reminded her of Rhythm Method. “My husband arranged for me to go up and do a set with these cats I’d never even met,” she said. “They didn’t know me from Adam, but took a chance — and we tore the roof off.”
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The Portsmouth native eventually returned home, where the music community welcomed her back with open arms. She attributes much of this to her father, also a constant presence on the scene. “I thought the hiatus might really hinder my ability to get back working, but I’ve been fortunate to build so many great relationships over the years,” she said. “They just opened their doors and hearts back up.” The decision to reboot Mica’s Groove Train came after plenty of soul-searching by Peterson. “I got to thinking about what Chad would say if he knew I’d quit,” Peterson said. “I came to the realization that it’s crazy for me to just stop doing what I was doing, and I think he would have wanted me to do what I’m doing now. So that was kind of the wake-up call for me.” The newly reconstituted group includes Joe Rizzo on drums, bass player Stacy Bugg, guitarist Jeff Tanzer, Gene Guth on xylophone, and Chris Sink playing keyboards. Sink is also in Amorphous Band and Queen City Soul; the latter band will open for Mica’s Groove Train at Dover Brickhouse on Feb. 23. The show is dubbed the Mega-Mash Up, and Peterson promises the two bands will share more than a stage for the night. “I’m going to be doing some singing in Queen City Soul, and obviously Chris will be doing our portion of the music,” she said. “I will be bouncing between the conglomerations. ... We still have to put some thought into the finish and make sure everything flows right, but it’s going to be cool.” Playing original music is Peterson’s current driving force. “We are busy all the time, but my goal as of late is to seek out places where I don’t have to play covers,” she said. “I want to be playing my stuff — not that I don’t love the material that I cover. I wouldn’t do it
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otherwise. But ... I can look out now and see people singing along with me. I don’t know how to explain how cool that feeling is. I want to share what I’ve got.” Asked how she deals with such a packed schedule, Peterson said, “I just manage. There is not an alternative. I don’t want to die without having at least pursued one of my passions, and I want my kids to see that happen as well. I love it; it’s in my blood.”
Mica’s Groove Train w/ Queen City Soul When: Saturday, Feb. 23, 8 p.m. Where: Dover Brickhouse, 2 Orchard St., Dover Tickets: $7-$10/artist donation Mica’s Groove Train also appears Feb. 28 at The Press Room in Portsmouth, and March 9 at The Purple Pit in Bristol.
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