Celebrate 'Songs of the '70s' with Easy Street at DeYor

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Staff report

YOUNGSTOWN

Join Easy Street regulars Maureen Collins, Todd Hancock, James McClellan, Colleen Chance and Natalie Sprouse for a fabulous flashback to the most far-out decade of music ever. Put on your favorite-color leisure suit and keep on truckin’ all the way to the DeYor Performing Arts Center for this salute of greatest hits of the 1970s.

The concert will feature song selections from artists such as Carole King, John Denver, Helen Reddy, James Taylor, Joan Baez, Jim Croce and Linda Ronstadt as well as a few one-hit wonders. Easy Street’s musical director, Jeff Sanders, arranged all of the charts and will provide guitar with Jeff Bremer on bass, Bob Bacha on piano and Don Yallech on drums.

Easy Street’s Cabaret Nights concert series showcases artists in an intimate cabaret setting with table seating and a wait staff serving beer, wine and specialty cocktails. A small-plate menu is also available prepared by Chef Jeff Chrystal. Reservations are recommended.

The featured performers took a few moments to answer some questions about the music of the ’70s and their preferences:

Q. Why do a concert featuring songs of the ’70s?

Todd Hancock: To be honest, the ’70s was my favorite decade of music. Today’s music doesn’t even come close. Back then there was a wonderful variety of musical styles topping the charts every week. You could have John Denver one week and Queen the next. I know I sound old when I say it, but today’s music all sounds the same.

Q. How do you compare music today with songs of the 70s?

James McClellan: The ’70s saw the rise of some real artists, like Joni Mitchell and James Taylor and Carole King and Elton John, and the list goes on. There was also a lot of intelligence and relevance to the lyrics of the time – politics, religion, social issues were all part of the music scene, and I’m not sure pop music covers that kind of content anymore. They were great, singable songs but they had meaning, too.

Natalie Sprouse: There’s no comparison! The ’70s rocked the house down!

Q. Being the young ones on the totem pole, who actually turned you on to 70s music and what artist/band made the biggest impression?

JM: I was born in 1970, so that decade was literally my entire childhood. My brother and sister were in their teens at the time, so they brought home lots of LPs and 45s, and I guess that’s how I got to know the music. I’m nostalgic about these songs – especially the singer-songwriters who wrote so many great ballads. The test of time has been good to them!

Colleen Chance: My parents exposed my brother and me to ’70s music at a very young age. We listened to all kinds of music growing up but my favorite songs were from The Carpenters. They always make my playlist!

NS: My mama turned me on to the ’70s music. She always jammed out to James Taylor in the car when I was a kid, then when I was about 13, I was reintroduced to James and have sang his tunes, seen him in concert and I had the privilege to met him a few years ago! Carole King has made the biggest impression and influence to me in my career. She inspired me to start songwriting. I heard her album “Music” and instantly fell in love with her songwriting, her voice and storytelling.

Q. What song or songs are you most looking forward to performing and why?

Maureen Collins: Looking forward to singing “Close to You.” Karen Carpenter one of the best female vocalists of all time.

JM: I’ve loved Barry Manilow since I was a little kid, and “Can’t Smile Without You” was always a favorite of mine – I even sang it in elementary school! People have compared my voice to his on occasion, so it seems like a natural fit.

CC: “The Night The Lights Went Out in Georgia” by Vicki Lawrence! Vicki is one of my idols and memories of meeting her several years ago always inspire me when I pay tribute to her on stage!

TH: “Convoy” by C.W. McCall. I’ve always been drawn to the novelty story songs that came out in the ’70s. I’m guessing that I’m the only person besides C.W. to perform this song since 1975 complete with a megaphone to achieve the CB radio effects.

Jeff Sanders: “You’re No Good.” I love that early-’70s two-guitar attack recorded without a click ... just musicians in a studio doing their thing.

NS: “Delta Dawn,” this song has always been a favorite folk tune of mine, I was ecstatic when Todd and Maureen asked me to sing this tune.