Groove Commission
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Groove Commission

Scranton, Pennsylvania, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2015 | INDIE

Scranton, Pennsylvania, United States | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2015
Band Blues Blues Rock

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"Catawissa Summer Breeze Concert"

Tara and the Soul Shakers (Now Groove Commission) were a great addition to our summer concert series line-up. They captured the audience’s attention from their first notes and held it all evening long, not easy to do in an outdoor, summer park venue! They played a great selection, and variety, of music that demonstrated a mastery of a number of genres of music. Simply put, they rocked the park!
As a former professional performing musician, and with an additional 15 years of experience booking performing ar=sts and working closely with international-caliber musicians, I can personally vouch for the individual, and collective, talent of Tara and the Soul Shakers. They are all superb musicians as well as having great stage presence, truly “connecting” with their audience.
I can unequivocally give them my highest recommendation.
Larry
Lawrence Kopp
Borough Manager (Talent Booker) - Larry Kopp, (Talent Booker) Borough of Catawissa


"Rhythm makers Soul Shakers celebrate first anniversary with All-Star Jam in Union Dale"

Rhythm sections often don’t receive the amount of credit they deserve.
But that doesn’t really apply for the Soul Shakers because, in their case, the rhythm section is the band.
Made up of two of Northeast Pennsylvania’s busiest musicians, bassist Bill Coleman and drummer Sharon O’Connell, the Soul Shakers have spent the first year of their existence backing up a who’s-who of accomplished players at the monthly Blues Jams at Arlo’s Tavern in Union Dale.
On Sunday, the Shakers will hold their First Anniversary All-Star Jam beginning at 3 p.m. at Arlo’s. The show will feature a number of regional blues artists who have sat in with the Soul Shakers during the past year, including: Phyllis Hopkins of Phyllis Hopkins Electric Trio; Teddy Young of Teddy Young and the Aces; Sam Gabriel of the Front Porch Rockers; Peter Florance of the New Kings; Randy Light of Lighten Up; and Matt Bennick of Matt Bennick and the Blues Mine.
The Soul Shakers came together last fall when Mr. Coleman approached Arlo’s owner Frank Freno about hosting a blues jam series featuring a different “guest host” sitting in with Mr. Coleman and Ms. O’Connell, the permanent rhythm section.
The first Blues Jam featured Ms. Hopkins. The turnout was great and set the tone for the series, which has attracted musicians not just from Northeastern Pennsylvania, but also from New York state and the Allentown area.
“It’s just a lot of fun,” said Mr. Coleman, who along with Ms. O’Connell was recently nominated for best blues act at the Steamtown Music Awards.
“It’s a great blues audience up there (at Arlo’s),” he continued. “It’s like a little juke joint. It’s a lot of blues and roots music up there. It’s a good way to play with different musicians, and to expose the different blues players to the Arlo’s crowd.”
Held the second Sunday of the month from 4 to 8 p.m., the Blues Jams always start off with an unrehearsed 40- to 60-minute set with the Soul Shakers and their guest host.
After the initial set, musicians in the audience are then called up to perform a three- or four-song set. Sometimes an entire band will show up, Mr. Coleman said.
The night typically ends with the host coming back to the stage.
Before the jams, Mr. Coleman and Ms. O’Connell ask the host if there’s any set songs they want to perform. For the most part, it’s a lot of blues standards, like “The Thrill is Gone,” “Born Under a Bad Sign,” “Crossroads,” “Dust My Broom,” “Red House,” etc. They also occasionally veer into New Orleans-style funk, or classic R&B.
That said, everyone has their own unique take on those tunes, Mr. Coleman said, so he and Ms. O’Connell are always “flying by the seat of our pants — watching and listening while playing.”
“It all depends on whoever the host is. They’re driving the bus. It’s whatever they want to play. We just back them up,” he said. “You never know what’s going to happen. There’s a lot of improv. You’re not playing the same notes every song. You get to stretch out a little bit.”
What’s been so great about the Blues Jams, Mr. Coleman said, is that it’s provided a means for musicians to connect with each other, resulting in collaborations at other venues.
“The best thing is that Sharon and I get to play with all these great players from the area,” Mr. Coleman said. “And I gotta hand it to Arlo’s for letting us do it.” - Scranton Times-Tribune


"NEPA Blues is here to Stay"

Blues legend Buddy Guy once said, “You stretch that string, you’re stretching your life.”

If the rattling string bends Phyllis Hopkins throws down as the opening salvo to Koko Taylor’s defiant “I’m a Woman” are any indication, then the musicians involved with this project are all damn near immortal.
Blues is blood, they say, and there’s no better presentation of that life force, locally, then what Bill Coleman and Sharon O’Connell (bass and drums, respectively, of duo The Soul Shakers – along with Eric Body on keys) have conjured up here. A series of live performances recorded during a fundraiser for the Scranton Cultural Center in February 2016, this disc is an all-star cast of NEPA blues talent that’s part old-fashioned R&B revue, part fleet-fingered jam session.
Hopkins leads off the disc’s first two tracks. A guitarist with a distinctly leathery West Side Chicago tone and grits ‘n gravy vocal style to match, she does justice to both “I’m a Woman,” and lending her guitar to B.B. King’s “Five Long Years,” on which harmonica ace Bob McCartney takes lead vocal. Both songs are loving tributes to the iconic originals, played with a fire that can only be captured live – Hopkins and McCartney locking horns hard in a frenzied tradeoff of guitar and harp solos on the latter tune that alone is worth the price of admission.
A noteworthy surprise on the disc is a cover of Buddy Guy’s “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” with guitarists Doug and Eamonn Hubert taking the lead. We should point out that Eamonn happens to be a 7-year-old prodigy, who takes Guy’s polka-dotted Stratocaster to task with a blistering solo beyond his years. Young Eamonn also handles lead vocals on this one, before handing the mic to his dad for Bo Diddley’s “Before You Accuse Me,” performed here in the more traditional Eric Clapton incarnation.
No discussion of NEPA blues is complete without homegrown star Clarence Spady, who offers up some of the more playful material of the set, with an ethereal, quieting rendition of Robert Johnson’s “Love In Vain,” played in an arrangement similar to Prince’s “Purple Rain.” Spady’s natural gift for easygoing soul is evident on his ultra-funky take on Fats Domino’s “Going To The River;” the song unrestrained in its jubilation.
Guitarists Peter Florance and Teddy Young round out the six-string rabble-rousers, offering twang-worthy takes on “Born In Chicago” (Florance) and gospel-infused spirit to John Hiatt’s “It Feels Like Rain” (Young). If these collective performances are the best of what NEPA blues offers, the genre is in no danger of fading away.
The disc is no less than undistilled gut-bucket passion, with instruments played like the devil himself took control. Like Scranton’s once-roaring blast furnaces, some white-hot blues again brings the city a mighty heat.
Mark Uricheck is a Weekender correspondent who writes weekly CD reviews. Reach Weekender at wbwnews@civitasmedia.com - Weekender Magazine


"Winter Blues Guitarmageddon Review"

Hailing from Northeast PA, The Soul Shakers started out as a New Orleans-style Blues/Funk band that evolved into what there are today. Jamming in local haunts, they have progressed and opened for some of the biggies touring through the area. They have opened for the likes of my friend, Clarence Spady along with Teddy Young and played the rhythm section for the Joe Kopicki Band.

This All-Star cast features Phyllis Hopkins, Bob Mc Cartney, Doug & Eamonn Hubert, Clarence Spady, Peter Florence, Teddy Young, Sharon O'Connell, Bill Coleman, Eric Brody and Matt Bennick.

This 10-track effort opens with “I'm a Woman” which instantly kicks things into high-gear with a slammin' bluesy guitar riff that morphs into a get down funky jam from the door. Phyllis Hopkins tears it up with her powerful vox! BANGIN! “Five Long Years” takes things down to the style of a B.B. King with a talking guitar, piano and mouth organ that sets the mood. The deep baritone vox put the icing on the cake. NICE! “Mary Had a Little Lamb” is a fun-sounding ditty where we hear everyone having a good time jamming!

“Before You Accuse Me” reminds me a bit of “Sweet Home Chicago” from the Blues Brothers movie, WAY COOL! “Love in Vain” reaches down deep with this feeler as the subject is about to leave his lady and get on the train for points unknown, TOUCHING! “Goin to the River” reminds me of some the classic Mississippi Delta jams from days gone by. The guitar solo is totally hot! “I Was Born in Chicago” grabs the listener right from the door. This up-tempo track emulates that South Side Chicago/Urban Blues that was made famous in the Maxwell Street Market District back in the day, what memories, WOW!

“Come On Rock Little Girl” is a Southern Rock/Blues-infused monster. This tune would get the air-guitars jamming from the first note til the last. I could see Stevie ray performing this killer cut! “It Feel Like Rain” is a track that will grab the ladies and hold them hostage, NICE! The final track, “Every Day I Have the Blues” puts the icing on the cake. The slammin' guitar riffs dominate from start to finish. I can hear some George Thorogood here, TOO HOT!

This collection is a fine example of Rockin' Chicago-style Urban Blues infused with some Memphis, Delta Blues and Southern Rock to add the right flavor from beginning to end. This LP is a MUST LISTEN! On the Nor'easter Storm Scale, I give this a FORCE 4! WELL DONE!

Review by Michael McKenna – Nor'easter Entertainment Magazine - Nor'easter Entertainment Magazine


"Rhythmic Duo backs Spirited Jams"

There is a full two page article from Connections Magazine online. However we are unable to grab the text and paste it here. Please see the article at the site listed above. - Connections Magazine


Discography

The Soul Shakers rhythm section's two albums are available at Blues Broker Records.  "Winter Blues Guitarmageddon" and "Northeastern PA Rockin' Blues Sampler" are available at http://bluesbrokerrecords.com/ "

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Bio

Groove Commission

Groove: noun: a rhythmic pattern in popular or jazz music: the groove laid down by the drummer and bassist is tough and funky.

Commission: noun: a group of people officially charged with a particular function

 As the name suggests, Groove Commission (formerly Tara and The Soul Shakers) lays down music with serious grooves. The band originated in 2019 in Northeastern Pennsylvania and is formally known as Tara and The Soul Shakers.  The band is comprised of vocalist Tara Cooney, guitarist Charlie Hilbert, keyboardist Zach Sprowls, drummer Sharon O’Connell and bassist Bill Coleman.

The Soul Shakers Rhythm Section, with bassist Bill Coleman and drummer Sharon O’Connell, is a mainstay in the area’s blues scene and has hosted monthly blues jams for more than five years and has backed up some of the best blues and funk acts in Northeastern Pennsylvania.   They’ve been nominated three years running for the Steamtown Music Awards Blues Act of the Year. They also the rhythm section for Winter Blues Guitarmageddon concerts at The Scranton Cultural Center for three years running.

New Jersey native, vocalist Tara Cooney has been singing since she was a young girl.  Tara has performed at a number of clubs and other venues in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania for very notable blues acts. 

Guitarist Charlie Hilbert, formerly with Skyla Burrell Blues Band has toured extensively though the U.S., Canada and Europe.  He is also an award winning harpist.

Keyboardist Zach Sprowls is a multi-genre keyboardist, arranger, and composer. He several years on the music scene in the D.C. area and Oklahoma City.

Groove Commission features high-energy blues and blues-rock, infectious funk and heartfelt soul with songs by Etta James, Steely Dan, Bonnie Raitt, Led Zeppelin, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Coco Montoya, Bonnie Raitt and many more.


Band Members