Little Ivory Blues Band
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Little Ivory Blues Band

York, Pennsylvania, United States | SELF

York, Pennsylvania, United States | SELF
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As soon as the gates open at 6 p.m. for the Fourth of July Concert and Fireworks at the York Expo Center, attendees start filing in.

After an evening of patriotic music played by the York Symphony Orchestra and 30 to 40 minutes of booming fireworks, some people just aren't ready to leave.

Mary Anne Winkelman, campaign director for the Cultural Alliance of York County, said there will be no rush for guests to go home this year.

Little Ivory Blues Band - who is accompanying YSO in several numbers - also will perform a set after the fireworks for people who'd like to keep festivities rolling.

Winkelman said the addition to the more than 30-year tradition also will help relieve traffic congestion for the some 10,000 people in attendance.

The cultural alliance organizes the free event - sponsored by Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania and Maryland and BAE Systems, among others.

Winkelman said the cultural alliance views the event as public art.

"We are concerned about sharing the love of art for all forms and culture in this community," she said. "This is just a wonderful forum." - YORK DAILY RECORD-FLIPSIDE


Local band to play Youth Showcase at International Blues Challenge
By ERIN McCRACKEN
Daily Record/Sunday News
Posted: 02/05/2009 03:00:00 PM EST

As Bill Hines sifted through applications to Memphis' International Blues Challenge, one jumped out at him.

Members of the Little Ivory Blues Band were about 20 years younger than most of the other local musicians in the pile.

Hines, a board member of the Blues Society of Central Pennsylvania, was concerned. He wondered if a bunch of high school students even knew what blues should sound like.

"Most teenagers' idea of the blues is the more modern style . . . (which) Led Zeppelin made popular in the '60s," he said.

The Blues Society of Central Pennsylvania and International Blues Challenge pay homage to the electric blues, born in 1950s Chicago nightclubs.

When Hines popped in the Little Ivory Blues Band's
Little Ivory Blues Band guitarist Garrett Stoner, 16, shreds some chords. He and his bandmates will play today at Club 152 on Beale Street in Memphis. (York Daily Record/ Sunday News- Jason Plotkin)
demo CD. What he heard -- a throwback to the Muddy Waters style of blues -- shocked him.

"I didn't expect them to sound like professional-level musicians," he said.

He added the group to the 2007 competition, which sends the winner to the International Blues Challenge. It was their first real gig, and they placed third.

The riffs they laid down blew the audience and "hard-core blues purists" away, Hines said.

Last September, the band took the stage again at the Blues Society's competition. Even though they placed second, Hines sent their demo to the International Blues Foundation.

He learned that the International Blues Challenge was hosting its first Youth Showcase in 2009. It wasn't long before Little Ivory Blues Band was added to the lineup.

"I got a text message . . . saying, 'pack your bags, we're going to Memphis', " lead guitarist Garrett Stoner said.

The band -- minus pianist Lucas Hough, who had basketball practice -- got together recently in lead singer Aaron Lewis' Manchester Township basement. They poked fun at each other and polished their setlist.

Each member developed a taste for blues differently. Stoner was hooked after listening to a Stevie Ray Vaughan CD with his dad in an '85 pickup. Lewis' uncle and dad let him listen to "Bad to the Bone" and Guns N' Roses tunes. Bassist Seth Shoemaker's father got him into Aerosmith and Jimi Hendrix. Hough was bred on Louis Prima.

Early versions of the Little Ivory Blues Band inspired drummer Ian Staley and saxophonist Logan Kurtek to join.

Since then, the sextet has been dedicated to turning their peers onto old-school sounds.

Feb. 6, they'll play a 20-minute gig at Club 152 on Beale Street, in the heart of Memphis' blues country. To the Little Ivory Blues Band, it represents a musical mecca.

The worst-case scenario, Lewis said, would be to play the showcase, hear some great music and come home.

The best-case scenario would be to get signed and no longer have to work part-time jobs, he added.

While in Memphis, the band said they want to set up on the street and play for passersby, wearing their signature suits, of course.

"I'm not coming back," Stoner said. But then his bandmates reminded him that they have a March gig at Lancaster's Chameleon Club.

emccracken@ydr.com; 771-2051

MORE INFO
For details about Little Ivory Blues Band, visit www.myspace.com/littleivorybluesband.
www.littleivorybluesband.com

For details about the Blues Society of Central Pennsylvania, visit www.bscpblues.org.

For details about the International Blues Challenge, visit www.blues.org/ibc.

MEET THE BAND

Aaron Lewis: lead vocals and harmonica

Age: 19

School: HACC

Band superlative: "most serious and always late"


Garrett Stoner: lead guitar and vocals

Age: 16

School: Central York High School

Band superlative: "band jokester"


Seth Shoemaker: bass and vocals

Age: 18

School: Millersville

Band superlative: "best hair and best looking"


Ian Staley: drums

Age: 16

School: Central York High School

Band superlative: "the punching bag"


Logan Kurtek: saxophone

Age: 17

School: Central York High School

Band superlative: "tied with Lewis for best dressed"


Lucas Hough: piano

Age: 16

School: Central York High School

Band superlative: "goofiest" - York Daily Record


Little Ivory Blues Band sets sights on Memphis
KATHY STEVENS The York Dispatch
Updated: 10/05/2009 11:03:59 AM EDT

The Little Ivory Blues Band performed in the Youth Showcase last January at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tenn. Now that they have won first place in the Blues Society of Central Pennsylvania competition, the six-man band will officially represent the region in competition next year. (Submitted Photo)
Some might wonder what youths know about the blues.

In fact, some adults might scoff at the notion of youths playing the blues simply because "kids" don't have the life experience to sing about.

But a group of York County musicians ages 17 to 20 have mastered what they do know enough to compete in the 26th annual International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tenn. The musicians, known collectively as the Little Ivory Blues Band, won the Blues Society of Central Pennsylvania's annual competition last month.

"To win our local competition says a lot on how far we've come as a band, as musicians," said Lucas Hough, 17, who plays keyboard for the band. He said the band tied for a disputed second place last year, so to win this year was a relief.

"It really felt like a big gorilla jumping off our backs," to come in first, he said.

As a result, the band will compete Jan. 20-23 in the largest gathering of
blues acts worldwide.

Blues aficionados use the competition to find the best undiscovered bands, soloists and duos, many of whom leave the event with recording contracts or other gigs.

"Knowing we are competing -- it's surreal," said Aaron Lewis, singer for the band. Lewis, 20, said that not only performing on Memphis' famed Beale Street, but also competing, is "kind of nerve-wracking -- it's the mecca of blues bands," he said. The competition, he said, can "open many more doors for us."

Little Ivory Blues Band played in the event's Youth Showcase last year, but this is the first year it will represent Central Pennsylvania in competition. Typically, 100 bands and 60 solo/duo acts compete, according to The Blues Foundation, which sponsors the event.

"We're playing against guys that have been playing since we were born," Hough said. However, he added later, "we're not just some kids in a garage band -- this is a huge milestone for us as a band."

Started as trio: The group formed in 2006 as an instrumental trio. Little Ivory Blues Band now comprises Lewis, lead singer and harmonica; Seth Shoemaker, 19, bass; Logan Kurteck, 18, saxophone; Hough, 17, keyboard; Ian Staley, 17, drums; and Garrett Stoner, 17, guitar.

The band started out with Lewis on drums, Stoner on guitar and Shoemaker on bass. Lewis was 17 at the time, and the oldest band member. The guys played at local clubs and took advantage of open microphone opportunities in and around York County.

The band expanded, enhanced its sound with saxophone and keyboard. Lewis expanded, too, using his talent as a vocalist and harmonica player. Experimentation, practice and talent paid off with first place Battle of the Bands wins at the Jewish Community Center and Penn State York.

Lewis and Hough said a major influence is Stevie Ray Vaughan, as well as the Allman Brothers. The band tries to cover a wide range of blues styles, and each member brings in different musical influences, Lewis said.

In 2007, Little Ivory took third place in the regional blues challenge, and they say they've come a long way since then, that they are prepared for the challenge in Memphis.

"I'm confident, not overconfident," Lewis said. "Do I think we have a shot? I think so."

Staff writer Jessica Anderson contributed to this report. Reach Kathy Stevens at 505-5437 or kstevens@yorkdispatch.com; reach Jessica Anderson at 505-5434 or janderson@
yorkdispatch.com.

The Little Ivory Blues Band competes Jan. 20-23, 2010, at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tenn. Learn more about the band at www.littleivorybluesband.com or at www.myspace.com/littleivorybluesband.
- The York Dispatch


Little Ivory Blues Band headed back to Memphis
Daily Record/Sunday News
Posted: 09/28/2009 01:50:25 PM EDT

Sunday, the Blues Society of Central Pennsylvania held it's annual blues competition at the Steelton VFW.

Little Ivory Blues Band won the chance to compete at the 2010 International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tenn. Jan. 20 to 23.

Last year the Little Ivory Blues Band competed at the festival's first Youth Showcase.

This year, the band will enter The Blues Foundation's competition with musicians from around the world for the chance to win cash, prizes and industry recognition.

For details about the challenge, visit www.blues.org.

For details about the Little Ivory Blues Band, visit www.myspace.com/littleivorybluesband. - Flipside Blog- York Daily Record


HANOVER, Pa.

It was Blues Night at KClinger’s Tavern, and the mostly middle-aged patrons crammed every spare seat at the bar and the dining room.

The Little Ivory Blues Band, the live act for Wednesday night, was getting ready to start its second set with a funky cover of The Jackson Five’s “I Want You Back.”

Before the band started to play, guitarist Garrett Stoner had a question for bandmate Logan Kurtek.

“Dude,” Stoner said, “do you have finals tomorrow?”

At first glance, the six musicians, ages 20 and younger, comprising The Little Ivory Blues Band from York, Pa., seemed a bit out of place. Here they were, performing for an audience old enough to be their parents, at a Hanover, Pa., tavern where none were legally old enough to drink.

Yet a crowd of more than 100 spent Wednesday night cheering the band on. The Little Ivory Blues Band has developed a loyal following with blues aficionados throughout the region.

The blues rockers will represent the Blues Society of Central Pennsylvania at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tenn., Wednesday through Saturday. The band used the KClinger’s show as a sendoff and fundraiser for their journey to Memphis.

“The thing I like most about them is that they are kids playing the blues,” Blues Society of Central Pennsylvania treasurer Bob Emrich said. “We don’t want the blues to die.”

*

But that’s not the only reason why the Little Ivory Blues Band is popular with hardcore blues listeners. Their adult fans admire how seriously they take music and how talented, and capable, they are at playing a genre that originated in black communities in the Deep South at the end of the 19th century.

Barbara Perry, a gray-haired blues fan from Hampstead, called the group “dedicated and talented” in a gushing critique.

“These kids from York, they get it,” Perry said. “They understand that the future of the blues is pretty much in the hands of the young people.”

The band members have eclectic tastes in music. They decided to play the blues at the urging of Stoner, who grew up listening to an album by the late blues guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan. Stoner, who now lives in York, spent part of his childhood in Manchester.

Band members said performing the blues has helped them shake the teenage garage band stigma and opened up one opportunity after the next.

While performing in a youth showcase at last year’s International Blues Challenge, the Little Ivory Blues Band was hired to perform a few gigs and wound up coming home with more money than when they had left.

Tavern owner Bill Klinger said the Little Ivory Blues Band was the youngest act he’d booked in 15 years of scheduling blues performers.

Klinger served as a judge at a Blues Society of Central Pennsylvania competition to decide which band would represent it at the International Blues Challenge. “I would like to see them make it big,” Klinger said.

In the meantime, the band members said they are relishing any opportunity they can to play. But they said they are particularly looking forward to next week’s gigs at clubs along Memphis’ legendary Beale Street in the International Blues Challenge.

Perhaps their youthful charm will intrigue judges there.

“That’s what’s good about it,” Stoner said. “We turn a lot of heads.”

Reach staff writer Brandon Oland at 410-857-7862 or brandon.oland@carrollcountytimes.com.

THE BAND

The Little Ivory Blues Band consists of seven performers from York, Pa., ages 20 and younger. Here is a look at the band members:

Aaron Lewis

Age: 20

Role: Lead vocals and harmonica

Garrett Stoner


Age: 17

Plays: Guitar

Ian Staley

Age: 17

Plays: Drums/percussion

Seth Shoemaker

Age: 19

Plays: Bass

Lucas Hough

Age: 17

Plays: Keyboard

Logan Kurtek

Age: 18

Plays: Saxophone
- Carrol County Times


Find out how the York County teenagers fared against more than 100 other acts in the home of the blues, Memphis, Tenn.
By ERIN McCRACKEN
Daily Record/Sunday News
Updated: 01/23/2010 11:10:03 PM EST

Last week, local sextet Little Ivory Blues Band headed to Memphis, Tenn. -- the birthplace of rock 'n' roll.

Its mission: Win this weekend's Blues Foundation's International Blues Challenge to prove that they're the best blues band around.

But about 110 other acts, most with decades more experience, vied for the same title.

Even though the group didn't make the finals, the members -- teens Lucas Hough, Logan Kurtek, Aaron Lewis, Seth Shoemaker, Ian Staley and Garrett Stoner -- enjoyed the ride.

* * *

Wednesday

The band, with Lewis' parents and their manager, Tammy Leaman, caught a 12:05 p.m. flight out of Baltimore and landed in Little Rock, Ark. Luckily, Leaman said, Lewis' father is a Southwest Airlines pilot and had flier miles.

Even though the venues would provide a standard drum kit, sound board, mike stands and speakers, the band still brought some of their own equipment -- cymbals, keyboards, guitars and a harmonica. They piled everything into three rented vans and set off for the home of the blues.

The band pulled into Memphis at 7 p.m. after about two hours on the road. They grabbed some food before heading to Beale Street for a meet and greet.

Thursday

After a night on the town, some of the guys were still asleep at noon -- Central Standard Time.

In the afternoon, more parents and friends arrived, including Lewis' brother Ryan and Ryan's girlfriend, Rachel Droege, who documented the whole
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trip on video.

The group registered and received their assignment. They were scheduled to play 7:15 p.m. Thursday and 9:35 p.m. Friday at Beale Street's Old Daisy Theater -- where B.B King and Muddy Waters once laid down riffs.

There were to play identical 25-minute sets Thursday and Friday. Different judges would critique them each night.

Hough said the Little Ivory Blues Band had been practicing nonstop for two weeks to make their set as tight as possible.

"We crammed six songs in there," Hough said. "I think (we timed it at) 24:06."

The group was just as excited as when they played the Blues Challenge's Youth Showcase in 2009. But that wasn't a competition and only required one set, so they were more nervous.

"It's a lot different than last year," Staley said. "There is a lot more stress and it's a lot more fun."

After a band orientation at 3 p.m., the group donned its show duds -- suits and wingtips. At 5, they checked into their venue.

Due to strict timing rules, they only had 10 minutes between sets to get ready. But that wasn't a problem, Stoner said.

"I think it's like the best we ever played," Stoner said. "Every one was spot on."

Hundreds of people came to watch, but the group focused on four -- the judges.

Hough said the group got a standing ovation from two judges, but the other judges seemed more critical.

After the show, the group hit the streets to check out the competition. They passed a guy picking a guitar outside Club 152. Then, other musicians -- his band -- started playing their instruments from down the street. They joined the guitarist and went inside to the stage.

"People loved it," Stoner said.

Friday

The band slept until about 11 a.m., then went to Denny's for breakfast. In between events, they found some time to practice unplugged in their room. But at 5 p.m., it was back to the Daisy.

Lewis was nursing a cough and some of the other band members had colds, too. But that didn't stop the rock, Hough said.

"When you go on stage, the switch turns on," he said.

Hough said he thought the band did even better during its Friday performance. The crowd was larger, too.

"We gave it our all energy-wise," he said. "We haven't played that well ever."

Lewis said two judges told him they gave the group perfect scores. But that wasn't enough.

When the 10 finalists were announced at 1:20 a.m., the Little Ivory Blues Band wasn't on the list.

"It's kind of a bummer, but we got a lot of good feedback from a lot of pretty important people," Lewis said.

Baltimore band Jackie Scott & The Housewreckers would move from the Daisy to the finals. And the Little Ivory Blues Band wrapped up the day at the same place they started it -- Denny's.

Saturday and beyond

After being up until about 4 a.m., the band crashed until early afternoon. Lewis said he still felt drowsy at 3 p.m.

The rest of the day, the group planned to sightsee, visit a local studio and watch the finals at 7:30 p.m. at The Orpheum Theatre.

Leaman said the group was scheduled to leave Memphis at 6 a.m. Sunday.

After the weekend, the band members will get back to the daily grind of school and practice. In a few weeks, their official Blues Challenge scores will arrive in the mail.

But to the band, those will just be numbers.

Lewis said they will focus on the positive parts of the journey: They exchanged contact information with filmmakers, booking and record agents and venue managers, including the owner of Club 152. They met musicians from Arizona to Germany.

"I want to take this momentum and do something with it," he said.

emccracken@ydr.com; 771-2051

THE BAND

Little Ivory Blues Band members:

# Lucas Hough, 17, keyboard

# Logan Kurtek, 18, saxophone

# Aaron Lewis, 20, vocals and blues harp

# Seth Shoemaker, 19, bass

# Ian Staley, 17, percussion

# Garrett Stoner, 17, guitar

THE COMPETITION

The 2010 International Blues Challenge was Wednesday through Saturday in Memphis, Tenn.

It was the 26th year of the world's largest gathering of blues acts representing an international search by The Blues Foundation and its affiliated organizations for the blues band and solo/duo blues act ready to take the international stage. This year, 111 bands and 88 solo/duo acts competed at more than 19 venues on Beale Street.

York County's Little Ivory Blues Band won the Blues Society of Central Pennsylvania's Annual Blues Competition in September 2009 and represented Central Pennsylvania at the Blues Challenge.

For details about the Blues Foundation and Blues Challenge, visit www.blues.org.

For details about the Little Ivory Blues Band, visit www.littleivorybluesband.com.

Read an interview at www.flipsidepa.com/musicdirectory. - York Sunday News-Front Page


As Bill Hines sifted through applications to Memphis' International Blues Challenge, one jumped out at him.

Members of the Little Ivory Blues Band were about 20 years younger than most of the other local musicians in the pile.

Hines, a board member of the Blues Society of Central Pennsylvania, was concerned. He wondered if a bunch of high school students even knew what blues should sound like.

"Most teenagers' idea of the blues is the more modern style . . . (which) Led Zeppelin made popular in the '60s," he said.

The Blues Society of Central Pennsylvania and International Blues Challenge pay homage to the electric blues, born in 1950s Chicago nightclubs.

When Hines popped in the Little Ivory Blues Band's
Little Ivory Blues Band guitarist Garrett Stoner, 16, shreds some chords. He and his bandmates will play today at Club 152 on Beale Street in Memphis. (York Daily Record/ Sunday News- Jason Plotkin)
demo CD. What he heard -- a throwback to the Muddy Waters style of blues -- shocked him.

"I didn't expect them to sound like professional-level musicians," he said.

He added the group to the 2007 competition, which sends the winner to the International Blues Challenge. It was their first real gig, and they placed third.

The riffs they laid down blew the audience and "hard-core blues purists" away, Hines said.

Last September, the band took the stage again at the Blues Society's competition. Even though they placed second, Hines sent their demo to the International Blues Foundation.

He learned that the International Blues Challenge was hosting its first Youth Showcase in 2009. It wasn't long before Little Ivory Blues Band was added to the lineup.

"I got a text message . . . saying, 'pack your bags, we're going to Memphis', " lead guitarist Garrett Stoner said.

The band -- minus pianist Lucas Hough, who had basketball practice -- got together recently in lead singer Aaron Lewis' Manchester Township basement. They poked fun at each other and polished their setlist.

Each member developed a taste for blues differently. Stoner was hooked after listening to a Stevie Ray Vaughan CD with his dad in an '85 pickup. Lewis' uncle and dad let him listen to "Bad to the Bone" and Guns N' Roses tunes. Bassist Seth Shoemaker's father got him into Aerosmith and Jimi Hendrix. Hough was bred on Louis Prima.

Early versions of the Little Ivory Blues Band inspired drummer Ian Staley and saxophonist Logan Kurtek to join.

Since then, the sextet has been dedicated to turning their peers onto old-school sounds.

Feb. 6, they'll play a 20-minute gig at Club 152 on Beale Street, in the heart of Memphis' blues country. To the Little Ivory Blues Band, it represents a musical mecca.

The worst-case scenario, Lewis said, would be to play the showcase, hear some great music and come home.

The best-case scenario would be to get signed and no longer have to work part-time jobs, he added.

While in Memphis, the band said they want to set up on the street and play for passersby, wearing their signature suits, of course.

"I'm not coming back," Stoner said. But then his bandmates reminded him that they have a March gig at Lancaster's Chameleon Club.

emccracken@ydr.com; 771-2051

MORE INFO
For details about Little Ivory Blues Band, visit www.myspace.com/littleivorybluesband.

For details about the Blues Society of Central Pennsylvania, visit www.bscpblues.org.

For details about the International Blues Challenge, visit www.blues.org/ibc.

MEET THE BAND

Aaron Lewis: lead vocals and harmonica

Age: 19

School: HACC

Band superlative: "most serious and always late"


Garrett Stoner: lead guitar and vocals

Age: 16

School: Central York High School

Band superlative: "band jokester"


Seth Shoemaker: bass and vocals

Age: 18

School: Millersville

Band superlative: "best hair and best looking"


Ian Staley: drums

Age: 16

School: Central York High School

Band superlative: "the punching bag"


Logan Kurtek: saxophone

Age: 17

School: Central York High School

Band superlative: "tied with Lewis for best dressed"


Lucas Hough: piano

Age: 16

School: Central York High School

Band superlative: "goofiest" - York Daily Record


Butterflies and goosebumps, thats what 16yr old musician Garrett Stoner felt before taking the stage with his band Little Ivory Blues at the second annual Blues Society of Central Pennsylvania International Blues Challenge a week ago today.

" The competition was a little intimidating," said Stoner, whose York band has been playing together for only six months. Fourteen acts performed 20-minutes sets on two stages at the 40 and 8 club on Chambers Hill Rd. A crowd of about 300 blues fans spent the afternoon kicking back in lawn chairs and blankets, while others danced to the music. " The feed back from the audience was incredible," said 18-year-old Aaron Lewis, lead singer of Little Ivory Blues Band, whose group ended up placing third in the band category. - The Patriot News


Little Ivory Blues Band
Published: April 2010
Story: Keith Wilson
Photo: Fly Photo/Emily Albert

“It was difficult to get people to take us seriously. We’re a bunch of high school and college kids,” says Aaron Lewis, vocalist and harmonica player for Little Ivory Blues Band. “[But] a lot of people hear us and their impression changes.”

Credibility is hard to come by when you’re in a band so young that none of the members can purchase alcohol. Factor in that this York-based five-piece plays the blues – which demands authenticity as much or more than other genres – and you’ve got a problem on your hands.

But time and time again, Little Ivory Blues Band has managed to transcend barriers of age, race and locale. In 2008, the band took second place in the Blues Society of Central Pennsylvania’s Blues Challenge, for which they were invited to travel to Memphis, TN, to compete in the International Blues Competition’s Youth Showcase. Not content to be designated to an “age appropriate” cul-de-sac of the blues world, they returned in 2009 to take first place at the local level. The band was then able to represent Central PA in Memphis, competing against blues musicians of all ages from all over the world.

To be fair to the band’s detractors, the age issue is not altogether invisible. During a relatively standard interview with Lewis, guitarist Garrett Stoner and drummer Ian Staley, the word “orgasm” surfaced at least three times – followed shortly by stifled giggling.

“They can pretty much expect a full-body orgasm,” says Lewis of the band’s live show, “real high-energy stuff; fun, party music.” Giggling aside, as Lewis himself explains, any old-school blues enthusiast who turns up his nose at a band of fresh-faced would-be bluesmen is, as a rule, silenced once Little Ivory Blues Band takes the stage.

The band came together in 2006 when Lewis (who was then a drummer), Stoner and a mutual friend were asked to help record a classmate’s senior project. Once the session was completed, the three continued to get together and make instrumental music.

“We were pretty much just big blues fans,” Lewis says of the members’ gravitation towards their current genre. “I’m just kind of a music junkie. Blues, rock, funk, soul, reggae …” Not long after, Lewis was persuaded to vacate the drum stool. His bandmates discovered that he could sing, and his vocals, blues harp and presence became the band’s focal point.

Since that time, in addition to making an impression on the national blues scene, Little Ivory Blues Band has worked to carve out a niche locally – never an easy task for underagers in Pennsylvania, which has notoriously stringent laws concerning the distribution of alcohol.
“A lot of [venues] won’t even bother taking a press kit because we’re not all old enough,” Lewis laments. “There are ways to get around it and there are ways to do it legally, but as a bar owner, it’s a lot of red tape to crawl through because they just don’t want to deal with it. So it’s presented some challenges, but I think we’re working with it as best we can.”

The best way for them to “work with it” has clearly been to show up wherever they can and blow the lid off the joint. Stoner remarks, “We’re kind of known for getting people up and dancing in venues where it doesn’t usually happen. At the Roosevelt Tavern, the owner came up and told us he’s never seen that many people dancing at the bar before. You know, basically, it’s just good party music. Feel-good dancing music. Orgasm music.” Cue giggles.

But the dancing and revelry aren’t enough to silence a certain faction of notoriously obsessive blues fans and musicians who take their genre very, very seriously. In this community, age and wisdom are revered in an almost inverse way to the worship of youth in pop and rock music. Stoner refers to these sticklers as “blues Nazis.” “There are a couple Nazis that think we’re too young and too white to be playing this kind of music,” he explains. “There definitely is a stigma that comes with blues about age and experience, but, particularly in this area in Central PA, they’ve been extremely supportive of us. I think it makes them feel good that young people are digging their music and keeping it alive.”

At the same time, Lewis voices some concern about the burden of responsibility when it comes to carrying the proverbial torch. “I think over the past few months we’ve felt kind of limited by the criteria of the blues competition in Memphis,” he says, “and we’ve been moving away from focusing on keeping it 12-bar and appealing to what some might call blues Nazis.”

He goes on to explain that the members of Little Ivory Blues Band simply love to entertain people and want to expand the manner in which they do it. “We still definitely love playing blues,” he assures, “but we want to get something in there for everybody, a little more soul, a little culture in the music, and we’re just kind of experimenting right now.”

The next step is to write another batch of original material, and all bets are off as to what it might sound like. Adding to the variables is the addition to the lineup of Alex Degnan, who has replaced the band’s original bass player. “He’s insane,” Stoner says. “We call him the Funkasaurus Rex!”

The new lineup plans to drop out of normal life for a while and let nature take its course with the new music. Stoner explains, “We’ve got a cabin where we can just lock ourselves in and write. It’s just whatever we feel. It’s not like we go, ‘OK, we’re the Little Ivory Blues Band.’ It has nothing to do with the name any more.”

Does that mean a name change may be in order? The response is mixed. “We’ve all done a lot of work to grow the reputation of the Little Ivory Blues Band,” Lewis explains diplomatically, “so changing the name might be going back to square one. A lot of people recognize the name. We’ve got some very devoted fans. I think for now, until something drastic changes …”
A band with “blues” in the name that isn’t exactly a blues band? Well, it wouldn’t be the first time. “I’ve never heard Blues Traveler play a blues song,” Lewis quips. “They rock the name, and they put on one hell of a show.”



- Fly Magazine


Local teen wins Guitar Center's King of the Blues (video)
AMANDA DOLASINSKI The York Dispatch
Updated: 06/22/2010 11:14:16 AM EDT




Guitar player Garrett Stoner of Little Ivory Blues Band recently won Guitar Center's King of the Blues solo competition and will advance to district competition at the end of the month. (John A. Pavoncello Photo)
Garrett Stoner's father has never heard his son play with his band, the Little Ivory Blues Band. Yet his father is at every show.

Garrett's father, Mike, died in a motorcycle crash when Garrett was 14.

Before he died, Mike and Garrett's mother, Cindy Hill, gave their son a Fender Strat guitar. The guitar would become Garrett's escape from problems at school and launch his future as a talented local artist.

In honor of his father, Garrett taped Mike's picture on the back of his guitar. In that sense, Mike has been at every one of Garrett's shows for the past three years.

Garrett has seen success with the band, but he also recently won Guitar Center's King of Blues competition solo. He will advance to the district competition at the end of the month.

"I was pretty nervous, 'cause I didn't have any of my band members," Garrett said.

Garrett's mother entered him in the contest without his knowledge. He said he literally had to pick a song to play in his mom's car on the ride to the competition.

If he makes it through district, he'll move on to the regional competition. Regardless, he said he's more comfortable playing with his band.

His start: Garrett picked up his first guitar when he was 8 -- it was his dad's. He'd mess
around on it, using a matchbox as a pick. Soon, he was enrolled in lessons.

He remembered hanging out when he was 11 with his father and uncle, listening to Stevie Ray Vaughn. He was instantly hooked.

He formed Little Ivory Blues Band with Seth Shoemaker, Aaron Lewis and Mike Rowland in 2006. The group played in a few local clubs, including York City's old Iron Gate Antique Shop.

During the next two years, the group added Lucas Hough, Logan Kurtek and Ian Staley -- Rowland had left to attend Temple University.

The group took second place in the 2008 Blues Society of Central Pennsylvania's Annual Blues Competition. The following year, Little Ivory Blues Band placed first.

Not going solo: The King of Blues competition is the first time Garrett has accomplished something without his band, but he said he'd never want to do a solo career -- despite being able to play the guitar while holding it over his head.

He plays his guitar every day and hopes to turn it into a full-time job in the future.

"Guitar gets me through a lot," Garrett said. "Whatever mood I'm in usually comes out of my guitar. I just play what I feel. I pick it up and start playing."

Although his father never heard the Little Ivory Blues Band, Garrett said he thinks he would be impressed.

"I think about that all the time," he said. "I think he'd think it's kick-ass."

--Reach Amanda Dolasinski at 505-5434 or adolasinski@yorkdispatch.com.


- York Dispatch


I don't know what my friend Jim did for lunch Tuesday in Harrisburg, but I'm telling you he couldn't have had half as much fun as I had.

I have a relative, Donnie, who works in downtown Hanover. And I don't care what he did for lunch Tuesday, it wasn't nearly as enjoyable as what I did.

My daughter works in Montgomery County, and she and my son-in-law live in Lancaster County. My uncle Charlie enjoys studying the Civil War, so he spends a fair amount of time in Adams County.

And I feel fairly certain none of them had as pleasurable a time Tuesday from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. as I did.

There are three reasons for that: 1. The Central Market is located in York City, and it's open on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays; 2. The Box Lunch Revue, a presentation of live, home-grown musical entertainment, is featured every Tuesday and Thursday throughout the summer months in the courtyard at Cherry Lane (behind the Central Market) during lunch time.

And 3: It just so happens that Tuesday, June 29, was the day the Little Ivory Blues Band appeared on Cherry Lane.

I don't appear at the Box Lunch Revue every Tuesday and Thursday. But I do try to attend maybe three or four times each season just for the fun of it.

When I realized Tuesday was the Little Ivory Blues Band's day to appear downtown, nothing could have kept me away.

I've been hearing a lot about these Little Ivory Blues Band fellows for a couple of years. Mostly a group of young guys fresh out of Central High School, the band has transitioned from an instrumental trio first heard in 2006 to a highly recognized six-man blues band -- Aaron Lewis, vocals/harmonica; Garrett Stoner, guitar; Lucas Hough, keyboards; Alex Degnan, bass; Logan Kurtek, saxophone; and Ian Staley, drums -- in 2010.

These are the same guys who've won several Battle-of-the-Bands competitions, placed high up in the BSCP Blues Challenges and were invited to perform in the IBC Youth Showcase of the 25th International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tenn., this year.

Hey, I don't know how well the Ivory Blues boys compare to the Magnificent Men or Live, other York-area groups that made themselves famous in the world of music, at comparable times of development, but it's hard to imagine Live and the Mag Men were that much better than the fellows I saw play Tuesday when they were right out of high school.

As I said, I could not have had more fun Tuesday if it had somehow involved finding gold at the end of my rainbow. It didn't.

Instead, it was a little macaroni and cheese, a pulled-pork barbecue sandwich and a soda, while enjoying the tunes of the Little Ivory Blues Band. It was great fun.

I'm no music talent expert. But I know what I like.

I like it when I can understand the words to a song.

I like it when everyone is playing and singing in tune. Or mostly so.

And I like it when they seem to be having fun making music.

Good food. Good music. Good venue.

In the middle of the day ... a weekday, no less.

A fellow can hardly ask for more than that.

And if he did, he probably wouldn't get it.

On Tuesday, I got lucky. Little Ivory Blues Band -- remember that name. If these young guys keep their eyes on the prize and their noses to the grindstone, they've got a shot.

Then I can say I saw them play one day over lunch.

A bunch of young guys and some pulled pork. And it'll be the truth.

Columns by Larry A. Hicks, Dispatch columnist, run Mon days, Wednesdays and Fri days. E-mail: lhicks@yorkdispatch.com.

- York Dispatch-Larry Hicks


Discography

Little Ivory Blues Band EP

Photos

Bio

Little Ivory Blues Band began as a blues instrumental trio in 2006 with Garrett Stoner on guitar, Seth Shoemaker on bass, and Aaron Lewis on drums, playing in a few local clubs and open mic venues. The introduction of Mike Rowland into the band as the new drummer offered Aaron an opportunity to focus on singing and harmonica, and allowed Little Ivory Blues band to develop it's unique style and sound. It was this signature style and sound that LIBB won first place at both the JCC and Penn State York Battles of the Bands, and third place at the 2007 BSCP Blues Challenge.

After some time, LIBB grew to include Lucas Hough on keyboard, Logan Kurtek on saxophone, Alex Degnan on Bass and Ian Staley, who filled the empty drum throne after Mike's departure to Temple University. Such is Little Ivory Blues Band as it exists today.

In September of 2008, LIBB took second place in the 2008 BSCP Blues Competition, and was invited to the 25th International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tennessee to perform in the IBC Youth Showcase, where they not only blew away audiences, but earned themselves three on-the-spot paying gig offers, one of which at the biggest club on Beale St., Club 152. Even though the Youth Showcase was a great opportunity, their desire to one day compete in the IBC was still strong.

In September of 2009, they took first in the BSCP Blues Competition and were chosen to represent Central PA in Memphis, Tennessee at the 2010 International Blues Challenge!

Although still young, Little Ivory Blues Band has already racked up a considerable degree of valuable experience, developed a sizable fan base, and is rapidly becoming known for their unique approach and high-energy performances, having been listed among the Top 20 Bands in Central PA by 105.7 The X.

Now, with their whole lives ahead of them, they have every intention to keep moving forward at full speed in their everlasting endeavor to safeguard the Blues for future generations.