TJ Kelly and Chasing Sparrows
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TJ Kelly and Chasing Sparrows

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"Rotary Club to Rock Weston"

ROTARY CLUB TO ROCK WESTON!
Saturday, March 1st at 7:00 PM
Weston Regional Park

By Margot Lyons Simons

RPM – Rock & Pop Masters will electrify Weston Regional Park on Saturday, March 1st with classic rock favorites from the 70’s and 80’s. Two years ago, RPM was the group The Rotary Club of Weston and The City of Weston brought to perform for area residents and they are back by popular demand with several new singers! This is a free event that you won’t want to miss!

As you, your neighbors, family, and friends bring lawn chairs and blankets to the Weston Regional Park concert grounds under the stars, look for favorites from these classic rock artists: Orleans singer Larry Hoppen belting out “Still the One” and “Dance with Me” while brothers Lane & Lance Hoppen jam on the keyboard and bass, Jimi Jamison of Survivor singing “Search is Over” and “Eye of the Tiger”, Alex Ligertwood lead singer for over 16 years in Santana performing “Black Magic Woman”, Rick Derringer rocks on the guitar with “Rock n’ Roll Hootchie Coo”, Ronnie Hammond of Atlanta Rhythm Section with chart toppers “Imaginary Lover”, “Champagne Jam” and “So Into You”, Rascals’ Felix Cavaliere rocking the house with “Good Lovin’”, “Groovin’” and “Mustang Sally”, along with drummer Charlie Morgan from Orleans, Elton John and Paul McCartney bands, as well as Jerry Riggs and Barry Dunaway from The Pat Travers Band. At the end of the night, all the singers and band members join onstage adding to their friends’ sounds in a ‘jam extravaganza’.

"This RPM show will more than outdo our 2006 event in Weston. If you liked that, you'll LOVE this! With Felix from the Rascals and Rick Derringer plus 4 other original singers of huge classic hits, it'll be a non-stop live jukebox and a night to remember both for the crowd and the band!” said Larry Hoppen of Orleans.

The opening band for RPM is an up and coming original rock band from Ft. Myers called TJ Kelly & Kerosine. They have opened for many legendary rock artists all over the country. Backed by music pros such as Cliff Williams from AC/DC, Steve Luongo from The John Entwistle Band and Mountain, and Arnie Wohl, who has worked with several artists including Paula Abdul, this is a great opportunity for concert goers to get a free glimpse of greatness before TJ Kelly & Kerosine launch their first CD and bust into top of the rock charts!

This 4th annual free concert is organized and funded through the efforts of Tom Kallman of The Rotary Club of Weston and The City of Weston. Every year Kallman, his concert committee, and The City of Weston make sure every detail of event goes off without a hitch to ensure the fun and safety of all concert goers. Professional staging, lighting and sound amplify the awesome concert experience! Sponsors receive on stage recognition, banner signage along the front of the stage, VIP seating and invitations to the VIP Party to meet the band members. All of the band members make themselves available for autographs and photos at the VIP reception.

The Rotary Club of Weston is extremely proud to be able to work with The City of Weston to put on this free concert for area residents and is looking forward to seeing thousands of concert goers again this year as WESTON ROCKS!

“STAY TUNED” by visiting the following websites for more information: www.westonrotary.org, www.westonfl.org, www.rpmconcerts.com, www.tjkellymusic.com

Contacts:
City of Weston
Jeff Skidmore ( Community Services ) 954-389-4321
Denise Barrett ( Communications ) 954-385-2000

Rotary Club of Weston
Tom Kallman ( Sponsor Requests & Band Interviews Only )
Concert Chairman: 954-389-5897, tmk@tmkrisk.com

- by Margot Lyons Simons


"Rocker boys"

A little more than a decade ago, T.J. Kelly was a student at Fort Myers High who had sports more than music on the mind. Now 10 years later, music reigns his mind. Kelly and his band, T.J. Kelly & Kerosine, are preparing to rock crowds attending the Classic Rock Cares concert at the Barbara B. Mann later this month.

The Saturday, June 30 concert, promoting autism awareness, will feature the likes of AC/DC's Brian Johnson and Cliff Williams, belting "Highway to Hell," as well as Joe Lynn Turner, formerly of Deep Purple/Rainbow, and Steve Luongo of The John Entwistle Band.

Before launching into nightly rehearsal with the band, Kelly stretches from a porch chair in a screened porch outside downtown Fort Myers and relates his journey into music-making.

The Fort Myers native shares that he grew up off Kelly Road, a street named after his grandfather and his grandpa's twin brother, who farmed potatoes in the area for many years.

After living next door to his cousins on Kelly Road and rounding out freshman year at Fort Myers High school, Kelly and his family moved north to Idaho. It was in the northern potato country that Kelly fell in love with rock and roll.

"I'd never listened to a whole lot of rock music, and then when I moved up there – there was a lot of alternative rock, like Live and Matchbox Twenty, and the people that I met in high school started showing me some of it and I was like, 'wow, this is what I would love to do,'" he says.

He began making music by "messing around" with his father's guitar senior year. As a University of Idaho undergraduate, he joined a cover band on campus and became the focal entertainment at frat parties and impromptu college shindigs.

"It was a fly-by-the-seat-of-our pants type of thing, and then I got kicked out because I wanted to do original music," says Kelly.

His hunger to write original music grew in his college years while commuting to classes to and from the University of Idaho's Moscow campus.

"I had an old Volvo station wagon that had no radio in it and it was a 45-minute drive to school. It sounds kind of stupid, but I'd sing all the way there and all the way back," he says.

After spending a few years in rural Idaho and getting married, Kelly returned home to Fort Myers with his wife and worked with the family business, Kelly Bros. Marine Construction.

But varied lyrics and melodies constantly crept into his mind, particularly late at night. With a pencil, he'd jot down the words on a pad and pull out his Breedlove acoustic guitar, plucking the melodies playing in his head.

"The good songs come out fast," he explains. "The good songs seem to flow, all of a sudden you get in a groove and everything, the lyrics and music, seems to fall out. There's always good songs that take forever to write, but if I get stuck on something, I'd put it away and may not look at it for weeks but, some of the better songs I've written have come out within 15 minutes. They just kind of happened."

Kelly's wife recognized her husband's talent and encouraged him to create a demo. After recording, Kelly was nervous that the demo he paid big bucks for would never reach the right hands.

But his wife, a Vincent Salon massage therapist managed to get the demo into the hands of hairstyling customer Arnie Wohl, an executive producer who helped launch Paula Abdul's singing career.

"Arnie Wohl called," says Kelly. "I went to his house. I played a bunch of songs for him and he said, 'do you know Cliff Williams of AC/DC?' I said, 'yeah' and he said, 'would you like to meet him – do you mind if I give him your demo' and I said, 'sure.' He gave it to him and then I met Cliff. By the grace of God, I found Cliff Williams and Arnie Wohl, who my wife somehow got a demo I made into their hands."

Wohl, Williams and Luongo, of The John Entwistle Band, expressed interest in launching Kelly's musical career. The budding musician's next mission was to establish a band.

"I decided that I need to quit (my job) work in order to find band members. I needed to see if it would work, and if it didn't then I'd go back to working," says Kelly.

After finding a rhythm guitarist through his cousin and posting ads on the internet and at guitar shops, Kelly found ripened local talents hailing from Fort Myers and Cape Coral, and TJ Kelly became TJ Kelly & Kerosine. He attributes the band's name to a song he wrote titled, "Kerosine."

The five-piece band consists of Kelly on acoustic guitar and vocals; Beau Niebrugge on rhythm guitar; Nick Forster on bass, Jeff Bennett on drums and Mike Blair on lead guitar.

"With all these guys, they're pretty well-grounded for the most part, as well-grounded as you can be for being in a band," says Kelly, smiling. "They're all good guys and we all want the same thing."

The 10-month-old band recently finished recording a high-quality demo, thanks to producers Wohl, Williams and Luongo. The demo contains four songs, entitled "Bring me down," "Kerosine," "Angel" and "Horses." Niebrugge and Kelly leaned back on porch chairs and listened to the birds humming at dusk before putting into words the band's brand of sound.

"It's alternative Rock 'n Roll. It's like we're bringing back old 60s and 70s Rock 'n Roll," Beau says. "But it's more contemporary to today's music."

"I guess you'd put it as acoustic-based alternative pop," adds Kelly.

Kelly notes that the music he creates is influenced by a mix of genres, including the 90s alternative beats of Matchbox Twenty and Collective Soul and the classic rock of Led Zeppelin and Aerosmith, as well as some Willy Nelson twang.

"The most important this is melody," says Kelly. "Any normal person is not going to listen to the lyrics or what the lyrics say unless there is some kind of hook that catches the ear."

He shares that the most popular song in the band's repertoire is the upbeat "Kerosine."

"It's got catchy little hooks all through it," says Kelly. "People can kind of already sing along to it while hearing it for the first time."

Kelly relates that his lyrical mentor is Rob Thomas from Matchbox Twenty who succeeded in writing songs that dually describe a romantic or platonic relationship.

"I try and make it so that anyone listening to a song is able to pull something from it," he explains. "If I make it too literal, I'm afraid that some people won't relate to it, so I try to make it to where anybody that hears a song will be like, 'oh this is about my breakup with my boyfriend' or 'this is about a mom passing away' so that they can pull something from it."

In its 10-month run, the band has been busy performing locally, as well as opening up for legendary performers, including Eddie Money in North Fort Myers, Cheap Trick in Miami and Ziggy Marley in St. Pete.

"We're really excited," says Kelly about the band's ascension. "It doesn't seem real. It feels surreal. Slowly but surely things keep getting bigger and bigger."

The band is getting ready for their biggest gig yet, a 30 minute set at the Barbara B. Mann.

"That will definitely be our biggest gig," says Kelly. "It's kind of a cool place to play. I think the sound will be really nice in the Barbara B. Mann."

Kelly says that the band's goal right now it to get signed by a record company and ultimately to hear their stuff on the radio.

"The most rewarding part of being in the band is finding four other guys that get along well," says Kelly. "We all enjoy playing the music. We all really want the same stuff to happen. We are all willing to put whatever it takes into it."

TJ Kelly & Kerosine, Ocean Roads and Steve Farst will all be playing at Valerie's Lounge (located in the Indian Creek Shopping Plaza) Saturday, June 23.

For more information on TJ Kelly & Kerosine, visit TJKellyMusic.com. For more information on the Classic Rock Cares concert, visit BBMannPAH.com.
- By AILEEN McELROY, amcelroy@breezenewspapers.com


"AC/DC bassist on board for local musician and his band"

It still surprises him sometimes. Guitarist Mike Blair looks over — and there's that guy from AC/DC, smiling right back at him.

"It's pretty surreal, man," Blair said and chuckled. "You sit back and think to yourself: 'Holy crap. This guy is legendary.

"'And he's working with us.'"

Singer T.J. Kelly, 25, relaxes at Unity Gain Recording Studio in Fort Myers.
It's been a surreal year for Blair and the other members of T.J. Kelly & Kerosine.

The band has been pounding out tracks for an upcoming EP. They've rocked local clubs and bars.
And this Friday, they're playing their biggest gig ever at the Rock On Scramble & Jam in North Fort Myers. They open for even more rock legends, including Eddie Money, Robin Zander of Cheap Trick, Mark Farner of Grand Funk Railroad and Joe Lynn Turner of Deep Purple.

Cliff Williams — bass player for AC/DC — said he's never produced a local band, but this one's special. The Fort Myers resident is co-producing Kerosine with Steve Luongo, former drummer for Mountain and the John Entwistle Band.

"They've got a lot of promise," Williams said. "There's definitely something there."
Executive producer Arnie Wohl discovered Kelly when his hairstylist slipped him a demo (Kelly's wife works at Vincent Salon as a massage therapist).

The CD featured just Kelly and his guitar, but the songs were strong, Wohl said. And Kelly's singing voice mixed Keith Urban, Rob Thomas and Ed Kowalczyk from Live.
Wohl quickly called Williams.
"I said, 'Hey, you've got to listen to this kid,'" said Wohl, who promoted Paula Abdul during her heyday. "Now we're working on having the biggest rock star to ever come out of Fort Myers."

Kelly — one of the "Kelly Road" Kellys of Fort Myers — certainly hopes that happens.

"I'm very excited," said Kelly, 25. "It doesn't seem real, most of the time."
The band laid down four songs at Unity Gain Recording Studio in Fort Myers recently, and now the producers are finishing up the mixes. They plan to send the CD to friends in the music industry.

At Unity Gain, the band belted out the pop-rock "Bring Me Down," the midtempo "Horses" and the Nirvana-like "Kerosine."
But it was the ballad "Angel" that got everyone pumped.

"I don't want to be an angel," Kelly sung softly into the microphone. "I don't feel the wings on my back. "White just isn't my color. And my goodness just don't seem to last."
In the control booth, Williams grinned lasciviously. "That's a knicker-elastic loosener if I ever saw one," he said.

If things go well, "Angel" could be loosening knickers across the country — and heating up the radio waves, too.
That's particularly impressive considering that, until two years ago, Kelly hadn't played many real shows. He was in a short-lived cover band in Idaho, and he once inadvertently performed in a Christian songwriting contest (he didn't win because he didn't have any Christian songs).

Kelly put together his first real band last summer. Before that, he was a solo act, usually just strumming his guitar in his living room.

The band's members are Kelly; Blair, of Cape Coral; rhythm guitarist Beau Niebrugge, 22, of Fort Myers; bassist Nick Forster, 23, of Cape Coral; and drummer Jeffrey Bennett, 34, of Fort Myers.
"We all just clicked," Kelly said.

Since then, he's quit his job at Kelly Brothers Inc. to focus full-time on the band and his songwriting. He's been living off savings and his wife (who'd been pushing him to live out his rock 'n' roll dreams).
"We all really want this," Kelly said.

Luongo, Williams and Wohl are equally excited.

This takes them all back to their own glory days in the 1970s and '80s — before fame and fortune, when they were young and hungry themselves.
During the recent rehearsal, the producers watched Kerosine play as a newspaper photographer snapped their photos.

Luongo smiled through the control room window.
"Look at them," he said. "Look. It's happening for them.

"It's really happening."
- News Press crunnells@news-press.com


Discography

Creator
House On The Hill
Kerosine
Talk About It
Heart Of A Sparrow
Straight
Angel
Time To Go

Photos

Bio

Official Web Site - www.tjkellymusic.com
Video and other info. - www.myspace.com/tjkellyband

TJ Kelly and Chasing Sparrows can best be described as Kings Of Leon meets Matchbox Twenty. Pop melodies, chorusy guitar riffs, and groovin base lines, create radio-friendly hooks with an indie feel. TJ Kelly and Chasing Sparrows came together after the TJ Kelly Band had recruited all new musicians. Kelly and the new band members shared a common change of direction, when it came to the sound of the music. They quickly realized the potential of this evolution and decided a new name was needed for the fresh new sound.

TJ Kelly was discovered by Arnie Wohl, who has worked with many artists, such as, The Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, and Paula Abdul. Wohl put Kelly in the studio to record an EP, produced by Cliff Williams (AC/DC) and Steve Luongo (John Entwistle Band). TJ Kelly has also caught the attention Terry Lippman (Lippman Entertainment), Joel Denver (All Access Music Group), and producers, Don Gehman and Richie Zito.

TJ Kelly has shared the stage with -

Seven Mary Three
Jonny Lang
Brian Johnson and Cliff Williams (AC/DC)
Jupiter One
Eddie Money
Robin Zander (Cheap Trick)
Joe Lynn Turner (Deep Purple and Rainbow)
Mark Farner (Grand Funk Railroad)
Buck Darma (Blue Oyster Cult)
The Neville Brothers
Ziggy Marley
Steve Luongo (John Entwistle Band and Mountain)
The Guess Who
Riders On The Storm (The Doors w/Brett Scallions)
Jeff Scott Soto (Journey)
Jimi Jamison (Survivor)
Alex Ligertwood (Santana)
Rick Derringer
Ronnie Hammond (Atlanta Rhythm Section)
Felix Caveliere (Rascals)
Larry, Lane & Lance Hoppen (Orleans)
Charlie Morgan (Elton John,Trisha Yearwood,Orleans) Barry Dunaway (Pat Travers, Survivor)

www.tjkellymusic.com
www.myspace.com/tjkellyband