This blog started out giving you posts of the songwriter’s notes, lyrics, and music for my original songs. As with many things, it has gone in new directions. So, if you just started reading my post and are interested in my original material, here is a link to my Songwriter’s Notes, Lyrics, and Music.
On Thursday, 10/2, Tom Whitmore will be our performer in the “Side room” at Buffalo Bill’s. Tom, a seasoned veteran of the music scene in the Syracuse and Rochester area, has been a contributing songwriter to the well-known Watkins and the Rapiers since its beginning in 1996. Since Tom does not have a web site of his own, here is a brief history of his band:
“We play mostly original music, written by the band’s four songwriters. It’s Americana music, folk music with a beat, exploring many genres, rather than calculating a sound to fit a marketing category.
We had our first performance in January 1996. At the time, we weren’t a band, but friends who took turns hosting a weekly hootenanny / jam session with other musicians. The date, at the Rose & Crown, was arranged by our crowd’s mandolin / fiddle player, but the opportunity came up too quickly, and he was unable to participate. So Scott Regan asked the mandolin / fiddle player from his band, the Water Street Boys, to join us that night. Always up for a musical challenge, Bruce Diamond accepted. He raised us to a new level, and the next thing we knew, we were the bar’s Wednesday night band.
For that first job, bar manager Will Taggert had taken out an ad in advance, before he knew who would perform. He called the band Watkins and the Rapiers, the name of his own band from his teenage years in England. (The name derived from an inexpensive electric guitar from the 1960s, the Watkins Rapier.) We didn’t have a name and figured taking on the bar owner’s choice was good politics. And that’s how we became Watkins & the Rapiers.
A few months into the gig, Bruce invited his old band mate, drummer Marty York, to sit in. Soon he was a regular, and our original six-member lineup was in place. We played about a year of Wednesday nights before we had a practice. It was fun, like bowling night, Bruce noted. We played a wide-ranging repertoire, including many original songs along with covers by the likes of Donovan, Steve Earle, Roger Miller, the Morells, John Prine, Jonathan Richman and the Troggs.
We began to practice only after we decided to record a CD of some of our original songs. That CD, Play Along with Watkins & the Rapiers, was recorded and released in 1997. In 1998 we staged the first of our annual Christmas shows. By writing a few new songs for that show each year, we have amassed more than 40 original Christmas songs.
By 1999, accordionist/guitarist/songwriter Rob Goodwin was preparing to move to Bozeman, Mont. To ensure we had a record of the leading songs in our repertoire, we recorded our second CD, What Ever Happened to Watkins and the Rapiers.
We took some time off after Rob left, and then reformed in 2002 as a five-piece, often with friends sitting in. In May 2006, we went back into the studio to record about two dozen songs, half of which are on our third CD, It’s Christmas, Baby!, which we released at our 2006 Christmas shows. The rest were released in 2010 on The Return of Watkins & the Rapiers.
In 2004, we released the studio recordings we’d done in 1999, as Whatever Happened to Watkins and the Rapiers. In May 2006, we went back into the studio to record about two dozen songs, half of which are on our third CD, It’s Christmas, Baby!, which we released at our 2006 Christmas shows. The rest will be coming out soon on a new CD.
In between, in 2007, two players who had been sitting in with us became full-time members: Steve Piper, who mainly plays electric guitar with the band, and Rick McRae on trombone and keyboards.
We continue to play at pubs, coffeehouses, cafes, concert halls, festivals, fundraisers and farmer’s markets.
The Band’s Members
Scott Regan (guitar, percussion and vocals) — the older of the two Regan brothers is one of the band’s four songwriters. He was a finalist in the Rounder Records songwriter contest, circa 1991. Co-founder with Colorblind James of the Water Street Boys, an Upstate New York jug band that has been active for more than two decades. Also performs solo. Has recorded two other CDs, one solo, the other with the Water Street Boys. morning disc jockey on WRUR-FM.
Kerry Regan (bass, guitar, harmonica and vocals) — Another songwriter, he has played in rock and bluegrass bands and solo in New York City and Upstate New York. Featured Saturday night performer at the Landmark “Toy Bar” in Park Slope, Brooklyn, in 1980s. Led the Electric Mudpies, who had radio airplay in major markets in 1991. Former music critic. Day job: marketing and public relations writer.
Tom Whitmore (bass, guitar, mandolin and vocals) — Another of the band's songwriters, “Whit” has performed for more than a quarter century, including a stint as lead guitarist with the Syracuse-based quartet, the Sputniks, which included two other Regan brothers, Phil and Craig. Has a strong repertoire of campfire sing-alongs. Day job: telecommunications executive.
Marty York (drums, percussion, washboard and vocals) — A 20-plus-year veteran of the Rochester music scene, Marty has played in dozens of bands over the years. His earliest performances included lip-synching to Alvin and the Chipmunks as a seven-year old and playing drums on Roger Miller songs at a sixth grade spaghetti dinner. His career highlight: meeting Ed Begley, Jr., Spinal Tap’s original drummer. Day job: dental lab manager.
Steve Piper (guitar, ukulele and vocals) — Steve Piper is a songwriter and performer who has two solo CDs. His style is roughly in the folk/country tradition, but he also loves Mozart, Stravinsky, Satie, John Coltrane, Hank Williams, Sandy Denny, Miles Davis, Merle Haggard, Capt. Beefheart, Johnny Hartman, those Texas people like Townes Van Zandt, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Guy Clark, Al Strehi and others. He also photographs and draws. Day job: photographer with Gelfand-Piper Photography.
Rick McRae (trombone, keyboards) — Rick's escapades with the trombone have been multifaceted. He has performed in blues, rock, orchestral, chamber, salsa, klezmer, African-based, and experimental ensembles. He has recorded and performed with They Might Be Giants, and bands devoted to the music of Frank Zappa, Sun Ra and John Zorn. Once he played two gigs on the same day — in New York City and Toronto. And he has also played trombone while neck deep in a Maine lake. In addition to Watkins, Rick also plays with the Outer Circle Orchestra, 12 Corners Klezmer Band, BioCentrics, and whoever wants him to sit in during open mic night at the Flipside Bar & Grill. Day job: music librarian.”
Here is a video of Tom doing one of his songs, “Vacation from God,” with Watkins and the Rapiers.
Here is a video of Tom doing one of his songs, “The Truth,” with Watkins and the Rapiers.
To learn more about Tom and Watkins and the Rapiers, click here. Hope you can join us for the show!
The concert is free, but we do ask for donations to support our performers. Siobhan has created two CDs, one for each of our two seasons. Each CD contains songs of the performers who appeared during that season. The requested donation for each CD is $10, and the proceeds go to the performers who are playing on the night of the donation. The CDs have gotten good reviews, and we hope they get passed around to let others know about the great talent we have appearing at this venue.
The concerts take place on the first and third Thursdays of each month in the side room of Buffalo Bill’s Family Restaurant and Taproom (19 Main Street, Shortsville, NY). The show runs from 7 to 9 PM. To learn more about Buffalo Bill’s, check out their site right here:
Buffalo Bill’s Family Restaurant and Taproom
Marc Black was our guests in September. To give you a feel of the setting of these concerts, here is a video of Marc doing one of his songs, "When the Earth Was Big."
If you would like to see videos of the other performers who have taken the stage at “Singer/Songwriters in the Side Room” concerts, check out this link:
Videos of Performers in the Side Room
Hope you can join us on Oct. 2!
All the best,
Siobhan and Frank
Rick Hoyt and Cool Club, Oct. 16
The Cadleys, Nov. 6
John Dady, Nov. 20
Kerry Regan of Watkins and the Rapiers, Dec. 4
Eva and the Dog Boys, Dec. 18
Jeff Riales, Jan. 15
The Maria Gillard Trio, Feb. 19
Leslie Lee and Steve Gretz, Mar. 5
Brian Ayers, Mar. 19
Stid Hill Stompers (Jack Jones, Kendall Paul Wilt, and Fran Cary), Apr. 2
Lisa Bigwood, Apr. 16
Scott Regan, May 7
Paul Swiatek and Perry Cleaveland, May 21