News Column

Local sounds on Summer Motion stage

July 2, 2013


July 02--ASHLAND -- The big-name bands at Summer Motion 2013 will have to be at their best if they want to outshine the local groups scheduled to share in the spotlight.

Larry Whitt & Blue Eyed Soul will get the audience in the groove for 80s-rock band Loverboy starting at 8 p.m. Wednesday during the first night of Summer Motion activity at Ashland's riverfront.

Whitt, a veteran Summer Motion performer, brings along a gifted group of musicians including fellow string-bender Bobby Burnette, bassist Brent Jack, percussionist Tom Berry and drummer Dewey Frye.

"We play a very high-energy, blues rock or R&B show. It will be a solid hour of good guitar riffs and soulful vocals," Whitt said last week.

The accomplished guitarist said he is excited about the band's status as an opening act, and the fact they will get the crowd warmed up for Loverboy.

"It's really cool because this is one of the bands in the 80s that I listened to," Whitt said enthusiastically. "It will be an honor to open for them."

For longtime fans, Whitt explained he will be performing as himself plus the band Blue-Eyed Soul, which is his five-member band.

"We just call it the Larry Whitt Band when it is the three-piece," he said.

Ashland native Michael Moore of Nashville, along with his band Southern Push, will get the crowd in the mood to party for the July 4 show with headliner Sawyer Brown. Moore said he may be getting too much personal credit for the July 4 performance.

"It's supposed to be Southern Push ... and I'm the singer of the band," he said with a laugh.

Born and raised in Ashland, Moore is a 1988 graduate of Paul G. Blazer High School and describes himself as "an Ashland Tomcat all the way." The youngest of four children who grew up "behind the high school," Moore said he was "probably the worst athlete of the group. Moore worked at the local refinery for a decade before becoming convinced he might have a chance at making his living playing music, and he moved to Nashville 10 years ago to pursue that dream.

"I didn't play much music around here. I did play the Highway 23 Jamboree just for fun," Moore said, explaining he decided to pursue music after winning the Cincinnati rounds, and later the Ohio portion, of the Nashville Star show, ending up in the nation's top 24 finalists for the program.

People who are there for the band's July 4 performance can expect a show that reflects the members' varied tastes and influences, Moore said.

"It will be modern country. We want to push the envelope and not play strictly traditional country. It has a country music feel to it, but it is modern country," he said, noting he will be sharing the stage with accomplished musicians including guitarist Carl Lindquist, a graduate of Berklee, as well as guitarist Travis Wilburn.

"He's a big rock 'n' roll guy, and you can tell by the haircut," Moore said with a chuckle.

Moore said he is excited about playing for a hometown crowd, noting he last played in Ashland four or five years ago during the Poage Landing Days festival. Already back in town for the Summer Motion show, Moore said the trip home has already given him a wonderful memory.

"I enjoyed beating my dad at golf and taking money from him," he said with a laugh.

Made up of some of the area's most recognizable musicians, The Chase will open for Styx starting at 8 p.m. Friday.

The band actually started playing together 26 years ago, and recently added keyboard player Gary Donalson to their lineup.

"One of the reasons we've got Gary in the band ... other than he can reach things on the top shelf, is we can do things with two keyboards that a lot of bands can't do," said vocalist and keyboard player John Griffiths, who added his own appreciation of the opportunity for local acts to perform during the city's annual summer celebration.

Along with Griffiths and Donalson, The Chase is made up of guitarist Phil Osborne, bassist/harmonica player Jeff Lewis and drummer Scott Martin. The band specializes in classic rock, performing renditions of songs by bands including Queen, Supertramp and The Who.

TIM PRESTON can be reached at or (606) 326-2651.


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