"Whole Nother World," it's eight tracks and it came out on May 28 and it hit number one on roots charts for soul/blues album, it hit number two on International Broadcasters in the UK so there was a lot that has happened and it's not just me it's the whole project. The musicians are just experts in what they do and the sound engineer; the recording was done in Baton Rouge but he resides in my area and the guy has elephant ears (laughs) and that really was the end point, the mastering was incredible."
Patti Parks is the very definition of performer. A nurse by day and a woman of the blues all of the time; Parks is the epitome of stage presence, class and gives new meaning to the term "Giving back" as she continues to make her presence felt both on stages and off.
An inductee into the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame, founder of Nurs'n Blues; a program which provides blues music education for high-risk children at rehabilitation centers and high-risk women's groups in western New York, a chart topping artist, public speaker and more.
With the release of "Whole Nother World," Parks has taken her music and her career to a "Nother" level; in part because of her work with the record's producer, veteran blues man Kenny Neal.
" Working with Kenny Neal is like another world," she said with a slight chuckle. "I don't mean to be funny but what I mean by that is, he's just one cool guy who knows exactly what he is doing. He knows exactly how to bring something out of the artist that perhaps they've never done before and he does it in a very subtle way. When he picked me up at the airport, we went to a neighborhood of his old friends and it was almost like we were going back in time because a lot of his neighbors were just jamming in their garages with old equipment and I even had an opportunity to jam with them a little bit which was really awesome. Then he took me to this place where there was catfish and I really started to get the feel and the vibe of the area and I felt totally at home. Most importantly, when I went into his studio it was filled with Neal family music history and with all of this memorabilia of not only Kenny but his father who was a master harmonica player himself and just that being said; honestly, I didn't practice on tracks at home; it was live in the studio that I heard these musicians who I had never heard before or played with before and all of that set the scene for the development of the project. So, that was a really good thing for me and yet an unfamiliar scenario for me."
One doesn't just happen upon talent and tradition such as Kenny Neal, let alone get him to take one under his wing and/or produce a record, so; how did she get him to commit?
"I've sang in Memphis, either with the IBC or in the National Women In Blues showcase many times and I've also sang with a gentleman who was doing the pre-show for the BMAs and Kenny was there as well. So, he had probably heard me over time but we actually were working together; we were asked to speak at a symposium by The BluesFoundation and alongside of me was Kenny Neal and Walter Trout and his wife and the symposium was a discussion about the healing power of blues. So, that is where Kenny and I really started getting into conversations; not so much about the project at that point. Then later on our paths did cross in Memphis and after that there was a blues festival where I reside in western New York and Kenny was the headliner and I sang there as well. So, naturally I invited him and his beautiful wife Josie over for dinner and we talked about a project I had going on and I let him listen and he said; "You know what? I think I would start all over with you, I think you should come down to Baton Rouge; I have some ideas" and that's kind of how the project started. Then he sent me some material to listen to and I fell in love with it. The material that he had me listen to had been recorded about 25 years ago when Kenny was involved in a project with Bob Greenlee and a female artist named Erica Guerin and they recorded it. The problem is, the sweetheart died young and her music never really got to be heard as it should have. So, when Kenny handed me this material to listen to, I was totally blown away and honored. I decided to record it, of course in my own way but that was a big part of it as well; I think just the fact that I was kind of re-doing some of the material that he never really had a chance to bring to the forefront; you know? On the album, some of the songs were written by Bob Greenlee, one that my husband actually wrote; "I can't Think" and some originals written by others but I have a James "Jimmy" Bond tune called "It's a Man's, Man's, Man's World" also; so, yeah."
Terms such as vivacious, genuine and authentic should always be associated with Parks; her energy and ability to relate to her band and her audiences is infectious. When told that today's music seems to lack passion, emotion and a personal touch; she pulled no punches when offering an opinion.
"It's funny you say that, think about it for a minute; how is everybody communicating? Is it through a phone call? No, it's through texting. You could have a major message and you won't pick up that phone," she began with a slight rise intone. "You choose to put it in a text and I think as we are evolving that we are falling short of what's so important and that's the connection as you said, with the human voice or the rhythm of an instrument; we're missing it because it is electronic and it's a lot of stuff that just isn't there. You just don't get the same feeling, you may like the feeling of the rhythm and you might be able to repeat it but it's not allowing you to connect with the artist as you can with the blues genre. I agree, it can be irritating at times and one of the things that Kenny is really adamant about is that there is not too much going on in the song; it's all about the vocals. They are delivering the lyric and there's a lot of songs out there with just too much stuff going on interrupting the artist from delivering the message. Sometimes you get what they call the Goosies; right? Like when you hear a note, just one note that you can feel chime right down to your bones because the vocals are an instrument and if you have too much going on and everybody is talking at the same time; how can you hear? I feel that's one of the biggest challenges. I'll be honest with you, the difference between the music that I've done prior to this album is that what I'm used to is all of these horns going on behind me and these massive things going on; I love horns, don't misunderstand me but usually musicians want to do their thing and talk while whoever is singing is doing the same and then the song goes somewhere else. People love it, people love to hear somebody go around twice and they really get into it but when you have three sets of instruments and they all want to go twice around; we forget what the song is about. I have actually turned to my band and I have a great, great rapport with my band; I've actually said, I don't think you need me because what you're doing is phenomenal but you don't need someone to sing lyrics; you need to jam and get that all out and at times it should be there, again, don't misunderstand me. I think that has to do with recordings too, if sometimes you're listening to the music and you're like, we really didn't have to have all of that; as a matter of fact, that's the difference in this album. There are short solos on this album and believe me with the talent that Kenny Neal has, everybody wants to hear more of it but he did not do that, he's just not that guy; he'd rather do more with a lesser amount."
Now that it is post-pandemic; will there be a tour? More live shows and in-person events?
"That's the next step, working as things open up. We've already done a show that was sold out in our area and I really have to get to Jersey (laughs). I've got press, I'm signed to Booga Records so, I'm sure more things will be coming as things continue to open up. I'm doing well here in New York State but I think some good opportunities are available to me in the surrounding tri-state areas too."
That's it for this week! Please continue to support live and original music and until next week....ROCK ON!
This week's event listings
Al's Airport Inn 636 Bear Tavern Road West Trenton (609) 883-5252 Tues. 7 p.m. Just JeffArts Council of Princeton 102 Witherspoon Street Princeton (609) 924-8777 Fri. 6 p.m. "Summer Nights" Concert Series feat. Big Country & The Finger Pick'n Good Band. (Takes place at Princeton Shopping Center 301 North Harrison Street) Sat. 2 p.m. Cafe Improv LIVE on Hinds Plaza feat. Randie O'Neil, (TBA). (FREE EVENT)Bill's Olde Tavern 2694 Nottingham Way Hamilton (609) 586-0192 Fri. 7 p.m. The Polish Nannies Tues./Wed. 8 p.m. Karaoke w/ DJ "Super" Dave Curtis Ages 21+ Bowman's Tavern 1600 River Road New Hope, PA (215) 862-2972 Thurs. 6:30 p.m. Dave Dales Trio Fri. 8 p.m. Bob Egan Sat. 7 p.m. Dave Dales Trio Sun. 6:30 p.m. Lorenzo Wed. 6 p.m. Andy PrescottBristol Riverside Theater 2501 Bath Road Bristol, PA (215) 785-0100 Sat. 8 p.m. Totally Awesome 80'sBroken Goblet Brewing 2500 State Road Bensalem, PA (267) 812-5653 Thurs. 7 p.m. Mike Estabrook Sat. (1 p.m.) Cypress Bonsai (6 p.m.) Don McCloskey and his All Star Band Wed. 8 p.m. Open Mic w/ Cara Cartney All Shows 21+Candlelight Lounge 24 Passaic Street Trenton (609) 695-9612 Thurs. 6 p.m. Thursday Night Blues Jam Hosted by The Mojo Gypsies. $5 (Includes hot buffet) Championship Bar 931 Chambers street Trenton (609) 396-5457 Tuesday 8 p.m. "Jam Night" Hosted by Nikki & Caleb Ages 21+Clubhouse at Mountain View (The Patio) 850 Bear Tavern Road Ewing (609) 771-0400 Fri. 7 p.m. Paul Plumeri Blues BandCOARadio.com 125 South Main Street Hightstown (609) 241-7103 Sun. 7 p.m. "Rock On Radio" feat. Adriana Groza, Glen Burtnik, Peter Veteska, Somehow SorryCooper's Riverview 50 Riverview Plaza Trenton (609) 393-7300 Thurs. (7 p.m.) Cover Up (9 p.m.) Club Night feat. Rotating DJs (inside event) Fri. (5 p.m.) "It's 5 O'clock Somewhere Happy Hour" feat. Jerry Monk (8 p.m.) EarCandy Sat. 7 p.m. Pez Head Band Sun. 11 a.m. " Sunday Latin Jazz Brunch" Mon. 7 p.m. "Sunny Monday Blues Jam" Tues. 7 p.m. Karaoke w/ Karen and Mark Wed. (12 p.m.) "Wine Down Wednesdays" (8 p.m.) Kindred Spirit All Events Ages 21+Cream Ridge Winery 145 Route 539 Cream Ridge (609) 259-9797 Sat. 6 p.m. "Ladies Night" w/ Alex English. $5Dacey's Pub 215 West Philadelphia Avenue Morrisville, PA (215) 295-4838 Fri. 6 p.m. Acoustic Music Night Wed. 8 p.m. Quizzo Dadz Bar and Grill 744 Main Street Lumberton (609)267-4344 Thurs. 7 p.m. Open Mic NightDempster's Pub 437 Pine Street Mount Holly (609) 261-0500 Thurs. 9 p.m. "Throwback Thursday/Ladies Night" w/ DJ entertainment feat. retro 70's, 80's and 90's music. Fri. / Sat. 9 p.m. DJ entertainmentDog & Bull Brew House 810 Bristol Pike (Rte. 13) Croydon, PA. (215) 788-2855 Fri. 6 p.m. Mike Estabrook Sat. 4 p.m. Marc Giovanetti Sun. 5 p.m. Vince SchneiderEddington House Bensalem 2813 Hulmeville Road, Bensalem, PA (215) 639-1220 Fri. 8 p.m. Crabby from Bigg Romeo Sat. 8 p.m. EarCandy DuoEscape Resort, Restaurant & Bar 120 Pheasant Run Road Newtown, PA (215) 968-0600 Fri. 6 p.m. KickbaxxGerman American Society 215 Uncle Pete's Road Hamilton (609) 585-5200 Sun. 2:30 p.m. Sensational Soul CruisersGleason's Bar 6700 Mill Creek Road Levittown, PA (215) 943-4781 Thurs. 7 p.m. Weekly Corn Hole Tournament Fri. 6 p.m. "Happy Hour" Sat. 8 p.m. Karaoke Wed. 5:30 p.m. Family Fun Night w/ "Gina the Balloon Girl" Greenhouse 90 South Main Street New Hope, PA (215) 693-1657 Thurs. 8 p.m. "Musicians Night Out" Hosted by Lovelight Tues. 8 p.m. Open Mic Hosted by Sam Ryan Wed. 8 p.m. Trivia Hosted by Dwayne DunlevyGrover's Mill Coffee House Princeton-Hightstown Road Princeton Junction (609) 716-8771 Sat. 11 a.m. Ragtime RelicsHavana New Hope 105 S. Main Street New Hope, PA. (215) 862-9897 Thurs. 7 p.m. Funk n' Blues Jam Fri. 8 p.m. Journey Tribute w/ "Frontiers." Doors open at 6 p.m., $35 Mon. 9 p.m. "Lipstick Mondays Drag Show" Hopewell Valley Vineyards 46 Yard Avenue Pennington (609) 737-4465 Fri. 4 p.m. "Music & Merlot" feat. (5:30 p.m.) Catmoondaddy Sat. (1 p.m.) Chris from Rave On (5:30 p.m.) "Music & Merlot" feat. Acoustic Road Sun. 1:30 p.m. "Jazzy Sundays" feat. Hopewell Valley Vineyards Jazz BandIrish Rover Station House 1033 South Bellevue Avenue Langhorne, PA (215) 970-5412 Thurs. 5 p.m. Luau PartyIron Plow Vineyards 26750 Mount Pleasant Road Columbus (732) 306-9111 Fri. 6:30 p.m. Michael Zandman Sat. 6:30 p.m. Steve Guyger Sun. 2 p.m. Maggs and BuddIvy Tavern 3108 S. Broad Street, Hamilton (609) 888-1435 Thurs. 9:30 p.m. "Thursday Night Dance Party" Fri. 8 p.m. Einstein Bridge All shows 21+ John & Peter's 96 S. Main Street New Hope, Pa (215) 862-5981 Fri. 9 p.m. The Waywoods Sat. (3 p.m.) Fellaheen (9 p.m.) A Carousel Moon, Your Kids, The Swiss Guard Sun. 3 p.m. Trip Dogs Mon. 9 p.m. Open Mic (Sign-ups start at 8 p.m.) Wed. 9 p.m. The Invitational All shows 21+ Killarney's Publick House 1644 Whitehorse-Mercerville Road Hamilton (609) 586-1166 Thurs. 5 p.m. Radio Fiction Sat. 5 p.m. Mario & FrankLaurita Winery 85 Archertown Road New Egypt (609) 752-0200 Thurs. 7 p.m. "Laurita Idol 2021" Finals Fri. (12 p.m.) "Wine In The Grove Friday" (6 p.m.) BBQ Grill Night (7 p.m.) Awesome 80's Dance PartyLawrenceville Main Street 17 Phillips Avenue Lawrenceville (609) 219-9300 Thurs. 6 p.m. "Music In The Park" feat. Sun Dog (Weeden Park FREE admission)Makefield Highlands Golf Club 1418 Woodside Road Yardley, PA (215) 321-7000 Fri. 5 p.m. Joe & KristaMamma Rosa's 572 Klockner Road Hamilton (609) 588-5454 Fri. 6 p.m. Honey Spot Blvd., Kevin Toft, Eugene Cuff Wed. 7 p.m. KaraokeMarie's Kozy Korner 111 Trenton Road Fairless Hills, PA (215) 943-3131 Fri. 7 p.m. Hind SightMcGuinn's Place 1781 Brunswick Avenue Lawrence (609) 392-0599 Tues. 9 p.m. Karaoke Ages 21+ McStews Irish Sports Pub 5316 New Falls Road Levittown, PA (215) 949-9570 Sat. 9 p.m. Steal Your FaceMercer County Park (Boathouse at Mercer Lake) 334 South Post Road West Windsor (866) 683-3586 Thurs. 6 p.m. "Happy Hour" feat. (TBA)Mercer County Park Festival Grounds Hughes Drive/Old Trenton Road West Windsor (609) 448-1947 Thurs. 8:30 p.m. Movie Night "Wonder Woman" Millyard Park (Roebling Complex) South Clinton Avenue Trenton (609) 443-8560 Sat. 3 p.m. "Local Legends" feat. Grace Little, Kombo LatinoMill Pond Arts 42 South Main Street Allentown (609) 953-6560 Sat. 10 a.m. "Grand Opening" feat. (12 p.m.) Disney Dress Up and Sing Along (3 p.m.) Teen Music/Karaoke Hang-out (7 p.m.) The Successful Failures (FREE event) More Than Q 13 Klines Court Lambertville (609) 773-0072 Sun. 11 a.m. Gospel Brunch Open MicMusic Mountain Theater 1483 Route 179 Lambertville (609)397-3337 Fri. 8 p.m. "Head Over Heels" Sat./Sun. 3 p.m. "Head Over Heels" New Egypt Flea Market Village 933 Monmouth County Road Cream Ridge (609) 758-2082 Fri. 5 p.m. "Christmas In July" Full Moon Market (Buck Moon) Sat. 10 a.m. "Rock-a-Billy" Day feat, Crash & Deb New Hope Solebury High School 184 West Bridge Street New Hope, PA Sat. 7 p.m. Cover Up (FREE event)Newtown Brewing Company 103 Penns Trail Newtown, PA (215) 944-8609 Thurs. 7:30 p.m. 80's Trivia NightNick's Roast Beef 4501 Woodhaven Road West Philadelphia, PA (215) 637-5151 Thurs. 6 p.m. Natalie & Tim Fri. 6 p.m. The Mix Sat. 8 p.m. The Road Dogs Sun. 4 p.m. AJ Slick Wed. 7 p.m. LeCompt Acoustic DuoO'Fowley's Tavern & Grill 200 State Road Croydon, PA (215) 785-6998 Fri. 8 p.m. DJ EntertainmentOld Hights Brewing 123 West Ward Street Hightstown (609) 469-5976 Thurs. 7 p.m. Trivia Old Town Pub 135 Farnsworth Avenue Bordentown (609) 291-9232 Thurs. 7 p.m. Quizzoholics Trivia Sat. 7 p.m. Radio FictionOneida Boat Club 3 York Street Burlington Sat. 7 p.m. The WilliamsboyPalmer Square 40 Nassau Street Princeton Thurs. 4 p.m. "Locals Night" w/ Live "Strolling" Musician Sat.12 p.m. Ess GeesPasquale's Sports Bar 9078 Mill Creek Road Levittown, PA (267) 202-6268 Fri. 5 p.m. Happy Hour feat. (TBA) Sat. 8 p.m. DJ or Live Band Entertainment Tues. 7:30 p.m. Quizzo Wed. 7 p.m. Open MicPatriots Crossing 1339 River Road Titusville (609) 737-2780 Thurs. 8 p.m. Open Mic Night Wed. 7 p.m. "Quizzo" Recklesstown Farm Distillery 2800 Route 206 North Columbus (609) 784-8046 Thurs. 6 p.m. The WilliamsboyRevere Restaurant 802 River Road Ewing (609) 882-6365 Thurs. 6 p.m. Brian Elliot Wed. 7 p.m. David BoydRobbinsville Community Concert Town Center Lake Drive Gazebo, Robbinsville Tues. 7 p.m. No Way OutRosedale Mills 101 Route 31 North Pennington (609) 737-2008 Sat. 1 p.m. Outdoor Line Dancing. $10 (Rain date Sundays 12 p.m.)Sav'Aged Designs 110 South Main Street New Hope, PA (609) 937-6104 Sat. 10 a.m. The Art of Adriana GrozaScreamin' Hill Brewery 83 Emleys Hill Road Cream Ridge (609) 401-2025 Sat. 2 p.m. "Christmas In July" feat. The Mighty Tree Toppers (Toy collections accepted) Sherman Theater/Penn Community Bank Amphitheater 2400 Byberry Road Bensalem, PA Wed. 7 p.m. Tramps Like Us (Doors open at 5:30 p.m., tickets available online)Small World Coffee 14 Witherspoon Street Princeton (609) 924-4377 x2 Thurs. 8 p.m. "The Fluid Acrylics of Adriana Groza" (Runs 7 days a week thru 8/3)Stars & Stripes Harley Davidson 600 South Flowers Mill Road Langhorne, PA (215) 752-9400 Sat. 11 a.m. "Sizzlin' Summer BBQ"Tara's Tavern 1 Cookstown-New Egypt Road, Wrightstown (609) 286-2300 Fri. 9 p.m. (TBA) Sat. 9 p.m. Sarah ChipTavern On The Lake 101 Main Street Hightstown (609) 426-9345 Wed. 9 p.m. KaraokeTemperance House 5 South State Street Newtown, PA (215) 944-8050 Tues. 8 p.m. Trivia w/ Righteous Jolly Wed. 7 p.m. Open Mic Night w/ Cara CartneyTerhune Orchards 330 Cold Soil Road Princeton (609) 924-2310 Fri. 4 p.m. "Sips & Sounds Friday" feat. Fabulous Benson BoysTGI Fridays 3535 U.S. Route 1 North #275 Princeton (609) 520-0378 Sun. 12 p.m. "Kim Yarson 50/51st Birthday Brunch Concert" w/ Kim Yarson & Joey J and FriendsThe Beer Garden at Snipes Farm 890 West Bridge Street Morrisville, PA Sat. 2 p.m.)"Music at Snipes Farm" feat. Sol Splash Music & Arts Festival w/ Jah People, HIGHBRATION, Deal, Bear's Choice, Newness. The Buck Hotel 1200 Buck Road Feasterville, PA (215) 396-2002 Thurs. 7 p.m. Kevin Kirko Fri. 7 p.m. Love Junk Sat. 9 p.m. Sister MerlinThe Cool Cricket 216 Burlington Street Fieldsboro (609) 291-9110 Fri. 8 p.m. Karaoke Sat. 8:30 p.m. Cricket "Karaoke Idol" The Dubliner 34 North Main Street New Hope, PA (215) 693-1816 Sun. 3 p.m. "Traditional Irish Session"The Irish Horne Bar & Restaurant 882 2nd Street Pike Richboro, PA (215) 942-4000 Sat. (5 p.m.) Car and Bike Cruise (8 p.m.) Big WhiskeyThe Morrisville Tavern 376 West Trenton Avenue Morrisville, PA (215) 295-5310 Mon. 7 p.m. Karaoke w/ DJ Tim Tues. 7 p.m. Open Mic Wed. 7 p.m. Trivia NightThe Roost 181 Rte. 539 Cream Ridge (609) 208-0050 Sat. 8 p.m. Diablo Sandwich BandThe Sticky Wicket 2465 South Broad Street Hamilton (609) 439-0007 Sat. 8 p.m. "In My House Saturdays" $20The Sycamore Grill 255 North Sycamore Street Newtown, PA (215) 908-6326 Fri. 8 p.m. Brian ElliotTindall Road Brewing Co. 102 Farnsworth Avenue Bordentown (609) 526-8651 Sat. 7 p.m. Tiltin' CatzTriumph Brewing Company (New Hope, Pa. Location) 400 Union Square New Hope, Pa. (215) 862-8300 Thurs. 8 p.m. Trivia Sun. 7 p.m. Open Stage All shows 21+Vault Tap Room 19 West College Avenue Yardley, PA (267) 907-8550 Fri. 7 p.m. Summer's Grove Acoustic Sat. 7 p.m. Jon Savage Acoustic DuoWater's Edge Gastropub and Lounge 1067 Totem Road Bensalem, PA (267) 332-2095 Thurs. 7 p.m. Cornhole "Blind Draw." $10 Sun. 11 a.m. "Pizza Bowl" Wed.7 p.m. Drag Bingo & KaraokeWorking Dog Winery 610 Windsor Perrineville Road Hightstown (609) 371-6000 Sat. 1 p.m. The Williamsboy Sun. 1 p.m. Erin McAndrewWWFM 89.1 FM HD2 Radio MCCC Old Trenton Road West Windsor Jazzon2.org Mon. 7 p.m. "Danny Coleman's Got The Blues" Yankee Doodle Tap Room 10 Palmer Square Princeton (609) 921-7500 Thurs. 6 p.m. Dueling Piano Night (Palmer Square) Danny Coleman is a veteran musician and writer from central New Jersey. He hosts a weekly radio program entitled “Rock On Radio” airing Sunday evenings at 7 p.m. EST on multiple internet radio outlets where he features indie/original bands and solo artists.