Lock Haven – “Singer at Large” and Rock’n’roll artist Johnny J. Blair will perform at Avenue 209, a coffee house at 209 Bellefonte Avenue in Lock Haven on Friday, April 17th. Music begins 7:30PM.Having performed in venues ranging from CBGB’s to The Fillmore, Blair’s music is described as “more singing, less blinging” and “a burst of soul, with urban irreverence, romantic abstraction and bittersweet spirituality.” One fan said he sounds like “a cross between David Bowie and Brian Wilson.”

With a melodic mix of punk energy, old school soul, and sunny pop, His set includes originals (from his many recordings) with “ironic cover tunes pulled out of the hat” from glam-rock to spirituals to standards to Motown. Spotlight Magazine dubbed Blair as “the Harry Houdini of the music world.” Earcandy.com called him “a delightful entertainer.” Blair said, “Here’s my job: play music with so much passion that the audience breaks some off and takes it home with them.”

Blair was born in the Susquehanna Valley but moved around the country. Part of his time in California was spent working as a bicycle messenger in San Francisco. He said, “I was on the street ten hours a day, seeing the best and the worst in people. I called it ‘the asphalt ballet.'” That period “put a treadmark” on his song choices, singing over everything from abuse to baptism to slapstick comedy to coffee addiction (“I’m a certified caffeine-aholic”).

Putting on an energetic performance is one of Blair’s trademarks. He has shared the stage with The Dead Kennedys, Bob Geldof, Chris Isaak, Stephen Stills and others. Blair frequently records and tours with Davy Jones of The Monkees. “I’ve learned immeasurable amounts of stagecraft from him,” noted Blair, who will be appearing in a Jones’ documentary on the Biography television channel.

In 2003, Blair borrowed members of The Badlees to record an remake of The Velvet Underground’s “Sunday Morning” for a Lou Reed tribute CD, AFTER HOURS-a project endorsed by Reed himself. Shellybay.com listed it in their “the Top Forty best cover versions ever.” The label that issued AFTER HOURS, Wampus Records, recently released Blair’s GRATEFUL project, described “as if Ziggy Stardust had commandeered PET SOUNDS.”

Soundclips can be heard at http://www.johnnyjblair.com.

There is no cover charge for either show; donations will be taken and Cds will be sold. For more information contact Avenue 209 Coffee House at 570- 748-6738.

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