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Echo Park: News

RUSTY REPORT (About freakin' Time!!) - April 2, 2017

Well......It's been 3 years, 5 months and 26 days since out last post. I know, I know...man we're slack. (O.K., I'm slack!) So what's been happening?!? First off Steve left the band due to too many irons in the fire. That kinda took the wind out of our sails. We decided to concentrate on writing for a new CD with all of us (mainly Royce) covering keyboard parts.While we're working on this, we get word that Fish and his lovely wife Sheryl are moving back to North Carolina to be closer to family. During a little social get together, Royce stuns us all and says Fish ought to take his place back in the band. We had absolutely no intention of displacing Royce, but he brought it up,so....Now the plan is for Royce to fill the keyboard position. We rehearsed once with this arrangement. I thought it went fine as did everyone else, but Royce wasn't quite comfortable with taking this new position on. Re-enter Steve Roark! His schedule has loosened up a bit (and he missed us...at least i think so) and he's willing to give it another go. Now we have an interesting situation. What's Royce going to do? We talked about the benefits of an additional keyboard and additional guitar, and for the first time in its history, Echo Park is a 6 piece! So why 3 years, 5 months and 26 days? First off, I think we've all had various health issues (except Jamie. He's still young & healthy!). Second, Jamie and I have been very involved in getting a new church off the ground. Lifespring Community Church has been a labor of love for both of us as well as Jamie's wife Larke. We're part of a wonderful praise band that is now running smoothly.Third, Jamie and I, along with Steve are also part of The Lucky Strikes Orchestra. We've been quite busy with that as well. So here we are in April of 2017. We're itching to get Echo Park back up and running. We are learning how to be a 6 piece, and we've picked a project that will surely help us achieve this goal. As we've hinted in the past, we intend to perform Pink Floyd's The Wall in it's entirety. As each week goes by, we're understanding more and more what a massive undertaking it's going to be. We haven't hammered out the details on when and where, but we're shooting for Fall of this year and maybe partnering with a certain stage company! Stay Tuned.
I've been surprised at how many hits our Facebook page has gotten considering we've been completely inactive for over 3 years. I'm very thankful that there is still interest in this band and I hope we will start to give everybody something to be interested in. That's it for now. It won't be another 3 years, 5 months and 26 days. I promise!

Rusty

Rusty Report - October 7, 2013

'Sup Y'all!?,

What's been up with us over the summer? We've played a few gigs, worked on new material for a new CD and scoped out some new places to play. We'll be at one of those places on Friday, October 25th. We're looking very forward to playing at Char, located on Howard Street in Boone, NC. Char is a great resturant that is looking to promote and expand live music in the High Country of North Carolina. We're excited to be part of the budding music scene at Char and hope those of you reading this can come out and rock out with us from 9:00 till midnight. Maybe...MAYBE we'll have one or two of our new songs ready to throw at you...maybe.

RUSTY REPORT - May 25, 2013

Haay Y'all,
So....We broke Royce in in typical Echo Park fashion at an outdoor gig...in the rain...and the cold. We played for the Walk For The Blind at the Old Rock School in Valdese, NC on May 4th. The weather was...well...uncooperative. It was unseasonably cold to begin with and then it started misting rain. Yuk!! The technical difficulties gremlins were also having their way. (By the way, a special thanks to Brad Ferree for supplying the sound and battling the aforementioned gremlins.) We almost pulled the plug, but decided to press on and play on. I won't say how many were in the crowd, but we know them all by name. Anyway, Royce's initiation is now complete. He still wants to play with us, so there y'go!
We have a documentary!!! This came about through my daughter and Jamie's sister, Amanda. (You might remember her from Tommy.) Her dear friend Jessica Paratore is (was...she graduated!) a communications major at Appalachian State University and needed to film a documentary for a class project. She took an hour's worth of interview footage and a half hour's worth of performance footage and whittled it down to seven minutes. We're so grateful and humbled to be the subject of such a fabulous piece. To see it, just go to the links section. Jess, thank you so much. You did a fantastic job!
Looking ahead, We'll be playing a fund raiser at Howard's Creek Baptist Church next Saturday, June 1. Well most of us will. Steve can't make this one, so we're billing ourselves as 80 Percent. (80% of Echo Park...get it?!). Our set list will be a bit different since there ain't no keyboards (well Royce is gonna play one number on the piano!!).It'll be more in yer face kinda stuff & we're gonna have fun with it. July 14th we'll be on Beech Mountain playing their weekly concert series. Hope y'all can make it out to hear us!
That's it for now. Y'all be cool and thanks for catching up with us.

New Bassist - April 30, 2013

Our new Bassist is Royce Smith. He is awesome and can't wait to share the stage with him.We are playing our first gig in years this Saturday at the Old Rock School in Valdese. Come on out!!

Merry Christmas - December 21, 2012

To all the Park Rangers.... Merry Christmas!

Rusty Report / NEW BASSIST! 12/10/12 - December 10, 2012

Well hey everybody. It's been a long time, and we've got some good news. We have a new bassist. His name is Royce Smith, he lives in Valdese, NC and is a veteran of the music scene around Valdese, Morganton and Hickory. He brings in a great deal of enthusiasm and motivatiion that, frankly, we desperately need. We're busy getting the repitoire up and running as well as writing music for a new CD, so hopefully you'll be hearing from us soon.I want to take a moment and express our gratitude to Eric Brown. Eric played bass with us at the Concert On The Lawn last September, which was our first preformance in almost 3 years. Eric is a talented musician and a stellar human being and we're fortunate to have him as a friend. I guess that's it for now. Stay tuned. We're gonna be making a lot of noise in the coming year!

Bob Report - November 3, 2011

So Rusty called me today and said that he and Jamie had laid down a NEW TRACK (finally), so I picked it up today and am working on lyrics!! Excited!!!!

Rusty Report 8/1/11 - August 1, 2011

Well...???
It's been a year & 3 months since we posted anything and what do we have to report?!?...nothing. Well, that's not entirely true. After a year and a half of moping around after losing Fish, we're talking to a possible replacement. It's been a long time coming, but there are a few things you need to understand. Most bands lose members, they post notices in music stores, in newspapers and on Facebook and the like, and they find someone else to play. We have had the good fortune not only to play with exceptional musicians, but forge deep personal ties and develop a brotherhood. Fish has been (and continues to be) at the center of that brotherhood since day one. Finding another bass player not only requires us to find someone with the chops, but a kindered spirit as well. Anyway, like I said, we're talking to someone. More later.
As far as the rest of us...Steve and Jamie continue to play with The Lucky Strikes. They're a wonderful Jazz/Oldies/Beach band that play in and around the NC High Country. Check 'em out if you get a chance. The four of us are very busy talking about all the music we're going to write for the next CD. Now if we'll just get off our collective ass and actually do some recording. Meanwhile Fish is sitting in Gainesville, FL sending me snippets of song ideas. He's gonna have our next CD written if I don't get it in gear!
Finally, we've had a lot of inquiries as to when we're gonna do "Tommy" again. We almost did it last April, but just couldn't get it together. Ensemble Stage was going to sponsor the performance and Gary Smith, Ensemble Stage's co-founder is pushing us to do Pink Floyd's "The Wall". When we get this bass player thing settled, we might just work up a double bill. We're that crazy and stupid (well I am anyway!). Heck...why not Quadrophenia...and JC Superstar...and Evita...and Madame Butterfly....and...and.....

Rusty Report 5/3/10 - May 3, 2010

Hi There!
There hasn't been much to report from EchoParkWorld lately. Fish came up to play Winterfest with us, it snowed 30 feet and we played to about 10 people. Thanks to all who braved the weather. It was a neat show. We played the whole CD with a couple of covers thrown in. We hadn't played Rosemond in eons. We've never played Mel live, so it was fun for us.
In other news...well...the is no other news. Since January we've all been taking care of other areas of our lives. Steve and Jamie have been playing with The Lucky Strikes, a local jazz group. If you hear of them playing anywhere, go check 'em out. They're really good. Jamie, Amanda and I have moved into a new apartment. We have enough room to set up drums, guitars and recording gear, so we hope to start making demos for new tunes for our second CD. I promise this one won't take 30 years. (I'll try to keep it under 10!)
To be honest, we're still scratching our heads trying to figure out what we want to do now that Fish is in Florida. There are several wondreful bass players we could call on. It's just hard to imagine anyone else in that spot, especially for me. I have a 30 year history with the guy. We developed a very tight musical raport, not to mention he's one of my oldest and dearest friends. He has sent some song ideas to me to play with, and I'm sure I'll send him stuff as well, which is to say he'll definitely be a presence on the next CD.
I sure have rambled on considering there's nothing new to report. It's just been a while since we said "hey!". Well..."Hey!". Stay tuned. We hope to get the ol' EP machine up and running soon.

And The Bass Player Is...FISH?!? - January 23, 2010

Yep. Fish is coming up from Gainesville to do the Winterfest show on January 29 (this Friday). Being the procrastinators that we are, we waited a little long to ask someone to come in and learn our stuff and perform it at the end of January, so Fish agreed to come up and bail us out. We hope everyone can come out and see us (with the Fish Man) this Friday night for Blowing Rock Winterfest. Details are in the calendar section.

Rusty Report - January 11, 2010

Well...Fish is in Gainesville and apparently he took the cold weather with him. Sheryl might just send him back up here! (at least until March or so). So I'm just sitting aroung wondering what to do about playing when I hear from Bob Miller of Ensemble Stage. For those of you who aren't familliar with Ensemble Stage, they are what used to be the core of the Blowing Rock Stage Company. They kicked off their new endeavor with a wonderful readers' theater production of "War Of The Worlds" last October 30 (Fish was in it! It was still good!) They also put on a fablous Christmas variety show. (Out of 3 scheduled performances, 2 were canceled due to weather. I'm sick of snow. I'm sick of cold. I'm ...oh yeah...) ANYWAYYY...Bob got in touch with me and asked if we would be intrested in doing a concert sponsored by Ensemble Stage for Blowing Rock's Winterfest. Concert? Nice Auditorium? Winterfest? Forget the small detail of not having a bass player. I said "sure". I knew we had to get back on the horse and I knew it would take all of 2010 if I didn't put a date in front of us. We'll announce who's playing bass soon. In the meantime, I hope y'all will plan to come out and hear us. We'll be playing the stuff on our CD as well as some of our favorite covers. I'm sure we'll sneak in some "Tommy" nuggets as well. Sooo...come on out. January 29, 8:00 P.M. Blowing Rock School Auditorium...WEATHER FREAKIN' PERMITTING!

Merry Christmas - December 24, 2009

Just wanted to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a happy new year!! Please do not forget the reasion for the season.  

For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Merry Christmas

Tommy Venue Change - December 2, 2009

Please help us spread the word! The location for Bill Fisher’s Farewell Reception and the Echo Park performance of Tommy have been moved to the Watauga High School Auditorium. Join us Friday, Dec. 4, from 5:00 til 6:30 for Bill Fisher’s Farewell Reception at Watauga High School, then plan to stay and see Fish and the r...est of Echo Park perform Tommy. Tickets are $10 at the door.See More

TOMMY BACK ON...NO, REALLY - November 9, 2009

Yes, our on again, off again situation with that stubborn deaf, dumb and blind boy is back on! Echo Park will perform The Who's "Tommy" on Friday, December 4th at 6:30 P.M. at the Harvest House Performing Arts Center on Boone Heights Drive in Boone, NC. We've been able to retain 99.9% of the cast from our May performances. We are thrilled to have the band Harvest House open the show for us. This show WILL BE THE LAST public performance by Echo Park with Fish on bass. In honor, we will have a reception at Harvest House starting at 5:00. Everyone is invited to come and see Fish off as he prepares to move to Florida. We hope this will be a special night and would love for all of you to join us. See the calendar page for more details.

One that got away - September 27, 2009

Sad news to report, Fish is leaving the band and moving to Fla(must be getting OLD). I wanted to take a few minutes to express what he means to me and to the band. The bass is the foundation of all music. Thats what he does for us. Not only is he an awesome bass player, he is a hell of a lyricist and a great singer. We all brought something different to this band. He brought a strong foudation to build on. He and Rusty have been here from the beginning, he cannot be replaced. The CD we released was his baby. He spents hours and hours tweaking and listening to make the best out of each performance. Yeah we had to redo some things but it turned out well. We all have a debt to you for your hard work .

I first met Fish as a Freshman at ASU in East Dorm. We lived on the same hall. It was an interesting time in 1976. He moved on and I stayed in Boone. May years later I was in Rusty's basement trying out for the band. Rusty, Mark Williams and I were waiting for their bass player Fish, in walks Bill, (Fish was short for Bill Fisher his radio stage name) I was blown away. I did not make the band that time, it would be six more years before I was asked to join.  We have shared many things over the years, birth of our children, deaths of our parents, late , late nights spend hauling heavy equipment (HMF), watching the bar fights from stage and getting shot at leaving a gig(both Tennesse). Watching the sun come up loading in at Jim and Jennies. Practice, practice ,practice. People changes, getting a drum sound at Solli's. Pebbles and Bam Bam, the PARK RANGERS. Too many memeories and I'm sure many forgotten.(we played there?)

WE did it right! We NEVER played Free Bird. We played the music we loved with people we grew to love. We played music that challenged and streched us, and did it pretty damn well. We wrote some awesome songs!! Although our dream did not come true something else happened along the journey, I gained a family. I got to be in a ROCK and ROLL band that did not compromise, played the music I loved with people I loved. Can't BUY that. Can't BEAT that. Who knows what is in store down the road. I hope our paths cross again, and again, and again. Live long and prosper Brother!!

Bob

 

TOMMY'S RIDE CUT SHORT - August 19, 2009

We here in EchoParkLand were saddened to hear that the Hayes Center in Blowing Rock will be closing its doors for the remainder of the year. This of course means that we will NOT be performing Tommy as planned. We are looking at other venues , so stay tuned. Meanwhile, all of us in Echo Park send out our best wishes to everyone at the Hayes Center and the Blowing Rock Stage Company. We sincerely hope you're up and running again real soon.

TOMMY RIDES AGAIN - August 7, 2009

IT'S OFFICIAL!!
We are pleased to announce that We're going to perform "Tommy" again on Friday, September 25th at the Hayes Center in Blowing Rock, North Carolina. We've got the whole cast coming back, less one(Amber can't make it back from Florida, dang it!). We got a lot of positive feedback when we did it last May. We got just as many people saying "man, I missed it. I wish you guys would do it again." Well... here y'go! Stay tuned. More to come.

Rusty Report - July 15, 2009

Yo!
For those of you not familiar with the Concert On The Lawn series that the Watauga Arts Council puts on every year, it's a concert held every Friday afternoon from May (June?) through September on the front porch of the Jones House in downtown Boone. The historic Jones House is an art gallery and also houses the officies of the Watauga Arts Council. It's sizable front porch looks out over a beautiful yard where patrons bring lawn chairs or blankets and plop down to enjoy some of the best music the area has to offer. Any given Friday you can hear everything from traditional bluegrass and old time to gospel to folk to blues to newgrass...and then there's us. We're there to throw some rock & roll into the mix. Last Friday (7/10) was our turn on the porch.This is one of our favorite shows of the year. A beautiful setting (if it doesn't rain!) wonderful people who are there just to listen to music. This year we had the added pleasure of sharing the bill with Melissa Reaves. She is such an amazing talent a mezmerizing performer and one of our dearest friends. We were able to do a few things together, which was a blast. If any of you are in the area on a Friday afternoon, please check out the Concert on the Lawn. It's an important and wonderful happening in our neck of the woods. Many thanks to Cherry Johnson, Mark Freed and Jenny Schrum for all their help and support. O.K. I'm done. Twiggs Sept. 4 and Pepper's Oct. 2. More later. Y'all take care now.

FROM RUSTY - June 17, 2009

Hi There,
First of all, thanks to everyone who came out to Canyons last Saturday night. For those of you who don't know Blowing Rock as it was in the 80's, Canyons used to be Hollie's Tavern, an establishment that many of us considered a second home and where a very young Echo Park played some of our first shows. To go back and play there again almost 30 years later was a wonderful experience. There were a few people in attendance last Saturday that used to come see us back in 80 & 81. It was great to have you back. Hopefully we'll be back to Canyons in the fall.
On to other stuff. We're at Pepper's Bar in Boone this Friday at 8:00. It'll be an acoustic show (y'know, I'm the only one who's actually playing an acoustic instrument and we call it "an acoustic show". What great power I possess!!). We'll do some covers from our "acoustic" repertoire as well as some neat arrangements of our original tunes. Hope y'all can make it out.
See Ya!!

Echo Park Radio - June 14, 2009

WE will attempt to take over 100.7 Mac FM this Friday at 1PM. PLease Tune in as we play some of our favorite songs for our favorite bands!!

CANYONS DATE CHANGE - June 9, 2009

OUR CANYONS SHOW IS SATURDAY, JUNE 13, NOT FRIDAY, JUNE 12. We had a schedule mix up. We hope everyone can make it to Canyons in Blowing Rock, NC on Saturday, June 12th at 10:00. Sorry for the confusion.

THANKS - May 25, 2009

We have been overwhelmed from the response to "TOMMY". It was a fantastic weekend and every one, cast and crew, rose to the occasion. We are truly blessed. Thanks to all that came out and we hope to do it again someday.

Next up is Caynons on June 12th. We are gonna rock the house off it's foundation!!!

TOMMY - May 3, 2009

Thanks to cast and crew. The show was a huge success! WE are all blessed to be in such a talented commuinty with so many people to lend themselves to our projects. I think everyone became immeresed in the show and we pulled it off as one. WE are all exhausted but it's a good kind of tired. Our cup is full now and we want to fly!!!

CD Party - April 26, 2009

Don't forget May 8th at Geno's!!

Almost TOMMY - April 26, 2009

This is the week for TOMMY> Practice today was awesome!! I can't wait to perform it for all of Watauga County.
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