Dennis Drew, Jeff Erickson To Play ‘Rolling Hills Radio’

The next episode of “Rolling Hills Radio” will give area residents the opportunity to catch two members of 10,000 Maniacs in an intimate setting.

The live recording of “Rolling Hills Radio” episode No. 22, featuring Dennis Drew and Jeff Erickson, is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 28, at The Labyrinth Press Co. in Jamestown. Tickets to the show have sold out.

According to Ken Hardley, show host, guests will be treated to an evening of music that features individual performances by Drew and Erickson as well as the two together. The show will also wrap up with a song that includes, Drew, Erickson and Hardley.

“These guys are in a band that has played in front of tens of thousands of people, and here we are a little over the capacity of 50 – how often does that happen?” asked Hardley. “They are also the third and fourth Maniacs we’ve had on the stage, and it’s really interesting to see them plucked from what they are commonly known to do.”

The show will begin with Drew, a founding member of 10,000 Maniacs, who plays piano and keyboard. On the band’s most recent album, “Music from the Motion Picture,” seven songs were either written or co-written by Drew. In conjunction with the Arts Council for Chautauqua County, Drew also launched WRFA-LP, 107.9 FM, in 2004.

For the “Rolling Hills Radio” performance Drew will likely play the first track off 10,000 Maniacs’ new album, as well as perform some of his own solo material. Drew has appeared on the show once before during a Bob Dylan tribute, and Hardley can’t wait to have him back.

“It’s really something to have an icon from the music industry on our stage,” said Hardley. “Dennis’ contribution to early Maniacs music, in fact music all the way through, has been giant. To see somebody who was such a palpable influence on the music industry at that time, by himself playing music, is really going to be a rare opportunity. In addition to that, Dennis is a witty and insightful guy who I can’t wait to interview.”

Erickson is well known as the guitarist for 10,000 Maniacs. He has also been involved with several other area bands including Zeta Cauliflower and The Crumbles. Before joining 10,000 Maniacs in 2003, Erickson, a friend of the late founding guitarist Robert Buck, was the band’s guitar technician.

Erickson appeared on “Rolling Hills Radio” last season. During his performance, Erickson played a song he co-wrote with Drew entitled “Gold,” which is included on the band’s new album.

“Jeff is ready for action, and definitely ready to play,” said Hardley. “He is going to sing and play guitar. In fact, he sings two of the songs on the new Maniacs album. It’s the first album that they’ve done without their lead female singer doing all of the vocals – it’s really interesting in that regard. Jeff is a good singer, a very interpretive singer and the last time he was on the show I was very interested in the way he plays guitar solo. He has a unique style, a lot of which he inherited from his predecessor in the band, Rob Buck, who was rated by Rolling Stone magazine as one of the most influential guitarists of American history. Jeff appeared on the Rolling Hills stage last time with a lot of interesting effects, and he has a really nice touch and feel as to how to use them on an acoustic guitar.”

Hardley is also looking forward to episode 23 on Thursday, April 28, with Cammy Enaharo and Annie Wells. In addition to being the last episode of “Rolling Hills Radio” before the season finale, Enaharo and Wells will provide an evening of entertainment that comes from two very unique perspectives and beautiful voices, said Hardley.

Tickets to the March 28 show are sold out. But, tickets for Episode 23, which go on sale Friday, March 29, are available for $5 at the Reg Lenna Civic Center ticket office, online at reglenna.com or at the door while they last. The Labyrinth Press Co. is located at 12 E. Fourth St. in Jamestown. A meet and greet will be held at Forte on Third Street following the performance. The show will debut on WRFA-LP, on Thursday, April 4, at 7 p.m.

The season finale, featuring10,000 Maniacs, is scheduled for Sunday, July 28, at the Chautauqua Institution Amphitheater. The show will be longer than the normal episodes and will involve more variety by including performances by John Latini, Enaharo, and Gary Roberts Jr. as well as some comedy and interviewing. It is a free performance that is open to the public.

For more information, search for “Rolling Hills Radio” on Facebook, or visit wrfalp.wordpress.com/rolling-hills-radio to purchase tickets, stream WRFA’s broadcast debut of each show or listen to previous performances.