Covering Classics

Area musician Brian Hanna entertained patrons at the Wine Cellar’s summer patio concert series Friday evening.

For the show Hanna performed an acoustic set from 6-9 p.m. that included a range of genres from classic rock to country and originals.

“I love playing at the Wine Cellar,” said Hanna. “I don’t know if it’s all the sports on the TV, but I’ve always found it comforting here. Plus, I’ve always had good, fun shows at the Wine Cellar over the years. For a long time they’d only have music on Christmas and for Local Music Showcase, and I love the space on the patio. The Wine Cellar will always have a place in my heart.”

Between each tune Hanna involved the audience by taking requests. Some of the tunes the audience requested included Paul Simon’s “Slip Slidin’ Away” and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ “Breakdown.” Other tunes Hanna covered during the evening included Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m On Fire,” Modern English’s “I Melt With You,” Kings Of Leon’s “Sex Is On Fire,” Pearl Jam’s “Better Man,” The Boxtops’ “The Letter,” Zac Brown Band’s “Knee Deep” and more. He also performed several originals such as “First Time,” which drew cheers and applause from the audience.

Hanna has also been working on arrangements of singer-songwriter pieces from the 1970s, his favorite tunes from the 1980s, things that influenced him in the 1990s as well as contemporary country and rock.

“When you come to one of my solo shows or one of BandHanna’s acoustic shows I’m always adding covers and I love to take people’s requests,” said Hanna. “Tonight, without the band, I’ll probably play 90 percent covers because when you’re acoustic people are more receptive when you’re playing songs that they know.”

Hanna is the lead singer for a four-piece group that performs regionally named BandHanna, which features Scott Horton, bassist, Matt Parsons, lead guitarist, and Shawn Mitchel, drummer.

When Hanna performs with BandHanna he generally uses a Gretsch hollow electric guitar he purchased from Smackdab’s Matt Baxter. Using an electric guitar allows the band to take a heavier direction, which creates a unique experience for both the audience and the band, said Hanna.

“What me and the guys have started doing is separating the two things by doing acoustic sets to take care of all our covers and then save the original stuff for the band – so the band won’t be doing many covers,” said Hanna. “I still use the guitar and the band is all electric, which is quite a transition, but it’s pretty sweet. I think my lead guitarist liked it the most when I switched to electric because it gave him so much more room.”

According to Hanna, the band’s goal is to use the acoustic gigs to save some money to do some recording as a full band. Currently BandHanna uses a recording by Chris Bell, another regional musician, to get gigs.

“The plan is to eventually release a CD, and we have the songs that we want now it’s just a matter of going to the studio to record,” said Hanna.

Hanna’s favorite tune off the recording is called “Is That You?” and it’s available to stream at www.myspace.com/bandhanna.

“It’s different than any of our other songs,” said Hanna. “It’s something I wish I could listen to on the radio.”

Hanna is looking forward to upcoming performances at Steener’s Pub in Greenhurst for the annual hot dog eating contest on Saturday, July 6, and at the Bemus Point Casino with the Brian Hanna Trio on Saturday, July 13, as well as another performance at the Wine Cellar in August.

For more information search for “BandHanna” on Facebook.