Party celebrates new album

By Kelly Maile | Staff writer Published:

It won't be just a

concert. It's going to be a party.

"We have party favors, prizes, we'll have some coffee and cookies and the bar will be open. We have a pretty good party when we get together for a CD release," said Red Michel, lead singer of Rio Neon.

The Kent-area folk-jazz band will perform selections from its new album, "Coffee Love," at a CD release party at 7:30 p.m. Sunday at the Kent Stage, 175 E. Main St. in Kent.

Michel, the band's vocalist and guitarist, bass guitarist Bob Smith, vocalist and percussionist Sally Kandel and guitarist Roger Phillips have been playing together for more than 10 years.

Their first performance at the Kent Stage was in 2006 -- a CD release party for their first album "Midnight Surprise."

"Coffee Love" has been in the making over the past several months.

"Some of the songs on the album we have been playing for a while, some of them are new. Each song is so different which is what we all enjoy about playing in this band." Michel said. "We all collaborated and decided this is what we wanted to do."

The album is a blend of blues, jazz, folk and swing.

"It's a whole different ride," Michel said. "You might be jumping up and down one song and laughing or crying on another. It's a lot of different styles of music we do."

Michel says it is hard to categorize the album into one genre.

"It's a lot of different styles of music we do," Michel said. "We all come from different backgrounds and we take all of those likes that we have and mix it up into a Rio Neon-ized sound. We call this type of music 'folkjazz.'"

Rio Neon will play two 45-minutes sets, performing songs off their new album along with special "holiday beverage" cover songs.

"When we do a cover tune, we don't do it like it's written," Michel said. "We take old things and rearrange them and make them better."

Their performance will include soft vocal harmonies, upbeat guitar and mandolin solos and audience participation.

Tom Simpson, co-owner of the Kent Stage, thinks "Coffee Love" is the best CD Rio Neon has done yet.

"It's not just a folk record, there's a lot of different genres of music on the album," Simpson said. "Rio Neon has done a wonderful job producing. It's a group we really like a lot."

All of the band members are from Kent. Michel manages the Star of the West Milling Co. in downtown Kent and Sally Kandel works at Kent State University.

"They have played here a few times and they are local favorites," Simpson said. "This is the best place for them to play and we're glad they are here."

The party starts at 7:30 and ends at 9:30 p.m.

It is free and open to the public, however; the band is asking for a $5 donation that will go directly to the Kent Stage.

"A lot of the shows we do need to be subsidized," Simpson said. "A show like this, any money they bring in will help support the operation of the Kent Stage and the shows that are brought here."

Coffee Love and Midnight Surprise will be on sale for $10.

"We hope to see a big crowd and supporters for the new album," Michel said. "We are ready to party and show support to the Kent Stage at the same time."

For more information, visit Visit the Kent Stage online at www.kentstage.org or call 330-677-5005 for more information.

Contact this reporter at 330-298-1123 or

kmaile@recordpub.com

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