Amen! the demographic for the genre is staggering. We are a modern country tribute act, and kids as young as 6 have come right up to the stage to sing along to a man and woman around 75 dancing the night away doing the two-step. Today’s country is truly great and is influenced by rock, hip-hop, pop, and a touch of classic country ( depending on what artist. In our opinion, this is why it reaches so many people. It has some of the best writing, best vocals, and amazing musicians around! via On the Popularity of Country Music
Things began to pick up after the show at the Fez in Stamford and another at the Bull & Barrel in Brewster NY. The Bull & Barrel has a great country theme including everything from a cowboy boot flower vase, to its mechanical bull center stage! Next Margarittaville called us with an idea they had for a show featuring us following the famous Barrett-Jackson car show/auction which was scheduled for June in the Arena at Mohegan Sun. Unfortunately, we never could quite dot the I’s or cross the T’s and subsequently, the show was passed over to be rescheduled when the casino would host somebody like Jason Aldean or Keith Urban.
Now around April, we were gaining some real steam when we received an email and a phone call from folks regarding the upcoming annual Brews & BBQ Festival held yearly at the Ives Concert Park in Danbury, CT. This one was set for May but sadly for us, the Moonshine founders David and Deena had a family wedding so we were not able to accept the offer at this time. Our good friends Jump The Gunn was offered the show and we were thrilled yet disappointed at the same time. Disappointed because we figured the opportunity might never present itself again, that is until mother nature came calling. There was a large storm that was to move in, and the event would have to be re-scheduled when the headliner was again available. The Spin Doctors team would offer a makeup date for July22nd and unfortunately for JTG the date was not a good one for them. Call it what you will, fate, good fortune and perhaps a just a little bit of old-fashioned luck. What we thought was gone for good, would soon be staring us right in the face once again. So after the rain out, we received an email from the venue’s booker. Jump the Gunn is unable to take the makeup date, is Moonshine still available to open the festival? Hells to the yesssssssss we are!!!!! and so it came to be.
We had a show in Downtown New Milford set for the Thursday prior to our Saturday concert at the Ives Concert Park, it was called the Third Thursday Concert Series. The band was pretty pumped for both, but we had a bit of a problem. Emily was just married and was taking some time to travel the world with her husband………. Ouch, now what do? We had scheduled an audition with a young talented singer-songwriter we thought had a great look and sounded amazing, but after setting things up for a first addition she decided she lived too far away to validate her commute and would be unable to rehearse with us weekly until showtime. At this point, we called upon an old bandmate and good friend Elayne Uva, who was only too happy to help us for a few shows in our time of need. It was a lot of work on her part to learn so much material and on such short notice, but she stepped up to the task and man did she have the Nashville look! Gary Forbes our current drummer had a few conflicts as well, and was able to join us for a show at Odetah Camping/ Resort but would not be able to do the Thursday show with us in New Milford. So once again, Moonshine was in a tuff spot. Enter Ray DeNardo, who actually started off rehearsing early on in 2015 with the band, but wasn’t able to commit fulltime and bowed out. Well, we had a great show at Odetah with Gary and Elayne, and a few of us camped out for the weekend and I like to think this is where the friendships began. Some smoking of cigars seemed in order, along with drinking, eating, and lots of laughs………. Did we say drinking? Lol!!!!
Then it was on to getting Ray up to speed for his few shows with us, starting with Third Thursday in beautiful Downtown New Milford. right on the Main Street Main Stage, then followed by our show at the Ives Concert Park. Ray, always the professional got up to speed in no-time at all. We rehearsed for a few months with Ray before playing Third Thursday, which was a great warm-up show before playing the Ives. It looked like the forecast would be great for both, which is always the gamble you take when booking an outdoor show. Little did we know what was in store for us in New Milford…….
To be continued….
Well, Vin would recover eventually by early in the new year, though it wasn’t an easy road We would eventually get together and rehearse at RVP Studios in West Haven, CT. During Vin’s downtime, we began auditions for a new girl or two to fill the recently vacated female co-lead spot. First up, was singer/songwriter Emily Colt, and man does this girl bring it! Emily was a great fit right out of the gate…… She had a great voice, good looks, energy & the band just clicked with her. When I asked Vin, he said yeah this girl is good! However, sometimes things come with a bit of a trade-off, meaning she is a busy girl and may not always be available. Her full-time career is doing makeup for NBC Sports, and with that comes a crazy work schedule.
Vin called one evening with some sad news, he too had decided to call it quits as a member of Moonshine. He was offered a great job in Hartford, an hour further away from his current one hour commute to rehearse with us in Easton. We miss him and will always be grateful for the role he played early on in the first chapter of the group
It was time to audition another girl or two to fill for Emily if she was unavailable. This would mean they would need to possess similar qualities to Emily. We found two great girls but unfortunately neither could give us the commitment we needed. They were both from New York, so to them we were a bit too far……
Our first show was set for 2017 at a place called The Fez in Stamford, Connecticut. Stamford is home to some of the band and birthplace of Moonshine founder’s David & Deena Robushi. We played an early show on a Sunday night to a full house, and we were told they lined up out the door at one point and the staff never knew what hit them at the Fez. The Fez definitely has a Bitter End, New York City musical vibe going on. Next, it would is onto the Bull & Barrel in Brewster, New York. The Bull in Barrel has got to be the coolest country themed establishment in the Northeast in the band’s opinion, and this place sets the bar mighty high! From the décor to the drinks and food to the Mechanical Bull. Great staff and service to top it all off nicely, and we can’t wait to go back.
Next: Moonshine To Open For The Spin Doctors At Ives Concert Park July 22nd
So what do you say to your guitar player at the end of a show, when he tells you he broke his finger the morning of and played three and a half hours like a champ? First, you say thank you followed by how the f–k did you do that? For anyone, who is not a fan of pain can you even imagine not having the use of one of your fingers and trying to work? Now imagine you play the guitar which requires the use of all fingers, and they need to move quickly at times….owwwwwwww! Vin Raucci is the definition of trooper to say the very least, and when he said this at the end of the night we were blown away. Unfortunately for Vin, he was in severe pain the morning after our show at the Red Room, which is a part of the now famous Cast Iron Chop House. This meant he would not be able to play our next show a benefit for Operation Hope the Horseshoe Café the following Monday, just a few days away. In years past, one of the players from the J Geils Band had done the feature show for Operation Hope which takes place each year right before Thanksgiving. Fortunately for us, our bass player Bradley had a friend named Michael Galgano who knew some of our material, and Mikey G was willing to help us out in our hour of need. It felt as if Michael had been with us right from the start and the audience loved his performance right out of the gate. That being said, we decided quickly to add him to our growing roster and make him part of the Moonshine family.
Sadly for us after the holidays we would lose two of our original members. John and Stefanie Dennis had something that would require their undivided attention for the next few months and they would eventually leave the band for good. We will always be thankful for the time we had together as a group, and the laughs we had rehearsing in their music room. They will always be a part of the Moonshine family, and we know good things lie ahead for these two.
Next: Vin’s Recovery & Send In The Girls!
Well it been quite a while since we begin our journey…. Moonshine started off with lots of bookings, followed by some cancelled dates. The band has even experienced a few growing pains after our first few shows in early summer and we were presented with some sad news. Michael our drummer told us he was finding a difficult to balance two bands and a personal life and would have to leave the group as soon as possible. We were of course caught by surprise being so close to our first big show, but tried to be considerate of situation and he agreed to stay until we found a replacement.
When a band reaches a certain level of comfort, sometimes the change can be a difficult. For us thank goodness this wouldn’t be the case, however it did impact our schedule somewhat and disrupt the group a little. Again we would have to cancel a sizable outdoor show, this one at a new popular venue on the water. This is one the band was really hoping to keep, however the timing was just not right for us in retrospect.
Its never a comfortable thing to have to tell a venue or booking agent you’ve been chasing for sometime, you simply cant take the gig. The fear of burning a bridge in already competitive arena is very real, and not something that goes away with out some sort of backlash. Things are what they are and as a band you learn to role with the punches the best you can know how.
We found a new drummer with a rock background looking to break into the modern country market. He was a good fit right away, and thankfully sometimes that is just the way things work out.Gary was taught by one of the top drummers in Connecticut Bobby Torello. Bobby has been written about in Classic Drummer magazine, opened for Lou Rawls, played with Michael Bolton, and Johnny Winter just to name a few. If you’re gonna learn it helps if your a student of one of the best.
Today’s modern country is very different for a hard hitting rock drummer, with lots of cuts and breaks, but Gary is working out nicely so far. The bands first show together will likely be a short 90 minute one before hitting the Red Room at The Cast Iron Chop House on Saturday, November 19th 9pm until 12:30pm
After playing our first few shows this summer, the crowds and audience’s continue to grow. To Be Continued……
Our next chapter begins with a phone call that was made to close friend and former background vocalist Stefanie Dennis. The question was then asked, “what do you think about picking up where we left off?” Stefanie would pause a little at first, not because she wasn’t interested, but she made it clear she wanted something a bit more substantial then just singing in the background. She wanted to be up front and sing some lead herself in fact, so an agreement was made….. Sealed with a hug and a friendly kiss on the cheek, the journey would begin.
As we mentioned in the beginning finding the rest of the band would be the real challenge. At first we thought perhaps some of the old band might join them, as they were already familiar with much of the planned material. Moving on, Stephanie & me decided to do an open mic at a popular bar in Southport, CT. Not only would this allow us to keep up the vocals together, but perhaps find some other talent to join us. The songs performed that night where the Luke Bryan’s smash hit Roller Coaster, and a duet version of the Lionel Richie country cross over recently re-recorded with Darius Rucker, Stuck On You. The magic was still there if applause was any indication, and afterwards the we where asked where we would be next. The road ahead was still long and narrow at this early stage for what would soon become David Robushi &”Moonshine.”
Fortunately for the us they had already auditioned a 32 year old guitarist named Rex from the Danbury area, and the host of the open mic in Southport just happened to be a bass player named Bradford ( We call him Bradley ). The search for a drummer seemed to start a little easier at first, asking the second drummer from their previous band to play with them. This proved initially at least to be another logical choice. With one guitar, a bass, a solid drummer and two vocalist, the band had enough to begin rehearsing. The search for lead guitar was the next challenge, and the band tried out a few to find the right sound. It seemed there was either a struggle to find somebody to completely commit, or the band would find just plain crazy people. Finally the stars aligned with the moon, the universe was good, and the band found both a lead guitar and a more permanent fit behind the drum kit. Mike and Vin would not only offer exceptional talent, but they would bring their great sense of humor with them. This would of course help to keep things light at rehearsal, which any musician knows can become tense from time to time.
To Be Continued….
Part 1 : New Beginnings
For me David Robushi singer and founder of the group, it’s been hard work and determination that helped me find my way back. Home for me is performing again, so taking a few months off and cutting my long hair while on vacation with my wife Deena and a little downtime was definitely in order.
After a successful summer filled with big stages and larger audiences than we could have imagined, the time had come for a break from music. After five or six years of performing nearly every weekend, it was time to catch our breath. Me and my wife Deena, had always found the small island of Martha’s Vineyard to be a place where we could decompress, so come September that’s exactly where we headed leaving our home on Great Cedar Ranch in Easton behind.
After a conversation with a friend in the business and my wife Deena’s advice, it was decided a new band would be formed from the ground up, but where to begin? The first call was to a former background vocalist and friend Stefanie Dennis. The blending of our two voices was magical I thought, and Stefanie was a logical choice. Working together closely on the last project, the chemistry was already there. To find the other players was quite the daunting task, but with some hard work, patience, and lots of auditioning the band would begin to take shape. This time Stefanie would take on a different role in the band in addition to her already beautiful harmony singing.
To Be Continued ….