NEPA Scene Staff

Winter Blues Guitarmageddon rocks 3rd year at Scranton Cultural Center on Feb. 16

Winter Blues Guitarmageddon rocks 3rd year at Scranton Cultural Center on Feb. 16
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From a press release:

The Scranton Cultural Center at the Masonic Temple has announced that Winter Blues Guitarmageddon, a collaboration with The Soul Shakers, will return for its third year. Featuring some of Northeastern Pennsylvania’s most talented blues musicians, the show will take place in the SCC’s Grand Ballroom on Friday, Feb. 16 at 7:30 p.m.

The event, which premiered successfully in February of 2016 and was recorded for a live album, is a fundraiser for the Scranton Cultural Center, with proceeds benefiting its ongoing operations, restoration, and programming.

Doors will open at 7 p.m., and the show will begin at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased at the Fidelity Bank Box Office at the SCC (420 N. Washington Ave., Scranton) in person, by calling 570-344-1111, or via all Ticketmaster outlets. There will be a cash bar and light fare for purchase. For additional information and a full schedule of events, visit

“We’re so excited to present Winter Blues Guitarmaggedon III with an all-star lineup from all over the region,” says SCC Director of Strategic Initiatives Maria Santomauro, coordinator of the event. “Blues enthusiasts will again be blown away by the music as well as the setting as the ballroom is transformed into a big city ‘House of Blues.’”

From straight-ahead blues to ripping funk to R&B, The Soul Shakers Rhythm Section has served as backup for some of the best players in NEPA. Starting out as a collaboration in the New Orleans funk band Mojomo, drummer Sharon O’Connell and bassist Bill Coleman, along with keyboardist Eric Brody, have meshed their individual styles into one of the best rhythm sections in the region. They’ve backed numerous blues, funk, R&B, and rock performers with dynamic rhythms. Their energy and passion are verified in each performance, providing support and letting the stars shine.

The Soul Shakers will serve as rhythm section to a fantastic lineup of performers: The Dalton 45’s with special guest Peter Florance (a performer at the very first Guitarmageddon event), Dustin Douglas, Jesse Mower, Mike MiZ, Joe Kopicki, and Se Acabo.

Mike Mizwinski is a singer, songwriter, and guitarist from Scranton known for delivering a soulful blend of original guitar-driven Americana rock ‘n’ roll. The artist known simply as MiZ has shared the stage with Derek Trucks, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Leon Russell, and many more. Catch him on tour in 2018 supporting his third studio album, “A Year Ago Today,” previewed on Episode 42 of the NEPA Scene Podcast:

After capturing the world stage at Woodstock in 1969, Carlos Santana has rocked generations with his unique Latin-influenced sound. Keeping true to that, Se Acabo, a 10-piece band, has worked to recreate that sound as one of the premier Santana tribute bands. Se Acabo consists of seasoned live show and studio musicians who have performed at numerous festivals and clubs throughout the Northeast and beyond. Instrumentation includes two horns, a full rhythm section with timbales, congas, drums and bass, keyboards, two vocalists, and guitar. With homage to Carlos Santana, Se Acabo performs the favorites and hits the audience demands and expects, evoking the spirit of Santana and his music.

Joe Kopicki entertained audiences in and around Scranton for many years. A recent relocation to Arizona does not stop him from returning for hometown performances. Reuniting with The Soul Shakers is an easy fit, as they were all former members of the Joe Kopicki Band. Known for his soulful voice and smooth guitar work, Kopicki has enjoyed supporting the release of his first studio album, “Northeast to Southwest.”

Carbondale guitarist Jesse Mower draws inspiration from old school blues to classic rock. He is the lead guitarist/vocalist for power trio Static in the Attic and the blues/funk rhythm section of The Soul Shakers. His live, his high-energy performances make him a crowdpleaser.

Dalton 45’s is a blues rock combo featuring vocalist/harmonica player Bob McCartney and guitarist/producer Clyde Rosencrance. Although the Dalton 45’s are a relatively new project, McCartney and Rosencrance are no strangers to the local music scene. Bob McCartney performed with such acts as Sidetracked, Phyllis Hopkins, and Funk n Gumbo. McCartney is also a participant in the local blues jam scene as a host and performer. Rosencrance has performed with the Collective, the Magdelyns, and was guitarist/producer for Jimmy Mancus. He is also owner and producer of Republic Audio, which has produced music for both national and international acts. Their debut EP “Storyville” is a collection of original songs deeply rooted in the blues but with a contemporary feel.

Peter Florance will perform with The Dalton 45’s. Florance, a Queens, New York native, grew up working in NYC studios, playing guitar in a number of bands in the ’70s and ’80s New York music scene. He has performed guitar duties with blues artists Aaron Burton (Albert King band), Hound Dog Jones, Little Sammy Davis, Michael Burks, Slam Allen, and many more. Florance now lives in Northeastern Pennsylvania and fronts his own band, The New Kings.

Capturing the vibe of late 1960s and ’70s blues-laced rock ‘n’ roll, Wilkes-Barre’s premier power blues rock trio Dustin Douglas & The Electric Gentlemen mix retro-style and groove a-la the Jimi Hendrix Experience, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Led Zeppelin, and The Black Crowes for a lightning-charged vintage style all their own.

Led by the transcendent lead guitarist/singer/songwriter Dustin Douglas (Lemongelli, The Badlees), the Electric Gentlemen – drummer Tommy Smallcomb and bassist Matt “The Dane” Gabriel – leave even the most discerning music fans with little left to ask for at the end of any live show.

Since the time he learned to walk, Dustin Douglas (born Dustin Drevitch) has had a guitar in his hands and a song in is his soul. Performing his first show at the age of 13, he has never stopped, first gaining popularity with his original power trio Lemongelli, who released three independent records and shared the stage with Heart, Cheap Trick, Def Leppard, and Eddie Money, to name a few.

Becoming one of the most sought-after live and session guitarists in NEPA, Douglas joined the legendary Pennsylvania rock band The Badlees, in which he recorded “Epiphones and Empty Rooms” and supported Bob Seger on his 2013 arena tour.

In 2014, Douglas released “Black Skies and Starlight,” his first solo record, to rave reviews. Self-proclaimed as “a mix of big guitars with pop-laced hooks and an alternative attitude,” “Black Skies and Starlight” propelled Dustin back into the lead roll, leaving his side-man days behind.

The following year, He was ready to get back to his blues rock roots. The self-titled debut record from Dustin Douglas & The Electric Gentlemen sold out of its first pressing, garnering attention from fans and critics alike. Tracks such as “Baby Girl” and “Ain’t Your Poppa’s Blues” found Douglas right back where he belongs – leading a bombastic power trio.

Summer 2017 saw the release of “Blues 1,” a collection of classic blues covers, including cuts by John Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters, Albert King, and Freddie King, as well as a new original song. With “Blues 1,” the band has cemented themselves in the blues world.

With a full-length album already in the works and set for release in 2018, Dustin Douglas & The Electric Gentlemen are taking the industry by storm.

Listen to Dustin Douglas & The Electric Gentlemen talk about blues music, the local music scene, and more in Episode 35 of the NEPA Scene Podcast:

Soul Shakers Winter Blues Guitarmageddon is presented by Toyota of Scranton and sponsored by UGI, Lackawanna Insurance Group, the Walmart Foundation, Endeavor Audio & Lighting Services, and LT Verrastro, Inc. It is supported by Lackawanna County and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts.

Photo by Mike Lehman