NEPA Scene Staff

Steamtown String Fling springs back into Scranton Cultural Center on March 15

Steamtown String Fling springs back into Scranton Cultural Center on March 15
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From a press release:

Following up a successful debut last year, the Scranton Cultural Center at the Masonic Temple will host the second annual Steamtown String Fling this Friday, March 15 at 7 p.m.

This year’s lineup will once again feature Dave Brown and the Dishonest Fiddlers as the headlining act, joined by Serene Green, Sara Hulse, Peck & Penn, and Nick & Braids (of Floodwood). Music journalist and “Music on the Menu” radio show host Alan K. Stout will serve as the emcee of the evening.

“We’re thrilled to include such a diverse mix of remarkable talent from across the country. Several of the featured performers often tour with high-profile bands!” says event organizer and SCC Director of Strategic Initiatives Maria Santomauro. “The show offers a mini festival feel that features five acts that are distinctly different yet complimentary to each other.”

Doors will open at 6:30 p.m., and the show will begin at 7 p.m. There will be a cash bar and light fare for purchase.

Tickets, which are $25 in advance or $30 the day of the show, 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. For additional information and a full schedule of events, visit

Dave Brown and the Dishonest Fiddlers are an up-and-coming Americana/roots group from Northeastern Pennsylvania. Singer/songwriter Dave Brown (guitar/vocals/harmonica) leads a top-shelf cast of musicians known as the Dishonest Fiddlers: David Hampton (lead guitar), Jami Novak (drums), Todd Kopec (fiddle), and Dennis Walrath (upright bass).

Folk and bluegrass music are obvious influences that have helped to forge and inspire the band’s unique, homegrown sound while providing a solid musical foundation. Socially conscious songwriting and old-timey sensibilities are certain to open even the most discerning ear. Their debut album, “The Whistle Missed the Train,” came out in 2016, and their follow-up, “No Deeper Shade of Blue,” was recently released on Feb. 1.

Serene Green is the collective musical vision of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania musicians Quentin Fisher, Michael Johnson, Shane McGeehan, and Steve Leonard. This band’s passion for playing together comes from a deep love for traditional bluegrass music. The members of Serene Green share a common goal to influence the legacy of bluegrass music with original songwriting and compositions while honoring the traditions set forth by the pioneers of bluegrass music.

Since early 2017, Serene Green has toured in over 15 states throughout the Northeast, Midwest, and Southeast regions of the United States, opening for national acts like the David Bromberg Band, Railroad Earth, Cabinet, Larry Keel, Jenni Lyn, and Mile Twelve. The quartet released their first all-original studio album, “To Whom It Pertains,” in 2017 and is set to record their second studio album at Patuxent Music this year.

Born in the Catskill Mountains, singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Sara Hulse draws audiences into her world with her haunting voice and flowing ukulele lines. Her lyrics are profound, thought-provoking, melancholy, and hilarious all at once. Coming from a trained singer’s background, Hulse has used her life experience and literary knowledge to develop a sound truly all her own. She will be joined on stage by Paul Mutzek (backup vocals, bass, and guitar).

Peck & Penn is an Americana/roots duo comprised of counter coastal compatriots, San Francisco-based Elliott Peck and Jesse Bardwell, who currently hangs his hat in NEPA. Peck, a member of the Terrapin Family Band, stays busy back home singing and playing guitar and piano in her band Midnight North in addition to lending harmonies to everyone from Grateful Dead founding members Phil Lesh and Bob Weir to Jackie Greene and Reid Genauer. As a member of Midnight North, she has appeared on bills with the likes of Bonnie Raitt and The Mother Hip.

Her counterpart, Bardwell, has been relentlessly filling rooms with a passionate sound since 2005, playing solo and in the Quimby Mountain Band. He tours the world regularly with singer/songwriter Steve Forbert and has also opened for such acts as Railroad Earth, Keller Williams, Marshall Tucker Band, New Riders of the Purple Sage, Foghat, John Ginty’s Brother Buddha, The Radiators, and many others.

Together, the two fashion a refulgent blend of old-time country, Americana, roots, and folk music. Their live performances are comprised of both original works and a few pieces of adoration pulled from the time-strewn pages of the great American songbook.

When Nick Piccininni was 14 or 15 years old, he was a quiet, conservative, shy kid running the bluegrass festival circuit all summer with his banjo. Enter Jason Barady. The opposite of shy, Barady quickly introduced himself to Nick with mandolin in hand. An unlikely pair with their very different backgrounds, they soon found that musically they worked well together. Barady’s influences being artists such as Jerry Garcia, David Grisman, and Sam Bush, his sound was something very different from what Piccininni had been exposed to.

Over the years, the two kept in touch, eventually forming Floodwood in Central New York with two members from the band moe., one of the most preeminent progressive rock bands on the music scene today, and Barady’s bass player from a previous band. In Floodwood, Piccininni and Barady have embraced more of their musical differences and the two have become a sort of yin and yang. It is their brother-like competitiveness and sense of humor, mixed with a simple, undying love for music that keeps their showmanship fresh and engaging to their audience.

As the acoustic duo Nick & Braids, the sky is the limit. Covering everything including old fiddle tunes, bluegrass, classic rock, country, jazz, and artists such as Mumford & Sons, Keith Urban, Michael Jackson, John Denver, Jimmy Cliff, Pure Prairie League, and countless others, there is always something for everyone.

Whether they’re at festivals, bars, restaurants, or the porch of an inn, this duo always brings the dynamics and power of a full band. Always listening to what the other is playing, the same songs take on new life every time. Anyone who has seen these two play can tell you why it works and the reason is simple… Nick Piccininni and Jason Barady are music fans.

Alan K. Stout is a radio show host and rock music journalist who has covered the NEPA music scene since 1992. He currently hosts a weekly radio show, “Music on the Menu,” which airs every Sunday night on 105 The River. He also hosts the monthly “Music on the Menu Live Original Music Series,” which is broadcast live from Mohegan Sun Pocono in Wilkes-Barre. Both shows focus on spotlighting the wide range of musical talent in NEPA.

Stout’s “Music on the Menu” column appeared in print for 17 years, and he continues to contribute music stories to local newspapers and the Bold Gold Media Group. He was voted Northeastern Pennsylvania’s Favorite Newspaper Columnist seven times and received a Keystone Press Award for Excellence in Journalism for his music coverage. In 2011, he was presented with the Best Special Event/Achievement Award by the United Way of the Wyoming Valley for his charitable work with the annual Concert for a Cause. In 2014, he was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Steamtown Music Awards for his work in music journalism and radio, in presenting live musical events, and for his longtime support of the musicians of NEPA.

The second annual Steamtown String Fling is sponsored by United Gilsonite Laboratories, UGI, the Hilton Scranton & Conference Center, and LT Verrastro, Inc. It is supported by Lackawanna County and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts.

Photo of Dave Brown by Rich Howells/NEPA Scene