Steamtown Music Awards honor Old Friends and Main St. Jukebox owner Tom LeFevre with Lifetime Achievement Awards
The award was put on hold during the pandemic ceremonies so as to not take away from the honor. Previous recipients include George Wesley, Bret Alexander, Alan K. Stout, Strength for a Reason, and the Glass Prism, to name a few.
Over the past 47 years, Old Friends has proven to be one of Northeastern Pennsylvania’s most popular and long-lasting bands. Their name came naturally, as the original members grew up together in West Scranton. Musicians from Scranton bands Jack and the Rippers, Thy Sheep, and Bards of Yarrow would eventually unite to form the group known as Old Friends today.
“Old Friends are a huge part of why I’m involved in music. They used to rehearse in my parent’s basement and I would sneak down and play with the drums. I learned how to do sound with my dad at their shows. I owe a lot to the band,” said Matt Kester, the drummer of Nowhere Slow and owner of Matt Kester Productions. He will also induct the band.
Old Friends was originally formed as an acoustic duo in 1975 consisting of the late Dave Wight and Jack Bordo. They were playing in a disco band but wanted to move more into the country rock genre. Eventually, Paul Moran and his soon-to-be wife Mary Moran would join the group.
Billy Saar, who was playing with a jazz group at the time, soon joined the fold. After a stint with fellow Steamtown Lifetime Achievement Award honoree George Wesley, Chris Dellecave would join the band.
The late 1970s and early ’80s saw Old Friends’ following grow exponentially and the band became a regional powerhouse. They were even among the finalists in an international battle of the bands that took place in Nashville. Unlike other Scranton bands of the time, the group featured a distinctive sound that utilized harmonica, banjo, washboard, and even a washtub bass.
The band briefly called it quits in 1983, only to return for a “reunion” show in 1985. The “Old Friends Reunion” grew to draw thousands of people and has become a staple of the summer season in NEPA. People travel far and wide to attend.
Over the years, many members have come and gone. Some have even passed on. The Steamtown Music Awards is honored to recognize all members, past and present, with the Lifetime Achievement Award.
Since 1994, Tom LeFevre has been at the helm of Main Street Jukebox, a record store appropriately located on Main Street in downtown Stroudsburg. Under his guidance, the Jukebox has always been a place to not only buy music but also a community center where local musicians have performed and artists have displayed their work.
Boasting one of the largest vinyl collections on the East Coast, the store suffered a devastating fire in 2006. Despite the loss of irreplaceable inventory and the economic uncertainty of “The Great Recession,” the store rose from the ashes and reopened on the other side of Main Street in Stroudsburg.
“Tom has had a profound impact on my life. Not only has he always been supportive of everything that I’ve done musically, he even tolerated me when I was an annoying college kid who couldn’t even afford to buy anything in his store. Most profoundly, the first concert that I ever put on was an all-day festival to benefit the Jukebox after the 2006 fire at their shop,” explained SMA organizer Joe Caviston.
“If I’m in the Poconos, I always stop at the Jukebox for a warm conversation with Tom and, of course, the best selection of new releases on vinyl. But truthfully, like most customers, I’m there to see Tom.”
LeFevre’s shop is located close to the Sherman Theater, which makes it an appealing stop for many touring musicians who love to dig through its vinyl archives. A young 50 Cent, who was living in Delaware Water Gap at the time, even frequented the store. Some of the first 50 Cent mixtapes flew off the shelves of the Jukebox.
Nominations are still open in 35 categories, and music fans can choose their favorite local bands and music industry professionals at electriccitymusicconference.com/awards. For more information, email Joseph.Caviston@gmail.com.
Electric City Music Conference 2022 timeline
Friday, April 22: Applications to perform open
Tuesday, April 26: Nominations for the Steamtown Music Awards open
Friday, Aug. 26: Applications to perform close
Wednesday, Aug. 31: Nominations for the Steamtown Music Awards close
Thursday, Sept. 1: Online voting for the Steamtown Music Awards opens
Monday, Sept. 12: Online voting for the Steamtown Music Awards closes
Thursday, Sept. 15: Steamtown Music Awards ceremony
Friday, Sept. 16-Sunday, Sept. 18: Electric City Music Conference