By Freddie Joseph

Friday January 11

Gin Mill, 9:00 pm

2 Guys Drinking Beer

Ron and Terry both hail from Olean ( as does this writer ), and are the core of the band West, but this “duo plus” has the vocal and instrumental energy of a full band but in a compact package with a classic song list, too. They are always “up,” and you will be too when you see them perform.

Balloons,  7:00 pm 

The All Star Band

This seasoned four-piece band is from Buffalo, and specializes in rhythm and blues, funk, blues, soul and just about anything else that will make you want to move.


Saturday January 12

Gin Mill, 9:00 pm

The White Lightnin’ Band        

After a long absence, one of this area’s oldest rock and country bands returns to the Gin Mill, led by bassist/vocalist Dan Sherwin, with the talented Red Gray on guitar, Dan Roth on guitar and Shawn Wright on drums. Their music runs the gamut from rockabilly to Southern rock to blues to just about any type of country you can think of. Of this group I can speak with authority because I was their drummer for over 10 years, so come on in and try a “sip” of White Lightnin’!

Holiday Valley Main    

Lodge – T-Bar, 3:00 pm

DJ John Barry


Balloons, 5:00 pm 

The Tommy Z Band

If you’re a blues lover from these parts and haven’t seen Tommy Z, then you’ve been on another planet. He and his band have been on top for many years and are always a Balloons favorite. Tommy was also inducted into the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame in 2007 and will be celebrating the release of his newest CD “SOMETIMES.” So now is the time to catch a real Western New York music legend.


Sunday January 13

Balloons, 9:00 pm

Nick Moss

Chicago born and bred, Nick is a blues master extraordinaire, having released eight albums (on his own label) and fronts his group The Flip Flops. A Chicago-style powerhouse, he is one act to really give a listen to. ($10.00 cover)


Monday January 14

Madigans, 9:00 pm

Gary London

With Mondo Monday headliner Shad Nowicki recovering from his “hysterectomy,” Gary, who is a regular guest of Joe Wagner, will keep the church open (so to speak) with his brand of classic tunes, especially his Pink Floyd renditions. This church isn’t just for prayin’!


Wednesday January 16

Gin Mill, 8:00 pm

Joe Wagner n’ Friends

The chicken wings may be cheaper, but the music of Joe Wagner is always “full price.” Joe, along with percussionist/vocalist Freddie Joseph, and possible other guests, sings and plays his and your favorites. “Wings & Wagner” is an Ellicottville institution every Wednesday night, so eat, drink and be merry!

Balloons, 8:00 pm

The Haybalers

Billed as the “ not so bluegrass band,” they describe their music as “hill country soul.” Their originals range from traditional country and honky-tonk style to driving bluegrass … even without a drummer (bluegrass purists are “allergic” to percussion ). Call it bluegrass with a beat.


Thursday January 17

Gin Mill, 8:00 pm

Freddie n’ Tuck

Start your weekend early with your friends Freddie and Rod. A duo you can really dance to, and thanks to Freddie’s new mini drum set, their sound is bigger than the two of them. There’s new stuff, old stuff, but always good stuff. Shake a leg!

Balloons, 9:00 pm

The Heavenly Chillbillies

Hailing from Buffalo, this trio covers just about all of the American music classic genres – rock, blues, country – with a playful, fun-loving abandon that you’ll have to get a dose of.

The Pub, 9:00 pm

DJ Felony

Now starting at 9 p.m. instead of 8 p.m., Felony (AKA Keith Barmore) prides himself on being a totally open format DJ, spinning all types of tunes. He does it all and loves every second of it!

Madigan’s, 9:30 pm

Buffalo’s premier cover/party band, Party Squad, has been a ski season staple here at Madigan’s for years – one visit and you’ll see why!


What Is Country Music?

By Freddie Joseph

Country music is facts-of-life music. It’s the music of experience. More than with other music genres (with the possible exception of the blues), country music echoes and reflects the heights and depths of the collective lives of its audience who, up until the 1970s, were mainly working class, white and rural.

In this American  music form, the older styles are revered and retained, rather than discarded, so that they remain dear to their listeners, while at the same time contemporary country heads off into new territory, thus attracting new listeners. And now, because country music has become a major force in the record industry, it has been given the respect and attention long lavished upon jazz, blues and rock.

Country’s subject matter falls into some general categories: home and family, working-man blues, death and sorrow, cheatin’, good love gone bad, prison, trains and trucks and travelling, disasters, booze and sorrow-drowning, and gospel songs. This list reads like the lyrics to the classic David Allen Coe song “You Never Even Call Me By My Name.” Sobering material, but true-to-life. To paraphrase Hank Williams, none of us will ever get out of this world alive. But country can be fun-loving as well. Enjoy some soon!

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