Local 104.3 Country radio broadcaster and musician, Jeff McNiece, is planning a set list that is sure to have the whole crowd singing along at the upcoming show ‘Hot April Night’. The Saturday, April 29th music performances have the potential to lift the roof off the Water Tower Inn’s pub.
With a nod to one of the most monumentally successful musicians in history – Mr. Neil Diamond – ‘Hot April Night’ is sure to be just that – a smokin’ hot music performance with some of the regions finest musicians. Is there anyone alive that doesn’t find themselves singing along to ‘Sweet Caroline’?
McNiece is a longtime fan of Neil Diamond and his music. “He (Neil Diamond) just turned seventy-six and next month he begins his 50th World Tour. He crosses every demographic with his music.” he said.
“I’ve seen him probably a dozen times over the years. He always brings so much energy to every show.”
‘Hot April Night’ is a collaboration that McNiece has been shaping for quite some time.
“The Dave Anich Band is playing in the show. Dave – he’s a real country guy.“ shared McNiece.
“I’ve taken a few songs in the Neil Diamond Show that are close to being country songs – and they’re going to join us at the beginning of the second set. I got really close to them at the Mike Case Music Festival last summer.” he said. “Kentucky Woman; Red, Red Wine – We’re going to really ‘countrify’ the second set.”
McNiece stated that he knew he would want to bring George Ravlich – Crank Sound into the mix. “The sound is going to be phenomenal.”
McNiece said the dynamic of the rehearsals currently underway “have made the hair stand up on the back of my neck. I knew right away that when you get the right people together – it’s magic.”
“The band is comprised of Michael Yurich – playing keyboards, Mark Mizzi – on drums and doing background, Jeff McCourt – lead guitar, Warren Reville – bass guitar and Sheldon Jaaskelainen – violin.”
“Lorrie Bolduc and Val Powley are singing back-up. We’re really close friends.” he said. “They sound amazing together.”
Over and above the celebration of Neil Diamond music, ‘Hot April Night’ is also McNiece’s way of bringing awareness to the month of April, which is Cancer Month.
McNiece shared a story about why the whole Neil Diamond show is also about creating space to honour Mike Case.
“A couple of years ago I won 20 pairs of tickets to go see Neil Diamond in Ottawa- I was hoping that Mike could come with me – I collected up some of my buddies – Right up to the last day – he (Mike) said ‘Sorry Jeff – not this time buddy.’ – It was a matter of months and he was gone.”
Mike Case was an influential local musician who passed away from cancer on April 12, 2015. He was 55 years old. He was a member of Great Northern Opry and Northern Ontario Country Music Hall of Fame. The role he played and the impact he had on music in and around the Algoma District still reverberates to this day.
McNiece and Mike Case were the best of friends. McNiece was instrumental in founding the Mike Case Music Festival and the Mike Case Memorial Stage.
“It means the world to me that I can do this (show) with all of these great musicians.” said McNiece.
“I’ll actually have a change of clothes during the show. Lydia (Jeff’s wife) has something on order for me.”
Now that is going to be legendary. Tremendous music – a set list to lift the spirits – AND a wardrobe change. Jeff McNiece is really bringing it. ‘Hot April Night’ is the perfect antidote to winter 2016/2017.
In the words of Neil Diamond…
‘Me and you are subject to
The blues now and then
But when you take the blues
And make a song
You sing ’em out again
You sing ’em out again.’
A portion of proceeds from ‘Hot April Night’ will go to A.R.C.H.