Mike Powell, Charley Orlando, and Chris Merkley are coming back together for their second collaboration of the year with “18 Songs”, a five-show run in New York State that will bring the solo artists to Rochester, Cortland, Oswego, Syracuse, and Auburn. The CNY-based songwriters will perform a rotation of 18 original songs per show through a combination of solo performances and different collaborations on stage. Their Syracuse show at Funk n Waffles on Saturday, September 15th will be an exception to the theme, as it will feature their full bands, Mike Powell & the Black River, Charley Orlando Band, and Digger Jones.
These musicians are no strangers to the road. Each has built an impressive catalog of songs and albums with a wide range of projects and each has toured extensively throughout their respective careers. Earlier in 2018, the group came together for their first collaboration as part of the KMase Productions Storytellers Tour. An immediate sense of camaraderie resulted and, with their shared appreciation for the craft of songwriting and American music, the three songwriters quickly made plans to reunite for a second run. 18 Songs will feature a variation on the traditional songwriter-in-the-round theme, with each of the solo artists playing separately and together in a rotation. The group will then close the night on stage together, taking turns backing one another for one final song selection from each songwriter. Each night features eighteen songs, performed on eighteen strings, by three of the area’s top songsmiths.
Mike Powell, a Carthage, NY native, is well-known for his success as an athlete from his days as a SU lacrosse star turned pro. His athletic career now stands in the shadow of a highly successful career in music and an ever-growing base of fans throughout Central New York and New England. Powell received critical acclaim and national attention for his song “Twenty One Rounds”, written as part of the Acoustic Guitar Project, and he has since shared the stage with David Lindley, Martin Sexton, Shooter Jennings, The Oak Ridge Boys, and many more. His sound is honest, songs are heartfelt and his shows are real. NYS Music dubbed him “One of the premier singer/songwriters in music today” and he continues to leave his mark on audiences as a traveling storyteller and prolific writer.
Syracuse-based musician Charley Orlando is the essence of heart in music. Having released 17 albums, Charley continues to paint outside the lines of convention. In his 25 plus year career, he has been added to the GRAMMY entry ballot a total of 28 times and played over 3,000 shows in North America. In addition to his extensive touring and recording career, he has also played an integral role in supporting and rejuvenating the music scene in downtown Syracuse and the surrounding area as talent buyer for numerous venues and festivals.
Cortland native Chris Merkley has performed thousands of shows from the streets of Paris to venues throughout Europe and across the United States. He has released nine albums with a variety of groups which include songwriting duo Merkley & Morgan, acoustic American roots rock band The Crooners, and the swampy blues-rock trio of Digger Jones. Merkley has also composed and produced an extensive catalog of original music for HBO and Cinemax and has songs featured in several independent films and television networks. When not on the road or in the studio, Merkley wears a number of hats in the area’s music scene as founder of Old Boy Records, co-organizer of Seedstock Festival of Music & Art, creator of Cortland Stages, and current president of the Cortland Main Street Music Series.
18 Songs Tour shows include:
Wednesday, September 12th @ Funk n Waffles Rochester – 7pm (ages 18+)
Thursday, September 13th @ Seedstock Festival Grounds Cortland, NY – 6pm (all ages)
Friday, September 14th @ Oswego Music Hall Series The Hook – 7:30pm (all ages)
Saturday, September 15th @ Funk n Waffles Syracuse (feat. Mike Powell & the Black River, Charley Orlando Band, and Digger Jones) – 9pm (ages 18+)
Sunday, September 16th @ Auburn Public Theater – 7pm (all ages)