Sparta band will play the Groove in the Grove

| 30 Sep 2011 | 09:39

    Budd Lake - The Groove in the Grove songwriter festival takes place at Vasa Park in Budd Lake on Saturday, May 21. Ten hours of music being played throughout the day, starting at noon and continuing until 10 p.m. Among the scheduled singer-songwriting performers are Jack Tannehill, Lelica with B.D. Lenz, Gregg Cagno, Kate & Paul, Mace Gill and Carlos Goncalves, Kathy Phillips, Levi Schmidt, Emily Barnes, and Chasing June. The “Groove,” presented by Mountain Ledge Music with support from Joe Hirsh Productions, will culminate in a concert featuring former Blue Spark original Buck Dilly and his new band Live Bait, and then the hard-driving Quimby Mountain Band. The concert portion begins at about 6:30 p.m. Levi Schmidt of Hackettstown, Chasing June from Sparta and Emily Barnes of Johnsonburg are also appearing. Born and raised in Northwest New Jersey, Schmidt has always been a child of rhythm. He began his musical career as a drummer, playing with local bands throughout his childhood. He picked up the guitar during his high school years and slowly made the transition from drummer to songwriter. After moving to Boston to study in 2006, he sharpened his vocal skills as a member of MIT Resonance, an a cappella group, and fell in love with rhythm all over again as a member of the Rambax MIT Senegalese Drum Ensemble. He studied music theory, receiving a minor in MIT’s music program. Nowadays, Schmidt, a native of Hackettstown, can be found playing all over the Northeast. In October, 2009, he released his first CD, “Like Water.” Sparta-based Chasing June is a folk-rock collaboration that began a little over two years ago by happen-stance, as Judy Aron was performing at a club in Sparta. In the crowd was Steve Coleman, who was instantly taken by Aron’s voice and guitar work. The two soon embarked on a musical relationship that has taken them to venues from Maryland to New Hampshire, with a host of summer festivals on tap for this year. Last year they released their first album, “Under the Slate Grey Sky.” The 18-year old Barnes, of Johnsonburg plays an eclectic mix of contemporary folk songs that is turning heads. Influenced by the likes of John Denver, Martina McBride, Ingrid Michaelson, Paolo Nutini, and Brandi Carlile, Barnes has had a love of music from a very young age. Two years ago she picked up her first guitar and a year later, she started playing at open mics and other small venues. Still honing her skills, she has already chalked up appearances at the Centenary Mini-Blues Festival, Sarah Street Bar & Grill in Stroudsburg, Pa., and other venues. Barnes has also appeared live on WNTI radio and is currently working on her first CD. Additionally, there will an opportunity for other musicians to get a spot on the main stage by playing at the Groove Open Mic, which runs from noon to 3 p.m. The winner will open up for the evening concert. There is no additional fee to sign up. Tickets are $15 per person, $10 for students, and free for those nine and under. To learn more, visit: Tickets can be purchased in advance or with cash at the gate.