Baltimore guitarist sharpening his riffs with Tommy Conwell and the Young Rumblers

Sound check

November 15, 1990|By Nestor Aparicio | Nestor Aparicio,Evening Sun Staff

Blues guitar lovers might call it the best of Baltimore and the best of Philadelphia united in a blues-rock bar band second to none.

Saturday night at Hammerjacks will be the first opportunity locally to see the new incarnation of Tommy Conwell and the Young Rumblers, featuring Baltimore's Billy Kemp on guitar.

It all happened quickly and quietly during the summer. Conwell's former guitarist Chris Day left the band to pursue other interests right before the Rumblers' new album, "I'm Seventeen," was released.

Kemp, who opened for the Rumblers with his Paradise Rockers during their last appearance at Hammerjacks in the spring, said he jumped at the opportunity to work with Conwell when his phone rang.

"I knew it would be a great chance to work with an up-and-coming, nationally known band," Kemp said. "But, to be honest, I didn't even know Tommy."

Since August, Kemp, who still lives in Catonsville, has been commuting to Philadelphia for rehearsals. The band has played a dozen shows there and in Atlantic City.

"But this is the big tour, and I finally get to come home for a show," Kemp said.

The tour began Tuesday in New Haven, Conn., and ends in three weeks from in Ohio.

The album, which Kemp doesn't perform on, although he's in the video for "I'm Seventeen," hasn't been as well-received as Conwell's first CBS release, "Rumble." But, Kemp says, it's just a matter of promotion.

"That's why we're going on the road; to let everyone know that Tommy has some good things happening," Kemp said. "The album has only been out for eight weeks so I think it's a little early to say it's dead."

Meanwhile, Kemp continues to sharpen his riffs on Conwell's older songs and has even added a few twists.

"It's been a lot of work learning everything," Kemp said. "But it's a very democratic situation within the band. Even though I'm the new guy, they all have listened to my input and taken my suggestions seriously.

@4 "At this point, that's about all I can ask for."


Conert calendar . . .

Also coming to Hammerjacks are Iggy Pop (Tuesday), Mojo Nixon, the Dead Milkman and Cavedogs (Nov. 25), Hooters (Dec. 1) and Wrathchild America (Dec. 2).

At the Lyric Opera House, Africa Oye! (Saturday and Sunday) and The O'Jays and Regina Belle (Nov. 24).

Roberta Flack and Peabo Bryson appear Sunday at Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, .

Coming to the Capital Centre are AC/DC and Love/Hate (Sunday) and Judas Priest, Testament and Megadeth (Dec. 9).

Painters Mill has several shows on its schedule including The Indigo Girls (Nov. 27), Extreme, Danger Danger and The London Quireboys (Dec. 2), and Crack The Sky (Dec. 28).

Coming to Shriver Hall are Wynton Marsalis and Carl Filipiak (Dec. 9).

Max's On Broadway hosts Marti Jones and Don Dixon (Sunday and Monday), Human Radio (Nov. 25), Wrathchild America (Nov. 28), Buddy Guy (Nov. 29), Innocence Mission (Dec. 14), Commander Cody (Dec. 15) and Hot Tuna (Dec. 16).

Performing at Eight By Ten are The Nighthawks (Friday), Jr. Cline and the Recliners (Saturday) and Uprising (Nov. 23).

Ritchie Coliseum in College Park has three big shows on the schedule with Jane's Addiction (tomorrow), Skinny Puppy (Monday) and Living Colour (Dec. 4).

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