New Albany, MS– It’s been over 50 years since they first took the stage, but on June 4 New Albany based, The Dukes, will be the first group to play on the new Riverview Outdoor Stage being constructed at Park Along the River, and they are just one of a number of local acts that will be opening up the concerts of the ten-week Levitt AMP concert series, which the city received a grant for this past year after winning a national competition.
The Dukes, who open the series and the Alvin Youngblood Hart show on June 4, began their musical journey at the top of Cleveland Street in New Albany, Mississippi back around 1963/64. Originally inspired by the popularity of The Beatles, the band began playing community center dances, Greek parties at Ole Miss and other events around the region. After being spotted playing a fair in 1965 they were invited to New York to play on the Ted Mack Amateur hour, a national television show filmed in a studio that had hosted The Beatles and other national acts. The current members of the Dukes (and all were original members) are Steve Livingston on bass – Steve is a lawyer and City Judge of New Albany. David Moore, on drums – David is a teacher at Ingomar School. Bill Farned, on lead guitar – Bill is a retired Civil Engineer. Bob Pieczyk, on rhythm guitar – Bob is a full-time professional musician, and the only member who does not live in New Albany (Bob lives in Jackson). And, finally, Bill Kitchens on keyboard. Bill is a retired Industrial Engineer:
“The Dukes took a forty year break and reformed after Jill Smith, of the Union County Heritage Museum, asked us to play for a fundraiser for the museum. The band is now back in full swing and still loves to play the music of their heyday.”
Another local act playing the series, Shaun Vaughn, aka “Shaunzy” will be opening the June 11th show featuring Christian Hip Hop artist Dee-1 out of New Orleans. Shaun is a 2014 graduate of New Albany High School and is currently studying marketing at Louisiana State University, which happens to be the alma mater of Dee-1. Shaun’s interest in music began when he was 15 years old and he started producing tunes at his grandparent’s house. He has a number of videos out on YouTube and is working on a clothing line that he hopes to launch at the end of the summer.
A relative newcomer to New Albany, Andrew Yurkow, aka “Cadillac Funk” will be opening for GRAMMY-nominated Cedric Burnside on Saturday, July 2. Prior to settling down in New Albany with his wife and two children to start a painting and design business, Andrew was a full-time musician in Oxford. He still plays frequently, however, around the state to enthusiastic and loyal crowds who come for the pure energy of the performance. Andrew and his band, which included a horns section, played Riverfest for the first time last year and wowed the crowds with their jazzy performance.
Paul Tate Trio
New Albanian Paul Tate is putting together a trio to begin working on a set to complement the July 30 show for Young Valley, an up and coming “alt country” group out of Jackson. Paul is known for both his piano and guitar playing with a depth of style that allows him to meet any musical occasion and plays regularly at events throughout the region.
In addition to the Levitt Amp Series, the New Albany Freedom Festival will take place on Saturday, July 25th (Sam Mosley is playing the Levitt show on Friday the 24th) and will feature country stars, Confederate Railroad, and a number of acts from Union County, the names of which will be released next week.
Local Opener Video Links
The Dukes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jKH0f9SWOuY
Cadillac Funk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LUg_PYLwpyg
The Dukes’ practice session:
For more information about the series and all of the acts, check out http://concerts.levittamp.org/new_albany