Happy Valley Music Fest

Happy Valley Music Fest

Happy Valley Music Fest 2019 is May 31 - June 1 in State College, PA!

The Gabe Stillman Band

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The Gabe Stillman Band are a high-­‐voltage blues outfit that electrifies audiences with performances that showcase the band’s passion, musical prowess and the joy they take in playing music together. While their sound is unmistakably rooted in the blues, the band plays both original and cover songs that draw deeply from the well of Soul, R&B,Rock’N’Roll and New Orleans music.

Steered by prodigious guitarist & singer Gabe Stillman, and fueled by bad-­‐ass bassist Colin Beatty and groove-­‐master Jesse Roedts on the drumkit, this high-­‐energy band was formed by Stillman in April of 2015 after graduating from Boston’s prestigious Berklee College of Music … yet, in a very short amount of time, they’ve already risen rapidly on the scene following standout performances at the Billtown Blues Festival, the Lancaster Roots & Blues Festival, and the Destination Blues Festival, as well as shared bills with international blues legends The Nighthawks and Chicago powerhouse Toronzo Cannon. Based in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, The Gabe Stillman Band has fast become favorites of every venue that has hosted them … and most certainly favorites of every music fan to have caught a show. Nighthawks founder & frontman Mark Wenner says of Stillman, “Gabe plays the Blues with strength, personality, and a depth of both feeling and musicianship.” Toronzo Cannon agrees, saying “Gabe Stillman has got the chops and the intensity the Blues should have. Keep your eye on him!”

At only 22 years of age, Gabe Stillman’s mastery of the guitar and fearlessness at the microphone is both remarkable and profound. Fierce in his playing and evocative in his singing, his skills belie his age … with an astonishing depth of knowledge, technique, and love for American roots music and in particular, all facets of ‘the blues.’ While Stillman has an enthralling style decidedly all his own, a style that ebbs and flows from pin-­‐dropping hushes to mind-­‐scorching mayhem, his influences may be somewhat evident to the astute and discerning blues fan … influences such as Howlin’ Wolf, Little Walter, Luther Allison, B.B. King, Buddy Guy, Muddy Waters, or Elmore James. Granted, many (if not most) blues guitarists cite such legends as being influential, but it is Gabe Stillman’s deep appreciation of soul music that has greatly shaped his distinctive musical persona. The music of Ray Charles, Sam Cooke, Otis Redding, Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin, James Brown, and Al Green found a home in Stillman’s heart, and he channels it like a boss.

Early on, at age 11, Stillman enrolled in Williamsport, PA’s renowned Uptown Music Collective, where he soon became a shining star of their many ensemble performance groups … most notably as the leader of the school’s Youngblood Blues Band, which, in 2012, was invited to perform in the Youth Showcase at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, TN, and for which Stillman earned an award for individual effort. After then graduating public school a year ahead of his high school class, Stillman enrolled at Berklee College of Music, where he also fast-­‐ tracked … earning his Bachelor’s Degree in Professional Music in just 27 months. While at Berklee, he was selected (in just his first semester) as one of only six to perform in the Guitar Department’s Jazz & Blues Showcase, which is a highly sought-­‐ after spotlight. Stillman performed in many ensemble groups while at Berklee, including traveling to perform at the King Biscuit Blues Festival in Helena, Arkansas. Graduating from Berklee just before his 20th birthday, he returned home to Pennsylvania and immediately formed Gabe Stillman & The Billtown Giants, the first incarnation of what would become The Gabe Stillman Band. In addition to leading The Gabe Stillman Band, Stillman serves on the faculty of the Uptown Music Collective and the teaching staff at K&S Music, as well as performing solo shows across the region.

More than anything for this band, it’s all about having fun … fun playing great music and entertaining great people. Bonnie Tallman (of BT Productions Artist Management and the Billtown Blues Association) agrees wholeheartedly, stating “One word to describe The Gabe Stillman Band is FUN! The music delivered by this band, while always paying proper service to the art form and song at hand, is just plain fun to watch and listen to!”

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