The band has had to alter our entire game plan and marketing strategy in response to the health issues being experienced by our singer and brother, Jay Powell. As Jay is an incredible vocalist with a powerful voice replete with an awesome dynamic range, it is no easy task to find an adequate substitute. Gary Thomas has stepped up but does not like to travel and can only do local shows. Andy Jenoska lives in Richmond and is limited by work, family, and other musical commitments, yet has stepped up big time and filled in some critical holes in the schedule. Rick Johnson, from Outta Touch, Jamm Boxx, and other NOVA bands also has work, family, and other musical commitments which preclude him from doing all the shows. However, it looks like the committee approach will work until Jay Powell returns later in the spring. We have asked Ricky to join the band and he will continue to front us even after JP returns. Ed, Rick, and Jay are all different dynamic vocalists who have differing strengths and styles which broaden our ability in choosing material. With Jeff, Dexter, Paul, and I doing backup vocals we have a hell of a full sound with fabulous 4-5 part harmonies. We are continuing to write new material for our full length album but have put studio time on hold while JP is treated and heals. The EP CD is sensational with the reviews from various people and places, has been overwhelmingly positive.
Jay Powell has been unable to sing or work. Go Fund Me has helped him thus far. The Co-pays involved are steep and stressful. Our friends at Earps in Fairfax have been kind enough to provide us space to do a fund raiser. Sunday March 3rd, 2024 from 11am until 8pm there will be 5 bands performing. Show details and times are on FaceBook and our website. 1/3 of the tickets have already been sold and this will sell out so buy your tickets ASAP. I also have a sweet deal for those out of towners who would like to help but time and distance makes it difficult. Boy have I got a deal for you!!
Send me a check made payable to Jay Powell with your mailing address for 25$ and I will mail you all 3 of our CD’s as a bonus for helping JP in his time of need. The address is PO BOX 404 Aldie, VA 20105. We have thousands of fans so raising 10 to 20 k is more than doable. Thanks to everyone for their prayers, help, kind words, and donations during what has been a difficult time for the band, our friends, and especially Jay Powell. Also a big shout out to Mary Lou Thompson for all the hard work and time she has put into this. Stay warm and safe and many thanks for supporting your local musicians and the venues they play.. Jay Nedry
Roadducks News, Happenings, Bacchanalia
The news letters have not been as consistent as I would like but there has been a lot going on. The band has been recording 5 days a month since March. I am thrilled to announce the release of our 6 song EP on CD. We decided to release half the album as an EP collector’s item for Christmas. There are only 1000 copies available. Two more songs are ready and we have 4 in the pipeline. These 6 songs will combine with the 6 on the new EP for a full 12 song album. We will have all 12 songs on CD and VINYL sometime in May. The actually pressing takes 12 weeks; CD’s just a couple of days. The entire project has required a great deal of time, practice, preparation, patience, and expertise.
The expertise we received was extraordinary! One of my lifelong friends is Jeff Jeffries owner of Cue Recording in Falls Church, Va. Jeff was a major supporter of Jaxx huge Battle of the Bands (200 Bands) and has continued his assistance on this project. Blaine Misner our Engineer has done an absolutely incredible job on the technical content, played killer drums on Raise It Up and has contributed a calming serene presence while working with bitchy musicians. Pete Evick our Producer has shined as a producer, friend, confident, and advisor, while devoting an INORDINATE amount of time on our behalf. BUSY? You want busy? Go to Pete’s Face Book page and you will see busy at a level that is hard to believe. He writes books, has a highly successful and burgeoning Candle business in multiple locations. [Benjamin Franklin’s father was a Candle maker, an ancient and essential profession], tours constantly with Brett Michaels, plays in side projects, performs acoustically and produces records for others. He also is a parent to 2 wonderful boys, both who have grown into excellent young men. Pete still found time to spend countless hours on the project; the results are on the EP. Much love and thank you Pete, you made a very technical and time consuming project seem easy.
The real star of the show is our vocalist, Jay Powell. I have been blessed over 47 years to have had absolutely incredible, first class singers in the band, Bill Culver, Bill ‘Senator’ Schmidle, Bob ‘Bopper’ Gaynor, and of course Phil McCormick. Gary Thomas handled the vocals until 2020. Gary didn’t like the travel (grandkids) so I was in a quandary. WTF to do? Singers, let alone great ones are hard to find. Too often there is an LSD problem (Lead Singer Disease where a separate vehicle is required to transport the massive, over inflated ego). Along comes old friend Jay Powell. A country boy from the Valley of the Shenandoah…a place I love so much. Jay has met every challenge, learned multiple new styles of music and sung at a level you truly have to hear live to appreciate…he is a special guy and vocalist.
I went to High School in Staunton and spent 2 years drinking, carousing, chasing women, while occasionally attending class at JMU. I started the Roadducks in Harrisonburg in 1976 and we lived there until 1977 when we moved to New Haven Connecticut. [as soon as I am finished my Masters Degree at W&M next May I will write the complete history of the band—quite a story!] The Valley is gorgeous and a very special place. Jay Powell is a child of that environment. It clearly shows in his attitude and work ethic. A very kind, intelligent, super talented individual who was unfortunately diagnosed with cancer this past summer. Anyone else would have quit and gone away to heal, not Jay…no he proceeded to step things up several notches like from a 10 to a 15 and worked like a madman. What he has done has been inspirational to all who know him. Practicing, writing, performing, working, and recording have consumed him. His Medical team at The University of Virginia has been fabulous. We are most fortunate to have such a world class university available to get him fixed..which they insist they will. Radiation treatments start next week but Jay Powell will continue to do shows. Ricky Johnson will handle front man duties when Jay cannot sing and will join the band to add yet another lead vocal to the group. Ed Brown was with us in 2021 and left for another project. He rejoined in October and not only is a bad ass Bass player but also a lead vocalist. So now we have 3 lead singers and 4 backup singers…a veritable ‘celestial chorus of Angels.’ Having components like this give us multiple options on material and presentation. The band bought a huge concert Sound and Lighting system to tour with, a bus, two vans, have a lighting director (Aaron Jett) a very talented and wonderful sound engineer (Thomas Petry) a director of Social Media (Catie) and old friend our Web Master Dave Beebe (LD at Jaxx and the Birchmere). We have a hell of a team and a wide-spread very dedicated long term fan base that has continued to grow. We did 121 shows this year and 85 last year (Covid was still a problem). The 200 shows got the band extremely tight and well rehearsed with an excellent stage show and production. We are primed and ready for 2024.
January we will play on weekends but February we take time off to rehearse, record, and stay warm. (February load outs with 6 tons of gear at 1 am in 9 below zero weather is a ball-buster we have decided to avoid) March we will play most weekends and finish up any lingering work on the Album. I have tons of bookings for next year as we continue to expand our tour schedule and perform more in Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and get back to old haunts here in Virginia like Tidewater, Richmond, and Charlottesville. The band is older, wiser, prepared and ready to go kick ass. I am going to LA in January to shop our record and have contacts at Atlantic and other labels to secure us a deal. We also plan to start on a second album as soon as we finish this one. Of course we will use the exact same team that got us to this point.
I reflect back on 47 years in the band and 5803 shows and I have a true sense of what the legacy and impact of the group is. I hear it all the time at shows where old fans still show up in 40 year old Duck shirts…some still fit. It has been personally rewarding to listen to the stories of decades long interaction with the band. Marty Gibson from Murfreesboro, NC, Mike Lam from Harrisonburg (was 17 and would sneak into the Elbow Room to see us), Terry Nicewarmer from WVA, Laura Jean Jones, Shannon, Sabrina, Kathy, and Barbara…all waitresses from Louies Rock City, Kim Turner our first agent and my lifelong friend and many others have shown up and brought new fans into the fold. Our new song “Your Biggest Fans” is not about me or the band no my friends, it is all about you. We NEVER could have done this without you. Beers, Nooky, Food, a place to crash, practically anything we have needed has come from our fans. On behalf of ALL the Roadducks who have played in the group over the years many thanks and much love. Have a fabulous Holiday and New Year. Buy the CD (call me and I will mail you one 14$ includes shipping) Bring your friends, it’s always a good day to Get Ducked. My very best and a big shout out to my advisor and personal GURU, Kristina Armendaris who has enriched my life in ways far too enumerable to mention. Much gratitude to my Professors and classmates at my beloved William and Mary, where I have enjoyed a complete reconstruct of my mental abilities. The College has enriched my life and educated me, it only took 55 years but it has been fabulous. Though rumors persist Thomas Jefferson and I were actually classmates… he remains a constant inspiration to me as does Paul McCartney and The Stones. Rock on everyone