Donny Brown Revisits The Magical Riches of PURE AM GOLD

Interactive Debut Slated for August 28th at The Court Street Theatre

    icon Aug 04, 2022
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Fans and followers of Classic Rock from the 1960s through the mid-1970s are in for a surprising treat when esteemed Michigan musician and co-founder of The Verve Pipe, Donny Brown, unveils his latest project titled Pure AM Gold at The Court Street Theatre on Sunday, August 28th at 7:00 PM.

Along with fellow-members of his current group Stone Street Revival, which consists of an A-List of esteemed musicians such as guitarist Scotty VanDell, bassist Jeff Wilikangas, flutist Kay Rinker O’Neil, keyboardist Ricky Nalett, and a powerhouse brass section featuring John Anderson, John Rickert and George Bork, this new theatrical musical experience is designed to open audiences to an interactive experience where the band revisits classic and often difficult and under-performed musical hits and deep-cuts from the 1960s and ‘70s that audiences rarely have an opportunity to hear performed live.

According to Brown, the concept for Pure AM Gold came about because of work he was doing with a couple different bands who started to do afternoon shows for little theaters across the state. 

“I was talking with Chuck Colby from 3 Men and a Tenor and was telling him that when it comes to developing new musical ideas I know so many musicians and everybody’s playing in so many different bands that it’s hard to do.  So Chuck said, ‘Just come up with a concept that you like musically and go from there and start to plug in the holes.’  Because everybody in Stone Street Revival are all such solid players, I thought it would be cool to dig deeper into the music that I love or music that really affected me,” explains Brown.

“I remember being a kid driving around in a station wagon and hearing WTAC and WSAM radio stations out of Saginaw and Flint and jumping back and from 630 and 1410 to find a song that I liked,” he continues. “I would push a couple buttons and it would go back and forth right to these two stations on AM car radio and I remember just loving that whole experience - being back by the speakers and trying to guess the song as soon as I heard it; so I became inspired by that entire experience.”

“Now that I have a good band that pull all this material off, I wanted to revisit and perform all these songs you don’t hear bands perform very often,” states Donny. “You never walk into a place and hear somebody playing a Burt Bacharach song, for example; or a deeper cut from AM radio, so I just started writing and developing a show around that concept.  I wanted to structure a two-hour show based upon cool songs from the 1960s to early 1970s and also include a disc jockey more or less an as MC of the show.”

“Originally, I was going to pre-record all these parts and have them come up between songs like listening to Casey Kasem and go down that road with it,” continues Donny, “but Chuck Kolby said it would be even better if there was a Live DJ and some interaction with the crowd, so that’s how it came about.  I asked Chuck I he’d be willing to be that DJ, so he and I went down in my studio and started recording a bunch of different things.”

“We’ve got call letters WPAM 1410 Pure AM Gold Radio and the entire show is like a live AM radio broadcast. Chuck interacts with the crowed and we do little bits of tunes here and there with lots of trivia,” adds Donny. “Similar to Casey Kasem, he’ll talk about the song and the artist and the band will play the song beautifully, so it’s like a good live rendition of a song you never or rarely hear a band perform.”

“With Stone Street Revival we’re more of a festival band that wants to get people moving their asses, but with this we perform material we wouldn’t play with SSR because this is more structured to be a live radio broadcast covering deeper and unheard cuts.  We even perform a few old commercial jingles from that period and take a few commercial breaks; and we also have a live music trivia moment we’re working on that will give people a chance to actually request songs.”

“We’ve got a phone set up on the keyboard and the DJ will come onstage and answer the phone like it’s a live request line,” explains Donny. “So requests come in for Elton John songs and because he knows them all, he starts to play them. Then we unplug the phone and move it to the other side with Scott VanDell and have the DJ answer it and this time there will be requests for a bunch of songs that start with big guitar riffs, like I Feel Fine by The Beatles. This way the focus turns to being more interactive with the audience, which is why we’re also developing an audience participation trivia game.”

Donny says that prior to this upcoming debut performance at The Court Theatre, the group did this show up in Frankenmuth earlier in the summer to give it a test drive and both were sellouts.  “I just got a call from Zehnder’s and they want to rebook it, but also want to wait a bit, so we’ll be doing this again next year for them.  They said they got amazing phone calls and review for it, so I would also like to take it around the state a little bit.”

PURE AM GOLD - Your AM Radio Concert Experience, will debut on Sunday, August 28th at The Court Street Theatre, 1216 Court St. in Saginaw at 7:00 PM. Doors open at 6:30 PM. Tickets are $15.00 advance, $18.00 the day of show, and $25.00 for reserved VIP seating.  Advance tickets are available at The Scottish Inn and proceeds benefit Mustard Seed Shelter.



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