Music Notes for March 21, 2013

For Weekly SurgeMarch 19, 2013 

As The Boathouse Waterway Bar & Grill in Myrtle Beach prepares for its 7th year hosting its Summer Concert Series, former “American Idol” and Coastal Carolina University alum, Elise Testone, prepares to release her first studio project since almost winning the world’s largest talent show in 2012. And Testone and a large ensemble will open the Boathouse’s series April 7 with a free, all-ages show, which promises a sneak peak at some of the Testone-penned tunes to be released on the unnamed album.

We spoke with Testone last week from Charleston while she was on a break from recording.

“Today we’re going over horn parts and tracking some of that stuff,” said Testone, who not only wrote all 11 songs on the project, co-writing one with guitarist Wallace Mullinax, but is producing as well. She’s said in the past that not winning “Idol,” but coming close (6th place), still gaining plenty of national attention, was in many ways better than taking No. 1, allowing for more artistic freedom, and less pressure.

“I’ve been in the studio just about every day for the last two weeks,” she said. “I’m obsessed with this. I’ve been gigging, too. I hope to have the album out by June or July. We’re recording at Truphonic [in Charleston] and because I’m self-producing I said to myself from the beginning I had to be wise enough to know that if I have to bring someone in, I will, but I wanted to give this a shot. I have so many ideas in my head, and have gained all this experience playing in different bands, and shows that I’ve arranged, I think I have a knack for doing this – I have not found this too challenging. I love it.”

Most of the players on the album are regulars in Testone’s band and appeared at her Coastal Carolina University show late last year. Most plan to be with her at the Boathouse show. “I hope there will be between six and eight of us on stage,“ she said. “The show features a little bit of everything - blues, soul, rock - but it’s all tied together with the bluesy, soul essence of my voice.”

Opening the show, Bibis Ellison, is a Socastee High School graduate and is now a Wilmington, N.C.-based rocker, making this Boathouse event a fully female-fronted concert by women who rock; not something you see every day around here.

We wondered if Testone’s gender helped or hampered her career?

“I’ve haven’t had any trouble with the fact that I’m a woman,” she said, “as far as moving my career along, especially since “Idol.” In the past there was a little [trouble], but not really a big deal as far as getting respect from people. The experience I’ve gained, I think, comes through and people know that I’m a professional, from sound-check through to the end of the show.”

While The Boathouse’s final schedule is not yet complete, the lineup so far is as varied as in past years, covering classic hair metal bands, country, pop, rock, and hip-hop, along with a few local and regional openers. “We try not to get pigeonholed,” said Boathouse co-owner Tripp Coan, who books the acts at the outdoor event series that’s been dubbed “Sunday Funday” by locals. “Each year we get a little bigger and try to book a few more acts,” he said, noting that during its first years the series was strictly a summertime event. The concert series has now almost doubled in length running from April through September. The confirmed dates may be found at under the “Calendar of Events” tab. So far the confirmed acts include Testone, Thomas Rhett, Rehab, Ying Yang Twins, Sunny Ledford, Dustin Lynch, Saliva, The Lacs, Shooter Jennings, Bubba Sparxxx, Ballyhoo, Crowded Streets, Jerryfest, Skid Row, Coolio and many others will be announced.

Local Bands Rally for Wounded Warriors

Three local bands and one from Pennsylvania have agreed to donate 50-percent of any proceeds collected from an upcoming benefit show at the House of Blues on Saturday. The funds raised will go to the Wounded Warrior Project. Slated to appear; Area 51, Chronic, Lunar Fizz, and The Madeline Haze. The bands will perform original rock and hope to embark upon a joint summer tour with a still uncertain lineup. A meet-and-greet is scheduled for 2-4 p.m. Friday at the Kiss Coffee House (Broadway at the Beach, Myrtle Beach) and free tickets will be given away. Tickets for the all-ages show are $5 at the door, or free from band members and at the Kiss Coffee House, Blondies and RetroActive (also at Broadway at the Beach), and the Vans Outlet Store (Tanger Mall, Kings Road, Myrtle Beach). Doors open at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at HOB.

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