Back by popular demand, the one-day “Return of the Native Sons and Daughters” music festival, which last appeared in 2012, will showcase popular local acts who will take the stage to perform their original music.
The “Return of the Native Sons and Daughters” features some of the best musical talent from central Pennsylvania. The lineup will feature 10 artists from the Centre Region, including Pure Cane Sugar, Erin Condo and the Hoofties, The Strayers, The Tommy Roberts, Chris Rattie and the Brush Valley Rumblers, Ted McCloskey and the Hi-Fi’s, Eric Ian Farmer, Miss Melanie & the Valley Rats, JMac and Junior, and Hannah Bingman.
JMac and Junior features Jason McIntyre and Junior Tutwiler, who originally formed the duo under a different name, the Rustlanders. The two musicians first toured central Pennsylvania playing classic tunes by many influential artists, including The Band, Tom Petty, and Muddy Waters.
JMac and Junior’s basic style, one that seems to be most popular these days, particularly with local bands, is Americana, a mix of blues, old country, and rock and roll, all of which had been ingrained in McIntyre’s mind from an early age.
“With the recordings we are working on now, I’ve been referencing some of the more experimental music that I listened to growing up to infuse a different approach and sound,” McIntyre said.
“I like to just call it ‘folk with blues and jazz overtones,’ ” she said. “Being trained in classical as well as jazz studies, everything seeps in. I use a lot of different tunings because I often play solo and that can fill up the sound. Americana might be the catch all but I also have my list of jazz standards that I do as well.”
In 2003, McIntyre and Tutwiler teamed up and began playing gigs in central Pennsylvania. After adding a few more musicians to form the alternative country band the Rustlanders, they toured the country, gaining a national presence opening for John Fogerty at the Americana Music Festival in Nashville and Keith Urban at the Bryce Jordan Center, to name a few.
“We were in Austin finishing a tour when we got the call from Keith’s management,” McIntyre said. “We drove straight home and to the venue. “Keith came and hung out with us before the show and we talked about Levon Helm and how much we loved The Band. He couldn’t have been a nicer guy.”
Though they have included a number of covers in their concert set lists, JMac and Junior’s emphasis now is mainly on writing, recording and performing original music.
“As gigs here in town are typically two to three hours long, you find yourself playing covers but it can be fun to pick obscure tracks and put your twist on them,” McIntyre said. I’m excited about ‘The Native Sons and Daughters’ show because it is going to be an entire night of original music by these 10 acts.”
Raised in Beaver Springs on the western end of Snyder County, music seemed to dominate the interests of Hannah Bingman. This small town in the country may not be a place where the arts languish, but it’s a place where most everyone sings along to the hymns at church, something that helped Bingman acquire her appreciation for music.
“I was in a music appreciation class and we learned to play a few first position chords on the guitar,” she said. “There was no going back after that. Then I really got hooked on the Beatles. ‘The Beatles Anthology’ was playing on television at the time and I delved into breaking down their songs.”
Bingman has always considered herself as a songwriter first, guitarist second, and singer third; and performing her original material is a way to present all three of those elements.
“My goal is to keep creating songs that folks can connect to,” she said. “And when that stops, I’ll just have fun playing music with other folks. And when that stops, just listen to them.”
“I saw the first ‘Return’ a few years ago and loved it,” said Liz Wainright, a marketing consultant working with the State Theatre. “So, when I was approached to make this one bigger and better, I jumped at the chance.”
Wainright realizes that a majority of the music in town is played in bars and at very late hours. This proves to be a stumbling block for those who love local music but are not old enough to enter those types of establishments.
“This is a chance to see everyone onstage in one night — that is unique and valuable,” she said. “We are hoping for a full house. We want to see all of State College at this show, so we are encouraging all people to come.”
Bingman has been performing for 16 years now and personally, she doesn’t know how she would get through life without it.
“As many times I’ve told myself I was going to put down the guitar, I kept writing things I felt the need to share,” she said. “If someone can connect those things, then that makes me feel all the more normal. Professionally, performing and recording these little creations that come out of me keeps me on my toes. I’m always trying to get better at this craft of songwriting.”
“I think I can speak for everyone that is performing at the ‘Natives’ show that the most satisfying thing as a writer and performer is sharing your creations with the world,” McIntyre said. “Whether that is live or via recording, you put yourself on the line when you put something out there. It’s a vulnerable position to put yourself in but it’s equally as rewarding.”
“Having another opportunity to play at the State Theatre is always a gift,” Bingman said. “I get to share the night and the stage with the region’s best talent. I’m hoping that folks will see how great a music community they have around them.”
McIntyre, along with all of his fellow performers, feels very fortunate and is absolutely thrilled to have a platform to showcase his talents and hopes the community comes out and supports this show. “State College has a very talented and diverse music community,” he said. “It’s a very inspiring group of folks to be a part of.”