SIDNEY — Raise the Roof for the Arts wraps up its Backstage Block Party series Saturday, Aug. 25. Commander Cody is slated to headline the final Backstage Block Party concert. The outdoor event will also include The Eric Sowers Band and the local favorite Kevin and the Others as opening acts.
Look in any book on the history of rock and roll and you will find Commander Cody and his Lost Planet Airmen. The band’s name was inspired by 1950s film series featuring the character Kommando Kody and from a feature version of an earlier series, King of the Rocket Men, released under the title Lost Planet Airmen.
The band’s founder and leader, George Frayne, took the stage name Commander Cody. Among many other achievements, this eight-piece super band’s album “Deep in the Heart of Texas” is one of Rolling Stone magazine’s top 100 albums of all time.
Billy C. Farlow, the lead singer, also played trumpet and blues harp. The fiddler, Andy Stein, played saxophone and the guitar player, Bill Kirchen, played trombone. Cody the piano pounder doubled on kazoo.
They toured non-stop to Allegiant of dedicated fans across the globe and back and recorded seven original albums before the band finally broke up and each member went their separate ways in 1977.
The Commander Cody band relocated to the east coast in 1997. Cody and his group are still wowing crowds at festivals, giant biker conventions, and college concerts in the US and Europe. George Frayne is a respected and sought-after artist having received his bachelor’s degree in design from the University of Michigan and a master’s degree in sculpture and painting from Rackham School of Graduate Studies of the University of Michigan. He has taught at the University of Michigan and Wisconsin State University and has had his art exhibited at numerous shows.
Today the Commander Cody Band features Mark Emerick on guitar, Steve Barbuto on drums, Chris Olsen on pedal steel and Randy Bramwell on bass. Cody isstill trying to pound his piano into submission, and all members sing.
Eric Sowers is a 23-year-old singer songwriter who hails from the countryside of Sycamore, Ohio, a small town in the northwest part of the state. Growing up listening to country music, Sowers has been surrounded by country music for his whole life. He picked up his first guitar during his senior year in high school and hasn’t looked back since.
In 2011, Sowers performed his first ever solo acoustic show, marking the venues largest crowd it’s ever seen. It was that night everyone seen something special. Since then Sowers has been known for filling and packing nearly every bar and venue he has performed at.
Sowers has shared the same stage and opened for national acts: Eric Paslay, Josh Thompson, Jon Pardi, The Cadillac Three, Josh Gracin, Blackjack Billy, Mustang Sally and “Butter” formerly of Trailer Choir.
After playing solo for nearly two years, Sowers wanted to take his music to continue to grow and come to life. In the summer of 2013, Sowers added lead guitarist Chase Dull to the mix and started performing as an acoustic duo. In the fall of 2013, Sowers and Dull combined forces to create a full five-piece country band, “The Eric Sowers Band.” With their debut show, they once again packed the venue to the largest crowd it has ever seen.
The local opener, Kevin and The Others, is a fun high energy cover band that plays everything from classic rock up to newer pop. Hailing from Fort Loramie, Ohio, KATO has experience performing at local picnics, private parties, large outdoor concerts, bars, as well as opening up for national acts such as Quiet Riot and Bret Michaels.
The show starts at 6 p.m. in the parking lot behind The Historic Sidney Theatre and Sidney Post Office. The block party will begin selling food and beverages at 5:30 p.m. You must have proper ID in order to purchase any alcoholic beverage.
In addition to the live music at the concert, food trucks and alcoholic beverages will be available for sale at the event, which is free to the public. This and the other concerts in the series will be held in the parking lot behind the Historic Sidney Theatre and the Post Office. The blocked off concert area will have food and beverages, including alcoholic drinks for attendees over 21 years of age.
Sponsors who support the Backstage Block Party are the city of Sidney, Sidney Body Carstar, Lochards Inc., Edison State Community College, Western Ohio Cut Stone and Honda of America.
For more details about The Backstage Block Party visit www.backstageblockparty.com.