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Before the Winter Storm...

December 14, 2007 - Jim Price

If you're looking to get a little bit of live band-watching in before the big winter storm hits this weekend, this Friday night, Dec. 14, presents some interesting options on Altoona area stages.

My Turning Point makes their first official Altoona appearance Friday night at Aldo's in Juniata. My Turning Point is the brainchild of Jim Bagrosky, the former drummer of popular area bands Stept On and Wake Up Screaming. Three years ago, Jim had some musical ideas that he wanted to bring to fruition; so after Wake Up Screaming's break-up, Jim stepped from behind the drum kit, started playing guitar, and collaborating with other musicians on his creations. It was Jim's "turning point" where he switched from drums to singing and guitar playing; thus the eventual name of the project, My Turning Point. The current edition of the group features Jim on lead vocals and rhythm guitar, John Placer on drums, Todd Burns on bass, and Chris Kane on lead guitar. My Turning Point's sound is dark, hard and melodic; fronted by Jim's intense and expressive vocal style. The group will perform songs from their debut CD, Seclusion Serves Me Well, which was released earlier this year; as well as select harder modern and classic rock covers.

Also in town this Friday night is northeastern Pennsylvania-based foursome Dashboard Mary, making a return visit to the 4D's Lounge. The group is relatively new to Altoona area stages, having debuted at the 4D's this past spring. But Dashboard Mary has been around for nearly seven years, first formed by lead guitarist Rob Roman and bassist Joe Del Rosso. The group later added singer/guitarist Chris Langan (who actually played drums for the group at one point), and present drummer Keith "Shroeder" Eckstein. Dashboard Mary's central sound is hard-edged, straight-up-the-gut rock with a slightly jagged edge. Onstage, they entertain with a balanced mixture of current and classic rocking favorites, as well as original songs from their recently-issued debut CD, Somebody's In Here, released this past summer. Chris has a hearty and rangeful singing voice, and can also bang out some additional percussion on congas from time to time. Their performance is upbeat and energetic, and those who like to cut the rug should find plenty to celebrate with Dashboard Mary.

If your musical tastes run toward the more vintage side of rock'n'roll, take a trip back in time with The New PassTime Band, performing Friday at the Hitching Post. Singer/guitarist Jeff Leeper, keyboard player Ken Civils and drummer Randy Lang entertain with classic and vintage rock'n'roll of the 60's, 70's and 80's, spanning Roy Orbison to Spirit to the Hollies to ZZ Top. Get ready to laugh as well, as Jeff will combine funny antics with an interesting array of headgear throughout the show, from viking helmets to propeller beanies to other zany hats. But don't let the tomfoolery fool you, this guy has a stunning singing voice; hear what he does on Roy Orbison's "Crying!"

And with local favorites Felix & the Hurricanes doing their annual tour of state prison facilities this time of year and not appearing as frequently on local stages, their Friday night appearance at the Victory Lane Saloon provides an opportunity to get your Felix fix.

For the under-21 crowd, there's live music for you to catch this Friday night as well. At The Lost & Found (formerly The Lion's Den) in Juniata, a hard-hitting all-ages bill features Dragon Fire, The Grimm and other bands.

It's a busy Friday night on the Altoona music scene, and the expected winter storm might throw a wrench in the live music slate for Saturday night. So pick a show, and get out there and support live music!

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Dashboard Mary, during an April performance at the 4D's Lounge.


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