The 2012 Honey Brook Concert in the Park series will conclude on September 9, 2012, with a 5 p.m. performance by veteran blues musicians Porkroll Project, a hard rocking six piece band who plays a high energy blend of blues standards, fresh covers and originals. The band consists of front man Neil “Porkroll” Taylor on vocals and lead guitar, Joey “Big Note” Stout on organ, guitar and vocals, Paul Matecki on piano, guitar and vocals, Ed Young on bass guitar, Larry Hinkel on drums, and Buddy Cleveland on harmonica and vocals. Honey Brook Borough invites the public to come on out to this free concert and enjoy an evening of Porkroll Project’s ‘hard rocking, foot stomping, hip shaking, earthquaking’ entertainment. Honey Brook will never be the same! Check out Porkroll Project on the web at www.porkroll-blues.com
“Porkroll Project are a really tight band,” said Jeanne Jenzano, a member of Honey Brook Borough Council who also runs the Concerts in the Park Series for the Parks and Recreation Committee, “when you see them play they have great chemistry. Plus they are funny – a riot – with a great stage presence.”
Possessing a collective experience that runs deep and wide, the members of Porkroll Project have played together in various other projects for over ten years. They are well seasoned veterans of events such as the Philadelphia Jam on the River, the Annual Chameleon Club Blues Festival, the Philadelphia Folk Festival, the Riverfront Blues Festival, the Billtown Blues Festival and the Bandana Blues Festival.
Porkroll Project has also taken part in two International Blues Challenge events in Memphis, TN, most recently the 2012 Challenge, which took place in February. A recollection of this year’s experience posted to their website, www.porkroll-blues.com
“We played two nights on Beale Street at the New Daisy Theater where we played in 2010. It was a real honor to represent the Billtown Blues Association in this year’s competition and thank them for their generous support… …we had a great time -- we met a lot of great people, laughed our butts off, had some great food, and plenty of adult beverages. All in all, it was a great week. There were a lot area bands in the competition.”
Porkroll Project has three studio albums. Their self-titled debut CD “The Porkroll Project” includes a collection of Porkroll original blues along with a few great cover songs thrown in. Their second CD, “Shake It Twice”, is highlighted with everyday life lyrics as well as twists of humor. “Three Legged Dog” is the third CD from the Porkroll Project, and has been nominated by the Diamond State Blues Society for 2012 Best Self-Produced CD. Containing song contributions from all five band members, it is a reflection of their musical range and versatility.
The Tri County Record spoke with Neil ‘Porkroll’ Taylor and asked him a few questions about the upcoming show, the band, and himself.
TCR – How will your sets run at the park concert?
NT – We typically do three one hour sets or two longer sets. We have a set list that we work from, but it is like they said in ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ it is more like a set of guidelines than a set of rules. We have a page of audibles that we use to change things up. We try to read the crowd, see what gets them moving and clapping and laughing, and go to that. We are there to help the crowd have a good time. There is a common misconception that Blues are sad, but that’s not true… the blues aren’t sad, it’s the opposite, the blues are there to cheer you up.”
We have our originals, and we also play traditional blues standards and what I call ‘blues-pop hits’ which are recognized by larger audiences. Our goal is to entertain, not to educate.
TCR – What can the crowd expect to take away from a Porkroll Project show?
NT – We find that people get caught up in (our stage presence), they will say things like ‘boy you guys look like you are having a lot of fun’ and we think it is important that people can take that feeling away because the day it stops being fun is the day that we hang it up.
TCR – Where did the ‘Porkroll Project’ name come from?
NT – In high school my nickname was ‘pork roll’ because of my last name being Taylor and the Taylor’s pork roll… …and, well, some pork roll is always in (my) house. Then, in 2004, there was some music that myself and Bill Bryan had written (as part of the then recently disbanded group Mudboy) that I wanted to record. I had people that I wanted to record with, and so we went into the studio. We called it the Porkroll Project. When it was done they all really liked the music so we decided we would take it on the road. It was a shift in the music, and was a (statement) of where I was at that time with music. We looked at it as a project – that’s how we treat things – we have lots of Porkroll alumni, interchangeable guys who have been part of (Porkroll Project) that will still play with us. It is more like an extended family than a band.”
TCR - In reading you bio it said that you are also talented in making BBQ. How is good Blues like good BBQ?
NT – Well… it’s cooked low and it is cooked slow, it’s got just the right amount of heat, it’s got just the right amount of tang. You can get messy with it, and it always puts a smile on your face.
The Porkroll Project sees off a 2012 concert series that has left an impression upon the community, based upon Jenzano’s observation of continual increases in attendance.
“We are really happy with the 2012 series,” she said. “We had a lot of people show up and they are great crowds. It means a lot to see that we are still building momentum. It is very encouraging. Honey Brook Borough Park is still under-utilized, but people are becoming aware of it because of these concerts and other events because of our website and with the help of the newspaper.”
Attendance to the concerts, as well as the bocce tournaments, has shown that the word has really gotten out to people beyond the borough too.
“I used to go looking for bands for the concert series, and now I have bands calling me and sending in demos,” Jenzano said. “I think it is important to have something to do here, and not only for the residents of Honey Brook but for people from outside of Honey Brook too. The whole feel in the town has changed and that is making things like the concert series a success. Council wants more things going on, family-friendly things. Plus a lot of the things we are doing are free or very inexpensive – and when there are costs the money goes right back into the event.”
Due to the growing interest, the borough recently had the electrical system in the park pavilion rewired (by an electrician who is also a musician!) to make sure that there is enough juice to keep the band and the food service going without fear of overload.
“When we had everything rewired and we wanted to make sure that it was safe for everyone as well. Kids have crazy fun, they like to hang on things and swing on things, and so we went the extra mile to make sure that there is no way that they are going to get hurt,” said Jenzano.
Food sold by the Lions Club has been a constant feature of the concert series, with hot dogs and hamburgers included on the menu. Attendees are also welcome to bring food. Alcohol is not permitted in the park.
One proverbial bump in the road for the 2012 concert series was a rain out of the prior concert, which featured the Celtic music of ‘From The Well’. Yet that experience also placed a key contingency in place for future events.
“The attendance was great, even though the weather looked like it was going to get bad. Then after a few songs we saw lightning and had to cancel the concert. Since having that happen we have worked out an agreement with the (Honey Brook Fire Company) and they will let us use their hall,” said Jenzano. “We are so thankful to have the fire company backing us up. If it rains we will move right across the street to the fire hall on the second floor. It is great because it is so close and there is plenty of parking. The hall has a stage and a kitchen.”
Jeanne Jenzano can be reached by email at email@example.com
. The Honey Brook Borough Park is located behind the borough building at 71 Pequea Avenue, Honey Brook, PA 19344. To reach the borough, including Jeanne Jenzano, call 610-273-2020.