James Taylor tribute

Ray Adkins returns to Landhaven Bed and Breakfast in Barto at 8 p.m. on March 9 with an all-star band lineup to celebrate the songs of James Taylor.

Ray Adkins returns to Landhaven Bed and Breakfast, 1194 Huffs Church Road, Barto, at 8 p.m. on March 9 with an all-star band lineup to celebrate the songs of James Taylor.

Joining Adkins will be Brian Herder on multiple instruments, Frank Strauss on keyboards (formally of Tom Jones for 11 years), Jim Hines on drums (formally of Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys for 10 years), Chico Huff on bass and has played with James Taylor on several shows, Joshua Howard on backup vocals (formally from Adam Levine’s team on the show “The Voice”), and Chelsea Consul Brooks with backup vocals.

Ray and the band will perform many of James Taylor’s iconic songs and also tunes that are less well known by the general public but loved by his more dedicated fans.

Adkins of Pottstown is the founder of this James Taylor Tribute band. This project had its debut on Jan. 4.

"This project is only several weeks old," said Adkins. "The inception started with my idea of a James Taylor tribute night at Steel City Coffeehouse & Brewery in Phoenixville. The owner Ed Simpson accommodated my idea with one night which quickly sold out and we did two nights and that quickly sold out. The band had not even fully crystallized yet."

Frank Strauss the keyboard player came on board and everything changed.

"We then knew after one rehearsal this was going to be amazing. That got confirmed after the first night," said Adkins. "There’s been a buzz created and I’m getting a lot of calls for playing dates."

Adkins anticipates there will need to be an official tribute band name, website and more created in the future.

"But for now the music is there first."

More dates will become available in the near future.

“More access and information will become available soon now that the response has become so overwhelmingly positive to continue on,” said Adkins. 

The tribute band members share a love for the music of James Taylor.

“I grew up listening to James Taylor," said Brooks. "It is music I have known and loved my entire life so I jumped at the opportunity when Ray invited me to join the band not only because I love singing with Ray, but also because it is an honor and a treat to sing James Taylor’s music.”

Adding, Brooks said. “However, after just one rehearsal, it became apparent that the real honor is playing with this band and musicians of this caliber. It is so much fun to be a part of a project where everyone loves the musical content and wants to capture all of the musical nuances in order to do the songs justice.”

Brooks said that Adkins has thoughtfully put together a repertoire of the classics and some hidden, lesser-known gems.

“Revisiting and relearning these songs feels a bit like a homecoming for me. With a band this good, I can close my eyes and pretend I am a kid again singing along to the album,” said Brooks.

Other band members echoed her sentiments.

“It’s such a pleasure to play this much loved music with Ray. His love and respect for James Taylor comes shining through when he performs these classic songs,” said Strauss.

“I’ve always loved James Taylor’s music,” said Herder. “Stylistically all over the map, but always with that JT thing. Getting to play these songs with a band of this caliber is a dream come true!”

Huff also jumped at the chance to join in a James Taylor Tribute.

“Having performed with JT and his brothers and sister many years ago it’s wonderful to get to play this music again, the classics and the deep album cuts. The band Ray has assembled really gets it as well, great chemistry,” said Huff. “A great experience all around!”

For many years, Hines has wanted to play a show built around these songs and was happy to find out this tribute band.

“When we were able to build a band of people with the same vision and respect for James’s music, as well as the performances of his bands throughout the years, well, woo hoo!” said Hines. “I’m having so much fun with this band. And Ray is spectacular in this role. He just gets James Taylor.”

The BYOB event includes light refreshments. Doors open at 7:15 p.m.

There is a charge for admission. Admission charged. Reservations strongly suggested. Call 610-845-3257. For more information, visit the Landhaven Bed and Breakfast website at https://www.landhavenbandb.com/.

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Lisa Mitchell is an editor for Berks-Mont Newspapers, covering news and events in the Northeast Berks County area.

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