You won’t want to miss it! See you at Lancaster Square on June 17. Here’s the music line-up and a little bit about the bands:
Mike McMonagle: 6:45-7:30
Toy Soldiers: 7:45-9ish
The Cultivators make rootsy music and like playing it for a wide range of people, from little children to great grandmothers. The group formed in Lancaster in 2007 and features a repertoire of original tunes with some vintage cover songs mixed in. Instruments include acoustic guitar, mandolin, fiddle, electric guitar and and drums. The band can be found playing a variety of venues, from bars to farm festivals, throughout the region.
At an age when most kids start playing with matches, Mike McMonagle was, well, also playing with matches. Luckily, the day came when matches lost their luster and he picked up a guitar. It was a Saturday, presumably, and the Pennsylvania sky was blue and cloudless (probably). The first chord he ever strummed was an E minor; to this day, Mike still plays that chord, along with others, to craft an array of folk-inspired ditties about riding trains, drinking wine and the Commonwealth of Virginia. Listening to Mike perform is like taking a deep breath while watching the sun rise on a crisp, dewy morning, after a sleepless night of heavy drinking.
Toy Soldiers began in September 2007 as a duo between songwriter Ron Gallo and long-time friend and drummer, Mike Baurer. What began as a joke, quickly turned into a vehicle for a collection of songs that jumped around in the roots of American music. After a year of carting around in a Toyota Camry pushing their home made demo’s, they entered the studio in early 2009 to create “Whisper Down the Lane”, the band’s first record released on May 18th, 2010 through Drexel’s MAD Dragon Records. Later described as a “gritty, dirty collection of liquor-fueled Americana music. Shifting flawlessly from roots, to blues, to country, to rockabilly. Whisper Down the Lane is an undeniable barn-burner”
Going in as a duo, the band came out as collective of upwards of 13 musicians who had contributed to the album. Over the course of 2009 through 2010, the new collective played WXPN’s 2010 XPoNential Fest, toured the south twice and constantly fluctuated and shifted members until Gallo decided to pair down to a solid core group in October 2010 welcoming in a group of Lancaster based musicians and friends known as Dominic Billett on drums, Bill McCloskey on bass, Luke Leidy on keys, and Matt Kelly on guitar. One of the new groups first shows was a sold out show supporting Fitz and the Tantrums at World Cafe Live. They are releasing a new EP in April 2011.
The band has been nominated in three categories for the 10th Independent Music Awards for “Best Alt. Country Album”, “Best Blues Song: Throw Me Down” and “Best College Label Release”