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Dale LePage: On the Downbeat with Country Musician Houston Bernard

Tuesday, January 28, 2014


They say there are no fans like country music fans, and Houston Bernard has certainly assembled a lot of them along his music journey throughout New England and New York.

When I interviewed Houston Bernard, he was fresh off his high from auditioning for television mega show, America’s Got Talent, and had just received a call from the show to make an appointment for a second audition.

This was not Houston’s first brush with fame. Early in his career one of his songs was in heavy rotation on MTV and Logo, as well and being included in magazines and documentaries with artists like the Beastie Boys, Terry Richardson, Nancy Sinatra, Scissor Sisters, Cyndi Lauper, Lady Gaga, and Peaches.

How much of your shows today is your own material?

I used to only perform my own music, but I find that playing music people already know in between my original music is always a good idea. We are in the studio now working on my 5th solo album of Original music.

Can you tell me about your band?

The Houston Bernard Band is made up of 6 players. Sam Crawford Lead Guitar and vocals; Ben Blanchard, Keys and vocals; Jameson Stewart, Bass; Patrick Dalton, Drums and vocals; Karen Sarkisian, Steel Guitar and sometimes fiddle player; and guest players. These guys are pro and its a privilege to be able to play with them.

When did you know music was your passion?

My uncle and father were known as the Rebel Brothers and were a staple in the Nashville and OKC country music scenes in the 1970s. They played back-up for artists such as Tanya Tucker, Dave Dudley, Wanda Jackson and Sleepy LaBeef, regularly crossing paths and swapping stories with the likes of Elvis Presley, Merle Haggard, Kiss and Willie Nelson. Johnny Bernard (uncle) has written songs for many country artists in Nashville including Reba McEntire.

You describe yourself as having an outlaw sprit. Can you tell me what that means to you?

My Great Grandfather was the famous gunfighter George 'Bittercreek' Newcomb, a famous outlaw (captured in the Time-Life 'Gunfighters' book) who ran with the Dalton, James and Doolan gangs and a was Most Wanted man in the 1890s. It's this outlaw spirit that I carry with me to every show.

Find out more about Houston Bernard: http://www.houstonbernard.com/

Dale LePage is host of the television show, WooTube on Charter TV3, and a three-time winner of the Central Massachusetts Entertainer of the Year Award from Worcester Living Magazine. See more from Dale Lepage by visiting www.DaleLepage.com.


Related Slideshow: 13 Biggest Music Stories in 2013

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13. Opera

In July 2013, the Greater Worcester Opera put on its 10th Annual Summer Concert Series at Worcester's Briarwood Community Center. The popular event featured a variety of singers performing themed selections with all proceeds going to support the GWO's season. 

This year, the performances included Broadway Melodies, American Songbook, Operetta- G&S & More!, and Opera Gala.

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12. Wormtown Music

The Worcester music scene, popularly known as Wormtown, celebrated its 35th Anniversary in May of 2013.  To honor the occasion, Ralph's Diner hosted a concert featuring five bands (The Commandos, The Performers, Musclecah, The Time Beings, and the Numbskulls), who's members have been key players in this piece of local history.

Photo: Mike Malone

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11. Karaoke Bars

Not all live music is supposed to be good. Sometimes, the best music entertainment is watching your friends and coworkers crash and burn in their attempt to emulate Tom Jones or Carly Rae Jepsen.

Yes, I am talking about karaoke. 

In 2013, GoLocal found out the best spots to belt out the classics yourself.

Find out where you can go to practice for the next American Idol auditions here

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10. Ashley Jordan

Ashley Jordan is barely 21-years old, but she is already making a big impact on the Worcester music scene.

The Harvard-native was honored with the Best Female Vocalist and Best Country/Americana Act Awards at the 2013 Worcester Music Awards, and in August, she sat down with GoLocal's Kelly May for an interview.

Read Ashley Jordan's interview here

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9. Indian Ranch

If you are a fan of country music in Central Mass, Webster's Indian Ranch was the place to be this past summer.  In 2013, their summer concert series drew some big-time acts, such as The Charlie Daniels Band, Montgomery Gentry, Phil Vassar, Dwight Yoakam, and 2011 American Idol winner Scott McCreery to the cozy 3,000 seat amphitheater. 

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8. Sir Elton John

He may not have been in Worcester, but it was certainly worth the trek to Boston to see music royalty. Sir Elton John has been performing live for decades, and never lost a step along the way.  Just ask GoLocal music critic Ken Abrams who reviewed Elton's Providence appearance:

Elton John made a triumphant return to Providence Saturday night, making the Dunkin Donuts Center the second stop on his Diving Board Tour. Expectations were high for the near capacity crowd and Sir Elton did not disappoint. He covered a number of hits in his 28 song set, including a full album side from “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.” Read More

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7. Robin Lane

She grew up with Sally Field, lived with and sang for Neil Young, and married Police guitarist Andy Summers. But even more impressive than her resume, is the adversity that Robin Lane has faced and overcome.  GoLocal's Susan Wagner had the privilege to sit down with this musician and trauma survivor in 2013 for an interview.

Read Susan Wagner's conversation with Robin Lane here

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6. Live Music Venues

Worcester's music scene was alive and well in 2013, and as much credit goes towards the bands and performers; its the infrastructure -- the venues -- that give these talented artists the medium to share their work with the world.

In 2013, GoLocal compiled some of the best live music venues in Worcester, check them out here, and here.

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5. Life is Good Festival

Spread the Optimism! That was the tone for this summer's Life is Good Music Festival in Canton.  The family-friendly event brought in some great, and cheerful, national acts such as Hall and Oates, The Roots, and Jack Johnson... and for the kids, DJ Lance Rock and the gang from Yo Gabba Gabba performed both days. 

All proceeds from the festival went to the Life is Good Kids Foundation.

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4. New Bedford Folk Fest

GoLocal Music Critic Ken Abrams spent the weekend of July 6-7 enjoying some hot weather and dozens of cool artists to the New Bedford Folk Festival. Previously known as New Bedford Summerfest, the name change this year didn't affect the remarkable talent present at the festival. We’ll share some thoughts on a few performances; sadly, we couldn't get to all of them. Read More

Read GoLocal's Coverage of Music Festivals in Central Mass Here

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3. Paramore

In November, Grammy nominated alt-rock group Paramore dropped in to play a major show at the newly-renovated DCU Center. The Tennessee band drew a huge crowd, and their live show received widespread critical acclaim. Their self-titled album “Paramore” debuted at #1 when it was released in April. The show opened with Metric and Hellogoodbye.

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2. Pearl Jam

On the same day that they released their tenth studio album, Lightning Bolt, grunge-rock legends Pearl Jam took the stage at Worcester's DCU Center.  GoLocal music critic Rob Duguay was fortunate enough to be front and center for the October show:

Last night at the DCU Center in Worcester, Seattle alternative rock legends Pearl Jam kicked off their two-night stay with authority. Earlier in the day, their tenth studio album Lightning Bolt was officially released to the masses to much acclaim. What better way to celebrate a new record from the all-time greats than in front of a sold out arena? With one of the best bands of the past 25 years making everyone go crazy for three hours with no openers, Worcester was about to get rocked into another stratosphere. Read More

Photo: Shawn Schillberg

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1. Algonquin Lip-Dub

The athletes at Northborough's Algonquin Regional High School became internet celebrities in 2013 after their YouTube video went viral.

The video featured dozens of students performing a lip-dub of a song by Owl City and Carly Rae Jepsen while backpedaling through the school.

The video was part of a marketing class project, and had more than 18,000 hits within 48 hours of being published.

Watch the amazing video here .


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