Arts and Entertainment

Carnation Fourth | Mainstage features crowd-pleasing rock, funk, singer-songwriters, and a dash of Shakespeare

Jeff Zuber brings his personalized rock-and-roll sounds to the Carnation Fourth fireworks mainstage Monday. - Courtesy Photo
Jeff Zuber brings his personalized rock-and-roll sounds to the Carnation Fourth fireworks mainstage Monday.
— image credit: Courtesy Photo

Entertainment on the main stage for Carnation’s 4th of July celebration starts with one big man, and ends with a big-name band. Singer-songwriter Jeff Zuber (www.biginduvall.com) starts off the afternoon with a solo show of covers and his own musical “tall tales and short stories,” and the evening finishes with Redline, an ensemble of rock-and-rollers from classic Northwest bands, doing danceable songs from the 50s through the 80s.

Every act has a Valley connection, too. Zuber lives in Duvall, naturally, and the Cascade Community Theatre troupe that follows him with their adaptation of “Merry Wives of Windsor” is based in Carnation and Duvall. Felonious Monk is the “funkalicious” young band from Cedarcrest High School’s Battle of the Bands in April. James Hurley, also a singer-songwriter, is a frequent visitor to the Valley where he’s made many friends and fans, and the headliners, besides playing throughout the area in bands like The Kingsmen, and Spike and the Continentals, have a Carnation pioneer family in their heritage.

Mike McElhoe (vocals, keyboard, guitar) said by e-mail that his grandparents were early farmers in the Valley, and his father and siblings all graduated from Tolt High School—he went to Carnation Elementary School through third grade, but graduated from West Seattle High School with the rest of his bandmates.

Monday’s music starts at 4 p.m. with Jeff Zuber on guitar, playing what he calls “contemporary singer-songwriter-type stuff.”

That could include some covers of songs that are really meaningful to him, and a few of his original compositions, which he started writing in 1971. He’s written songs about the Duvall Farmers Market where he often plays, about his memories of reading all the Harry Potter books with his daughter, about the Cascade Community Theatre troupe he occasionally appears in, and about life in the Valley in general.

“The Valley itself is just so rich,” he said. Observation is his inspiration. “I document things that are going on around me... I don’t know exactly how it works, but something will just come to me,” he said. “I view myself as more of a storyteller than a musician.”

He’s thrilled to have his name on the same poster as a friend who is also a “real” musician, James Hurley, but he has no plans of making music his full-time gig. He and his wife Debby run Best Buddy Dog Wash in Duvall, and he enjoys getting out to the various venues that made him “big in Duvall.”

The term, he explained, started as a joke with a friend, who wanted to know if he’d ever play anywhere but Duvall or Carnation. He’d told his friend that he liked the Valley, and was happy to stay here.

“I think it’s a wonderful thing to be big in Duvall,” he said, “just having some place where you feel like you belong, and where you’ve got roots.”

Merry wives

Next on stage is the Cascade Community Theater, performing “Windsor’s Merry Wives,” a fast-paced adaptation of Shakespeare’s “The Merry Wives of Windsor.”

Director Richard Greenfield has adapted the tale of old, fat Falstaff’s error-riddled attempts to solve his money problems by courting two wealthy married women to about an hour-length show, which starts at 4:30 p.m.

In addition to the July 4 mainstage performance, audiences can see the show the day before, 4:30 p.m. Sunday, July 3, at the Bird Street Stage; at 1 or 5 p.m. Saturday, July 9, at Kokopelli Gardens, 14520 284th Ave. N.E., Duvall; at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, July 16, during the Duvall Country Living Festival; or 7 p.m. Saturday, July 23, at SandBlast, at McCormick Park in Duvall.

Rock monk

Felonious Monk takes the stage at 5:45 p.m., with a sound as out-of-the-ordinary as their name. “It’s a kind of play on the jazz pianist Thelonious Monk,” guitarist Ben Parrish explained. That Monk is among a diverse group of musicians to influence this Monk.

“We play kind of a funky jazz-fusion style, with guitar, bass, vibraphone and drums,” said Parrish. Their music has been called a blend of funk, new wave jazz and bossa nova, or just plain “funkalicious.”

The group claimed second place in the April 23 Battle of the Bands at Cedarcrest High School—a school most of the members have since graduated from—and were noted for actually helping the winners, Skam, to take the top prize. In a contest that took crowd response into account for a band’s overall score, the members of Felonious Monk, after their own performance, led the dancing to Skam’s winning set.

Band members include Zach Schutte on bass, Parker Malek on vibraphone, and Sim Hill on drums.

James Hurley, up next, was recently named “One of the Top Ten Live Acoustic Male Singer-Songwriters in L.A.” by Folkworks magazine. Hurley’s style of jazz, blues, pop and folk music was created by a lifelong love of music that survived accordian lessons, drum lessons, and guitar lessons from an older brother.  His influences include the sounds of his early school years —Paul Revere and the Raiders, Donovan—and the classic country singers.

Redline closes out the musical lineup, followed by the fireworks at dusk.

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