STORY WRITTEN BY BRIAN BINGAMAN
@brianbingaman on Twitter
WXPN Philly favorite (and dead-ringer Randy Newman sound-alike) Ben Arnold is making noticeably more concert appearances around the region than usual.
“The band wants to play. I usually try to space (area shows) out,” said Arnold, who also has a noteworthy following in Europe.
“Summertime means outdoor shows,” Arnold said. “And that also means you’ve got to take the weather that comes with it. This season, I’m lucky to be playing several outdoor music series — Pastorius Park in Chestnut Hill, Heartwood Music Festival, as well as WXPN Festival (the XPoNential Music Festival, held in Camden, N.J. in July) and the annual festival in Gorgas Park in Roxborough, that I’ve been doing for the past few years.”
With a catalog going back to the mid-’90s, Arnold’s latest album, a love letter to the R&B/soul of Motown and Stax Records and “The Sound of Philadelphia,” is titled “Lost Keys.” Some of these upcoming shows — several of them free — will feature the horn section from the album:
•The Memorial Dei Festival at Gloria Dei (Old Swedes) Church, 916 S. Swanson St., Philadelphia, on May 30. Arnold and his band are scheduled to take the stage at around 5 p.m. “Sexton Sideshow (the presenters of the festival) people have always been very supportive to original local music. So we’re really looking forward to this Memorial Day weekend,” said Arnold, noting that his horn section friends will not be present for the holiday. Refer to www.qvna.org/qvna/event/6th-annual-memorial-dei-festival-family-picnic.
•The second annual Dan’s Voice Loud and Clear Music Festival to benefit Fox Chase Cancer Center June 5 at Ardmore Music Hall, 23 E. Lancaster Ave., Ardmore. Arnold is on the bill with Beru Revue’s “Miracle of Spring” show, The Fractals and Two Brothers. The music gets underway at 5 p.m. Tickets are $24 in advance, $30 at the door, $34 for reserved seating (which includes half-hour early entry). Take a look at www.ardmoremusic.com/event/1179991-beru-revue-miracle-spring-ardmore.
•Gorgas Park Summer Solstice Music Festival, running noon to 9 p.m. June 11, starts the live music at 3. The park is at 6300 Ridge Ave., Philadelphia. The festival is family-friendly, according to bandsintown.com. Arnold’s fellow In the Pocket bandmate Tommy Conwell is on the bill as well. See more at www.roxborough.us.
•Philadelphia Folksong Society’s Heartwood Music Festival is held 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. June 12 at Awbury Arboretum, 1 Awbury Road, in the Germantown section of Philadelphia. Tickets are $10 in advance, $15 at the gate. Go to www.pfs.org/heartwood.
•Pastorias Park Summer Concert Series at 7:30 p.m. June 22. The park is two blocks west of Germantown Avenue in the Chestnut Hill section of Philadelphia. Bring your own seating. For reference, www.chestnuthill.org/eventscalendars/2016-pastorius-park-concerts.
“I’m really looking forward to taking my new record, ‘Lost Keys,’ out into the open air this summer,” Arnold commented.
The “Stupid Love” singer was originally scheduled to play each Thursday night in June at Steel City Coffee House in Phoenixville, when the venue suddenly closed. According to an email blast from former Steel City owner Eli Wenger, the closure is merely temporary and was due to a change in ownership.
Arnold reported he is scheduled to be one of the first musical acts to take the stage when Steel City re-opens (Ross Bellenoit opens for him that night). The show is at 8 p.m. June 16 and cover is $10.
To check out his music, and stay up to date on the Steel City show, and where he appears next, visit www.benarnold.com and www.facebook.com/Ben-Arnold, and on Twitter @BenArnoldBand.