On Saturday, April 22, The Mainstay in Rock Hall is pleased to present vocalist Karen Somerville in a retrospective show she has titled “Billie Holiday, Then and Now.”
Somerville is a favorite on the Eastern Shore for her stylish vocal arrangements and her ability to interpret and convincingly deliver a wide variety of musical genres. Her name has long been associated with the shows she has produced for solo and group performances, including programs of Gospel, Blues, jazz, and folk music. She is also well-known for her arrangements and appearances with the Gospel trio Sombarkin’ involving longtime friends Lester Barrett, Jr., and Jerome McKinney.
Karen has done back-up vocal work for numerous artists, including Stevie Wonder on his “Songs in the Key of Life” 2014 tour, and she has produced 3 albums: “Everyday Is Sunday, the heritage of a cappella gospel”, “Love Cures”, and “Our Stories, Our Songs”.
Karen premiered her Billie Holiday tribute in 2014 in commemoration of Billie’s 100th Birthday Bash to sold out audiences through the Mid-Atlantic region. Her revival of the program for The Mainstay stage pays tribute to some of Billie’s greatest songs, along with poetry and anecdotes about jazz’s First Lady. She will be accompanied on stage by guitarist Guthrie Matthews, Gerry Werner, on piano, Jeff Davis on bass, and Ray Anthony on drums.
The program also acknowledges other classic vocalists who have kept Holiday’s music at the forefront, including Abbie Lincoln, Nina Simone, Norah Jones and Madeleine Peyroux.
Showtime for the Mainstay concert event is 8 pm. Tickets are $20 in advance of the show and can be purchased online at mainstayrockhall.org. Phone reservations are accepted by calling (410) 639-9133 (tickets reserved by phone are $25 when paid at the door). The Mainstay is located at 5753 N Main Street in Rock Hall, Maryland. Its regular calendar of local, regional, and nationally touring artists features a live performance every week of the year (February through December) in a variety of music genres.
The programs of the Mainstay are supported with funds from the Maryland State Arts Council and the Kent Cultural Alliance.