The next episode of 'Rolling Hills Radio" will feature the return of several veteran performers that host Ken Hardley said he can't wait to see.
"Rolling Hills Radio" episode No. 20, featuring John Latini and the Modified Nouns, is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 31, at The Labyrinth Press Co. in Jamestown.
According to Hardley, the January show will be a fun one to host because he has a long history with Latini, who has appeared on the show every year since it began.
Three-time “Rolling Hills Radio” veteran John Latini will return to the Labyrinth Press Co. stage for a performance on Thursday, Jan. 31, at 7 p.m.
"We try to rotate people, but so many wanted John back, which is great because he is getting more popular in this area," said Hardley.
Latini is originally from Long Island. Then he relocated to upstate New York for a while, which is where Hardley met him 30 years ago.
"He and I actually went to school together at Geneseo, and we played in a band together way back then," said Hardley. "Then he moved to Ypsilanti, Mich., where he has been ever since. Up until the 'Rolling Hills Radio' show, Illinois was about as far east as he toured."
Hardley and Latini's history goes as far back as to when Hardley first received his stage name Hardley's real name is Steve Raynor. People would go over to Hardley's house on Tuesday nights to jam in the living room, and several players found that they had chemistry so they formed a band.
"At our first job we were standing backstage and they asked us the name of the band, but we hadn't come up with one yet," said Hardley. "We were a bluegrass band so someone in the band said, 'Let's call ourselves the Can't Hardley Play Boys.' But, then Latini said, 'Let's make it a man's name and call it the Ken Hardley Playboys.' Then he pointed to me and said I'd be Ken."
Latini's "Rolling Hills Radio" performance will include tunes from his newly released album entitled "Liars, Lovers And Losers."
"John is going to be bringing songs from that album here for the first time," said Hardley. "I heard some cuts off it. It's his best release yet and I say that with great confidence. He is on top of his songwriting game right now - the musicians that he put together and the arrangements are just outstanding. It almost sounds like a combination of Taj Mahal and Donald Fagen along with the bluesy good sense of humor that he's got going on."
In addition to the "Rolling Hills Radio" show, Latini will play some old standards at a couple of nursing homes as well as Steener's Irish Pub in Bemus Point on Saturday, Feb. 2, at 9 p.m. with Hardley.
Also performing during the recording of episode 20 are the Modified Nouns. The band consists of: Reese Campbell, vocalist and former member of The New Dylans; Dan Warmbrodt, bassist; and John McGuire, drummer. The band has appeared on the show once before, but this will be the third time Campbell has performed.
According to Hardley, the Modified Nouns are a good, tight, artistic unit that is led by songwriter Campbell.
"Reese is a craftsman, and an excellent songwriter," said Hardley. "He and Jim Reilley were the main songwriters in the New Dylans, and Reese was the singer. Reilley is now a famous songwriter in Nashville and is a real great talent from this area. But, not withstanding Reese is also a great talent. His lyrics are satirical, insightful, are dense and meaningful."
Campbell has now teamed up with Warmbrodt and McGuire, who were the former rhythm section for Big Leg Emma.
"Dan is also a songwriter, and I'm hoping that we can convince him to play a song of his on the show," said Hardley.
Tickets to the Jan. 31 show are available for $5 at the Reg Lenna Civic Center ticket office, online at reglenna.com or at the door while they last. A meet and greet will be held at Forte on Third Street following the performance. For more information, search for "Rolling Hills Radio" on Facebook, or visit wrfalp.wordpress.com/rolling-hills-radio to purchase tickets, stream WRFA's broadcast debut of each show or listen to previous performances. The show will debut on WRFA on Thursday, Feb. 7, at 7 p.m.
The season finale of "Rolling Hills Radio," featuring10,000 Maniacs, is scheduled for Sunday, July 28, at the Chautauqua Institution Amphitheater. The show will be longer than the normal episodes and will involve more variety by including another performance by Latini, Cammy Enaharo, comedy and interviewing. In the meantime fans can check out episode No. 21, featuring John Merino and Maria Gillard on Thursday, Feb. 28.