Clarence Spady has some tunes to warm your soul

First Posted: 1/20/2014

At his performance at the Clarks Summit Festival of Ice on Friday, Feb. 14, rhythm and lead guitarist of the Clarence Spady Band, Clarence Spady, said he and his band will try to accommodate everyone’s taste in music when they take the stage at the Clarks Summit Borough Building from 6 to 9 p.m.

“And I’m sure we can accommodate the Rock ‘n’ Roll theme,” noted Spady, of Scranton.

Classic rock, blues, bluegrass, and a little taste of country tunes are on the band’s playlist.

He described his band featuring Bob O’Connell on keyboards, Sharon O’Connell on drums, and Jon Ventre on bass guitar, as eclectic, with a universally diverse repertoire.

“Pretty much whatever the gig calls for,” Spady said. “Music on the whole is one of the arts that we can use all five of our senses to experience, regardless of what genre you’re playing. You feel it, you taste it, you hear it, and you see it.”

Their motive is to be sure everyone in the crowd leaves on a happy note.

If you ask Spady what genre is his favorite, he will likely say, “I’m so universal I don’t have one.”

Spady was born in Patterson, N.J. and spent most of his life in Scranton, but his music has taken him around the world to 16 countries at last count. So what are his sentiments regarding his upcoming performance at ABPA sponsored Festival of Ice?

The two-time award nominee and 2013 Blues Hall of Fame inductee said he appreciates the support this community has given him throughout the years.

“Whether the times were good or bad, the community has always been here, and has me beside myself with how supportive this community has been to me. One way I can show my thanks is to bring you good music, good entertainment and a good band,” he said.

Spady brings to Clarks Summit a music career that began in his early 20s when he went on tour with a Touch of Class.

“I started playing professionally and getting the recognition in my early 20s when I went on tour with a Touch of Class for two years,” he said. When that ended, he said he teamed with Greg Palmer for approximately six years and “had the likes” of playing with rock/pop music legends that included Stevie Wonder, The Four Tops, The Temptations, and The Spinners.

“I had the opportunity to be exposed to some brilliant musicians who took me under their wings.”

But, Spady, who learned to play-by-ear, is fluent on the guitar, bass, drums and piano and acknowledges his musical ability, is a “gift from God.”

“John Peougis, Touch of Class musical director said to me, ‘What do you want to do?’ Spady recalled. “After doing this for two years, I knew I don’t ever want to punch a clock, but fate has a way of making us change our mind, so I ended up doing that anyway. For 16 years, I was an operating engineer for local 542 – a heavy equipment operator. Yet I was still pursuing my musical career but not with the focus I have on it now.”

In 1994, his son was born and Spady decided he wanted to give music one more shot and began looking for a record deal.

“I was doing a lot of writing and I had a lot of originals written already. They just weren’t finished.”

Spady and band members signed a deal with Evidence Records in Philadelphia and released “Nature of the Beast,” a Grammy nominated CD.

In 1999, the band released an independent live CD, “Live at Grico’s River Street Jazz Café” that was sought after by a few record companies, he said.

“That really started the ball rolling,” said Spady.

“Just Between Us” followed in 2010 and had a blues/pop feel to it, he explained. The band was one of the nominees for two W.C. Handy Blues Awards, produced by Year of the Blues partner the Blues Foundation, a Memphis-based non-profit organization established to “Preserve, Celebrate and Support” the blues.

Currently, he’s shopping around for a new label and hopes to release a CD prior to the overseas’ tours to Costa Rica, Europe and Asia he has in the works for the latter part of the summer.

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