Author: Stephen Centanni

Luis Benetti, conguero on a mission

Band: USA Steel Band and World Music Ensemble Spring Concert featuring Luis Benetti Date: Friday, April 28, 7:30 p.m. Venue: Laidlaw Performing Arts Center, 5751 USA South Drive, Tickets: $8 general/$5 USA students and staff; available at the door Since ancient times, a number of musical storytellers have traversed the globe and used their mix of music and story to entertain others. These musical folklorists act as artistic ambassadors of their native cultures. Puerto Rican percussionist Luis Benetti travels the world, keeping this ancient tradition alive while educating others on the inseparable nature of Afro-Caribbean sounds and stories....

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‘Too High’

Band: Paw Paw’s Medicine Cabinet Date: Saturday, April 29, 6 p.m. Venue: Dority’s Bar & Grill, 1010 Bienville Blvd., Dauphin Island, 251-581-4634 Tickets: Free For two years, Paw Paw’s Medicine Cabinet has been gathering dedicated listeners who have fallen in love with this local band’s earthy, Southern-fried mix of jam and pop. Last Sunday, the group gathered a number of followers at an undisclosed location on Highway 181 for the creation of a new music video for its song “Old House,” one of several harbingers for two new albums from this local favorite. Paw Paw’s Medicine Cabinet has been spending much of its free time on Dog River at Rick Hirsch’s Studio H20, where they have been working together on two upcoming releases, “The Great Room” and “Somebody Else’s Dream.” The band recently released the single “Too High” on social media, a bouncing anthem that reflects the group’s sound and attitude. Lyrical flow rolls across lighthearted strums, taut rhythms and complementary keyboard work. While laptop speakers are satisfactory, these new songs are best experienced in full stereo, a testament to the warm richness conjured in Hirsch’s riverside...

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Pony up

Band: Gov’t Mule, Eric Krasno Band Date: Thursday, April 27, with doors at 7 p.m. Venue: Saenger Theatre, 6 S. Joachim St., Tickets: $29.50-$46.50, available through Ticketmaster Gov’t Mule has no shortage of fans in the Azalea City. Over the years, this group led by guitar maestro Warren Haynes has brought its blues-infused Southern jam rock to Mobile on a regular basis. This visit from Haynes and his crew will feature crowd favorites as well as cuts from their upcoming album “Revolution Come … Revolution Go.” Gov’t Mule has previewed the new release with two singles. “Sarah Surrender”...

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What it is

Band: Ben Harper & the Innocent Criminals, Little Mae Date: Saturday, April 29, with doors at 7 p.m. Venue: Soul Kitchen, 219 Dauphin St., Tickets: $47.50 advance /$53 day of show, available at venue, its website, Mellow Mushroom (West and Midtown) or by calling 1-866-77-8932 Soul Kitchen has grown into a venue where music fans can experience arena/festival-level bands in a relatively small environment. Last week, Soul Kitchen debuted Spoon on its stage, and now this local music hall is preparing for Ben Harper & the Innocent Criminals’ Azalea City debut. Harper will be performing cuts from his...

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Spoon serving up a dish of ‘Hot Thoughts’

Spoon, Tennis Thursday, April 27, with doors at 7 p.m. Soul Kitchen, 219 Dauphin St., Tickets: $30 advance/$33 day of show/$50 riser seat; available at Soul Kitchen, its website, Mellow Mushroom (West and Midtown) or by calling 1-866-777-8932 Each year, South by Southwest (SXSW) attracts throngs of musical acts and industry figures to Austin, the music mecca in the Lone Star State. In addition to scores of out-of-towners, a legion of Austin-based bands with dreams of fortune and glory participate in the numerous showcases held around town. Once upon a time, Spoon was one. After a decade of...

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About The Author

Stephen Centanni

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With the exception of two years spent at Auburn University, Steve Centanni has spent his life in Mobile County while focusing on his two passions: music and the written word. As soon as he was issued his driver’s license, Centanni began to explore the local music scene in the early ‘90s. He filled his weekend with visits classic local venues such as the Four Strong Winds Coffee House, Vincent Van Go-Go’s and Culture Shock, all of which welcomed those who had yet to reach 18. After high school, Centanni traded Mobile for Auburn to complete his B.A. in English with an emphasis on general writing. While at Auburn, he had the honor of studying under the Pulitzer-winning poet Natasha Trethewey, who served as the nation’s Poet Laureate in 2012 and 2014. After receiving his diploma, Centanni quickly moved back to Mobile and completed the University of South Alabama’s graduate program with a M.Ed. Eventually, he was tapped by the nationally distributed Volume Entertainment Magazine to serve as the magazine’s managing editor/senior writer. His time with Volume allowed him to exercise his love for both music and writing. As Volume began to fade, Lagniappe recruited Centanni as their Music Writer and later their Music Editor, where he has remained for a little over a decade. As far as his involvement in the local music scene, Centanni organized Cess Fest at the Langan Park, which was a mini-festival focused on original local music in a time when original local music was veritably taboo in Downtown Mobile. For a short time, he brought original music to Downtown Mobile as the in-house promoter for the now deceased venue Cell Block. He managed local underground powerhouse Fry Cook, until the members parted ways. Centanni has lent his bass to bands such as Keychain Pistol and The F’n A-Holes, and he toured nationally as a member of Abstract Artimus & the Torture Children. Currently, he provides vocals for the garage blues rock outfit Johnny No. Ultimately, Centanni’s experience in the local music scene as both a participant and an observer has allowed him to witness the ever-changing persona of Mobile’s enigmatic music scene, which continues to leave him with more questions than answers.

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