Northern Lights CD release party set for March 17
HUNTINGTON -- The Irish eyes are a smiling and the Northern Lights are a shining.
When the Huntington-based hip hop unit Northern Lights was getting ready to drop its latest CD, "The Green Team," it took a look at the calendar, and yeah, it had to pull the trigger.
"The Green Team"CD release party is set for St. Patrick's Day, Wednesday, March 17, at the 20th Street Bar and Grill.
Doors open at 8 p.m., and show time is 10 p.m. for the Lights' fourth CD.
Featuring three rappers from West Virginia and two from New York, Northern Lights cut its CD downtown at The Music Plex with acclaimed producer/writer/engineer, Keith "Plex" Barnhart, who's worked with Quincy Jones, Janet Jackson, Chaka Khan, Paul Simon, Sting, Bette Midler and others.
Nick "Thick Nick" Wilds, who founded the group with Matt "2ynce" Moore, and Roddy "Black" Pursoo said the group, which has opened for a number of big acts like Bone Thugs N Harmony, spent the better part of a year getting this CD just right.
This is the first CD that will showcase the band's newest members, Duke Geary, who goes by Cartel on the mic and is one of Pursoo's buddies from New York, as well as local rapper, John Martin III, who is known as Trip.
"Both are solo artists on the side," Wilds said. "They bring front man ability and Cartel could go tomorrow. He does about half the hooks and not rapping but writing with a real good feel for what people want to hear, and without even music playing he's got people's heads bobbing. His flow is top notch."
Wilds said it's cool having that blend of Mountain State and New York rappers.
"It's like this melting pot of hip hop," Wilds said. "Most of the time with hip hop you've got three or four guys who grew up on the same street. We have five guys that grew up in totally different worlds."
"The Green Team," is definitely stamped with some local flavor as Soundvizion/ New South artist 6'6 240, from Morgantown, appears on the first single, "V.I.P."
6'6, who records for Bubba Sparxxx's label, is perhaps best known for his West Virginia University-pumping songs such as "The Gold and Blue," and most recently, "Welcome to Huggstown."
Other guest artists on the CD include Morgantown's Marcus D'Tray who has since relocated to Charlotte, N.C. He produced the track, "Randy Moss," a tribute to the Belle, W.Va. native and NFL star who's supported Northern Lights with a clothing endorsement from his clothing line.
Huntington is well represented on the album with artists like DoCeasar and Buzzy Shine on "They Hate Me" with Bud Carroll, while K-Kutta collaborates on "Somebody's Watchin' Me" along with Huntington's most popular DJ, DJ Illspin.
Wilds said from nods to Moss to having the project bring in everyone from 6'6" to Bud Carroll, was a way to pay homage to the thick music scene and vibe here in the Mountain State.
"It's weird to be here because there is this big movement of musicians in the area. It stretches from 6'6" and that R&B scene, and the fact that Bud is still here in Huntington is ridiculous, and then people like Angie Fletcher who can sing with anybody or people like Fletcher's Grove, that are really good and only getting better," Wilds said.
Wilds, who went to high school with Carroll, said that was one of the biggest honors of the CD was to get him to come and record with them.
"We had Bud in there and to see him and Plex working all the instruments together and all the recording equipment, it was like having a couple 'Rain Men' in there," Wilds said laughing. "I had no idea what language they were speaking."
While the CD is for sale locally at Now Hear This, Happy Camper, Scent From Heaven, Epicenter Tattoos, Borders and Petey's, the band has lined up some higher ground to take the music.
The group has signed on for shows in Washington D.C., Queens, N.Y. and Atlanta, Ga., as well as shows in Toronto and Montreal Canada and Corby, England.
The summertime will be busy for Northern Lights as they will travel to D.C. on July 4, for The Hemp Can Save The World March in Washington D.C., and then head to Toronto July 16-18, for the 2010 Medical Marijuana & Hemp Expo, followed by an August trip to the United Kingdom.
Wilds said that a lot of hard work over the past year is paying off for the group that looks up to artists like 6'6."
"He's the most established artist in the state and he brings so much presence to the stage and to a song," Wilds said. "He has got it going on. He just released a new CD and has been coming back some locally doing the Dub-Vee Clap and the West Virginia anthem and 'Welcome to Huggstown.' Everybody at WVU knows 6'6" so he has a blueprint that we are trying to follow."
Here's a look at few more Saint Patrick's Day parties.
Two-Man Gentlemen Band: The raucous, New York City-based, jazzy string band, plays at Shamrock's Pub, 2050 3rd Ave. Doors open at 8 p.m., and the show starts about 10. Go online at www.myspace.com/twomangentlemenband.
Bagpipes: Mac-Reedo's, 745 7th Ave., Huntington, has Irish breakfast, lunch and dinner, and a slew of $50 contests including Hottest Legs in a Kilt, Sexiest Irish Stems, Best Irish Jig, Best Green Outfit and Best Irish Garb. There's also live bagpipe music Wednesday night. Call 304-523-4266.
Rumpke Mountain Boys:The infamous Cincinnati-based trashgrassers, play Huntington's V Club for St. Paddy's Day festivities on Wednesday. Doors open at 8 p.m., and the boys play 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. Go online at www.myspace.com/rumpkemountainboys to hear the band that's playing everywhere from the Cincinnati Zoo to Hookah in the Hills and Terrapin Hill this summer.
More Bagpipes: Jessie Dean, a 1996 Huntington East High graduate, and current member of the Nashville Pipes and Drums will be a special guest at the St. Paddy's Day II Party at The Varsity, 1505 4th Ave. Showtime is about 10 p.m. Friday, March 19. Call 304-781-2105.
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