The free Idyllwild Summer Concert Series (ISCS) continues this Thursday, Aug. 4 at the Butterfield Amphitheater, when Darryl Reed’s SouthBound and Company presents the Southern rock extravaganza, Skynyrd and Frynds. There will be no opening act as this is a large group, and the music starts at 7 p.m.
The four core members, Darryl Reed on lead vocals, Michael Finn on lead and slide guitar and backup vocals, Kevin Haerr on bass guitar and Mike Hunter on drums and percussion, are supplemented by another quartet to give Skynyrd and Frynds a really big rock band sound. These musicians are Stevie Gauronski “Stevie G” on guitar, Patrick Vargas on keyboards and vocals, and Cyndi Lopez and Wendy Dingle on backup vocals. SouthBound and Company bills itself as a “premiere classic rock band.” In addition to Skynyrd and Frynds, it also fields other acts: The Buddy Holly Review and Born on the Bayou” a Credence Clearwater Revival (CCR) tribute.
Reed plays the role of lead vocalist Ronnie Van Zandt, and Hunter and Haerr have each done the deep dive into the respective styles of Skynyrd’s Artimus Pyle and Leon Wilkeson. Skynyrd and Frynds showcases that distinctively Southern dual guitar sound, with Finn and Stevie G resurrecting those great harmony leads by Gary Rossington and Allen Collins.
Reed added: “Were gonna bring those eight, plus two horn players on the first three songs, a sax and a trumpet, good friends of ours, Julie and Tom. They only play with us on the bigger events.”
The band’s website said, “The founders of SouthBound have been playing music since early childhood, Hunter practically cut his teeth on drumsticks, Finn was plucking anything that made a sound before he could walk, Haerr was man-handling anything that made noise while learning to say mama, and Mr. Reed was just born with the music in him … Band members have opened up for: Great White, Quiet Riot, Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels, Missing Persons, Ratt and Asleep At The Wheel to name a few. They play throughout California, Arizona and Nevada.
Reed said, “We perform nationally and internationally, from Cancun at the Hard Rock Cafe to Disney Epcot Center in Florida. We were also on the World’s Greatest Tribute Bands on AXS TV. We were honored to be among the elite acts included in the series.”
The band is particularly proud of a review it received from original Skynyrd member Ed King, co-writer of “Sweet Home Alabama.” King wrote, “I listened to parts of Alabama, 3 Steps, Sat[urday] Night Spec[ial], What’s Your Name … you guys are excellent. Your vocalist surely wasn’t born and raised in Riverside, CA.! Very good style, he has. All the instrumentation is solid. Great job!”
Reed has brought his team up the Hill before; “We did it once with our CCR, our Buddy Holly, and our Classic Rock show, I believe. This will be our first time with Skynyrd. All credit to Ken [Dahleen]. I hope he enjoys the horns; maybe he can join in!”
Next week, Aug.11, Idyllwild will be “cooled” by the Blue Breeze Motown Band, playing the best of R&B, soul, funk, jazz and blues. Members of the group have played alongside Teena Marie, Evelyn Champagne King, the Brothers Johnson, L.T.D., The Temptations, Lakeside, and Edgar Winter, to name just a few. The opening act will be Idyllwild originals Terry Jo Stratton and Lenny Hansell (rhymes with “cancel.”)
Hansell said, “We do lots of songs we wrote and some we wish we had written.” Some of this material will be drawn from Stratton’s 2020 debut CD “Bittersweet” which Hansell played on. Stratton said, “We are looking forward to performing again this year … with some new music that we hope will add to the memories of summer concerts in Idyllwild.”
ISCS Vice President Pete Holzman said, “The one and only reason we are able to put this kind of event on is … the generosity and hard work of Ken Dahleen. Sound equipment, lighting and producing is all donated by him. He does not make a penny.
“This would normally be a $50,000 line item otherwise (at least) and it’s doubtful the town could afford it. It has been his vision from the start and has grown to be an event that is looked forward to every year. The town owes him a great debt.”
This year’s series budget is over $34,000. The concerts are free to all, but those who can spare something are invited to contribute, either at the concert when the “hat” is passed, or by sending a check, payable to “Idyllwild Summer Concert Org,” to P.O. Box 1542, Idyllwild, CA 92549-1542, or call (760) 413-4638.
This year’s major contributors include: L Mountain High Escrow, Bob and Gisela Stearns, Roland Gaebert, Phil Strong and Linda McCaughlin, Doug and Pat Austin, Stephanie Yost and Steve Olson, Donna McLain, Compass Realty, residents of Idyllwild Trailer Park, Manny and Linda Rider, Kathy and Will Kleindienst, Donna McLain, Nona Solowitz and Mike Cheley, Tim McTavish, Desert Sotheby’s Realty, Idyllwild Town Crier, Idyllwild Pizza Company and Idyllwild Rotary.
Remember that temperatures drop in the summer evening. Come prepared with an extra layer at the Butterfield Amphitheater, 54201 Ridgeview Drive, with access through the Idyllwild Community Center Playground parking lot on Highway 243 just south of town.