JOHNSTOWN — The wait is about over to welcome back to Johnstown the British rock band Foghat as it headlines this year’s Thunder in the Valley motorcycle rally.
The Greater Johnstown/Cambria County Convention & Visitors Bureau is welcoming the legendary rock group to anchor a stellar lineup of entertainment during the rally.
Jayne Korenoski, the bureau’s advertising and sales director, outlined Thunder in the Valley attractions that will provide a variety of entertainment.
“We once again will be welcoming national and regional bands to Thunder 2014,” Korenoski said. “We believe we have increased the event’s excitement level by welcoming Foghat, an amazing group that has been recording continuously for over four decades.”
Foghat will perform at 10 p.m. Friday at the Jägermeister Stage at the Train Station.
The concert is free, and VIP-preferred tickets are available in limited quantities.
“There will be a special area in front of the stage that will guarantee close proximity to the performance,” Korenoski said. “There is room for about 50 people, and we are charging $10 each to stand there.”
The VIP section will be available only for the Foghat performance.
Best known for the classic hit “Slow Ride,” Foghat has some of the best blues-boogie-rock ever recorded by one of the biggest bands of the 1970s and 1980s.
It has been 32 years since Foghat appeared at the Cambria County War Memorial Arena, in September 1981, along with another legendary band, Blue Öyster Cult.
Foghat will conduct a small-scale British invasion as thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts welcome the rockers to the rally, which will take place Thursday through June 29.
“Slow Ride” was Foghat’s biggest single, and reached No. 20 on the U.S. charts by selling more than 2 million copies.
Other hits followed, including “Drivin’ Wheel,” “I Just Want to Make Love to You,” “Stone Blue” and “Third Time Lucky (The First Time I Was a Fool).”
Korenoski said Foghat’s music has enjoyed a resurgence in recent years.
“Over the last few years, Foghat has reached a whole new generation of fans, largely as a result of their incessant touring, but also because their songs are heard on such popular home video games as ‘Guitar Hero III’ and ‘Grand Theft Auto,’ ” Korenoski said.
The band’s music also has been featured in movies such as “Dazed and Confused,” “Wild Hogs,” “Bottle Shock” and “Halloween II” along with numerous TV shows and advertisements.
Stages will be located at Peoples Natural Gas Park, the Train Station, Central Park and the Biker Mall.
The party gets started at 6 p.m. Thursday when Thunder favorite, the Billy Price Band, performs at the Jägermeister Stage at the Train Station.
Price first attracted national attention during his three-year association with guitarist Roy Buchanan.
Price is the vocalist on two of Buchanan’s LPs, “That’s What I’m Here For” and “Livestock.”
With Buchanan, Price toured the U.S. and Canada, playing Carnegie Hall in New York, the Newport Jazz Festival, the Roxy and the Troubadour in Los Angeles, and the Spectrum in Philadelphia. Price assembled Billy Price and the Keystone Rhythm Band in 1977. Before its breakup in 1990, the band recorded four critically acclaimed LPs.
Price formed The Billy Price Band in 1990. In addition to performing popular songs from Price’s years with Buchanan and the Keystone Rhythm Band, the Billy Price Band features new interpretations of blues, R&B and soul classics.
Price will be followed at 8 p.m. by The Nighthawks.
For more than three decades, The Nighthawks have been earning a reputation as one of the best and hardest-working bands around. Founded in the Washington, D.C., area in 1972, the ’Hawks were a roots band before anyone had come up with the term.
Its mix of blues, rock, rockabilly, soul and swing appeals to a diverse audience, built over years of touring the United States, Europe and Japan. In the early ’70s, when there were only a handful of blues societies and festivals, The Nighthawks set out to bring blues to a wider audience.
In Washington, D.C., it invaded Top 40 dance halls and intimate folk-rock clubs, playing high-energy, danceable versions of Elmore James and Muddy Waters that won the band legions of fans and introduced a new generation to live blues.
After establishing itself as the local openers for luminaries such as Waters, James Cotton and B.B. King, the band launched a series called “Blue Monday” at one of D.C.’s biggest dance clubs, the Bayou. The band booked and backed up the likes of Otis Rush, Fenton Robinson, J.B. Hutto, Louis Myers, Carey Bell, Jimmy Rogers with Kim Wilson and Big Walter Horton with Johnny Nicholas.
And it introduced Washingtonians to Billy Price, the Fabulous Thunderbirds, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Powerhouse and Roomful of Blues.
Caping off the evening, Billy Price and The Nighthawks will take the stage together at 10:30.
“People absolutely love it when they perform together because it’s a special sound that produces a memorable performance,” Korenoski said.
Prior to Foghat performing on Friday, rocker Jasmine Cain will take the Jägermeister stage at 7 p.m. She also will perform at 10 p.m. Saturday at the PNG stage.
Cain is a Sturgis, South Dakota, native and understands the motorcycle mystic.
“Jasmine has paved the way for many females who appear on the motorcycle circuit,” Korenoski said. “She is like a modern day Janis Joplin.”
Cain is the current Just Plain Folks (JPF) Female Artist of the Year and Nashville’s Music City Mayhem two-time Female Rock Vocalist. With three self-released albums (“The Inside,” 2004; “Locks & Keys,” 2008; and “Highway Prophet,” 2011) and a newly released music video for her title-track single, “Highway Prophet,” Cain has sold more than 20,000 albums and gained 5,000 views in the first week of her music video alone.
Cain holds eight JPF awards – the most ever to be handed out to any one artist from the JPF Association.
Her performances are stadium-quality rock shows to audiences of 1,000-5,000 on average.
Cain encompasses what a true artist is meant to be, taking the reins as the songwriter, lead vocalist and bassist for her band of rebel rockers. Her songs are emotional, raw and timeless, and her voice is a mixture of strong, aggressive and soul-filled attitude.
A full day of performances are on the card for Saturday.
American country music band The Hillbilly Way will perform at 12:30 p.m. at the Jägermeister Stage.
The band was founded in Dawson, Fayette County, in 2000. After several years of playing in local bars, the band gained a following throughout Pennsylvania and was adopted by the Pittsburgh Steelers as the team’s official band.
“Seven of the eight members of Povertyneck Hillbillies, including the lead singer, are now in this band,” Korenoski said.
Under the Povertyneck Hillbillies name, the band released three albums: “Hillbilly State of Mind,” “Don’t Look Back” and “The Hillbilly Way.”
Although the albums produced no chart hits, they sold more than 10,000 copies nationwide.
At 1 p.m. Saturday, the Jimmy Adler Band will appear at the Biker Mall.
“Guaranteed excitement for fans of straight-ahead blues guitar” is how Blues Revue describes the group.
The band knows how to excite a crowd, and Adler is a live-wire entertainer who packs passion and energy into every performance. It’s refreshing, original music is steeped in a traditional blend of Chicago Blues and West Coast jazz and jump blues.
Passionate, powerful vocals compliment the spirited playing.
The band’s songs are deeply rooted and lyrically expressive of the human condition. Critics have called Adler’s charismatic stage presence engaging and entertaining.
The Stickers will bring its country sound to the Jägermeister Stage from 6 to 8 p.m.
Hailing from western Pennsylvania, the Stickers have taken its music to the global stage, charting five songs in the U.S. and four songs in Europe, including several Top 10s overseas.
The band has supported its radio success with live performances in the U.S., including appearances with national artists Zac Brown, Alan Jackson, Little Big Town, Miranda Lambert, Blake Shelton, Trace Adkins, Justin Moore, Phil Vassar and Hank Williams Jr.
The Stickers have been invited to headline several major events, such as the 35th anniversary of Jamboree in the Hills, The Steelers’ sixth Super Bowl celebration and Pittsburgh’s 50th anniversary Light-Up Night celebration.
Rocker Norman Nardini will perform at 7 p.m. at PNG Park.
In 1975, as a bass player for rock band Diamond Reo, Nardini got his first national release and then toured extensively through 1978, performing shows with Ted Nugent, Aerosmith, Canned Heat, Kansas, Rush and Kiss.
After two more releases, “Dirty Diamonds” in 1976 and “Ruff Cuts” in 1978, Nardini left the band to form Norman Nardini and The Tigers, his first shot as lead singer, lead guitar and chief songwriter.
In 1983, he released “Norman Nardini and The Tigers,” which featured his longtime friend, Jon Bon Jovi, on background vocals.
Throughout the ’90s, Nardini continued to tour and released three CDs.
“A lot of what we do involves bringing in day riders, and Nardini has a huge following in Pittsburgh,” Korenoski said. “This band is a huge regional favorite.”
The all-girl country group Mustang Sally Band will perform at 9 p.m. at the Jägermeister Stage.
When people attend a Mustang Sally show, they are transported musically away from everyday life.
Mustang Sally has performed beside high-profile names such as Montgomery Gentry, Gretchen Wilson, Big & Rich and Blake Shelton.
The band routinely performs more than 200 concerts a year and has toured the U.S. from coast to coast, as well as Europe and Asia.
The women have also been featured in Country Weekly Magazine.
Information: visit www.visitjohnstownpa.com or call the visitors bureau at 536-7993.
Tom Lavis covers Features for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter.com/Tom
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