Sing along to Amer­ica at Ch­e­sa­peake Col­lege

Record Observer - - ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT -

— The Gram­my­win­ning band Amer­ica, whose best-known tunes were cor­ner­stones of 1970s Top 40 and FM rock ra­dio, will bring its dis­tinct har­monies and clas­sic tunes to the Avalon at Ch­e­sa­peake Col­lege at 7 p.m. Sun­day, Dec. 9.

Gerry Beck­ley and Dewey Bun­nell (along with for­mer band­mate Dan Peek) met in Lon­don in the late ‘60s and quickly har­mo­nized their way to the top of the charts on the strength of their sig­na­ture song and first No. 1 sin­gle, “A Horse with No Name,” in 1972.

The band went on to re­lease a num­ber of chart-top­ping hits that helped de­fine the era’s soft rock sound, such as “Sis­ter Golden Hair,” “Ven­tura High­way,” “I Need You,” “Tin Man” and “Lonely Peo­ple.” Amer­ica proved its stay­ing power in the ‘80s with the hit ”You Can Do Magic.”

“Ev­ery song they play is a mas­sive hit that spurs sin­ga­longs for a multi­gen­er­a­tional au­di­ence,” said Suzy Moore, tal­ent buyer and artis­tic di­rec­tor at the Avalon. “It is a night of pure joy.”

Work­ing with pro­duc­ers like Ge­orge Martin, Amer­ica’s gold and/or plat­inum al­bums en­com­passed every­thing from ef­fects-laden rock­ers to odd­ball med­leys to soul-bear­ing bal­lads. The band’s mu­si­cal ap­peal was rooted in Beck­ley’s melodic pop-rock and Bun­nell’s use of folk-jazz-lean­ing rhythms, which con­trasted with Peek’s more tra­di­tional coun­try-rock lean­ings and per­sonal lyrics.

With Peek’s de­par­ture from the band in 1977 (and pass­ing in 2011), shifts in sound and di­rec­tion, changes in pro­duc­ers and man­agers, and a re­newed ded­i­ca­tion to the craft of song­writ­ing helped rocket the re­newed Amer­ica to the up­per reaches of the pop charts in 1982 with the smash sin­gle “You Can Do Magic.”

The band mem­bers’ growth as singers, song­writ­ers and mu­si­cians has con­tin­ued into the present day as il­lus­trated by re­leases such as 2000’s “High­way” three-disc box set; 2002’s “Hol­i­day Har­mony,” an al­bum com­pris­ing sea­sonal clas­sics and live show­cases; 2007’s “Here & Now;” and

2015’s “Lost and Found” and “Amer­ica: Ar­chives Vol. 1.”

Amer­ica, which has been in­ducted into the Vo­cal Group Hall of Fame and re­ceived a star on the Hol­ly­wood Walk of Fame, con­tin­ues to build a fan base that reaches around the world.

“I think that the in­gre­di­ents of the Amer­ica sound are the ba­sic fun­da­men­tals that trans­late in­ter­na­tion­ally,” Beck­ley said. “A lot of times in Europe and Asia, we see peo­ple singing along, and they don’t re­ally know what the words mean. Mu­sic is truly the in­ter­na­tional lan­guage.”

Tick­ets for range from $60 to $80, and are avail­able at the Avalon box of­fice (410822-7299) or on­line at www. aval­onthe­atre.com.

Amer­ica will per­form Sun­day, Dec. 9, at Ch­e­sa­peake Col­lege.

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