KBBI’s Concert on the Lawn finds its way home

Homer’s former longtime local musical event of the summer returns to its previous location

A staple of the local music scene since the early 1980s, with a few years break between then and now, KBBI’s Concert on the Lawn returns June 24 to its former longtime location, Karen Hornaday Park, and will celebrate summer and Homer’s public radio station.

After a six-year hiatus from 2015 to 2020, and then two years shifting to live broadcast “Concert on Your Lawn” due to COVID, the concert was resurrected last year at the Down East Saloon with more than 500 individuals attending.

“We filled the place and that was a good way to reintroduce the concert,” Josh Krohn, KBBI station manager, said.

Taking to the stage this year are eight musical performances with 40-minute sets.

Homer’s KP Brass Band has been playing together for four years and was the opening act at last year’s concert. Their New Orleans-style second-line brass band includes musicians Cal Loomer, Emily Thiem, Eric and Mary Simondsen, John Sharp, John Mink, Nelton Palma, Pat Miller, Scott Barlett and Sterling Strickler playing trumpet, trombones, snare drum, bass drum, tuba and alto, tenor and baritone saxophones.

“Our music is New Orleans standard covers and pop covers, from Bon Jovi to Amy Winehouse and the Eurhythmics, and our music is all about us having fun and bringing something new to Homer,” Palma said.

Silas Jones is a 17-year-old emerging Homer singer-songwriter who released his first two originals this year. While he began taking guitar and fiddle lessons when he was 10, he has been learning through YouTube ever since and writing and composing his own music, as well as performing covers.

“My style is diverse and I try to show everything the guitar is capable of, from fast bluegrass to slow finger style arrangements,” he said. “It’s a blessing to be asked to play in my hometown and show off my skills.”

Cosmic Creature Club includes four individual musicians who have been performing locally for the last 40 years at different venues and with different bands. David Webster plays sax, Jennifer King plays bass, Jim Buncak plays drums and John Bushell, known as Johnny B., plays piano. They will be performing a wide variety of music, from Felonious Munk to Carlos Santana.

“We have and are so much fun, with no aspirations for greatness, other than just to play and play well,” Bushell shared. “Concert on the Lawn is important to Homer because it has always signified our healthy and loving community.”

Homer duo Michelle Morton and Joshua Thomas are Luna & Ursus and have been performing their original songs together for two and a half years. Morton plays the Celtic harp and Thomas plays the guitar and writes most of the lyrics. While they have played at venues around town, this will be their first time at Concert on the Lawn.

“Our music includes powerful vocal harmonies and dares people to feel,” Morton said.

Jon Crocker is an Anchor Point singer-songwriter who has performed at the concert throughout the years. Playing guitar, mandolin and piano — when one is available — he will perform mostly original songs he’s written since his musical journey began in 2000.

“You can expect to hear songs you always wish somebody had written and never did, until now,” Crocker said.

Raised by Humans is a hard rock band with elements of reggae, with Kevin Duff on bass and singing, Justin Cox playing guitar, and Steven Rich playing the drums.

Together for nine years, their first public performance was at Concert on the Lawn in 2014.

“Our sound is tight and we have great musicianship,” Duff said. “There are a lot of great bands in Homer and we think we’re one of them.”

Russell Halverson and his girlfriend Mash Tretiakova are Transient Identity, a local duo who will be performing their original songs, with Tretiakova on piano and keyboards and Halverson on mandolin and guitar. The couple met in Maui and have been playing together for three years.

“We play original psychedelic folk rock with a soundscape feel to it and are a traveling duo trying to make a large sound with just two people,” Halverson said.

Uplift is a local reggae band made up of John Sheipe, lead singer and percussionist, Brandon Head, rhythm and lead guitar, Jim Maloney on drums, Dillon Sundmark on bass, Cal Loomer on saxophone, and Jason Cameron on keyboards and trumpet. While members have rotated in and out of the group, most have been playing together for the past 16 years, have performed at Concert on the Lawn numerous times, and will this year be performing original music as well as covers.

“We play from the heart, sharing the message of love and we want out music to uplift others in a joyful, happy way,” Sheipe shared. “To engage the community and have people dance while we do what we love is an incredible experience and we are thankful to KBBI to be a part of such a great event.”

Jim Maloney and John Cottingham are each Homer signer/songwriters in their own right, playing venues, events, and festivals around town for years on their own and have been performing together for the last eight months. Maloney plays 15 different instruments and Cottingham plays banjo, but primarily guitar, his music influenced by his English heritage. At COTL, they will be performing what they call folksy, punky bluegrass.

“John and I are such different musicians and together we have a very unique, eclectic sound with our opposite styles complimenting one another,” Maloney said.

During the concert, they will introduce a few unusual instruments and several guest musicians will join them.

“We love and support KBBI and we love that they appreciate us as musicians,” Cottingham shared.

Boom Boom Summer are Homerites Brad Somers on acoustic and electric guitar, Sue Butler on vocals, Jason Cameron on trumpet and percussion and Lhasa Holmes on harmonica. Somers and Butler have been performing together for six years, playing everything from Pink Martini jazz and blues to Celtic music around Alaska as well as Hawaii. During this year’s event, the group will be performing original cover tunes.

“I love that this concert is our local, hometown bands and local people,” Butler said.

With food trucks and nonprofit and arts and crafts vendors on hand, Concert on the Lawn will broadcast live during what Krohn considers to be a transitional year.

“We’re not set permanently on the location of the concert going forward,” he said. “I have this pie-in-the-sky vision of the concert going back to old, original FAA site on Main Street. We’ll see how this year goes.”

Working hard to bring the concert back, he hopes everyone will stop by and enjoy the live music right alongside him.

“It is embedded in people as part of the local cultural identity and was for so many years the centerpiece for summer events,” he said.

Tune in to KBBI’s Coffee Table on Wednesday, June 21 at 9 a.m. when several musicians perform live in the studio.

KBBI is in need of volunteers and there is still room available for more vendors. Find the volunteer and vendors forms online at kbbi.org or contact Josh, 907-235-7721, josh@kbbi.org.

Concert on the Lawn is Saturday, June 24, noon to 7 p.m. Tickets are available at kbbi.org and on-site, $25 per person with a VIP ticket option for $65 that includes a ticket, T-shirt and a donation to the station.

The story “KBBI’s Concert on the Lawn finds its way home” published Thursday, June 15, contained an inaccuracy. John Cottingham’s music is influenced by his English, not Irish, heritage and he plays banjo and guitar, not bass and drums.

A food vendor serves customers during the 2022 Concert on the Lawn held at the Down East Saloon. (Photo provided by Josh Krohn, KBBI)

A food vendor serves customers during the 2022 Concert on the Lawn held at the Down East Saloon. (Photo provided by Josh Krohn, KBBI)

Music lovers dance to Nervis Rex at the KBBI Concert on the Lawn on July 28, 2012, at Karen Hornaday Park. (Michael Armstrong Homer News)

Music lovers dance to Nervis Rex at the KBBI Concert on the Lawn on July 28, 2012, at Karen Hornaday Park. (Michael Armstrong Homer News)