The Paramount in Huntington, Long Island, New York – the 11th highest attended* club venue worldwide (*Q3 ‘15 Pollstar Magazine) – has announced that local Long Island band “Shotgun Wedding” comprised of current members of Billy Joel’s band, will be the special guest opener for LeAnn Rimes – playing live in concert at The Paramount this Wednesday night at 8 PM. For her part, LeAnn Rimes is quite familiar with many of Billy Joel’s band members having opened for him at M&T Stadium (home of the Baltimore Ravens) as well as having performed Lullabye (Goodnight My Angel) at the Gershwin Awards honoring Billy Joel.
Shotgun Wedding draws from a wellspring of country, Americana, alt-country, rock n’ roll, and the boogie-and-stride piano tradition. With reverent intentions and restless creativity, the five-piece band has boldly settled its own authentic homestead. Here, virtuosic piano and guitar are foundations, swapping lead and accompaniment roles, trading fiery solo spots, and, in tandem, effortlessly nailing intricate riffs and melody lines. The rhythm section is intuitive and eclectic, limberly adjusting to the wiles of the music, as it calls for two-step raucousness, jazzy and Latin finesse, and good old-fashioned four-on-the-four rock n’ roll brawn. The group boasts four very individual and accomplished songwriters and lead vocalists, and sumptuous four-voice harmony passages.
Shotgun Wedding Founder Dennis DelGaudio held guitar duties for the entire run of the Broadway smash hit Movin’ Out, was the musical director for the London production of Movin’ Out, and he has the rare distinction of being tapped to play Billy Joel’s historic “Last Play at Shea concerts.” After those epic nights, he became a touring member of Billy Joel’s band. He’s an eclectic virtuoso on guitar, and a warmly expressive vocalist with a hint of twang. Masterful pianist/vocalist Wade Preston has a storied history emerging from a boogie stylist to something of a Broadway star as the piano man in Movin’ Out. Billy Joel was so impressed with Wade’s performances that he asked him stand in for Joel during the months of rehearsals needed for the “Last Play at Shea” concerts. For over a decade, steady rolling bassist Andy Cichon has been in Billy Joel’s band and drummer Chuck Burgi brings a deep pocket and Swiss Army Knife-like versatility to the quintet, in addition to being Billy Joel’s current drummer.
It was something as simple as recording with a live band that first sparked the idea of Shotgun Wedding. Dennis grew up in Long Island, enjoying the country music his mother played, and even sought it out on his own listening to the popular 70’s country station, WHN 1050 AM. In modern times, session musicians rarely get a chance to play organically with a full band. Budget constraints & technology have transformed music making into something of a synthetic venture. A chance live session reawakened the early joys of playing music for Dennis, and in a jolt of inspiration he thought of forming a country band with his buddy and favorite keyboardist Wade. Dennis and Wade got together and recorded some elemental tracks in an apartment on an iPhone, showcasing the duo’s songwriting skills and harmony gifts. On the promise of those recorded they netted Chuck and Andy as full-on dedicated bandmates. The band is slick, chops heavy, refreshingly eclectic, and yet it retains hallmarks of classic country such as everyman, everywoman narratives, fiery twang, artful songcraft & breathtaking harmonies.