Wilkes-Barre soul-rockers Half Dollar to play Stroudsburg’s Sherman Theater
When Wilkes-Barre rock quartet Half Dollar performs live, local music fans get their money’s worth.
Show-goers in Stroudsburg will have that opportunity when Half Dollar opens for the nationally-recognized Sublime tribute act Badfish on April 21 at the Sherman Theater. Bethlehem jamgrass outfit The Stray Seeds will also share the bill.
Formed nearly three years ago, the quartet of Jordan Ramirez, Brendan Brisk, Alex Grilli and Eric Drevitch began generating buzz in the Wilkes-Barre region when they moved away from covering songs in favor of playing their own music.
“When we started playing at the (River Street) Jazz Cafe, people started really getting into our original sound,” lead guitarist Brisk said. “There, our original music was welcome, and we would open up for another band and catch the crowd off guard.”
Surprising the crowd in a positive way is something Half Dollar is hoping to do April 21, Brisk said.
The four-piece feels fans of Badfish will identify with the music of Half Dollar, he noted.
“If I was to describe our sound, I like to think of it as soul-rock,” Brisk said. “We have rock ‘n’ roll elements to our music, but, at the same time, we try to keep it soulful and funky.”
Half Dollar’s first original album, which was self-titled, debuted in December.
Drummer Drevitch said the musical range on the record is the result of band members’ various influences coming together.
“Influence-wise, Jordan comes from a laid back, solo-acoustic type of music; Brisk comes from the vein of funk, blues and jazz; and Alex and I come from the same classic rock and ’90s alternative background,” Drevitch said.
In “Creme,” Drevitch said, Brisk’s creative style can be heard, while “Build” and “Dirty Blonde” showcase Ramirez’s artistic tones.
“‘Red Hand’ is definitely the hardest song on the album, and Alex and I wrote that,” Drevitch said.
Drevitch said the writing process for the album entailed one member bringing a chord progression to the group and the other musicians catering to the structure with their own preferences and abilities.
“I think the greatest thing about Half Dollar is that each of us are completely different musicians, but we work together instead of clashing,” Brisk said. “Usually, if you get four musicians together and put them in a blender, they argue over direction, but with us it’s effortless.”
Drevitch said the band also has chemistry in the live setting.
“With the CD, we wanted something to put in people’s hands, and the feedback has been awesome,” Drevitch said. “But it’s Half Dollar’s live performances that are the engine driving everything.”
With a fan base established and expanding in their home region, Brisk said the band is grateful to reach a notable stage out of town.
“I would say this is a big show for us considering the Sherman has had a lot of great artists play there before,” Brisk said. “We rarely get to venture out of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton area.”
Drevitch said Half Dollar will perform songs that will be softer than those in Sublime’s catalogue and some that will be harder, and that one, “Pusher” is in the vein of Sublime “with a Half Dollar spin on it.”
“We’d love to see some familiar faces in the crowd, but our goal is to leave there with new fans,” Drevitch said. “It seems like a perfect match-up.”
Reach Matt Mattei at 570-991-6651 or on Twitter @TimesLeaderMatt.
IF YOU GO
What: Badfish with opening acts Half Dollar and The Stray Seeds
Where: Sherman Theater, 524 Main St., Stroudsburg
When: 8 p.m. April 21
Ticket information: Tickets cost $15 in advance and $20 the day of the show and are available at the Sherman Theater box office, by phone at 570-420-2808 and online at ticketmaster.com. Members of Half Dollar were given a limited number of $15 tickets to sell in the Wilkes-Barre area. To inquire about availability, message the band on its Facebook page, bit.ly/2nXioOG.