By Wayne Laepple
For The Daily Item
NORTHUMBERLAND — For local bands Pages of Paul and the Frank Wicher Band, June 22 may be the fulfillment of a long-time dream. On that date, they will share a stage before a live audience in Nashville.
The two bands will appear at Antique Archeology, from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. “For two hours, we own the stage,” said Mark Tomeo of Danville, who plays guitar and dobro with Pages of Paul.
This is a great opportunity for both bands, said Paul Curcurruto, of Winfield. He’s the Paul of Pages of Paul, the leader and songwriter of that band. “We’re going to have lots of fun,” he said, laughing at the thought.
The whole trip came about through a lot of good luck and not a little perseverance. Frank Wicher, of Northumberland, a long-time outlaw country song writer and performer, is a great fan of the TV show “American Pickers.” The venue in Nashville is one of two Antique Archeology sites run by the show’s star, Mike Wolfe.
Wicher had sent his demo CD to the venue but never got a response. He and Curcurruto commiserated, and Curcurruto sympathized.
Last fall, when Pages of Paul released its first album, “This Time,” it received a four-star review by Stacy Harris, a blogger who reports on the Nashville music scene. While in Nashville, the band hopes to meet Harris. “She’s fearless,” reported Tomeo. “She gets in hot water with the music executives there all the time for her reporting.”
About six weeks ago, Cucurruto, a manufacturer’s representative, was on his way to Nashville on business when Wicher called him and they discussed strategy. Curcurruto decided to stop by the venue while in Music City, and he managed to get the number of Doc Bennett, who books acts for Antique Archeology’s stage.
When he called Bennett, it didn’t seem promising. “I told him I had e-mailed him,” Curcurruto recalled. “He said he receives 100-200 e-mails every day.” Bennett asked where he could hear some tunes by Pages of Paul, and Curcurruto referred him to the Pages of Paul Facebook page. “He called back in five minutes and wanted to know when he could book us,” Curcurruto chortled.
Curcurruto’s band asked Wicher to join them. So Wicher, his wife Bonnie, and Chris Trassati, whose dynamic harmonica and raspy voice are a big part of the trademark honky-tonk country sound of the Frank Wicher Band, will join Curcurruto’s merry band. Since Wichers’ bass player and drummer cannot make the trip, Pages of Paul bass player Rick Buck and drummer Scott Ebright will sit in with Wicher.
Both bands focus on original music, though they can adequately cover hits by others. Wicher is noted for his spot-on renditions of Willie Nelson tunes, while Karen Nogle, Curcurruto’s lead vocalist, can nail just about any Patsy Kline song you can think of.
While this Nashville trip is going to be a good time for all concerned, both bands see it as their chance to make it. Antique Archeology isn’t the Grand Ol’ Opry. It’s a stop for most bus tours and “American Pickers” is a popular TV show, so plenty of people will hear their performances. “You just never know who might be in the audience,” Wicher notes.