PEEKSKILL, N.Y. – Terry Adams wishes he could tell fans of NRBQ what songs the group will play when it makes its first visit to Paramount Theater Hudson Valley on Saturday, Dec. 7. The truth is even Adams doesn’t know. He’s been doing it that way for almost 50 years.
Saturday’s show begins at 8 p.m. The Nighthawks are the opening act for the concert. Tickets are $27 and $38, and can be purchased online.
Guests will sure to be entertained by NRBQ, who started in 1966. Their free-wheeling music blends rock, pop, jazz and blues. Their shows are spontaneous and unscripted, and have been since Adams and Steve Ferguson started the band.
“It depends how we are and how the audience is going to feel,’’ Adams said. “We don’t even know what we’re going to play first. You have to feel what’s right.”
NRBQ – which stands for New Rhythm and Blues Quartet – has been especially popular in the Northeast. It has had its ups and downs, and went on hiatus in 2004 when Adams developed throat cancer. Ferguson died of cancer in 2009, and Adams restored the original name in 2011. The group now consists of Adams, Scott Ligon, Casey McDonough and Conrad Choucroun. Its style is very much the same it was back in the 1960s.
“It goes back to the very beginnings when I was 16 or 17,’’ Adams said. “There were rules, and they said you have to wear this shirt and play this style of music. I was always getting fined. I had a rehearsal band and we just played whatever we wanted. I said let’s take this out to the world. We just play what we want and not some concept. I want to shed all the labels and put musicians together where the only thing that matters is the music.”
Adams said he is cured of throat cancer, and reluctantly announced his condition a few years ago. “My pitch went down a note or two, but I like the low songs anyway,’’ he said. “I decided to open up about it after five or six years of mystery. I felt like I needed to explain why there hadn’t been any word. I didn’t do it for any other reason.”
Adams said he still enjoys the music lifestyle. When he and Ferguson started, their career plan was a lot like their concerts, unscripted and spontaneous.
“We didn’t have the kind of minds that could think ahead,’’ Adams said. “We played a couple of dates in Louisville, and then went to Florida and played a little bit more. We stayed as busy as we could. We got in a car, took our instruments and it just kind of worked out for us. It’s the only thing we’ve ever done.”
Adams feels especially connected to New York audiences and is excited about coming to Paramount. “I lived in New York to be in the orbit of New York City,’’ he said. “It was sort of a teenage ambition. Each musician has their own personality in New York. That’s where the sound comes from and the fun. In New York, you can feel every person’s being. That’s something you just don’t get anywhere else.”
To find out more about the concert and purchase tickets, visit the Paramount website.
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