Monday, Aug. 11, 2014 | 10:57 p.m.
Lifehouse Hanging By a Moment
Robin Leach has finished his annual summer vacation under the Tuscan sun in Italy, and many of our Strip personalities again stepped forward in his absence to pen their own words of wisdom. As Robin enjoys the remainder of his working vacation with his family, we continue today with our popular guest columns. Here’s Ben Carey, vocalist and lead guitarist of Lifehouse who has been developing the local music scene with “Chandelier Sessions.”
Hello there! I’m Ben Carey, honored to be filling in for Robin Leach while he spends his time enjoying the good life in the beautiful Italian countryside. I’ve been spending a lot more time in Las Vegas, so Robin asked me to share a little about how I’ve been revitalizing the music scene.
A goal for me this summer is to bring a music culture to downtown Las Vegas, similar to what you might find in Austin, Nashville, Memphis, Sunset Boulevard in L.A., New York City, Chicago and New Orleans. What Las Vegas needs is a home for musicians to be treated right and encouraged to play and share original music.
There are some phenomenal artists in this city, and I discovered that I wasn’t the only one who was thinking, “Please, not another version of ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ or ‘Funkytown.’ ” It turns out that Commonwealth is the perfect fit to create the music scene that Las Vegas is lacking.
On Wednesday nights, talented musicians get together there for “Chandelier Sessions.” We have this great spot near the staircase. With the music going, chandeliers sparkling and the dim lights, there’s this amazing energy and synergy among all the talent.
Every week, I plan a few headliners, like Elvis Monroe, Komox, Philosophy of Soul, Elko and The Union Drifters, but that’s not really what it’s about. The exciting thing about “Chandelier Sessions” is that it’s never the same; it’s different every week. You never know who is going to get up and play.
Artists will drive in from L.A. or fly in from all over the country. Sometimes I have friends, well-known artists, who are in town and come by to jam with us, like Bryce Soderberg of Lifehouse, Ryan MacMillan of Matchbox Twenty, David Pichette of Emerson Drive, Jared Berry from “American Idol,” Austin Jenckes and Michael Austin, both of NBC’s “The Voice,” and Ryan Maloney, also from “The Voice.”
We have loads of local talent involved. The Jeremy Cornwell Project, Matt Matelko and Daniel Park, just to name a few. The idea is for these local musicians to be supported for their original music. Not only to be able to share the stage with people who have played all over the world, like artists who play arenas on a regular basis, but also to have fellowship, mentorship and a sense of community.
We’ve had rising bands start to build a real fan base. Celebrities and producers who are my friends and contacts that I’ve met through the years come by regularly and say that they’ve never seen anything like “Chandelier Sessions.”
If you are a musician interested in performing, I encourage you to show up on a Wednesday night. Come find me, and show me what you got.
Be sure to check out our other guest columnist today, N9NE Steakhouse at the Palms celebrity chef Barry S. Dakake. On Tuesday, we meet up with gorgeous Las Vegas singer and dancer Maren Wade, who matches last year’s controversial column with another eye-catching report on “swinging,” and Jack Sanders, who is making a name for himself as a winemaker in nearby Pahrump.
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.
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Follow Sun A&E Senior Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.