A new sound is coming to a local coffee shop in the Berwick area thanks to community member Josh Nespoli. This Saturday, January 19th from 7-9pm, the A Perfect Blend coffee shop, located at 135 West Front Street, in Berwick will welcome blues musicians Ed Randazzo and Dustin Douglas to the stage for an intimate, acoustic event. Admission is just a $5 donation and BYOB is permitted.
The event titled the “Destination Blues Listening Room in Berwick” is actually an extension of a regular event that happens monthly in Bloomsburg at The Exchange Gallery. The Exchange has been hosting blues concerts in their gallery space for over a year and a half. The event is quite simple, musicians put on intimate concerts without all the glitz and distractions, it is just the musicians, the audience, and the music. The Exchange hopes this venture into Berwick is the starting point for a regular, recurring event in their beautiful downtown.
We sat down with Josh Nespoli who is responsible for setting everything up, and will actually be celebrating his birthday on the evening of the show. Here is what he had to say:
Art of PA: So how did bringing the Destination Blues Listening Room to Berwick come about?
Josh: Berwick has always held a special place in my heart. I grew up here, went away to college, and eventually moved back in 2014 and have been here ever since. I’ve fallen in love with the downtown and wanted to bring something special to the area. The stars had to align in order to bring the Destination Blues Listening Room to Berwick. I’ve been a board member of The Exchange in Bloomsburg for about a year and a half now and have always wanted to bring one of their staple events, The Listening Room, closer to home. In order for the pilot to work we had to have the right venue, the right musicians, the funding had to be in place, and the timing had to be right. Everything seems to be coming together for a terrific evening of music on January 19th.
AoP: Can you tell me a little bit more about the musicians performing? Have you seen them before?
Josh: The two musicians performing are Dustin Douglas and Ed Randazzo. Dustin is from Wilkes Barre and Ed is from West Pittston. This is the first time they’ll be playing together as a duo. I first saw Dustin play with his band Dustin Douglas & The Electric Gentlemen at the Destination Blues Festival at the Caldwell Consistory last year and they were absolutely amazing. They capture the vibe of late 60’s and 70’s with blues-laced rock-n-roll. Dustin is a former member of the legendary Pennsylvania rock band, The Badlees. I later saw Ed at a Listening room held at The Exchange gallery. It was the second listening room I ever attended and was absolutely blown away by Ed’s fantastic voice and enjoyed his hilarious and chill vibe which is perfect for a listening room. In 2015, Ed won a Steamtown Music Award for Blues/Rhythm & Blues Act of the Year. I’m excited to see what these two musicians bring to the listening room when they come together.
AoP: Can you tell me more about the venue? Why did you choose A Perfect Blend to host the Listening Room?
Josh: A Perfect Blend is a staple of downtown Berwick. They are a community oriented coffee shop and gathering place that features local artists and even encourages their patrons to decorate the ceiling tiles with their own flare and pizazz. Recently the space expanded to include “Beyond the Blend” which is a co-op farmers market and artisan marketplace offering a variety of unique items for sale. The coffee shop has a small stage and is the perfect setting for an intimate evening of blues music. The space has limited seating so it may be standing room only for this Listening Room.
AoP: So if the event on Saturday goes well, do you think this could turn into a regular occurring event?
Josh: Absolutely. We are trying to replicate the success that is happening in Bloomsburg and bring it here to downtown Berwick. My personal goal is to see 50 people in attendance on Saturday. That would make my birthday extra special as I’d love to be able to bring great musicians into my favorite coffee shop every month. It’s also a great precursor to the Destination Blues Fest which has expanded into our town and features four great performances at local spots like Bandit’s Roadhouse, Berwick Brewing Co., the Berwick Theater, & Rolling Pines.
AoP: I understand the proceeds of the event benefit two local non profits, can you elaborate on where the money goes and how it impacts the community?
Josh: Yes, we are asking for a $5 donation at the door. The proceeds go towards two great non-profits that are near and dear to my heart: The Exchange, and For the Cause. The Exchange has been a real proponent in bringing art to the community, which is crucial to the success of any town. They are responsible for running The Exchange Gallery, help host the Destination Blues Festival, bring the Art Cart to childcare centers and nursing homes, host ArtFest and Boo!burg in downtown Bloomsburg, and are the main reason the artofpa.org site exists.
For the Cause was actually a personal project I started with my brothers Marc and Jon. For The Cause has a mission to make Columbia and Luzerne counties a region of pride; where our communities thrive as they live, work and play. To date For the Cause has raised over $100,000 for local heath initiatives, currently delivers about 5,000 meals a week to local students, and opened a teen center about a year ago. Since it opened, the Teen Center has been providing programs and a safe space for nearly 300 teens on a monthly basis.
AoP: This sounds like an event not to miss, and the icing on top is that it supports two great causes. Where can we find more information?
Josh: You can find all of the event info on The Exchange’s Facebook page. I can’t wait to see everyone on Saturday, January 19th from 7:00 – 9:00 at A Perfect Blend in Berwick!
In case you can’t wait until Saturday, here are a few videos of the performers to hold you over.