Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve, 2011...

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Happy New Year.

At a time like this, it is customary to reflect on the year past, to ponder the people and things that we are thankful for, and to think about the future and what it might hold-- to review successes, learn from mistakes, and to set goals for the New Year. This year is no different, at least not for me!

First of all, I'd like to say Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all. I am truly thankful to God for my family, my friends, the gift of music, and the opportunity to live in a great country like the United States of America. To some, "corny" sentiments perhaps, but true and very important to meditate on nonetheless. My family, my wife in particular, has never been anything but totally supportive, and for that, I will always be grateful. I have amazing friends and an incredible support system. I have the greatest band on earth to make music with, with the best, most dedicated business manager anyone could ask for (it helps that she bakes amazing cookies too). I am also grateful to my bandmate's spouses and families, for sharing their very talented husbands and fathers with me and all of you in the No-Star Nation! We also have the greatest fans, and we live in an incredibly underestimated city-- Buffalo, New York has a talent base like no other, and we are blessed to have many other friends in the music scene that are just as dedicated to making great music, and getting it out to the people, as we are.

God has blessed Bruce and I with a perfect location for The Sonic Vault, and while things have been a little slow as to live performances over the last year, the lull in public activity (gigs and concerts) has given us some time to build a fantastic recording studio and home-base, from which we plan to not only continue to hone our craft, but to help others in the local, regional, and national scene to find their musical voices and to present the best sounding productions to all of you in the listening public. And, I promise we will be a lot more visible on-stage in 2012!

After (ulp!) 30 years in the music business, I am still learning new things, and so are all of us (Your Mighty No-Stars, that is). This past year, after years of working under less-than-ideal conditions in other folks' rooms, we have built our own studio and have put together quite a few exemplary audio and video productions (local videos for solo artists and bands, jingle work for local businesses, voice-over work for our music on-hold clients, and a new demo and some more tunes for our upcoming sophomore album). B and I took another trip to Nashville to the Producer's and Engineer's Summit, and it never fails to energize us and give us a lot to think about in terms of pursuing our best options for the future. We also helped another artist make it onto the Roots Report Charts (our second charting album!); Yvonne Schmidt has only begun to make her mark on the international Blues scene, and we want to help others get their music "out there" as well. Along those lines, we helped some other independent artists promote their music not only locally, but elsewhere in the U.S. as well; efforts we plan to expand in the upcoming year. We helped a local Blues venue raise enough money to purchase an in-house P.A. system, and we a dear friend get some sense of a financial foundation after dealing with the fallout from a life-changing illness... We expanded our annual Christmas shows, bringing some exciting music to even more WNYers this year. And, we played a bunch of gigs, and we're going to play a bunch more!

I am blessed to be a part of a great musical community. I want to thank you all for being a part of that. We all are looking forward to an amazing 2012!

Please have a very Merry Christmas.

God Bless & Good Blues, and we'll see you "next year,"


Friday, November 25, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011/Black Friday Record Store Day

Hello No-Star Nation,

ONCE AGAIN it's been way too long since our last update post. But as always, there has been, and continues to be a lot going on!

First of all, all of us in Your Mighty No-Stars, and the team at Nocturnal Productions and The Sonic Vault Recording Studio wish you a Happy Thanksgiving, a Happy Holiday Season, and a very early Happy New Year! We hope you had a great time with family and friends, and remembered to give thanks for all of your blessings... especially in the US, we have so much to be thankful for. As our president so aptly put in his recent address, let's remember to try and "pay it forward" this season and this coming year.

What's been happening? Well, things have been a little slow on the live performance front, but we've been using that time to do a lot of "undercover" work on the studio, the record label, and the band. We do want to thank all of the folks that have come out to some of our shows at the end of the summer and in the early fall. We especially had a great time at Vizzi's in October. We hope to be back there real soon. Stay-tuned here and at the main website for breaking gig news and information, and be on the lookout for our club and concert tour schedule for the upcoming 2012 season.

In the interim, we've had several projects and some travel keeping us busy. Here's a bit of an update:

* Our annual Christmas show at Hess Rd. Weslyan Church is just around the corner. Hard to believe that the core of The Mighty No-Stars have been the core of the live band for this event for at least seven years now! (I _believe_ this is year number eight?)... Rehearsals are coming along nicely, and we've got some of the material that audiences have come to know and love, as well as some new surprises and guest musicians and singers for this year. Come check out the show. It's FREE, and you get to see and hear some of WNY's finest musicians playing in a _very_ different context. This is Christmas music, performed with some very special arrangements; a show that you don't want to miss. This year's shows are on December 9th and 10th, with a planned redux of our additional performance in East Aurora (E.A. Weslyan Church) on Sunday, December 11th. These are free gigs! See your No-Stars and lots more fine musicians play the sounds of the season with finesse and aplomb! 'Nuff Said? See you there!

* The Sonic Vault has been busy the last few months. We have completed a new No-Stars demo, a new original and two new covers for the next album (we keep plugging away), a video for Roots Report charter Yvonne Schmidt, and have been busy working on demos for upcoming broadcast jingle projects, as well as on-hold music and voice-over for a local business. We also have lots of plans for upcoming projects that we'll be able to tell you more about as events unfold. Stay-tuned.

* Bruce and I recently made our (what is becoming an) annual trip to Nashville for the Producers and Engineers Summit at Welcome to 1979 Recording Studio in early November. This is an AMAZING event for anyone into recording, production, music, or just plain-old technology geeks. Seriously though, I've been to a lot of workshops, seminars, and summits in my many years in the music business. This is one of the most cost-effective, informational, and fun events out there. Chris Mara and his wife Yoli put on an outstanding summit. In the past three years, we have met producers, engineers, musicians, and mastering engineers with gold and platinum all over their walls; people that have worked with bands and solo artists like REM, Led Zeppelin, Porter Wagonner, the Beach Boys, Pink Floyd, Janis Joplin, The Raconteurs, Motown Records, and on and on and on. And _all_ of these folks are extremely pleasant and approachable and willing to share what they know. Thanks again to Chris and Yoli and all of the staff, presenters, and volunteers that made this such a great event. We are already looking forward to next year! Not only did we have a chance to sit in on some great recording sessions, talk turkey with very experienced and skilled music folk, but we also toured a very in-demand mastering facility, and a _busy_ vinyl record pressing plant with a storied history (United Record Pressing). We somehow managed to get out and see some live music on the Nashville strip, and check out Ernest Tubbs' Record Store (picked-up some great stuff!). If you're into this kind of thing, you should join us in Nashville next year...

* Speaking of records, today was Black Friday/Fall Record Store Day 2011. Nocturnal Productions took part in the festivities by providing some swag for some blessed record store clientele at two locations this year-- The Record Baron in Kenmore, NY, and Replay Records in Hamden, CT. We sent almost 50 pieces to each location as give-aways to loyal customers, including the new one from Yvonne Schmidt ("Foolproof," produced by Grammy-winner Tom Hambridge), our chart-making album "Blues Power," the 80AD collection of Buffalo/WNY 80's bands called "You'll Never Work In This Town Again! Vol. 1, No Hit Wonders," an album from Australian electronic artist Aspen, and some great material from Lo-Note Records (the new one from Bunky Moon and some great Jazz from Big Octave). Watch upcoming Record Store Days for more Nocturnal Productions freebies! And thanks to The Record Baron and Replay Records for working with us on this year's promotion; check out these great stores if you get the chance... Knowledgeable, helpful, fun staff that will help you find what you want!

* We started a new arm of Nocturnal Productions Music Group this past year, devoted to helping to promote independent artists working in the genres of Blues and Jazz. We helped to get vocalist Yvonne Schmidt's record on the charts, on the web, and in-the-news. If you are an independent Blues, Roots, Americana, or Jazz artist looking for affordable promotion and publicity, get in touch; we'd love to talk over the possibilities with you.

* Just a reminder for the "season of giving": We are still taking donations for our dear friend and founding No-Stars' bassist Joel Thomas. Visit for more info. Thanks in advance for helping Joel and his family in the fight against ALS.

That's about it for now. We hope to see you at one of the upcoming Christmas shows. Check back here for more news and info.

Until then, God Bless & Good Blues,


Thursday, July 28, 2011

Chart Success!

Hey All!

Our dear friend, Yvonne Schmidt, has had her own chart success this month-- Number 45 on the Top-50 Blues Chart for both the Roots Music Report and Cashbox Magazine! Beating-out Eric Clapton for number of plays last week! (see story in blog entry below)

Since we had a little bit of a hand in the promotional efforts, we'll bask in a little of the glory, too. But congratulations definitely go out to Yvonne, and our former Buffalo-homeboy, Nashville producer Tom Hambridge, who helped Yvonne make a great record deserving of all of the radio exposure. Congratulations on the success; here's to much more!

God Bless & Good Blues,


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A Mid-Summer Day's Post...

Why so Shakespearean? No reason, really, I guess I've just been wondering again what it would be like to direct William Shatner and Adam West in a feature film... "That's right, old chum!"

Anyway, a bunch of gigs you should be aware of in August (check our main site's calendar, and/or your local listings for specifics and rain policies)-- We will be in Orchard Park, Tonawanda (St. Christopher's), and Attica this coming month, as well as making our Annual Pilgrimage to Vizzi's in Kenmore. Come out and see the band, and say "hi" to the wire-y and ever jocular T-Bone Blasting... also, for the folks in-the-know and on-the-list, we will be making our triumphant return to Schrantzfest 2011 in early September.

Things over at The Sonic Vault are going quite well this summer (a new demo, and a new album won't be far behind, at the rate we've been tracking/enjoying the new central air-conditioning in the studio).

Also, Your Mighty No-Stars (along with our friend The Divine Miss Y-- vocalist Yvonne Schmidt) have had a track picked-up by Valleyarm Distribution for an East Coast Blues compilation that will be released on iTunes on August 14th! Look for Absolute New York Blues coming your way soon!

Speaking of Yvonne Schmidt, we have been helping her with a promotional campaign for her new album, Foolproof, and things have been going swimmingly... She has had tracks from the new record broadcast on terrestrial radio stations from Hawaii to New Jersey, and was recently picked-up by the syndicated roots program Blues Deluxe, on 104 stations worldwide! Read the press release below, and Go Yvonne! Look for her name on an upcoming Roots Report Blues Chart; she's a shoe-in!

Cya, God Bless & Good Blues,



For Immediate Release

Gregg Juke at Nocturnal Productions
(716) 696-6758

Yvonne Schmidt
Wild In Blue Productions

Sophomore Blues is Good News for Miss Y; She is now Foolproof

Buffalo’s own Blues and Rockin’ Soul diva Yvonne Schmidt is back with her second solo release, Foolproof, on the Wild In Blue Productions label. Produced by Grammy award-winner Tom Hambridge (Susan Tedeschi, Buddy Guy), and featuring some of Nashville’s finest musicians and songwriters supporting Ms. Schmidt, this ten-track album is the perfect vehicle to showcase Yvonne’s roots-y, but polished vocal style.

Having worked with Hambridge and company on her first album, 2002’s Nothing But Blue, Yvonne was more than ready when it came time to record with Hambridge again. “Tom really knows how to treat an artist. He knows what I need to hear musically to be inspired, he knows how to frame my vocals, and it’s always a pleasure to work with him and his crew. It doesn’t hurt that Nashville is a lot warmer than Buffalo in the winter months!”

Advanced copies of Foolproof that have been sent to press and radio are already causing a stir in the Blues community— an album track has been featured on Blues Deluxe, an internationally syndicated program with millions of listeners; and Buffalo’s own dean of Blues radio DJ’s, Jim Santella, recently played a pre-release copy on his Saturday afternoon show. High-octane vocals, propelled by solid musicianship and quality original material, will excite radio programmers and media pros, as well as listeners looking for new sounds in the Blues, Roots, and Americana genres. Benefiting from a production style gleaned from work with the likes of world-class talent such as Susan Tedeschi and Buddy Guy, Hambridge’s musical settings for “The Divine Miss Y’s” vocal explorations put this collection of songs in a new category—“Must Have Blues.” Another track from the new record, called interestingly enough—“The Right Track,” has also been selected for a digital East Coast Blues compilation that will be distributed by Valleyarm on iTunes. The compilation will be called Absolute New York Blues, and will also feature artists such as Dave Fields, and Buffalo’s own Gregg Juke & The Mighty No-Stars. Valleyarm will be marketing the iTunes compilation worldwide, but will be focusing targeted attention on Australia and the Pacific Rim territories. Absolute New York Blues is scheduled for release on August 1st, 2011. Once Yvonne’s record has been released worldwide, she would like to tour with a crack band behind her. As much as she loves to record, it is the stage that she really calls “home,” musically speaking. She has been a fixture on the Buffalo regional scene since the early 90’s, and having the chance to work with world-class musicians, and bring her own music to Blues fans has been a goal that she has been happy to obtain. In the same category as Janiva Magness, E.G. Kight, and Shemekia Copeland, but definitely in a class all her own, Yvonne Schmidt is here to stay with her sophomore effort, Foolproof, on the Wild In Blue Productions label.

Foolproof is available from Wild In Blue Productions via digital distribution at,, iTunes, and most major digital retailers, and at finer record stores worldwide through Super D One-Stop Distribution. Look for Absolute NY Blues from Valleyarm Distribution on iTunes in August 2011. Yvonne is available for radio or print interviews, and promo copies of the CD are available for review. Media needs (interviews, CD’s, hard-copy press kits, etc.), may be directed to Gregg Juke at, or for more information, visit


Saturday, June 25, 2011

Late Again!

Hey No-Star Nation,

It's been too long once again. Life's personal challenges, setting-up a new audio and video recording venture, and working on a follow-up record (as well as helping some friends promote their new releases) have taken-up quite a bit of time. Sorry!

News Bulletins:

* The Sonic Vault is ready to go. Website, sound and video, and other goodies pending, but let us know if you're interested in recording services (in-studio or on-location audio and video production)-- brand new central A/C to beat the summer heat!

* Susan, our band manager, has been recovering from some surgery; say a prayer and wish her well for a speedy recovery!

* You can still donate to ; we'll have a special project coming up soon that we could really use your help on...

* Due to all of the activities mentioned above, the summer concert schedule has been pretty slow, but we do have a bunch of dates coming in August... For more info, visit the homesite at; come on out and see the band, and say hi to our new member, Tony Blasting!

Thanks and C U Soon,


Thursday, March 10, 2011

March 2011--Stay with Us!

Hey No-Star Nation,

I know it's been awhile (OK, quite awhile) since we've touched base here at the ol' blogspot, kids. Gigs have been pretty slow so far this year, but don't think that means LOTS isn't going on behind the scenes (because it most-definitely is!)... The studio is coming along nicely, and we're almost ready for a little public sneak-preview. Bruce Rounds, Tony Blasting, and Bret Norvilitis have some clinic/mini-lesson videos up on YouTube (check 'em out); look for a slew of videos featuring yours-truly coming soon. And there's more where that came from. We're getting ready for the summer tour, getting the studio ready for a bunch of projects, and we'll (finally) be working on our follow-up album. Plus a few more surprises that we can't discuss just yet.

Some quick news items:

* The studio, formerly known as The Batcave, has a new name. Henceforth, No-Star HQ has been dubbed The Sonic Vault.

* We are still accepting donations for Joel Thomas at , and his book is still available as well. Check back there for more info, as things develop.

* Look for more upcoming gigs, as we expand our performing circuit throughout 2011. Gregg Juke & the Mighty No-Stars will be looking to come to your town in the very near future!

Thanks, God Bless & Good Blues,