The band Hooverville brought Milton a taste of blues and classic rock during a gig on Tuesday, and they’re set to bring those sounds to Long Neck this weekend, in their debut at Live at Bo’s on Saturday, July 22, starting at 9 p.m.
Hooverville consists of guitar player and lead vocalist Danny Beck, drummer John Wroten and keyboard player Andrew Domingue — also known as “The Keyboard Genius.” All three members come from different regions of Delaware, ranging from Dover to Laurel to Millsboro..
The band, according to Wroten, was named after the term “Hooverville,” which was coined during the Great Depression. Many homeless people during that era formed shantytown camps (later termed Hoovervilles, after President Herbert Hoover, who was blamed for the Depression) as places of refuge and would use each other’s company and the music they made there as a support system to help cope with the hard times..
Wroten referred to the type of music they would play as “Delta blues” — the type of blues that formed the band’s roots..
“A lot of music we do today comes out of Hoovervilles,” Wroten said..
Having made their local debut as the closing act at a Locals Under the Lights show at the Freeman Stage in 2015 and having since garnered regular appearances at the Bayview Tavern in Bowers Beach, the Salisbury, Md., Moose lodge and Brew River, the band has been going through some transitions of its own recently, Wroten noted..
One of the founding members, rhythm guitar player and vocalist James Marguardt, decided to leave the band to spend more time with his family. Bass player and vocalist Al “Big Loud Al” Cook is also transitioning out of the band as he takes on a new full-time position. Although it is hard to lose a band member, Wroten said, they’ve been supportive of those decisions..
However, those changes are actually the first that the band has experienced in its three years performing classic rock all around Delmarva. Wroten said that’s an unusually long time for a band to go without any transitions..
Domingue is the band’s newest member. He joined Hooverville about a month ago, and said he has had a very smooth transition and really enjoys playing music with his new bandmates. But he’s already a veteran of the area’s music scene, having worked with a number of acts performing in the Rehoboth Beach area, including the Mari Hill Band..
“I’ve been playing for 40 years professionally,” Domingue noted..
Wroten, a veteran of touring professional country and rock acts in Nashville and beyond for decades of his own, recently took a break from his calling, as Hooverville was put on hiatus for nearly six months while Wroten battled Stage 4 throat cancer..
Though it meant canceling a number of performances, including their anticipated debut at Live at Bo’s, Wroten said taking that break was a decision his bandmates nonetheless made. Beck said that the band would not be the same without Wroten, so the break was completely necessary..
Since then, Wroten has been in complete remission and has been able to resume drumming for the band..
“It’s like being away from your family for six months, Wroten said of the hiatus..
A driving force for Wroten’s recovery was the support he received from other musicians in the area and beyond. A benefit dedicated to his fight against cancer, called Lovestock, was held at American Legion Post 2 in Dover this spring, put on by the organizers of the June Jam music festival, with seven bands coming out to show their support, while others (including country artist Trace Adkins) supported Wroten’s fight by donating items for a silent auction..
Wroten said he enjoyed the “outpouring of love from other musicians.”.
Hooverville was asked to play on July 18 during the Truckin’ Tuesday food-truck event run by the Milton Chamber of Commerce — another appearance marking the band’s comeback from their half-year hiatus. They played a variety of covers, mainly within the classic rock and blues genres. Domingue said he was most looking forward to performing “Riders on the Storm” by The Doors..
“I’ve been playing it since 1983,” he added of the tune, which wasn’t really possible for the band to perform fully until they acquired a keyboard player..
Beck said he was excited to play “Kind Hearted Woman,” a blues song by Robert Johnson. He sang the tune with a bluesy vocal fry, giving it his characteristic raspy and soulful touch. Most of the songs also included intricate piano solos executed by Domingue, with Beck’s guitar solos giving the songs some extra bluesy flare..
The band members’ enjoyment of performing was obvious to the audience, and the crowd responded to their charisma. Families and community members were able to listen to the music while eating a variety of different foods sold by local food trucks. Domingue mentioned that he was very excited to try the food from every single one of the trucks..
“We like the blues and like the food trucks,” Domingue announced during the performance..
Having topped up the tanks, it will be back to the bar scene for Hooverville this Saturday, July 22, as they make their long-awaited return to coastal Delaware and Domingue’s back yard, and entertain the crowd at the former Sand Bar in Long Neck, now emphasizing live music and a “down-to-earth” tavern feel as Live at Bo’s..
The tavern is located at 7 Cove Village Center, Millsboro, off Route 23 near Pot Nets Bayside. They’ll perform from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m., offering up a slice of Delta blues and classic rock as they take the audience along on a ride to Hooverville..