The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

WEEKENDER / Entertainment

April 5, 2013

Ernest band’s playing fits Ashtabula County to a ‘T’

It’s been around nine years since the Ernest T. Band started “humping gear and playing gigs” in Ashtabula County.

After all that time, they’re still playing in bars and roadhouses, drawing a large, devoted following. They’ve found a niche that newer bands often have a hard time with. The secret of the Ernest T. Band’s perennial success is in its lineup and material.

Mike Penna, bass player and leader of the band, said he’s not really sure who came up with its name, or why it stuck. It seemed to be fun for people to guess who Ernest T. was, or if it meant they were serious. The first members of Ernest T. were formerly with the bands Moondance and The Saloonatics, and they jammed in Pennna’s garage long enough to build a set list. They were Penna on bass, Steve Barbato on guitar, Randy Coutts on guitar, Steve Tobias on vocals and Bobby Holmes on drums. Five years ago, Brady Burnett replaced Holmes on drums.

“Our song list is always evolving,” Penna said. “We add and delete but we keep something ready for any audience. It’s classical rock, rockabilly, blues and ‘b-sides’ we arrange our own way.”

Penna said the band’s most requested song was “Cool Water” by Jimmy Thackery. They close the night with “Goodbye Baby Goodbye” by Robert Gordon. There are Motown crossovers, and even some Zappa songs. The Ernest T. Band now has a 100- song list. “We go for anything with a big beat,” Penna said.

Their song list and chemistry have proven to be an effective formula. The Ernest T. Band has regular engagements at The Old Mill Winery in Geneva and the Grand River Manor in Austinburg. Other fairly regular gigs include the VFW club, Sons of Italy and Eagles Club in Ashtabula, the Eagles Club in Geneva and Pickled Pepper’s in Geneva-on-the-Lake. Ernest T. has played more than 1,000 concerts.

Text Only
WEEKENDER / Entertainment
  • wd friday heat bspot 3 .jpg B-Side Music in Ashtabula is ready for Record Store Day

    Record Store Day 2014 is Saturday and Ashtabula’s B-Side Music is ready for it. The day long event celebrates independent record stores around the world and provides vinyl and CD collectors with an opportunity to find rare releases and re-releases.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • wd heat charlies 1 .jpg ‘Charley’s Aunt’ at Harbor Playhouse will keep family laughing

    The road to love can be a drag. Just ask the cast of Harbor Playhouse Theatrical Co-Op’s three-act family comedy “Charley’s Aunt.”

    October 11, 2013 3 Photos

  • wd heat rocky 9 .jpg ‘The Rocky Horror Show’ is well performed, funny and worth seeing

    Mention “The Rocky Horror Show” and almost everyone has an opinion, whether they've seen the movie or stage adaptation or not. It has been a cult classic for over three decades, since its release in 1975, and it has garnered plenty of criticism and negative commentary. Because public reaction to this extremely odd piece of musical comedy has been so strong for so long, many with an opinion have never even seen the movie or play. And many certainly do not understand that it is a spoof of shock theater. Yet they continue to berate the show as immoral and lewd.

    October 11, 2013 1 Photo

  • tuesdayfreddiesmith.jpg Ashtabula native nominated for Daytime Emmy

    Freddie Smith was thrilled to hear of his nomination for a Daytime Emmy for his role on “Days of Our Lives.”

    May 7, 2013 1 Photo

  • HEATACCMS Youth 12-13 .jpg Music, art worldwide at Lakeside festival

     A celebration of folk arts from around the world is the theme of the “Big, Wide, Wonderful World” festival Saturday at Lakeside High School.

    May 3, 2013 1 Photo


    The May art exhibit at the Ashtabula Arts Center will feature “Lake Shore Artists Presents...” On display today until May 29, the exhibit will feature works by local artists.

    May 3, 2013

  • georgejoes.jpeg Country star George Jones dead at 81

     George Jones, the peerless, hard-living country singer who recorded dozens of hits about good times and regrets and peaked with the heartbreaking classic "He Stopped Loving Her Today," has died. He was 81.

    April 26, 2013 1 Photo

  • heatst.peters.eps-1.jpg Strike up the orchestra in Ashtabula

    WEEKENDER for April 26, 2013:  The St. Peter's Fine Arts Concert Series' “Great Music Without Barriers” will present an ensemble of Cleveland Orchestra members at a May 19 concert.

    April 26, 2013 2 Photos

  • WEEKENDER for April 26, 2013

    CALENDAR for April 26, 2013

    April 26, 2013

  • heathreewomenoncouch.jpg Young cast excels in ‘Adventures of Tom Sawyer’

     Few novels have been adapted for the stage as many times and different ways as Mark Twain’s “Tom Sawyer.”

    April 26, 2013 1 Photo

House Ads

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
AP Video