Nate Myers & The Aces return to Bullfrog Brewery

One of the most entertaining and respected bands in Central Pennsylvania returns to Williamsport, as Nate Myers & The Aces once again bring their wide variety of musical styles to the Bullfrog Brewery, 229 W. Fourth St., 9 p.m. Friday.

A professional and flexible group of fine musicians, Nate Myers and The Aces have been established in Central PA for nearly 15 years. Lead by vocalist Nate Myers and his harmonica, the band has something for everyone, as they create a loose, casual atmosphere in which everyone can relax and have a good time.

An excellent musician, songwriter, performer and consummate entertainer, Myers keeps the audience’s attention throughout the entire performance. The wide variety of styles, energy and sincerity in his music allows him to fit into nearly any musical genre.

On a typical evening, audiences can hear influences from many forms of American music — blues, funk, hip hop, rockabilly, country and improvisation. Nate Myers & The Aces take all these styles they love and incorporate them into a unique repertoire.

Myers’ Aces include Pete Netznik on bass, Jimmi Sexton on guitar, and Kenny Ross on drums. Netznik also performs on guitar with Myers as a duo, and in a trio with drummer Chad Salvaggio.

Myers grew up in Sunbury and Selinsgrove and started playing music in December 1996. His dad turned 40 that year and they had a big party at his pap’s house. One of the guests brought a friend to the party, and he just happened to play guitar. His name was Artie Renkle.

“Artie played some guitar at this party — old blues — and I had never heard anything like that before,” Myers said. “He killed it and my mind was blown.”

Two weeks later, Myers was in downtown Selinsgrove doing laundry and ran into Renkle. They went back to Renkle’s place and he turned him on to Son House, Muddy Waters and others.

“He had this old Marine Band harmonica and he gave it to me and said, ‘Take this and see if you can do anything with it,’ “ Myers said. “Right around that time, my dad brought home a copy of the Columbia Robert Johnson box set. A must-have collection for all music fans!”

Renkle was a huge guide and influence on Myers’ interest in playing music. A couple years later, Artie moved to New Orleans.

Myers was also blessed to begin a musical partnership with Tom Rosencrans, a master of many old-time blues and Appalachian styles.

“I was working one day, and I met Tom Rosencrans — another dynamite player,” Myers said. “Tom and I became fast friends and he continued my musical education.”

At the same time, Myers was also doing some work with Lady Blue and the Tramps out of New Jersey. In 1999, Myers started playing with Blues and Gasoline from Williamsport, and in 2000, he moved from Northumberland to Harrisburg to start working with the Chicago style blues band, Krypton City Blues Revue.

In early 2003, Myers and Netznik, his co-conspirator and friend, were playing in the Krypton City Blues Revue.

“I wanted to try my hand at fronting a unit, so we started messing around with a band format,” he said.

In 2004, after a trip to Clarksdale, Mississippi to record with Big Jack Johnson, Myers broke off from Krypton City and decided to strike out on his own and pursue the band full time.

Since 2004, Myers and The Aces band have played over a thousand shows in front of a variety of crowds.

Myers has been billed with and on occasion, shared the stage with many national and regional artists such as Styx, Cheap Trick, Johnny Winter, Edgar Winter, Rick Derringer, Kim Simmons/Savoy Brown, Kansas, and Kenny Wayne Shepherd.

The band has twice represented the Billtown Blues Association at the Blues Foundation’s International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tennessee, in 2006 and 2015. In 2012, they represented the Blues Society of Central Pennsylvania (Harrisburg) at the International Blues Challenge.

During the past several years, the group has taken a much broader approach to music. With the help of the people around him, Myers decided to just be himself. Although he said he still struggles with it, he believes that he continues to be a work in progress.

“I realized that with the help of the people in my life, all music is related,” he said. “There is a golden thread that connects it all.”

Myers is moved by a wide range of musical styles; from old country, world music and Appalachian music, to jazz, blues, funk, hip hop and rock.

“It all has a feel, it’s all related and it all works together,” he said. “We try to take the elements that appeal to us and work within that framework. If something we write comes out as a country song, we let it stay that way. I primarily play harmonica and sing but I play enough piano, guitar and accordion to be dangerous.”

For now, Myers and the band are taking all things in stride, as they are just trying to be themselves and learning to let things be what they are.

“I am who I am, always striving to be better but trying to embrace my shape,” he said. “The songs are the songs, very simple in a lot of ways but they have their complexities. I like to entertain and interact with people, and I try to write music that will elicit a response. We as a band want to leave you better off than you were when you got to us.”

The band will perform some of the new originals they’re currently working on, some old favorites, and some familiar covers as well.

“It’s been a while, but we have a great history with the Bullfrog,” Myers said. “I’m hoping that we’ll have a full house of friends and make some new ones. We just want the folks to have a good time and dance if they feel the urge.”

As for the New Year, Myers is hoping that 2018 will bring peace and health for all the guys in the unit.

Among the group’s plans is the release of a new record, a live video with a companion recording, a new t-shirt design and some new stickers.

“We’re looking for someone to guide us in developing our product, so hopefully we’ll find someone we can trust to guide us in that process,” he said. “We’re also hoping to travel to some new locations and meet some new friends. I’m taking some guitar lessons, so I’ll be working on that and my harp playing as well. I’m going to keep playing and writing till God says I’m done.”