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Gabe Stillman returns to Billtown stage

PHOTO PROVIDED Gabe Stillman, above, will perform Feb. 27 at the Community Arts Center.

Gabe Stillman returns to the Williamsport performance scene Feb. 27 with a one-night engagement at the Community Arts Center.

“After almost a year of canceled and postponed shows the CAC is excited to welcome the Williamsport native and Uptown Music Collective alumnus to liven up the darkened theater,” a news release said.

Stillman credits a performance at the Community Arts Center as the moment he knew he was destined to be a performer. An Uptown Music Collective concert, where he had the opportunity to take center stage performing “The First Time I Met the Blues” a classic tune by artist Buddy Guy, changed his life.

“I hadn’t ever felt the energy that I was putting out to an audience being reflected back at me before the night of that performance,” Stillman said, according to the news release. “But, after that night, I knew what I was gonna do with my life and I knew the kind of music I wanted to play too.”

In October 2019, Stillman had the opportunity of sitting in with Buddy Guy during his performance at the CAC.

While 2020 put a hold on live performances, Stillman has been using his available time to stay engaged with his fans. Through live streams and the implementation of a web series titled “Blues In My Heart” Stillman has continued to give fans entertainment and inspiration during the quarantine. The web series covers his musical influences and some of his favorite music within the blues and American roots genres and has been made widely available through his social media platforms. With performances on hold, Stillman has also taken the opportunity to focus on writing new music and recording his next record.

The “downtime’ has also afforded Stillman the time to work on self-improvement goals,

“I’ve been putting a lot more time into my personal health and I’ve made a lot progress, which has me feeling great,” he said, according to the news release.

Stillman’s experience with UMC created a strong musical foundation, but also, the opportunity to collaborate with other performers of various skill levels. The UMC teachers encouraged students to work with each other and the opportunities to learn how to make a career for themselves as musicians. While teaching at the UMC, Stillman instilled the importance of not only practicing alone, but how it is essential to challenge yourself by performing alongside others.

“I believe that there’s always something to learn from another creative person, no matter what their skill level is. At the UMC, all of the students are working hard to make the performances as great and close to ‘perfect’ as they can be. Going through that experience myself, it taught me so much of what being a musician is all about,” Stillman said.

Stillman has traveled across the country playing in festivals and bringing his own blend of hard stomping blues to the stage, and won the Gibson Guitar Award for best guitarist at the 2019 International Blues Challenge in Memphis.

Stillman had an important message for aspiring musicians.

“If you’re not confident about your abilities, be confident about not being confident and know that your progress is up to you,” Stillman said. “If you throw yourself into a musical situation before you may be ready to ‘handle it,’ you’ll surprise yourself with how much you’ll learn as long as you stay humble.”

Check out Stillman’s most recent album “Flying High” released in October of 2020, and featuring a legendary blues band from Washington D.C., The Nighthawks, who are one of the oldest, still-touring blues bands in the country.

Get your tickets online at caclive.com.

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