Folk band performs at fraternity house

Folk artist Nevin James performs in the basement of Phi Kappa Psi fraternity house. Photo credit: Andrew Crofford


Contributing Writer

More than 50 people attended a live musical performance in the Phi Kappa Psi basement this Monday, which featured folk-rock artist Nevin James and his band as well as a guest performance by Phi Psi brother Joe Tonzo, ’15.

James played harmonica and sang while his band accompanied him on piano, drums and guitar. Band member Liz Bennett also provided vocal accompaniment.

Phi Kappa Psi brother Joseph Tonzo, ’15, was a special guest at James’ performance. Tonzo, an experienced cellist, jumped at an impromptu opportunity to play James’ music.

”It was a neat experience to play with Nevin,” Tonzo said. “Immediately we connected through the universal language of music.”

Tonzo said he’s played the cello for 10 years. This year, he was chosen as Allegheny’s Greek God after playing cello in the talent competition.

James, 24, and band mate Bennett, 22, both went to Upper Saint Clair High School in Pittsburgh and have been friends for 10 years. However, they did not start performing together until six months ago.

After graduating from high school, James moved to Malibu, Cal. to attend Pepperdine University. It was there that he met drummer Jeremy Delia, 20, about five years ago, and the pair has been playing music together ever since.

James’ current band, which also includes lead guitarist Tony Willoe, 30, of Pittsburgh, has been playing together for two months.

James said he previously recorded a record with a different group of people, but wanted to reconnect with his high school friend Liz about six months ago.

The band played 10 songs, including some tracks from James’ first album, Jealousy, as well songs that will be on James’ next album. Select songs were written by band members.

Currently in the middle of their first tour, the band performed in Pittsburgh before coming to Allegheny and plans to perform in New York City, Boston, Syracuse, N.Y. and Providence, R.I.

Donations were accepted at the door for Hurricane Sandy relief efforts.

“It was a great event for a great cause,” said Patrick Fritz, ‘13. “I am glad we could facilitate the event, not only to raise money, but to promote a great band. I hope they return to Allegheny in the future.”

Future plans for the band are currently up in the air. James said that after the tour he plans to take some time off to relax.

This January, James said he hopes to sign with a record company before completing his second album.

James loves performing in front of people as well as playing with them.

“It’s not me, but us playing. I enjoy sharing the experiences with the other band members,” James said.