BY RUTH RICE
A hot August night will be the perfect setting for feel-good soul.
The Summer Concert Series continues with soul singer Jesse Dee at 6:30 p.m. Friday at Peoples Natural Gas Park, 90 Johns St., Johnstown.
Right now, Dee is at home in the Boston area getting ready for his latest tour that will put him on the road through Aug. 18.
“I think in Pennsylvania we’re coming to Johnstown and Lancaster, then the southeast part of the country,” Dee said.
“We’ll be getting some fresh ears. Last month, we were in Pittsburgh and Greensburg.”
Dee describes his music as happy, positive and uplifting and hopes it has that effect on this tour.
“Music is subjective, and people experience it in different ways,” Dee said. “My goal is to get it to them. I enjoy the challenge.”
In addition to upbeat songs, Dee also will throw in what he called “a devastating song or two.”
“That’s life,” he added.
Dee’s two CDs are all original songs, but he peppers his live shows with covers.
Growing up in Arlington, Mass., he was drawn to the sounds of The Drifters, The Shirelles, Smokey Robinson, Sam Cooke and other Motown and rhythm and blues greats.
Dee said he started playing music at age 16 or 17, and first performed in public when he was a little older.
His new album, “On My Mind/In My Heart,” has 11 original songs about real life with slice-of-life lyrics set to toe-tapping melodies.
Dee is proud of his new songs, saying the music is a perfect representation of where he is as an artist.
“Soul music is capable of touching the greatest and most diverse group of people,” Dee said.
“All the best soul music is based on shared experience. Songs have the ability to effect people, shine a light, lift them up and push them forward. There’s hope in these songs, and people need that now more than ever.”
Dee is an artist as well as a musician, attending Massachusetts College of Art and Design for illustration, performance, production, mixed-media and composition.
“I’m more of a musician,” Dee said. “Music got me in the end. It charted my course.”
He said he tries to paint to relax, but never really has the time and hopes to fall back on his art after he lives to an old age.
“I don’t get to write music as much as I’d like to either,” Dee said. “It’s hard to create the time and make the effort to work.”
In addition to Dee on vocals and guitar, the band features Jim Larkin on bass; Johnny Trama on guitar; Matt “Pie” Beaulieu on drums; Eli Winderman on organ; Steve Mossberg on piano; John Aruda on tenor sax; Scott Aruda on trumpet; Paul Ahlstrand on baritone sax; and Jeff Galindo on trombone.
The concert series continues Sept. 13 with indie pop from Lake Street Dive.
Johnstown Area Heritage Association and radio stations Rocky 99 and Froggy 95 will present “Brews & Blues in the Valley,” a craft beer tasting festival at noon Oct. 19 at PNG Park.
Beer sampling featuring breweries from around the country will begin at 1 p.m.
All those who attend must be age 21 or older and must present valid ID.
Music under the Polacek Pavilion will include Flood City Brass and more bands to be announced.
Parking for the rain-or-shine event will be available in the Conemaugh and Freightcar America lots along Walnut Street.
What: Summer Concert Series featuring soul singer Jesse Dee.
When: 6:30 p.m. Friday.
Where: Peoples Natural Gas Park, 90 Johns St., downtown Johnstown.
Tickets: $12 in advance, plus fees, or $15 at the gate.
Information: 539-1889 or www.floodcitymusic.com.