Neville Street Groove, founded in Pittsburgh PA, relocated to Washington DC and all parts between.....
From 1990 – 1996, a hardworking six-piece band in Pittsburgh crafted joyful music based on the blues, jazz, folk, rock, prog, and jam band sounds they had absorbed growing up. Originally unleashed in Pittsburgh’s Oakland neighborhood as the North Neville Blues Band, the group made quick work of its proving ground, playing the city’s most notable venues, including its most unsightly ones.
North Neville Blues Band’s original line-up featured Dave “Thunderpick” Dutwin and Terry McKain on guitars, Marc Simoncelli on harmonica, Steve Grada on bass, Rich Bindell on lead vocals and percussion, and Larry Arrigo on drums. The group worked its way through sets of traditional blues staples mixed with bouncy originals and eventually started drawing significant crowds at well-known venues like The Decade, Thirsty’s, Graffiti, The Attic, and Nick’s Fat City. Songs like Landlorder’s Blues, As Fast As You Can, Watch Out Willie, Juice, and Jeremiah became popular originals, and Watching Pigeons in the Sun, Satisfy My Soul, Sensamile, My Store, Better Off Dead, and Mangled Mind became sought-after anthems. These songs made up the band’s first two records, the eponymous North Neville Blues Band and Watching Pigeons in the Sun.
Once voted Pittsburgh’s Best Blues Band, their sound began to evolve far beyond the traditional genre as they hawked their original brand of songs while balancing their now-legendary three-set shows with authentic takes on popular cover songs by the likes of Taj Mahal, the Grateful Dead, the Allman Brothers Band, Traffic, Rolling Stones, Talking Heads, Eric Clapton, and James Cotton. The band quickly established itself as a favorite in the local scene until 1994, when they moved to DC to expand their geographical range.
Changing their name to Neville Street Groove (NSG), the band added Otto Mann to replace Steve Grada on bass, and eventually made more substantial changes to their line-up, moving Terry McKain to bass and replacing departing drummer Arrigo with Maryland local Sam Scuderi – a drummer with strong jazz and improvisational chops. Trimming down to a five-piece band now enabled NSG to streamline its sound and extend many songs to include long instrumental excursions. They also added singer Anne Albright, a vibrant singer, to add some vocal interplay between lead and background vocals.
In 1996, NSG went into the studio to record what would be come their final record, Terminus NevilleZed, showcasing their maturity with songs including Through the Eyes of Mihoko, The Ocean, and a new version of My Store that featured Simoncelli’s new skills on the keyboards, McKain’s adept runs on bass, Dutwin’s technical ability to soar on solos, and Bindell’s unique rock, jazz, and folk oriented melodies supported by playful undertones on congas, bongos, and other percussion. The album also included additional vocals from Sandy Simoncelli, adding a full vocal sound that brought soulful exchanges to songs like Sensamile, Mangled Mind, Jeremiah, and Mihoko.
From 1994 – 1996 Neville Street Groove became a regional touring band, playing over 350 shows throughout Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, New Jersey, Maryland, and Virginia, including colleges like Pitt, Penn State, West Virginia, Princeton, and Maryland, while also digging local roots in DC, College Park, Alexandria, Arlington, Fairfax, Falls Church, Loudon, Frederick, Baltimore, and Annapolis.
NSG recorded three original albums along the way and had the honor of sharing the stage with many notable acts such as The James Cotton Blues Band, Steve Pryor Band, Billy Price, Danny Gatton, God Street Wine, New Riders of the Purple Sage, The Edgar Winter Group, New Potato Caboose, and Merl Saunders. They eventually parted ways amicably in 1996 with two blowout final shows at The Bayou in DC, and The Attic in Pittsburgh.
In 2020, during the COVID pandemic, the band reconnected online to play around with some old songs and once again explore some outlandish jams. Long-time brother, Chris “Elb” Elberfeld, a former member of Pittsburgh band Blackfish, who also played in multiple bands with Simoncelli and Dutwin before the formation of Neville Street Groove, reunited with his pals holding down the pulse on the drums to complete the band. After a few months of playing online from locations in DC, Pittsburgh, Philly, and Indianapolis, they decided to get together in person and play at a studio space in Pittsburgh, ushering in a new era for the group. Their first live performance in 27 years is set for August 12th 2023, along with future plans to release their first album over two decades.