Rosie and the Rivets, a hip local quartet known for their energetic, soulful and harmonious renditions of the best danceable hits from the 1950s and 1960s, blew the doors off the Levy Senior Center gym at the free Jamming Jean Concert on Dec. 6, courtesy of the Levy Senior Center Foundation.
The crowd danced to the music and feasted on food, available for purchase, from Hecky’s Barbecue.
Rosie and the Rivets pride themselves on their big sound and strong musicianship. Frank Canino plays lead guitar and sings vocals, Marc Edelstein – an Evanston resident – plays string bass, Derrick Martens plays the drums, and Christine Murphy, aka Rosie, sings lead vocals and plays guitar.
They consider themselves a retro band and are fastidious about the details: their stage wardrobe, instruments, microphones and hair and makeup are all authentic and true to the time period. They are upbeat, fun and family-friendly, known as “the premier retro rock ‘n’ roll show.” Friday’s audience included people of all ages, ranging from small children to seniors.
The band’s secret weapon is Ms. Murphy. Her stage presence is bubbly, friendly and confident. She describes her height as “5’4” without the hair,” which was quite substantial that evening. Promptly at 5 p.m., the men (the Rivets) took to the stage and started playing the chords to “Jailhouse Rock.”
After Mr. Canino’s introduction of the group, Rosie (Ms. Murphy) made her entrance, waved and said hello to the audience. And then she opened her mouth and started to sing.
What came out was raw vocal power encased in a rich, melodic voice. Rosie sings, growls, teases, flirts and lights up the familiar lyrics – often while playing the guitar – disarming unsuspecting listeners. Ms. Murphy’s petite frame hides a really big voice, and she uses it to the hilt. She and the Rivets delighted the audience.
A former model, Ms. Murphy was working full-time as a flight attendant when she and Mr. Canino met. Sometime in 2014 they were hanging out one afternoon while he was playing his guitar. She started to sing along , and he could not believe her artistry and musical talent – so much power in one voice.
They started booking weekend gigs together as a duo, scheduling performing commitments around her flight schedule. Mr. Canino encouraged Ms. Murphy to retire from her career with the airline and pursue singing professionally. Three months after they started working as a duo, she resigned from the airline and has never looked back.
Shortly thereafter, Mr. Cannon and Ms. Murphy expanded the group to four; Mr. Edelstein and Mr. Martens joined the band in 2017.
Their bookings take them to concerts, festivals, theaters, casinos and a host of corporate and private events throughout the Midwest. Mr. Canino said the criteria for any song in their repertoire are, “It’s got to be a hit and danceable.” Mr. Edelstein added, “We play material that everyone knows and no one performs.”
Their evident onstage teamwork and musicianship convey a contagious joy to their audience. At the Dec. 6 concert, people were leaving their seats to dance by the third song.
Two hours later, the room was still buzzing with concert-goers dancing, swaying, singing and clapping. Rosie selected and announced the evening’s raffle winner – a regular Jamming Jean feature – and then treated the crowd to one more song. She and the Rivets rocked the room with their treatment of “Twist and Shout” before signing off for the night. The crowd dispersed, sharing expressions of appreciation and thanks with the Levy Center staff. It was a marvelous evening and a joyous start to Evanston’s holiday season.
The next free Jamming Jean Concert is scheduled for 5 p.m. on March 6, when the Dee Alexander Quintet, a well-known Chicago jazz group, will perform. Jamming Jean Concerts, funded by an anonymous donor who loved music and Evanston, are designed to showcase Evanston’s rich cultural and ethnic diversity in a forum suitable for all ages.