BY TOM NETHERLAND
SPECIAL TO THE HERALD COURIER
By the time the Beatles invaded America in 1964, the Fab Four had already captured the hearts of England’s youth.
Including Laurence Juber.
"I was motivated to play guitar because 1963 was a very heady year for me," said Juber. "That’s the year that the Beatles took off over there."
The Beatles set Juber on a path that leads him to the Wellmont Center for the Arts in Blountville, Tenn. on May 1.
"I’ll play some Beatles songs, great American songbook songs, some original songs, rock ‘n’ roll, Broadway," Juber said. "I call it borderline everything. It’s pop, blues, jazz, rock."
Juber’s performances serve as a sampling of where he’s been, what he’s done, where he’s at and perhaps where he’s going musically. He’s not a household name. However, odds are high that his music has been in most American homes at one time or another.
For example, most may assume that his stint as a member of Wings with Paul McCartney from 1979-81 proved his most prolific years. Not so.
"The best selling record I played on was not a Wings album," Juber said. "It was ‘Dirty Dancing,’ which sold 14 million records. There’s something very satisfying about that."
Juber’s also played on several albums by Barry Manilow, including 2011s "15 Minutes." Add to that appearances on albums by The Monkees, Linda McCartney, Paul Williams, Al Stewart, Lou Rawls, the Alan Parsons Project and so forth.
"There are certain things that I can point to and say, ‘that was pretty cool,’" Juber said.
Classify as royally cool Juber’s guitar playing in the James Bond film "The Spy Who Loved Me." Toss that among his vast pile of performances and it serves to add spice to his live shows.
"It keeps people engaged," Juber said. "My audience seems very eclectic. I seem to reach a wide range of people. There’s even a little bit of flamenco, a little nod to country, too. I can easily go from funk to bluegrass."
Scan Juber’s 20 solo albums. From his earliest of albums "Solo Flight" to his latest "Sound of Light," Juber tackles material as varied as Beatles pop to "Wayfaring Stranger." Juber’s something of a sonic explorer. He ventures wherever his guitar takes him.
Take his new album.
"It’s an hour long," Juber said. "You can play it while getting a massage. You can play it at a dinner party. Or you can crank it up."
Call it a whatever it takes approach to music. Juber’s a rare talent whose talents apply to dizzying arrays of styles, which charges forth from his records and his shows with a point attached.
"To entertain," Juber said. "That’s the deal. To keep people entertained."
Tom Netherland is a freelance writer. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you go
» Who: Laurence Juber
» When: May 1, 7 p.m.
» Where: Wellmont Regional Center for the Performing Arts at Northeast State Community College, 2425 Hwy. 75, Blountville, Tenn.
» Admission: Free
» Info: (423) 279-7669
» Web/audio/video: www.laurencejuber.com