Rundgren rocks with strings as Martin brings variety to ‘Genius'

Todd Rundgren joins the string quartet Ethel in the world-premiere of a new concert called “Tell Me Something Good” on Wednesday at the Phillips Center. (COURTESY OF ETHEL)

Published: Thursday, October 11, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, October 10, 2012 at 11:34 a.m.

How can performers take what they do to the next level? One way is by performing outside their comfort zones — or in ways perhaps wholly different from what their typical audiences might be expecting.

This week, performers both nationally and locally known will be doing just that in Gainesville: Todd Rundgren, a pop-rock king of the first magnitude and proven whiz in the studio, joins the string quartet Ethel to perform a brand-new work on Wednesday at the Phillips Center.

And Chuck Martin, the Gainesville singer/guitarist known for leading such local bands as dblWiDE and The Righteous Kind, hosts a TV-influenced variety show tonight at The Bull called “Chuck Martin's Genius Boy Music Show.”

Ethel with Todd Rundgren

Perhaps no other singer/songwriter has shown a knack for topping the pop-rock idiom while keeping his fingers in other musical pies at the same time than Rundgren. The singer/guitarist scored some of the best pure-pop hits in the '70s with such tunes as “I Saw the Light” and “Hello It's Me” in 1972 and 1973, respectively. Then he turned right around to lead the progressive rock group Utopia on several ground-breaking albums and tours, to say nothing of manning studio consoles to produce chart-topping albums for other artists as varied as Grand Funk Railroad and Meatloaf.

In recent years, he's performed with the acclaimed New York string quartet Ethel, and on Wednesday will present the world-premiere performance of their latest collaboration in Gainesville at the Phillips Center.

Billed as a nod to music of the '70s, the performance is called “Tell Me Something Good” and is expected to include arrangements of “I Saw the Light,” “Black Maria” and other songs in a concert also designed to leave room for striking compositions and improvisation.

The performance starts at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Phillips Center. Tickets are $15 to $30, available by calling 392-2787 online at

Chuck Martin's Genius Boy Music Show

If you only know singer/guitarist Martin from his stints in such colorful local bands as The Righteous Kind and dblWiDE, then a chance to see him in what could be a wholly different light comes tonight — when he hosts “Chuck Martin's Genius Boy Music Show” at The Bull starting at 9 p.m.

Martin says he was inspired by TV shows that he grew watching as a kid — from “The Smothers Brothers Show” to “The Glen Campbell Good Time Hour” — when forming the idea for this new musical variety show.

Martin will perform comedy and music both solo and with others including singers Michelle Bandfield, Rob McGregor, Jason Hedges and Tom Miller. The fun starts at 9 p.m. at The Bull, 18 SW First Ave. There is no cover charge.

Contact Entertainment Editor Bill Dean at 374-5039 or at, and follow on Twitter @SceneBillDean.

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