Paul Kares underwrites student’s Roots Rock Revival tuition

September 12, 2023

Lewes-based Paul Kares, a nonprofit dedicated to supporting young musicians, recently paid for Noah Gibney to attend Roots Rock Revival, an event held in the Catskills and inspired by the music of the Allman Brothers, the Grateful Dead and American roots traditions.

Held from July 31 to Aug. 4, the event included workshops with well-known musicians, jam sessions, open rehearsals, and question-and-answer sessions.

Gibney, who lives in Wyomissing, Pa., became interested in the event at the urging of Delaware’s Fitzkee Brothers, Alex and Drew, whom he met through band promoter Elena Brokus.

“We realized we worked very well together, and we’ve been playing together ever since,” said Gibney, 16, who also plays guitar, bass, harmonica, ukulele and accordion. He is a percussionist as well.

Gibney and the Fitzkees have toured with Melody Trucks, daughter of Butch Trucks of the Allman Brothers, during her Road to Roots tour.

Cullen, who founded Paul Kares with Jim Rivette, said the organization’s mission is to encourage young musicians like Gibney.

The nonprofit also supports youth interested in culinary careers. That’s because Cullen played bass for the rock band Bad Company before becoming a sommelier and personal chef. He combines the two during his in-home dining events, which end with a private concert.

Cullen knows that the music and hospitality industries are challenging, said Michael Whitehouse, Paul Kares executive director.

“But young people should pursue their passions, especially when they are as talented as Noah,” Whitehouse said. “The performing and culinary arts require determination and dedication. We want to help them reach their dreams.”

Indeed, Gibney made an impression at a young age. In 2021, he recorded and released a six-track EP, “The Serendipity Sessions,” in collaboration with Philadelphia native Garrett Drew Dutton (aka G. Love of G. Love & Special Sauce).

When he was 14, Gibney sent a copy of the EP to President Joe Biden, who arranged to meet the student during a visit to a factory in Macungie, Pa.

Gibney signed the EP for the president, who signed one for him. The message: “Don’t forget about me when you hit the charts.”

At Roots Rock Revival, Gibney learned from jam band legends including Oteil Burbridge of Dead and Company, Eric Krasno, John “JoJo” Hermann of Widespread Panic, and Luther and Cody Dickinson of the North Mississippi Allstars.

“Little did I know that this adventure would lead to me performing on the main stage alongside these incredible artists,” he said. JoJo Hermann recognized Gibney during a workshop and invited him to perform with Oteill and friends for a song. Hermann was so impressed he asked the teen to stay the whole evening.

Gibney’s parents said they appreciate organizations like Paul Kares.

“Finding people and programs that facilitate growth is not easy and can be expensive,” Jeremy Gibney said. “But this award has allowed Noah to participate, and continue to share his love and talent of music with others. We are deeply grateful.”

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