Lot Like Love
Nathan Hefner has been charming audiences all over the east coast for more than 10 years with his dazzling repertoire of music encompassing nearly 70 years of musical triumph. From the tranquil sounds of the early crooners to the edgier rockabilly of the 50's and 60's, when Hefner opens a number, his energy and vocal grace bring to life an age that has passed us by--if only for the duration of a song. The swinging brass of the big bands as well as the intimate sounds of the post W.W.II era captivated young Hefner. His appreciation of the music led him to begin singing publicly at age 3 and playing piano by age 5. Hefner was already performing for local events and various civic organizations by the age of 11. He continued his solo performing into high school where he met his collaborators in creating one of the area's premiere swing and jazz groups. In 1992, Hefner and three schoolmates (David Wortman, Melanie Barrett & Gene Elliott ) formed Sentimental Journey. The group was well received by the local public and performed constantly throughout '92 and '93. One of their more notable shows was 'Sentimental Journey- Reunion' performed in response to local interest generated during a brief hiatus (Natalie Cannon had joined when Melanie Barrett was at college). The four members parted ways after high school and the name lay dormant until '96 when Hefner created a new incarnation of Sentimental Journey- this time as a trio (with Wes Powers and Audra Ratliff). The group had yet to see it's greatest success. While already enjoying popularity throughout the Southeast, Hefner has a dream come true...In 1997, Sentimental Journey opened for Hefner's idol, the legendary Patti Page. That same year, the trio participated in the opening of Harrah's Casino in Cherokee with a three-night run. In 1998, Sentimental Journey had the privilege of kicking off the Jacksonville Jazz Festival, one of the three largest such festivals in the US. The group also had a request from Academy Award winning actress, Reese Witherspoon, to be the exclusive entertainment for her Charleston, SC wedding to Ryan Phillipe. Sentimental journey entertained well and often until the latter months of 1999 when Hefner formally dissolved the group. Hefner's solo performing career has continued throughout. His many notable shows include performances with the Smothers Brothers, The Lettermen, and Concord Jazz artist Dennis Rowland. Hefner, along with Catherine Eason, also has headlined the Grand Hyatt Ballroom in NYC. Hefner and Eason still team up occasionally, including annual benefits that have been held in Charleston, SC and at Spirit Square in Charlotte, NC--always drawing a packed house. In 1999, Hefner teamed up with Atlanta singing personality, Lenny Stabile in what would become one of his most successful ventures. The two artists (Stabile 60, Hefner 25) created the popular 'Two Of A Kind'act based upon the song written by music legends Johnny Mercer and Bobby Darin. Both singers were an immediate hit with audiences everywhere. Hefner was finally able to incorporate 'rat pack' style comedy into his routine as the two traded hilarious quips with each other. Sadly, Stabile died suddenly in 2002. A month after Lenny's death, 'Two Of A Kind' hit the SwingTop40 chart peaking at #25, a testament of the fans' unwavering support and love. With his singing partner Lenny gone, Hefner picked up and moved forward. He decided to work again as a single, typically accompanied by a drummer. By down sizing, Hefner was able to work much more throughout the year, at times working as many as eight dates or more a week. In 2003, Hefner was presented the opportunity to record with some of the area's finest jazz players on a concept album created by friend and drummer Rick Cline. Hefner had for many years been very reluctant to write original pieces and even more leery of performing them. Then after nearly five years of nothing, Hefner wrote 'It's Raining Again'. The recording on Cline's album quickly became a favorite from the CD as well on the radio. In 2003, a long awaited reunion took place. To celebrate their 10 year anniversary, Sentimental Journey reunited for a much anticipated concert. Also released that evening was a commemorative CD containing recordings (most of them unreleased) over the group's 10 year span. In 2004, Hefner returned to his roots in Morganton, NC to perform with legendary groups The Four Aces and The Orioles. Hefner continues to work with award winning vocalist Jackie Finley in local venues and southeastern shows including an opening act for Travis Tritt and a wonderfully received holiday concert in 2006 called 'Christmas On Broadway'. In 2007, Hefner & Finley opened for country music star JoDee Messina. Most recently, the two starred in a Christmas concert entitled 'The Days Of Wine, Roses & Christmas'. The show featured the lyrics of Johnny Mercer and was well received by the audience. In 2008, Hefner will release his first solo album in years, 'A Lot Like Love'. The album will feature romantic favorites and will also include two of Hefner's original songs, 'I'm Always The Other Guy' and the title track, 'A Lot Like Love' Whether it's small town festivals or big name events, intimate jazz ensembles or smoking big band revues, the music never stops. With a schedule growing ever more hectic (at nearly 300 dates a year), Hefner continues winning enthusiastic fans and adding a new style to an old song and dance.
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