Local Music Spotlight: Nightcap

by Jason C Mitchell

Tara found herself on stage for the first time with her current Nightcap band mate Sean in 2011 while performing with the group Jukebox Thieves. The group consisted of Tara Rae , Sean Howe , Chris Gardiner, Stephen Payne and James Lanore. After two years she parted ways with Jukebox Thieves and Tara found herself in the band Piranhas with the two founding members Mike Damron and Dylan Galvin . She played with for them for a year in 2013 before leaving Southern Maryland for West Virginia in 2014, when her boyfriend Karic got a contracting job after departing active duty service. She returned to Southern Maryland in 2015 ready to bring music back into her life.

Sean and Tara go back about eight years. They met each other when Tara join Jukebox Thieves. When she departed to join Piranhas, Sean stayed with the group for a bit longer. Sean then joined the band “A View From Here” that consisted of a few members from Stephen Payne, Joey Frosio, Vincent Green, and eventually Michelle Beever. Sean stayed with the band during the beginnings of Nightcap, until about October 2015.

At that point ” A View from Here” disbanded and Sean and Tara were full-time with Nightcap His passion in music was still there so when she moved back it seemed the time was right for the pair reunite. They began practicing some acoustic sets and getting back into the groove of playing together.

“It wasn’t like starting completely over. Though I had been gone for a year we still had some contacts. In some ways it was different. Being a full band versus a duo you don’t get the same shows.” They worked on a set list that met the sound of the duo. Their first gig was at Gilligan’s Pier in Newburg, MD. From there, they began playing all over Southern Maryland in places like The Rex(Leonardtown), Heavy Hitters(Mechanicsville), Olde Towne Pub, Babes Boys Tavern to name a few.

“We still had connections there(Gilligans). When I called looking to schedule something they were very open to it.” Of course the night was a great success for the duo. They had the support of their family, friends, and fans that welcomed the new musical venture with open arms.

Since that first show Nightcap has been hard at work and active in the SoMD music scene. Tara has been busy trying to add new venues to the 2019 list. “I have a few goals I set for 2019. First is playing new venues. I want us to play at locations that we haven’t had the chance to yet. Second, is staying consistent with adding new songs into our set. Sean and I are always doing our best to rotate material, but I want it to be a focus and to stay on top of it. Third is more recordings and collaborations like the one we did with Trilogy. I had a lot of fun with that experience. I’d really like us to get in a studio and record. The fourth is posting more videos of Nightcap.

Social media presence is important and so is content. I want to make sure that we stay active and get people interested in what we are doing.” In addition Sean also had some goals he highlighted. “Tara and I really enjoy acoustic though we both still crave the full band environment. She has the perfect voice for some soulful acoustic songs. If the opportunity arises we’ve talked about expanding into a full band or at least adding percussion for some shows.”

This past Christmas Nightcap collaborated with Trilogy and recorded a rendition of Little Drummer Boy. With Trilogy’s Aaron Altieri heading the recording and producing, they set to work. “I was sick the whole week leading up to the recording.” Tara recalled, “There was that high note and I wasn’t sure it was going to actually come out of me. I remember when I hit it I was so thankful. I didn’t want to feel like I was going to waste everyone’s time if I showed up and couldn’t sing the part.” The song is actually spectacular and you would never have guessed Tara was recovering from being ill.

So what’s next for Nightcap? Well Tara said she’s already got them few new venues lined up for the year. They are playing out four to six shows a month. Check out the amazing duo and what they are cooking up for 2019!