Michael Stanley is coming back to ''Hang'' in Warren.
After filling Packard Music Hall in 2010, Michael Stanley & the Resonators and his former bandmate Jonah Koslen will try to do the same at Warren Community Amphitheatre on Saturday as part of the River Rock at the Amp concert series.
Of course, Stanley's history in the Mahoning Valley goes back more than a couple of years. Outside of greater Cleveland, Warren-Youngstown may boast more Stanley fans than any other market. And many of his Michael Stanley Band mates and crew members had Valley ties.
Tribune file photo
Former Michael Stanley Band member Jonah Koslen, left, will open for Michael Stanley Saturday as part of the River Rock at the Amp concert series.
''It sounds like a cliche, but it's just always great to play in that area,'' Stanley said. ''Folks down there are good rock 'n' roll people. I can't remember ever having a bad time playing in that area.''
Stanley first saw the amphitheater when he was here in March for a press conference announcing the show.
''I didn't even know it was there,'' Stanley said ''It's just a beautiful set-up. I don't know what it will sound like, but I'm looking forward to finding out. It's just a really nice set-up and music fans don't always get really nice set-ups.''
When You Go
WHO: Michael Stanley & the Resonators, Jonah Koslen and The HouseBand
WHEN: Gates open at 5 p.m. Saturday. The HouseBand is scheduled to start at 6 p.m., followed by Koslen at 7:15 p.m. and Stanley at 8:30 p.m.
WHERE: Warren Community Amphitheatre, 303 Mahoning Ave. N.W., Warren
HOW MUCH: $10 general admission. VIP seating is sold out.
River Rock promoter Sunrise Entertainment is partnering with Packed House Productions, which promoted the Packard show, for the outdoor concert. That 2010 concert raised $15,000 each for SCOPE Inc. and Hospice of the Valley, and a portion of the proceeds from Saturday's event will benefit Trumbull Mobile Meals and the Warren Lions Club.
Stanley's return follows the release last month of his album ''The Hang.'' While the reflective tone of several of the tracks seems to be influenced by the death of his wife, Denise Skinner, last year, the album essentially was written and mostly recorded before his wife was diagnosed with cancer.
''It was all written beforehand,'' Stanley said. ''Listening to it, it sounds like a bunch was written afterward, but it's more a case of life imitating art,'' he said. ''Most of the recording was done. I just had to put the finishing process on hold until the medical situation ...''
The one song he decided to include while his wife was ill was a cover of Dire Straits' ''Romeo and Juliet.'' Not only was it one of her favorite songs, ''It kind of represented when we first met 30 years ago,'' Stanley said.
The title track is about picking the right people to be with on the journey of life. These days Stanley hangs musically with the Resonators. Drummer Tommy Dobeck, pianist Bob Pelander and guitar player Danny Powers date back to his Michael Stanley Band days. Some of the others - Jennifer Lee, vocals and percussion; Rodney Psyka, percussion and vocals; Marc Lee Shannon, guitar; Eroc Sosinski, bass and vocals; and Paul Christensen, saxophone - he's been playing with longer than the original MSB lineup.
''I decided that it was important to me, if I was going to make music, it was important to make music with people I wanted to spend time with,'' Stanley said. ''Not that that wasn't the case with the old band, but I didn't want it to be who's the hottest, or who's the cheapest, whatever. I wanted people I wanted to spend time with.''
The audience Saturday probably will get to hear a couple of songs Saturday from ''The Hang,'' the title track and maybe one other, he said.
''People think these things (setlists) are set in stone, but it's really what moves you on that day.''
Stanley said he knows many in the audience want to hear the old favorites, but he hopes the new songs will pique their interest to check out ''The Hang.'' And he's already thinking about the next record, which he said will be more ''frivolous'' than the current disc.
''I have far more songs than I need for it ... It won't be a dark, emotional album, because that's what we need now. It should be done and out by the holidays.''
If the band had the opportunity to tour more (day jobs like Stanley's afternoon shift on WNCX-FM in Cleveland limit Resonators' touring schedule to weekends), it might road test some of those new songs. Instead, Stanley keeps the focus on songs that fans in the Mahoning Valley have been coming to hear for 30 years or more.
''I've been really lucky, and the people that follow us expect us to do what we do and come to hear certain things, and that's what we're happy to do.''