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Next time you check out an MP3 player, don't be surprised to hear a song by Niagara County's American Icon.

The trio finalized a deal with Eastech to have the song "American Icon" preloaded on new MP3 players produced, distributed and sold worldwide by manufacturers including Sony and Pioneer.

It's one way the band is gaining exposure in a music climate that necessitates creativity.

"You have to have faith in what you do and believe in yourself. You have to find alternatives to get your music heard, and that's what we're trying to do," said guitarist Joe Nocera. "Years ago if you turned yourself into being noticed regionally, it was a huge accomplishment. Now, with the Internet, you can give yourself international exposure. A lot of bands are realizing that and doing well. We're just starting out with this."

The trio - Nocera, singer-bassist Gary Smith and drummer Greg Pokoj - has also signed a music licensing deal with Choicetracks for movies, commercials, video games and television play. The American Icon song "Misery" hit the Top 10 on the adult alternative chart, and the group was the fourth-most downloaded artist for July at

The band has also received nominations in the Just Plain Folks Music Awards, taking place Nov. 17 in Hollywood. American Icon's "Drifting" was nominated as Best Rock Song, with the group's self-titled debut CD nominated as Best Rock Album. More than 35,000 songs and 2,400 CDs from 17 countries were considered.

American Icon performs at 10 p.m. Saturday in Backstage Pub, 454 Pearl St., with Superpimp and Off The Hook (Erie, Pa.). It's a 21-and-over show.

Guitar happy

What happens when you put nearly 30 Western New York guitarists in a room? You get "Hot Guitars from Buffalo, N.Y., Vol. 1," a new CD being released in concert Sunday in the Tralf.

The CD and the concert showcase guitarists including George Puleo, Tommy Z., John Brady, Bruce Brucato, Willie Haddath, Mark Winsick, Tony Scozzaro, Geoffrey Fitzhugh Perry and Doug Yeomans. A rhythm section, playing on 10 CD tracks, includes drummer Gary Mallaber (Bruce Springsteen) and bassist Nick Veltri. "Hot Guitars," recorded in Sessions Studio, was produced by guitarist Doug Morgano and engineered by Dwane Hall.

"This doesn't represent a band or a person, it's a collective," said participant Bob Falk. "It's great because these players come from across Western New York and play all sorts of styles, but they've come together for this."

Producer-performer Morgano said the project has been both fun and enlightening. "I knew there were a lot of good players, but this reinforced that thought. It was more than I hoped for," Morgano said. "Everyone was really happy to work together and collaborate."

The show starts at 8 p.m. Sunday. Portions of the $12 admission will be donated to the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame.


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