MATTHEW LARSEN & THE DOCUMENTS SAT NOV 1ST 8PM $12ADV W/ MARK SCHWABER
Matthew Larsen has been a member of the vibrant Western Massachusetts music scene for a few decades, attracting audiences with his introspective indiefolk piano pop songs. Sometimes short, quiet and sweet, and other times intense and cinematic, Matthew’s songs often recall serious health issues and mortality (Matthew successfully underwent a stem cell transplant at Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston in 2005). His band (Greg Saulmon, Alex Peterson) contributes multipart harmonies, thoughtful instrumentation and quiet, minimal percussion.
Mark Schwaber is a professional musician of more than two decades who has toured 19 countries and worked in studios with Lloyd Cole, Shadows Fall, Lou Barlow (Sebadoh, Dinosaur Jr), Fred Maher (Lou Reed), Joan Wasser (Joan as Policewoman), Matthew Sweet, and Mary Lou Lord. Mark’s eponymous releases "Two Years and Thirty Minutes" and "The Killing Card" as well as his work under the monikers Hospital and Home have been critically acclaimed. In 2013 Mark began work on his first solo record in over seven years, with Joel Stroetzel (Killswitch Engage).
Mike + Ruthy are hard touring folk musicians from the Hudson Valley. It doesn't just mean that they play square dances on old, dusty instruments (which they do), it means they write about the times we live in using sturdy old-time melodies as their bedrock. Buckle a couple kids up in the backseat (check!) and you've got something that looks a lot like the American bohemian dream. They host their own festival (homeofthehoot.com), have archive endorsed co-writes with Woody Guthrie and Allen Ginsberg, postcards of encouragement from none other than the late Pete Seeger, and miles upon miles or touring under their belts supporting one of the best catalogs of original music being performed today.
"Some of the best songwriting of their generation" - LA weekly "Pristine" - New York Times "Infectious" - Boston Globe
JAYME STONE'S LOMAX PROJECT SAT NOV 8TH 8PM $15 FEATURING: JAYME STONE MARGERET GLASPY ELI WEST & Special Guest Tatiana Hargreaves
Focusing on songs collected by folklorist and field recording pioneer Alan Lomax, this collaboratory brings together some of North America's most distinctive and creative roots musicians to revive, recycle and re-imagine traditional music. The repertoire includes Bahamian sea chanties, African-American acappella singing from the Georgia Sea Islands, ancient Appalachian ballads, fiddle tunes and work songs collected from both well-known musicians and everyday folk: muleskinners, roustabouts, sawyers, prisoners, homemakers and schoolchildren.
"A transatlantic session with blood, guts and grit." THE HERALD "The Yo-Yo Ma of the banjo." GLOBE AND MAIL “This is what the future of the banjo sounds like.” SONGLINES “I take back what I said about Jayme Stone.” STEVE MARTIN
Plenty a future has been pondered in a French café, and so it was for Sallie Ford. During a tiring tour of Europe last winter Ford's then-bandmate Jeff Munger mentioned he was ready for a break from the tours Ford and her band, The Sound Outside, had logged. She said she too was ready for something new. "And I said, 'I wish I could have an all-girl band,'" Ford says. She could. Ford calls Slap Back, her Vanguard Records debut an "ode to all the babe rockers." To Pat Benatar and PJ Harvey, Xene Cervenka, and Joan Jett, and Heart. But it's also her first album without guitarist Munger, bassist Tyler Tornfelt and drummer Ford Tennis, so Slap Back is just as much an ode to herself, to her accomplishments and her ambitions.
In 2009, Eric Bachmann, who writes, records, and performs songs mainly under the name Crooked Fingers, would have scoffed at the idea that he'd be releasing a new record in a few years. Or, it's unlikely he'd have scoffed at anything, really, because he's not the kind of guy who flounces about with words like "scoff"-"you're full of shit" seems entirely more likely a response. Lucky for us, however he'd have described it, he would have been wrong. All of which is maybe the long way around to saying that Bachmann did what he could to prevent this new Crooked Fingers record, the first since the 2008 release of Forfeit/Fortune, from ever coming out. And again, lucky for us, he failed.
Battlefield Band are one of the great institutions of Scottish traditional music. Inspired by their rich heritage and fired by the strength and vibrancy of today's Scottish cultural scene, which they have done much to create and fuel, their seamless fusion of ancient and contemporary music and song has continually evolved over the decades, confirming their position as vital composers and interpreters at the forefront of a living tradition.
Named after the Glasgow suburb of Battlefield, where the group was formed by four student friends in 1969, they have now been on the world's roads for over forty five years, distilling their own unique form of the Scottish spirit. They've performed in Germany, Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Holland, Syria, Jordan, India, Sri Lanka, Egypt, U.S.A., Canada, Uzbekistan, China and the U.K; breaking down barriers and pioneering many new directions which others have followed. Angry, joyful, raucous, contemplative, their music is most importantly - accessible to all.
In a career that now spans two decades, New York duo Maura and Pete Kennedy have traversed a broad musical landscape, surveying power pop, acoustic songwriting, organic rock rooted in their early days in Austin, and a Byrds-inspired jangle that drew the attention of McGuinn, Steve Earle, and most notably Nanci Griffith, whose latest CD they helped to co-produce. On their new release, "Closer Than You Know", The Kennedys strike out into new territory, this time inspired by a sojourn in Paris, where they immersed themselves in the turn of another century. As writers and producers, the Kennedys continue to mature, from their early style-conscious pop to today's burnished sheen. Always tuned to their own muse, Pete and Maura have once again come up with a unique sound that is as uplifting as it is unclassifiable.
The daughter of two preacher’s kids, Pieta Brown’s early upbringing in Iowa was in a rural outpost with no furnace, running water, or TV. There, she was exposed to traditional and rural folk music through her father, Greg Brown, the now beloved Midwestern folk singer. Later, while living with her mother in Birmingham, Alabama during her formative years, Pieta drew on and expanded these influences and began writing poems and composing instrumental songs on piano. By the time she left home at 18 she had lived in at least 19 different houses and apartments between Iowa and Alabama. In her early 20's, after experiencing what she describes as "the songs calling", Pieta started experimenting with the banjo and eventually picked up a 1930's Maybell arch-top guitar during a visit to her father's place and never looked back. Emerging from a disjointed and distinctly 'bohemian' upbringing, Pieta began performing live and making independent recordings soon after teaching herself how to play guitar. "I grew up around a lot of musicians and artists living on the fringe, and have always felt most at home among them," Pieta says.
J.P. Harris and The Tough Choices play Country Music. Period. No “pop‐,” “alt‐,” “rock‐,” “folk‐,” etc. prefixes. Sick and tired of the modern Pop‐Country filth broadcast shamelessly and persistently across our beautiful countrysides, The Tough Choices set out to right the wrongs done to a music so classically and quintessentially American. As we speak, Hank Williams, Buck Owens, Carl Smith, and countless other champions of Honky Tonk are rolling in their graves, groaning with disgust over the watered‐down contemporary excuse that the “Country” music industry presents us for music. Save a few Randy Travis gems and Alan Jackson hits, this flim‐ flam is pathetic, at best.
When The Tough Choices began, there were only two rules: keep it country, and keep it simple. They have done both, yet still weave burning pedal steel leads and painfully genuine guitar solos with the cool calm of a Spaghetti‐Western Clint Eastwood. The Tough Choices have been described as such:
While best known for her stop-you-in-your-tracks voice, Liz has steadily developed a reputation as an accomplished songwriter, crafting intimately personal portraits through her music. In the past two years, Liz has taken home top prizes at some of the most prestigious songwriting competitions in the country, including the BMI John Lennon Songwriting Scholarship Competition, the International Acoustic Music Awards and the Rocky Mountain Folk Fest Songwriting Competition. New England named her the 2011 Female Performer of the Year, the Washington Post declared that Liz is "destined for a larger audience" and Dig Boston called her "a rising acoustic sensation." Even John Mayer is a fan, calling her music "gorgeous, simply gorgeous."
Ari Hest has become one of the most prodigious names in contemporary song writing. Since beginning to write songs in his late teens, Hest has released seven albums and three EP's. Using a constant, moment driven writing process, Ari pens songs both esoteric and organic. Catch him before the show and you'll likely find him humming a tune into his cell phone or scribbling lyrics into a back-pocket notebook. That's the way Ari's music is; immediate, honest, close to the heart and on the tip of the tongue. It's a way of making sense of things and a conduit through which we find ourselves getting to know Ari himself.
IN DEPTH CONVERSATION WITH CHRIS SMITHER FRI NOV 28TH 1PM $10
Signature Sounds President Jim Olsen interviews Chris Smither live about his 50 years as a recording artist, touring musician.
Born in Miami, during World War II, Chris Smither grew up in New Orleans where he first started playing music as a child. The son of a Tulane University professor, he was taught the rudiments of instrumentation by his uncle on his mother’s ukulele. “Uncle Howard,” Smither says, “showed me that if you knew three chords, you could play a lot of the songs you heard on the radio. And if you knew four chords, you could pretty much rule the world.” With that bit of knowledge under his belt, he was hooked. “I’d loved acoustic music – specifically the blues – ever since I first heard Lightnin’ Hopkins’ Blues In My Bottle album. I couldn’t believe the sound Hopkins got. At first I thought it was two guys playing guitar. My style, to a degree, came out of trying to imitate that sound I heard.”
Dave Carter (August 13, 1952 – July 19, 2002) was an American folk singer-songwriter who described his style as "post-modern mythic American folk music." He was one half of the duo Dave Carter and Tracy Grammer, who were heralded as the new "voice of modern folk music" in the months before Carter's unexpected death in July 2002.
Jim Olsen, president of Carter's record label, Signature Sounds, said, "I always believed it would only take one cover by a major star to unveil his work to the rest of the world; and I was convinced that was going to happen. Somebody was going to open the door for them; and the thing about Dave's music is that once people heard it, they became lifelong fans."
Rusty Belle has a curious habit of coaxing very different, even huge sounds out of a relatively small stable of acoustic instruments. Some tunes offer harmonies reminiscent of '60s folk, others country blues, and still others a plaintive, swinging melancholy.
Matt Lorenz, Kate Lorenz and Zak Trojano harmonize with intuitive strength while laying down a percussive layer of junk drums, classical and electric guitars and an odd array of melodic instruments. Expect to hear anything from a whiskey lullaby or a tiny tango to a rock anthem or a smoky blues. Poignant, honest lyrics with a rustic, dusty feel. Rusty Belle is unpredictable, original and raw. It is a convergence of styles. Not a knew genre, but a fresh approach.
CD RELEASE PARTY KATHERINE FIRST & KITCHEN PARTY SUN DEC 7TH 2PM $10 followed by a Irish/Old Timey session
What do you get when you mix the fiddle, piano accordion, banjo, guitar, djembe Ching-Ching and Irish step dancers? Katherine First & Kitchen Party! This is a band that has been playing around the Pioneer Valley for many years. Playing their favorite blend of Americana with an Irish/Old Timey twist is the way to describe this group of seasoned musicians. Audience participation is always part of the show and expect a few talented young fiddlers to saddle up to the stage and join the band. Kitchen Party will be performing at the Parlor Room on Sunday, December 7 at 2:00 to celebrate the release of their new CD entitled Dancing Tables and Dancing Chairs. The show will kick off with a set of music from the new CD, will feature local Irish step dancers, and end with an Irish/Old Timey session. So, come one, come all, bring your instruments if you have one, and let’s have ourselves a good old Kitchen Party!
The Surly Temple is: Doug Plavin-Drums, Vocals Guy Devito-Bass, Vocals Jim Henry-Guitar, Vocals
These long-time Valley music luminaries play with the best: Mary Chapin Carpenter, Steppenwolf, Stevie Wonder, Fat, Shawn Colvin, Dar Williams, The Weepies, Tracy Grammer, Susan Werner, Eliza Gilkyson.
When they're not on the road putting the sparkle on someone else's star The Surly Temple get together and play music that they love- some original, some by artists you know, some you don't. With rotating lead vocal duties, the "Temple" is where these guys go to take center stage and shine on their own with the emphasis on great songs and deep grooves. Top-shelf musical chops and tight arrangements add up to a fun night of music that'll tickle your ear and make your feet itch...in a good way.
TWO SHOWS SUN PARADE W/ SPECIAL GUESTS WINTERPILLS SAT DEC 13TH 7 & 9PM
The four gents of The Sun Parade are temporarily back from the road, where they've been opening for Signature Sounds' recording artists Lake Street Dive. Their path happens to cross tonight with their friends, the Noho-based Winterpills, whose lead singers have been touring their wonder-cabinet CD release, Echolalia (Signature Sounds). In short: The Parlor Room stage is set for a night of indie hometown fun.
The Sun Parade worksin the great American rock tradition, smuggling rogue love and existential urgency into the room on get-happy grooves. The band's whimsical boy-needs-girl hit "Need You By My Side" (Yossis, 2012) caught this city's attention. Their new EP Heart's Out delivers on the promise of that fine tunesmithing with a six-song catalog of love collisions; casual sandwich obsession; and Northern, psychedelic, basement guitar licks. The longer this band tours, the more we hear the influences of Afro-pop, Elliott Smith, bluegrass brother harmonies, and four gents from Liverpool.
Winterpills has garnered high praise in The New York Times, Rolling Stone, Paste, No Depression, and on NPR, for what we would call a big, blissful, heartbroken, shimmering, chamber-pop love song to the world. This is a band equally at home in rock halls as folk coffee houses. Echolalia is their sixth album, mainly the studio work of lead singers Philip Price and Flora Reed. A dozen re-imagined covers comprise a wild archive: Sharon Van Etten's One Day, Buddy Holly's Learning the Game, Damien Jurado's Museum of Flight, The Beatles' Cry Baby Cry, XTC's Train Running Low on Soul Coal, Nick Drake's Time of No Reply …
Winterpills' songs are "densely packed but hugely evocative, tiny bombs of feeling and meaning … fiendishly melodic." -- The Washington Post
TONY TRISCHKA WED DEC 17TH PRESENTS: GLORY SHOWN AROUND W/ TIM ERIKSEN & ZOE DARROW
Glory Shown Around is Tony Trischka’s banjo-driven celebration of the season. Based on his critically acclaimed Rounder Records release of the same name, with this show Tony turns his considerable melodic inventiveness loose on Bluegrass and Americana music for the holidays.
With the backing of his band of extraordinary musicians, Tony is joined by shape-note singer and multi- instrumentalist Tim Eriksen and vocalist Zoe Darrow. A diverse, highly textural seasonal collection, Trischka also revels in songs long forgotten and little known. A “celebration of Americana, sometimes lively, sometimes stately,” (Washington Post), the music of Glory Shone Around is “always excellent, full of fine surprises and memorable moments” (The New York Times).