On this glorious Monday we catch up with the songwriting, multi-instrument playing, stylish hat wearing, character that is Greg Klyma. A very engrained musician in this local community, an advocate for bringing folks together, and a hardworking traveling mistrel of sorts, Klyma has been singing his songs around town for years and building a following of friends and fans as a result. He tells us all about his most recent ventures, including a new record and his Americana Mondays series, in this edition of "Catching Up With"...
1) Ok, first and foremost, in as few sentences as possible, Who are you and what do you do?
GK: My name is Greg Klyma. I host Americana Mondays here in Somerville (it's the weekly good time) and occasionally tour in support of a new album. My latest is called Another Man's Treasure. You're gonna dig it.
2) Greg Klyma, the songwriter, the artist, the performer has been around the Boston music scene for quite some time. How have you seen it develop over the years? Do you think it has improved? Do you think it could improve more?
GK: In Scott Alarik's novel, Revival, there is a passage where the lead character quotes Pete Seeger. I take it that Pete once said: If you're a musician, it means you're going to die unfulfilled. It means you'll spend the rest of your life on an upward learning curve, because you'll never be as good as you can be. You'll die an apprentice, a student; and there's nothing better than that. To have achieved the best you can ever be - that's a tragedy.
From Aug 1998 till Aug 2010, I lived out of my van, man - traveling around the country, seeing friends and playing shows. The first time I came here from Buffalo was sometime around 1997-98; I played open mics and crashed with friends. Danielle Miraglia booked me to play my first paying gig here sometime in 2001 or 2002 when she hosted the then new songwriter series in the Burren Back Room. I think it was 2007 when I really made a point of being back every 3-4 months, but it wasn't until Aug 2010 that I started living here and immersing myself in this great community.
I honestly don't know that I have a perspective on how the scene has developed over the years, ya know. That would be a question better answered by maybe Sean Staples or Billy Beard. What I do know is that my own life has improved considerably for being surrounded by art in the company of talented musicians and writers on a daily basis. I love it here. Do I think it could improve more? Taking a note from Mr. Seeger, I hope it never stops.
3) You had a new release come out recently, and now along with it, a release show as well. What are the details of both?
GK: Another Man's Treasure was released to radio on Nov. 1, 2013. It debuted at #20 on the Folk DJ Chart, #49 on the national Roots Music Report and got into rotation here in town on WUMB - all amazing things. The album was recorded in a small town south of Buffalo - Eden, NY - with Ryan Fitzsimmons, Mark Whitaker, Chris DeSanty, Jeff Gaynor, Michael Eck, Ashlee Amoia and Jim Whitword - the only time they have ever all played together. We recorded 16 tracks on 1 inch tape in just 21 studio hours over the course of 2 gorgeous days in June. Then boiled it down to the 12 tracks that made the best album.
The album is available online here:
Ryan Fitzsimmons, Chris DeSanty, Mark Whitaker and I will be joined by Kirstin Lamb on upright bass on Sat. Jan. 25 for the official CD release party at Sally O' Brien's in Union Square.
4) What inspires you as a songwriter?
GK: I like wordplay and enjoy the English language. What inspires me? Based on some of the songs I play regularly I guess love, fear, loss and hope, maple syrup, kale, chicken, the City of Buffalo and another town, history, natural disasters, the wastefulness of mankind, time flying in this circular world, men in my family, the fact that I don't remember my dreams and the notion that I'm livin' the life. Probably some other stuff, too, I figure we're only here for a short, short while.
5) Boston is noted as a very community driven music scene (especially this folk/Americana community). You are really doing your part with your Americana Mondays series. Tell us about it and how have you experienced the community here and what are your thoughts about it?
GK: Yes, Americana Mondays! Thank you. The weekly good time is a great place to hear live music, enjoy a few drinks, see old friends, make new ones and dance. The residency started up in July 2013 at a bar called Radio and moved to our current home at PA's Lounge in October of that year.
Our first summer night was spent with 12 friends, the band and the bartender. My friend Abigail was there, saw potential in it as a great hang and started sending out weekly invites on Facebook. From there the scene has grown so much in such a short time and our community continues to grow. I'm elated and excited for all the potential.
As a kid, music was my hobby. Then I started writing songs. All these years later, my music is how I make my way through the world. A few years ago I discovered a real need in myself for a hobby. Dancing was a natural and I found that I love to 2-Step, waltz, and blues dancing or to just get out there and boogaloo. Social dancing introduced me to a whole other community - dancers! Americana Mondays is bringing worlds together, for me and others.
The band features Joe Klompus on upright bass and Steve Latanision on pedal steel and fiddle. David DeLuca joins us every week on Telecaster and I play host. Remembering all the times The Fibs had me sit in with them at Nietzsche's back in the day back in Buffalo, I frequently have friends up on stage to play a couple songs. It's never booked in advance, it just happens. Magic! Sometimes I play along with special guests on guitar or mandolin; other times, that's when I get to cut a rug for a few minutes. Monday nights are glorious.
There is no cover charge for Americana Mondays. The music starts a little before 8pm and continues till around 11. And remember... You don't have to dance, but you can. You don't have to drink, but you probably will. You don't have to have fun, but it's hard not to. Americana Mondays rock!
6) Lastly, plug anything you feel like plugging...
GK: First and foremost, thank you for this! I hope to see you on Sat. Jan. 25 at Sally O' Brien's forthe official CD Release Party for Another Man's Treasure. Ryan Taylor Band is going to open the show, followed by a long set from me and my comrades. Doors are at 9pm, music at 9:30. There's a $5 cover for this show.
If you can not make it to Sally O's on Jan. 25, be sure to join us any Monday night for the weekly good time at PA's Lounge. I love that block in Union Square. So much good stuff going on down there!
If you can't wait for a show and want to get your hands on a copy of Another Man's Treasure, please visit Village Produce. It's local and it's awesome: http://shop.villageproduce.com/greg-klyma/another-man's-treasure
My website is www.klyma.com. We keep it up-to-date with shows and good news. If you ever wonder where I'm playing, KLYMA.com is your best resource to get informed. See ya out there on the scene, folks!
Thanks to Greg for Catching Up With Red Line Roots. Be sure to get out to either his release or one of these Americana Mondays. Its a guaranteed good time!