Friday, February 28, 2014

Cover Your Friends Friday: Joe Fletcher edition

Today we have a special Cover Your Friends Friday...two songs featured by the one and only Mr. Joe Fletcher. We missed Joe this past Tuesday at our 1 Year Anniversary show at Lizard Lounge and I was truly bummed. But, as we can all attest, sometimes life gives you a kick in the ass and Joe had some stuff he had to deal with in Nashville. Lucky for everyone up this way in Mass/RI/CT/etc, Joe is back in the game, on the road in a new van, and he will be at the gorgeous Colombus Theatre in Providence TONIGHT with Toy Soldiers and The Lawsuits. Man, thats a line-up!

Ian Fitzgerald covers Joe Fletcher's tune "I Never"

Like a true friend, gentleman, and fellow appreciative songwriter, Ian busted out this tune to pay homage to Joe and add a little Fletcher flavor to the show in light of his absence. He even got the crowd singing along (with a little effort and persuasion). His take on Joe's "I Never" was a good one and he even let me come on up and play a little mandolin on it. Check it out. And thanks Jenn Harrington for the video!

Brian Carroll covers Joe Fletcher's "Too Many Doors"

This is me covering Joe's tune live on Almost Famous on 95.9 WATD about 2 weeks back. Thanks Julie Bowker for the video!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Catching Up With: Dave Mirabella of The Rationales

Dave Mirabella is probably one of the most loveable rock n' rollers in town. I've known him and his great band, The Rationales for a number of years and always been a fan of their catchy tunes that just make you want to dance. Its rock for the type of people who just want to have a damn good time. The fellas have a new EP out and so I caught up with Dave to answer a few questions and talk shop about the band and what the future holds (review is forthcoming...)

1)      Ok, first and foremost, in as few sentences as possible, Who are you and what do you do?

DM: The Rationales are 5 guys who bring a bunch of influences together to make what has been called 'lushly crafted American songwriting full of hooks, harmonies, and heart.'  We reside in the slice of the venn diagram between rock, alternative and Americana. I just prefer to think of it as music we need to play, that we want to listen to and that we hope you do too. 

2)      Tell us about the new record. Where it was recorded, who is on it, how long have you guys been working on it?

DM: Dream of Fire is our new EP - its drawn from a collection of about 12 new tunes that were meant to be a full length, but rather than wait the time it would take to fund a full length we decided to break it out into 2 or 3 EPs and get them out as soon as we could. The original plan was to do one EP tied to each season of a year - sort of a concept series... but we decided rather than force a theme to just go with the songs that made the most sense together.  We went into Q Division and cut the basics all live. The whole thing was finished tracking in 24 hours of recording. Of course there were some vocal overdubs but you're hearing bass, drums, guitars and keys almost all live off the floor in every case. It really helped to make it carry a bit of the energy we feel when we play live that had been hard to generate in the studio building songs by layers in the past.  It featured everyone in our current lineup plus Matt Goldfield, who hadn't left the band yet and he played keys on it. It also featured our former guitarist Pete on the track "Radio" which had been recorded a year earlier but never released in physical form. We also had a couple of guests (Davina Yanettey on trumpet and Jenn Locke on Glockenspiel)

3)  You guys have seen some changes over the years and when I saw you last at the Sinclair in December, you all were totally on point and sounded the best I have heard yet. How do you feel your sound has developed and matured over the past months and years?

DM: There was a shift with the new material to be less conscious about what we were doing. Not to worry about whether it sounded 'like the rationales' or was 'catchy' or whatever. We reached a point a few years into this now that we realize we really are, in the end, only doing this for our own enjoyment and that we should behave accordingly.
There may have been an effort in the past to put forward the most driving/powerpop/etc. side of the band - this time we just said when we hit upon something we like then that is 'The Rationales' and no self editing came into it. It really freed us up.   The different lineups of the band have all been great in their own way, but the current lineup has this amazing combination of energy that allows for it to be that we are all really feeding off of each-other when we play.  The way things are now its just the case that we all love what we're doing and all for the first time realize that while  'the music' part is obviously the most important part - that really it needs to be what WE take care of on the back end... that the performance side isn't only about presenting the music, but its about energy and connection and putting more of yourself out there than just the material. Personally I've been working at getting healthier and more in shape and it definitely helps things to be up and moving and doing my share in that department which helps with the energy as well. 
 4) What inspires you as a songwriter? What inspires you guys as a band? How do you all come together to “make it work” and what is the song construction process like for you?

DM: I do most of my writing sitting at my desk at home. Almost every free minute i have i sit with the acoustic in hand - and am just playing. not really trying to write, not really practicing. Just playing looking for inversions and riffs that catch my interest. There's very little conscious planning that goes into my songwriting. Its just play until something catches my interest - a progression i like which then leads to a melody over it - in all the best cases the song just pops out - a chorus and bridge already apparent. I'm not really one for working endlessly on songs. either they come easy or they sit for a while until they're 'ripe'. I hate trying to force things. Everything starts out with scratch vocal melodies and then i take subconscious cues from the form that the melody and rhythm of that melody take - and that will lead the words sort of subconsciously filling themselves in as they go. As for inspiration? I'm inspired by everything I see, landscapes, cities, personal interactions, but mostly by what I see and do as a music fan - every band I see, every photo of a band onstage, every sound i hear makes me wish I were doing it or if I am doing it, it makes me wish I were doing it more often or better.

I think in terms of the songs I've been happiest with the inspiration is almost always happenstance. Usually based upon the guitar being in a good place that day. Those who play guitar will know that you can be in tune but not really have it ringing out in tune, sometimes you're fighting against the sound of the instrument (humidity, temperature, intonation, tone, etc.etc.) but then there are the days where the guitar is just as happy as can be. everything resonant, you hear the strings, the wood, the air, your fingers, your thoughts,etc.etc.  there's nothing more inspiring than that. just having a sound in your hands that is totally pliable and beautiful. Its like you found a perfect channel to write something special in those cases.
Then I bring stuff in to the band and they really do make it their own. Rhythms change, arrangements change, dynamics, etc. I can be an intense process but the result is always better than what I would have done on my own, Which, really, is the point of working with other people to begin with: to get someone else's secret ingredients in the soup that you don't have in your own pantry. right?

5) Who are some of your favorite local acts? Who is making some noise in the scene today that you think readers should know about?

DM: I admire so many local bands - I get really obsessive about things I love and listen to them over and over at the expense of other things I could be checking out... so apologies to anything I leave out - but I've spent the last year really focused on the latest CDs by Autumn Hollow, Kingsley Flood, Hallelujah the Hills, The Field Effect, M.G. Lederman, and a band from New Hampshire that I really like called Tan Vampires. I'm really looking forward to the new Aloud record and have really enjoyed live sets of late by Thick Wild, The Deep North, Cat Sounds, The Wrong Shapes and The Rotary Prophets. There is always so much great stuff happening in this town.

6) Boston is also been recently noted as a very community driven music scene. How have you experienced that and what are your thoughts?

DM: There are so many great people working trying to foster support for New England music in general and individual scenes as well. I came into this really weary of the word 'scene' - a lot of it is semantics - but I'd always had a hard time not equating 'scene' with 'clique' until I saw how hard some people in town are trying to overcome that dynamic. I love to see a community form and people support each other - but the other side of that is human nature is just such that people (bands) pair up based on connection, like-mindedness and admiration/friendship ... which then by its nature inevitably excludes or marginalizes others. Eventually most 'scenes' have to fight against turning into something of a closed off, political rat race where the work of navigating the 'scene' takes up more energy and effort than the art ever could. 

Not to say that community and like-minded support is a negative thing - its great, And it's particularly
great that it seems lots of people in town are conscious of this and try to find ways around it. The next step and an important one in my eyes is to break down the walls between the individual scenes and genres - to have the top taste makers in town really be conscious about mixing things together - it works SO well when it does happen (the rumble which features lots of styles, the Americana fest which often steps fairly far into the indie and rock side of things, etc.). 

We are great friends with and have a lot in common with people in not just the rock scene, but also the Americana scene, the power-pop scene, the diy/indie rock scene, the art rock scene and everything in between but we can't really fit completely into any of them because all of them associate us with the other ones - And in a way I like that.. I don't saying it as a complaint at all, i like the freedom to be able to play with anyone.  I wish it were more common for more people to come out of their comfort zone and worked across genres beyond just the intuitive connections. More people being all-in on being a bridge between them all, is something that is needed to combat a world where everything is SO niche oriented. I like being around like minded people too, i get it - but you need to mix the bloodlines or the kids suffer - right?

7) And lastly, what shows do you have coming up? Plug away. Its your chance for shameless self promotion!

DM: The next Rationales show is coming up Wednesday March 19 at TT The Bear's - We've been meaning to play with our pals in Butterknife for a while and the chance finally worked out. AND we are psyched that Varsity Drag are on that bill. It should be a great night.


Check out the new record on the boys bandcamp page.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Last night...

I need to take a bit to digest our little show at Lizard last night. It was incredible and wonderful and more than I could have ever hoped for and that was not because of me, but because of every single person in that room. The love was bursting through the ceiling of that place and the talent even more so. I just wanted to take a minute and thank a few people specifically before I go an hibernate while I relive this night over and over a few times.

Zach Schmidt, man, we may have just met last evening in person for the first time but right away you felt like an old friend. Your songs are incredible, your command over a group of musicians you haven't even played with before is uncanny. Thank you so much for being a part of this night and adding a little "south of Massachusetts" flavor to the show, Ben Affleck would be proud to host you in this city again. I can't wait to collaborate more in the future.

James Maples, for introducing me to Zach and basically giving me a reason to put on this show by you passing through town. It pushed me to put something together so I could have the two of you guys play a show and I am grateful for that. Your talents extend far beyond just pickin' an acoustic. Your songs and your humor brought a whole bunch more to the show last night. I know we are going to be pals for a long time to come brother.

Eva Walsh, for not only brightening up that dimly lit basement room from the second you stepped into it, but for putting me at ease when you showed up for the sound check. Something about a big ol' Eva smile tells me to calm the heck down and just enjoy the night of music. You were a trooper letting your Guild be tossed around to a few different musicians, your set was awesome, and as always I was in awe of your fiddle playing during our big jam at the end of the night.

Jon Dorn, for being Jon Dorn basically. Being the designated drummer for the night on cajon, playing with Eva, supporting local music not just this night, but every night of the year. For having Brewster Productions come on and sponsor the event, documenting the night for us so we can look back again and again on it. You've been a good friend for a long time man, and I am truly grateful for your friendship.

Dinty Child, I said it last night, but every time I get the honor of sharing the stage with you I have at least 5 moments where I forget what I am doing and just am lost in your playing. You got a groove like no other and love the music and playing it. Your joy and excitement on stage is infectious to the audience and the folks around you and you are one of the most humble cats I know. Lets do this every Tuesday.

Ian Fitzgerald, for being the best goddamn songwriter I know and a hell of a good pal. You humor on stage is unmatched by anyone. Your sublty on stage and in your performance always blows me away and getting to sit in and play with you last night was more than a treat, it was an absolute privilege. Can't wait to perform together more, hit the road, and just enjoy whatever lyric you come up with next.

Andy Cambria for absolutely blowing me away with your picking. I had seen you around town and always heard your name in the flatpicking world but I think last night was the first time we actually met in person. Your playing is incredibly tasteful but you are a virtuoso dude and man, you have a hell of a voice to boot. Something about going back stage to grab an instrument, seeing two musicians sitting there picking a fiddle tune and jumping in for a few measures always gets me. Thanks for being a part of this thing.

Mark Kilianski, you are like a brother my friend. We could not see each other for 10 years being on a deserted island or something and when saw each other again it would be like no time passed. Everytime we play together, I get to watch your perform, or just hang its something I value more than gold. Watching you play may be the most fun I can have out on the town. You are a one of a kind and truly good soul......annnnnnnnd the bluegrass music.

Maggie Mackay, for making the banjo beautiful. Your playing and the chemistry you and Mark had last night was amazing. It added a whole incredibly happy and uplifting vibe to the night. Thank you for forcing Mike Reese along for the ride on bass too! The three of you together is like watching 3 people who have played together for 20 years and have loved every minute. The way you play banjo is simply superb, effortless and graceful.

The Whiskey Boy...dudes, I mean COME ON. The arrangements, the solos, the harmonies, the everything. The past year has seen you guys absolutely grow and bloom into something that in incredibly special. I consider Mark W and Dave D to be among my closest musical pals and am grateful every day I get to hear or play with you both. BUT, getting to sit in and play with Jordan, Mike, and Ben was breathtaking for me. Being a part of all those separate sounds coming together to make one beautiful thing was astonishing...if you ever need a slightly shitty mandolin player when no one else is around, you know who to call boys.

Danielle Miraglia and Jenee Halstead for bringing me to tears in a public setting. "Choir" was absolutely unbelievable. We have just recently become closer pals, but I have always had a huge appreciation for both of your music and your presence around town. You ladies are two of "the good ones" in an industry often wrought with ego and "come watch me play, I'm so good at music" types. Always a moving experience to see you both perform and seeing you together is mind blowing.

Joe Stewart for being the best damn sound engineer in the city. Every time I play a show you are mixing the sound is perfect and there is ALWAYS a kink or 12 thrown your way. Seamlessy going with whatever happens with the best attitude any performer could ask for behind the board. This show wouldn't have been nearly as successful if it was anyone else behind there. Thank you my friend.

Billy Beard for letting me do this at Lizard. I'd like to think I put together one pretty damn good night of music, but you book incredible music at multiple venues 365 days a year. You my friend, are amazing.

All the staff at the Lizard for accommodating our insanely long list of musicians sitting in (some of which I didn't totally realize were playing) and just being overall an awesome group of people. You guys are champs.

Kramer and Sam for sitting in last night and killing it. For being so damn awesome during the recording project that feeds into this. You guys are more a part of this than you know and this is just the beginning.

I am sure I am missing folks, but my mind is in a cloud right thank you guys too.

And most importantly everyone who came out on a Tuesday night to be a part of this night. I know Tuesday can be tough, we have day jobs, we are currently running on 3 hours of sleep, caffeine and happy thoughts but it means the world to see so many faces in that room (new and old to me). Something about shows at the Lizard is that it just feels right. Its like whether you are up playing in the blinding lights, staring at your own face in the mirror in front of the stage or sitting in the crowd you are PART of this show experience. Lizard Lounge and the people at that show last night feel like family.

So thank you...lets do it again something

"Red Line Roots"

Monday, February 24, 2014

Must Know Musician Monday : Zach Schmidt

There is something that I truly love about most of my close friends being musicians. Not only do I constantly get to hear my friends play, I get tuned into their other friends, and the web of folks I love and get to hear, play with, and enjoy seemingly grows exponentially. I became friends with Ian Fitzgerald about a yea back, he recorded his last 2 records with and is friendly with Eric Lichter (who I have become friends with), who  has some studio assistance and is good buds with James Maple (who I am not buds with), and James recently introduced me to our must know musician for today: Zach Schmidt.

A singer-songwriter from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Zach now lives in East Nashville, Tennessee. He has a passion for song-writing and a focus on personal, heartfelt lyrics, his folk/country will have you focused on the story of the songs. Schmidt has hints of Tom Petty in the sonic groove of his tracks. A smoothed out  gruff vocal that powers through the rest of the set. The mix of power and that smooth quality really makes for a great listen.

Horse or Truck or Train

6 tracks, melts my heart. I just really love when artists choose to take on the EP format for a release. Couple that with the fact that they are 6 solid tunes and you have a big win. The album kicks in with the uptempo and thumping 'Call it in the Air'. The second track hits me (because I have a song of the same name), slightly more subdued that the first track, it has some tasty guitar lines floating. The track has a nice harmony vocal. Its very country feeling (the good kind of country), like I could have stumbled into an East Nashville bar, elbowed up to the bar, and these guys are off in the corner playing songs on an aging stage. 'Waitin' on Me' has a cool vocal effect, like Zach was off singing in an old barn and only adds to his impeccable ability to really capture  mood and atmosphere in these 6 songs.

This work is the perfect length. I could listen to it over and over again and not get tired of it. It has a great driven feel and vibe to it. It flows well and the songs are a splendid variety while still maintaining a togetherness that just works. There is some really great, to the point songwriting here that is believable and memorable. Its quite plainly, just a really fun EP to listen to.

Come check out Zach as he kicks off the Red Line Roots One Year Anniversary show 2/25 at the Lizard Lounge. I am happy to have him and you will be happy you can to check him out!

Friday, February 21, 2014

First Listen: Jake Klar "Rocks & Gravel EP"

Ok, I will just get this out of the way, Justin Townes Earle. Yes, its true, his travis picking style on a couple tunes and some of his phrasing is similar to JTE, but thats a good thing. A very good thing. Similarity, however, is where it ends. There is far much more going on here with Klar.

Equal parts old bluesy goodness and haunting, shuddering atmospheric dynamics I was made a fan within 30 seconds of listening to this EP. There is a certain hesitant swagger to the songwriter's singing and annunciation. He sings with purpose and strength, but there is something in the depths that gives his sound a bit of hesitance and reluctance to his voicings. He has something to say for sure, but there is still an endearing, delicate quality to his tone. And he is a great player as well.

The instrumentation is dirty, gritty and f***ing excellent. Right up my alley. Not too much shimmer and shine, but pro all the way. There is so much personality and presence in his performance and I really can't wait to catch him out live at a show. I think that is the pinnacle of well performed recording, the fact that I really desire to go catch him live because I think it will be equal or better than the experience that I have listening to the album.

Man, the whole 5 song collection is fantastic, but the opener feels different than the closer and in a
really wonderful way. It fits, it just simply shows the dynamics in arrangements and purposeful slight variations that the artist has presented for the audience. "Devil's Bread" (the opener) has a bit of that haunting, lonesome vibe to it. Gray pastels on a dreary day, a tweed jacket and a beat up suitcase, traveling down the road kind of a feel. I don't know how else to explain it, its just excellent and pulls me in. The EP takes you traveling and weaving through the tales until the final track "Ham & Eggs" really kicks you in the gut and wakes up your mind. You subconsciously are tapping your foot to the groove. Klar's vocal is on point and this is the most JTE-esque of the songs.

I am really happy I stumbled across this gent. He is truly an excellent find for any fan of blues, folk, old time, or just good music. I think it will be spinning this one for a while to come.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

10 Reasons To Come To The 1 Year Anniversary Show

1)      Because the Folk/Roots community does indeed extend far beyond the Northeast. And tonight, Zach Schmidt of Nashville by way of Pennsylvania joins our little show to prove that.
2)      Because playing multiple instruments is amazing…and if you can sing beautifully and write great songs on top of that, it makes you worth seeing. Eva Walsh has that on lock down for us.
3)      Because good songs still matter. Ian Fitzgerald is playing…that’s all you need to know.
4)      Because country influenced music is spelled with an “O” in it. James Maples may not be solely country, but his roots are deep in the good stuff.
5)      Because when two bluegrass powerhouses from great bands in town collide, there is no telling what happens. Hot bluegrass from Maggie Mackay and Mark Kilianski is a good, good thing.
6)      And then when one of them combines with the forces of another one of the town’s best flatpickers…honestly, I am afraid that my brain may melt in my head. Andy Cambria will join Mark Kilianski to pick out a few and blow your mind.
7)      Because we have our own talent reminiscent of Punch Brothers here in town, melding beautiful harmonies, killer licks, thoughtful arrangments and great songs. The Whiskey Boys are a force of nature.
8)      Because to really close out a great night of music you need a rock star pounding the hell out of an acoustic guitar. We got that, and we have got Joe Fletcher doing it for you.
9)      Because you never know who is going to show up and sit in for a few.
10)   And most importantly, because local music matters. Come on down and support it.

I really hope to see you all out at the Lizard Lounge on February 25th!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Must Know Musician Monday (holiday week): Dan Blakeslee

If there is one thing I have learned being a part of a music community, rather than a 'scene' or a 'posse' or 'trying to climb the mountain' rather than 'just ride the current' it is that you will forge incredible relationships with the people you support, care about, and have the utmost respect for as artists. The best example I can think of this is Dan Blakeslee.

I first met Dan years back and we have seen each other off and on over that time. He has wowed me again and again each time I see him perform one of his songs. His energy is unmatched and his joy is infectious. If there was ever a person who could truly move you emotionally with a song, it is this man. I would certainly consider Dan a friend, though we probably don't know a huge amount about each other's past, he still manages to make me feel like a close friend, like family, like a colleague in the songwriting game (though I pale in comparison to his extensive library of amazing songs). He is a true songwriter's songwriter and a performer's performer. Easily the most humble and down to earth person I have met, he is happy playing for hundreds of eager folkies waiting in line for the ferry at Newport Folk, a crowded bar or a small room of listening ears. He simply exudes love for the craft of songwriting and performance.


When I first heard Blakeslee play this song, I immediately fell in love with the lyrics and cursed Dan for writing them at the same time (because, damnit I wanted that song!). I don't know what else to say about it. Check out this video by the Big Old Big One fellas for yourself and be sure to pick up Dan's new record when it releases later this year (this track is on it).

Owed To The Tanglin' Wind

If there ever was a perfect title for a new record for a ramblin' man playing his songs all over this fine land, I have not heard it yet. Dan's last full length (Halloween records not included) was 2011's Tatnic Tales. It has firmly cemented its place as one of my favorite local albums. OTTTW is a long awaited new record from Blakeslee that was recorded with friends (of which seem like family given Dan's friendships in this community) at the beautiful Columbus Theatre and sees host to a slew of his friends filling out his sound. You heard it here now, this will be one of the best local releases of 2014. Look for it in May (or so) of this year.

I urge, I plead with you, that if you have not seen or heard Dan before, then do yourself the biggest favor of your week/month/year and check out his website, buy a record, buy an artpiece/poster, and go see him live. He is one of the most decorated performers and talented songwriters I have ever met and I know you will enjoy his songs. 

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Locals Playing Locals: Meeting the Players part deux

Well, last weekend we had our first tracking session...I posted about it. You didn't read the recap? What's wrong with you? Go read it! I'll wait....back? Ok, good. We knocked out 6 artists in one day and now to complete the tracking, we will continue and knock out another 4 acts on February 23 (followed of course by mixing and mastering). Here are the folks that will complete our first volume of Locals Playing Locals / Songs we wish that we wrote...

Jenee Halstead and Danielle Miraglia - When I think of songwriters in town who blow me away with their performances, these two ladies come to mind immediately. Both of them have their own sort of flavor that just ignites on stage when they are singing their songs. In a never-ending realm of cute girls playing guitars (that may not be all that talented), both Jenee and Danielle shatter any and all stereotypes by standing on their own merits as songwriters, musicians, and performers. I mean, seriously, both of these gals f'ing rock, write great songs focused on the craft, and when you see them perform you are just blown away...and thats when they play solo. Having these two performing as a duo is going to blow the roof off of the studio. I honestly don't remember the first time I met these gals, but I am damn happy I call them friends and colleagues!, they are funny and fun as all hell!

Patrick Coman - I like to pride myself on being a support system for my independent musician friends and when it comes to others who share that sentiment in town, its hard to think of anyone who can compare to Mr. Coman. A series focused on local musicians paying homage to their heroes - check, he has one of those. A radio show on an extremely reputable station here in town that focuses solely on local music - check, he has one of those too. I think we met one night sharing a bill at a local dive we both used to play (but I had a few that night, and the first more memorable meeting was when he let me partake in a For the Sake of the Song show for John Prine). Ever since Patrick moved to town he has focused on lifting his friends and cohorts up and I think that is one of the best reasons to include someone on this the dude writes great songs and plays a killer guitar. Sold! (plus he was the one act who asked me to play mandolin on his song...dude, I love you)

Matt Chieffo - A while back I played mandolin and lead guitar in a band. I honestly loved that band, but like all good things, sometimes we have to part ways. The man behind those awesome, spooky, haunting songs was Matt and his songwriting style still is unlike any other I have come across. He crafts these creepy, stirring songs that someone also make you want to dance your ass off. Some of the best shows I have ever had on stage were with Matt and I still love putting on old recordings of 'Mabel' or 'Andy' and rocking out. We don't see each other much these days, but I still consider Matt a dear friend and someone who I respect a lot as a musician. I am really, extremely grateful that he is on board with this project.

Mark Kilianski and friends - I love the bluegrass music...I could end there, but my love for it and Marks playing goes far deeper. Over the past few years Mark has become like a musical brother to me. I absolutely love making music with this guy (and its a damn shame we don't do so more often). He has introduced me to the playing of many new folks, and I am constantly in awe of whoever he plays with. While his guitar playing is incredible, it was his debut solo release this year that really blew me away. Heartfelt songs penned by a man who was traveling around and drinking in life when he wrote them. I am sure whoever comes along for the ride with him with blown my mind again.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Local Music Radar: Scituate Coffee House Show

For those on the South Shore, there is a special music gathering this weekend...details below!

The night will be Saturday, February 8th.  Starting at 7pm and running until 11pm. The Mt. Hope Improvement Society building is on the corner of Clapp Road and Cedar Street in the West End of Scituate.   also,

It is being called a Coffee House in honor of the nights dear departed friend Walter "Bear" Zaremba ran in the same venue a few years back.

There will be coffee and some baked goods for "a buck."  The night is free to everyone but any donations and proceeds from the coffee will go to The Mount Hope Improvement Society Scholarship fund which goes to a Scituate High senior each year.

The band Doc Ellis will be hosting the night and kicking things off with a mini 4 song set to open the night - to break the ice and take the onus of opening the night away from anyone.

The house band will be available to anyone that would like some backline.  Otherwise, bring your guitar, mandolin, lute, or ukelele and play in front of some local folks.  Everyone is welcome, there will be a number of band member kids there so it's a nice family night.

Parking is in the Improvement Society's lot or in the field directly across the street on Clapp Road.

Check it out!!!

Catching Up With: David Tanklefsky

I recently met David after a gig at Passim a couple weeks back. We had the usual "hey, your a musician, I am too" convo, but they unlike most people, he actually followed up with an email. So we got to chatting and he has some really great stuff going on around town that you all should know about. Find out all about that and more in this round of Catching Up With...

1) So to start, who are you and what do you do?

DT: I'm a songwriter and guitarist whose been playing in the Boston area for a number of years now as well as touring as a solo musician and in friend's bands. Growing up in the Boston suburbs, I started off playing in a band called Grimis (incidentally, that was Guitar God Lyle Brewer's first band) when I was in high school.  We got a ton of support from the local youth services department in our hometown, who helped us put on a ton of shows when we were starting off and their thing was always like "find your passion, don't wait for anyone else, make it happen, create opportunities for others." That band survived for years (we still play a couple times a year) and it really helped show me the way friendships and communities can evolve into a scene and encompass many different musical environments and locales.   So from that beginning, I got really into I guess what you could call DIY, booking tours on my own, introducing friends to each others music, just trying to support people the way they have supported me.

2) I understand you run a residency at the Armory. For those that don't know about the armory tell us about the space a bit and let us know how you got involved hosting shows there.

DT: The Somerville Armory is totally a hidden gem. They constantly put on all sorts of great events: concerts, art shows, local business events, arts and crafts fairs, the New England Folk Music Archives are housed there. It's just an awesome place for creative people looking to make something happen. A couple summers ago, I was trying to put together a residency just basically as a way to workshop some new songs before I got into the studio to start working on my solo record. I had played a show at the Armory Cafe a few years before so I approached them to see if they'd be interested in putting together a monthly show. I got some friends and local musicians involved and word kind of spread from there that it was a fun gig. The audience is always pretty engaged and excited to see some pretty great musicians in such an intimate setting. It gives the musicians a chance to try some new things out, work out new songs, in a very low-risk environment.  I always tell people there's no better deal in town and when you look at some of the musicians we've had come through and you consider that it's free (we take donations for out-of-town musicians), I think that's probably true. We've had David Johnston, Hayley Reardon, Emily Mure, Elijah Ocean, Lyle Brewer, even my friend Emil who's a DJ and fronts an electro/pop band in Brooklyn came and played an acoustic set.  I usually do it for three or four months in a row (this current run is January-April), then take a month or two off, then organize another set of shows. My idea was just to create like a monthly hang where artists could perform in a listening room/low-key setting and enjoy themselves and I'm pleased that that's what it's become.

3) The next big one is on 2/15. Who is playing and why is this an exciting one for you?

DT: I'm really excited to have Sarah Borges in the house. Sarah is obviously a household name for anyone that's into country and folk music in this area. She's a great entertainer and front woman but I'm psyched for her to just showcase her tremendous voice and songs.  It'll also be just after her CD release so she'll probably have her new record for sale too.  And opening the night is my good friend Cat Prewitt, who is a really honest and beautiful songwriter from Philadelphia. Cat and I have been friends for a bunch of years and the depth of her writing and her openness is really unique among people I've played with.  We've also got a packed March show with Lyle Brewer, Tim Noyes (from Aunt Martha) and Hayley Readon! and an April show with a few of the dudes from the NYC contingent, Ricky Lewis and Tory Hanna. So a bunch of good stuff coming up!

4) Community is a big part of the reason this blog exists. It seems you are doing justice to the
community by hosting these events. What are you personal thoughts on the folk/roots scene in town?

DT: Coming back to Boston from New York a few years ago, one of the things I've really come to appreciate is the level of intimacy of the local music scene here. I love being able to walk up the street to Toad on a Monday night and watch David Johnston and the White Owls or see Lyle play at Atwoods on Saturday afternoons. There's a pretty friendly attitude without some of the pretension that you see in other places. I lived in Brooklyn for a few years and I'm still down there all the time and love the music scene there too, but there's definitely a "finger-on-the-pulse-coolest-kids-in-school" vibe there. The Boston scene seems to be more working musicians who are passionate about making good music.

5) Plug anything else you feel like getting out there!

DT: Shameless Plug Alert: My first full-length solo album drops April 22nd! Then I'm going on tour! CD release show at the Middle East Upstairs on April 25th!

Also, I play guitar in a band of my childhood friends now based in New York called Craig Martinson and the Heartbeats. Craig is another fantastic songwriter who may have cryogenically frozen Brian Wilson's blood circa 1965 and diabolically injected it into his own body. He's that good.
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