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Cornbread Cafe #009

Chris Andres, Janie Barnett, The Whiskey Treaty Roadshow, Almond&Olive, Keeton Coffman, Honey Whiskey Trio

Natalie Alms and Ollie Davidson of Almond&Olive; submitted photo.
Natalie Alms and Ollie Davidson of Almond&Olive; submitted photo.

From their website:

Alms and Davidson believe that, when possible, using their platform of musical creation and performance to give back to those in need is a natural extension of their personal goals – to make the world a better place for those who live in it. With that charge, once finished, their debut album will be also be used to help give back. Alms and Davidson have decided to donate a portion of the proceeds from the initial sales of the album to the Jackson Galaxy Foundation (JGF), a foundation founded by Animal Planet’s Jackson Galaxy. JGF will use the funds donated by A&O to help animal shelters bolster their animal adoption programs, rehab crumbling animal housing and enhance vital community animal welfare programs.

Welcome! brothers and sisters to Episode #9—of the Cornbread Cafe. I am the mongrel, and I’ll be your host today. Be sure to ask your waiter about about this week’s specials, which are all prepared using only the finest ingredients in American Roots music. Cazh and cozy, we’re located at the five-corners of Blues, Americana, Folk, Country, and Gospel. And you can sometimes catch an express to Rock ’n’ Roll at the bus stop across the way. *


Featured in this Episode:

Chris Andres • “Tired Old Town”Tired Old Town
Janie Barnett & Blue Room• “Buy That Thing You”You See This River
The Whiskey Treaty Roadshow • “Poisonous Me”The Heart of the Run
Almond & Olive • “Standing at the Precipice”Standing at the Precipice
Keeton Coffman • “The Tribe” Killer Eyes
Honey Whiskey Trio“The Lone Wild Bird”Rye Woman

We’re going to get right into the music this show, because the hardcopy of the EP, Tired Old Town, by Chris Anres with Gary McDannold showed up in the mail just a couple days ago, and I have been impatient to share it with you. I couldn’t decide between the five tracks on this 2017 release, so I figured we’d go with the title track, Tired Old Town, to get things goin’.

Chris Andres, with Gary McDannold


See, look it that. I invite musicians to send me their music, they do, it shows up on show just like that. And it’s just that easy. Look for the contact link at for more info. It’s been an episode or two since we’ve picked from the all-natural Country section of the menu, so I guess that why that tune hits the spot just right. Chris Andres leans more than a little bit towards the outlaw end of the Country spectrum, and all I can say is thank God for outlaws or wouldn’t have any friends at all.



Janie Barnett


Janie Barnett; submitted photo.
Janie Barnett; submitted photo.

Now, back on Episode #6, I was honored to have Janie Barnett as our guest. I played a portion of our conversation on the show, and then made the entire interview available separately via an audio player in the show notes. If you haven’t yet, I’d encourage you to go back and listen to both. I didn’t include the clip that I’m gonna share with you now in the main show in Episode 6. Call me superstitious, but I think I felt like if I held on to it, if I didn’t let it out of its cage, or the song she discusses, maybe I could somehow keep this thing from happening. Maybe I could shield my children, everybody’s children, by just not talking about it. But I’m a fool to fool myself that way. And waiting until a calmer time to have this conversation means waiting until the pain subsides. Thank you Janie for preserving that pain in your music, your work. Thanks again for talking about your very powerful song, “Buy That Thing.”



The Whiskey Treaty Roadshow


That was “Buy That Thing” off Janie Barnett’s 2017 release, You See This River. Remember you can pick up that LP by visiting the show notes for this episode at and looking for the iTunes, Amazon, or other purchase links. And, since these links are usually our affiliate links, you help support this program with your purchase, at no extra extra cost to you.

Next, I was going to play a track off the Whiskey Treaty Roadshow’s self-titled September release. But I had my Cornbread library on shuffle yesterday, and the tune, “Poisonous Me” from their 2016 live album “Heart of the Run” came up. And I was like, “I’ve played that on the Cafe, haven’t I?” I had to go back and check, and the answer was no, no I haven’t. I guess I’ve just played it for myself so often I kinda figured I must have. So let’s spin that right now to correct that oversight. Here’s “Poisonous Me,” by the Whiskey Treaty Roadshow on the Cornbread Cafe.



The festival scene is starting to kick into gear around the country, and I hope you get to experience as many as you can. Really, if music were an ecosystem, festivals would be the natural habitat for Americana bands and the Rootsians who love them. Coming up this weekend is the

Wintergrass Festival

February 22 – February 25
Hyatt Regency, Bellevue Washington,
just across the lake from Seattle.

And the fourth annual Back Porch Festival returns March 1–4, with all-star line-ups of American roots artists at the Academy of Music and The Parlor Room in Northampton, Massachusetts.

Reserve your body space at or, actually, just go to our show notes at and click the link to get you there.

I would provide info about SXSW, coming up March 9–18 in Austin, TX, but until they put me on the press list, I can’t very well do that, now can I? You’d think for $1,650 per pass, they could afford to hire someone to put music podcasters on the press list, right? Hell with ‘em, I say. Besides, I’m busy that week.

Almond & Olive


Anyway, in this next set, I have to play the only tune I have from Keeton Coffman that I have NOT shared with you yet on this show, I think. The tune is “The Tribe” off his 2017 release “Killer Eyes,” which would definitely be in the running for a Cornbread Award, if we had such a thing here. But he just released his video for “The Tribe” this week, and like the rest of the videos from that release, it fits the music perfectly. You can check out the embed in the shownotes.



Keeton Coffman


First though, let’s hear from one of our most recent discoveries, Almond&Olive, out of Chicago. We featured their song “We Will” on Episode #6—now let’s hear the title track off “Standing at the Precipice.”

Both of those songs are just pristine, aren’t they? Go together pretty well, too, if I do say so myself. You know, in addition to buying music and merch from the artists you hear on the show, you can connect with them through their sites or social media pages. I always provide the link s if I’ve got ‘em. And when you find those songs that really resonate with you, why not shoot the artists a quick not and tell them how much you enjoyed hearing their tunes on the Cornbread Cafe. It won’t help them pay the rent, but it does let them know that their efforts are appreciated.



Honey Whiskey Trio


Last up is a song I’ve been saving up, though I can’t say I’ve known what for. This week, I know. From the Honey Whiskey Trio’s 2017 release, Rye Woman, is a song of comfort that you might just know. And I think I’ll let the Honeys have the last word on this episode, so I’m just going to send out “The Lone Wild Bird,” along with my deepest sorrow, to the families of Parkland, Florida.


Buy Rye Woman directly from the Honeys






* Note: Artist links provide access directly to artists’ websites or social media homepages. All album links provide access to song or album purchase options, often through our affiliate programs with Apple Music or, which help make this show possible.

Musicians’ bio info comes from the artists, their websites, or their publicists. Click on names below to visit their websites where you can get the full story, photos, and very often video.


The Cornbread Cafe #8: Not a Valentine’s Day episode. Unless’n you want it to be.

Tanya Gallagher [explicit lyrics], Kate Lush, The Suitcase Junket, Bumper Jacksons, Faint Peter, Birds of Chicago

Tanya Gallagher; photo courtesy
Tanya Gallagher; photo courtesy

“Virginia taught me love, it taught me heartache, but most importantly it taught me that a home away from home can exist. These songs represent an incredible time of personal growth.”

— Tanya Gallagher

Welcome! brothers and sisters to Episode #8—of the Cornbread Cafe. I am the mongrel, and I’ll be back in the kitchen today cooking up a sampler platter of the best from a sprawling menu of American Roots music. Cazh and cozy, we’re located at the five-corners of Blues, Americana, Folk, Country, and Gospel. And you can sometimes catch an express to Rock ’n’ Roll at the bus stop across the way. *


Featured in this Episode:

Tanya Gallagher“3002 Miles” (explicit lyrics)Virgina
Kate Lush“Good Good Love”Let It Fly
The Suitcase Junket“Swamp Chicken”Pile Driver
Bumper Jacksons“Corina Corina”I’ve Never Met a Stranger
Faint Peter“Texas” Redoubt
Birds of Chicago“Etoile d’Amour (Stardust)”American Flowers

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TLC #62 — Remembering the Women’s March: Voices from the Road

Hey Greylock Nation—

Today is Tuesday, January 16, 2018, and you’re listening to episode 62 of the Top Left Corner. I’m your host, Jay Velazquez, and, as always, I thank you for tuning in.

All photos by Jason Velázquez.
All photos by Jason Velázquez.

We’re coming up this week on the first anniversary of the Women’s March, the largest single-day protest in U.S. history, with half a million attendees showing up for the flagship event in Washington D.C., approximately 4 million participating in events around the country, and well over 5 million demonstrators world-wide.

Although I haven’t talked much about it, I was fortunate, more than fortunate actually, to attend the Women’s March on Washington. At the last minute Meghan Whilden, Executive Director of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Berkshire Community College, contacted me to let me know about an empty seat on one of several busses heading to the Capitol from Western Massachusetts. She wanted to send me down as one of the Berkshires’ own journalists on location at one of the most profound and powerful experiences on American soil of the 21st Century. My bus left from Northampton, Mass about 1:30 a.m. packed primarily with women from the Pioneer Valley, but also a good share of Berkshire residents. The buses leaving out of Pittsfield had all left earlier the evening before.

Our bus arrived and parked in the lot of a stadium outside of the Capitol, and, keeping close to my Berkshires contingent, I made my way toward the National Mall, interviewing people along the way. Long before I saw the columns of the Supreme Court or any of the monuments, I knew that I’d been captured by history and marked in a way that would be almost painful for its permanence.

I reported via Facebook LIVE video and through live audio broadcasts using the Mixlr Internet radio service. I posted photos and text updates until first the cellular service in D.C. got completely clogged, or intentionally disabled—we never found out— and then eventually my phone’s battery ran dry, and I had no way to charge it without finding my way through a rolling pink sea of determination.

On the trip back to Western Mass, I tried to piece together some way to tell a story that was weightier and more expansive than I’d ever been tasked to convey. Harder still was knowing what to do with the strange distance I felt between myself as a man and a reporter at the scene and the women who were returning as victorious participants. There were so many women who’d attended not just the March on Washington, but also the sister events in the Berkshires and beyond, who had their stories and experiences to share as women with other women. Who was I to show up at their campfire and ask to be passed the talking stick? And with such really excellent coverage by so many distinguished national journalists, I couldn’t see what contribution I might make.

I spent a good amount of time on both the way down and the way back talking with Emily Cutts, staff writer for the Daily Hampshire Gazette. I meant to ask her what it felt like to be a female journalist covering the story, and whether she felt she needed to try to keep a level of professional detachment from the events. I don’t know how any reporter, man or woman, could have kept their heart behind a fence, to be honest.

But I never got to ask her. The bus stopped moving about 40 minutes south of Northampton and wouldn’t budge again. In a flurry of calls to family and frenzied tapping on Uber, the women and men who shared such powerful solidarity for the last 24 hours made their separate ways out into the pre-dawn darkness and frost. My lot, and that of my traveling companion, was looking more and more dire as Uber drivers started running out, and I couldn’t get my phone to install the damn app anyway. In an act of selflessness and generosity, charity really at that hour of the morning, my newly met colleague gave up her seat so that we could make it back to Northampton. She ended up waiting over an hour in the cold until a friend was able to get there and shuttle her back to Paradise City. Thank you. Thank you again, Emily Cutts. Your strength, exhibited through kindness and self-sacrifice was so…feminine.

It didn’t take me long, sitting starting at the empty white screen of my computer, to realize that what Megan Whilden had done, intended or not, was not to dispatch me to the nation’s capitol to go get that story, but to send me there so that the devastating 24-hour transformation I underwent would inform my decisions on what topics I would cover and how I would cover them from that point on. If it seemed to you that the reporting coming out of the Greylock Glass was steeped in estrogen in 2017, well now you know why.

I looked for stories not just about women in the Berkshires, but about how those women, through their own work and lives, reflected the growing realization that America was about to reckon with a women’s movement that was gaining in power, momentum, and political sophistication. The country would begin to come to terms with gender inequities and injustice not because it was convenient at the moment, but because women had decided they were done with gradualism.

The Greylock Glass reported on many, many women achieving amazing things in education, literature, music, politics, and other areas. When searching for a source to talk to about a subject that wasn’t inherently masculine or feminine, I challenged myself to be sure to contact a woman with equal expertise or credentials if no reason existed not to feature a feminine voice. Finally, just as important to me as including women’s voices in our reporting was committing to give time to stories about issues that may have a veneer of gender neutrality, but which, in fact, affect women disproportionately, and often with strikingly unjust consequences.

What did I learn pursuing this slight editorial tweaking in 2017 was that including women more often in news coverage, as vital actors on the many diverse stages of human experience, as agents of their own fortunes and as agents of change in their communities? I learned that it’s really no professional challenge. It’s just a personal habit. Plenty of men made appearances in our podcasts and in our pages last year, too—when it made sense, in the interest of the informing the audience, to talk with them. But never as the default gender. And while I haven’t analyzed stories and podcasts from 2015 or 2016 to see if last year rectified a gender disparity of which I wasn’t aware, I don’t think I have to at this point. And I don’t think I’m going to have to make any special effort in 2018 to ensure journalistic gender equity. If, as I hope, I’m in a position to hire a reporter this year, I’ll be looking forward to nurturing the habits of awareness in her or in him that took root for me, and for the world, during the first Women’s March on January 21, 2017.

Although I never did come up with a satisfactory way to chronicle my trip to Washington, I did return home with a couple hours-worth of audio interviews. I’ve sifted through those conversations and pulled out a small collection of my favorite quotes. Except for the voice of Kamala Harris at the end, the speakers are going to remain nameless, though some of you will, doubtless, recognize one or two of the women I spoke with. So now, I’d like to share with you, as a small way the Greylock Glass can commemorate that historic demonstration, Ten Minutes of Voices on the Road to the Women’s March on Washington.


Volunteers invited to join in 25th annual MLK Day of Service

“Letter from Birmingham Jail” theme for 2018 observance *

Collage created with public domain imagery, Notes on "A Letter From Birmingham Jail," courtesy the <a href="" target="new">King Archive</a>, and the photo, "Recreation of Martin Luther King's Cell in Birmingham Jail," by Adam Jones, Ph.D. (Own work); CC BY-SA 3.0's_Cell_in_Birmingham_Jail_-_National_Civil_Rights_Museum_-_Downtown_Memphis_-_Tennessee_-_USA.jpg">via Wikimedia Commons
Collage created with public domain imagery, Notes on “A Letter From Birmingham Jail,” courtesy the King Archive, and the photo, “Recreation of Martin Luther King’s Cell in Birmingham Jail,” by Adam Jones, Ph.D. (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) and the Northern Berkshire Community Coalition (NBCC) encourage all community members to participate in the 25th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK) Day of Service on Monday, Jan. 15, which will feature volunteer service projects from 9 a.m. to noon, and a program and lunch to begin at 12:30 p.m. in the campus’s Venable Gym.

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MCLA announces new FPA programs

2018 sees expanded options within Fine and Performing Arts *

Collage created by Jason Velázquez with public domain imagery and the photo, "Friend's Studio," by David J (Flickr) [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons.
Collage created with public domain imagery and the photo, “Friend’s studio.” by By David J (Flickr) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) announces the addition of five new programs to its Department of Fine and Performing Arts (FPA), as two concentrations, in design and studio art, and three minors in dance, design, and music production, recently were added.

“The design concentration prepares students for traditional graphic design careers, web design, animation, concept, as well as character development for films, graphic novels or video games. It’s also great for illustrators and public relations professionals, and for self-promotion,” said Melanie Mowinski, associate professor of visual art.

“We imagine that students who are choosing the studio art concentration are more likely to be interested in drawing and painting, and students in the design concentration to be more interested in typography, book arts, letterpress, digital design and traditional graphic design kinds of things,” Mowinski said.

Also in FPA, students may access minors in dance and music production. Already, a number of students who focus on theatre and arts management have added the dance minor, according to Laura Standley, associate professor of theatre.

“We have a large group of students on campus that are interested in performance in general. In addition to producing a growing number of musicals, many others expressed interest in music theatre,” Standley said.

“I am definitely excited about this new dance minor and am interested to see how it will bleed into FPA theatre and make itself known as its own thing,” said Bryana Bradley ’17.

Tom Truss III, who joined the faculty last fall, is helping to coordinate the new dance minor. He brings to campus a wide range of skills that not only shape the classes he teaches, but also the dance minor, including experiences at the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange in Washington, D.C., the New Zealand Conservatory of Dance, and Jacob’s Pillow in Great Barrington. In addition, he is certified in the Alexander Technique, which he obtained in San Francisco, Calif.

For the music production minor, several classes were revised, while others were added. New courses include “Home Studio Recording,” “Advanced Recording/Live Sound,” and “Music Production for Film.”

Other new programs at MCLA include the computer science major’s concentration in electrical engineering, and a new entrepreneurship minor in the business program. In addition, last summer, MCLA and the Department of Biology announced the addition of two new Bachelor of Science degrees – in Health Sciences and in Community Health Education – as well as a new pre-medical professions concentration and a new pre-veterinary concentration.

The Health Sciences major is available as a general major or with four different concentrations; pre-physician assistant, pre-physical therapy, pre-occupational therapy, or medical technology. It prepares students to pursue advanced study in a variety of health fields. The new Community Health Education major addresses a growing demand for health care educators, both locally and nationwide.

Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) is the Commonwealth’s public liberal arts college and a campus of the Massachusetts state university system. MCLA promotes excellence in learning and teaching, innovative scholarship, intellectual creativity, public service, applied knowledge, and active and responsible citizenship. MCLA graduates are prepared to be practical problem solvers and engaged, resilient global citizens.

*This article was created, in whole or in part, using submitted officially released information.


Emily Rubin, editor of “The Write Treatment,” to speak at Kimball Farms

Kimball Farms hosts talk by Emily Rubin, editor of The Write Treatment *

LENOX, Mass. — Kimball Farms Life Care in Lenox will host a presentation by cancer survivor and author Emily Rubin on Thursday, Jan. 18, at 2 p.m. Ms. Rubin leads creativity and writing workshops for cancer patients, survivors and caregivers in New York City.
Ms. Rubin published “The Write Treatment Anthology Volume I 2011-2016,” an anthology of work by her workshop participants. Her presentation is free and open to the public and refreshments will be served.
Those wishing to attend are asked to register by calling 413-637-7043.

Author and cancer survivor Emily Rubin will give a talk at Kimball Farms Life Care in Lenox on Thursday, January 18, at 2:00 p.m.; image courtesy
Author and cancer survivor Emily Rubin will give a talk at Kimball Farms Life Care in Lenox on Thursday, January 18, at 2:00 p.m.; image courtesy


Rubin was born in Queens, NY and now lives in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. She graduated from Bard College in 1978 where she was dance/theater major. A highlight of her time at Bard, in addition to her dance studies, was a writing workshop with visiting professor in literature Isaac Bashevis Singer.

Read her full bio here.

Established in 1989, Kimball Farms provides a continuum of care, including independent living, assisted living, memory care, short-term rehabilitation and long-term skilled nursing care.



When you purchase this book through our affiliate program with Amazon via this image link, you also support the Greylock Glass—at no additional cost to you.
When you purchase this book through our affiliate program with Amazon via this image link, you also support the Greylock Glass—at no additional cost to you.

Kimball Farms Life Care Continuing Care Retirement Community is the only Life Care community in Western Massachusetts. Based in Lenox, Kimball Farms includes Independent Living, Pine Hill Assisted Living, the Life Enrichment Memory Care Program, and Kimball Farms Nursing Care Center. Kimball Farms is owned by Berkshire Healthcare, a leader among not-for-profit, post-acute care organizations in Massachusetts and is managed by an affiliate of Berkshire Health Systems, the region’s leading provider of comprehensive health care services. For more information, visit
The Write Treatment Anthology Volume I 2011-2016

*This article was created, in whole or in part, using submitted officially released information.


Community: Guiding Good Choices — nbCC parenting workshop series

Workshop series to help parents improve family bonding and reduce risk of teenage drug use *

In a five-week workshop series called Guiding Good Choices, parents will learn how to strengthen their bonds with their children and reduce the risk that their children will use drugs. The five-week program is being offered by the Northern Berkshire Community Coalitions’ nb21 program and The Family Place beginning Tuesday, January 23rd from 5:30-7:30 pm at the Mary Spitzer Senior Center located at 116 Ashland Street., North Adams.

Guiding Good Choices is an interactive program for all parents of children in grades 4-8. In a lively and open atmosphere, parents will learn specific strategies to help their children avoid drug use and other adolescent problem behaviors, and develop into healthy adults. Parents will learn to set clear family guidelines on drugs, as well as learn and practice skills to strengthen family bonds, help their children develop healthy behaviors, and increase children’s involvement in the family.

The program is based on research, which has shown that when children are bonded to their parents, school and non-drug-using peers, they are less likely to get involved in drug use or other behavior problems. Most middle school aged youth choose not to drink alcohol or use marijuana. However according to the 2017 Prevention Needs Assessment, 11% of 8th graders in Northern Berkshire County reported using alcohol and marijuana in the last 30 days.

There is no cost to parents. Dinner and childcare are provided. For more information and to register, please call Stephanie Puc or Chris Griffin at 413-663-7588.

*This article was created, in whole or in part, using submitted officially released information.


Berkshire Health Systems Implements Visitor Changes Due to Influenza Spread

Flu Restrictions In Place at BMC, Fairview, and Hillcrest and North Adams Facilities


PITTSFIELD, Mass. — In the wake of widespread influenza reported across Massachusetts, Berkshire Health Systems has implemented visitor changes to help reduce the potential spread of the flu. The visitor restrictions apply to Berkshire Medical Center, Fairview Hospital and the Hillcrest and North Adams Campuses of BMC.

Individuals should not visit patients at any of these facilities if they are under 18 years of age or they are ill or are experiencing flu or flu-like symptoms. These symptoms include fever, chills, body aches, cough or fatigue.

These visitor restrictions will be in place until the flu season wanes, and are meant to protect the patients, loved ones and staff of all of these facilities.

For more information about influenza, please visit the Centers for Disease Control website, which can be found at:


WDIJW? “Alma”

One of the most macabre, yet most lovely shorts we’ve come across. And just right for a cold and snowy weekend at the end of the year!

Alma from Rodrigo Blaas on Vimeo.


Will Call #66: Bach At New Year’s and Travis Daly on “A Christmas Carol”

Longtime Berkshire Bach Ensemble member Eugene Drucker takes on directorship of “Bach At New Year’s”

Eugene Drucker takes the directorship of Berkshire Bach’s time-honored and celebratory "Bach at New Year’s"; submitted image.
Eugene Drucker takes the directorship of Berkshire Bach’s time-honored and celebratory “Bach at New Year’s”; submitted image.

Today is Wednesday December 20, 2017 and you’re listening to Episode #66 of Will Call, our final episode of the show for the year. I’m your host, Jason Velázquez, and I thank you not only for tuning in today, but for being such a fine, fine audience throughout 2017. It has been my treat to share with you news and interviews from the performing arts universe here in the Berkshires. I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to find out where 2018 will lead us.

I am so pleased to announce that this episode is sponsored by one of the newest supporters of the Greylock Glass, The Spirit Shop of Williamstown, located at 280 Cole Avenue, purveyors of fine wines, a masterfully curated selection of domestic and imported beers, local hard ciders, and a full range of liquors—if you check your cabinet and find your holiday entertaining supplies lacking, a trip to the Spirit Shop, might just be the solution you’re looking for.


Advertisement for The Spirit Shop, Williamstown, Massachusetts


At the top of the show, we heard a clip from Rondeau, one of six contradanses by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, performed by the Berkshire Bach Ensemble, at their 2015 extravaganza, “Bach at New Year’s — A Blast of Brass,” under the direction of Kenneth Cooper. This season inaugurates a season of change for the Berkshire Bach Society. Emerson String Quartet founder and internationally renowned soloist, Eugene Drucker takes the directorship of Berkshire Bach’s time-honored and celebratory “Bach at New Year’s”, as well as performing as featured soloist with the Berkshire Bach Ensemble.

We’re joined this episode by Paula Hatch, Executive Director of the Berkshire Bach Society, to talk about this year’s Bach at New Year’s event and to look forward to 2018.

A Christmas Carol

A Christmas Carol, at the Berkshire Theatre GroupFirst though, we had a brief conversation with Travis Daly of Berkshire Theatre Group who directs their beloved community production of A Christmas Carol again this year. And again, tickets are still available for this beloved staging of A Christmas Carol at

That was a portion of Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 in F major, played by the Berkshire Bach Ensemble during their 2016 Bach at New Year’s. All six Brandenburg Concerto’s were performed for last year’s holiday spectacular, the final such with Kennth Cooper as director before his retirement. With me now is Berkshire Bach Society executive director Paula Hatch to describe this 2017 event and to fill us in about what’s known of the 2018 season.

Head on over to for tickets and more information. Well, that’s our show for this week. I’ve been your host, Jason Velazquez, and again, I do thank you for listening today, and throughout 2017. I hope you’ll join me next year for another great season covering the performing arts in the Greylock corridor. Take care!


Bach at New Year’s Program 2017-2018

Mozart: Divertimento in D Major, K. 136

William Boyce: Symphony No. 1 in B flat Major for oboes and strings.

Purcell: Chacony and Fantasias; Cebell and Fanfare; The Faerie Queen Prelude and Celebration

William Boyce: Symphony No. 1 in B flat Major for oboes and strings.

Mozart: Violin Concerto in A Major — K. 219 (the Turkish – Drucker soloist)

Bartok: Duos for Two Violins, Sz. 98: New Year’s Greetings

Telemann: Concerto in D Major for Four Violins — TWV 40:202

J.S. Bach: Contrapunctus #9 from The Art of the Fugue.

Mozart-Bach: Five fugues for String Quartet from The Well-Tempered Clavier

J.S. Bach: Orchestral Suite No. 1 in C Major — BWV 1066


The Cornbread Cafe #6: INTERVIEW with Janie Barnett, too many new tracks to list!

Janie Barnett discusses her gracefully drifting release, You See this River.

Janie Barnett; submitted photo.
Janie Barnett; submitted photo.


Welcome! brothers and sisters to Episode #6—of the Cornbread Cafe. I am the mongrel, and I will be your waiter today. Cazh and cozy, we’re located at the five-corners of Blues, Americana, Folk, Country, and Gospel. And you can sometimes catch an express to Rock ’n’ Roll at the bus stop across the way. We hope to become your new new fave hang for the best in a sprawling menu of American Roots music.


Click the play button on this audio player to hear the complete interview with Janie Barnett.


This is episode six of the Cornbread Cafe, and do I have a special treat treat for you this time around. Actually I have a whole hour of special treats, as always, but one of them is especially rare and wonderful. We have with us Janie Barnett, who if she were the last Americana musician to be minted in this world, would be give us a perfect last lingering chord in the genre.

Artists Featured in this Episode:

Janie Barnett, “You See This River,” You See this River
Janie Barnett, “Better Times Are Coming,” You See this River
Molly Pinto Madigan, “Seven Tears,” The Cup Overflows
Bees Deluxe, “Industrial (espionage),single
Gus McKay, “Married a Snake,Salt Flat Mojo Blues
Heather Maloney, “Let Me Stay,” by Just Enough Sun
Almond & Olive, “We Will,” Standing at the Precipice
Birds of Chicago, “American Flowers,” American Flowers
Janie Barnett, “Sweet Thursday,”  You See this River

Note: Artist links provide access directly to artists’ websites or social media homepages. All album links provide access to song or album purchase options, often through our affiliate programs with Apple Music or


On her just released album, You See This River, Janie crafts stories dug out your family’s cedar trunks up in the attic, memories traced in carbon copy from old letters in the shoebox in the back of the closet. Her ballads are painted in emotions as fresh as eternally wet paint. Her creations are woven from Words that seem like she could have teased them out of my own brain if I were an immeasurably more talented poet.

Some are Songs of stubbornly optimistic, inevitable love filtered through a self-knowledge even the most enlightened gurus would envy.

Some Songs echo the lives people who are really living their lives on the back stoops, in the kitchens, in bedrooms together in vulnerable companionship or the complex internal lives we’re living alone in our hearts and minds as we travel through our labors or little luxuries.

Penetrating and heartbreaking. Wise and reckless. True. Imagined. True anyway.

Janie Barnett thanks for being on the show!

(audio clip of our interview with Janie Barnett)

Upcoming Event

Janie Barnett, opening for Paula Cole
Saturday December 16, 2017 at 8:00 p.m.
The Center for Arts in Natick
info & tickets

Molly Pinto Madigan's 2017 release, The Cup Overflows, builds on her impressive songwriting and vocal skills with a heightened level of self-assurance that suits her musical direction.
Molly Pinto Madigan’s 2017 release, The Cup Overflows, builds on her impressive songwriting and vocal skills with a heightened level of self-assurance that suits her musical direction.

I think it’s about time that we all get a taste of the work that I know Janie can do, does do, and has done with Blue Room on this recent release “You See This River.” Before we do, though, I need to pause and explain that I had no idea just how engaging our conversation was going to be. I will confess right here and now that I was prepared to record for 20 minutes, keep the best 10, and share them with you. When I looked up at the clock and saw that a full 30 minutes had gone by, and realized that she had so many more stories and nuggets of wisdom to share, I made the decision to keep rolling tape and figure it out later.

And I think I’ve got it figured out, now. I’ve edited the entire conversation, keeping almost every syllable, and have made the entire talk available as bonus audio here in the show notes. Just look for the audio player below the first paragraph. You’ll want to hear everything Janie has to say. And to create the most powerful, most tempting incentive, I’m going to sprinkle jewels from our talk throughout the rest of the show. That way, you still get almost as much music as usual, AND you get an exclusive interview with one of Americana’s leading ladies.

Bees Deluxe Front: Conrad Warren, Allyn “Aldo” Dorr Back: Patrick Sanders, Carol Band photo courtesy Carol Band via Patch
Bees Deluxe
Front: Conrad Warren, Allyn “Aldo” Dorr
Back: Patrick Sanders, Carol Band
photo courtesy Carol Band via Patch

So let’s have two right now from Janie—One, a searching, buoyant rendition of Steven Foster’s “Better Times Are Coming” from 1862, but first the title track off this tuneful treasure trove, You See This River.

And THAT last number was “Seven Tears” off our old friend Molly Pinto Madigan’s very recent release The Cup Overflows. Before that, we heard Better Times Are Coming and the title track from You See This River, from the very phenomenal Janie Barnett and Blue Room. You can find purchase options for their most recent as well as prior releases in the “Artists Featured in this Episode” section, above.

After hearing Janie Barnett, you’re likely to ask yourself, “This is great, but how and where can I experience the magic live?” You’re in luck, because she has a couple shows coming up in the next couple of months, including a one-of-a-kind performance December 16 opening up for Paula Cole at the Center for Arts in Natick, Mass. If you’re anywhere in the Boston Metro neighborhood, you won’t want to miss what is sure to be a powerful evening of tunes.

Gus McKay; photo courtesy Gus McKay
Gus McKay; photo courtesy Gus McKay

Next course coming out of the kitchen is a sub-genre we have not explored much yet on the Cornbread Cafe—and that’s Acid Blues. Oh it’s true blue, but just a little bit gacked out. We’ll have a double shot that starts with a band I’ve been following since my days at the helm of the Mongrel’s Howl podcast, back in 2005. In fact, that’s why I was so grateful and honored that they responded to my note asking if they wanted to be part of this new show. Ever-gracious, they obliged, and YOU dear listener, reap the benefits of my association, I promise you that.

Also in this block, we’ll hear a deeper cut “Married a Snake,” off Gus McKay’s recent release, Salt Flat Mojo Blues. I don’t know if Gus would categorize his music as acid blues, but I’ll let you be the judge of whether it belongs in the same drawer as Bees Deluxe’s newest single, “Industrial (espionage)” right here on the Cornbread Cafe.

(audio clip of our interview with Janie Barnett)

Heather Maloney; photo courtesy
Heather Maloney; photo courtesy

That’s Janie Barnett talking about the need to wrangle, and ultimately reconcile time and creativity as responsibilities of family and paying gigs eat away at the leisurely time once spent waiting for the muse to show up with inspiration. In our extended conversation, Janie shares some deeply personal perspectives on subjects like family. I really encourage you to to listen to what was, for me, one of my most absorbing interviews ever. In fact, let’s have a listen to one of my favorite gems from our talk before we hear brandy new just released tracks from Heather Maloney, Almond & Olive, and Birds of Chicago.

We just heard the title track from the just released EP American Flowers, by Birds of Chicago, available through Signature Sounds. On a different podcast, I’ve had the distinct pleasure of sharing a long conversation with JT Nero who, along with Allison Russell, makes up the principle force of the group that’s been described as “secular gospel.” That identifier certainly seems to fit, doesn’t it? The affect some of their songs have on me definitely goes beyond simply my heart and mind.

Almond & Olive; submitted photo.
Almond & Olive; submitted photo.

Before that, we heard “We Will” off the new release from Almond & Olive. This duo, sometimes known simply as A&O, is comprised of singer-songwriters Natalie Alms and Ollie Davidson. The also call Chicago home, so if you think detect some shared musical DNA, you’re probably not wrong. The track comes from “Standing at the Precipice,” an album that came about less than two years after the two met in 2015.

And we started the set with another artist on the Signature Sounds label, Heather Maloney, who brought us “Let Me Stay,” from her latest effort, Just Enough Sun, which also features the instrumentation of Ryan Hommel.

You’ll be hearing plenty more cuts off each of these albums in the near future, probably just as soon as my heart recovers from the extreme emotional workout that triple of tunes put it through.

Birds of Chicago; submitted photo.
Birds of Chicago; submitted photo.

Before them, Janie Barnett gave us a deep look into the emotional dimensions of her own creative source material, and how motherhood instilled a sense of forgiveness in the artistic space she inhabits these days.

Let’s hear from Janie again as we work our way through dessert and coffee. She talks about the process of creating her new album, You See This River, one of the most consistent and structurally sound I’ve heard. She suggested we close out the show with a song she described as one of her more light-hearted compositions, “Sweet Thursday.” I think you’ll agree that it’s just the balm you need some days, these days.

(audio clip of our interview with Janie Barnett)


Janie Barnett; photo courtesy
Janie Barnett; photo courtesy


Well, that’s our show for the week. I know you won’t want to miss next weeks episode of the Cornbread Cafe, so I’d encourage you to subscribe through iTunes or Google Play Music—you’ll find the subscribe buttons on just about any page of our site. And when you subscribe, I’d be grateful if you left us a review—it really helps people discover us.

I’ve been your host, Jay Vee, aka the mongrel, and I thank you for listening. We’ll tuck into more heaping helpings of American Roots music next week. Take care.


Will Call #65: The MCLA Allegrettos deep in a new season of harmony

Razor sharp a cappella and gospel group to give free performance

The MCLA Allegrettos; photo courtesy the Allegrettos, via Facebook.
The MCLA Allegrettos; photo courtesy the Allegrettos, via Facebook.


from publicity materials

Known for their powerhouse vocals, the MCLA Allegrettos are quickly becoming a name on the collegiate music scene. Focusing on complex vocals, rock solid technique, emotive nuances, and power; the Allegrettos deliver a sound that has no flats, avoids sharps, and only produces perfect harmony.

ADVERTISEMENT, The Spirit Shop, Williamstown, Massachusetts

Allegrettos A Cappella Performance

Saturday, December 09 at 7:00 p.m.
SereniTea Cafe and Bar
303 Ashland Street, North Adams, Mass.
Free! More info.

In three short years the Allegrettos grew from a 10 person Christmas caroling group, to a thirty member, award winning ensemble that has opened for the likes of Craig Harris, The Sweetback Sisters, Blitz the Ambassador, and Regina Carter.

The purpose of the MCLA Allegrettos is to challenge its members in all aspects of performance, from learning vocals to developing a visually stimulating and entertaining performance to a variety of audience members. It also enriches the community by performing varying genres of music which therefore provides a sense of other musical cultures.

The Allegrettos began in the winter of 2009 as the Hoosings. Freshman J. Cottle had always wanted to go caroling and for the first time, found himself in the position to do so. Together with 9 other freshmen (Jessica Jean-Charles, Kate Moore, Lizzy Mullen, Shavonne Brown, Chantel Baptista, Paul Miranda, Quincy Goodwin, Ryan Howard and Joel Siskin) the Hoosings caroled all around campus. Since then the group has tripled in size, and now focuses on Holiday, A Capella, and Gospel music, and has performed over 30 times across the state. In 2011 they were finalists in the first season of Together In Song, and won 2nd place in the first annual Lenox Caroling Festival.

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