To be perfectly honest, there’s just not much I can say about the Whiskey Treaty Roadshow that either hasn’t already been written, isn’t about to be said (check for an article in an upcoming issue of Relix), or you aren’t going to hear in this interview. Torey Hannah and Billy Keane generously talk with us for well over the 20 minutes they said that they could spare on a practice night, so thanks, gents. Keep Reading
We’ve been away too long, I know (hangs head in shame). It’s been a brutal couple of months, that’s all I can say. Fortunately, we’re facing a New Reality now that spring is finally here. Dayne Herndon, the mind behind the musical project, Starseed, joins us to talk about his latest release. Keep Reading
BOOM was formed by local musicians Tom Conklin, Sandy McKnight, Dar Maloney and Liv Cummins, and MCLA student Allison Gregory, as a way to promote and advance original bands and singer-songwriters in the Berkshires.
“BOOM” kickoff event features ten local music artists
Berkshire Organization for Original Music (BOOM) has scheduled their kickoff event, the Big BOOM Bash, at The Whitney Center for the Arts, on April 29. Between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m., a reception will be held, followed by a party and concert from 5 p.m. until 9 p.m. Admission is free, and all are welcome. Food, and a cash bar, will be offered, along with the original music covering various genres.
“We’re reaching out to not only musicians, but business people, public servants, and anyone else who cares about the artistic and economic welfare of the community,” explained McKnight, who formed a not-for-profit called CAT (Columbia Arts Team) 14 years ago with Cummins.
“We were living in Hudson, NY until recently,” added Cummins, “and saw, first hand, the effect the arts can have on a local economy.” BOOM hopes to also bridge the divide between northern and southern Berkshire county. “Let’s all work together, and visit each other once in a while. We need to develop a music scene worthy of the Berkshire’s rich musical history,” she stated. CAT has produced many music events, in Columbia County, the Albany area, and the Berkshires. BOOM was formed as a part of CAT, with a similar mission, but focused more specifically in the Berkshires.
BOOM Kickoff Event
Friday, April 29, 4 p.m.–9 p.m.
The Whitney Center for the Arts
42 Wendell Avenue, Pittsfield, Mass.
Whitney Center for the Arts Executive Director, Ghazi Kazmi, has generously offered the Wendell Avenue arts venue for the BOOM event. Performing will be local original musicians Jeb Barry and the Pawn Shop Saints, 8 Foot River, Robin O’Herin, Leap the Dips, The Matchstick Architects, Sherry Steiner, Christine Bile, The Chain Letter, Keep Her Warm, and Long Journey.
“I think we’ve tapped into a real need in the community,” added Conklin, the news voice of WUPE and other stations around the county. “As soon as we put the idea out there, we had a big reaction. We had 50 folks come to our first meeting at BCC, on a cold snowy night. People have volunteered, chimed in with ideas, and generally been enthusiastic. We’ve had many people tell us this is something that’s been needed around here for a long time.”
Since then, things have been busy at BOOM, as they worked on developing a website (designed by Glenn Geiger of Stockbridge, also a local musician, and web designer for Geiger Computers), which finally came to fruition recently. The web address is www.boom413.com, and at the site one can hear all kinds of local music, see videos, get information on services, music-related advice and much more. BOOM has no formal memberships, but musicians can register on the website and contribute to the content.
The kickoff event is open to all ages, with the founders’ goal to get to know everyone who enjoys music, plays music, or cares about music in the Berkshires. The Whitney Center for the Arts is at 42 Wendell Avenue in Pittsfield. Doors open at 4. More information is available at the website, or by calling 413 243-4306.
Ear Candy to Temp You to BOOM’s Kick-Off
We’d love to play a sampling of ALL the artists who’ll be in the house at the Whit on 4/29, But we just couldn’t give everyone equal billing, though. BESIDES…we don’t have to! You can go to BOOM’s website and give a listen YOURSELF to all the awesome tunes from your fave, and soon to be fave, local bands! For now, though, lets have a selection of tunes from our guests’ bands/projects.
From Tom Conklin’s Band, The Matchstick Architects, you’ll hear “Little Things” in this episode. A heartfelt work that speaks of optimism in a sometimes unforgiving life that threatens to obscure the Little Things that can keep us going, the tune taps into a very real place with satisfying results. Listen during the show, and then scroll down and hit the play button so you can go back and hear those great lyrics again. OH! and if you heard Tom on the show and thought, “Boy, I could use a voice like that for my next commercial, documentary, animated film, etc. project,” you’re in luck! Those velvet pipes are for hire—just visit his voice-over site for details.
And from Sandy McKnight…well, that was a tough choice—solo acoustic musings chock-full of raw honesty and authenticity? Or electrified blossoms of catchy melody that doesn’t quite hide the incisively intelligent observations within the lyrics? Well, for the podcast, we went with the former, BUT have linked to the reverb nation player below, so you can listen over and over to your hearts content!
About The Matchstick Architects
The Matchstick Architects are a New England based original indie rock band fronted by Dar Maloney (Canaan, NY) on guitar and lead vocals. The band features Maloney, Tom Conklin (Pittsfield, MA) on lead guitar, Diane Davis (Barkhamsted, CT) on bass, and Paul Unsworth (Canton, CT) on drums and percussion. The band is currently working on its debut CD entitled All That’s In Between.
SANDY MCKNIGHT & THE IDEA!
SANDY MCKNIGHT & THE IDEA! began when sandy had an idea. the idea was to make accessible pop music with lots of harmonies and great songs. the Beatles had a similar idea. The band is unabashedly fun and melodic and all the unhip things a band can be.
“The Next Step” Not to Be Taken Lightly
The focus of their lens is the determination of a young woman scheduled to travel to Australia this Spring to undergo a procedure not approved in the United States to regain more of the mobility she had before the loss of both her legs above the knee as a teenager.
That young woman, Clara Gardner, is a close friend of the filmmakers, a fact that adds a personal dimension to the project that facilitates the storytelling in some ways. On the other hand, Augusta knew her before a drunk driver cost Clara lost both her legs in 2008—there’s no use even in pretending that objectivity is a remote possibility. When one of your best friends becomes the raw material for your art, emotional dynamics may shift in unexpected ways.
Additionally, Augusta and Joe are a couple. The intensity of working on any large project as a small team can place a burden on non-romantic partnerships. During shooting “The Next Step,” the two filmmakers will traverse oceans together in pursuit of their work. Then, and during the editing process, time, money, and space are all likely to get tight at times. What relationship safety mechanisms have they put in place to deal with the potential strain?
An epic tale (and the talent to tell it) just part of the recipe for a powerful film
As they travel to Australia with Clara to chronicle her experience receiving the costly procedure known as osseointegration, Aidonidis and Rose will have a level of access unusual for most documentarians. Whether or not they’ll be able to convert the powerful story into a feature film over the next year depends in part on funding.
Joe and Augusta have launched a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter to help finance the project. More than half of their immediate goal reached quickly, the couple must still look ahead to the crushing expense of all that goes into a movie after the footage has all been captured. That tale will unfold both on the film’s Kickstarter page and its Facebook page, where “The Next Step” is already receiving encouragement and praise from supporters. The two forms of support combined might just be what the project needs to see the journey all the way through to the end.
About Joe Aidonidis and Augusta Rose
Joe Aidonidis is a videographer specializing in capturing live performance, biographic and educational materials for non-profits, and visual art. He co-directs ‘Common Folk’, an artist collective based in North Adams, MA that empowers communities to use art as a catalyst for change. His mission is to educate others about humanitarian subjects and artistic causes. He is also one of the musical duo that makes up Anonymous Animal. In addition to having a presence on YouTube as a musician on the Anonymous Animal page, he and his partner, Barney, host another YouTube page where they share info about the techniques and trade-craft they rely on to make their transformative sounds—Anonymous Animal 2. Joe also highlights some of the great experiences created by the Common Folk Artist Collective on their YouTube page. You should definitely check out their Facebook page as well.
Augusta Rose has produced documentaries about women’s health, land preservation, mindfulness, and humanitarian causes. She is founder of Be Your Creature, a movement dedicated to fostering creativity in women through transformative portraiture. A good piece by Jenn Smith about the movement in the Berkshire Eagle on 03/23/16. She currently resides in North Adams, MA and works throughout New England and the Pacific Northwest.
In “Penny Land” a new film being filmed in the Berkshires by Billy Hahn, a young man drifts aimlessly through life dreaming about striking rich by betting on the shady world of penny stocks. As his dream becomes an obsession he creates a stock scheme that could destroy himself and everyone around him.
Berkshire-born musician Justin Hillman released his third album, “Have I Not Found You Yet,” in September, but, lucky for us Alt-Folk fans here in the Berkshires, scheduling challenges placed the CD release party on the calendar Friday, November 20, at the Whitney Center for the Arts in Pittsfield.
Lexi Weege slips between sultry ballads and upbeat love songs with ease.
ADVISORY: Explicit language.
We spoke with Lexi Weege, the jazz songstress who recently released her second album, “Sweet Moon.” The album was all recorded live and on tape and released digitally and on vinyl on September 13th following a release party at the Parlor Room at Signature Sounds with The True Believers.
Like Lexi’s music, our conversation is raw, inspired, and unfiltered. Some adult language is used. Listen as we cover her album, analog recording techniques, the state of women in the arts industry, and more.
Pi Valley Faves, The Sun Parade march into the Berks for TWO shows this month.
PLUS: Kris Delmhorst—TONIGHT at the BarN
ALERT: Consider PREPARING for the possible landfall of Hurricane Joaquin while we have plenty of time..
Singer and guitarist Chris Marlon Jennings relates the band’s creation story and talks about the ongoing development of their creative process. The Sun Parade helps And the Kids kick off the opening of Wind-Up Fest here in NoCo, opens for Dr. Dog at MASS MoCA, and curates a micro festival at Gateway City Arts with their friends Great Smokey and Xenia Rubinos.
Eleonore Oppenheim at Fringe Music, at Shire City Sanctuary in Pittsfield, MA
This special presentation, “ArtScope,” explores the Fringe Music series through its first performance on September 4th, 2015, which featured renowned solo-bassist Eleonore Oppenheim. Fringe Music is a new monthly music series offered by Bazaar Productions. Bazaar Productions is the organization behind the three-week Berkshire Fringe festival that has brought innovative theatre, music and dance to the Berkshires every summer since 2005. For more information about Fringe Music and Bazaar Productions, listen to our podcast with co-artistic director Peter Wise.
In this presentation, we place you right in the front row of the audience of that first Fringe Music performance. We also speak with Eleonore Oppenheim about Fringe Music and her performance at Shire City Sanctuary, which hosts the music series. Eleonore will be performing in this month’s installment of Fringe Music with The Hands Free on Friday, October 2nd, 2015.
She’s driving over 400 miles to sing for you. Just for you.
We spoke with Suzie Ungerleider, eponymous member of Oh Susanna, about her new album, “Name Dropper,” which is a triumph of creativity, community, and collaboration. You’ll fall hard for her infectious laughter and optimism. Powerful medicine (along with the aforementioned community and collaboration) in her fight against breast cancer, diagnosed just in time to interrupt the final stages of the release’s production.
In addition to our conversation, we play “Wait Until The Sun Comes Up” and “1955.”