As we begin our 17th year, Saturday Night Liv (hosted by Liv Cummins) branches out into new venues – Dewey Hall is a great historic building, with an intimate atmosphere. Sketch comedy with The Really Convincing Players, and musical guests Sandy McKnight’s Pop-Clique. Plus lots of surprises, as always!
(from supplied release)
HANCOCK, Mass.—Blend a country band with early R&B, throw in a hefty amount of vocal harmonies and witty one-liners, and rock out like The Band. That’s what you’ll get Thursday, July 13, when roots music maverick Western Centuries takes the 1910 hayloft stage at Hancock Shaker Village. With upbeat, bar room dance numbers, lilting, soulful tunes of heartbreak, and everything in between, the band is as tight they come.
Comprised of Seattle-based country musician Cahalen Morrison, jam band veteran Jim Miller (co-founder of Donna the Buffalo), R&B and bluegrass-by-the-way-of-punk rock songwriter Ethan Lawton, pedal steel player Rusty Blake, and bassist Dan Lowinger, Western Centuries is clearly a diverse bunch. The band is collaborative in nature, but they are – albeit subtly – helmed by Morrison. After years of performing in prominent roots duo Cahalen Morrison & Eli West (whose music made fans of Tim O’Brien, Jim Lauderdale, Dirk Powell, and BBC Radio’s Bob Harris along the way), Morrison formed and led the band Country Hammer, made up of members who have mostly crossed over into Western Centuries.
“If you enjoy country, honky-tonk music with hard floor dancing with scuffed boots on a Friday night, corn liquor, hand-rolled cigars with barbeque pork and beans on tin plates – take a deep breath – Western Centuries is salvation,” says No Depression.
Hancock Shaker Village is committed to highlighting national acts and local talent. Opening the evening is Pittsfield, MA, native and regional favorite Wes Buckley, a songwriter and multi-instrumentalist whose seven releases speak of love, quests, and sometimes even the economy. His grandfather snuck on stage to perform tenor sax with Stan Kenton and his father was momentarily a guitarist in Jefferson Starship – talk about shoes to fill.
The concert is in a barn…literally. Until June, it stored hay. At last weekend’s performance, guests lolling around the fence waiting for Woodie Guthrie’s granddaughter to take the stage were startled to see a fox sneak into the barnyard nearby where chickens were ignoring the warm-up band and apparently the fox. The fox won.
Everyone knows the Round Stone Barn, built in 1826 with stones quarried from the site and now an icon on the National Historic Register, but few know the 1910 barn tucked behind. On a knoll overlooking the hills of Richmond, the post-and-beam structure was the site of a cow barn that burned in 1879. The Shakers rebuilt immediately – the barn where the music takes place was built in 1880 with a commodious root cellar and an expansive loft. On August 2, 1910 the barn was struck by lightning, and burned down. It was full of hay and wagons, and the loss was estimated at $6,000. Fortunately (and amazing for 1910) the building was insured, and the Shakers built a new barn immediately – the 1910 Barn, which still uses the stone foundations laid in 1880. Its architecture has close ties to a church, with the points of visual affinity being the lofty peak, which happens to provide ideal acoustics. Come hear for yourself.
Shaker Barn Music series, which runs through September (when we need the barn to store hay again), features American roots music that incorporates elements of various styles, including country, roots-rock, folk, bluegrass, R&B and blues, resulting in a distinctive sound that lives in a world apart from the pure forms of the genres upon which it draws. The series is curated by Karl Mullen who has run legendary music venues for 30+ years including World Cafe Live in Philadelphia and Club Cafe, Rosebud, and Metropol in Pittsburgh.
All performances in the Shaker Barn Music series take place in the hayloft of the 1910 Barn. The July 13 concert begins at 7pm. Doors and the Barn Bar open at 6pm. Seeds Market Cafe at Hancock Shaker Village serves dinner before every show. The cafe’s fresh-picked menu items celebrate Shaker-inspired, neighborhood-sourced food, prepared by regional farm-to-table chef Brian Alberg. His menu highlights produce from the museum’s gardens just steps away, which have been continuously cultivated using practices of the original Shakers, including an all-natural approach to fertilizing and pestcontrol. Enjoy your supper in Seeds or grab a picnic and dine on the ample lawn space of Hancock Shaker Village.
Tickets are $15 ($20 day of). For tickets or information call 413.443.0188 x115 orhttps://shop.hancockshakervillage.org/product-category/experiences/concerts/
The worn floor of an old honkytonk is not usually a place you’d think of as welcoming to bold new experimentation. If you’ve got something new to say, you’d better say it in the form of a brisk twostep that keeps the dancers moving. So it’s doubly impressive that Seattle country band Western Centuries is able to meld wildly disparate influences into an original honkytonk sound that won’t make dancers miss a step. Formed originally under the name Country Hammer by Americana songwriter Cahalen Morrison, known for his innovative work as an acoustic duo with Eli West, Western Centuries revolves around three principal songwriters–Morrison, Ethan Lawton, and Jim Miller–each with a totally different perspective. Here, Cahalen Morrison channels his New Mexico roots–he grew up exploring lost arroyos and playing drums in a conjunto band–into a kind of bloodred Western drawl. His songs are as influenced by cowboy poetry or his greatgrandfather’s Scottish Gaelic poetry as much as his love of George Jones. Ethan Lawton came out of the rough, workingclass streets of Seattle’s South end, working in hiphop and punk before losing his heart to bluegrass. His bonedry vocals meld intensely with the rocksteady backbeat of his country songs, born from his love of old Jamaican 45s mixed with early bluegrass. Jim Miller comes from the jamband circuit, where he ruled for decades as a founding member of the muchloved band Donna The Buffalo. Throughout, the dancefloor was his temple, and he cribbed ideas from Louisiana Zydeco all the way to the The Band. Western Centuries’ debut album, Weight of the World, released by Free Dirt Records on June 3, 2016, introduces a band of roots music mavericks bringing refreshingly new ideas to their country roots.
Produced by Bill Reynolds (Band of Horses) and recorded in his Nashville studio, Weight of the World features powerful musicianship from all members, including special guests Rusty Blake (pedal steel), Rosie Newton (fiddle), and Dan Lowinger (bass). With songs that have been road-tested on actual dance floors throughout the Pacific Northwest, the bedrock of American honky-tonk on this album was hardearned. The progressive, almost psychedelic nature of Weight of the World’s lyrics, however, infuses the 12 track record with a distinctly modern sensibility. Sure, there’s plenty of country telecaster twang, but Western Centuries elevate these neotraditional twostepping tunes into transcendental, rootsy rock‘nrolldoused thinkpieces. With each songwriter’s distinct approach, and the strict dictums of the dancefloor ruling the sound, Western Centuries deconstructs the world of country dance. But it’s also marked with a profound ingenuity – the type that feels instinctual rather than intentionally labored for, the kind that continues to flourish and snake into new realms as time wears on. This is just the beginning for Western Centuries, and it’s not likely their creative well is going to dry up any time soon.
Concert with Dom Flemons in the 1910 Barn kicks off Berkshire season of American roots music at Hancock Shaker Village
(Hancock Shaker Village, official release)
HANCOCK, Mass.—When Grammy-award winning Dom Flemons kicks off Hancock Shaker Village’s new Shaker Barn Music series on June 16, he’s continuing a long tradition of music by the Shakers, whose musical roots run deep, with a musical heritage that led to the creation of more than 10,000 American folk songs.
A musician, singer-songwriter, and slam poet, Flemons is a founder of the storied Carolina Chocolate Drops, an African-American string band that won a Grammy for its 2010 album Genuine Negro Jig. Today, Flemons tours throughout the US and internationally as “The American Songster,” mixing traditional music forms with a contemporary approach to create new sounds. Flemons mesmerizes audiences as he draws from a wide range of styles, including ragtime, Piedmont blues, spirituals, Southern traditional, string band, fife and drum, and jug band music. “Onstage he’s an absolute blast, charming and funny, full of energy,” wrote No Depression Magazine.
Shaker Barn Music: Dom Flemons
Friday, June 16; doors 7:00 p.m.
(Opening act: Long Journey)
1910 Barn, Hancock Shaker Village
1843 West Housatonic Street
Tickets $15 in advance/$20 day of show
Call 413.443.0188 x115, or order online
In 2016, Flemons performed at Carnegie Hall as part of a Lead Belly tribute, and also at the opening ceremonies for the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC. In 2016 he also paired with legendary British guitarist Martin Simpson on the album Selection of Ever Popular Favourites. His newest album, which will be released through Smithsonian Folkways, celebrates the stories and songs of black cowboys, who played an important role in the American West. Flemons has a podcast called American Songsters Radio in conjunction with North Carolina Public Radio.
A Phoenix Native, Flemons’ involvement with music began by playing percussion in his high school band. After picking up the guitar and harmonica, he began to play coffee houses and became a regular on the Arizona folk music scene. During that period Flemons wrote his own songs and produced 25 albums of singer-songwriters and slam poets, including six albums of his own. A multi-instrumentalist, Flemons plays banjo, guitar, harmonica, fife, bones, bass drum, snare drum, and quills, in addition to singing. His banjo repertoire includes not only clawhammer but also tenor and three-finger styles of playing. As a founding member of the Carolina Chocolate Drops, he was able to explore his interest in bringing traditional music to new audiences.
“Flemons has been a torchbearer in contemporary American roots music,” wrote The Boston Globe, “blending his love of old-time styles with a scholarly interest in their history.”
Opening for Flemons on June 16 is Long Journey, a duo of Amrita Lash and Karl Mullen, whose harmonies are as sweet and fierce as bourbon on a summer night. Hailing from Williamstown, MA, Long Journey coined the term “fierce folk” to describe their powerful sound. The textured and soaring harmonies of Mullen and Lash take original and traditional songs exploring love, yearning, life, death, and everything in between to unexpected places. Their debut album was released in 2016 and a second album is scheduled for release in September.
Dom Flemons is the first concert in Hancock Shaker Village’s Shaker Barn Music series, dedicated to American roots music. Bringing an exciting roster of emerging and national musicians to the Berkshires, the Shaker Barn Music series will present national acts, giving audiences the opportunity to see gems like Dom Flemons, Tony Trischka, and others. Exploring the links between old and new, tradition and innovation, and the connection of community, the series is being curated by Karl Mullen who, after having run legendary music venues for 30+ years including World Cafe Live in Philadelphia and Club Cafe, Rosebud, and Metropol in Pittsburgh, focuses here on bringing emerging and established talent to this region. Most of the performances will open with local artists.
“The moment I saw the 1910 Barn I knew it was a magical place for roots music and I jumped at the opportunity to curate it,” noted Mullen. “This year we plant the seeds: six amazing artists – musicians who could perform on any stage – will inaugurate this special, intimate setting. Individually, each artist will knock your socks off. Taken as a whole, the series is bound to be a highlight of the summer.”
All performances in the Shaker Barn Music series take place in the hayloft of the 1910 Barn, which heretofore has seen…cows and hay. The June 21 concert begins at 7pm. Doors and the Barn Bar open at 6pm. Seeds Market Cafe at Hancock Shaker Village is open for dinner before each show. Located steps from the heirloom vegetable and herb gardens, Seeds Market Cafe’s fresh-picked menu items celebrate Shaker-inspired, neighborhood-sourced food, prepared by regional farm-to-table chef Brian Alberg. Visitors can also grab a picnic dinner at Seeds and enjoy it on the grounds, enjoying the spirit and nature of the Shaker’s heritage.
Shaker Barn Music summer series
Dom Flemons; with guest, Long Journey
Friday, June 16
Doors open 7:00 p.m. / Show 8:00 p.m.
Sarah Lee Guthrie; with guest, Eliza Edens
Saturday, July 1
Doors open 7:00 p.m. / Show 8:00 p.m.
Western Centuries; with guest, Wes Buckley)
Thursday, July 13
Doors open 6:00 p.m. / Show 7:00 p.m.
An Evening with Anna & Elizabeth
Wednesday, July 26
Doors open 6:00 p.m. / Show 7:00 p.m.
Shaker Barn Music:
Tony Trischka Territory
Saturday, August 19
Doors open 6PM/Show 7PM
Saturday, September 23
Doors open 6:00 p.m. / Show 7:00 p.m.
Where: 1910 Barn, Hancock Shaker Village
Tickets: $15 ADVANCE/$20 Day Of Show
Call 413.443.0188 x115 or order online
Shaker Barn Music Series Sponsored by Blue Q, Bright Ideas Brewing, Encore Audio Event Services, No Depression, Rural Intelligence
About Hancock Village
Home to the Shakers for more than 220 years, Hancock Shaker Village is now an outdoor history museum dedicated to preserving the Shaker legacy and making that story relevant and illuminating for today’s visitors. Situated on 750 acres of picturesque farm, field, and woodland in the bucolic Berkshires of Massachusetts, the Village consists of 20 historic buildings, a working farm and heirloom gardens, and a premier collection of 22,000 authentic Shaker artifacts.
1843 W Housatonic Street
Pittsfield, MA 01201
In the wake of the November election, people across the country have seen fear and anger and exclusion become part of a national public conversation. Many people are sharing the experience of feeling that they do not belong in their familiar places. It’s called othering — making someone feel pushed to the edges, unwanted or different. It can happen in daily meetings and conversations, at work, at school, even at home.
In the Berkshires, movements are growing in response, art and lectures and performances and rallies, to explain what othering means and what it looks like — and to draw people together instead.
People are saying in different ways, I feel threatened. I feel alone. And people are saying that hate is not mine. I want to stand with you. I want to live in a country where we can all live and love and work, pray or not, speak and play music. People are saying we need to talk to each other.
In the Berkshires, efforts are growing to bring people together. In Pittsfield, on a November afternoon, young WordxWord poets and storytellers reflected on how it felt to be excluded or pushed to the edges, as part of “Othering,” a month-long show curated by the Berkshire Art Association at the Lichtenstein Center for the Arts.
In Great Barrington, Asma Abbas, Associate Professor of Politics and Philosophy at Bard College of Simon’s Rock, invited Moustafa Bayoumi, American Book Award–winning writer and professor of English at Brooklyn College — who wrote one of the most re-tweeted tweets of the 2016 USA presidential debates, according to Twitter—to speak about Muslim American experiences in the last 15 years.
In North Adams, Rabbi Rachel Barenblat, the spiritual leader of Congregation Beth Israel, joins Rabbi David Markus, her co-chair of Aleph, the central organization of the international Jewish Renewal movement, in a call for solidarity. If a national effort to register Muslims becomes real, they are calling on all Americans to register.
Nick Cave’s “Until”
And in December of 2016, MASS MoCA, offered free admission for Berkshire residents until the solstice, as Nick Cave’s installation, Until, opened to take a close look at the ideal of “innocent until proven guilty” — and what happens when it becomes “guilty until proven innocent.”
Soprano Brenda Wimberly and organist Sereca Henderson perform at the opening of Nick Cave’s ‘Until,’ at MASS MoCA. His installation fills the Rauschenberg gallery, and everyone who walks in stops at the doorway. The room is as large as a football field. And it is full of light.
It’s like walking into an optical mobile. It’s a maze of stars and spirals and suns on 16,000 strings. They spin like tops, and they transform from pinwheeling color to faint lines, until they become invisible. In some of them, at the core, he has set the image of a hand gun.
Nick Cave is known for Soundsuits, wearable sculptures that cover the whole body, and he often performs in them. But here he has created something new. It’s a landscape. It’s a cloudscape made of chandelier crystal. It’s a place where he invites other people to perform.
Benjamin Clementine gave a concert on opening night.
Nick Cave created this installation holding in mind the lives and deaths of Eric Garner, Oscar Grant, Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, Yvette Smith and Michael Brown and more like them. Mass MoCA curator Denise Markonish speaks about his work.
Moustafa Bayoumi and Asma Abas
John Coltrane’s ‘A Love Supreme,’ a jazz classic from 1965 has echoes of Middle Eastern scales in its improvisation, and echoes of Islamic prayer in its inspiration, professor Moustafa Bayoumi writes in his 2015 collection of essays, “This Muslim American Life: Dispatches from the War on Terror.”
Coltrane often performed with Muslim musicians, he says, and anyone with an ear attuned to Islamic influences can hear them in Coltrane’s words and music.
He quotes Coltrane’s liner notes: “No Matter what … it is with God. He is Merciful. His way is in love, through which we all are. It is truly — a love supreme.”
Moustafa Bayoumi is an internationally recognized journalist. He is a columnist for The Guardian; his writing has appeared in journals from the New York Times to the Nation; and he has appeared on CNN, FOX News, National Public Radio and many other media outlets around the world.
He is an associate professor of English at Brooklyn College, and in 2008 he won an American Book Award for “How Does It Feel to Be a Problem: Being Young and Arab in America.”
“How Does It Feel to Be a Problem?” takes its title from writer, Civil Rights activist and Great Barrington native, W.E.B. DuBois, who asks that question in Souls of Black Folk.
In his book, Bayoumi tells the stories of seven young men and women in their 20s living in Brooklyn after 9/11.
Rasha and her family were imprisoned without trial and without evidence; Sami served in the military in Iraq; Yasmin fought discrimination in her diverse high school — and won.
In December, professor Bayoumi came to Bard College at Simon’s Rock in Great Barrington to talk with professor Asma Abbas, and her students and the community, about the experience of being Muslim American in the past, in the last 15 years and today.
Many Americans misunderstand a great deal about what Muslim Americans believe and how they live their lives, he said.
To begin with, Muslim Americans have lived in this country for almost 400 years.
Aleph takes a stand against othering
Rachel Barenblat of Williamstown is the rabbi and spiritual leader of Congregation Beth Israel in North Adams, and she will serve as the interim Jewish Chaplain at Williams College in the spring semester. She is also co-chair of Aleph, the central organization of the international Jewish renewal movement, with David Markus, associate spiritual leader of Temple Beth-El of City Island in the Bronx. He has Berkshire ties as well — like Rachel, he is a Williams College alum. (In full disclosure, I am also a Williams alum, and Rachel is an old friend.)
Jewish Renewal, founded by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, is a movement across Jewish denominations. At its center, Aleph includes a rigorous liberal seminary and a growing network of congregations and communities around the world.
In response to the U.S. president-elect’s campaign promise to require all Muslims to register with the government, Aleph has sent out a call to all Americans, if that day comes, to register as Muslim in solidarity.
That call comes out of values central to Renewal, Rachel and David say, from a respect for all faiths, and a core Jewish value (Lev. 19:18), to love your neighbor as yourself.
The experience of being treated differently — the ‘Othering’ that David Markus talks about — is also the name of the Berkshire Art Association’s biennial juried show. In November, it filled the Lichtenstein Center for the Arts in Pittsfield with abstract paintings, collages and drawings.
The art association sent out a call for work reflecting on experiences of exclusion and separation. More than 30 artists from throughout the Northeast had work in the exhibit — from a twenty-year veteran of the U.S. military who served two tours in Iraq to an African-American Pittsfield High School graduate now studying art at Williams College.
On Nov. 13, the Pittsfield organization WordxWord hosted an afternoon of poetry and storytelling on the same theme — WordxWord uses spoken word, poetry and storytelling to celebrate diversity and creativity and make connections.
Four of those poets have given us permission to share there work here. We thank Izzy; our second poet, who has asked to remain anonymous; Sage; and Doni Smith.
On Saturday, Jan. 7, on the 76th anniversary of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms speech, a new Four Freedoms Coalition will invite the Berkshire community to unite against hate and bigotry in all its forms. The Berkshire County branch of the NAACP, BRIDGE, Berkshire Immigrant Center, United Africans of the Berkshires, and the United American Muslim Association of the Berkshires and others will gather for a rally and march in downtown Pittsfield.
The Four Freedoms Coalition is a non-partisan, diverse coalition of community organizations and people working together to unite the community and reaffirm the American values outlined in President Roosevelt’s speech:
Freedom from fear
Freedom from want
Freedom of speech
Freedom of religion.
All are welcome. To find out more, check out the Four Freedoms Coalition on Facebook or email firstname.lastname@example.org
On Jan. 29 at 3 p.m., Doni Smith and WordXWord will welcome the new year with a free poetry reading to celebrate sharing and caring and reflect on the consequences of greed at MCLA’s Gallery 51, at 51 Main St., North Adams.
Nine days after the presidential inauguration, poets and spoken word artists will bear witness to a world where greed appears to have no limits, and yet every day holds moments of generosity and compassion. The event will accompay Josh Ostraff’s exhibition, OFA ATU, which opens Jan. 26.
Also in Pittsfield, Georgene Poliak has formed All Band Together as an initiative in compassion and solidarity. At the holiday Shindy at Shire City Sanctuary, she showed arm bands with a crescent and a star that she is making out of upcycled t-shirts and sweaters. They recall the bands that Jews in Europe were made to wear under the Nazi occupation. But these mean the opposite — they mean that people of many faiths can stand together.
And in the spring, new artists will come to Mass MoCA to create and perform work inspired by Nick Cave’s ‘Until.’ Internationally acclaimed dancer and choreographer Bill T. Jones will present a new solo work on March 4.
And choreographer, writer, and actress Okwui Okpokwasili will create and offer a site-specific dance on April 7.
Grammy-winnter and living legend Mavis Staples, known worldwide as a voice in R&B, Gospel, Soul, folk, rock and blues, will also perform at Mass MoCA on March 25.
And Toshi Reagon and Dorrance Dance will return to the ’62 Center at Williams College with tap masters Derick Grant and Dromeshia Sumbry-Edwards.
Meeting Jeff Hudson of Jeff and Jane Hudson at The Moonlight Diner in the middle of the day is treacherous.
We had every intention of digging deep and talking about the new album, “The Middle,” that he released with Jane, his wife and musical conspirator of a quite a little bit now. Her absence from the conversation (she was holding down the fort at their shop in the MASS MoCA complex, Hudson’s) is likely why we achieved so few of our already meager goals. Keep Reading
Misty Blues is back with “Dark & Saucy,” and we’re stoked to bring you an exclusive first listen!
🔊♫ “Next Time is the Last Time” *
We didn’t have time to set up an interview with Moon Hooch when they were in town last year, and we were darn lucky to catch James Muschler at a moment when the band was kind of (but not quite) stationary (they were going over a checklist before jumping back on the bus to start their new tour.
This episode of INDIEcent Exposure marks something of a watershed moment for us here at the Greylock Glass. When Alicia Beale took us up on our invitation for an interview, somehow we both wound up thinking it was to be a video conversation. Serendipity, I say.
by Tessa Violet, Video directed by Isaac White
A heartfelt and dizzying confession and profession of longing for a love that may just yet be warm to the touch.
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
FIGMENT, a free, family-friendly participatory arts event held in multiple cities and attracting tens of thousands of participants each year, has announced their inaugural North Adams event.
FIGMENT is an explosion of creative energy, a celebration of participatory art and culture where everything is possible. For one day, attendees will transform Windsor Lake into a large-scale collaborative artwork — and then it’s gone. Visit their website to learn about it’s mission, principals, and to check out great photos and videos of past events.
FIGMENT North Adams
April 30, 2016; 3:00 p.m.–9:30 p.m.
In this episode, we speak with Executive Producer of the the North Adams event Krystal Henriquez. In addition to providing much of the energy and enthusiasm required to get things off the ground, she has been working to complete her degree in Arts Management at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts at the same time. Work involved coordinating with various entities, including the City of North Adams. Detailed coverage of the stages leading up to the event and recent news is available at iBerkshires.com.
Founded in 2007 on New York City’s Governors Island with a handful of projects and a few thousand enthusiasts, the network of community arts engagement happenings has grown exponentially into a multi-day, multi-city event that includes locations in over a dozen cities around the globe and continues its mission to offer free, inclusive and participatory art and creative culture to entire communities, removing the barriers of museum and gallery walls and entrance fees, and blurring the lines between those who create and those who enjoy art.
About FIGMENT North Adams 2016
With over 50 registered projects in any conceivable medium, FIGMENT North Adams stretches the boundaries of creativity and community. The event welcomes visitors and participants to bring a game, an experiment, a request, a challenge, a guided meditation, a performance based on audience input, a sculpture that moves or responds, a heart-stopping technological innovation that changes the way we see the world…Anything that gets people working and playing and creating together. When you have something you want to share with the world, this gathering is the perfect place to start doing just that!
FIGMENT is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization entirely funded by grants and individual donations. The organization accepts no corporate sponsorship of any kind, and is supported by public funds from the National Endowment of the Arts and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council, as well as by the Fund for Creative Communities, supported by the New York State Council on the Arts and administered by the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. FIGMENT Boston is produced with support from the Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy, the designated stewards of the Rose Kennedy Greenway and site of the event in Boston. FIGMENT Jackson is produced with support from the Greater Jackson Arts Council.
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.