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We spoke with the very thoughtful, tuned-in Avi Salloway late last week about music, of course, but he had some important things to say about the moment we’re in right now as a society and a species. In our 30 minute conversation, all of which you can hear in this episode, he explained how he finds a natural synthesis engaging with the world as an activist, artist, human, and spirit bound to planet Earth. I expect you’ll get a sense of that if you see his band, Billy Wylder, this weekend. For now, I’m grateful that he provided a couple tunes, “Great Blue Heron,” featuring Bridget Kearney, and “Vital Signs,” featuring Isa Burke, both from 2018’s Light the Match, an album every bit as timely right now — that’s precisely the sort of generous spirit he is. Enjoy!
From the front-lines at Standing Rock to the archaic streets of Jerusalem, the Sahel Desert to Carnegie Hall, music has been the source of strength for Billy Wylder. The band features Avi Salloway (Bombino/Hey Mama/Avi & Celia) joined by an inspired cast of singular artists who have performed across five continents including concerts at the Coachella Music & Arts Festival, Newport Folk Festival, New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, Montreal Jazz Fest, Carnegie Hall, and Lincoln Center. From 2013-16, Salloway toured the globe with Bombino, the Tuareg guitar hero from Niger, Africa. While on the journey and since returning, Salloway wrote the material on the band’s latest album, Strike the Match (Sand & Gold Records).
and now, The News
Editor’s Note: The following information is derived from officially released information, published with few or no editorial changes. The Greylock Glass occasionally provides our readers with such content if the information is of a purely factual nature that requires little to no interpretation or analysis.
Local cannabis roots stretch all the way to Eastie neighborhood as Berkshire weed enterprise takes on new marketing director
PITTSFIELD — Berkshire Roots, Inc., Massachusetts-based cannabis company based in Pittsfield, announces Holly Alberti has joined their executive team as the Senior Director, Marketing. Holly brings an impressive 10 years of entrepreneurial and corporate experience in the cannabis industry across several states.
Also, in late July, Berkshire Roots opened for business as the first adult-use location in East Boston. The East Boston location at 253 Meridian Street will open with online orders and in-store pick-up service. All guests are requested to view the online menu, schedule a pickup time prior to visiting the location, must be over the age of 21 and have a valid form of ID.
Denizens of East Boston, Rejoice! And that would be on the Blue Line, about a 10 minute walk from the Maverick T stop with your choice of Saigon Hut, Tertulias colombian restaurant and Pizza Shuttle available for take-out within a couple blocks.
New collaborative pharmacy on Spring Street just what the doctor ordered
WILLIAMSTOWN — Berkshire Health Systems and Williams College have announced that the Williamstown Apothecary, a new retail pharmacy in Williamstown, will open on Wednesday, August 19th. The Williamstown Apothecary is a collaboration between Berkshire Health Systems and Williams College that will expand access to prescriptions, over-the-counter medications and many other products, in close proximity to the Williams campus. The Williamstown Apothecary is located at 72 Spring St. in Williamstown, a property owned by the College.
72 Spring Street
Sunday 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Monday 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Tuesday 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Wednesday 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Thursday 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Friday 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Saturday 8 a.m. – 2 p.m.
“Williams has been excited to work with BHS to bring pharmacy and related services to the heart of Williamstown,” said Matt Sheehy, Williams Associate Vice President for Finance and Administration. “This should be a major convenience for the community, including Williams’ students, faculty and staff. It also will complement nicely the goods and services available in the middle of town.”
Berkshires small businesses to receive emergency funds through grant
PITTSFIELD — Berkshire Regional Planning Commission has been awarded $45,000 in grant funding to directly support businesses negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Berkshire County Small Business Recovery Fund will provide small for-profit businesses in Berkshire County with emergency assistance in addressing fixed debt, payroll, accounts payable and other working capital expenses. The focus of this fund will be on fixed costs that could not be avoided while businesses were either unable to operate or operate at full capacity.
“Small, locally-owned businesses have been hard hit by restrictions related to COVID-19, and we are pleased to receive this grant from the Attorney General’s Office to help support them directly,” said BRPC executive director Tom Matuszko. “This is part of a larger strategy for economic recovery in our region which will include both direct funding and technical assistance for business owners.”
Grants up to $3,000 per business will be awarded on a rolling, first-come, first-served basis through Wednesday, Sept. 30, to small businesses physically located in Berkshire County that employed no more than 10 people as of March 23, 2020, and that have been in operation for a minimum of one year. A full description of criteria for eligible businesses is available online. For more information, contact Laura Brennan at [email protected].
First Congregational Church of Williamstown welcomes interim minister
WILLIAMSTOWN — The Rev. Mark Seifried joins First Congregational Church of Williamstown as an intentional interim minister in August. Mark came to New England to attend seminary at Andover Newton Theological School over 20 years ago. He found so many kindred spirits that he never left. Since coming to the ministry, Mark has worked with urban, rural, and suburban congregations in the United Church of Christ throughout Massachusetts. First Church Williamstown is his eighth interim ministry setting.
Pastor Mark will cover pastoral duties such as preaching, visitation, counseling and administrative duties, plus will help us implement our vision, plan for the future, and be an active help in the search and call processes. Mark will be with us until the time we call a new settled minister.
Mark has lived in Boston for the last eight years. He is relocating to Williamstown to minister with us. He was born and raised in St. Louis, MO. He did his undergraduate work in Consumer and Family Sciences at Purdue University. He has lived in Nashville, TN and Birmingham, AL. He went to culinary school, managed restaurants for 10 years and worked as a vocational manager with people having dual diagnoses of intellectual disabilities and emotional distress.
Hancock Shaker Village presents “Songs Of Comfort” to essential workers
(HANCOCK, MA, August 26, 2020) — On Saturday, August 29, Hancock Shaker Village will present Live from Hancock Shaker Village: Songs of Comfort, a concert for a small, invited audience of essential workers. The concert will be broadcast live on WAMC at 7 pm and will stream on wamc.org or on the WAMC app. (Rain date: Sunday, August 30, 7 pm.) Five extraordinary artists — Yo-Yo Ma, Anjimile, Emanuel Ax, Billy Keane, and Chantell McFarland — will perform on the lawn of Hancock Shaker Village for a regional audience of teachers, nurses, firefighters, health care workers, police officers, maintenance workers, farmers, food bank volunteers, and grocery workers, among other essential workers.
“Our goal is to create one night of words and music, as a thank you to those who work so hard to sustain us and keep our community safe,” said Jennifer Trainer Thompson, director of Hancock Shaker Village. “Life has been so difficult for so many, especially given that we don’t know when this pandemic will end. Songs of Comfort is an evening to thank our essential workers of the region — in person, and on WAMC — and maybe also to inspire them, given that our hardest days may still be ahead.”
“Music, like all of culture,” Yo-Yo Ma wrote, “helps us to understand our environment, each other, and ourselves. Culture helps us to imagine a better future…. And these things have never been more important.”
Former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick will speak briefly during the concert about resilience in the face of adversity. “This is an evening about hope, and resilience: a reprieve from the daily struggles and anxiety that engulf us all,” Thompson said. “It’s a brief evening of joy originating from a historic Village in the Berkshires that valued community, equality, and generosity for over 200 years. This is our thank you, from Hancock Shaker Village and participating artists, to those who have worked so hard for our region, and without whom we wouldn’t be where we are today.”
About the artists and speaker
Anjimile is a singer/songwriter (and public school music teacher) hailed by NPR as an Artist to Watch in 2019. Named WBUR’s “Wicked Good Boston Favorite” entry to NPR’s popular Tiny Desk Contest, the Boston-based musician draws on experiences of racism, homophobia, and other battles to focus on the grace of life, juxtaposing the warmth of an acoustic guitar with a beautiful voice.Rolling Stone named Anjimile’s song “Baby No More” a Song You Need to Know, praising “lyrics that boast a brutally frank edge.” Anjimile’s debut album Giver Taker will be released September 18.
Emanuel “Manny” Ax is a Grammy-winning American classical pianist who is an acknowledged master of Beethoven and much admired for the elegance of his Mozart and Chopin. The classical superstar is a beloved Tanglewood mainstay, a consummate solo artist who also has one of the closest musical friendships and chamber music partnerships of all time with his friend Yo-Yo Ma. Considered one of the best known concert pianists of the twenty-first century, Ax performs in recital and with major symphony orchestras around the world. He is a teacher on the faculty of the Juilliard School.
Singer/songwriter Billy Keane, a founding member of The Whiskey Treaty Roadshow, makes high-energy music with a folk-rock-blues blend. Hailing from Pittsfield, Keane’s songs have been praised as “defiant and driven” by Rolling Stone, which in 2019 named his single, “Don’t Cross My Land,” one of the 10 Best Songs to Hear Now. No Depression proclaimed Keane’s “Close to the Edge” “sidewalk poetry [that] insulates with hope,” and his recently released single “Never Give Up” is a call-to-action ballad of inspiration.
Cellist Yo-Yo Ma’s career is testament to his faith in culture’s power to generate the trust and understanding essential to a strong society. This belief inspired Yo-Yo to establish the global cultural collective Silkroad, and, more recently, to set out on the Bach Project — a six-continent tour of J. S. Bach’s suites for solo cello and an invitation to a larger conversation about culture, society, and the themes that connect us all. The Bach Project came to the Berkshires with a concert at Tanglewood and a community table build in Pittsfield in August 2019.
Chantell McFarland is a local artist in the Berkshires. She is the singer and pianist for the Kashmir Souls, an all-female band with a smooth, soulful sound.
Deval Patrick has devoted his life to public service. After Harvard Law School, he joined the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and was later appointed by President Clinton to lead the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. In 2006, Deval became Massachusetts’ first African American governor, serving from 2007-2015. By the end of his term, the state ranked first in the nation in student achievement, energy efficiency, veterans services, and entrepreneurship. Known as a leader in developing solutions to the challenges we all face, he is now the founder and chairman of TogetherFund PAC, which supports progressive campaigns and grassroots organizations that drive engagement with disenfranchised and marginalized voters.
Songs of Comfort is sponsored by Berkshire Money Management, with additional support from Mill Town.