Rita: Until now, I never really understood what our parents meant when they’d look at you and smirk: “It ain’t over till the fat lady sings.” Lolita: Or when they looked at you and said something like: “Out of sight you’re out of your mind.” Rita: It depends on who the weighty warbler is. Aretha Franklin. Meatloaf. Divine? Lolita: But it gives me a great idea for this month’s Question of the Month: What’s your favorite song by a New England artist, and what makes the song special to you? Let’s ask one of our nearest and dearest KELLY KNAPP (The Darlings/ The Bristols): Kim Ernst and I met the Real Kids at Bookies in Detroit when we lived there. We fell in love with them right away. They were loud, fast and raw with the most amazing hooks you’d ever heard. But when they broke into “Common at Noon,” it killed me. There was nothing better than the gritty vocals of John and Alpo enveloped in that sweet, beautiful love song. *** GARY SHEA (New England): I thought a lot about this question because there are so many great New England artists and songs they have written. I have thought about everyone from James Taylor to Billy Squire (with my friend the late great Bobby Chouinard on drums). My choice though is “Drive” by The Cars. It`s a very well written and performed song with ambiguous questions and very moody. I always turn it up when it comes on my car radio.*** LENNY BRADFORD (x-James Montgomery Band): I actually have two songs. First, “Don’t Do That, She Might Get Mad” on the First Time Out record by the James Montgomery Band. I had only been playing bass for about a year when I first heard this. I had no idea who they were, where they were from, or anything! I searched for the record, found it, and became a fan. It was only after I came to Boston to go to school that I found out they were a NE band. I was so excited when I got the chance to actually be in the band!!! And record with James!!! And second, I don’t recall the band name, but the song is “Academy Fight Song.” It was 1976 or 1977. New Wave and Punk Rock were coming in. I heard this song on WBCN one day before going to class…Wow!! It made me think about other music and other musicians and attitudes!!! Not being a pushover! I’d love to find that song… it was a local Boston band!! I remember they played The Rat… Mission of Burma? *** MARK CUTLER (Men of Great Courage/ The Schemers/ The Raindogs): Got an answer. “Road Runner” by Jonathan Richman & the Modern Lovers. It’s got the beat, a great chord progression and sounds like pure, unadulterated joy. *** CHUCK NOWLIN (WZLX): I always liked The Del Fuegos’ “Don’t Run Wild.” A gritty song that sounds like it was soaked in the quarter inch of spilled beer that always lingered on the floor of The Rat. Desperate sounding vocals, “Have I been gone too long? Where’s the love that I’ve gotten used to?” and such a friggin’ catchy guitar hook make this a Boston classic.
Rita: How about some fabulous factoids? Now is the perfect time to spread the word about what’s going on in the New England music scene. Lolita: I hate when you make sense. Teenage blues guitar ace QUINN SULLIVAN still on tour with the legendary Buddy Guy and recently signed a new record deal. Look for his new record to be re- released later this winter. Stay tuned. *** ELLIS PAUL just educated and entertained a very happy third grade class with his acoustic guitar. *** STEVE SWEENEY is a Charlestown native and one of the funniest men alive. He just had a gig at The Cabot in Beverly with special guest DAVE RATTIGAN who starred in his own Boston based sit- com “Park Street Under.” What a joke! *** FRED TAYLOR’s Sculler’s Jazz Club just renovated and had their grand re- opening bash with BO and BILL WINIKER. *** RICH GILBERT close to finishing his second solo record follow up to his Stereo Action Music to be called S.A.M.2. *** PETER SKALTSIS x-AXMINSTER and STEVE SERA‘s WILDSIDE has a new band called PETER MICHAEL”S ATOMIC BLUSION and a great new song “Blues For La Che”. Screaming blues. Peter had an industrial accident a few years ago and we’re glad he’s back. *** Connecticut artist JAVIER CANALES just ripped the roof off of Cook’s Cafe in Naugatuck with SLIP & FALL, THE EXCITEMENT GANG, THE SCREW- UPS, and SLIM FRANCIS. This fun festivity was brought to you by United Level Sound who have been promoting the state’s scene since 1995. *** J. GEILS of Groton just got nailed for his second d.u.i. in Concord. File under “Musta Got Lost.” *** There’s a cool club that just opened up in Georgetown, MA. called Tinn Lizzy’s. VINNY SERINO and BOSTON BAKED BLUES just had a great gig there. *** Four songs are now available on the Live Hades Cast EP from ANAIS MITCHELL’s off Broadway folk opera Hadestown. The full album will be released in 2017. On October 22 Anais was featured on A Prairie Home Companion, and from November 9 to 26 she will be touring the UK and Spain. Her London show at Kings Place was sold out so quickly that they had to add another one. *** RONNIE EARL and his band THE BROADCASTERS featuring vocalist extraordinaire DIANE BLUE just released “Maxwell Street” his tribute to DAVID MAXWELL the late iconic blues pianist who grew up with ALAN WILSON from CANNED HEAT in Arlington, MA. This gala event was hosted by The Regent Theatre in Arlington now celebrating their 100th year in operation. *** Drop in to Happy Hour Karaoke every late afternoon on Tuesday at Ray’s New Garden Restaurant in Needham, MA hosted by MARK ROSENTHAL and JOANNE MILLS. *** AOFIE SCOTT daughter of FRANCIS BLACK of THE PIXIES just perforned at The Burren. Check her out. *** Hartford’s WEST END BLEND is a ten piece funk and soul band fronted by ERICA BRYAN and her killer voice. They just released their Say Hey EP and had the party at the Arch Street Tavern in Hartford. “Like Me” is the hit single. *** Plan ahead for the Boston Music Awards at The House of Blues on December 8th. Eleven live performances, two disc jockeys. One night of great music. *** Recently, on Local Music Seen With Allen Estes – Channel 12 on Cape Ann t.v. – DANIELLE MIRAGLIA was Allen’s guest. She is a very talented singer/ songwriter. *** Have you seen CONRAD WARRE‘s band BEES DELUXE yet? Why not? They play psychedelic blues and they play it great! For Halloween at their recent show at Ryles they added a horn section and gave out vampire teeth to the first hundred people. *** SUGAR RAY AND THE BLUETONES new release Seeing Is Believing. They had the release party at The Extended Play Sessions Fallout Shelter in Norwood, MA. with a select studio audience for the filming of the extended play sessions.*** MARTIN GROSSWENDT and SUSANNE SLEM- SCHATZ are an American roots/ early blues/ old time/ honky tonk acoustic duo. If guitar/ banjo/ mandolin/ fiddle/ dobro/ and cajun accordian music is your bag this is the band for you! They regularly gig in Maine and Vermont and are currently on tour this month with nine shows in Baltimore and Atlanta. *** ERIN HARPE & THE DELTA SWINGERS now give out kazoos with the band name on them at their shows. Great idea! *** Maine singer/ songwriter and folk artist CAROLINE COTTER is based in Portland and her debut album Dreaming As I Do has already received national attention. Her song “Bella Blue” is killer too.Since releasing the album, Caroline has been on the road playing over 250 shows a year. Her show last month at Passim’s in Harvard Square was great. In addition to writing songs in English, she sings in Spanish, French, Portuguese, Italian and Sanskrit. The album was produced by her and fellow singer- songwriter PUTNAM SMITH at The Studio in Portland, ME. with STEVE DROWN and features some of Maine’s best musicians including JOE WALSH, LAUREN RIOUX, ADAM FREDERICK, MARK TIPTON, CHAS LESTER and SARA HALLIE- RICHARDSON. *** JON BUTCHER seen at Q Division Records in Somerville, MA, for The Electric Factory X launch party. ROBIN MORAN seen running things perfectly. EFX is a brand new management and production company formed under the leadership of Jon and LEIGHTON WOLFFE. Live music and videos from the release of his latest 2Roads East, hors d’oeuvres and open bar too.*** Fun fact: NEIGHBORHOODS bassist LEE HARRINGTON and O POSITIVE singer DAVE HERLIHY are both successful lawyers and JON BUTCHER AXIS bassist CHRIS MARTIN just became a an MD! Don’t give up your day jobs guys! *** TOWN MEETING is the band SALLY CRAGIN turned us on to and they remind us a bit of Scruffy The Cat with their unique americana music. They have a bunch of new tunes and are hoping to be back in the studio in January. We just caught them at The Lizard Lounge with HANNAH DAMAN AND THE MARTELLE SISTERS opening. *** FRANK VIELE and his band had a wild GOVERNMENT MULE after party gig at The Pacific Standard Tavern in New Haven, CT, at the end of Rocktober. *** The band NEW ENGLAND is making ears bleed in Plymouth and Shirley, MA. in November as well as in L.A. and Japan supporting their new CD Live At The Regent Theatre on King Records. Also JIMMY WALDO and GARY SHEA are guesting with THE GRAHAM BONNET BAND and are also doing some ALCATRAZZ dates. New England hopes on coming thru Boston for some dates in support of their other current CD release I Know There’s Something Here. *** The Northeast Blues Harmonica showcase at Black- Eyed Sally’s in Hartford, Connecticut was incredible. BRIAN TEMPLETON, RACKY THOMAS, DIANE BLUE, DAVE “KOSHER KID” ROBBINS, fronting the RICKY “KING” RUSSELL BAND. Blues harpists really blow! *** Horn men RUSS GERSHON and TOM HALTER from the jazzy EITHER ORCHESTRA BAND just played at Carnegie Hall backing Ethiopian international star singer MAHMOUD AHMED. We doubt they will even acknowledge us in the future. *** Saxman MARTY PHILLIPS recouperating from a heart transplant and was twice featured on Channel Five’s news. Marty: “I got to play my horn on camera too! “
MORE MEMORABLE MELODIES
Rita: Enough gossip! Let’s get back to asking another local legend about the music in their minds. CHERYL ANN HAGAN ARUDA (Cheryl Aruda and Dirty Blonde): My fave local song these days is Diane Blue’s “There Ain’t Nothing You Can Do.” I love the original (or first version I heard of it) by Bobby Blue Bland, as it reminds me of the late Weepin’ Willie Robinson, a Boston blues guy who covered the crap out of it in the nineties and uh-ohs. I started singing it. And then I heard the recently released version by Diane…love the horn lines (arranged by Scott Shetler). It just makes me nostalgic for a time when there were more horns on blues gigs…hell, when there were more half decent paying local blues gigs period! Love a power trio as much as the next gal, but gimme some variety if there are three chords all night. *** BRIAN MAES (The Brian Maes Band): Favorite? This is so hard since there are so many great New England artists whose music I really love. My favorite can also change with how I may be feeling but that being said… “Cant Fool My heart” by Kirsten Manville. (Kirsten has been the parish administrator at First Church since September 2008. Prior to coming to First Church, she worked in the education departments at the Museum of Science in Boston and the Nashville Symphony in Nashville, Tennessee.) The imagery in the lyrics reminds us that being true to oneself is very important. The use of the big old, slightly out of tune, upright piano keeps it sublimely real. *** ADAM SHERMAN (x- Private Lightning, The Souls): My favorite song by a NE artist is “Kerouac” by Willie Alexander. I heard it playing on the jukebox at The Rat and fell in love. I couldn’t believe it was local. Willie painted a perfect portrait of an essential American icon with music. The song rocks with reverence and rings true. Later I auditioned for what was to become the Boom Boom Band but Billy Loosigian got the gig! Needless to say I was disappointed. *** LINDA VIENS (Kingdom Of Love): One of my all time favorite songs by a New England artist is “The Roses I Never Bought You” by one of my all time favorite artists, Asa Brebner. I love this song because it is a very honest look at lost love; in it’s melancholy melody and poetic words it expresses the poignancy of remembering “the one that got away.” *** ANDY KARLOCK (The Soul Drivers): One of my favorite Boston artists is pianist Anthony Geraci. Anthony has played with every and I mean every blues artist ever since . He has a recently released album called “Fifty Shades of Blue” backed by the Boston Blues Allstars. All the compositions on the album were really written by Anthony. It was nominated for four awards by the Blues Music Awards, Blues Foundation in Memphis. One of my favorite songs on the album is a simple country blues tune called “Too Late for Coffee (Too Early for Beer).” It’s one of those situations you go through on a day when you really have nothing to do, it sums up what life on the road can be like at times. It’s a straight forward simple little Texas waltz. *** PHIL GREENE (Triad/ Normandy Sound): My fave right now is “Wind and Rain” by Butch Tavares. it’s his about to be released, follow-up single….hot on the heels of his #1 single “Heaven, 24/7.” I love this man’s voice, this guy who grew up on the mean streets of South Providence is one of the the great R&B singers of our time, i feel blessed to be working with him!
Lolita: Back to babbling. RICK BARTON just back from a long European tour with his band CONTINENTAL. Check out their new Continental The Band website to see all the fantastic photos. *** STU KIMBALL x- FACE TO FACE has been in Nobel Prize winner BOB DYLAN’s band for a decade. He just told us he had a two night gig with THE ROLLING STONES out in Arizona at the Desert Concert Festival. He’ll be back home for Thanksgiving. *** About the only good thing you can count on at any T station is seeing the very talented Appalachian/ blues fiddler ILANA KATZ KATZ. We just caught up with her playing at the Park Street station and it made waiting for the late train bearable. *** Fun Fact: DUKE ROBILLARD just got a Numark portable record player that spins 78s. He was listening to MCKINNEY”S COTTON PICKERS out of his vast collection the last time we checked. Duke was just inducted into the Americain- French Canadian Hall Of Fame by The American- French Genealogical Society too.*** LINDA VIENS and RICHARD LAMPHEAR of KINGDOM OF LOVE are finishing their five song EP entitled Ghosts to be released early next year. Did you catch Linda in the three night BOSTON ROCK OPERA production of Hair at Once in Somerville, MA? She was great! The show was promoted by DEBBIE CATALANO (Catalano Productions) and you can run into the man in charge of Once, CHRIS PORTER, when you visit the cool club. *** ADAM SHERMAN is playing with BILLY CONNORS of THE BOIZE, RAY FERNANDES of THE ATLANTICS, and MIKE QUIRK of CLUB LINEHAN A GO GO. Billy and Adam are writing songs together and are searching for a band name. They’ll be opening for THE REAL KIDS at The Cantab January 28, 2017. *** Comedy acts are now being booked at The Middle East. The new club around the corner addition where T.T. the Bear’s once was located will now be called Sophia’s and will be opening very soon once the remodeling has been finished. *** Beacon Hill news: MAYOR MARTY WALSH announced ten artists selected for the city’s Artist In Residency positions. They are SALVADOR JIMENEZ- FLORES, MARIA MOLTENI, LINA GIRALDO, JENNIFER DE LEON, MARJORIE SAINTIL- BELIZAIRE, CORNELL COLEY, CHARLES COE, ANN HIRSCH, JOHN A. WALSH and RASHIN FAHANDEJ. Each artist will be awarded a $22,500 stipend for a nine month long residency to develop and test ways that creative approaches can meaningfully impact the work of the public sector and society at large. In other news, the Mayor announced the opening of the new home for the Society of Arts & Crafts in South Boston. Mayor Walsh: “The opening of the Society of Arts and Crafts gallery brings another cultural institution to the South Boston waterfront, further establishing the area as a cultural destination.” And finally, Mayor Walsh announced the winners of the Fay Chandler Emerging Artists Award. Fay was a Boston philanthropist and advocate for the arts. MOLLY SCANNELL, EVA REDAMONTI and JODI COLELLA will each get a financial stipend. It’s great our city recognizes and supports local artists. *** Have you checked out JAY ALLEN’s Sunday night Mess- Around at The Plough and Stars yet? Why not? *** Jazz band THE EVENFALL QUARTET with MARK EARLEY on tenor, SONNY BARBATO playing piano, JERZY GLOD on drums and BRAD HALLEN on bass had a rock solid record release party at Chan’s in Woonsocket, RI, classic mainstream jazz at it’s best. *** The Monsters of Acoustic Rock Number Ten show at the White House Recording Studios in Shelton, CT, was great NATHAN SAGE tells us. The artists who performed were JOSE OYOLA–VELEZ, EUGENE GALLAGHER, ZACK ANDERSEN and the band PLUMROSE with GEORGE THOMSON, SEAN SCOTTO and ANTHONY FAZZINO. *** After 30 years in business In A Pig’s Eye (Salem, MA) has come to a close. The restaurant was seized by the state last year and closed briefly before reopening. Circumstances out of the places control forced the final closure. *** MAX CREEK working on a documentary of the band according to guitarist SCOTT MURAWSKI. *** WHITE LIGHTNING just had a wild night at The Spotlight in Beverly, MA. KENNY DIMICK is a great sax player! *** PALE HANDS makes melodic electro- pop that’s akin to THE COCTEAU TWINS. They are releasing their sophomore album Graphism on November 18th and the hit is “Lower Than Low.” ***A wild weekend with a non- stop party in Union Square, Somerville. Thunder Road held an after party party with CHRISTIAN MCNEILL and the B3 KINGS for their across the street pals at Bull McCabe’s who hosted a big outdoor live music bash with some awesome Somervillians like JULIE RHODES, DUB APOCALYPSE, DAVE WELL, KRUSH FAKTORY and THE DUB DOWN CREW. Admission was free with a Bull’s wristband. Real cool community cooperation. *** Go see RAM live every Friday at Brewmaster’s Neighborhood Tavern in Coventry, R.I. Stop by and celebrate fabulous Friday with the Ram Man. *** SUGAR RAY AND THE BLUETONES are thrilled to announce the recent release of Seeing Is Believing. SUGAR RAY NORCIA vocals and harp, MONSTER MIKE WELCH on guitar, ANTHONY GERACI playing piano and Hammond organ, MICHAEL “MUDCAT” WARD on bass and NEIL GOUVIN pounding. What a band. What an album. *** LOVEWHIP’s song “Wrecking Machine” is being used in the upcoming season of Shameless on Showtime. Band bassist JIM COUNTRYMAN recently overheard saying “I knew watching five seasons in a month was not crazy!” *** Fun fact: Lowell had their long time annual Lowell Celebrates Kerouac show at Olympia’s Zorba Music Hall and WILLIE ALEXANDER confided that he met Jack Kerouac’s first wife Edie and his daughter Jan and his girlfriend Joyce Johnson at past shows. Willie: “I gave them all 45s” (his song “Kerouac”) and his wife Stella was at the 1978 festival but Willie didn’t get a chance to meet her. TONTILEO LIPSHITZ adds “Gregory Corso offered me a bite of his fudge egg on his way to the stage to read poetry with Allen Ginsberg. Can I be in The Noise TOO?” *** NANCY NEON had a super show at MICKEY BLISS‘s Club Bohemia downstairs at The Cantab with her Nancy Neon Presents Garage Rock GRRRR8’S. THE DOWNTOWNERS (featuring singer/ guitarist JEFF KABOT from SUPERKOOK) and THE VENUSIANS. Drummer MATT BURNS (THE VARMINTS/ THE HOPELESSLY OBSCURE) was present and accounted for too. *** TOKYO TRAMPS shook the roof off The Tavern at the End of the World in Charlestown, MA. Neither the band or the club are apologizing! *** Great Gloucester musicians every Tuesday at Jalapenos. DAN KING, DAVE BROWN, DAVE MATTACKS, WOLF GINANDES and special guests. Magnificent music. Fantastic food. No cover. *** Every Thursday the queers come out for Queereoke at The Midway Cafe in Jamaica Plain, MA. *** JAMES MONTGOMERY has a new CD dedicated to Paul Butterfield titled The James Montgomery Blues Band, with DAVID HULL on bass/ vocals and GEORGE McCANN on guitar/ vocals. The music has MARK NAFTALIN from Butterfield’s original band guesting on it along with JIMMY VIVINO (Conan O’Brien Band), THE UPTOWN HORNS (The J. Geils Band), and young jazz sax player GRACE KELLY. Produced by PAUL NELSON (Johnny Winter Band) from CT, there are seven Butterfield classics and three originals.
FINAL MEMORABLE MELODIES
Rita: And now for the last of our superlative song answers. SKIP FISCHER (Ghost Train/ Vinny Serino & Boston Baked Blues/ The Farmhands): Hi music fans, Skip Fischer, the drummer, here. My favorite song from a New England band is “Can’t Find the Time To Tell You” by the band Orpheus. Perfect pop-rock song, great chord progressions, perfect harmonies, great feel, not rock per se, but very well done in all respects, from writing, singing, arranging, performance, and production. *** VYKKI VOX (The Real School of Music): It is really tough to choose just one song, because there are so many area artists and songs that are diverse and inspiring. Any Boston song could easily rank in my top choices, like “Don’t Look Back” or “Let Me Take You Home Tonight,” but I’ve narrowed it down to “Fine Line” by Gary Backstrom and “Helix” by Depth Quartet. Good people, uplifting grooves, and I never get tired of listening to their music.*** JOEL CAGE (Joel Cage): “Icicles” by Al Halliday And The Griffins. I was, thus ostensibly, am a Griffin. At the time I was invited to participate in the recording of this project. I was, as I always have been and will be, a man immersed in my own solitary musical journey through life, and invested little, if any, thought in what anybody else was up to. Al’s invitation to “hire” me into servitude tweaked my sensibilities as a true professional into a state of mild shock – am I capable of delivering a product on demand? And a “jump off a cliff” commitment requiring that I defy my own inherent sense of mediocrity. I vowed never to be glib in my own self assurance, nor succumb to the hammer of humility that I believe all true artists experience. We are friends, and respectful colleagues in the climate of peer group paranoia that infuses any local “scene.” To me Al is one of those folks who, whenever they enter a room, you’re glad they did. He was the guy who would always say, after hours, “hey let’s go back to my place” and the times I went are some of the most musical in my memory banks. The body of Al’s work has always been a straight shot to the bulls eye of rock and roll and with this I was most familiar. Al’s acceptance, and honest appreciation of my own assessment, and in this I felt myself grow a little larger in my own eyes. “Icicle,” a mild departure from the dense and viscous texture of the rest, is an ionospheric airy lilt infused with practical wisdom and a self- contradictory metaphor by which all of life’s “true truths” abide. It’s not just the song and/ or the artist…..it’s the experience. I went in as a sideman, and came out a brother. *** RICK SANGER (Tsunami of Sound): Here you go! Even though they’ve moved out of New England awhile ago except for David Robinson my choice is “Roadrunner” by Jonathon Richman & the Modern Lovers.Where else can you hear Massachusetts references like the Turnpike,128 and Stop and Shop? It’s one of the best garage songs ever also! Instantly recognizable and if you’re from New England, especially from Boston and vicinity; instantly identifiable.The band is on fire on “Roadrunner!” *** JAMES RYAN (Hoodoo BBQ): I often think of my old pal, Johnny Nicholas, a former Rhode Island native, who had a band called The Rhythm Rockers. Ronnie Earl played guitar and Ron Levy did keyboards at the time. John ended up with Asleep At The Wheel. I used to see them at The Speakeasy on Norfolk Street in Central Square in the mid 1970s. He had a song called “Too Many Bad Habits” and it is a solemn reminder of the start of my “career” as a “bourbon and toothpaste for breakfast” individual. I still find it amusing, even though I’ve morphed into a nondescript taxpayer! *** Rita: Great answers! Sounds like a good time to end the column. Lolita: Send in your band’s news and come back and see us again for our next column posted on December 1!